Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Varsana, India: Nov. 7, 2002 (eve)
[In the mid-afternoon of November 7th, just after Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's Vraja-mandala parikrama party reached Varsana from the lap of Giriraja Govardhana, the devotees heard the shocking news: "Prapujya-carana Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja has just left this world." That very evening, in great bereavement, all the assembled devotees, under the guidance of Srila Narayana Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Pariyataka Maharaja, held a viraha-mahotsava, separation festival, in his honor. The following is a transcription of the puspanjali offerings (heartfelt speeches of glorification) given by Srila Narayana Maharaja, Srila Pariyataka Maharaja, and Sripad Radhanatha dasa brahmacari:]
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I offer my humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, Nitya-lila-pravista Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, to all the Vaisnavas, and to Sri Gauranga.By the causeless mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga, the first fifteen days of our niyama-seva Kartika-vrata have passed without a problem; it passed sweetly and happily.
Today, however, we received very sad news. In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Srila Raya Ramananda: duhkha-madhye kona duhkha haya gurutara?krsna-bhakta-viraha vina duhkha nahi dekhi para[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, "Of all kinds of distress, what is the most painful?"Sri Ramananda Raya replied, "Apart from separation from the devotee of Krsna, I know of no unbearable unhappiness." (Madhya 8.248)]Sri Mahaprabhu asked Sri Raya Ramananda, "What is the worst type of suffering?" Sri Ramananda Raya replied, "Vaisnava-viraha." Para means the highest or greatest. The greatest or most grievous suffering is Vaisnava-viraha, separation from pure Vaisnavas.After the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, my Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, along with a few others, established the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti; and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja was one of the founding members. Gurudeva had already taken sannyasa and had been preaching for a long time, but now he established the new Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti's headquarters in Navadvipa and began preaching through the Samiti.
As Krsna is bhakta-vatsalya, very affectionate to His devotees, Sri Guru is sisya-vatsalya, very affectionate to his disciples. After some time, some of Guru Maharaja's god-brothers saw his sisya-vatsalya, which was more affectionate than the most loving father could be to his son. These god-brothers could not reconcile this, because previously they had been the objects of all his affection. Hurt, most of them left Guru Maharaja, and only a few stayed with him.
Guru Maharaja had three pillars of devotion - three prominent sevakas. Parama-pujyapada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, Parama-pujyapada Sri Srimad Trivikrama Maharaja and I began to serve him totally, with our lives and souls, taking our lives in our hands [an Indian expression meaning "ready to risk our lives"]. From the very beginning, Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja, Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja and I were made the three pillars of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti by my Guru Maharaja. At that time Srila Pariyataka Maharaja was not with us; he joined after some time.
Srila Vamana Maharaja, especially, served Srila Guru Maharaja in so many ways. He was the publisher of our Gaudiya Patrika monthly magazine and many other literatures. He was also the "scribe" of Guru Maharaja's dictations for his correspondence, articles, and books. Even before I joined, when I was a police officer and had never personally met Guru Maharaja, he would write to me with great love and affection. He would dictate his letters, addressing me as Tiwariji because I came from a high-class brahmana family with the surname Tiwari, and Srila Vamana Maharaja would write down his words. Then, after I joined and until I was initiated, Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja would also call me "Tiwariji". Srila Vamana Maharaja was like the mother of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. He took care of everyone in the Matha and supplied whatever anyone needed, like prasadam, clothing, and so on.
As for Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, he was very, very qualified. Our Guru Maharaja was in charge of publications, and he put Srila Trivikrama Maharaja in charge of organizing all the preaching, and his services included sending other preachers to various districts of Bengal. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja would personally go collecting and preaching, especially in the district of Bardavan, and Guru Maharaja did a great deal of preaching in Midnapura, Chaubis Parganas, and other places.
When I first joined, Parama-pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja showed me even more familial affection than did Srila Vamana Maharaja. Our Guru Maharaja placed me in his hands, and we became very close. It was Srila Trivikrama Maharaja who taught me how to perform kirtana, how to preach, and how to collect donations. Sometimes, in a very loving way, he would also rebuke me. In all the years that I spent with Guru Maharaja I was never rebuked by him, but with so much love and affection Srila Trivikrama Maharaja used to do so. We had such a close connection that sometimes our discussions would become very heated; I would counter his arguments and he would counter mine, and our Guru Maharaja would kindly support me by taking my side.
