Govardhana Retreat

November 17th, 2009

Although I am not writing my journal as regularly as before, but rather concentrating on articles and books, occasionally I will continue to send journal entries. I hope you enjoy them!


November 17, 2009
Sri Govardhana


Every year I have the opportunity to attend the Govardhana Retreat led by Sriman Bhurijan dasa and Srila Sacinanandana Swami. It is a pleasure to sit with a peaceful mind, free from other responsibilities, to just hear the realizations of accomplished practitioners. Here are some of my notes. First from Bhurijan Prabhu:

Lecture 1: The Path and Empowerment of Sri Rupa by Bhurijana dasa*

Bhurijana (BJD) discusses Sri Caitanya's pilgrimage to South India. He comments on the benefits of walking to the places of pilgrimages in India as Sri Caityana did:

“Today when we come to a holy place we usually come very much in the mode of passion by airplane. Our mind thus generally arrives days after us. Saints like Sri Caitanya, however, walked peacefully to the holy places, mindfully anticipating their destination. In contrast to us, their mind would arrive days before.”


BJD raises the question about why the first story in the Antya-lila is about Sivananda Sena's excessive affection for a stray dog, especially as the Antya-lila is the most esoteric part of the life and teachings of Sri Caitanya. He recounts that due to the shelter and mercy of such a great soul, the stray dog is eventually found by Sivananda Sena at the feet of Sri Caitanya eating His remnants and chanting the maha mantra. Before everyone's eyes the dog then descends to the spiritual world. BJP explains the significance of this pastime:

“This pastime gives us hope and direction for success on the path of Sri Rupa despite our lack of qualification. Like the stray dog, despite how unqualified we are, we have prospect of attaining the path of Sri Rupa if we gain the shelter and mercy of a pure soul. A devotee who has genuine spiritual aspirations thus always thinks, ‘how can I act in a way to become an object of mercy and affection for the great souls.'”


When Sri Caitanya greets Sri Rupa, he specifically asks for auspicious news. BJD describes why:

“Our spiritual life depends on what touches our heart. As the main pathway to our heart is the ear, a spiritually minded person is very careful of what he listens to. He especially avoids gossip and criticism of others. Sri Caitanya thus asks about auspicious news and not gramya katha (village small talk).”


“There is no impetus to follow any practice or process unless we know the goal. Only then can we see and remove obstacles on our path.”


“The path of Sri Rupa is to turn our consciousness at the very core of the heart to the mood and teachings of Sri Caitanya by following the disciplic succession from Him.”


“If we want to test our consciousness just take note at any time of the day what we are wanting. What we want indicates our consciousness.”


“Devotional service done with humility qualifies one for empowerment.”


“Without sthayi bhava, a sense of our eternal relationship with Krishna, how will we feel anything when hearing rasa in the Bhagavatam. It is like seeing another person's car being hit, but feeling nothing as the car is not ours. Only when there is relationship we can feel rasa or emotion.”


When you carry your false ego with you, you carry the qualities that separate you from the kingdom of God. It is not Krishna who is keeping us out, but our nature that is incompatible with the Divine.


“Envy is the essence of material life because it is the essence of the false ego, the consciousness that separates from God.”


To remove envy:

  1. Serve the person who you are envious of.
  2. Avoid those who talk ill of others.


How to get the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

  • Keep the heart simple.
  • Glorify Him.
  • Associate with His servants.
  • Hear again and again about Krishna.


* These are my personal notes, written in my own words and perhaps understood through my limited frame of reference and not the exact quotations of Bhurijan dasa.


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