Vrndavana, India: October 17, 2005
[This year, 2006, the appearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja is on February 15 (which is the 16th in India). Below, please find two lectures given on his disappearance day, in Vrndavana, India, on October 17, 2005. One lecture was given in the morning and the other in the evening. This is the first time these lectures are being sent to you:]
Today is the first day of our Urja-vrata, niyama seva and Damodara-vrata. Today is also Saradiya-Purnima, the day leading to the full moon night, when Lord Sri Krsna began His performance of the Rasa Dance. Today is also the disappearance day of my Gurudeva, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. On this day he entered the eternal abode of Sri Krsna in the evening, just when the moon was rising. Where? At the rasa-sthali in Sri Navadvipa Dhama. That place is non different from Govardhana. At that time we were all present, as our Gurudeva chanted, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare” and entered into nitya-lila.
Not only is this month full with Lord Krsna's pastimes, but in this month there are also many appearance and disappearance days of great Vaisnavas. Srila Bhakti Sri Rupa Siddhanti Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja appeared in this month, as did the disappearance festivals of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja and our Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja. He left for nitya-lila on this day, as did Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja also left for nitya-lila in this month, as did Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja.
My Gurudeva used to say, “Where was I? I was drowning in maya, in the cycle of repeated birth and death. But Prabhupada, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was so merciful. He took me by the sikha and engaged me in his service.” So, who am I? I was born in Bihar, the country of the demon Jarasandha. Even the Pandavas never traveled there it is such an unfortunate place. But my Gurudeva was so merciful. He caught me, and he fully engaged me in his service.
Because I was serving him, I received so much opportunity to hear the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Especially, I could hear the glories of Srimati Radhika and by my Gurudeva's mercy I could understand something of Her glories. It is only by his mercy that people throughout the world now hear my hari-katha, and wherever I travel in the world, they give me so much respect. It is only by his mercy that I also received the mercy of all the associates of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. I am very, very fortunate, and my good fortune has only one cause the service I performed for my Gurudeva.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has taught us the following: suppose a person is engaged in the service of Sri Gurudeva or the Vaisnavas. If at that time, in another place, hearing, chanting, remembering and offer prayers to the Lord is going on, but because of serving the spiritual master under his personal direction, that person cannot engage in these activities of bhakti, for him there is no loss at all. He will have all his desires fulfilled; he will get the results of all devotional activities. But for this to happen he must have a spiritual master who is of the highest caliber.
Although my Gurudeva has unlimited transcendental qualities, his wonderful speciality, his best quality, was his unprecedented guru-nistha, his faith and loyalty to his Guru. Such faith and loyalty is the backbone of bhakti. Unless one has faith in ones own spiritual master, one cannot come even close to having bhakti. We could see the guru-nistha of our Gurudeva, especially at the samadhi place of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, in Mayapura-dhama. Coming before the samadhi of Srila Prabhupada, he could not even complete his utterance of the name, 'Prabhupada'. His voice would choke and, weeping, he could not speak. Therefore, at that time he indicated to us: “Oh, you can say something.”
My Gurudeva fulfilled all the heartfelt desires of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. He would totally defeat all those who were against Srila Prabhupada and suddha-bhakti (pure devotion to Sri Krsna). Once, during Sri Navadvipa parikrama, Srila Prabhupada's parikrama party came to Paramatala in Navadvipa. At that time all the sahajiyas [*See Endnote 1] and the smarta-brahmanas [*See Endnote 2] present were very much disturbed by his forceful preaching, and they had gone there to kill or at least injure the Vaisnavas. At that time my Gurudeva took Prabhupada to a secluded place and gave him his own white clothing. He took the sannyasa dress of his Guru Maharaja, who then secretly went back to the matha, while Gurudeva stayed there and risked his life until he was rescued by the police. [*See Endnote 3] All the disciples of Srila Prabhupada who were present had run here and there to protect their lives, but our Gurudeva showed his unprecedented attachment, faith and loyalty to his guru by risking his own life to save him. He used to say, “We should have the ego or self-conception that, 'I will fulfill the mano-'bhistha, the innermost heartfelt desires of our Prabhupada.'”
The sahajiyas used to criticize and say, “In the Gaudiya Matha they are not doing anything worthwhile. They suck only the pit of the mango. We, on the other hand, are tasting the rasa-lila of Radha and Krsna. We are tasting all the juice, whereas in the Gaudiya Matha they are only sucking on dry philosophy. And actually, they don't know anything.” Hearing about this, Gurudeva crushed their statements. With very forceful language he cut all their conceptions into millions of pieces, until they finally fell at his feet and begged forgiveness.