Srila Trivikrama Maharaja used to preach all over India, and when he would go to preach with our Guru Maharaja, I would go with them as Guru Maharaja's sevaka. I would massage him, cook for him, wash his cloths, carry a lantern for him because there was no electricity at that time, and I performed many other services. Sometimes I made mistakes, and at those times Srila Trivikrama Maharaja would protect me. For some time it was a regular procedure that in each village, along with his lectures, Guru Maharaja would present a slide show depicting Caitanya Mahaprabhu and other great personalities. I once forgot to bring the slide projector and when I realized this, I was in great anxiety that Gurudeva would be upset with me. Srila Trivikrama asked me what was wrong and when I told him he said, "Don't worry. I will handle the matter. I will take care of everything for you." Later on, when our Guru Maharaja was ready to give his lecture and slide show presentation, he asked Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, "So, is everything ready?" Trivikrama Maharaja replied, "Oh, today is a very cloudy day and it may rain. If you also show the slides, the program will take a long time. The rain may come and everyone will leave before you have completed your class." Guru Maharaja asked him, "Then what should I do?" Trivikrama Maharaja replied, "Why not just give the class?" And Guru Maharaja was satisfied to do that. Years later, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja reminded me of this incident and asked me if I remembered it. I said, "Yes!" and we happily and tightly embraced one another.
Guru Maharaja entered nitya-lila in October of 1968, but internally he is always looking after us and encouraging us. Externally, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja took the place of my Gurudeva in the sense that he encouraged me in all activities. When I began preaching in the West and writing and translating books there, I would write to Parama-pujyapada Srila Vamana Maharaja, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, Srila Pariyataka Maharaja, and others for advice - because they are very qualified preachers. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja would reply my letters without delay. He would encourage me and inspire me to write more books and to preach all over the world. Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja is the present acarya of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti and he was very busy with many grave responsibilities. He was always very happy with my preaching, but sometimes he was sick and therefore he could not always answer my letters. Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja, on the other hand, usually remained in one place, and he always replied without delay; I cannot forget him. I consider both Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja and Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja to be my siksa-gurus. They supported, nourished and inspired me, so much so that I cannot express my feelings in words; but Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja's familial love for me was even greater than that of Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja. We used to sleep together, quarrel together over philosophy, and we loved each other in so many ways.
Sometimes we presented different ideas and we countered each other's arguments, but he greatly honored me. Although I was giving honor to him as a siksa-guru, sometimes, in his last days, he used to offer me sastang pranama. He even used to offer pranamas to my sandals when I was not present before him. No one else could have done this; he was so polite and humble. He was a senior Vaisnava in all respects and he could help the entire world, but he used to write me, "We cannot do the services you are doing for Gurudeva, so I especially favor you and praise you. May you preach for a long time. May you write and publish many books."
We have lost one of the pillars of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti today, but I feel some relief knowing that he left during this Kartika month, during niyama-seva-vrata, and that he was in Navadvipa Dhama. Also, he left at the time of amrta-yoga, an auspicious time of the day according to the movement of the sun and moon, and it was also tritiya-tithi, one of the most auspicious days of the month. He inspired us to observe Annakuta Mahotsava, Dipavali, and Vhatri-dvitiya [Yamaraja and Yamuna devi are brother and sister. Yamuna devi was upset that so many conditioned souls were being punished by her brother and sent to Hell. Desiring to help those souls, she told him, "I want people to have an opportunity to become free from your punishments." Yamaraja replied, "I am therefore giving a boon that anyone who takes bath in your waters on the auspicious day of Vhatri-dvitiya will be delivered from sinful reactions.] Internally, in my heart, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja told me that he would leave this world after we observe those festivals; it was a wonderful thing. Otherwise, if he had left before, we would have been absorbed in thoughts and activities in relation to him, and we would not have been able to properly observe those important holy functions.
Now, being the representative of you all, I am offering my heartfelt puspanjali at his lotus feet. I think that he has been placed in Samadhi today. Where is he now? He will be in Navadvipa Dhama or Vraja Dhama. He was always especially inclined towards Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa Dhama, and therefore I think that he is there. I pray for all of us that he will be very merciful to me, and to all of you, and that he will inspire us and give us blessings so that we can try to serve Gurudeva and do bhajana as he did.
Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja Ki Jaya!
The disappearance day of Pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja ki jaya!
