Tag Archive | Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

HDG Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura Appearance Day

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was born in the holy pilgrimage place of Jagannatha Puri to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great Vaisnava acarya in the line of succession coming from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although employed as a government magistrate, Srila Bhaktivinoda worked tirelessly to establish the teachings of Lord Chaitanya in India. He envisioned a worldwide spiritual movement and prayed for a son to help him achieve his dream. On February 6, 1874, in the sacred pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri, where Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura served as superintendent of the famous Jagannatha temple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta appeared in this world. He was given the name Bimala Prasada. At the age of seven, Bimala Prasada had memorized the more than seven hundred Sanskrit verses of the Bhagavad-gita and could speak illuminating commentaries upon them. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the author of many important books and other writings on Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy, trained his son in printing and proofreading. By the time he was twenty-five years old, Bimala Prasada had acquired an impressive reputation as a scholar of Sanskrit, mathematics, and astronomy. His astronomical treatise, Surya-siddhanta, won him the title Siddhanta Sarasvati in recognition of his immense learning. In 1905, following the advice of his father, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted spiritual initiation from Srila Gaurakishora dasa Babaji. Although Srila Gaurakishora dasa Babaji was illiterate, he was renowned throughout the continent as a great saint and Vaisnava acarya. Siddhanta Sarasvati, although a great scholar, exhibited humility and dedication in the presence of Srila Gaurakishora. Satisfied with such humility and dedication of his highly educated disciple, Srila Gaurakishora gave Siddhanta Sarasvati his full blessings and requested him to “preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other work.” Upon the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1914, Siddhanta Sarasvati became editor of his father’s journal, Sajjana-tosani, and founded the Bhagawat Press for the publication of Gaudiya Vaisnava literature. In 1918 Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted the renounced order of spiritual life, assuming the title Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. For purposes of propagating Gaudiya Vaisnavism throughout India, he organized the Gaudiya Math, with sixty-four branches throughout the country. The headquarters of his mission, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, is located in Sridhama Mayapura, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta adjusted ancient traditions to conform with technological and social conditions of the twentieth century. He considered the printing press a most effective means of spreading this message throughout the world and was himself the author of many important translations, commentaries, and philosophical essays. He was the first spiritual teacher in this line to allow his renounced preachers (sannyasis) to wear Western clothes and travel in modern conveyances rather that on foot. Throughout the 1930s, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta expanded and increased his missionary work and succeeded in reestablishing Gaudiya Vaisnavism as the leading force in Indian spiritual life. On January 1, 1937, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura passed from this world.

Original article from BVML.org read more

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A Humble Request for a successful Gaura Purnima Festival 2016

Dear Devotees and Well-Wishers,

All glories to Sri Brahman Madhva Gaudiya Saraswat Sampradaya (lineage). All glories to my beloved Grand Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Swaraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada, and my beloved Spiritual Master His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj.

I would like to share my concern about the upcoming Gaura-Purnima festival with you.  During the festival we will be hosting mostly economically poor but spiritually sincere devotees. For the most part, these devotees are unable to afford the cost of their food and lodging during the ten days (March 15th to March 24th, 2016) of the festival. This year the program adds a special Nagar Samkirtan program at Kolkata on March 25th. We are expecting even more devotees than last year, an average approximately 2,500 devotees each day.  We are therefore also expecting an increase in the quantity of bhoga/ingredients that will be required for the duration of the Gaura-Purnima festival.

The price of all ingredients has increased significantly, more than anticipated, and therefore we are humbly begging for your help (financially, physically, and mentally) in order to maintain the festival as we have maintained it over the last few years.  I hope you do not hesitate to become involved, and will help us to collect ingredients or donate financially towards the purchase of ingredients in order to serve the Vaisnavas who will attend the Gaura-Purnima festival this March, 2016.

This year an average of 2,500 devotees will gather daily to participate in Navadwipdham Parikrama and the Gaura-Purnima festival activities under the guidance of Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math.

In order to cater to an average of 2,500 devotees daily, offering them Prasad three times each day, and for other arrangements for the festival, the following items will be needed

Description Indian Rupee USD (60R/$)
Deity’s outfits: INR 70 000.00 $1166.66
Flower decoration and Deities’ garlands for festival period (10-days) INR 90 000.00 $1500.00
Pandal and lighting for the entire festival INR 130 000.00 $2166.66
Miscellaneous expenses for preparing prasadam for 2500 devotees (Remuneration of cooks and assistants) INR 90 000.00 $1500.00
Rice (5,000 kilograms @Rs.40 per kilogram) INR 200 000.00 $3300.00
Dal (1,200 kilograms @ Rs. 120 per kilogram) INR 144 000.00 $2400.00
Potato (7,000 kilograms @ Rs. 15 per Kilogram)  INR 105 000.00 $1750.00
Wheat flour (500 kilograms @Rs.30 per Kilogram) INR 15 000.00 $250.00
Paneer  (5kg x10days plus 130kg Festival) Rs. 220 per kg INR 39 600.00 $660.00
Milk (10 litre x 10 days plus 130 litre festival) Rs.40 per litre INR  9 200.00 $153.33
Dahi Yogurt (3kgx10days plus 300kg festival)Rs. 125 per kg INR 41 250.00 $687.50
Rasgulla (100x10days plus 6000 pieces for festival) Rs. 6each INR 42 000.00 $700.00
Vegetable Oils (500 kilograms@ Rs.120 per Kilogram) INR 60 000.00 $1000.00
Ghee (clarified butter) 60 kilograms @Rs.400 per Kilogram INR 24 000.00 $400.00
Spices (salt, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger etc.) INR 85 000.00 $1416.66
Vegetables (cabbage, pumpkin, tomato, spinach, others) INR 110 000.00 $1833.33
 Fruits for every days and Ekadasi& Gaur-Purnima’s day INR 90 000.00 $1500.00
Mahaprabhu’s bathing ceremony (Mahabhisekh);  RajBhog after Mahabhisekh INR 25,000.00 $416.66
Sannyasa cloth Rs.300 x80 INR 24 000.00 $400.00
Sannyasa Donation Rs. 101 x 80 INR  8 080.00 $134.66
Brahmacari Dhoti Rs.350x 250 INR 87,500.00 $1458.34
Brahmacari Donation Rs.51x 250 INR 12,750.00 $212.50
Bengali (1000 pieces), Hindi (500 pieces) Magazine 1500 copies @ Rs.35 INR 52,000.00 $866.66
Fuel (Fire wood @ Rs.7.50kg for  20,000 Kg.) INR 150,000.00 $2500.00
Total for the festival INR 1 704 330.00
$28 405.50

Please let us know of your financial capacity to help with this Gaura-Purnima festival as you will have the opportunity to serve many Vaisnavas, for Krishna’s pleasure. Your spiritual life will surely blossom by the blessings of the Vaisnavas.