Some of the members of the Nimbarka-sampradaya wrote in an article saying that the scholar Kesava-kasmiri defeated Sacinandana Gaurahari (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu), and that Sacinandana Gaurahari then took initiation from him. When Gurudeva heard about this, he became red with anger and ordered, “Bring my pen!” He then wrote a very powerful article, stating that there was actually no one called Nimbarka Acarya. He wrote that if there would have been such a person, his name would have been mentioned in the commentary that he wrote on the Vedanta. Rather, there was a great Vaisnava called Nimbaditya, and it was he who wrote the Vedanta commentary. In the end, these persons also had to come to Gurudeva, begging forgiveness.
Gurudeva was also very rasika. He wrote a very beautiful arati-song for Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. That arati is so attractive, that Pujyapada Srila Bhakti-vilasa Tirtha Maharaja took that arati-song and wrote his own name as the author. When Gurudeva heard about this he laughed and said, “Oh, that is all right. After all, this arati song is about the glories of Prabhupada.”
Still, at that time Prabhupada had not given guru-mantra to anyone. At the time of Gurudeva's harinama and diksa initiation, he gave him all the mantra's, like brahma-gayatri, gaura-mantra, gaura-gayatri, krsna-mantra and kama-gayatri but he did not give him guru-mantra and guru-gayatri. Therefore Gurudeva asked him, “Does that mean I have to go to another Guru and take guru-mantra there?” Prabhupada smiled and give him the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri, and from that time he began to give everyone guru-mantra and guru-gayatri.
Gurudeva left college at the age of eighteen, and he performed amazing services to his Guru Maharaja. What is now known as Chandrasekhara Bhavan was a Muslim graveyard at that time. In one night Gurudeva took all the head stones and threw them away. In one part the devotees planted many big and small mango trees, bamboo and jackfruit, after which all the Muslims went to the district magistrate and complained, “They have destroyed our graveyard.” The district magistrate came, saw that garden and said, “In one night, how can such a big garden have become manifest? No, this place has been here for a long time.” He threw out the Muslim's complaint.
Gurudeva also arranged for the building of the first big Gaudiya Matha in Calcutta, which is now Sri Bagbazar Gaudiya Matha. There was a very wealthy personality living in Calcutta who had come from Gurudeva's own village, and Gurudeva went there and met him. Gurudeva's family members was the land owner of that village, so when he went there for collection, that man said, “How can I serve you?” Gurudeva answered, “Actually, we want to build a Gaudiya Math in Calcutta.” That man gave the land. Gurudeva then said, “How can you give a plate without food on it?” So that man also gave the money for the construction of the building. *[See endnote 4]
Gurudeva was very expert in philosophical conclusive truths, and in that regard I will relate one incident. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada had a speciality: if any brahmacaris would disagree among themselves, he would order one of the contending brahmacari to glorify the other, and vice-versa. He had a very beloved disciple named Sri Paramananda prabhu. Once, Paramananda and Gurudeva had some disagreement. Therefore, Prabhupada ordered Gurudeva, “You should glorify Paramananda prabhu.” Gurudeva then stood up and began to recite verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam, like:
aho bhagyam aho bhagyam
purnam brahma sanatanam
[“How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because the Absolute Truth, the source of transcendental bliss, the eternal Supreme Brahman, has become their friend.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.14.32)]
And from Vedanta-sutra he quoted:
mukham karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim
yat krpa tam aham vande paramananda-madhavam
[“I worship Madhava, the embodiment of paramananda, whose mercy turns the dumb into eloquent speakers and enables the lame to cross mounatains.”]
Quoting many different verses from Vedanta and Srimad-Bhagavatam, that contained name Paramananda, Gurudeva gave a nice explanation and all were astonished.
At the time of the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, some persons came and said, “We will perform agni-samskara. We will cremate his body.” At that time, Gurudeva, like a lion, stopped them, saying, “Oh, you want to burn him? You can burn me first! I will never allow you to cremate his divine body.” He then organized a special train, and many brahmacaris, sannyasis and householders went on that train with Gurudeva and the transcendental body of Srila Prabhupada to Mayapura. There, at the Gaudiya Matha, Gurudeva arranged the samadhi-ceremony of his Guru Maharaja.