[Following Srila Narayana Maharaja's puspanjali offering, Pujyapada Pariyataka Maharaja, one of the prominent preachers of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samhiti, offered his. Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja then translated excerpts of Srila Pariyataka Maharaja's Bengali presentation into English, and he also added other remembrances, which he had previously heard from Srila Narayana Maharaja.]
[Sripada Madhava Maharaja:] First I offer my humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, and at the same time to my siksa-gurupadapadma Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja and Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. After that I pay my obeisances to all Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis who have assembled here. Srila Gurudeva has ordered me to translate Pujyapada Srila Pariyataka Maharaja's lecture. I shall try at my level best to do so, and if there are any defect in my attempt, please excuse me.
Srila Pariyataka Maharaja said that Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja entered in the Lord's midday pastimes, because he disappeared today at about 12:25 pm. Guru and Vaisnavas are eternal, but today we are feeling bereft of his causeless mercy. Vraja Mandala parikrama, Navadvipa parikrama and other pilgrimage parikramas used to take place at the time of Srila Parama-gurudeva Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja [Being the guru of Sripad Madhava Maharaja's guru (Srila Vamana Maharaja), Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja is addressed by him as "Parama-gurudeva"]. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja also used to attend. Srila Parama-gurudeva preached and managed all the parikrama affairs for many years, but by the time Srila Pariyataka Maharaja joined in 1964, Parama-pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja was taking care of all the management and preaching.
Srila Pariyataka Maharaja said that Srila Trivikrama Maharajaji was born in Bardavan district in West Bengal, near Ambika Kalna. This was also near the birthplace of Sri Gauridasa Pandit, who was one of the intimate associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Previously, before Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja joined the Gaudiya Matha, Srila Parama-gurudeva used to go to his birthplace in Bardavan along with Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhakti Kamala Madhusudana Maharaja, whose name at that time was Sri Narottamananda brahmacari. By Narottamananda brahmacari's preaching, and by his causeless mercy, Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja joined the Matha. And, by the causeless mercy of Narottamananda brahmacari, Srila Gurudeva (Sripad Madhava Maharaja's siksa-gurudeva, Srila Narayana Maharaja) who was a police officer at the time, also joined.
Many years later, Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja returned to Bardavan to preach, and our Parama-gurudeva preached in the Midnapura district. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja often went alone to preach. Once, while he was engaged in speaking at a home program in his village, a large group of angry relatives and others entered the home of Srila Trivikrama Maharaja's host and demanded that the host hand over the speaker. They wanted him to return to his old materialistic household association, and they threatened to take him by force if they had to. The host immediately picked up a stick in one hand and a coconut-cutting knife in the other. As he swung them around, he loudly and boldly said, "I want to see the head of anyone who will try to take Srila Trivikrama Maharaja. I want to see who has a head on his body." The host was alone, and the relatives were many and could have attacked him. Instead, they all became afraid and immediately fled. This showed that Krsna was protecting Srila Trivikrama Maharaja. He protects His dear devotee who has surrendered to Him.
When Srila Trivikrama Maharaja become old and he no longer preached there, Srila Parama-gurudeva ordered Srila Pariyataka Maharaja to take care of his preaching area.
Pujyapada Parjataka Maharaja also said that there were three main pillars in Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti: Srila Narayana Maharaja, Srila Vamana Maharaja and Parama-pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja. Now, due to Srila Trivikrama Maharaja's disappearance, Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti has lost one pillar. Although there are so many qualified Vaisnavas, none can make up for the loss. The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti will suffer spiritually due to his separation.
Pujyapada Pariyataka Maharaja told us about the condition of Srila Trivikrama Maharaja's heart. Externally he was harder than a thunderbolt, but internally he was softer than a flower. He was a straightforward speaker. If at anytime he would see a fault in any person, he would tell them immediately and directly - face to face - not indirectly or behind his back. There is no one in the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti who was not fortunate enough to receive rebuke from him; and his rebuke was always for the devotee's betterment, not for his own self-interest. Sometimes, he also used to have loving quarrels with his own Gurudeva regarding logic and philosophy. Param-gurudeva Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja would say, "It is this way," and Srila Trivikrama Maharaja would say, "No, it should be this way." In this way, like a little son, he used to quarrel with his father in a loving way.
Every day in Navadvipa-dhama, we sing Parama-gurudeva's arati, written by Srila Trivikrama Maharaja. There are two particularly noteworthy slokas at the song's end: "Nana chande sajjana camara dhulaya / gaura-jana ucca-kanthe sumadhura gaya. With many moods Sri Sajjana fans him with a camara while Sri Gaura-narayana sings very sweetly and loudly. Sumangala nirajana kare bhakta-gana / duramati dura haite dekhe trivikrama. From a distance the unworthy Trivikrama beholds the devotees performing this immensely auspicious arati."
