Srila Prabhupada's Sannyasa Day Anniversary and Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava


Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja and his sannyasa disciples, Srila Bhaktivedanta Muni Maharaja (left) and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja (right).

Srila Prabhupada's Sannyasa Day Anniversary and Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava

Mathura, India, September 13, 2000, PM
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja


Today is the sannyasa day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. On this day he took sannyasa here, and then he preached all over the world. He began from New York, and from there he went to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and after that he established so many preaching centers everywhere.

The important thing is that he wrote and translated so many authoritative books. He wrote Easy Journey to other Planets, and he translated Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Krishna book, Sri Isopanisad, and so many other books. In just a few years he preached all over the world, and after that he finished his duty. Krishna called him; he therefore left this world and joined the service of Radha-Krishna Conjugal.

The process he took for preaching was the same process taken by Caitanya Mahaprabhu-nama-sankirtana. Srila Rupa Gosvami fulfilled the desire of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and this is called mano 'bhistam. Those who have not offered their life at the lotus feet of gurudeva, who have no guru-nistha, no attachment, and no mano' bhista seva, will never advance in Krishna consciousness.

Even if one has no money at all, no learning and no material qualities, if he fully surrenders, then he can certainly fulfil his guru's desire. Srila Svami Maharaja had no money. He had only a desire to serve his guru, and therefore Krishna arranged everything for him. Everything was going on 'automatically.' He went here and there-all over the world-and whatever he wanted was arranged. He preached all over the world. If one has no other qualification, but he is giving his faith and life to Gurudeva, Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu will arrange everything.

I'm realizing this fact. I know that I'm not qualified in any way. I'm not a learned person and I don't know any languages; but from the beginning I offered myself at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva. I was always ready to die for him. Whatever he wanted, I did without any desire for self-gain. That is why, throughout the world, so many are hearing me and giving me respect. I'm so fortunate that I've served so many authentic and qualified Vaisnavas, like Pujyapada Sridara Maharaja, Pujyapada Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja, Pujyapada Siddhanti Maharaja, Pujyapada Giri Maharaja, Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja, and so many others. I was so fortunate to have served them personally. When I was with Gurudeva I used to serve them all. This is my qualification. I never went to any college, I never learned Sanskrit anusvara and visarga, and I also never practiced English. I didn't do anything, but everything is coming automatically. So I'm realizing this fact.

There are so many learned scholars in Mathura, and these Mathuravasis are the most learned scholars in the entire world. Still, all are coming to me. You can see that in Vrindavana all the Gosvamis of Radha-Ramana, and all other Gosvamis, come to me. Why? Because of only one qualification; I served my Gurudeva.

You should also consider this: Placing your hand on your heart, ask yourself, "What am I doing? Am I serving my Gurudeva as my Gurudeva served his Gurudeva?" My Gurudeva was prepared to give his life for Srila Prabhupada in Navadvipa. He never cared for his life. He once wanted someone among his disciples to serve a very dear disciple of his who had become a victim of T.B. All were afraid because so much blood was coming from him. All were afraid. No one dared to serve that boy. But I told Gurudeva, "You can go and preach, and I will serve him." He was vomiting blood everywhere; but I never cared for my life, and the result came. I was so fortunate to see that on the day he left this world he said, "Oh, Radha and Krishna are coming to me. They are calling me in Vrindavana. I am going to Vrindavana. O Baba! O Krishna! O Gurudeva!" I then requested him, "Prabhu, you are going to Vrindavana. Please pray to Radha-Krishna Conjugal that They may shower mercy on me so that I can be a pure devotee in Their service." That boy was illiterate. He had no material qualification at all. He was a very beautiful Assami boy of about sixteen or eighteen years old. He used to play on the mrdanga, and he was very good at kirtan. He used to cook and wash the clothes of Gurudeva, and he always followed him. By chanting the name of Narayana, Ajamila attained far more than salvation. He went to the abode of Narayana and worshipped Him there. What, therefore, will this boy attain? Radha and Krishna. He was totally immersed, calling "Radhe! Radhe! Krishna! Krishna! I'm going to Vrindavana." So he must be there. His only qualification was that he served his Gurudeva. No one can do bhajana without the mercy of Gurudeva.

Thus, in obeying the orders of his Gurudeva, Srila Svami Maharaja never cared for his life, and he jumped over the seven oceans. On the way he even had a heart attack, but he never cared. He had a strong will to serve his Gurudeva. And what did he do? A miracle.

You should try to learn from these examples. Otherwise, even if you are hearing and chanting, even if you have taken saffron cloth, and even if you have taken sannyasa, if you have no guru-nistha, no sadbandhuvat, no visrambhena guru-seva, you cannot do bhajana.

It has been told in sastra that among koti koti (tens of millions) bhaktas, a one-pointed Krishna-bhakta is very rare in this world. We should try to be one of the rare bhaktas; and this can only be made possible by the mercy of Gurudeva.

Sri Narahari Thakura was one of the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was always with Him, and He wrote an astakam, eight slokas, about Him. In the first sloka he wrote, "Sacinandana Gaurahari was the leader of the cheaters of cheaters. He was a very big cheater-the leader of cheaters. He is Krishna Himself, so why did he take sannyasa and saffron cloth and the golden color of Srimati Radhika? Why is His hair always standing on end in asta-sattvika vikara? It is because Radha's mood is there. He is hiding Himself, and therefore He is the greatest cheater in this world."