After some time, Srila Prabhupada came to Gurudeva in a dream and said, “You have to take sannyasa. If you don't, all my Gaudiya Mathas and my preaching will be destroyed.” In that dream Srila Prabhupada gave Gurudeva the sannyasa-mantra and the name Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. Then, on the day of Visvarupa Mahotsava, in Katva, our Gurudeva took sannyasa from Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja, and from then he became famous by the name Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. *[See endnote 5]
In those days, many people considered that the real explanation of Vedanta was given by Sri Sankaracarya, who propounded Advaita-vada, impersonalism. Gurudeva rejected this idea and, following the conception of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, gave his sannyasis the name 'Bhaktivedanta' (meaning that devotion to Sri Krsna is the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate goal of Vedanta study).
Some people became disturbed by this, saying, “What speculation is this? Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura never gave anyone the name 'Bhaktivedanta'.” Gurudeva replied, “Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu was given that name by his Srila Prabhupada while he was a householder.” We three Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja and I were his first sannyasis, and after this, Gurudeva made thirty more sannyasis.
Every year Srila Gurudeva performed parikrama, going to many holy places including Dvaraka, Kedarnath and Gangotri in the Himalayas and so on. I was with him at that time. He had so much affection for his disciples.
Gurudeva was very expert in all philosophy. He was also very rasika (tasting his) loving relationship with Lord Sri Krsna), and he was a very expert writer. He was an excellent writer and he was an expert fighter also. I have learned how to do this from him. I am therefore now also giving good scriptural arguments against so many false philosophies.
Sometimes, Srila Gurudeva used to go to the court. Once he went to court, and the judge began to ask, “Why have you come to court? Only lawyers and judges come here.” Gurudeva then he told a story from Sri Sri Radha and Krsna's loving pastimes. Once, Sri Krsna did something wrong, and the gopis made a court case against Him. Srimati Radhika was chosen as the high court judge. The cowherd boys, Subala and Madhu-mangala became the lawyers, and they defended the case of Krsna. It was ultimately decided that Krsna was wrong, and therefore Lalita ordered that He would have to undergo some reformatory action. He would have to write a declaration saying, “I am the servant of Srimati Radhika.” Gurudeva gave this argument in the court that court cases are also there in nitya-lila. *[See endnote 6]
Gurudeva preached all over India, and his sannyasa disciple, Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, preached all over the world. By his mercy, I am also preaching all over the world.
Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja ki jaya!
[“We therefore see that devotees known as sahajiya, who make everything very easy, do not associate with advanced devotees. Such persons, in the name of devotional activities, are addicted to all kinds of sinful actsillicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. There are many so-called devotees passing themselves off as devotees while engaging in these sinful activities.” (4.29.41 purport)]
“A smarta-brahmana is always interested in material profit, whereas a Vaisnava is interested only in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.19.33 Purport)
[“A smarta-brahmana-that is, one who strictly follows the Vedic principles on the mundane platform. On the mundane platform one cannot believe that prasada is transcendental, that Govinda is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or that a Vaisnava is a liberated person. These transcendental considerations are out of the ordinary Vedic scholar's jurisdiction.” (Madhya-lila 12.180 purport)]
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was doing Navadvipa parikrama along with thousands of pilgrims. On the third day he came to Navadvipa town, in front of the Praudha Maya temple, which was surrounded by a big population. All the so-called brahmanas and caste Gosvamis there were in opposition to Srila Prabhupada, because they felt he thought himself superior to brahmanas. They made a conspiracy saying, “We will punish and kill him.” About a thousand of these brahmanas took sticks, bricks, stones, soda water and hot water; and they threw these from all the houses. They wanted to kill many devotees along with Srila Prabhupada. All the devotees ran away, 'keeping their feet on their heads.' They were running here and there, wherever they found a way. This was reported to the police, but the police were silent; they were favoring the caste brahmanas.
There was no way to escape. Srila Prabhupada was alone; all his senior disciples had fled. One brahmacari was with him in white cloth, not saffron. He at once signaled to Srila Prabhupada and they both approached a house. He begged the householders, ”O, please open the door. We want to stay for a moment. He immediately gave Srila Prabhupada his own white clothes, and took his sannyasi clothes and danda. In this way he actually took sannyasa there, and then he somehow sent Srila Prabhupada, in white cloth, to Mayapura. No one knew about this, and everyone surrounded that house. They thought, “Oh, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati is here; so we must take him.”