The brahmacari name of my Guru Maharaja (Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja) was Sajjana-sevaka dasa brahmacari. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja wrote that Sajjana-sevaka prabhu is fanning his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and Gaura-jana is very sweetly singing his Gurudeva's kirtana. Who is Gaura-jana? Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's brahmacari name was Gaura Narayana Brahmacari. At last he wrote that all the devotees are singing and doing many wonderful services - all but himself. He was so humble. About himself he wrote, "Oh, I'm so unfortunate. I do not serve Gurudeva like Gaura-jana or Sajjaja-sevaka prabhus, and therefore, I am looking at their service from a far distance." As Srila Narottama Thakura, who expressed himself as very fallen and full of bad qualities, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja was extremely humble.
Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja was also very brilliant in mathematics. His calculations were never wrong, and therefore devotees from other Gaudiya Mathas used to come to him to take suggestions about panjika, proper calender dates for observing holy occasions. Just before his own departure, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja ordered Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, "Please discuss Vedanta." After his departure, therefore, Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja wrote many articles about Vedanta.
Srila Pariyataka Maharaja concluded his puspanjali offering by saying, "I pray to Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja. They are both my senior god-brothers. They should not give up this world, leaving us as orphans. I pray to Srila Gurudeva, Sri Gaurasundara and Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda Vihari that these senior god-brothers will have a long life in this world and guide us forever. I pay my obeisances to all of them and beg that Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja may guide us so that by the grace of his causeless mercy I can serve Gurudeva and the Guru-parampara eternally."
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Radhanatha dasa brahmacari was very close to Parama-pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja in his last days, and also before that. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja used to love Radhanatha very much, and therefore I would like him to speak a few words and offer his puspanjali.
[The following is an excerpt of the speech of Sripad Radhanatha dasa:] I had the good fortune to meet Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja in 1996. At that time my siksa-gurudeva Sri Gour Govinda Maharaja had just entered nitya-lila and I had come to Mathura for the first time.
I saw many wonderful and extraordinary things in the character of Parama-pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja. One thing I noticed was how he was completely detached. Our purva-acaryas have said that if one in the renounced order relies upon other persons, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will definitely neglect that person. But I saw that Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, even in his old age of over 85 years, still used to make his own shirts and hats. When we visited him in Cinchura, he cooked paratas, dahl and subji for us; and afterwards, when we went to wash the pots, he said to us, "No, no. You are my guests; I cannot let you wash the pots." And he was completely serious! He would not let us do any seva; he washed the pots, our plates, and served us as a perfect host. This was an amazing thing.
Many people used to come for his darsana. When a wealthy Bengali man once came to see him, Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja began to chastise him in very strong Bengali language. He said, "Oh, your idea is completely wrong. You have come on the parikrama with your wife. You have come here to enjoy the Dhama; you have not come here to serve Hari, Guru, and Vaisnava." That man began to tremble and he ran out of Srila Maharaja's room. Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja then turned to me and asked, "Do you know who he is?" I said, "No Maharaja, I don't." He then said, "He's a crorepati. That means he has more than ten million rupees. But because I don't need anything from anyone, I speak as I like." We could see that in his character.
[Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja:] Srila Gurudeva just said that Srila Trivikrama Maharaja was more inclined to Sri Navadvipa Dhama and he also had a very strong desire to leave his body in Sri Navadvipa Dhama. However, he also had a strong desire to come and join this Parikrama. His ticket was booked for October 25th from Calcutta, and it was when he went to Calcutta that he became ill. Therefore, in one form he must be in Navadvipa Dhama and in another form he must be among us, encouraging us and blessing us by his causeless mercy.
Srila Gurudeva also just said that about ten years ago, when Srila Trivikrama Maharaja was over 75 years of age, he came to Vraja Mandala and he lived on the banks of Radha-kunda with Narayana Prabhu. There, although he was getting many blisters under the soles of his feet, he did the entire one-month parikrama of Giriraja Govardhana. Of course he did parikrama every year, even in his old age, but that year he did it continuously, for 30 days, barefoot.
Transcriber: Janaki dasi
Editors: Premavati dasi and Syamarani dasi
Proofreader: Rangalata dasi