Starting the new year with focus on Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

One who is fully surrendered is actually like a sannyasi. In Srimad Bhagavatam, when that person took tridanda-sannyas, he said:

etam samasthaya paratma-nistham
upasitam purvatamair mahadbhih
aham tarisyami duranta-param
tamo mukundanghri-nisevayaiva
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.23.57)

[“Taking shelter in consciousness of the higher self (the sannyas-asram), as it was honoured by the great souls of the past, I will cross over the insurmountable darkness by serving the feet of Mukunda.”]

Duranta-param tamo means an inconceivable and unavoidable circumstance or situation called illusion. There we are living, and that is like a dark world, but we can cross over it when we surrender to our Lord and try to proceed with a genuine servitor of the Lord as our teacher. But we must be fully surrendered to Lord Krishna. Otherwise, we will  not get the proper result.

We say ‘devotee’. ‘Devotee’ means one who is devoted. If that is perfect devotion, then there is no problem: always one will see, “Visvam purna-sukhayate [the world appears to be filled with joy].” Anywhere they may stay, they will feel the presence of their Lord, the wills of their Lord working, and that they are an instrument; as an instrument they try to continue their life for service to their Lord.

Physically, verbally, and mentally if we will surrender to Lord Krishna, then that surrender will be full surrender. Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, composed Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. There, he gave this knowledge: if anyone fully surrenders with these three properties, they must get finally a good result. Otherwise, it is depending upon their mood of surrender: however much they can do, according to the percentage of their surrender, they will get the result.

“After maintaining everything of my own, then I shall try to serve Krishna.” This is not proper. Actually, Krishna should be in the middle of my life: “For His service I shall do everything.” That is a proper God-centric life. That is a proper life.

Krishna said,

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma suchah
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

[“Abandon all duties and surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”]

This is very clear, and no one can say anything more clear than this because all the scriptures have given us knowledge about dharma, and teachings about that also have come in different ways. But Krishna said, “Sarva-dharman parityajya: what has been given in the scriptures, what you have heard, and what you have experienced—leave everything. What I am telling you at present is final for your life. Then, you do this: Mam ekam saranam vraja! I am only the person who can give you relief from this illusory environment. And if any faults occur, that also I shall repair on your behalf; if any offence occurs for leaving your duties or anything, that I shall take care for you. You surrender to Me fully.”

That is Krishna’s desire and advice to Arjuna. Then, if any disturbance or anything will come, He will see to my interest. I do not know what will be good for me. Sometimes bitter medicine gives us relief from diseases. Medicine is not always tasteful as I would like, but if in my life Krishna likes to give me any type of bitter experience, then if I am fully surrendered to Lord Krishna, He must be merciful to me, and as soon as possible, He will give me relief from all disturbances and more than that, He will give me His divine service.

Srila Guru Maharaj said in Prapanna-jivanamrta that saranagati sometimes is shown to us as friendship with Godhead. That is a very nice expression, and that type of expression we can also see in Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.37): bhaktyaikayesam Guru-devatatmaGurur eva Devata Isvara atma presthas cha.

Here we can see some indication of sakhya-rasa is also expressed, but that is not the end actually. Madhura-rasa is also living there as are all relations with Lord Krishna. And we can see this everywhere because Syamam eva param rupam: the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s divine form is Syama. Syama means sky blue and blackish, like that, and like a new leaf of the Tamal tree. That is the colour of the Lord because the Lord Himself is fully intoxicated with madhura-rasa in His Divine Pastimes, and madhura-rasa’s colour is also like that. It is for this reason that Raghupati Upadhyaya said to Mahaprabhu:

syamam eva param rupam puri madhu-puri vara
vayah kaisorakam dhyeyam adya eva paro rasah
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 19.106)

[“(Amongst all the Lord’s forms,) His Syama form is supreme, (amongst all the Lord’s abodes,) the abode of Mathura is the best, (amongst all the Lord’s ages,) His adolescence is to be meditated upon, (and amongst all the rasas), the adya-rasa (the original rasa) is supreme.”]

Madhura-rasa is also called adya-rasa, which means that all relationships find fulfilment when they are surrendered to madhura-rasa.

Easily we cannot understand everything, but if we are fully surrendered to Lord Krishna, then when our mood of devotion will increase and we can taste our ecstatic relationship with Krishna, then we will forget everything wrong.

We are saying we are surrendered: “I am fully surrendered to You. I am fully this. I am fully that.” But how much can I fully do that? The question comes there. “We are surrendered to Lord Krishna. We are surrendered to Hari-nam. We are surrendered to His divine abode, and we are surrendered to His representative Sri Gurudev and His associates the Vaisnavas.” Everything depends upon our mood of surrender. Then how much are we surrendered? It is necessary to realise that. The result is not coming properly always. Sometimes we are unhappy because of that, and it is truth, but I am not the justice to give judgement. “Anything will come by the wills of Krishna. He knows better than me.” When I am surrendered to Krishna, that feeling will grow within me.

Actually Krishna’s nature is that He is always hiding, but the devotional mood always attracts His mind. His weakness is on this point. When the surrendered souls are always thinking about His divine form and chanting His Divine Name, He naturally becomes weak towards them and helps them so much. And what we know, what we have experienced in this material world—happiness, sadness, birth, death, and disease—when Krishna takes charge of our maintenance, He will know what is good for us and He will arrange that for us. This type of faith is called saranagati.