 

Yours in the service of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Mission,

 

B.B.Bodhayan

President,

Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math

 

www.gopinathmath.wordpress.com

www.gopinathmath.org

www.gopinathmath.com.ua

 

You can choose to support and serve the Vaisnavas in any of these ways.

When using the Pay Pal link please select Gift.

Even a dollar will help.

Or directly deposit into any of the following accounts:

1)   Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math Indian Account 

  This bank will accept only foreign currency (US Dollars or Euro)

Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math. Post Office : Sri-Mayapur; District : Nadia (West Bengal);

Pin code- 741313; India.
SWIFT CODE: IOBAINBB001
Account Number: A/C. SB 21547
INDIAN OVERSEAS BANK
195/4, Rash Behari Avenue
BALYGUNJ BRANCH
KOLKATA. – 700019
(WEST-BENGAL), INDIA
BRANCH CODE: 013

2)      US Bank Account

     ( This bank accepts only US Dollars)

Name: Asim Kumar Sau (Bodhayan Maharaj’s legal name)
Account # 01820-02328
Routing # 121000358
Bank of America
San Rafael Main Branch
CA4-114-01-01
1000 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA
94901

3)      Canadian Bank Account
Name: Association TerraNation

(Bodhayan Maharaj’s association in Canada)
Account #: 05-65636
Routing #: 00696010
Bank information:
CIBC
275 Main Street, Box 394
Hawkesbury, ON
J6A 2S2, Canada

Thank you for your support!

For Sri Murari Gupta ~ Disappearance

Sri Murari Gupta

murari-gupto hanuman
angadah shri-purandarah
yah shri-sugriva-namasid
govindananda eva sah

Murari Gupta was Hanuman in Ramachandra’s lila; Purandara was Angada and Govindananda Sugriva. (Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 91)

The word gupta means “hidden”, so the name Murari Gupta indicates that Murari (Sri Chaitanya Deva) had secretly taken up permanent residence in his heart. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.10.31)

Murari Gupta took birth in a family of Ayurvedic physicians in the district of Sylhet.

Murari Gupta is a physician for the material disease. He was amongst the many associates of Mahaprabhu who appeared in Sylhet. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.2.35)

The names of his parents are unknown. He was somewhat older than Mahaprabhu. When his family moved from Sylhet to take up residence in Nabadwip, they lived in the same neighborhood as Sri Chaitanya, so Murari was Nimai’s companion in many of his childhood pastimes. It is also written in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that Murari observed Mahaprabhu’s childhood pastimes. His name is included in the Chaitanya Bhagavat’s list of associates who appeared prior to Mahaprabhu’s incarnation.

Hidden in Nabadwip, there were many who had previously taken birth at the Lord’s command. They included Sri Chandrasekhara, Jagadisa, Gopinath, Sriman, Murari, Sri Garuda and Ganga Das. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.2.98-99)

Murari’s Student Life in Nabadwip

Along with Mahaprabhu, he was also a student at Ganga Das Pandit’s Tol. When the Lord was engaged in his pastimes of learning and study, he would often engage Murari in joking and mock debate. Murari Gupta was amazed at Mahaprabhu’s wonderful intelligence and just the touch of his hand would so immerse him in ecstasy that he was early convinced that he was no ordinary human being.

One day, the Lord was pleased with the explanation which Murari Gupta gave him, one which he was able to give through the Lord’s grace. He touched Murari with his hand and his entire body was filled with ecstasy. Murari Gupta thought that this person can in no way be an ordinary human being. Can an ordinary human attain such scholarship so quickly? And his touch brings such ecstatic pleasure! (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10.49)

The Vaishnava’s ornament is humility. Mahaprabhu would melt when he saw the humility of Murari Gupta.

Murari Gupta, the twenty-first branch of the Chaitanya tree, was a storehouse of love. The Lord’s heart would melt when he saw Murari’s meekness and humility. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.49)

Mahaprabhu’s Special Mercy to Murari

When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya, he saw Murari at the house of Shuklambar Brahmachari. Murari had heard of Mahaprabhu’s transformations from Sriman Pandit. Mahaprabhu was pleased with Murari and one day he gave him a vision of his form as the Varaha avatar; the Lord lifted Murari’s water jug on his nose as he gave a loud roar. Murari considered his life to have been fulfilled by this vision and he composed a hymn in glorification of the Lord. This event has been beautifully described by Vrindavan Das Thakur in the Chaitanya Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda, chapter 3.

Varaharupa-to-Murari-Gupta

The Lord took on the mood of Varaha in the house of Murari. The Lord climbed on his shoulders and danced in the courtyard. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.19)

Lord Gaurahari had the same kind of affection for Murari Gupta that Lord Ramachandra had for his servant, Hanuman. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.3.11) On the occasion of the 21-hour great manifestation (maha-prakasha) at Srivasa Angana, the Lord gave Murari a vision of himself as Ramachandra. When he saw his worshipable deity before him, Murari fainted. Then he glorified the Lord in a way which so pleased him that he gave a benediction to Murari which fulfilled all his desires.

He ordered Murari, “Look at my form”, and lo! Murari saw the form of Raghunatha directly before him. He saw the Lord of the Universe in the swarthy color of durba grass, sitting in the virasana, in the posture of a great bowman. He saw Sita and Lakshman standing on either side of him, and his army of monkeys surrounding him singing hymns of praise. It seemed to him that he was himself one of the monkeys, and as soon as he saw this, he fell down in a faint. The best of the physicians, Murari, lay unconscious on the ground, completely under Mahaprabhu’s spell. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.10.7-11)

On one occasion, when Mahaprabhu heard Murari Gupta recite the glories of Ramachandra, he wrote “the servant of Rama” on his forehead. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.61) On another occasion, Mahaprabhu displayed a four-armed Narayan form in the house of Srivasa, and began calling the name of Garuda. Murari Gupta heard the call, and giving a loud roar took the form of the king of birds. Mahaprabhu then climbed on his shoulders. This lila is described in the 20th chapter of the Madhya-khanda of Chaitanya Bhagavat, and in the 12th wave of Bhakti-ratnakara.

