The following discourse was delivered by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja at Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha on October 6, 2001, in Śrī Jagannātha Purī (Orissa), India
We went to Bhuvaneśvara, and in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is a history regarding this place. There was a demonic king named Pauṇḍraka, and He was very envious of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He had heard that Kṛṣṇa is Vāsudeva, God Himself and that He often manifested four arms. This demon thus added two artificial arms to his body, became four-armed, and exclaimed, “I am the real Vāsudeva, not this Kṛṣṇa who lives in Dvārakā.” He challenged Śrī Kṛṣṇa, “I am the real Vāsudeva. You should come and fight with me.”
Pauṇḍraka Vāsudeva was friends with the king of Kāśī. In India the king of Kāśī is called Kāśī-Nareśa. Kāśī-Nareśa was a very dedicated devotee of Lord Śiva. When Kṛṣṇa was coming to meet his challenge, Pauṇḍraka Vāsudeva invited his friend, “O Kāśī-Nareśa, please come and fight together with me against Kṛṣṇa.”
During the battle, Kṛṣṇa sent His Sudarśana cakra which cut off the head of Pauṇḍraka Vāsudeva. It also cut off the head of Kāśī-Nareśa, and then it burnt the whole of Kāśī. [The above narration is also given, in great detail, in Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda’s Kṛṣṇa book, chapter 66.]
Kāśī is the abode of Lord Śiva, the worshipable deity of Kāśī-Nareśa, and after burning Kāśī, Sudarśana cakra began chasing after Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva became very perturbed and fearful. Of course, he and Kṛṣṇa can never be opposed to each other. He is a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa, but he performs many pastimes for the glory of Kṛṣṇa in which he apparently supports the Lord’s enemies. In this way Śiva now began running, leaving everything and forgetting everything. Where his trident went, he did not know. Where his deerskin went, he did not know. Where his wife Pārvatī was, he did not know. He was simply running to save his life. He remembered those days when his manifestation Durvāsā was similarly fearful when chased by Sudarśana cakra.
Lord Śiva came all the way from Kāśī to this place, Bhuvaneśvara, where Kṛṣṇa was residing in the form of Ananta Vāsudeva. Lord Śiva took shelter of Ananta Vāsudeva, and Ananta Vāsudeva told him not to worry. After Sudarśana became calm, Lord Śiva said, “I want Your shelter. I want to serve You and I want to stay with You.” The Deity of Ananta Vāsudeva then gave him this place and told him, “All right. Stay near to Me, here in Bhuvaneśvara.”
There is another history of Bhuvaneśvara, as follows. One day Lord Śiva was glorifying the beauty and greatness of this place, and Pārvatī heard from him: There is a pond here called Rohiṇī-sarovara, and a person once fell into it and apparently died. The moment he left his body, however, he assumed a four-handed form and Garuḍa came and took him on his shoulders to the Lord’s transcendental abode of Vaikuṇṭha. This is the strength and potency of this particular place in Bhuvaneśvara, and it is presently called Kantil.
Somewhat far from here is the abode of Nīla-mādhava, where a similar incident took place. A crow fell down into the lake by the Deity’s temple, and that crow instantly emerged with a four-armed form and was also carried by Garuḍa to Vaikuṇṭha. This whole area of at least a forty-mile radius is thus very potent.
After hearing this glorification, Pārvatī began roaming here, desiring to see the holy places, and she happened to learn of a very large Śiva-liṅga. We took darśana of that liṅga, whose name is Liṅgarāja. Liṅgarāja is not merely a Śiva-liṅga. He is really a liṅga of Hari-hara Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva together. We see in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, where they also live together, that the Deity of Hari-hara has three divisions. On one side is Hari, who is white, on the other side is Lord Śiva, who is black, and in between there are three cracks representing Gaṅgā, Yamunā, and Sarasvatī. In Navadvīpa that beautiful place is called Hari-hara-kṣetra. Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu, Hari are clearly separated by colour and slightly by form, but at this place in Bhuvaneśvara the paṇḍā has to show which side is Lord Śiva and which is Lord Viṣṇu because the entire liṅga is dark and has a nonspecific shape.
