Darshan of great personalities and Darshan of the Lord. SB 4.31.05


Maharaja sings: Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Sri Sri Radha Rasbhihari ki jay. Srila Prabhupada ki jay. Grantharaj Srimad Bhagavatam ki jay.

Verse 5: pracetasa uchuh

svagatam te surarshe ‘dya

dishtya no darshanam gatah

tava cankramanam brahmann

abhayaya yatha raveh

Translation: All the Pracetas began to address the great sage Narada: O great sage, O brahmana, we hope you met with no disturbances while coming here. It is due to our great fortune that we are now able to see you. By the traveling of the sun, people are relieved from the fear of the darkness of night—a fear brought about by thieves and rogues. Similarly, your traveling is like the sun’s, for you drive away all kinds of fear.

Purport: Maharaja reads the purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada: Because of the night’s darkness, everyone is afraid of rogues and thieves, especially in great cities. People are often afraid to go out on the streets, and we understand that even in a great city like New York people do not like to go out at night. More or less, when it is night everyone is afraid, either in the city or in the village. However, as soon as the sun rises, everyone is relieved. Similarly, this material world is dark by nature. Everyone is afraid of danger at every moment, but when one sees a devotee like Narada, all fear is relieved. Just as the sun disperses darkness, the appearance of a great sage like Narada disperses ignorance. When one meets Narada or his representative, a spiritual master, one is freed from all anxiety brought about by ignorance.

Sage amongst demigods and demons drives away darkness of ignorance:

Maharaja continues to speak:  Prachetas welcomed Narada muni while addressing him as ‘surarshi’. (svagatam te surarshe ‘dya). Surarshi means sage amongst demigods.  In verse 3 from this chapter, Narada muni was just described as ‘surasuredyo’ (sura-asura idyah) or worshipped by the demons and demigods. He is sage amongst both demons and demigods. Just like in glorification of the six Goswamis, it is said, ‘dhira-adhira jana priyau’. The six goswamis were very popular and honored equally in the camp of gentlemen and rogues as well. So was Srila Narada muni.

The Prachetas said in the verse, “dishya no darshanam gatah” – It is due to our great fortune that we are now able to see you and have your audience. Your wandering around the globe is just like Sun.

Krishna—surya-sama; maya haya andhakara

yahan Krishna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara

[Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 22.31 Krishna is compared to sunshine, and maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Krishna consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish.]

The Sun dispels the darkness and as a result people are relieved from the darkness, fear of thieves and serpents, ghosts and all those who do dark activities in the mode of ignorance during dark nights. Similarly, your travelling also drives away all kinds of fear.

Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita (10.11) “Tesham evanukampartham, aham ajnana-jam tamah, nashayami atma-bhava-stho jnana dipena bhasvata”. (To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.) Krishna says, when I am kind to somebody, with My compassion I destroy the darkness born out of ignorance from his heart. How?  I light the lamp (of knowledge) within the heart of that person and immediately there is light (bhasvata). Sun is also called BhaskarBha is light and ‘kara’ is the doer. As Bhasker, the Sun is the doer of the light, or spreader of the light. Similarly is the word ‘Bharat’ meaning India. Bha-rata means People of the nation who are absorbed (rata) in light of knowledge (bha). They are called Bharatiya.. not because they have Indian passport. By definition, if you are absorbed in the light coming from Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, then you are Bharatiya! Otherwise you should surrender all your passports!! (laughter).

Thus the Prachetas compare the traveling of Naran muni to that of the Sun. See how Narada muni is addressed here. First he is addressed by the Prachetas as sura-rishi, the sage amongst demigods. Then he is addressed as ‘Bhahmann’, translated as brahmana. Who is a brahmana? Brahma janati iti brahmanah. One who knows Brahman is a brahmana. In this case, he not only knows brahmeti, paramatmeti but also knows “Bhagavan”. So he is addressed as knower of the absolute truth. Oh how lucky we are that today we have your darshana and  audience. We welcome you!!

