Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Why are you smiling?
Śrīpāda Tridaṇḍī Mahārāja: Because it is so wonderful to be with you, Śrīla Gurudeva.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: You are telling us all of the beautiful things that our Guru Mahārāja [Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja] wanted to tell us. We were like babies when he was physically present, so we could not fully understand him at that time.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Are you understanding him now?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: A little, something, and I think he is happy about that. He wanted to tell us then, but we wouldn’t have been able to understand.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Was my explanation interesting?
Devotee: That is an understatement.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: What did I clarify regarding Nanda Bābā and Kṛṣṇa? Did Nanda Bābā go back to Vṛndāvana from Mathurā with, or without, Kṛṣṇa? You don’t know? I explained it during my class.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: There are two prakoṣṭhas (sections within the pastimes). In one prakoṣṭha, Nanda Bābā goes back to Vṛndāvana without Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, with only Kṛṣṇa’s golden ornaments and some clothes, crying and crying. In another prakoṣṭha, he is happy to go back there with Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: But this is hidden. This siddhānta, as explained by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, is very exalted.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Does Baladeva Prabhu know, or not?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes, He knows. In one prakoṣṭha both Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva go back to Vṛndāvana with Nanda Bābā.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: When Baladeva came back from Dvārakā to Vṛndāvana, He was seeing only the prakoṣṭha in which the Vrajavāsīs were feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa. He didn’t see the other prakoṣṭha.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: In Vraja, absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa, He Himself became black like Kṛṣṇa. His Deity is black in Daujī and in Madhuvana, because He is always feeling the Vrajavāsīs’ separation mood for Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, Baladeva’s mood in rāsa-līlā is not completely āśraya-jātīya-tattva (the mood of Kṛṣṇa’s servant), is it? He is viṣṇu-tattva, so He is viṣaya, the Supreme Lord and enjoyer.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: There are two kinds of rāsa. During the Holi rāsa, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva sang with many melodies of beautifully ascending (āroha) and descending (avaroha) notes, and all of the gopīs were present there. In fact, at the time of Holi all the gopas and gopīs were able to assemble together.
When Baladeva went to Rāma-ghāṭa from Dvārakā, He performed rāsa with His own gopīs.*
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: What is Baladeva’s mood?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: He performed rāsa to satisfy the gopīs, because they were greatly lamenting and suffering in separation from Kṛṣṇa. Baladeva wanted to relieve their separation mood, and therefore He danced and sang with them. His dancing was not like the dancing of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs, wherein Kṛṣṇa held hands with them and engaged in amorous sports.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: But like Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva is also viṣṇu-tattva. What would be the fault in His dancing with the gopīs as Kṛṣṇa did?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Nṛsiṁhadeva is viṣṇu-tattva, but He cannot do as Kṛṣṇa did. Even Rāmacandra, who is superior to Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, cannot perform such pastimes.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Only Kṛṣṇa can do rāsa.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: When Baladeva danced with His own gopīs at Rāma-ghāṭa, were Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs also present and watching?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Actually, the idea of Baladeva dancing with His own gopīs has been told for ignorant persons.
In Heaven, the damsel Urvaśī goes to so many men, and there is no fault either on her part or on the part of the men. There is no fault, because their heavenly bodies are not like ours.
If there is no fault in Heaven, then what to speak of the transcendental world, where Rādhā, the gopīs, and Baladeva Prabhu have fully transcendental bodies. There is no impurity or impropriety in the transcendental world. It has been told only for ignorant persons that Baladeva Prabhu was with His own gopīs. He was actually with Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs, but there was no fault in this.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Who is giving this explanation, Śrīla Gurudeva? I could not find in the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura that Baladeva is dancing with His gopīs as well as Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Have you read it?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: No, I have not read it. I was looking in Sārārtha-darśinī (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto), but I could not find it there.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I am explaining this to you from my vision, and from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has also explained this [in his commentary on Śrī Caitanya-Bhāgavata].
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: So Baladeva Prabhu does not have viṣaya-bhāva (the mood of the supreme transcendental enjoyer)?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: No, not at all.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Then how is He viṣṇu-tattva?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Other than Kṛṣṇa, no one can perform rāsa (as Kṛṣṇa does); not Baladeva or anyone else. Baladeva danced with the gopīs in order to please and pacify them. There is no trace of indecorum in Baladeva Prabhu dancing with them. He did not touch the bodies of the gopīs as Kṛṣṇa did. Kṛṣṇa expanded into innumerable forms as He danced and sang with all the gopīs.
