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“In the lotus feet of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is honey. The devotees in a very glorifying way taste that, and it is not a mere drop of honey, rather it is an ocean. They take that and become very intoxicated. They chant and glorify their Lord, and that honey overflows. A few drops of that come down into this world, and I am quickly collecting those drops of honey and keeping them in a pot: that is Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam. For my benefit and the benefit of the searchers, I am presenting this in book form. You take this and bless me.”
This, in a simple way, is the meaning of that śloka, and I think that this is the highest śloka I have heard in my life. I am always quoting this, and whenever I have a chance I include it in a book.
This is one of the two ślokas that I always want to publish and distribute. The second śloka is from Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta:
kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta-sāra, tāra śata śata dhāra,
daśa-dike vahe yāhā haite
se chaitanya-līlā haya, sarovara akṣaya,
mano-haṁsa charāha tāhāte
(Madhya-līlā, 25.271)
“What is Kṛṣṇa-līlā? It is the real essence of nectar. It is the gist of sweetness, happiness, and ecstasy. The sweetness of the sweetest thing that can ever be conceived of is represented in Kṛṣṇa-līlā. Then what is Chaitanya-līlā? In Chaitanya-līlā, that sweet nectar of Kṛṣṇa-līlā is flowing in all ten directions in hundreds of streams as if from a fountain. That fountain is Chaitanya-līlā.”
All the devotees like to read Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta and I have also read it many times, but the meaning is not always apparent to us. The real meaning comes through our service, so we must try wholeheartedly and happily to serve, even though sometimes service may not come so happily to us. Sometimes it may give us pain or difficulty.
On the occasion of moving the No. 1 Ultadingi Road branch of the Gauḍīya Maṭh to the Bag Bazaar Maṭh in Kolkata, all the devotees were chanting and dancing, and so became very tired. Because they were so exhausted, everybody took rest and tried to sleep even without eating. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was also very exhausted. His name then was Rāmendra Sundar Babu. One devotee approached him saying, “O Rāmendra Babu, please come with me in order to bring here a pot of sweet prasādam from a devotee’s house.”
Although Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was also very exhausted he said, “Yes, I shall go.” On arriving at the devotee’s house Śrīla Guru Mahārāj saw there a large pot weighing perhaps sixty kilograms. His body was very strong and, carrying that pot on his head, he went to the Bag Bazaar Maṭh. However, he was not in the habit of carrying things on his head and later said, “At that time I thought my head was going to be crushed!”
Śrīla Guru Mahārāj took that heavy pot thinking, “It is an austerity for me no doubt, but I must take it because this prasādam will be taken by the Vaiṣṇavas and everyone gathered there, and they will be happy. Nobody else can bring this pot at this time, so I must do it.” Later he explained that when he was feeling so much pain in his head he was thinking, “Kṛṣṇa wants this service from me, therefore I am happy to do this.”
That brahmachārī who asked Śrīla Guru Mahārāj to carry the pot later said, “Mahārāj, I have done much offence unto your lotus feet.”
But Śrīla Guru Mahārāj replied, “What offence?”
“Oh, on that day I was unable to get anyone to bring the heavy pot of prasādam to the Bag Bazaar Maṭh, therefore I asked you to do so. But you are a very high class brāhmaṇ; not only that, your position was very exalted, but I could not understand or recognise this on that day. I therefore treated you like a servant by asking you, ‘Rāmendra Babu, come with me.’” Lastly he asked Śrīla Guru Mahārāj for permission to stay in this Maṭh, and he did stay for perhaps three or four months.
Service to the Guru and Vaiṣṇava is our life, and we must try to perform that service. No doubt we cannot always satisfy Guru and Vaiṣṇava, but the main thing is to have the tendency and inner desire to satisfy them. Transcendental power comes down through that channel, and if we want it, we must try in this way. Through the Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, transcendental power comes to us and gives us devotional strength. That strength is the service to Guru and Vaiṣṇava.
Narottam Dās Ṭhākur wrote: “Nitāiyer karuṇā habe Vraje Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa pābe.” When we can please Guru and Vaiṣṇava, they will give their mercy, and then we must surely get service to Rādhā-Govinda and Mahāprabhu. This is very clear. In this way Nityānanda Prabhu is very merciful, and He takes the conditioned souls from the very low level up to the high level: that is the power of Nityānanda Prabhu. The incarnation of Nityānanda Prabhu is Gurudev. Always He distributes the mercy of Mahāprabhu, and He gives entrance to the līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He is actually the first treasurer of the whole of the transcendental world. He is the master of the whole of that realm, and when we may get entrance to Goloka, Vraja Dhām, we shall receive the mercy of Rādhārāṇī’s servitors. But first, to serve Nityānanda Prabhu is most necessary; we must satisfy Nityānanda Prabhu.
In Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta it is related that Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī many times tried to go to join with Mahāprabhu’s Mission in Jagannāth Purī, but he was always unsuccessful and could not meet with Him. Many times he tried to go to the lotus feet of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, but his father tried to keep him in household life, and therefore Raghunāth was very sad.
One day he heard that Nityānanda Prabhu had come to Pāṇihāṭi near Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī’s father’s house. Immediately he went to see Nityānanda Prabhu thinking, “Without the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu I will not get Mahāprabhu’s mercy.”
So he went to Nityānanda Prabhu. Seeing him, Nityānanda Prabhu was happy and said, “You are a thief. Always you are trying to go to Mahāprabhu in the manner of a thief, but first you arrange a festival to feed all the devotees gathered here for My satisfaction. If you can satisfy Me in this way, I shall give you direct entrance to Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet.”
At that time wherever Nityānanda Prabhu went He was accompanied by many devotees; also on that occasion in Pānihāṭi Grām many were present.
Raghunāth Dās was very happy to hear Nityānanda Prabhu’s order and said, “Yes, Prabhu, I shall try.” So from many villages he collected large quantities of yoghurt, milk, flat rice, bananas, sandeś, and many other eatables in order to feed the devotees. He made all arrangements. Nityānanda Prabhu with His associates, servitors, and devotees all very happily took that mahāprasādam. Nityānanda Prabhu said, “Yes, now you have finished your gṛhastha life. Your household life is now finished, and you will attain to Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet.”
Then he went back to his father’s house, but he did not enter the inner quarters. Instead, he lived on the outside in the reception room. Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī’s mother said to her husband, “Many times your son has stealthily tried to run away to go to the lotus feet of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu; therefore bind his hands and keep him in a room so he cannot leave.”