When king Parikshit sat with a large audience of sages on the bank of Ganga and they were pondering and deliberating upon what do and what course of action should be taken, at that time Shukadeva goswami arrived on the scene. King Parikshit said to Shukadeva goswami, (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.19.33):

yesham samsmaranat pumsam

sadyah shuddhyanti vai grihah

(Simply by our remembering you, our houses become instantly sanctified.) Sadyah means today. Prachetas are using the word ‘adyah’ and Parikshit is using ‘sadhyah’ – today and here. Just remembrance of you is sufficient for our purification, but today you are giving us your darshana:

kim punar darshana-sparsha-

pada-shaucasanadibhih (1.19.33)

(And what to speak of seeing you, touching you, washing your holy feet and offering you a seat in our home?) The king said, today we are able to see you, touch you, wash your lotus feet and offer you exalted seat and so on do many other things. Like doing a big lunch Prasad feast and when you lie down on the bed, massage your feet etc. oh, fortunate I am today, king Parikshit said.

Meaning of darshan of spiritual master or great personalities:

So the Prachetas are talking about darshan.  When we say that we have darshan of the spiritual master, or of great devotees maha bhagavatas, what does it really mean? Is it just seeing him, take some photographs etc? That is just one kind of darshan, just one limited meaning of the darshan. Darshan is actually his speech, darshan is really what he speaks.

Just like in Srimad Bhagavad Gita it is said in verse 4.34, “tad vidhhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya..( Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him) and then what happens, “updeksanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darshinah”.  (The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.)

Tattva darshan of the Lord through speech:

When we go for darshan and have his audience, he gives “tattva-darshan” through his speech. He is tattva-darshinah. He gives darshan of the tattva. It is not different from darshna of the Lord. As such there are six schools of thought – that are called Sad-darshan – like Vedanta darshan, sankhya darshan etc. These darshans are so transparent via media, that you can actually look through them, and they do not stand between you and the Lord and thus you can see the Lord. They give the vision to see the Lord, so that you could have darshan of the Lord. Thus when you have darshan of the spiritual master or a devotee bhagavat, or a personality like Narada muni or Srila Prabhupada, it is actually the darshan of the Lord.

One time Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was in a math with his devotees giving talk, giving tattva-darshan. One devotee got up in the middle of his speech and went out. When he came back, Bhakti Siddhanata asked him where he went. He said I went to take darshan of the deities in the temple room. He thought his spiritual master would be very pleased with him for having gone for darshan. But Bhakti Siddhanta did not approve of it, rather he chastised the disciple. He said, oh you went for darshan? So as you took darshan, did you open and close your eyes a few times? How was your “eye exercise”? he rebuked his disciple, you fool! I was here to give you darshan of the Lord; I was arranging for darshan; I was giving you the eyes to see the Lord. But you preferred to go away and take darshan on your own with your charma-chakshu? Charma-chakshu means eyes made up the leather of skin.

Darshan : Vision to see the Lord

Chaksu dan dila jei, janme janme prabhu sei (Vaishnava prayer in praise of the spiritual master: the guru gives spiritual insight to the disciple, and therefore the guru should be considered his master, life after life.)

Bhagavad Gita refers to great personalities who have taken shelter of the divine nature of the Lord (BG 9.13 – mahatmanas tu mam partha daivi prakritim asritah). When such great personalities, mahatmas give us darshan,  they give us dristi or vision to see the Lord. That is what darshan is. That is why we pray to the spiritual master, “Aum ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya, chakshurumilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah’. (I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.)

This ajnana timir (darkness of ignorance) is similar to what Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita – ajnana-jam tamah (verse 10.11). I was in total darkness of ignorance. What did my spiritual master do? He gave jnananjana. Like a doctor’s operation with instruments, he opened my blind eyes. He showed me the light of the day, coming from Krishna. He assured me the path, gave me the technique, the process how to see the Lord, how to meet the Lord.

Darshan is awakening of the sleeping jiva (soul):

Jiva jago, jiva jago Gaurachandra bole (o sleeping soul, wake up to self-realization says Sri Gauranga). In this song, Bhaktivinod Thakur writes, jiva jago, wake up sleeping soul, not wake up sleeping body.

Our  body wakes up every morning after long sleep all ready to go to work. But even after that kind of waking, our jiva soul may remain sleeping all day and all night.  Soul never wakes up, completely covered over. Who wakes up the soul? In the vaishnava song it is said,  Jiva jago Gaurachand bole, kota nidra jao maya-pishachera kole.. How long are you going sleep in the lap of the witch called ‘maya’? Even if one gets out of the bed, the soul continues to sleep in the bed in the lap of maya. That is why Mahaprabhu says, wake up sleeping soul.

That is why waking up is done by Narada muni, Srila Prabhupada and all great soul and then they give us darshan, tattva-darshan so that we can see things as they are.