Murari and Nityananda Prabhu

At Srivasa’s house, Mahaprabhu taught the spiritual truths about himself, Nityananda Prabhu and matters of etiquette through Murari. One day, Murari Gupta came to Srivasa’s house. Upon arriving, he first paid obeisances to Mahaprabhu and then to Nityananda. Mahaprabhu said, “This is not correct.” Murari could not understand what he meant. That night when he returned home, he had a dream in which he saw Nityananda as Balaram, fanning Mahaprabhu/Krishna with a fly whisk. Murari then understood what Mahaprabhu had been telling him and from then on first paid obeisances to Nityananda and afterwards to Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur writes in his Gaudiya-bhashya, “Sri Murari was a worshiper of Balaram. Therefore to worship the Supreme Lord without first worshiping the guru and the jagad-guru is a mistake in sequence.”

The lotus-eyed Mahaprabhu was sitting down with the smiling Nityananda at his right hand side. Murari paid obeisances first to Nityananda and then to the feet of Vishvambhara. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.22-3)

The Lord Gives Murari His Pan

Mahaprabhu had great affection for Murari Gupta and so would give him his own pan, which Murari would eat with relish. When Mahaprabhu told Murari to wash his hands, Murari would simply wipe his hands on his head. It was at this time that Mahaprabhu suddenly began to criticize the false views of the Smarta Brahmins and Prakashananda’s mayavada.

The Lord said, “O foolish one, you will lose your caste status. My remnants are all over your body.” As he spoke, the Lord went into a trance in which he took on his identity as the Supreme Person. He ground his teeth and started to say something special, “There is a sannyasi named Prakashananda in Kashi who is cutting me into little bits. He teaches the Vedanta, but does not accept my form. I have caused him to become leprous, but still he does not understand. The fool does not realize that the unlimited universes are contained within my body, what arrogance that he should deny it! I tell you the truth Murari, for you are my servant: anyone who does not accept my form is bound for ruin.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.31-36)

Murari Cures the Lord’s Indigestion

The Lord is very happy to accept a devotee’s offering, no matter how it is made. When Murari returned home, he told his wife that he wished to eat. His devoted wife carefully prepared rice with ghee and gave it to her husband. But Murari, absorbed in contemplation on Krishna, took handful after handful of the food and threw it on the ground, offering it to the Lord in this way. The amazing thing is that even though Mahaprabhu was not physically present there at that time, he accepted the offering. The next day he came to Murari’s house and said to him, “I have come to you for medicine. You made me eat so much, insisting that I take and eat. Now I have indigestion. You must give me some water, that will be the remedy for my stomach problem.” Mahaprabhu took water from a jug in Murari’s house, drinking down its entire contents. Seeing this, Murari fainted and all the devotees began to cry. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.20.69-71)

Murari would cure anyone who came to him, whether their disease was of the body or the soul. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.51)

Murari’s Fear of the Lord’s Departure

Murari Gupta analyzed the multiple incarnations of the Lord and came to the conclusion that in each one of the Lord’s appearances, before himself leaving, he arranged for his associates to leave also. Thus, Ramachandra destroyed Ravana to save Sita, but then he abandoned her. Krishna arranged for the destruction of the Yadus. Thus, Mahaprabhu too would inevitably be disappearing at a certain moment. He thought that it would be better for him to depart before that day arrived, for it would be too painful for him. For this reason, Murari purchased a sharp knife and kept it hidden in his home. The Lord knew of his intention and immediately came to his house and asked Murari to hand over the knife. Both the abovementioned lilas are found described in the Bhakti-ratnakara’s twelfth wave.

Murari Gupta would also go on the annual pilgrimage to see Mahaprabhu in Puri. Accompanied by his wife, he would feed Mahaprabhu many preparations. He would participate in the Rathayatra festival as a member of the third sankirtan group in which Mukunda Datta sang and Hari Das Thakur danced.

Murari’s Exclusive Devotion to Rama

Mahaprabhu taught the principle of devotion to one’s worshipable deity through Murari Gupta. One cannot advance in devotional service without a particular devotion to a worshipable deity, or ishta-devata. Murari was an incarnation of Hanuman, and he saw Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Ramachandra. On one occasion, Mahaprabhu desired to test his loyalty to his worshipable deity Rama by telling him to worship Krishna. He explained to Murari that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the fountainhead of all the other incarnations. Because he was the ocean of all the devotional flavors, the joy to be had in worshiping Krishna could not be had in the service of any other form of the Lord. Murari promised Mahaprabhu that he would do as he advised and worship Krishna, but when he returned to his home, he could not give up the lotus feet of Ramachandra. Just the thought of it made him upset and he stayed awake the entire night. In the morning, he went to Mahaprabhu and fell at his feet with tears in his eyes. He humbly submitted to the Lord:

I have sold my head to Ramachandra. I cannot remove it from his feet, for as soon as I try, it causes me great pain. I cannot give up the lotus feet of Raghunatha, even though this means disobeying you. What can I do? O merciful one, please allow my to give up my life here before you rather than suffer this fate. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.15.149-151)

shrinathe janaki-nathe
cabhede paramatmani
tathapi mama sarvasvo
ramah kamala-locanah

Both Narayan, the husband of Lakshmi, and Ramachandra, the husband of Sita are equally the supreme personality of Godhead. Even so, the lotus-eyed Rama alone is everything to me.

Mahaprabhu was greatly satisfied to hear this exclusive devotional attitude to the worshipable deity. He said, “You are Hanuman himself, the eternal servant of Ramachandra. Indeed, why should you give up worshiping his feet?” Sri Jiva Goswami’s father Anupama was similarly devoted to Rama. Mahaprabhu compared him to Murari when Sanatan told him that Anupama was not able to give up worshiping Rama despite his brothers’ exhortations.

Mahaprabhu said, “Previously, I tested Murari Gupta and found him also to be devoted to Rama in the same way. That devotee who does not abandon his worshipable deity’s lotus feet is truly glorious. Glorious too is that Lord who does not abandon his devotee.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.45-46)

Murari Gupta disappeared on the same full-moon day as the autumn rasa-lila festival.

[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

Originally posted on BVML.

For His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj Appearance Day

Originally posted on Gosai.com

In the early years of this century, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakura set into motion a devotional revival that rapidly spread through Bengal, India, and eventually the world. He put into question the very foundations of present-day theistic thought in a way that has little comparison anywhere in the spiritual record, East or West. Through him, the world was awakened to the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the movement of pure devotion, suddha bhakti.

In orchestrating this modern bhakti revolution, Srila Prabhupada gathered some of the greatest spiritual luminaries in contemporary history into his circle. Such a convergence of exalted spiritual personalities can only be compared to the coming together of Sri Chaitanya’s direct followers in the sixteenth century. One of the devotional giants who entered Srila Prabhupada’s orbit was His Divine Grace Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja.