He knew this was a very dangerous time. He was Vinodabihari Brahmacari. He was very young, perhaps only 21 years of age. But he was very bold and very strong and he had no fear at all. And in the meantime some police came and after sometime the public disappeared.
After sometime he also went to Mayapura, and everyone saw that Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari was now a sannyasi not Vinoda Babu. That same night he changed his clothes, but Prabhupada accepted him as a sannyasi disciple. Now you should consider who was Vinodabihari Brahmacari. He was my Gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. (Secret Truths of the Bhagavatam, p. 145-146)]
Sri Jagadbandhu was originally a resident of the village of Vanaripada in the Varisala district of East Bengal. Later he started a business in Calcutta and became very wealthy. In Calcutta he lived in Bagbazar on the bank of the Ganga in a gorgeous, palatial house. It so happened that Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacariji and his god-brother Mukunda-vinoda Babaji Maharaja were performing bhiksa and preaching in that area one day for guru-seva. When they arrived at Sri Jagadbandhuji's home, they saw on the door a plaque with the inscription, 'The bhavan of Sri Jagadbandu dasa of Varisala'. Vinodabihari suddenly remembered that the man was a subject of his family's protectorate. He told the gatekeeper to say that Vinodabihari from Vanaripada wanted to see Sri Jagadbandhu dasa. When Jagadbandhuji heard this, he immediately ran barefoot to meet Vinodabihari. Recognizing the brahmacari as his landlord, he knelt down and offered pranamas. With great respect, he seated both of his guests on chairs and began to listen to their bhagavat-katha. He became very pleased as he listened to their discourse about the Supreme Lord, and his delight and faith increased even more when he heard that Vinoda-bihari had left home and was engaged in various kinds of seva to Jagadguru Srila Prabhupada. Jagadbandhuji then said that he also wanted to perform seva for the matha. He revealed that he had previously resolved to donate land to the Sri Gaudiya Matha but now, having heard Sri Vinodabihari's hari-katha, he had decided not to do more. “Is it right for one person to give a plate and someone else to serve food on it? That will not do. I shall carry the entire financial responsibility for the construction of both the matha and mandira.” This actually came to pass. In 1930, Sri Sri Gaura Vinodanandaji were installed in Their enormous sri mandira with hari-nama sankirtana and much pomp and grandeur. That is how the great endeavor of Parama Niskincana Sri Vinodabihari, who was completely dedicated to the lotus feet of his guru, became the foundation of the establishment of the Bagbazar Sri Gaudiya Mahta. (Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, His Life and Teachings, p 44-46).
At this time, while Sri Krtiratna was sleeping during the last part of the night, he dreamed that Srila Prabhupada laid his hand on his right shoulder, and spoke to him in a grave voice, saying, “Until now you have not taken sannyasa. Today I am giving you sannyasa” In his dream, the complete sannyasa ceremony took place, and when the ceremony was over Srila Prabhupada instructed Srimad Bhaktisaranga Gosvami Maharaja to call out “Sri Kesava Maharaja ki jaya!” The jaya dhvani was so loud that Krtiratna Prabhu woke up. He told his senior god-brothers about the dream and they were elated to find 'Kesava' among the 108 sannyasa names.
When Srila Prabhupada had been personally present, he had on several occasions expressed his desire to give sannyasa to his intimate servant, Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari. He used to say, “Vinoda is sannyasi by body, mind and words. It only remains to change his outer dress.” On one occasion, Srila Prabhupada had planned to give Sri Vinoda-bihari sannyasa. Dor-kaupin (loin-cloth), danda and all the requirements had been prepared and all the arrangements were completed, but Sripada Kunjabihari Vidyabhusana Prabhu, who was the secretary of the Gaudiya Mission, made a humble submission at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada: “If Sri Vinoda-bihari is given sannyasa now, it will jeopardize the protection of the matha and mission. Please, postpone his sannyasa.” On another occasion, the arrangement for Vinoda-bihari's sannyasa was made again in the Bagbazar Gaudiya Matha. This time it was due to the special petition of Bhagavatratna Prabhu that Srila Prabhupada did not award sannyasa. On a third occasion, Srila Prabhupada ordered Vinoda-bihari in a dream to take sannyasa, saying, “Vinoda, because you have not taken sannyasa until now, my entire preaching work is being ruined.” Finally, on the fourth occasion, hearing Srila Prabhupada instructing him to take sannyasa, and actually seeing himself accepting sannyasa from Srila Prabhupada in the dream, Krtiratna Prabhu took this matter very seriously and vowed to accept sannyasa on the upcoming holy day of Bhadra Purnima in Katva, where Sriman Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa.
