What can we take with us from the yatra?
HH Romapada Swami stressed three points during the final days lecture at Panihatti:
1) The eagerness to receive Krsna consciousness
2) Material detachment
3) Service attitude
The above three are present in the personalities we have heard about during this yatra, and those personalities were empowered by Caitanya Mahaprabhu in different ways. Maharaja first referred to the banyan tree under which Nityananda Prabhu was sitting near the ghat.
Raghunath das Goswami came to the ghat and met Nityananda Prabhu. The day this class was given was Rama Ekadasi on the 10th of November. Maharaja was recalling that on the very same Rama Ekadasi day, Raghunath das Goswami met Nityanada Prabhu at Panihatti. After discussing the pastime, Maharaja helped us see that we were practically at that same place.
Temple of Raghava Pandit:
Raghava Pandit’s samadhi is at Panihati where he left his body. While speaking about him, Maharaja said that Raghava Pandit’s whole life was in service to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He did not travel much, except when he went to Puri to attend the Ratha-yatra. That was his service. He carried the prasadam for Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which was prepared by his sister, Damayanti. Maharaja also recalled the similar message about three persons at Srikhanda: two brothers and son – Mukunda, Narahari Sarkar, and his son Raghunandana.
Mukunda was a physician, and as such he was traveling, earning money and maintained a material position. Simultaneously, he was also maintaining his spiritual position. Raghunandana's service was deity worship and Narahari Sarkar stayed at Puri with the devotees.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu's perspective is that He regards both preaching and assisting preaching efforts equally.
In this connection, Maharaja referred to Srila Prabhupada stressing 4 things:
1) Books are the basis
2) Utility is the principle
3) Purity is the force
4) Preaching is the essence
Srila Prabhupada, while starting his preaching efforts in the West, was very cautious in introducing deity worship. He initially introduced pictures and later on introduced installation of the deities, because the purpose of deity worship is to maintain purity. This includes purity in preaching also; they both work together. Maharaja stressed that purity is definitely an important requirement to performing deity worship and preaching.
Before giving Krsna consciousness, we first have to receive it. For receiving Krsna consciousness, purity is required. It is completely natural to be pure. Nityananda Prabhu was the originator of the Namahatta as Caitanya Mahaprabhu engaged Nityananda Prabhu in giving Krsna consciousness. So one has to receive Krsna consciousness before giving it to others.
Our eagerness to receive according to our capacity is known by the symptom of our willingness to give up material attachment. These attachments are impediments for Krsna consciousness. In this connection, Maharaja narrated the story mentioned by Bhaktisddhanta Sarasvati Thakur about how it is necessary to let go of material attachments; otherwise, we would be stuck at the same level despite our so-called practices.
One young man was to get married. The marriage party has to go downstream the Ganges River to reach the wedding location in the morning. So they took a boat to cross over. The whole party was enjoying and making plans while they were on the boat. They all fell asleep soon and the boatman was rowing the boat throughout the night. As the day broke, they realized they were on the same shore. When they inquired, the boatman said that he was rowing the boat throughout the night. But soon they found that they forgot to remove the anchor, so his efforts were useless. Similarly, if we do not get rid of the material attachments, we will not be able to make any spiritual advancement in spite of our so-called practices. While chanting, we should not have any material motivation. It is also one of the offences against the Holy Name.
Therefore, spiritual advancement will be proportionate to our submission and the complete form of renunciation is to know that everything belongs to Krsna. Maharaja gave the example of Gaura Kisore das Babaji Maharaja's attitude on real renunciation. He was completely detached, but he not only stayed with Bhaktivinoda Thakur who was a grhastha, but also heard from him since Bhaktivinoda Thakur was not attached to material objects.
Bhaktivinod Thakur was a government officer and a grhastha. He established more than 200 Nama hatta centers throughout Bengal. He once wanted to acquire land. Gaura Kisore das Babaji did not object in possessing land in the holy dhama, but at the same time one babaji wanted to purchase land for practicing, which he did not approve of. He said it was a terrible mentality. Here, we should note the important distinction: that the babaji had false renunciation and a proprietorship mentality. It is suitable for a householder to own land. The mentality behind the situation is the distinction; i.e. relinquishing the sense of enjoyment.
Once, a couple came to Gaura Kisore das Babaji to take his darsana. They wanted to engage in his service. Gaura Kisore das Babaji said that they go live separately and chant the holy name. At first they did not understand why, but as they followed his instructions, they realized what the actual essence was. When real detachment comes, one can serve properly, but the mood of personal enjoyment is detrimental to spiritual progress. Sarva Bhauma Bhattacarya wrote several verses about this detachment in Jagannath Puri over 500 years ago. The essence of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teaching is Vairagya vidya nija Bhakti yoga - which is a famous verse. It means understanding as to who is the real proprietor and instructs one to become detached.
Rupa Gosvami enunciated Yukta vairagya - Engage everything in Krsna's service without proprietorship, but with proper knowledge and detachment, without which existing in this material world is risky. The position of being a renunciant is risky and the position of a householder also is risky. This is so because the tendency to enjoy is there and it is strong. We cannot artificially renounce. Visaya vinivartante. Otherwise Mithyacara. So one must engage everything spiritually in Krsna's service.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur was qualified and his service was huge; he never deviated from his spiritual practices. Similarly, Raghava Pandit was also committed to the Vaisnava teachings. Their mood was humility. When eagerness is there according to our capacity, we can remain steady and we can also receive. That is protection. With that realized knowledge and detachment, we can maintain our position.
1) Humility of these personalities manifested in different ways for the well-being of others.
2) Consistently nurture the mood of service.
3) Think of the services of these personalities repeatedly. Read and meditate upon them and their eagerness to serve others. Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw and empowered each one and protected them. Eg Vasudeva Dutta.
When we are in that mood - ananyas cintayanto mam - protection will come. We can try to act according to our capacity without imitating and do it always in a pleasing mood. Be in a simple mentality. The same opportunity is there for us also to be engaged in devotional service.
By taking with us this mood of service and the messages heard in the yatra, it will help us to maintain our Krsna consciousness.