Śrīmatī Pārvatī devī found one thousand very beautiful white cows, and they began oozing milk from their udders onto this Liṅgarāja. Pārvatī was very satisfied with them because Kṛṣṇa loves cows, and the cows were doing abhiṣeka (bathing with their milk) of the liṅga who is also Viṣṇu. She started herding those cows and became like a gvālinī, a cowherd girl. Gradually, she and the cows entered a very beautiful garden, which later became known as Ekāmra Kānana. This is the place where Śiva left his trident and deerskin, and where he didn’t know where Pārvatī was when he ran away from the Sudarśana cakra. Ananta Vāsudeva-mandira and other important places were not visible at that time, as they are now. These places were simply in the form of forests, and Pārvatī was enjoying the beauty of those areas.
Meanwhile, two very cruel demons, called Kṛtti and Vāsa, became attracted to Pārvatī. They approached and began disturbing her, making propositions to her. She had been absorbed in the glory of this place, but now she remembered her husband, Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva immediately appeared and asked, “What is the problem?”
Pārvatī replied, “I am fascinated by the beauty of this place, and I don’t want to leave. But these two demons are disturbing me. What should I do?”
Lord Śiva said, “These demons are very powerful because they have received many benedictions. They cannot be killed so easily, even by me. Yet, their time has come to be killed, and they will be killed by you. Now you must make an arrangement so that they can be killed.”
Then, in the form of that cowherd girl, Pārvatī told the demons, “All right, I’m ready to accept your proposal, but I want to put a condition. You will have to fight each other, and whoever is victorious shall have me. He can put me on his shoulders and in this way help me to roam about this place.” Hearing her words, both brothers began fighting with each other.
This is what is happening in this world. Māyā is making each and every person fight. This is illusion. Māyā, or in this case Pārvatī, was nothing but a death blow for both of them, but still they were fighting for her. When neither could defeat the other, Pārvatī said, “Stop fighting. It’s enough. I will put my feet on both of your shoulders; so don’t worry.”
She then put her feet on both of their shoulders, increased her weight, and thus became Bhuvaneśvarī (the female master of this entire area). She is Bhuvaneśvarī and Lord Śiva is Bhuvaneśvara (the male master of this place). When she increased her weight the demons were crushed down and killed. After this she was tired because killing the demons had taken a lot of exertion. She lay down and told Lord Śiva, “I’m very thirsty. Can you please arrange some water for me?”
Lord Śiva created a very beautiful pond by his trident, but there was no water in it. He then invited all the personified pilgrimage places to come, and when they came he told them, “You should each give one drop of water to this pond.” In Hindi, ‘drop’ is called bindu, and thus this beautiful pond became known as Bindu-sarovara. Lord Śiva and Pārvatī both bathed in that pond, and Pārvatī gave the benediction that whoever takes a bath in it will be able to see Ananta Vāsudeva. He will get the mercy of the Lord.
I don’t think Vṛndāvana or Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śyāma-kuṇḍa were among the pilgrimage places to have gone there. The pilgrimage places went there, but Vṛndāvana, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and Śyāma-kuṇḍa are not pilgrimage places. They are the abode of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself.
In this way, this place has now become Bindu-sarovara. There is a very big mountain in India, called Himālaya. If we take the first part of the word Himālaya, ‘hi’, and the last part of the word bindu, ‘indu’, and combine them, it becomes ‘Hindu’. Indians are called Hindus, which means those who live between the Himālaya mountains and Bindu-sarovara, and who are absorbed in the bhakti. This is the actual definition of ‘Hindu’.
Lord Śiva is the Dhāmeśvara, the predominating deity of this place. He protects it, and Ananta Vāsudeva in Bhuvaneśvara is the controller and predominating Deity of Lord Śiva. Wherever Kṛṣṇa or one of His expansions have Their dhāma, abode, Lord Śiva is the protector. This is a feature of their relationship.
[Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja (now speaking about the holy place known as Caṭaka-parvata, which is very near the Ṭoṭā-gopīnātha-mandira):] Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to see Caṭaka-parvata as Govardhana Hill. When He saw this very beautiful place, He thought He was at Girirāja Govardhana, Vamśivata and Yamunā. He became overwhelmed and ran towards the parvata, hill, calling, “Girirāja Govardhana! Girirāja Govardhana!”
hantāyam adrir abalā hari-dāsa-varyo
mānaṁ tanoti saha-go-gaṇayos tayor yat
“O sakhīs! This Girirāja Govardhana is the best of all the devotees of Śrī Hari (Śrī Harideva). How fortunate he is indeed! Have you not seen how elated he is to obtain the touch of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is prāṇa-vallabha, dearer to us than life, and those of Śrī Baladeva who is nayanābhirāma, the source of delight for the eyes? Who can adequately praise his fortune? Just see how graciously he receives all the cows and cowherd boyfriends of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. He supplies cool, clear and sweet water for bathing and drinking, soft green grass for the cows, caves for them to rest, and fruits and roots for them to eat. Truly, this Girirāja Govardhana is blessed.” (Veṇu-gīta, text 18)
Śrīman Mahāprabhu was singing this śloka in a beautiful way, absorbed in bhāva.
In the next few days we will go to many places. We will again go to Gambhīra, and we will also go to the well of Paramānanda Purī, to Lokanātha, again to Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s bhajana-kutīra, and to other places as well. We may also go to see Lord Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā, and everywhere our hari-kathā will be done.
There is too much rain now. This paṇḍāl is not sufficient for so much heavy rain. We never thought that this type of rain would come in this season. This is not the rainy season, but somehow there was low pressure in the ocean and the season accidentally changed. I thought that we would sit on the sand, on the ocean beach, and that all our hari-kathā would continue there. I never thought that any rain would come and disturb our programs.
I am sorry that today you could not take mahā-prasāda here under the paṇḍāl. But don’t be disturbed. Our purpose is served. Our purpose is to be in the land of Puruṣottama, in Puruṣottama month, and to hear hari-kathā. Actually no one can be disturbed here. When there is any problem, we will call Śaṅkara (Lord Śiva) or Jagannātha-deva.
A certain monkey is also here. Hanumān is here. Jagannātha has told Hanumān, “There is no difference between myself and Rāmacandra. You should always remain here. And if the ocean advances, roaring with waves and sand, be situated here and stop the sea from coming towards Jagannātha-mandira.” Jagannātha ordered Hanumān to stay because sand often came and covered all of Purī. The first time the sand came and covered the temple of Jagannātha was at the time of Mahārāja Indradyumna.
Hanumān stayed for some time. However, after a while he began to thirst for the taste of something sweet because the local people only gave him rice and dahl. One day he thought, “Let the sands come. My mother may be making some laḍḍūs.” In one leap he went to Ayodhyā. Later, Jagannātha called him by remembering him, and he returned. Jagannātha promised him bananas and sweets and told him that he should not leave Purī again. He then handcuffed him, chaining his hands and legs.
Hanumān is thus called Beḍī-Hanumān: one who is handcuffed. Near the temple where Beḍī-Hanumān resides is Baṅkima Mohana, the place where the three logs came to the shore and later took Their shapes as Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā.
[A few years ago a cyclone came towards the shores of Purī. Instead of destroying Purī, however, it split into two and destroyed two other places far from Purī.]
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
This is actually the definition of bhakti. However, merely quoting this śloka will not do. You’ll have to practice it. There are symptoms that reveal if you are actually practising or not. If you are exercising bhakti with all of your senses and mind, and by all your moods, detachment must come. Detachment will come, and your entire ‘controlling mood’ will go. Even the lady devotees want to control each other. How will bhakti come in such a situation? Bhakti comes when there is submissiveness and humility.
Jñāna and vairagya (knowledge and detachment) will certainly come. Kṛṣṇa-tattva-jñāna (knowledge of the glories of Kṛṣṇa), bhakti-rasa-jñāna (knowledge of the transcendental mellows of devotion), and vaiṣṇava-sevā-jñāna (knowledge about serving pure devotees) are all bound to come.