We cannot describe the life of Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja without emphasizing his contribution to the spiritual movement in which he was so integrally involved. The depth of his accomplishments cannot be fathomed outside the context of Sri Gaudiya Math. With his fellow godbrothers, he shared an indomitable faith in the service of his Guru and the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This service was the sole purpose and highest aspiration of his being. This conviction led him to spend his entire life in the pursuit of Srila Prabhupada and Mahaprabhu’s pleasure and the fulfillment of their desires. If we examine his life in this setting, we will see more than just numbers, dates, places and names. We will see how he embodied the very life current that his spiritual preceptors came to give the world.

Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja took birth in the village of Ganganandapur in Jessore district (in present-day Bangla Desh), on October 8, 1898. His parents, Tarini Charan Chakravarti and Srimati Ram Rangini Devi, named him Sri Promode Bhushan Chakravarti. During his childhood, he met his vartma-pradarsaka guru (“one who opens the door to the path of devotion”), Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakura, a godbrother and siksha disciple of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, the legendary architect of the present Gaudiya Vaishnava movement. Through Bhakti Ratna Thakura he was introduced to Sajjana-tosani, Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s own Vaishnava periodical, which was filled with Bhaktivinoda’s commentaries and holy teachings. In this way Srila Puri Maharaja became familiar with the seminal works of the suddha bhakti tradition, such as Chaitanya Charitamrita, Chaitanya Bhagavata and the Srimad Bhagavatam. It was also through Bhakti Ratna Thakura that he first learned of his future guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada.

Srila Puri Maharaja was still a young university student when he first came before Srila Prabhupada at the Yoga Pith in Sri Mayapur in 1915. It was a significant occasion, for Srila Prabhupada’s diksha guru, Paramahamsa Thakura Srimad Gaura Kishor Das Babaji, had entered his eternal abode only the day before. Srila Puri Maharaja often recounted that as soon as he saw Srila Prabhupada and paid his obeisances to him for the first time, he knew in his heart that this was his spiritual master. Some years later, on the auspicious day of Sri Krishna Janmastami in 1923, he accepted both Harinam and mantra diksha from Srila Prabhupada and was given the name Pranavananda Brahmachari.

At the time, Sri Gaudiya Math was rapidly establishing itself as a bona fide manifestation of Indian religious culture and transforming the caste-conscious socio-religious world of Hinduism. Srila Prabhupada Saraswati Thakura was bringing together his intimate associates to share the wealth of Sri Krishna sankirtana. He had accepted tridandi sannyasa in 1918 and by the early 1920’s had already assumed a formidable position in the Bengali spiritual firmament. He was fearless when it came to upholding true religious principles. The students and practitioners of the Gaudiya Math aligned themselves with this attitude and led most exemplary lives of devotion, imbued with austerity, discipline and in-depth scriptural learning. This high standard of religious life was the hallmark of Sri Gaudiya Math and would be the thread that guided all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, including Srimad Puri Goswami Maharaja.

The keystone of success in devotion is to perfectly hear the holy words spoken by one’s spiritual preceptor. Srila Prabhupada would often say, “All that is required of you is that you lend me your ears.” Srila Puri Maharaja was fully committed to this maxim. He had the great good fortune to associate closely with Srila Prabhupada for thirteen years and during that time he served him personally by recording his lectures and conversations, which were later published. The greater part of Srila Prabhupada’s spoken words we are left with today come from the transcriptions of these notes. At the same time, Srila Puri Maharaja cultivated a deep knowledge of the Vaishnava scriptures, with the result that he became a veritable storehouse of the wealth of the preceptorial line coming from Sri Chaitanya and his followers. This led him to become one of the most prolific writers and influential teachers in all of Gaudiya Vaishnava history. His writings reflect the disciplined eye of a scholar who expresses with grace and directness the purest scriptural conclusions supported by his own uncommonly profound realization.

Following Srila Prabhupada’s directives, our Gurudeva edited, wrote for, published and helped distribute countless spiritual publications. He was initially inspired and directed by Srila Prabhupada to start writing and contributing articles to the Gaudiya magazine, the backbone of the Gaudiya Math’s missionary work. For seven years he served as a proofreader and as one of its primary editors. In 1926, he was charged with running the world’s only daily Vaishnava newspaper, Dainika Nadiya Prakasa. He held this service for two years, publishing all of his preceptor’s daily discourses along with articles by fellow students and other contemporaries. His service and learning did not pass unnoticed by Srila Prabhupada who awarded him the titles of maha-mahopadesaka (“great instructor”) and pratna-vidyalankara (“keeper of the wisdom of the ancient scriptural lore”).

After the disappearance of his Gurudeva in 1937, Srila Puri Maharaja continued his vocation of spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya through the Gaudiya magazine, first out of the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math and then later the Sri Chaitanya Math in Mayapur. After he founded the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja’s godbrother, Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, invited him to head the editorial board of Chaitanya Vani magazine in 1964. Puri Maharaja served in this capacity for thirty-three years, furthering his life’s work of preserving the teachings of his spiritual lineage. Through Chaitanya Vani, he continued to make a deep impact on the devotional world.

In all, our venerable teacher’s wisdom is embodied in over sixty years of writings on Vaishnava philosophy and theology. He penned a rich variety of texts, bringing the Bhagavata dharma to life through hundreds of poems, essays, narratives, diaries, editorials and personal letters, thus creating a storehouse of the wealth of pure devotion for his disciples and the world at large.

In 1942, Srila Prabhupada appeared to Srila Puri Maharaja in a dream vision and imparted to him the sannyasa mantra, ordering him to accept the renounced order. After accepting tridandi-sannyasa from his godbrother Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanasa Maharaja in Champahati in August of 1946, he toured parts of India with other godbrothers such as Bhakti Hridoy Bon Maharaja and Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja. In the meantime, he continued to write and lecture with dedication. At the behest of his godbrother Tridandi Swami Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja, he also served for seven years as chief pujari for the Yoga Pitha temple, the birthsite of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Puri Maharaja took up a more solitary life of worship in the 1950’s. He moved to a humble cottage on the banks of the Ganges in Ambika Kalna. The king of Burdwan was extremely impressed by his saintly ascetic character and, on the appearance day of Srimati Radharani in 1958, presented him with the ancient Ananta Vasudeva temple in Kalna.

In 1989, at the age of 91, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja established the Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Math in Ishodyan, Sri Mayapur, for the service of their divine lordships, Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, Jagannatha Deva, Radha-Gopinatha and Lakshmi-Narasingha Deva. In the following years, he established other temples in Jagannatha Puri, Vrindavana, Calcutta and Midnapore.

