Special On-line Edition for the Appearance Day of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-2, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 10 December, 2009
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
Śrī Hari, Guru, and
Vaiṣṇavas are Moved by Our Emotions
A letter from Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Śrī Vāsudeva Gauḍīya Maṭha
Postal: Vāsu-Gāñj (Goyāla-Pāḍā), Assam
21 September, 1979
śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
[In the letter published in Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s Patrāvalī, the recipient was kept anonymous.]
I received a letter from you many days ago. I should have replied to your warm letter much sooner. Forgive me for failing to reply in a timely manner. Your weeping is so overwhelming that it has rent everyone’s heart. In your letter, you referred to yourself as my ‘fallen daughter’. In the shower of your tears, even the heart of a stone-hearted person like me is torn asunder. Śrī Bhagavān shall fulfil your heart’s desires. Protect your great enthusiasm and forbearance within your heart. If you envision the smiling faces of Śrī Gurudeva and the Vaiṣṇavas and remember their instructions and teachings, you will find peace of mind at all times, in all circumstances.
I came to Kāśīnagara for the occasion of the deity installation which was held on Akṣaya-Tṛtīya in the month of Vaiśākha (May), but at that time I had no chance to converse with you properly. It seems, therefore, that you have become dissatisfied with me. I hope that after understanding the gravity of my situation on that occasion, you have forgiven me. At that time, I presumed that perhaps you were angry with me and hurt, but upon receiving your letter my presumption was proved wrong.
Because you always weep, to console you I am always saying, “O Mother, please do not cry.” Śrī Bhagavān shall certainly bestow auspiciousness upon you. Do not feel upset that you have no monetary fortune and therefore cannot donate anything for service. One serves Śrī Hari and guru through one’s wealth, words, mind and one’s very spirit (prāṇa). Those who do not have wealth should serve with their words, minds and spirit. To surrender one’s mind and spirit to Śrī Gurudeva and Bhagavān is the most excellent donation, for the mind and spirit are the supreme forms of wealth. If you are able to anxiously cry to Śrī Gurudeva and Bhagavān, you shall obtain the fruit of donating everything. And in that fruit your heart shall find joy and peace.
You wrote truthfully when you explained that in this world you cannot call anyone your own except for Guru, Vaiṣṇavas and Bhagavān. If we can make them our own, then only will our lives be successful and all our efforts blessed. Therefore, the mahājanas have sung, “tava nija-jana, parama bāndhava, saṁsāra kārāgāre – Your personal associates are our dearest relatives and greatest friends in this jailhouse of material existence.” It is essential to realize this deep down in our hearts. Affection and loving possessiveness cannot be displayed in front of just anyone, for they are the exchange of emotions of the heart.
For this reason, even tears of devotion often become the cause of criticism and misinterpretation if they are shed in the presence of ordinary people. Those very tears give many people an opportunity to falsely judge you, to misunderstand you and so on. Therefore, in matters of hari-bhajana, specific instructions have been provided regarding proper times, places and circumstances. Śrī Guru, the Vaiṣṇavas and Bhagavān are present within the heart. They know and embrace the emotions we feel for them. Therefore, whether we cry in front of them or out of their sight, our every cry truly reaches them. Śrī Bhagavān sat down for His meal in Dvārakā. Rukmiṇī Devi was serving Him. But at that moment, in Kāmyavana within Vṛndāvana, Draupadī’s cry reached Him from over a thousand miles away.*
* C.f. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.15.11) wherein the Lord saves the Pāṇḍavas from incurring Durvāsa Ṛṣi’s wrath.
1978 was the year your assets were lost. You wrote that you have undergone punishments comparable to residing in hell. As long as this body remains, pain and sorrow, sickness and disease, and suffering and torment will surely also remain. Most likely, you only went to the hospital because you were bound to. What you wrote is true – hospitals are like lakes from hell. There, you suffer hellish torture. The stench there makes life unbearable and before your eyes people die and writhe in pain. It is truly horrific. I understand that they even put you in the morgue. It was Śrī Bhagavān alone who protected you. You will never forget Śrī Gurudeva and Bhagavān, and you will faithfully perform hari-bhajana.
You wish to know whether your fortune will be like that of the other two you mentioned. You wrote how they were born to a wealthy family and are serving so much and performing so much bhajana, while the crying in your heart stays in your heart alone. Is it that without money it is not possible for someone to perform hari-bhajana?
Why did you become so morose simply because you could not afford to give me a donation this time? The anxious fervour in your heart is certainly acknowledged by Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, who are very compassionate. Although you have no worldly wealth (artha), Śrī Bhagavān will see how you are crying and bless you with supreme, transcendent wealth (paramārtha). Of this there can be no doubt.
* * *
I understand that, despite being my mother, you have not yet had the opportunity to serve me by cooking for me with your own hands. I will come to your straw hut, relish the preparations cooked by your own hand, and take prasāda. This hope of yours will be fulfilled. In your home, kīrtana and class will be held. According to your means, you will most definitely be able to invite and feed eight to ten devotees. We will certainly come to your home and take prasāda. Do not worry; I hereby make you fearless in this regard. And please do not be angry with me for taking so long to reply.
Without worries, without disturbance, chant harināma. Maintain a practice of studying some scripture as time permits. Sing the songs of the mahājanas. Chant your gāyatrī three times a day. We are honoured to be invited to the house of Vidurā to partake of the foodstuffs prepared by the hand of Vidurāṇī.* We will be satisfied just by tasting the preparations of green leaves and rice you will prepare.
* Once, Kṛṣṇa rejected the opulent meal offered to Him by Duryodhana, who lacked devotion, in favour of the exceedingly simple offering by the wife of Vidura, who possessed great devotion.
I will be coming with the party to Kāśīnagara around the 20th of the forthcoming month of Pauṣa [December–January]. At that time, I will come to your house one day, take prasāda and hold class, kīrtana and so on. For those who have no one else in this world, Śrī Bhagavan, Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas are their only aid, so why have you written that you are unfortunate? Those who immerse their minds in hari-bhajana by taking shelter of sad-guru are the fortunate ones. Their births are blessed and successful. Selfish, worldly people are forever critically analyzing devotees, but none of their judgments can harm you.
May my fallen daughters and my crazy sons continue to serve Śrī Hari in happiness and peace. The all-auspicious Lord will certainly shower beneficence upon them. In your letter you have indicated that you remain awake, late at night, and express your inner agony, babbling incoherently. Know that I would never be indifferent to such a matter. May Śrī Bhagavān grant me the intelligence to at least be able to contemplate the simplicity of your heart. Otherwise I am concerned that this son of a crazy mother and father will surely become crazy before long.
If even after obtaining Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas as your sons you still feel childless, then you should accept the provision that you should acknowledge Śrī Gopāla-kṛṣṇa alone to be your son, for such a son will never die, nor will He cause you to weep. By accepting Śrī Bhagavān to be our mother and father, our child and friend, our husband and our supreme master, we will never have to fall victim to mundane sorrow and delusion. So know Him to be your one and only son. He will never be the cause of sorrow and suffering for you.
Accept my unlimited, affectionate blessings. I am somehow or another doing fine. I conclude here –
Your ever well-wisher,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
Translated from the Patrāvalī (compilation of letters) of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
by the Rays of The Harmonist team