However, you may be proud that, “I’m chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa,” and therefore worldly attachments are still present. Don’t try to instruct others. Try to follow, yourself. Don’t offend Vaiṣṇavas. By practicing bhakti, automatically the qualities tṛṇād api sunīcena and so on will come.
If you are chanting and remembering under the guidance of a high class of guru, only having faith in guru but not in Vaiṣṇavas, it will not do. One must not think, “For my guru I will cut off the heads of all the Vaiṣṇavas. I don’t care for any Vaiṣṇavas.”
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.” (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, text 1)
atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca
ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati
“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over endeavouring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.” (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, text 2)
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati
“There are six principles favourable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavouring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.5.23] hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of non-devotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.” (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, text 3)
If, in spite of chanting your bad qualities are not going and good qualities are not coming, you have no utsāha (enthusiasm) for this hari-kathā.
bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo ’nu-ghāsam
“Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things — these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.2.42)
This śloka has a very grave meaning.
You should accept this and the following verse as a barometer of bhakti.
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
Keep this verse in mind during all your activities, to see whether your bhakti is actually karma (fruitive activity) or jñāna (mental speculation), or whether it is really bhakti. You will be able to see whether it is only karma-miśra (miśra means mixed with), jñāna-miśra, yoga-miśra, or whether or not it is any kind of bhakti at all. You will see whether it is saṅga-siddhā, āropa-siddhā, or svarūpa-siddhā, and whether it is really vaidhī-bhakti or not. To be very proud that “We are rāgānuga-bhaktas,” without actually following that path, will not do.
We have come to Puruṣottama-kṣetra. We will have to give something up here, like being angry and chastising other Vaiṣṇavas. Give up all bad habits. Something should be given up so that bhakti may come.
Excerpt from the book Ācārya Kesarī Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī – His Life and Teachings, 2nd Edition by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja
From Raṇapuragaḍha, the parikramā party reached the Nayāgaḍha state, where the pilgrims were given a royal welcome. Śrī Govardhana-pūjā and the annakūṭa festival were performed there. The king of that area, Rājā Bahādura, participated in the annakūṭa festival along with his family. Then the parikramā party went to Kaṇṭīlā (Nīla-mādhava) via Khaṇḍapārā. There, on top of the mountain, they had darśana of Nīla-mādhava. The Purāṇas tell the following story about Nīla-mādhava.
In Satya-yuga, Indradyumna, the king of Avantī, heard from some pilgrims about the glories of Śrī Nīla-mādhava, the deity who presided in the area adjacent to Nīla-samudra. He was quite impressed and sent his special envoys to find the exact location of Śrī Nīla-mādhava. One of the envoys was Vidyāpati, the son of his priest. In the course of the young brāhmaṇa’s search, he reached the shore of Mahā-sāgara which was close to Śrī Nīla-mādhava’s mountain. One evening he came upon the house of the chief of the village, a man named Viśvāvasu, who belonged to the śabara caste. After some investigation, Vidyāpati guessed that this Viśvāvasu was Nīla-mādhava’s pujārī. Vidyāpati then married Viśvāvasu’s young daughter. Sometime later, to confirm his suspicions about Nīla-mādhava, he asked his wife where her father would go and who he was worshipping. He appealed to her to arrange that he might have darśana of those deities. Viśvāvasu consented to his daughter’s wishes and fulfilled the desire of Vidyāpati.
Viśvāvasu covered Vidyāpati’s eyes with a strip of black cloth and did not remove it until they reached Śrī Nīla-mādhava’s temple on top of the mountain. Viśvāvasu went to the temple garden to pick flowers. Vidyāpati then saw an astonishing incident. A drowsy crow was sitting on a branch of a tree, which hung over a lake in front of the temple. The crow fell into the water and drowned. The crow’s soul immediately took a four-armed, spiritual form, mounted a transcendental aeroplane and departed for Vaikuṇṭha. When Vidyāpati saw this scene, he also wanted to jump into the lake, but a grave voice from the sky announced, “You have many things to do. Now you must wait.” Later, Vidyāpati had darśana of Nīla-mādhava and then went home with Viśvāvasu. Thereafter, Vidyāpati returned to his king in the town of Avantī with news of Nīla-mādhava.
