At its best, it is a form of devotional service, Grantham sea, along with book distribution. Furthermore, it can be a very delicate task. English is not the mother tongue of Prabhupad Srila Premgopal Goswami. It is a very inflexible language and it is hard to express the spiritual subtleties of Sanskrit and Bengali in English. Premgopal Goswami's English is less than perfect and it is quite miraculous how he manages to convey the subtle moods and the complex spiritual conceptions of the Gaucliya Vaisnava philosophy despite the language impediment. When we hear his live harikatha it makes perfect sense and even if we fail to understand something because of the language barrier or our imperfect intellect, it does not matter because he emanates prema and his kasha is grantha-brahman, spiritual sound vibrations, which fill our hearts with bliss and elevates our consciousness. It carries the saffron dust from Srimati Radharani's lotus feet to our hearts. Therefore if we sometimes listen to harikatha in Bengali or Hindi when translation is not available - it is still of great benefit even if we don't understand a word.
However, what is conveyed directly in live harikatha, in the flow of the speaker's words, cannot be transcribed and published as it was spoken. Written language is a very different medium than the spoken one. What is acceptable in the spoken language is not acceptable in the written form. If we were to publish it as it is, it would look strange and invite criticism. It wouldn't pass the test of any editor. It would put off potential readers and is unlikely to be taken seriously if presented in substandard English. As an editor I have the delicate task of 'translating' Premgopal Goswami's english (or 'Banglish') into properly constructed written English without changing the meaning and the mood of his harikatha. It is a daunting task indeed. But by Guru kripa and Nita] kripa the impossible becomes possible and his mood and conceptions do come through very clearly. His harikatha in this written and edited form is very powerful, very beautiful and very sweet.
I am taking this opportunity to pray to Nitaichand to give me the inspiration and intelligence to do this book sea, the editorial task, sincerely, diligently and consciously, and to not mix my low mood and misconceptions with Premgopal Goswami pure and elevated harikatha. If I am guilty of indiscretion, I beg forgiveness from my Grurdeva and the Vaisnavas. Whatever inspiration and sweetness comes through his words in the pages of this book is all due to his mercy. Whatever mistakes and imperfections are there - it is all my fault and due to my shortcomings. Finally I would like to express my deep gratitude to Sri Gurudeva and to Nitaichand for giving me the inspiration and ability - the pleasure and the privilege - of rendering this labor of love, this sacred book save.
One time Srimati Radharani became upset with Krishna and manifested Her sulking mood (metrics). Krishna asked Her, "Why are you angry with Me?" Radharani replied, "You reside in sloka Vrindavan (Vraja in the spiritual world), and you are very difficult to attain, very difficult to approach for the suffering souls of the material world. Can You kindly manifest a form which is easier for them to approach and to worship?" Krishna is always eager to please karund mayi Srimati Radhika so He manifested the form of the Deity in the temple here on Earth. The Deity accepts everything from us, tolerating our many faults and the innumerable discrepancies in our worship. Thakurji is very merciful and doesn't abandon us even though we often forget that the Deities of Radha and Krishna are directly the Supreme Divinity and treat Them as if They were a metal statue or a piece of stone. However, Krishna saw that Radharani was still not happy with Him and He asked Her, "What's the matter now? I have taken the form of the Deity and I have to suffer so much abuse from the fallen souls of the material world who commit so many offences to Me. Why are You still upset with me?" Radharani replied, "Your Deity form is also not so easy to worship and render service to.
Not everyone can go to the temple and not everyone can keep and worship the Deities at home. Please manifest a form which is easier for them to attain." Krishna deliberated on her request and finally manifested the form of the scriptures, the holy book. Such books are worshipable because the scriptures are non-different from Krishna.
Any book which deals with Sri Krishna, His associates and His pastimes is worshipable. Any person, anywhere, can keep such a book and read it. This form of written harikatha - talks about Sri Radha and Krishna, is most easily accessible. Of course live harikatha is superior to the written or recorded harikatha because it is a spiritual sound vibration which conveys spiritual moods. Still, in the absence of live harikatha, the written one is there to support our practice of bhakti and sustain our spiritual lives.
However, Radharani was still not completely happy. Then Krishna, without further ado, manifested Himself in the form of the holy name, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Not everyone can read, not everyone has access to harikatha or to bhakti books (Vaisnava literature), but anyone, anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances whatsoever can chant Hare Krishna and be happy. The holy name is the basis for all realizations that the acaryas share with us in their books and through the holy name we can have the same kind of realizations elucidated in their books. So the Holy Name is the basis but devotional books (sastra) are also essential because they give us the inspiration to chant and the proper understanding of bhakti.
We all aspire to keep Sri Radha-Krishna in our heart. We want the Divine Couple to be the jewels decorating our heart, not anything else. However, at our conditioned state our heart is impure and full of selfish material desires, of unwanted habits and moods. Therefore it is not a suitable place for Srimati Radhika and Her beloved Krishna to reside. But by the process of bhakti we can purify our heart. By chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in the association of saintly devotees, by harikatha, by devotional service, our heart gets gradually purified. But this must be under the guidance of a bona fide Guru, a pure devotee. Without receiving proper initiation with diksa mantras from Sri Guru, purification of the hear't will never happen. It is our connection with him which gives us the connection and establishes our relationship (sambandha) with the Divine Couple.
"Besides sadhu-sanga and krisna-nama - nothing else is essential in this world. My sole desire, therefore, is to chant Sri-krisna-nama in the association of sadhus (saintly Vaisnavas). There is no other auspicious practice whereby one can become free from the cycle of samsara, the repetition of birth and death."
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana, mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
[Mahaprabhu said:] "Sadhu-sari, chanting the holy name, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, residing in Vraja Mandela and worshiping the Deity with faith." (Are the five essential limbs of bhakti)
If we follow the instructions of Sri Guru and sastra sincerely then our heart will be purified of all anarchies, all material contamination. It will become pure and clean and fragrant and soft, suitable for welcoming the Divine Couple. We have to transform our heart into a guruji and decorate it with the flower petals of our heart's devotion before Sri Radha and Krishna would be attracted to perform Their amorous pastimes there.
How do we get from here to that elevated state of consciousness? Only by Sri Guru's grace! By the causeless mercy of Sri Gurudeva he will take us from here to there. He can do this because he is a perfected soul and his heart is already like a kunja. Prabhupad Srila Premgopal Goswami is such a sad-guru and the Divine Couple are the Jewels of his Heart.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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