śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-5, Special On-line EditionPosted: 6 January 2013
Dedicated tonitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance ofnitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
The Glories of Śrīla Gurudeva’sDisappearance Pastime
“Maṅgala śrī guru-gaura – Śrī Guru and Gaura are all auspicious” [Maṅgala Ārati by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja]; therefore, their appearance, disappearance and all of the pastimes they perform in this world are full of auspiciousness for us. If we think otherwise, we will not perceive the accuracy of these words sung by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
If we attempt to understand the appearance pastime of śrī guru, as well as his manifest pastimes thereafter, on the basis of our own adhikāra, or qualification, we will be limited to perceiving them from an external perspective. We will be similarly limited in trying to grasp the auspiciousness, or spiritual welfare, that such pastimes bestow upon us, and indeed upon the whole world. It is only possible for us to understand them fully if we receive the mercy of śrī guru.
If this is so regarding śrī guru’s appearance and the glorious pastimes he performs when he is present, if we do not receive higher spiritual help – the authoritative conclusions of śāstra or the statements of śrī guru and exalted Vaiṣṇavas – what can be said of our ability to perceive the great auspiciousness hidden in his disappearance pastimes? If we fail to reflect upon śrī guru’s and the mahā-bhāgavata’s disappearance pastime and the true significance and deep compassion underlying it, then we will be deprived of our eternal welfare.
Because Śrīla Gurudeva is an eternal associate of the autocratic Supreme Lord, he is fully independent in his pastimes, independent in disseminating compassion in unlimited ways beyond the scope of our comprehension, and independent in choosing how he departs from this world.
Śrīla Gurudeva and mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas, being fully independent, can manifest their disappearance according to their own will. This can happen within a mere second or over a period of time as they manifest a pastime of illness. But however they choose to close their pastimes in this world, they remain fully divine personalities in every respect. By his own free will, Śrīla Gurudeva chose to manifest an illness pastime so that we conditioned souls, who are endeavouring to take shelter of him, would be able to receive the immense spiritual benefit resulting from giving our full attention to serving him. In doing so, he instilled in us a feeling or mood of protecting him; it was as if it were he who depended upon us.
The eternal svarūpa (intrinsic form), or tattva (eternal truth), regarding śrī guru is not that of being the enjoyer (bhokta), for he is the topmost servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rather, he maintains the ego of being poṣya and pālya (nourished and protected) by his own gurudeva and also by the followers of his gurudeva. He never maintains the ego of being their pālaka (protector or maintainer).
The āśraya-vigraha (the abode of loving devotion) never considers himself to be the enjoyer of those who take his shelter (āśraya). He prepares everyone in his yūtha, or group, to be an instrument of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure and thus through them, he brings enjoyment to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason that he is most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa (mukunda-preṣṭha). Due to being the topmost servant within his yūtha, his gurutva (his quality of being śrī guru) and his ācāryatva (his quality of being the ideal spiritual preceptor) are thus established. Service to his own yūtha, which is his instrument of giving pleasure to Kṛṣṇa, is his everything. Moreover, his very existence is solely with his yūtha. “Bahurbhirmilitva yat kīrtana, tadeva saṅkīrtana – when many people collectively perform kīrtana, that is saṅkīrtana.” Śrī guru performs such saṅkīrtana.
Both his close servants (those who render service to his personal form as well as those who perform other prominent services) and his remote servants constitute his yūtha. If the close servants think they are the only servants and that the remote servants have neither a service mood nor caring feelings, or if the remote servants think like this about the close servants, then their service to śrī guru is incomplete. In order to render complete service to śrī guru, one must serve not just him, but his entire yūtha.
We can perceive that Śrīla Gurudeva’s divine pastime of returning to Vraja is composed of unlimited, variegated wonder. By reflecting upon his departure with transcendental faith, his sincere followers, who feel acute separation from him, can also become genuine travellers to the land of Vraja. During his departure līlā, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja manifested innumerable astonishing pastimes.
Throughout his departure pastime, his sole desire and plan was to bestow mercy upon all who somehow or other took shelter of him. His departure was timed according to his will and plan, just like that of Grandsire Bhīṣma, and this plan was fully approved and accepted by his guru-varga.
When Śrīla Gurudeva first arrived in Navadvīpa in 1946, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja sent Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja to the train station in the middle of the night to receive him and bring him to the maṭha.
Deep within his heart, Śrīla Gurudeva desired that through the medium of Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja he would again meet his beloved gurudeva in the eternal abode. Approving that desire, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja arranged for Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja to again appear in this world at 3:00 a.m., on śrī kṛṣṇa-navami-tithi (29 December), 2010 – his own appearance day – to bring Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja back to his eternal home.
In Śrī Jagannātha Purī, the abode of Lord Śrī Jagannātha, where every morning Śrī Jagannātha is glorified with the singing of Daśāvatara-stotram, Śrīla Gurudeva concluded his pastimes in this world in a most wonderful way. “Keśava dhṛta-vāmana-rūpa! Jaya jagadīśa hare – Śrī Keśava, appearing in the form of Śrī Vāmana, stole him from our sight and drew him close.”
The spirit of this editorial is taken from the harikathā ofŚrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Excerpts from Rays of The Harmonist,Issue 24, “Entering Nitya-līla”
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22 December 2013Issue: Year 6, Issue 11:Thakura Bhaktivinoda - Part II
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