Srila Puri Maharaja taught through his every action. He excelled in all aspects of devotional practice and there was perhaps no area in which he did not exhibit utmost expertise, diligence and foresight. This ranged from his encyclopedic knowledge of scripture, to maintaining the printing press, to his beautiful singing of kirtan. He was especially recognized for his sensitivity and attention to detail in the performance of deity worship and devotional rites and was thus widely called upon to be the head priest in most of the Gaudiya Matha’s deity installations and ceremonial functions. He was rarely known to rest; his service was an uninterrupted flow. Even in his later years, he would remain awake, writing and chanting through the night while all his youthful disciples were still asleep. When his personal servants came in the morning, they would inevitably find him awake and chanting the Holy Name, arisen before everyone else in the ashrama.

Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja had outstanding love for his godbrothers and was inspired in his glorification of others. He found richness in everyone he met. He had the quality of making one feel so much wanted and their life so much valued. At the same time, he paid the least attention to himself. He was an emblem of humility and simplicity, and his generosity of spirit and kindness touched the hearts of the whole Vaishnava community. Among his lifetime, intimate companions were Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnan Keshava Maharaja, and Srila Akinchan Krishna Das Babaji Maharaja. Toward the end of his sojourn in this world, he was honored by the Gaudiya Vaishnava community for his learning, long life of service and devotion and made president of the World Vaishnava Association in 1995.

“He has love for his Guru; and let it be known that his life is one with his words.” This tribute, coming from Srila Prabhupada himself, is the most revealing statement about Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja’s personality and qualities. He gave credit for all of his accomplishments to the mercy of his Gurudeva alone. Through the blessings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakura, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja attracted the hearts of so many to the Bhagavata religion. People from so many different backgrounds and countries found in him a true spiritual guide and shelter. He upheld the principles of pure Vaishnavism and delineated the path of saranagati. He so embodied pure devotion and service to his spiritual master that one of his disciples once remarked that he was able to “silently lay down Srila Prabhupada’s entire siddhanta.”

We are greatly indebted to His Divine Grace for his gift–a lifetime of pure devotion, spanning over a century, which we can aspire for, learn from, and discuss about for our own spiritual nourishment. Srila Puri Maharaja departed this world for the eternal abode in the predawn hours of Narayana Chaturdasi, October 21, 1999, one day before the Rasa Purnima. His divine body was transported from Jagannatha Puri to the Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha in Ishodyan and there placed in his eternal samadhi shrine. Prior to his departure from this world, Srila Puri Goswami Maharaja appointed his intimate disciple, Sripada Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja as his successor and President-acharya of Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha.

In years to come as more of his words and vision are translated, the world outside of Bengal and India will come to know the spirit of the true Vaishnava religion that he tirelessly shared. May the gentle rain of nectar of his perfect teachings continue to bring auspiciousness into this world. [From Of Love & Separation]

For Nama Acarya Srila Hari Das Thakur Disappearance Day

The Loud Chanting of the Holy Names

Hari Das Thakur constantly chanted the Holy Name and called to the Lord in a loud voice. At that time, not many people were able to understand the value of this practice. Prior to Gauranga-sundara’s appearance, most people were simply interested in sense gratification and were inimical to devotion for Krishna and the chanting of his holy names. Advaita Acharya and Hari Das Thakur were saddened by this terrible situation. When the non-devotees heard them chanting loudly, they would say, “The Lord sleeps during the four months of the rainy season. If you call him out loud in this way, you will wake him up and that will be a grave offense. There will be famine in the country if you keep on with it. Some Brahmins have taken up this chanting business as a way of worshiping their own bellies, no doubt.” They would criticize Hari Das and Advaita by joking in this way. Even though such criticism pained Hari Das, he never stopped chanting Hare Krishna in a loud voice.

One day, a Brahmin from a village named Harinadi (in Jessore district) started a debate with Hari Das on this subject. He argued that the names of the Lord should be meditated upon and that there was no reason to chant them aloud. He wanted to know in which scripture it was stated that one should chant aloud. In answer to these questions, Hari Das Thakur gave a detailed account of the glories of the Holy Name. He said that loud chanting of the Holy Names was a hundred times more powerful than japa. Through the loud chanting of the Names, even the birds, animals and other creatures are also saved.

Animals, birds, insects and other creatures are unable to speak, but if they just hear the Holy Name, they can all cross over. If you chant the Holy Names silently, then you yourself will be saved, but if you chant aloud, then you will benefit others. Therefore, all the scriptures state that by the loud chanting of the Name, a hundred times greater result can be obtained.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.16.280-2)

japato harinamani sthane shata-gunadhikah
atmanam ca punaty uccair japan shrotnn punati ca

(Naradiya Purana)

Someone who chants the Holy Names aloud is a hundred times better than one who performs japa, because the one who chanting japa simply benefits himself, while the person who chants japa aloud not only does good for himself, but for all those who hear him as well.

Who is better, the person who earns money and spends it all on himself, or the one who uses his money to support a thousand others? Through japa, one takes care of his own spiritual life, while through ucca-sankirtan, all living beings are benefited. This is the reason for its being considered superior.

Even though he heard Hari Das quote scripture in support of his idea, the Brahmin from Harinadi village was unconvinced. Indeed, he became angry and began to verbally abuse Hari Das by bringing up his low birth. He said, “If everything that you say about the Holy Name is not found in scripture, then I will publicly cut off your nose and ear as a punishment.” As a result of this offensive behavior, the Brahmin contracted smallpox not long afterward and his own nose and ear fell off.

Hari Das Comes to Nabadwip

After this, Hari Das Thakur then went to live in Nabadwip out of a desire to be with pure devotees like Advaita Acharya. There he was a participant in the Lord’s sankirtan pastimes in the houses of Srivasa Pandit and Chandrasekhara Acharya. Mahaprabhu sent Hari Das and Nityananda Prabhu to go from door to door to beg people to chant the names of Krishna, to worship him and to study the Vaishnava scriptures.

One day, the Lord suddenly had an idea and he called Nityananda and Hari Das to tell them: “Listen, listen, Nityananda. Listen, Hari Das. I wish you to go and communicate my order to everyone. Go to every house and beg people to chant the names of Krishna, worship Krishna, study about Krishna. Other than this, say nothing and make others say nothing. At the end of the day, come here and tell me the results of your preaching. You will beg people in this way, and I will come and destroy those who do not comply with my discus in my hand.”
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.13.7-11)

Nityananda Prabhu and Hari Das Thakur followed the Lord’s order and began preaching everywhere in Nabadwip. One day they went up to two feared drunken bandits named Jagai and Madhai, and asked them to chant the Holy Name as the Lord had instructed them. Seeing their fallen condition, Nityananda became merciful toward them, but Jagai and Madhai were in such a state of intoxication that they simply became angry when they heard his appeal, and came forward to beat him and Hari Das up. Nityananda started to run away, but Hari Das being already quite advanced in age (58) was unable to keep up with him. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to escape with his life. Hari Das told Advaita Acharya about the day’s events, saying that he would not go out preaching with Nityananda any more, since his behavior was rash and unpredictable. The all-powerful Lord Nityananda’s running away is certainly a mysterious pastime, but it is to be remembered that he later went out on his own and managed to deliver the two rascals, Jagai and Madhai.

