Special On-line Edition for the Appearance Day of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-2, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 15 January, 2010
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Appearing in English for the first time
By Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
An excerpt from an article written for the appearance day of his beloved gurudeva,
oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, in 1956
In this auspicious land of India, or in fact in the whole world, within the society of those illumined by the light of the Vedānta-sūtra – a society connected to the ancient culture, conduct, conceptions and dharma of India – we will find very few people who have not heard the name Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa. Yet, despite having heard the name Vyāsa-deva, there are many who are completely unaware of the procedure for performing vyāsa-pūjā, of its purpose, or even what vyāsa-pūjā is.* They seem to have never even heard of the term vyāsa-pūjā before.
* Literal meanings of the word vyāsa include diameter, dividing line, a detailed account, distributor, diffuser, arranger, compiler and so on. Literal meanings of the word pūjā include honour, worship, respect, reverence, homage to superiors or adoration of the gods, devotion and so on. – Monier Williams
Śrī Vyāsadeva was an āśraya-jātīya-bhāgavat-avatāra – that is, he belonged to the class of incarnations of Godhead who are the haven of service to God, and in that form, he was the embodiment of kīrtana (divine eulogy). Thus, from the lotus mouth of personified kīrtana emanated a constant stream of nectar, which manifested in this earthly sphere as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is also the embodiment of kīrtana, is an avatāra in the form of words (śabda-avatāra). That is to say, it is the written incarnation of Godhead (grantha-bhāgavata). Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam offers the astonishingly wonderful solution to all problems everywhere, for all souls, throughout all time.
The dharma of every soul is to render service to Kṛṣṇa. This alone is called sanātana-dharma (the eternal occupation of the soul), vaiṣṇava-dharma (the religion of true theism), or jaiva-dharma (the inherent calling of all living beings). This very sanātana-dharma has been broadly and elaborately explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Our previous ācāryas saw that as time went on, the instructions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam were variously employed in ordinary, mundane ways, in a perverted form. So, to preserve the confidential realities and conclusive truths of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in a way that is easily understandable to ordinary people, our ācāryas have taken shelter of the process of vyāsa-pūjā, throughout the ages.
First, Sūta Gosvāmī heard the divine message of Godhead (śrauta-vāṇi)* directly from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva, who was the first one to have heard it from Vyāsadeva. That message brings happiness to the clan of Lord Hari. So, in the arena where time stands still – the deep forests of Naimiṣāraṇya – Sūta Gosvāmī accomplished vyāsa-pūjā through kīrtana of that message (śrauta-vāṇi) in the presence of Śaunaka and the other ṛṣis.
* The term śrauta-vāṇī specifically refers to the message of Godhead that is transmitted through the succession of authentic spiritual masters.
Later on, in Badarikāśrama, the ācārya of the Śrī Mādhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya, Śrī Mādhvapāda, accomplished vyāsa-pūjā by extolling the sublime words of Vyāsadeva. Through his commentary on Bhagavad-gītā called Gītā-bhāṣya, he thus performed the uninterrupted and auspicious ārati of Vyāsadeva.
After that, vyāsa-pūjā was performed in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, the heart of Navadvīpa. There, in the epicentre of kīrtana at Śrīvāsa-aṅgana nearby the banks of patita-pāvanī* Gaṅgā, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu – who is Baladeva Prabhu Himself, the spiritual master of the entire universe – accomplished vyāsa-pūjā by performing kīrtana of the very same message of Godhead (śrauta-vāṇi).
* She who purifies the fallen souls
Then, in recent times, from the same stage in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, our Paramagurudeva, paramahaṁsa parivrājakācārya oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, preached the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam throughout the entire world, demonstrating the perfect ideal of śrī vyāsa-pūjā.
It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.52):
kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt
That which could only be attained in Satya-yuga by meditating upon Viṣṇu without interruption, in Tretā-yuga by perfect ceremonial fire-sacrifices, and in Dvāpara-yuga by extravagant, ritual worship of the deity form of the Lord, is all attainable in Kali-yuga by performing śrī hari-kīrtana.
By adopting the process of viṣṇu-pūjā explained by Śrī Vyāsadeva in this verse – that is, by performing kīrtana of the message of Godhead (śrauta-vāṇi) – Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī, Śrī Mādhvapāda, Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu, and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī have all instructed us on the process of vyāsa-pūjā.
Following the path of hearing the authentic message delivered by śrī guru (śrauta-patha) and rejecting any path wherein that message is not heard from an authentic source (aśrauta-patha) is the factual meaning of vyāsa-pūjā. And preparing oneself for service to Śrī Hari under the guidance of guru and Vaiṣṇavas is the purpose of vyāsa-pūjā.
[To be continued in the 2010 Gaura-pūrṇimā issue of Rays of The Harmonist.]
Translated from Śrī Bhāgavat Patrikā Year 1, Issue 10
by the Rays of The Harmonist team