He embraced them, whereas Baladeva had no intimate contact. [To Indupati dāsa] Are you hearing hari-kathā?
Indupati dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, I am trying to hear, but my heart is like a stone. There is not much going in.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I have come to melt all hearts.
[To another devotee] Do you remember what I, and others, have been speaking? Will you remember all these topics in the future?
Devotee: By your blessings, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Are you understanding the topics we discussed?
Devotee: Something, Gurudeva.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Something is better than nothing.

*The following is an explanation given by Prema-prayojana dāsa on Śrī Baladeva Pūrṇimā, August 12, 2003, at Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana Gauḍīya Maṭha in Vṛndāvana. When Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja heard this explanation, he expressed his appreciation of how well the subtle tattvas (established philosophical truths) were so clearly explained. He said that he wanted this told everywhere, so that all the devotees could know these truths:
“So, why has Baladeva Prabhu performed this rāsa-līlā? Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has explained the identity of the gopīs with whom Baladeva Prabhu was dancing. This is a point of great controversy. I will try to explain the vicāra, the deliberations on the subject, one after another, and in the end present the viśeṣa-vicāra, the special conclusion, of Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura mentioned that at the time of Śaṅkhacūḍa-vadha (the pastime of Kṛṣṇa killing the demon Śaṅkhacūḍa), holi-līlā was going on at Govardhana. During that pastime some gopīs were standing very far away and were looking at Baladeva Prabhu. Kṛṣṇa Himself glanced at Baladeva Prabhu to indicate to Him that those gopīs had some special attachment for Baladeva. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura commented that Baladeva Prabhu performed rāsa-līlā with those gopīs who were looking at Him.
“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has given another explanation. When Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana for Mathurā, there were many gopīs in Vraja who were not old enough to meet with Kṛṣṇa in rāsa-līlā. Later, when Baladeva Prabhu returned to Vṛndāvana, He did rāsa-līlā with them, fulfilling their desire now that they were old enough to take part in such a līlā.
“These explanations have been given for loka-saṅgraha, for the general people who are in ignorance of rasa-tattva. They cannot understand what is rāsa-līlā and how Baladeva Prabhu can also perform rāsa-līlā with Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs.
“Why does Baladeva Prabhu perform rāsa-līlā with Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs? This is His service. Ordinarily in this world, when the prākṛta-nāyaka and nāyikā (the mundane hero and heroine) meet together, they do so for their own happiness and their own pleasure. But who is Baladeva Prabhu? He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is abhinna-prakāśa, non-different from Kṛṣṇa, but with sevaka-abhimāna, the identification that He is Kṛṣṇa’s servant. He is composed entirely of this sevaka-abhimāna, and therefore everything that He does is for the service of Kṛṣṇa. Thus, if Baladeva Prabhu has performed rāsa-līlā with Kṛṣṇa’s gopīs, the idea should never enter into the mind that Baladeva Prabhu has any bhoga-vṛtti, enjoying tendency. He has done this for the sake of Kṛṣṇa’s service, in order to pacify the gopīs’ mood of separation for Kṛṣṇa.
“…When Baladeva saw that He was completely unable to appease the gopīs’ sorrow, He Himself became overwhelmed in separation. He began to weep bitter tears and called out, ‘O Kṛṣṇa! O Kṛṣṇa! Why did You leave Vṛndāvana?’ Then, when Baladeva Prabhu was completely absorbed in separation from Kṛṣṇa, His complexion turned blackish. This is why here in Vraja-maṇḍala there are famous Deities of Baladeva Prabhu in Daujī, Mahāvana, and Madhuvana that are black: to remind us of this very pastime.
“Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī had explained that Baladeva manifested millions of forms upon seeing the very high separation mood of the gopīs. In each form He took one gopī to a kuñja, and then He cried out for Kṛṣṇa, “O Kṛṣṇa, please come to Vṛndāvana.” Then, immediately, Kṛṣṇa manifested millions of forms, took the hand of each gopī, and entered each kuñja, where He fulfilled their hearts’ desires to serve Him. In this way Baladeva Prabhu draws Śrī Kṛṣṇa to Vṛndāvana, and He is therefore known as Saṅkarṣaṇa.”

Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007
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