Glories of Ras Lila and Rasmandala
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.05.04 - Glories of Ras Lila and Rasmandala (download mp3)
by Vishwarup Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
dure hari-kathah kecid
striyah sudradayas caiva
te ’nukampya bhavadrsam
There are many persons who have little opportunity to take part in discussions about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and thus it is difficult for them to chant His infallible glories. Persons such as women, sudras and other fallen classes always deserve the mercy of great personalities like yourself.
In the previous verse it was explained that some persons are ignorant of the glories of the Personality of Godhead (na bhajanti), whereas others, although aware of the Lord, ridicule Him or state that the Lord is also material (avajananti). In this verse the first class, namely the ignorant, are described as fit candidates for the mercy of a pure devotee. The word dure indicates those who have little opportunity to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. According to Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura they can be explained as ye sadhu-sanga-bhagya-hinah, those who are bereft of the association of saintly persons and pure devotees. Generally, those who are advanced in the spiritual science of Krsna consciousness avoid contact with women and low-class men. In general, women are lusty, and sudras and other low-class men are habitually addicted to materialistic habits such as smoking, drinking and woman hunting. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu warned the sadhus, or saintly persons, to avoid intimate connection with women and low-class men. The practical result of such a restriction is that women and lower-class men are often bereft of the opportunity to hear the glories of the Lord chanted by saintly persons; thus Sri Camasa Muni instructs the King that he should especially give his mercy to such fallen persons.
Our spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, was severely criticized in India for giving all classes of men and women the opportunity to take part in the Krsna consciousness movement. Indeed, the caste brahmanas of India and other persons concerned only with ritualistic formalities were shocked that Srila Prabhupada allowed women and persons born in low-class families to take part freely in the Vaisnava culture and even become initiated as bona fide brahmanas. However, Srila Prabhupada could understand that in this age practically everyone is fallen. He saw that if spiritual life were to be limited to the so-called higher classes, there would be no possibility of spreading a genuine spiritual movement all around the world. The mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so great and the holy name of Krsna so potent that any man, woman, child or even animal can become purified by chanting Krsna’s name and taking prasadam, the sanctified remnants of Krsna’s food. In Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement, no sincere person is restricted from achieving the highest perfection of self-realization. Whereas the impersonalists and yogis tend to be selfishly concerned with their individual realization and achievement of mystic power, it has always been the custom of the Vaisnavas to be merciful to all classes of living entities.
It is understood that the conversation between the nava-yogendras and King Nimi took place approximately at the time of Lord Ramacandra, many hundreds of thousands of years ago. But in the Bhagavad-gita, which was spoken only five thousand years ago, Lord Krsna Himself also states that any person, despite his material situation of life, can become the most dear devotee of the Lord by full surrender to the lotus feet of Krsna. Therefore, the fallen people of Kali-yuga should take advantage of the special mercy of the Vaisnavas and join the Krsna consciousness movement to perfect their lives and go back home, back to Godhead.