Newsletter by Krishna Kshetra Swami, Issue #11 – March 9th, 2020
(Śrīla Kṛṣṇa-kṣetra Swami, 1994)
The sound of a dog barking wakes me. It is almost three o’clock. By the faint light of an oil lamp I find a bucket in the back of the bamboo “guesthouse” (my residence in the gurukula for the past four months), then walk to the hand pumps. The chilly February air, though not as cold as one month before, makes me quick to be done with bathing. Despite my haste, I try to remember a verse from the Bhagavad-gītā which I had started to memorize yesterday: What was it again?
āditya… tejo… hmmm? yad āditya…
Something about the sun lighting the whole world, and how Lord Kṛṣṇa is the source of the sun’s effulgence… yet three o’clock darkness gives no hint of the sun. Oh, yes that’s it: “The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this whole world, comes from Me…”
From Kṛṣṇa. But the atheists will challenge. “Where is this Kṛṣṇa?” How did Śrīla Prabhupāda put it? Just as no one can command the sun to rise, similarly no one can force the Supreme Lord to become visible…
A sort of prayer formulates itself as I dress: “My dear mind, don’t be so foolish as to think that the light of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not there. In due course of time the sun and moon of Gaura-Nitāi’s mercy will rise in your heart. Be patient.”
It is still quiet while I mark myself with tilaka, but then I hear the squeak of a hand pump. Probably it is one of the āśrama teachers. Before making his second attempt to wake the boys in his charge, he will take his bath. Squeak, squeak, splash!
3:30 am: I have an hour before maṅgala-ārati to chant rounds. A few steps out of the gurukula compound is the new library building: on its flat roof I begin to chant, first the Pañca-tattva mantra, then the mahā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa… I pace back and forth as I chant to avoid the mosquitos biting. They, too, are awake—lowly residents of the holy dhāma, seeking their sustenance.
From the library roof I can see Māyāpur in all directions, roofed by the bright, nearly full moon. What was the verse?…
yac candramasi yac cāgnau…
“And the splendor of the moon and the splendor of fire are also from Me.” The eerie, high-pitched howl of jackals from nearby sugarcane fields breaks the silence, but the moon remains silent, aloof like an effulgent, undisturbed sage.
The Vaiṣṇava poet Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī saw two splendorous orbs rising simultaneously on the horizon of Gauḍa-deśa: “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and Lord Nityānanda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauḍa to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.”
Double splendor, double mercy. Be patient, and chant.
Sounds of the day’s beginning can be heard. Now and then a bobbing flashlight on the road indicates someone going to the temple.
Early morning routine activities set the great stage of Śrīdhāma Māyāpur for another day’s performance of Lord Caitanya’s and Lord Nityānanda’s pastimes of dispelling the darkness of ignorance. The moon floats silently above, and the sun will make its entrance in about two hours. It is time for maṅgala-ārati, time to head for the temple. On the way there I am awake enough to remember the whole verse from the Gītā:
yad āditya-gataṁ tejo jagad bhāsayate ‘khilam
yac candramasi yac cāgnau tat tejo viddhi māmakam [Bg. 15.12]
Thinking how fortunate I am to be going to see the very source of all effulgence, the transcendental form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava, the gopīs and Lord Caitanya. I pray to Their Lordships to dispel the darkness in the sky of my heart.
REFLECTIONS ON THE OCCASION OF GAURA PŪRṆIMĀ
I wrote this after reading Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, chapter 4, starting the night before Gaura Pūrṇimā and finishing the next morning. Then I read it out to the devotees at the Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Alright, get this: He—that is, the One but not exactly Only primordial He, finding Himself repeatedly running up against the exasperating fact of it, that She—that is, His better-than-mirror, better-half counterpart, other as none else, had no love, except and save and only, exclusively, for Him: a love so exclusive, so utter, so boundless and bounding and so awesomely leaping beyond the very notion of boundaries…
He, seeming to encounter boundaries, He, as I said, exasperated, unable to fathom, to be within Her being, Her living that fathomless love, He made a plan, a grand and glorious scheme, a divine cosmic super-temporal yet time-entering resolve in and for just that very right time…
A time-entering resolve. You see, we’re not talking about any ordinary you-name-it guy stumbling lost and witless into this bozo circus of someone else’s show of don’t-get-me-started fear and misery. No, we’re talking about that bigger-than-life Person neither you nor I can expect to just go and see on the TV however we might try, however many channels we think we have, it being entirely up to Him to whom and whether, if at all, He might be visible, He might reveal Himself.