In the same way, Srila Svami Maharaja was also a leader of cheaters. Do you admit that he was a cheater? He cheated everyone. How? He went door to door, like a sannyasi, saying, "You'll be very happy if you are serving Radha and Krishna". Actually, he was cheating us in so many ways because although outwardly he had the form of an elderly sannyasi, he was always in his eternally youthful svarupa, serving Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.

Sometimes we are in confusion or doubt and cannot reconcile his statements. He has told so many things, but everything is true to the highest extent. Bhagavad-gita says, "sarva dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja. Completely abandoning all material religious activities, fully surrender to me alone." On the other hand, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, "eho bahya. This statement is external." This shows that Krishna and His representatives speak according to the qualification of their audience. Many devotees could not reconcile Prabhupada's statements. They thought, "Previously he was telling this fact, and now he's telling something against it." Some of them have even lost their faith. I know that so many did. They should try to reconcile all these things. It may appear that Srila Svami Maharaja has told so many apparently contradictory things, and that is why general persons, that is, devotees who were not in good association, could not reconcile his statements. They lost their faith in Srila Svami Maharaja and left ISKCON. But we should have a very strong faith in Guru. He may tell one, two, three, four or five things at a time; but we'll have to reconcile them. Never give up your Gurudeva; it will be a very big offence. It has been said in sastra that if you have accepted a guru who is not qualified, who is very much attached to sense gratification, and who is not renounced from worldly desires, you should at once give him up. If a guru is not so qualified in siddhanta, that is, if he is a madhyama adhikari, but he has so much faith and nistha in his guru, still he should be honored. The qualification is not only learning.

It is stated in sastra that Krishna has no shape. He is nirguna. On the other hand, it is sometimes said that He is saguna. In this way we will have to reconcile so many things. If you are not reconciling, what will happen? You'll lose faith in Gurudeva and thus ruin your bhakti. So don't be like this. Have no doubt. So many of Srila Svami Maharaja's disciples followed his instructions externally, but not deeply, and that is why they lost faith.

You know that he has written everything in his books; nothing is left out. That is all right. I think that if Srila Vyasadeva were here, he would have written more and more. Similarly, although he has written everything, if Srila Svami Maharaja were here, he may have translated so many more books. I know this. Everything is in Srimad Bhagavatam. Why then did Srila Rupa Gosvami write so many books if everything is in Srimad Bhagavatam? Why? It was needed. If Srila Rupa Gosvami already wrote so many books, then why did Srila Jiva Gosvami write so many more? And why did Srila Narottama Thakura and Srila Visvanatha Chakravati Thakura write so many books? Why did Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura write hundreds of books? If any pure devotee will come later on, he will also write so many books. And there is no harm in that. Bhakti is endless-like an endless ocean. The qualities and pastimes of Krishna are like an ocean. No one, not even Krishna Himself, can fully explain or express everything about Him. New, new understandings will always come. We should therefore not think, "Everything has been done and there is no need of anything else. We don't want to read any books other than Prabhupada's". If it is in line, that is, in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Mahaprabhu and our guru-parampara, we should try to accept it. We have accepted Sri Caitanya Caritamrta though there were already so many books; and now we have accepted Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva-dharma, although there are already so many books.

So try to reconcile all these things, otherwise you will make an offence. If you want to develop your Krishna consciousness, don't hear any allegations against a pure Vaisnava-especially guru. Never criticize him. If someone is saying anything against him, try to 'cut his tongue.' In other words, try to refute his arguments. If you are not able to do that, then cover your ears and go away. We can learn so many things from Srila Svami Maharaja-your Srila Prabhupada.

Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava

We should know who was Sri Visvarupa. Sri Visvarupa took sannyasa, went to Pandarapura, and later departed from the world on this day. We went there with our Gurudeva on the bank of the Bhima River.

There are so many aspects of Baladeva Prabhu. One took birth in Vrindavana, Vraja, Gokula, with Krishna. He is the elder brother of Krishna, the Baladeva Prabhu of Vraja. He never leaves Vrindavana to go anywhere else. He is always in Vrindavana, Vraja mandala, with Krishna. As Krishna is always in Vrindavana. He also always lives in Vrindavana.

Then there is Mula Sankarsana in Dvaraka. He comes from Baladeva Prabhu, and from Him comes Visvarupa Prabhu. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is the same as Baladeva Prabhu in Vraja, and Sri Sacinandana Gaurahari is the same as Krishna in Gokula. They are both in Navadvipa, playing their pastimes there, and neither of them ever give up Navadvipa dhama for a moment. They don't go to Puri or anywhere else.

Who, then, was Visvarupa? He was one of the manifestations of Baladeva Prabhu. He was not Nityananda. He was a manifestation of Nityananda. He was like Maha-Sankarsana. He left Navadvipa and went to Pandarapura. When He disappeared from this world he merged in Nityananda Prabhu, just as Baladeva Prabhu who was the son of Devaki merged in Rohininandan Rama (after being in Devaki's womb for six months). It was in this way. Visvarupa was not fortunate enough to be with Mahaprabhu in performing all His lilas, and He was therefore not Nityananda Prabhu-he was like Maha Sankarsana. So we can reconcile it like this.

Gaura-premanande!

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