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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vṛndāvana Sādhu in The Hague

(Friday July 28, 2006)

Although The Hague (Den Haag), the political capital of the Netherlands, is home to a large Indian community, today was special - a genuine Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Ācārya, Śrīpād Satyanārāyan Dās, was guest speaker in a neat middle-class house in a new housing plot here. First (Nimbarkī) ārati and (Rādhā-) kīrtan was held and then Satya-nārāyan Prabhu mounted a sofa and lectured, first in Hindi and then translating his own lecture in English. The first part of a pravacan that lasted for 100 minutes (when I left), was philosophical, and was translated, the latter part was rasik and was purely in Hindi, though he asked yours truly to give a brief translation afterwards. Although I could understand all of the (sādhu bhāṣā) Hindi lecture, his description of the Rāsa-līlā was quite elaborate and I had no idea how to explain the handful of Dutch guests, that were obviously brand new (the lady sitting next to me on the floor pointed her feet at Satya Nārāyan Dāsjī throughout the pāṭha) and as of yet quite alien to Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, these elevated secrets, so Satya-nārāyan Prabhu finally asked me to speak on the basics of Divine Love for a few minutes.

As always, Satya-nārāyan Prabhu's lecture was filled with great humor - "Duryodhana wanted to woo Kṛṣṇa, knowing He is sva nama priya, fond of hearing his own names, so he had 4 kīrtan-parties singing for Kṛṣṇa  with mikes, Haribol haribol, but Kṛṣṇa saw through the charade and just laughed and walked away, leaving Duryodhana to think He was actually pleased with his 'service'", and: "When Rādhā got tired during the Rāsa dance and asked Kṛṣṇa to carry Her off, Kṛṣṇa said: "I have no horse cart or car here, so you might as well mount My shoulders!"

Some interesting things: he quoted a verse about drinking till you drop (in Sanskrit, perhaps by Carvaka Muni??) and then made a link to the 3rd verse of the Bhāgavata - pibata bhāgavatam rasam ā-layam. The secrets of the Bhāgavata - 'ā-layam' means 'until the devastation', or: relish the Bhāgavata until you enter samādhi.

He explained why Rādhārāṇī never changes the color of Her dress: These are Bhāva-kāpar, garments of feelings, as everything is conscious and full of feeling in the spiritual world, including the clothes and ornaments. All of Rādhā's ornaments are Kṛṣṇamayi, filled with Kṛṣṇa (-consciousness) and are thus not material but supra-natural. He also elaborated on the differences between the Nimbarkīs' (his hosts) svakīya upāsanā and the Gauḍīyas' parakīya upāsanā, during which I unfortunately had to leave because the journey from The Hague to my home town takes about 2 hours and it was already 10 p.m by then.

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