[Upon hearing that the Lord had been located,] Mahārāja Indradyumna departed with his family members and his entire army for Nīla-mādhava’s darśana. But when he arrived, he only saw a sand mountain; Nīla-mādhava’s whereabouts were not to be known. Feeling utterly helpless, the king went to the shore of the ocean to perform worship in order to attain Nīla-mādhava’s darśana. There, Nīla-mādhava appeared to him and said, “At this time I will not take this form of Nīla-mādhava. Instead, I will appear as Śrī Jagannātha, Baladeva, Subhadrā and Sudarśana, to accept your service and give darśana to the people of the world.”
The pilgrims had darśana of the pratibhū-vigraha of Nīla-mādhava, and Guru Mahārāja [Śrīla Bhakti Prajnāna Keśava Mahārāja] described the history of the famous Nīla-mādhava as described in the scriptures.
From Kaṇṭīlā, Śrīla Gurudeva [Śrīla Bhakti Prajnāna Keśava Mahārāja] and the parikramā party returned to Purī-dhāma. Along the way, they visited Kaṭaka, Bhuvaneśvara and other places. Bhuvaneśvara, also known as Ekāmra Kānana, is one of the principal places of pilgrimage in India and is situated within Śrī Kṣetra.
Pārvatījī had heard all about the glories of Śrī Jagannātha-kṣetra, and performed rigid austerities in Ekāmra Kānana to obtain darśana of Bhagavān. Because of her devotion, Bhagavān Śrī Hari appeared before her in the form of Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa. When the Lord saw Pārvatī’s austere worship, one teardrop (bindu) fell from His eyes, and this formed a huge lake (sarovara), which became known as Bindu-sarovara. It is said that the word Hindu, signifying the Āryan inhabitants of the area between the Himālayas in the north and Bindu-sarovara in the south, comes from the first syllable hi in Himālaya and the last syllable ndu of bindu.
In Bhuvaneśvara is a huge Śiva liṅga, which is famous as Bhuvaneśvara. Nearby is the temple of Śrī Ananta Vāsudeva. Formerly, the bhoga offered in this Vāsudeva temple was offered as mahā-prasāda to Bhuvaneśvara Mahādeva, and Vaiṣṇavas accepted the prasāda from Śrī Bhuvaneśvara, although they do not accept the prasāda from Śrī Mahādeva anywhere else. (This custom of first offering bhoga to Viṣṇu has been stopped, so Vaiṣṇavas no longer accept Śrī Mahādeva’s mahā-prasāda; they only accept it from the temple of Ananta Vāsudeva.)
[…] On 6 February 1954, prominent Sanskrit scholars of India assembled at the local Sanskrit school in Chuṅchurā for a huge Sanskrit conference. The assembly unanimously accepted mahāmahopādhyāya Śrī Yogendranāth (tarkasaṅkhya, vedānta-tīrtha) as chairman, and then the talks began. At the special request of the members of the assembly, Śrīla Gurudeva spoke for an hour on Hindu dharma and Vaiṣṇava philosophy. He began his lecture, which was extremely brilliant and full of deep philosophy, by especially emphasizing the need to revive Indian culture and Sanskrit education. He also stressed the necessity to organize institutions such as eminent Sanskrit conferences to develop Sanskrit education throughout India. “None of the ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, Vedānta, the Purāṇas and the Itihāsas (histories) have mentioned the word ‘Hindu’,” Śrīla Gurudeva pointed out. “Nevertheless, those who live between Hindukuśa or the Himālayan mountains in the North and Bindu-sarovara in the South, and who follow sanātana-dharma are called Hindus. Therefore, we should understand that the term ‘Hindu dharma’ refers to sanātana-dharma. The vaiṣṇava-dharma described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other scriptures is simply sanātana-dharma and nothing else.”
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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books
by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda (Vedabase.com)