The following is a transcription of a discourse delivered by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 6, 2006


Our festival is going on very nicely, with no complaints. There is very good prasādam distribution, sweet and powerful hari-kathā, and so many Vaiṣṇavas and sannyāsīs are here.

Today we are fortunate that the first sannyāsī of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, Śrīpāda Kīrtanānanda Prabhu, is present here. I was present for his sannyāsa ceremony, and I used to take him to Delhi and other places to preach here and there. I was the only one with him. I received Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja with him when Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja returned from America for the first time (1967). I have so many remembrances with him; perhaps he also remembers those times. He has served his Gurudeva in so many ways, and especially he made a golden temple in Virginia. I have been there, and I saw that it is very beautiful. He was a very strong preacher at that time. I want him to speak a few words to the devotees.

Kīrtanānanda dāsa: I feel so fortunate to be here in the presence of all these wonderful Vaiṣṇavas, and especially in the presence of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, who is very dear to me. He assisted Śrīla Prabhupāda in my sannyāsa ceremony. He made my daṇḍa. So, I have always felt very close to Mahārāja.

I simply beg the blessings of all the assembled Vaiṣṇavas so I can say a few words in the pursuance of the mission of Lord Kṛṣṇa, of the whole disciplic succession down to Śrīla Prabhupāda and now of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja who is carrying this on very nicely.

I have great admiration for him. I read all his books and appreciate them very much. I am now humbly trying to follow in the footsteps of these great ācāryas to present the message of Lord Kṛṣṇa: “Surrender to Me utterly,” so that people today can understand. I am inspired to put this in an easily understood formula of thanking Kṛṣṇa for ‘now as it is’…”

(In this Miami hari-kathā festival, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja summarized the main principles of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Canto 1-10. In previous days, he had been discussing up to the third Canto and calling on devotees to discuss some of the great devotees whose lives and characters are narrated therein. On this day, after his introduction, he entered the 5th Canto and spoke on the significance of the history of Bharata Mahārāja:)

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There are so many teachings in Mahārāja Bharata’s life. After half of his life, which was 50,000 years, he realized that this world is illusory and that there is no real happiness there. One should not waste time. One should at once search for a bona fide Guru and begin hari-bhajana.

Bharata Mahārāja left his house. He was a very great king of Bhārata-varṣa. He had no attachments. He left the attachment of his wife, children, kingdom and properties and went to the forest. He was doing good bhajana there but became very attached to a deer. He was so attached that when the deer met a group of other deer and ran away into the forest with them, he became maddened. He was absorbed in remembering that deer, [constantly] thinking, “Where is my deer? What will happen to him? Perhaps a tiger or lion will eat him.” While he was thinking in this way, one night, death came, and in his next life, he became a deer.

What is the purport? Bharata Mahārāja remembered a deer at the time of death and he became a deer. Similarly, if at that time we remember Kṛṣṇa and our sajātīyaāśrayasnigdha),* a Vrajavāsī like the gopīs or Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, then we must become a gopī. We must. If Bharata Mahārāja became a deer by remembering a deer at the time of death, why would this principle not apply to others? Our Gosvāmīs, especially Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, have given the opportunity for meditation on Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. If you will remember this for your entire life, at the time of death we will become a gopī under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī.

What are we doing now? Our life is mostly wasted in earning money. What will money do? Will it give peace and happiness in life? Not at all. Not at all. Bharata was attached to a deer and became a deer. Similarly, if someone is attached to a girlfriend, what will happen? He must become a lady in his next life and he will be attached to men. We should learn from this. Although Bharata left all attachments and worldly desires, later on, he became attached to a young deer. He had attained bhāva (the sprout of love of God) so only three lives were lost. But what about us? We have all kinds of anarthas; even niṣṭha (steadiness in bhakti) and ruci (taste in bhakti) have not come. Who will save us? It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

rahūgaṇaitat tapasā na yāti
na cejyayā nirvapaṇād gṛhād vā
na cchandasā naiva jalāgni-sūryair
vinā mahat-pāda-rajo-’bhiṣekam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.12.12

[My dear King Rahūgaṇa, unless one has the opportunity to smear his entire body with the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees, one cannot realize the Absolute Truth. One cannot realize the Absolute Truth simply by observing celibacy (brahmacarya), strictly following the rules and regulations of householder life, leaving home as a vānaprastha, accepting sannyāsa, or undergoing severe penances in winter by keeping oneself submerged in water or surrounding oneself in summer by fire and the scorching heat of the sun. There are many other processes to understand the Absolute Truth, but the Absolute Truth is only revealed to one who has attained the mercy of a great devotee.]

Mahat-pāda-rajo-‘bhiṣekam. The mahat (great, self-realized devotee) is Śrī Gurudeva, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and others like them. They are our saviours. If we think, “I cannot save myself, so my Gurudeva and Vaiṣṇavas will save me,” then we can be protected. Otherwise, our lives will be ruined. Those who want kṛṣṇa-prema must always remember this – no one else can save us.

The attachment of men to ladies and ladies’ attachment to men are the same. Be careful. If you are in married life, this is okay. Stay with your husband and family, and continue doing bhajana. If you are a brahmacārī or sannyāsī, be very careful; otherwise, māyā will come in a moment and eat you. We should always remember this.

There is still time. Whatever mistakes we have made, we should try to correct them. We don’t know when death will come. Death may come in a moment.

In this way, there are so many teachings in the life of Bharata Mahārāja, and we should try to follow them. Now, we will discuss the life and character of Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura read prahlāda-carita 108 times. Prahlāda Mahārāja was a pure bhakta, and we should all follow him.

He was very tolerant.

tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, verse 3)

[“One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honour yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.”]

If you want to be a Vaiṣṇava, you will have to follow the life example of Prahlāda Mahārāja. Try to listen and follow. Try not to be attached to anyone. Be attached to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

[For the remainder of the class Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja requested Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja, Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja and then Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja to tell about Prahlāda Mahārāja’s life and teachings.]

* (62) Sajātīya-snigdha-mahattara-sādhu-saṅgaḥ – Association of like-minded, affectionate, advanced devotees

To associate with saintly devotees who are more advanced than oneself, who are of the same disposition (sajātīya), who taste the meaning of rasa (rasika) and who are affectionate (snigdha), is what is signified by this (62nd) limb of bhakti…A sādhaka should associate with devotees of the same spiritual disposition. In other words one should associate with those devotees who worship the same particular form of the Lord and who possess the same internal spiritual mood as oneself. (taken from Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja’s commentary of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu, The Sixty-four Limbs of Bhajana)


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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Prabhupāda (

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