(The following is an excerpt from class by Srila Narasingha Maharaja given at Jardin de Govinda, Chical, Mexico on 22nd February 2012)
jaya radha-madhava kunja-vihari
This is a song written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. It is a simple song and the meaning is also simple.
Jaya radha-madhava – Radha-Madhava have Their pastimes, Their lila, in the forest of Vrndavana. Some time ago you were all in Vrndavana, but you may not have noticed much forest there – especially where we are in Radha-Damodara Temple, there is no forest. But in the time of Krsna there were no temples and it was all forest. Vrndavana is a type of a playground for Krsna, both in daytime and at night. During the day He would come there with the cows, He didn't live there. Krsna didn't live in Vrndavana, He lived in Nandagram and Radharani lived in another village a few kilometers away called Varsana. Sometimes we say that Krsna was born in Vrndavana, but He wasn't born in Vrndavana. Neither was He born in Nandagram. He was born in a village called Gokula. After He was one and a half or two years old, Nanda and the cowherd men moved to Nandagram. On the way they passed through what we call Vrndavana – there was a big forest, the river Yamuna and there were many pasturing grounds for the cows, so Krsna's father thought, "Oh, this is good place to bring cows for grazing." But, when you go to Nandagram you'll find that it is on the hill. They chose the hill for safety purposes. In the ancient world a lot of people built towns on a hill, because they could see what was coming – so it was for safety. In Gokula, Kamsa sent many demons to kill Krsna when He was a baby. Gokula is flat – there are no hills; so, they decided to move and they picked a place which would provide more safety for Krsna. In Vrndavana when Krsna he was a baby and he killed demons, everybody thought, "Oh, the demigods did it. The demigods are protecting Krsna." So, that's how they came to Gokula. So Vrndavana is a place of lila – it is not where Krsna lived.
Kunja-vihari – this means Krsna likes to wander in the groves in the forests of Vraja.
Gopi-jana-vallabha – this means, the one who attracts and has loving pastimes with His beloved gopis.
Giri-vara dhari – Krsna who lifts Govardhana Hill. Which hand did He use to lift Govardhana Hill? He used His left hand. Of the two hands, the right hand is usually considered to be stronger, unless you are ambidextrous. Although the right arm is generally stronger, Krsna showed that He could lift Govardhana Hill with his left hand. Actually Krsna has no strong arm or weak arm – he can lift Govardhana Hill with either.
Yasoda-nandana – he is the son of Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja, But Vasudeva and Devaki are also His parents. Krsna was born in Mathura, but that Krsna is an avatara of Krsna. Krsna Himself appears in Gokula, and in Gokula He is the son of Yasoda and Nanda. In Mathura He is the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. If you go to Mathura today, there is a temple where you can go and you can touch that actual spot where Krsna appeared. Previously that was the dungeon of Kamsa and Vasudeva and Devaki were in that prison when Krsna appeared. It is sometimes said that Yasoda and Nanda were the foster-parents of Krsna and not His real parents, because in the Bhagavatam it simply says that Vasudeva and Devaki are His mother and father. But there are many complicated details and when we go through all of them we find that there were two Krsnas appearing at the same time – one is Krsna original form and another one is a duplicate.
Vraja-jana-ranjana – vraja-jana means the people of Vrndavana and ranjana means that He gives great happiness to them. Vraja means Mathura, Govardhana, Nandagram, Varshana – all the different places there in Vraja-mandala.
Yamuna-tira-vana-cari – Krsna is always playing in the forest. Vana means the forest. He is always playing in the forest on the banks of Yamuna.
There are many names of Krsna. The principle name is Krsna, but because He has many cows he is called Govinda; because He gives liberation He is called Mukunda. In ancient times if a kings won a battle against the Assyrians, the king would be given some title such as, ‘conqueror of the Assyrians.’ So, according to Krsna's different lilas He has thousands of names, not just hundreds, thousands.
Glorifying the name of God is the dharma for Kali-yuga. Of all the names of the Lord, the name of Krsna is considered to be the principle one. But, while chanting the Maha-mantra we don’t just chant, ‘Krsna, Krsna, Krsna.’ There is also Rama and Hare. ‘Hare’ means Radharani. When we chant the Maha-mantra we are chanting the names of Radha and Krsna. ‘Rama’ also means Krsna, the lover of Radharani. Rama can sometimes mean Balarama if you say ‘Rama’ by itself. But when you chant, ‘Hare Rama’ that ‘Rama’ becomes the name of Krsna because ‘Hare; is Radharani. Therefore the Maha-mantra contains the names of Radha and Krsna. But if you are in India and you chant the Maha-mantra, when you say, ‘Hare Krsna,’ common people will think of Krsna playing a flute, but when you say ‘Hare Rama’ they think of Ramacandra with His bow. They think completely different.
When Prabhupada would meet such people in India, they would say, “Rama means Ramacandra" and Prabhupada would say, "Yes, it means Ramacandra – please chant Hare Krsna Hare Rama." And if Prabhupada met a Muslim who said that, "Allah is the name of God!" Prabhupada would say, “Then you chant the name of Allah – chant the name of God. That is the religion for Kali-yuga." Some people would say, "Jesus is the name of God," others would say, "Yahweh is the name of God" and Prabhupada would say, “Then you chant the name of God!” But then he would laugh and say, "But no one is doing it. They are only arguing because we are doing it.”
We are chanting the name of Krsna – then they want to argue that, “Jesus is also a name of God,” “Allah is also a name of God.” But Krsna is not just limited to one name! If someone claims that Allah is God, Jesus is God or even Krsna is God, then who are we actually talking about? What does ‘God’ mean? Firstly, everybody says that God is the creator – we agree. But what else does God do besides create?
The next thing everybody will say is that, “He provides our food?” We also agree. So we have got all these Gods and they all do the same thing. They all create, they all provide, but what else do they do? The other thing these Gods do is that they punish people. God punishes the wrongdoers and He punishes those that don’t believe in Him forever. At this point we say, “No! Not Krsna.” If we then ask them, “What else does God do besides create, provide food and punish?” it starts to become very thin – because He doesn't do anything else. But we can continue to answer that God, or Krsna, is all merciful, He is the supreme enjoyer, He is enjoying pastimes of love with His devotees and there are many other things that Krsna does.
Krsna does not punish people forever in any kind of hell. If any God does that then He is not God - He is a demon. This is analysis, and by such a simple analysis we can conclude that Krsna is the Supreme Being. Others may say, “God is Allah” or “God is Jesus,” and we may say, “Okay, that's good. You chant their name and sing their glories.” But in reality that will be very, very limited.
Once we enter into Krsna consciousness that is our main concern. We are not concerned in criticizing others, but at the same time we should know that it is not all the same – there are differences. We should understand this and focus on what is Krsna consciousness.