Hari Das Thakur also engaged in water sports with the Lord in Nabadwip. One day, overcome by a mood of love, the Lord tried to drown himself in the Ganges, and Hari Das and Nityananda jumped in to save him. They hid Mahaprabhu in the house of Nandana Acharya because of his wish for seclusion. When Advaita Acharya and the other devotees were feeling the distress of separation, they went and brought Srivasa there and reunited the devotees with the Lord.

When Mahaprabhu put on a play about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes in the house of Chandrasekhara Acharya, Hari Das played the part of the town constable. He came onto the scene, dressed as a policeman, carrying a stick in his hand. The other actors in the play were Mahaprabhu as Adya shakti, Nityananda as an old cowherd woman, Advaita as the clown, Gadadhara Pandit as a cowherd girl, and Srivasa Pandit as Narada Muni. Hari Das’s duty in the play was to awaken everyone to the service of Krishna. He cried out, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Srivasa will dance dressed as Narada Muni.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.18.100)

When the Lord took his sankirtan party along the banks of the Bhagirathi, Hari Das joined him. Then Hari Das, the ocean of Krishna-rasa, on Mahaprabhu’s order, danced beautifully.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.204)

The night before Mahaprabhu left to take sannyas, Hari Das was staying at his house. He and all the other devotees were desolated by the Lord’s intention to take the renounced order. When the Lord went to Puri. Hari Das went there not long afterwards to see the Rathayatra and never left.

Hari Das Thakur in Puri

When in Puri, though Hari Das was not officially banned from going into the Jagannath temple or the house of Kashi Mishra (where Mahaprabhu was staying), out of humility at his lowly birth, never went there. Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis also demonstrated a similar humility, even though they were born in a very high-caste Brahmin family. They considered themselves to be no better than mlecchas because of their long association with the Muslim court. They would stay with Hari Das when in Puri and not go for darshan of Jagannath or Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu himself would go to meet them.

Neither Hari Das, Rupa, nor Sanatan would go to the Jagannath temple. Mahaprabhu would go there to see the Upala-bhoga in the morning. He would then go to the place where they were staying and would visit them there. It was thus the Lord’s regular practice to meet whichever one of these three was staying in Puri at the time.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.63-65)

During Lord Jagannath’s absence from the temple (anavasara-kala), Mahaprabhu would feel separation so intensely that he would go to stay in Alalanath. When he heard the that more than 200 devotees had come from Bengal, he returned to Puri to meet them. When he did not see Hari Das Thakur, he inquired after him. Hari Das was there, but paying his obeisances at the side of the highway. The devotees went to Hari Das and told him that Mahaprabhu wanted to see him. Hari Das said,

”I am a low-born person who has no good qualities. I have no right to go near the temple. If I can find a solitary place to stay in some garden somewhere, then I will pass my time there alone. That way there is no danger that the servants of Jagannath will accidentally touch me. This is my wish.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.165-7)

The devotees came back to Mahaprabhu to report what Hari Das had said, and his wish pleased him. He arranged for a house in a solitary garden not far from his own place of worship at Kashi Mishra’s house. Kashi Mishra was happy to have the chance to serve the Lord by making these arrangements according to his order. The Lord went to talk to Hari Das and when he saw him paying his dandavats, lifted him from the ground and embraced him. When Hari Das said, “I am an untouchable. Lord, you should not touch me”, the Lord answered:

”I touch you just to become purified, for your standard of purification is non-existent in me. At every moment you are bathing in the water of every holy place; at every moment you are performing all sacrifices, penances and charity. You constantly are performing the pious activity of studying the Veda. You are more purifying than any Brahmin or sannyasi.”

After saying this, the Lord took him to the flower garden and gave him the solitary room there as a place to stay. “Stay here and chant the Holy Names. I will come every day to visit you here. You can see the discus on the pinnacle of the temple tower from here. When you see it, pay your obeisances to it. I will arrange for Jagannath’s prasad to be brought to you here.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.189-95)

This flower garden is now known by the name, Siddha Bakula. Previously it was named Mudra Math. There is a legend connected with the Siddha Bakula tree. The local pandas have a tradition of giving the twig that is used to clean Jagannath’s teeth as prasad to some special person. One day they gave a twig from a bakula tree that had so been used as a gift to Mahaprabhu. The Lord planted this twig in the ground at Hari Das’s place of bhajan. This twig eventually grew into a large tree. It is said that the Lord planted the twig on the first day of the month of Chaitra also known as Mahavishuva Sankranti, i.e. the day when the sun enters into the sign of Aries. For this reason, a festival named the Danta-kashtha-ropana Mahotsava is held on that day ever year to celebrate the occasion.

Srila Hari Das Thakur participated in the kirtan during the Rathayatra festival as the main dancer in one of the seven kirtan sampradayas. He was in the third group, which had Mukunda Datta as its lead singer.

Hari Das’s Teachings on the Holy Name

Mahaprabhu taught the glories of the Holy Name through Hari Das Thakur. One day, the Lord was feeling particularly unhappy about the lot of the conditioned souls. He came to Siddha Bakula and said to the Thakur: “Hari Das, in the age of Kali, the non-Hindus kill the cow and are inimical to the Brahmins. How will these Muslims ever be saved?” Hari Das answered, “Don’t be distressed at seeing the pitiable condition of the Muslims. They will be liberated by the namabhasa, the shadow of the Holy Name, whenever they say haram. In the Nrisingha-purana it is said, [1]

damshtri-dantahato mleccho harameti punah punah
uktvapi muktim apnoti kim punah shraddhaya grinan

When wounded by the tusks of a boar, the Muslim cries out “Harama, Harama!” again and again. If he attains liberation by so doing, then just think what will be the result if one chants the name of Rama with faith.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that if any Muslim dies while saying this word, he is immediately liberated. This is namabhasa or nama-sanketa because the speaker makes the correct sound but does not intend the Lord Rama. Therefore, it is impossible to say just what fruits await the sincere and faithful chanter. The example is given of Ajamila who called the name of his son Narayan as he was dying, and through this namabhasa he attained liberation.