Faith is the basis of all religions: in this world and beyond this world. But if I am not so faithful, how I can expect the highest or a better result? Guru Maharaj mentioned in his book: the result will come according to how much we are surrendered to Krishna. Then, we will not be hopeless in any way. In so many books we will see, “Anywhere l may be born, anywhere I may continue my life—in a bird society, cow society, dog society, or any society—I want that devotion to You will always be within me.” This type of prayer from the devotees we will see in many places. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said,

pasu paksi haye thaki’ svarge va niraye
tava bhakti rahu bhakti-vinoda-hrdaye

“I may be a bird or I may get an animal life, but it is my prayer that I will have devotion to You. This is my prayer. O my Lord, You hear it. I need devotion to You.” Krishna knows how He will take us to His divine abode which is full of ecstasy, full of joy, full of affection, full of love, full of beauty, full of charm, full of everything! With His associates, His Divine Pastimes are going on in Vrndavan. There, everything tries to satisfy His Divine Grace Lord Krishna:

sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis chintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
chid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api cha

[“Goddesses are the lovers, the Supreme Lord is the beloved, the trees are wish-fulfilling trees, the land is made of wish-fulfilling gems, the water is nectar, speech is song, movement is dance, the flute is Krishna’s dear friend, and the light is spiritual, joyful, and thus supremely relishable.”]

Brahma-samhita (5.56) said this. Everything there in Goloka Vrndavan is very ecstatic and beautiful, and everyone there tries to satisfy Lord Krishna. But supremely, the Vraja-gopis—the cowherd girls—the way they try to satisfy Lord Krishna is very tasteful to Lord Krishna. Then, we want that form there.

vraja-gopi-bhava ha-ibe svabhava
ana-bhava na rahibe
(Saranagati: Siddhi-lalasa, 2.2)

[“The mood of the Vraja-gopis will become my nature, and no other mood will remain within me.”]

We can make our plan and programme for the new year today. We will be fully surrendered to Lord Krishna, and fully surrendered means we will realise what full surrender is. Guru Maharaj’s books always help us. Guru Maharaj expressed the mood of surrender in a special way especially in Prapanna-jivanamrtam. We should read Prapanna-jivanamrtam at least today with attention. There we will get direction for our coming year. We must be able to satisfy Lord Krishna by the grace of my Guru Maharaj. I have no power over anything, but I believe full power is with him. You are all sons of nectar, and if you will connect with his divine book [Prapanna-jivanamrtam], you must be supremely benefited.

We can also try to realise how much we have given for the Lord’s service in the last year. This is called a saltamami in Urdu: a debit and credit account. But what happened is not in our hand now. What is in the present, that is in our hand, and what will come in the future for us, that also we can plan for today. If we live by the grace of Krishna, that is very good because then we can give full energy for His divine service, and behind us our Guru Maharaj will help. This is our faith and full expectation.

Jay Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay!


bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo ’smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.2.37)

“Forgetfulness (of the true self), misconception (of one’s identity—identification with the body and adoption of the mentality of being the rightful enjoyer of the fruits of one’s actions), and fear (suffering, samsara) created by immersion in duality (interest separate from that of the Lord and pride in the body) arise by the influence of the Lord’s illusion for those who are averse to the Lord. Thus, the wise, those for whom Sri Guru is one’s worshippable Lord and dearmost beloved, should serve the Lord with unalloyed devotion.”

gurur eva devata isvara atma presthas cha yasya tatha drstih san
(Sri Sarartha-darsini-tika on SB 11.2.37)

“Guru-devatatma means one who sees Guru as one’s Devata, object of worship, that is, Isvara, Lord, and atma, self, that is, prestha, dearmost.”

Note: Seeing Sri Guru and one’s worshippable Lord as oneself (atma) and dearmost (prestha) may be considered references to sakhya-rasa.

mano-vak-kaya-bhedach cha tri-vidha saranagatih
tasam sarvanga-sampanna sighram purna-phala-prada
nyunadhikyena chaitasam taratamyam phale ’pi cha
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrta: 1.46)

“There are three different types of saranagati: mental, verbal, and physical. Surrender fully endowed with all three aspects quickly bestows the full result. With lesser or greater degrees of these, there is a gradation in the result.”

sakhya-rasasrita-praya seti kechid vadanti tu
madhuryadau prapannanam praveso nasti cheti na
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrta: 1.41)

“Some say that surrender is sheltered mainly in sakhya-rasa and that surrendered souls have no entrance into madhura and other rasas, but this is not so.”

kaivalyam narakayate tri-dasa-pur akasa-puspayate
durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate
visvam purna-sukhayate vidhi-mahendradis cha kitayate
yat-karunya-kataksa-vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah
(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 5)

“For the fortunate souls who have received His merciful side-long glance, absolute dissolution appears hellish, the abode of the gods appears phantasmagorical, the uncontrollable senses appear like defanged poisonous serpents, the world appears to be filled with joy, and Brahma, Indra, and the other gods appear like insects. Let us glorify Sri Gaura.”


Spoken on 31 December 2000.

Listen to original audio recording here.