Accordingly, on Purnima Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari accepted sannyasa in Katva, by the pancaratric method of Samskara-dipika, from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada's dear disciple, Srila Bhaktiraksaka Sridhara Gosvami, who was a great transcendental writer, poet and philosopher. His sannyasa name was announced to be Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaj. Pujyapada Srimad Bhaktibhudeva Srauti Maharaja performed the priestly duties of the ceremony and instructed the brahmacari how to put on kaupin and the outer cloth. Srila Sridhara Maharaja recited the sannyasa-mantra. Thus the sannyasa dress and sannyasa name given by Srila Prabhupada in the dream became a complete reality. (Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, His Life and Teachings, p. 89-90)]
Once Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari attended a religious assembly in Krsnanagar, at which attorneys, barristers, a retired judge and other eminent learned and respected people were present. Many of them gave sincere and thoughtful speeches, and one in particular spoke with great humility and regret. “I have uselessly wasted my whole life in court proceedings,” he began. “My birth has become unsuccessful because I have not performed hari-bhajana, the worship of Lord Hari. Human life can become successful only through hari-bhakti, but I have distanced myself from it. Now in old age my senses are becoming weak, I can not understand anything and death is imminent.” Speaking in this way he prayed at the lotus feet of the Vaisnavas and Bhagavan for Bhagavad-bhakti.
At the end of the meeting the respected chairman asked Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari Krtiratna Prabhu if he would please say something. He stood up and began to speak simply and naturally, but with very powerful language. “The hidden purport of all sastras is Bhagavad-bhakti. Of all forms of Bhagavad-bhakti, the prema-mayi bhakti (bhakti imbued with prema) of the associates of Vrajendra-nandana, Sri Krsna in Vraja, is topmost. Therefore Vaisnava Acarya Sri Cakravarti Thakura has said,
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas-tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid-upasana vraja-vadhu vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam pram pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradaro nah parah
‘Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna is the supreme worshipful Deity. Sri Vrndavana Dhama is worshipful like Krsna, because it is the place of His pastimes. Amongst all forms of worship, the gopis' worship of Krsna is supreme. Srimad-Bhagavatam offers the supreme, flawless evidence of this truth. This is the teaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.’
In the sastras there are also examples of court-proceedings. I think that the performance of court-proceedings is the best sadhana in hari-bhakti. Besides, court-proceedings are actually hari-bhakti; it is just that people do not understand how to perform them. For those unfortunate souls the opportunity to attain bhagavad-bhakti is very remote.
We are in the party of the most worshipful Srimati Radhika, and our special seva is to arrange for Her meeting with Krsna. On one occasion, Sri Krsna went to meet with Srimati Candravali in her kunja. Radha's sakhis made up some excuse to extricate Him from there, and they brought Him to Sri Radhaji's kunja at Sri Radha-kunda. There, in front of Kunjesvari Srimati Radhika He was made to write, 'I am the servant of Radhaji. I will never leave Radhaji and go elsewhere.' Then He had to sign this declaration. A few days later, though, Sri Krsna, compelled by His nature, neglected His promise and again went to Candravali's kunja. Radha' sakhis, seeing that Sri Krsna was so opposed to Sri Vrndavanesvari Radhika, filed a court-case against Krsna, who was not at that time present in Her court, and they issued a court decree with which He was bound to comply. In this way they arranged His sweet meeting with Srimati Radhika by means of a warrant.”
The lawyers, the judge and all the other people were pleased and impressed with Sri Krtiratna Prabhu's sweet speech, which was filled with scriptural siddhanta. His philosophical lecture made a deep impression in everyone's heart and made them realize that the most important achievement in the human form of life is to attain the service of Sri Radha-Govinda, and nothing else. He then explain that birth in a high family, beauty, education, wealth, etc. are not required for sri krsna-bhajana. On the contrary, Krsna bhajana is the qualification and birthright of every human being. Thus, it is necessary for all of us to perform hari-bhajana. (Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, His Life and Teachings, p 52-53)]
Quotes in the Endnotes: from the translations and purports in the books of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Translator: Sripad Damodara Maharaja
Transcriber: Janaki dasi
Typist: Vasanti dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Appearance Day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
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