That is Lord’s arrangement. The Lord comes personally also (sambhavami yuge yuge). He comes every yuga after yuga. In between He sends His representatives, His devotees. They are His speakers, they act on His behalf. They are empowered, to speak the Lord’s message. The Lord says, mamekam saranam vraja (BG 18.66) – just surrender unto Me. His devotees say, surrender unto the Lord. Prabhupada used to ask, what is the difference in the two messages? In other words, these representatives allow Krishna to speak through them.

Darshan through hearing makes one fearless:

Nowadays everyone is talking. The phones are cheaper and everyone is having “cheap talk”. No one is ready to hear. God has given us one mouth and two ears. So should we talk or hear more? We should stop talking and listen to the Lord’s message. Give your ears to the Lord. In fact this is how we take darshan.  Darshan should be taken not with the eyes but with the help of ears. If you are  interested in seeing or having darshan, then use the ears to hear the Lord’s words.  This verse says, ‘abhayay yatha raveh’ – fearlessness. As soon as we hear the words of the Lord, we become fearless. So we take darshan of these great personalities and become fearless. Our ignorance is destroyed and maya is replaced with Krishna.

Chanting – doubtless and fearless way of success:

Bhag 2.1.11 says ‘etan nirvidyamananam, icchatam akuto-bhayam, yoginam  nrupa nirnitam Harer namanukirtanam’ – constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all. Srila Sukadeva goswami  and all the sages arrived at this conclusion 5000 years ago – if you want to become fearless, then chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.  This was the prescription for the kali yuga declared by Sukadeva goswami – take shelter of the holy name of Lord Hari.

So chant Hare Krishna and be happy; do not be afraid any more. Mamekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva papebhyo mokasyisyami, ma shucha. (BG 18.66) If we take shelter of Krishna’s name, Krishna has guaranteed “do not fear”.

Darshan of the Lord through chanting:

In this age of kali the Lord appears in the form of His name. “kali kale nama rupe Krishna avatar.” Bhaktivinod Thakur writes in Arunodaya kirtan, “nmashraya kori’ jatane tumi,thakaha apane kaje” (carefully take shelter of the holy name and remain always engaged in His service as your eternal occupation.)

So is there a contradiction when Krishna says in Kurukshetra battlefield “mamekam saranam vraja”, take shelter of Me and when it is said “namashraya kori”, take shelter of My holy name? It is the same. Abhinnatvam nama namino. Lord Krishna who appeared in Kurukshetra has now taken the form of the holy name.

So when we hear it is ‘shabda brahma. From sound comes the form. From Hare Krishna sound, comes the form. Rather sound is the form. This is spiritual technology. H K maha mantra is the Lord. If we chant and hear properly,  it brings remembrance of the form of the Lord, the qualities of the Lord, pastimes of the Lord, and abode of the Lord. As we chant attentively, we are reminded of everything about the Lord. That is how the process is supposed to be. Very easy and sweet.

Lord Brahma’s darshan to Narada through Hare Krishna maha mantra:

So this is how we get this darshan.  In fact, Narada muni himself wanted to take darshan of Lord Brahma at the beginning of the age of Kali. After taking darshan of Brahma, his spiritual master and father – , Narada muni enquired from Brahma, “Now this is the new age. What is the process for this age?”  Brahma replied, “my dear disciple, my dear child, chant the holy name, Hari nama”. Narada muni said, “But could you be more specific? There are so many names, Vishnu sahastra nama, thousands of names. Then Brahmag gave darshan, tatva darshan. He said,

“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare – Iti sodasaka namnam kali kalmasa nasanam, Natah parataropaya sarva vedesu drisyate”

(From Kali santaran Upanishad). Brahma said to Narada Muni, “these sixteen names can nullify all the degrading, contaminating effects of the materialistic Age of Kali. In all the Vedas, no higher way is to be found.”  Brahma assured, I am the first knower of Vedas from Lord Krishna Himself. I am not speaking without authority. The very first verse from Srimad Bhagavatam says, “tene brahma hrida ya adi kavaye (It is Krishna only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being.). Lord Brahma is the adi kavi, the first one to hear the Vedas. Lord Krishna revealed all the knowledge , essence of Vedas to Brahma. That person, as the knower of the Vedas confirmed to  Narada muni: natah parataropaya sarva Vedesu drisyate. As far as I could see and understand, there is nothing but chanting of the holy name and specifically this name is to be chanted: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

The goal of attentive chanting is ‘darshan’:

So let us all take shelter of the holy name and be happy and be fearless. We just have to do this chanting properly, where the goal is darshan of the Lord, to have audience of the Lord; as Srila Prabhupada wrote once, the goal is to join the dancing party of Radha and Krishna! How to achieve that goal? The right means (sadhan) to achieve  the goal of joining the dancing party of Radha and Krishna (sadhhya) is Harer namaiva kevalam. Just do the sadhan properly and do not worry. If you are on the right path with right mantra, then you will achieve the goal of the Lord’s tattva-darshan. If you are sitting in the right train, you will reach the right place.