When he heard this explanation, Mahaprabhu was very pleased, but again he asked Hari Das, “How will the dumb animals and the trees, etc., be delivered?” Hari Das answered:

”You yourself have instituted the loud chanting of the Holy Names which both the moving and non-moving creatures can hear. The mobile creatures are freed from their bondage to repeated birth and death by hearing the names. As for the immobile, they perform kirtan themselves by echoing the sounds. By your indescribable mercy, the entire universe is engaged in kirtan and the mobile and immobile beings dance when they hear it… You preached the loud chanting of the Holy Names by which the repeated births and deaths of all living beings come to an end.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.3.68-71, 75)

The Disappearance of Hari Das Thakur

Rupa and Sanatan Goswami first met Hari Das when he accompanied Mahaprabhu on his aborted first trip to Vrindavan, when he visited Ramakeli. They thus knew each others’ virtues quite well. One day in Puri, Hari Das recited the glories of Sanatan Goswami, then Sanatan returned the favor by praising him as follows:

”Who else is there who is your equal? You are the most fortunate amongst Mahaprabhu’s entourage. The purpose of the Lord’s incarnation is the preaching of the Holy Name; this personal work of the Lord was done through you. Every single day you chant three lakhs of Holy Names and you glorify the Holy Name to everyone you meet. Some people act properly but do not deliver the message of Krishna consciousness, while others preach but do not meet the behavioral standards. You, sir, both demonstrate ideal behavior as well as preaching. You are the guru of all and the perfect human being in this universe.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.99-103)

In the eleventh chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita’s Antya-lila, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes the disappearance of Hari Das Thakur in a most captivating way. It should be read in its entirety on the occasion of Hari Das’s disappearance day. A brief summary is given here:

namami hari dasam tam caitanyam tam ca tat-prabhum
samsthitam api yan-murtim skandhe kritva nanarta yah

I offer my obeisances to Hari Das as well as to his worshipable lord, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who placed his body on his shoulders and danced.

As Hari Das Thakur grew old, it became more and more difficult for him to maintain his vow of chanting three lakhs of names every day. Thus, he had no appetite when Govinda would come with Jagannath’s prasad and only to avoid disrespecting the holy food would he eat a single grain of rice. Out of his affection for Hari Das, Mahaprabhu told him that he was a perfected being and that there was no need for him to show such attachment for devotional service in practice; he could thus reduce the number of Holy Names that he chanted every day. Hari Das then revealed what was really bothering him.

He knew that Mahaprabhu would soon be ending his pastimes in this world and he wished to leave before him. The affectionate Lord granted him his wish, even though he felt desolate at the prospect of losing his company.

Hari Das Thakur sat in front of Mahaprabhu who was standing in front of him. Then, as the tears flowed from his eyes, he gazed at the Lord’s lotus face and took his lotus feet on his chest and, while chanting the names “Krishna Chaitanya”, voluntarily left his body like Bhishma.

The devotees became intoxicated by the kirtan which grew louder and louder, and the Lord lifted Hari Das’s body and started to dance around the courtyard. In the accompaniment of the loud singing of the Holy Names, he and the devotees took Hari Das’s remains to the beach. There they washed the body in the sea and then dug a hole in the sand where they placed it. Mahaprabhu was the first to throw sand into the samadhi. This is how the samadhi ritual of Hari Das Thakur was performed. By virtue of his presence, the seashore became a great place of pilgrimage.

Mahaprabhu circumambulated the burial place and then went personally to the Jagannath temple to beg for prasad for a feast in honor of Hari Das. Svarupa Damodar Goswami would not let Mahaprabhu carry the prasad himself, but took care of making all the arrangements himself. At the feast, all the devotees were given enough food to eat to their fill. In a mood of absorption in divine love, Mahaprabhu said to all the devotees:

”All those who witnessed the disappearance festival of Hari Das Thakur, who danced or sang the Holy Names there, who came to throw sand on his samadhi or took maha prasad on this occasion, will quickly attain Krishna. This is the fruit of seeing a great personality like Hari Das Thakur. The Supreme Lord was so merciful that he gave me his association, and now the independent Lord has wished to deprive me of it. When Hari Das decided that he wanted to leave, there was nothing I could do to keep him back. He left his body at the very moment that he desired to do so, just as we have heard that Bhishma did. Hari Das was the exemplar of humanity in this world, and now that he is gone, the world has lost a jewel. All glories to Hari Das Thakur! Chant the Lord’s names!” And having finished his eulogy, the Lord began once again to dance.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.11.91-98)

Hari Das Thakur’s tirodhana-lila took place on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra.

—-Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

For Srila Rupa Goswami’s Dissapearance day

Sri Rupa Goswami’s Siksha

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja

Through Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu taught the world about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes and the process for attaining Krishna in Vrindavan. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes, “Through the mercy of Sanatan I have learned the devotional doctrines, while by the grace of Rupa I have been able to discover the extensiveness of the divine aesthetics of devotion.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.203)

The Lord taught about sacred rapture and Vraja’s pastimes of love through Rupa Goswami. Who can effectively describe the subtleties of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila? (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.5.87)

vrndavaniyam rasa-kelivartam
kalena luptam nija-saktim utkah |
sancarya rupe vyatanot punah sa
prabhor vidhau prag iva loka-srstim ||

Just as the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahma with the details of the creation and thus made the manifestation of the cosmos possible, so did Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eagerly impregnate the heart of Rupa Goswami with spiritual potency so that he could revive Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes which had almost been lost to memory. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.1)

While in Prayag, Mahaprabhu gave Rupa the direct order to write Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. This has been stated by Rupa himself in the introductory verses to that book:

hrdi yasya preramaya pravartito’ham varaka-rupo’ pi |
tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande caitanya-devasya ||

I worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Chaitanya-deva, for by his inspiration I have set out to write this book even though I am nothing but a ignorant wretch. (Brs 1.1.2)

Particularly relevant in this connection is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur’s commentary on the importance of studying and writing books as an element of devotional practice: “The lives of the Goswamis were exemplary in their renunciation. Sometimes they would engage in chanting the holy names of the Lord, sometimes they would worship him by writing books on divine aesthetics, and sometimes they would remember or glorify Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

There is an idea which has some currency amongst the prakrta-sahajiyas that devotional practice entails the renunciation of studying and writing devotional scriptures, indeed that any kind of scriptural study should be stopped so that one can attain to a state of ignorance. Those who follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami have no patience with such ideas. However, if a devotional practitioner studies or writes devotional scriptures for the sake of making money through which to satisfy his material senses or attain material fame, respect or any of the other insignificant and superficial goals which are classed as distractions or weeds in the garden of devotional service, then he will not attain the auspicious results which are the real fruit such activity. A real Rupanuga has no fruitive ambition for such petty results.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.131)

When Mahaprabhu was giving Rupa the outline for his book on sacred rapture, he described the characteristics of the different mellows and showed him how to get a taste of the fathomless ocean of sacred rapture, he pointed out how difficult it was to attain devotional service to Krishna. The jiva or living entity is an atomic spark of conscious energy.