Entirely up to Him. I know, there are those who would deny altogether any such a one, but we won’t go there now, with more and bigger things to say…
What’s bigger? You see, it’s really all about relish: not you, not I can begin to venture into the vast waters of rasa (a little-big Sanskrit word)—r-a-s-a = rasa = relish, relish of divine devotion—that swirl and sway and whelm and overwhelm of the one—really the two—we’re talking of; we think (or think we think) we have better things to do, when what is, what really is to be done, is to put our minds, our hearts, our everything in that ocean, that deep sweet nectar ocean of rasa.
It’s for this nectar ocean of rasa that He, that mega-fine Person (who has mega-names, among which His closest friends call Him “Kṛṣṇa”, the-all-attractive-one)… for experiencing even more fully than He would normally as Himself this rasa of total boundless love of Her, that ultra-fine complementary Person (who has ultra-names, among which Her closest friends call Her “Rādhā”, the best of beloveds)… for Her He comes here, descends, not exactly from the clouds but from His home that makes our notions of “home” into crude imitation.
He comes here for Her, for Rādhā; Kṛṣṇa comes, descends, sets up, makes place. It is here He comes, to this spinning top of a planet, this chunk of you-name-it ten-thousand temporary things that come and go, rocks-plants-animals-bipeds that come and go, come and go, remembered awhile then forgotten, hankered for, lamented for, fought over, died because of. It is here He comes, not for anything else, but for Rādhā.
No, not exactly for Rādhā, but as Rādhā—as She who is the unplumbed deep of love, the vessel that is the storehouse, the primordial warehouse of every possible and every beyond possible shades and variations on perfectly artfully tastefully enacting and enacted love there could ever be.
As the vessel of love, rather than the object of love; as the subject of love, rather than the object of love… And you would still be right to ask for the why of it, and that is just the point: It is about why—there is purpose, a point to it, and we, you, me, all and every one and many and all of us, who are the tiniest of beings, who are but infinitesimal traces of that one complete Being, with whom we become complete—the why of us becomes unveiled within the why of Kṛṣṇa’s coming, within His becoming the vessel, the subject, of perfect unending expanding love.
In becoming the subject, experiencing what is the glory of Rādhā’s love for Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa comes for us, comes to share with us the unboundedness, the way, the broad yet straight-and-narrow way that, though straight, circles, orbits, brings us to our proper place, place of being-becoming, with Him-Her, Her-Him, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
He comes for us, gives Himself, gives His names, invites, welcomes “Just speak out My names, uplift your voice, sound the call, call out My names, allow your heart to open to these names which are Us, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, names whom we are so very fond of hearing, names who bring us running to you who call, names who bear the original meaning of the word ‘name’.”
Okay, okay, I know, you might not believe this, I know it sounds far-fetched, but I didn’t make it up. Nor did any off-the-street guy dream this up. I know it’s way out there, and it’s easy to let it slide, but I say give it a good hearing. That’s what it’s about, beginning for the first time in our lives to hear what’s going on. So, on this day, let’s give it a go. It’s His birthday, the day we know Him as Chaitanya, as Gaurāṅga, as the Golden Avatāra. On His birthday—we actually prefer to call it His “appearance day”—you’re invited to check out these names, the names of Kṛṣṇa, of He who is the source of all joy, Rāma, names of She who is the very being of divine love, Rādhā, voiced as “Hare”. Do give it a try, and you just might find there is something to it, something that is a lot more than “something”, which is—who is—someone, the one who’s in your heart, the one waiting for you, waiting for your love, the one who are two, ever separated yet united. Give it a try, and see for yourself: hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
—Krishna Kshetra Swami, Reflections on the Occasion of Gaura Pūrṇimā, March 12, 2017, Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK.
Mumbai, India: 2-3-2020 to 17-3-2020
Ukraine: 17-3-2020 to 27-3-2020
Hungary: 28-3- 2020 to 1-4-2020*
Vienna, Austria: 1-4-2020 to 3-4-2020*
Slovenia: 3-4-2020 to 30-4-2020
*the dates for Hungary and Vienna might shift slightly