The goal of darshan will be lost, if chanting is inattentive:

The proper chanting has to be attentive chanting. After listing ten offenses, we say that those who wish to achieve the goal of this human form of life, which is Krishna prema (love of God),  have to chant and hear the holy name attentively while avoiding all offenses against the holy name. Bhaktivinod Thakur said that we continue to commit ten offenses if our hearing is inattentive. If our chanting and hearing is not attentive, then we are bound to commit offenses. Inattentive chanting becomes the breeding ground for the offenses.

Mind’s business while chanting:

This is topic of japa retreat or japa reform worshop. There is something I would like to share in regards to this japa reform. In order to achieve attentive chanting, there is something from our mind that we need to get rid of. In inattentive chanting, we verbally utter the name and our chant just bounces off the mind, like that of playing a ball against a wall. Many times we chant Hare Krishna but it just bounces back because we are not free to hear, we are busy with some other business of thoughts. But this chanting is a serious business, you have an appointment with the Lord, to have some dialog with the Lord. Is it not a serious business? While chanting, we need to only chant and do nothing else. Even if we do not do many things while chanting and sit down to chant, still we are too busy to hear holy name, we have no time. We may not be busy with people or phone, yet we may be too busy internally to hear the holy name. While japa mala is making rounds one after the other, the mind is also making round may be around the world, or around the home, man, woman, new car or this or that. We are just not free. While chanting goes on outside but it is not entering us, it is not touching our soul.

Mind becomes a block between the holy name and the soul:

Our soul is not hearing. (Jiva jago) the soul has to wake up and hear. But there is something in between the holy name, the Lord himself, and the soul who is the recipient of the holy name. In between the name and the soul, there is mind as a stumbling block.

mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha-mokshayoh

(For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation – from purport to Bhagavad Gita verse 6.5, taken from Amrita Bindu Upanishad).  So we must ask, what is the mind doing while chanting? Mind has to be a part of the hearing and chanting process. But if the mind is busy with its own separate business, wanderings, thoughts, sankalpa and vikalpa (acceptance and rejection etc. )

Mood music of the mind:

Mahanidhi maharaja was once sharing this in his japa retreat. He said, in the shopping mall, they play some background music called ‘mood music’ to improve the shopping mood of the people. So while shopping, walking, talking etc. the people happen to hear this mood enhancing music as well. Similarly in an inattentive chanting, the mind’s mood music goes on in the background. It does not allow you to hear the music of chanting, Hare Krishna. It just does not penetrate in there because of the mood music of the mind distracts us.

So attentive chanting would include chanting, hearing, remembrance, the right thought process while chanting, fully alert mind clear from stumbling blocks.

Yato yato nischalati nams chanchalam asthiram, tatas tato niyamyaitad atmani eva vasham nayet.

(Bhagavad Gita 6.26 – From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.) Do not follow the mind wherever it goes, drag it back to the holy name. Chanting is not just sitting around. Our body, mind, intelligence, soul, everything has to be absorbed and busy in the holy name that time. “sumedhasah”, intelligent people will glorify the Lord in the form of His holy name. People with sharp intelligence, who are very alert while chanting, can keep watch on the movements of the mind. Use all of this for your homework on chanting.

Hare Krishna!


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  1. Prashant

    Very nice lecture! The importance of darsana is explained very clearly by guru maharaj!

  2. Priya

    Very nice lecture! It’s true that by darsana of a vaisnava we become free from all anxiety. It’s a mercy of a devotee, spiritual master upon us.

  3. Pravin

    Jay Ho!!!
    Thank You Very Much Maharaj for giving us Gnyanachakshu…

  4. Nikhil Dixit

    Hare krishna Gurudeva,

    You have given the authenticity of the Hare krishna Maha Mantra very nicely.
    All Glories to You….

    Your Servant