There are countless jivas, who are divided into two categories–those which are mobile and those which are stationary. Those which have mobility are again divided into three: those which move on the land, in the air or in the water. Amongst those who live on the land, a small number are human beings, of which only a minority accept the Vedic principles. Outcastes such as Pulindas, Mlecchas, Savaras and Buddhists are in the majority. Of those who accept the Vedas, some do so in name only and engage in sinful activity. Those who practice the Vedic principles are in the minority. Those who are engaged in religious practices toward some fruitive end form the majority in this group.

Amongst millions of such karma-nistha followers of the Veda, one person may perhaps attain the level of spiritual knowledge; yet only one of many millions of such jnanis will be an actual liberated soul. And out of millions of liberated souls, it will still be difficult to find a devotee of Krishna. Devotion to Krishna which is thus so rare can take birth when a certain merit is attained through great good fortune. The seed to the devotional creeper comes through the mercy of the Lord and his devotee. The creeper of spontaneous ecstatic devotion does not flower anywhere within this world, not even in Vaikuntha in the spiritual world, but only in Vrndavan at Krishna’s lotus feet. Krishna’s feet are like the wish-fulfilling tree around which the vine of devotion wraps itself and bears fruit. This is described in a most clear and wonderful manner by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in Chaitanya Charitamrita:

After wandering through this entire universe, birth after birth, some fortunate souls receive the seed of devotion (bhakti-lata-bija) by the mercy of Krishna and the guru. Upon receiving the seed of devotional service, one should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing it in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtan [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout. As one waters the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja River between the spiritual world and the material world. It passes through the Brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence until it finally reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrindavan where it takes shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna. There the creeper expands greatly and produces the fruit of love for Krishna, while the gardener continues to regularly sprinkle the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting here in the material world.

An offense to the Vaishnavas is like a mad elephant that uproots or breaks the creeper, causing its leaves to dry up.

The gardener must therefore take care to protect the creeper by making a fence around it so that the elephant of offenses may not enter. Even so, unwanted creepers, such as the weeds of desire for material enjoyment or release from the world, may grow along with the creeper of devotional service. Such weeds are countless in their variety. Some examples are forbidden activity, faultfinding and duplicity, causing suffering to other creatures, seeking wealth, adulation or mundane importance. All these weeds grow alongside the main creeper as one waters it, causing its growth to be curtailed.

As soon the devotee sees one of these weeds growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real bhakti-lata can grow nicely all the way to Vrindavan where it will find shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.151-61)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has commented on this passage in his Anubhasya: “Through the act of watering the creeper of devotional service by hearing and chanting, weeds may also grow which results in the growth of the bhakti-lata being stifled. If one does not avoid bad association, which is the only way to be free of offenses while hearing and chanting, then one becomes attached to sense gratification, the idea of liberation from material bondage, various mystic achievements, or the practice of deception. One may also become addicted to the illicit association of women or practice other false manifestations of devotion practiced by the prakrta-sahajiyas or a dweller of the five places given by Pariksit to Kali, namely wherever there is gambling, intoxication, prostitution, animal slaughter and the accumulation of gold.

He starts to take the Vaishnavas to be members of a particular race or caste, he finds dishonest ways of collecting money, or makes a show of practicing spiritual life in seclusion while secretly harboring desires for fame and adulation. Or one’s desire for mundane reputation may result in his making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or becoming a supporter of the hereditary caste system by professing discipleship to a so-called guru who opposes Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. The sum and substance of these aberrant paths is that one becomes intoxicated in the gratification of one’s own senses and, in order to attain these superficial and destructible ends, in short, anything besides pure devotion, one presents oneself as a great saintly person or as a religious person in order to accumulate followers. None of these things is useful in attaining pure devotional service to Krishna.

“If one uproots the various weeds as soon as one sees them beginning to sprout, then the creeper of devotional service will be able to grow as far as Goloka Vrindavan where it will give forth transcendental fruits. If not, one will end up being cut off from the devotional life and, remaining in the material world, whether in the higher or lower planets, will have to suffer its vagaries.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.160-1)

There are twelve devotional sentiments. The five primary sentiments are those of peacefulness, servitude, friendship, parenthood, and erotic love. The seven secondary sentiments are humor, astonishment, heroism, compassion, anger, disgust and fear.

The five primary sentiments remain permanently within the devotee’s heart, while the secondary sentiments are adventitious, appearing only when there is cause. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.188)

The secondary rasas act as supporting elements for the primary sentiments, coming and going when propitious circumstances arise.

After serving their function, they again disappear, whereas the primary sentiments are permanently ensconced in the devotee’s heart.

In his teachings to Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu established that of the five primary rasas, the divine sentiment of conjugal love is foremost. The characteristics of santa-rasa abandonment of other desires and steady attachment to Krishna. Over and above these characteristics, the possessor of the serving mood has his service, the friend has an intimacy, while the parent has a sense of being the protector. The devotee in madhura-rasa has all these qualities with the addition of serving with her own body. Just as all the qualities of the other elements starting with the ether are added together to be united in earth, so are all the qualities of the other devotional moods united in the mood of erotic love. Since all the sentiments are present in madhura-rasa, it is the best.

Rupa Goswami’s samadhi temple can be found in the courtyard of the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. This is also where he performed his bhajana at the end of his life. Other places consecrated to Rupa’s memory in the Vraja area include his place of worship near Nandagrama, called Terikadamba. In this place, Radha came in disguise to give Rupa milk, rice and sugar so that he could cook a sweet-rice preparation for Sanata n Goswami. When Sanatan tasted the sweet rice, he felt divine ecstasies invade his body. Upon learning how he had received the ingredients, however, Sanatan forbad Rupa to ever cook sweet rice again, so that Radharani would not have to go to any trouble on his behalf.

Rupa Goswami’s pastimes in this world came to an end in the month of Bhadra, on the twelfth day of the waxing moon, the day after Jhulana Ekadasi.

—-excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Unequalled Contribution

For the disappearance day of Sat Chit Ananda Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye |
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te ||

I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

The sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.” (From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.) Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah |
sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah ||

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution
Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikasrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were ! shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compasision was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Divine Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

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