Sri Srmad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
August 25, 2008
[This year, 2017, the auspicious appearance day of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja is on August 16 (in America). The following is a first-time-published transcription of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja glorifying Srila Prabhupada twelve years ago on this same day (August 28, 2005: Mathura). Such hari-katha is always fresh and new, just as Sri Krsna’s words spoken to Arjuna 5,000 years ago are fresh and new even now:] Listen
My millions of dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of paramaradhyatama nitya-lila-pravista astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same unto the lotus feet of my siksa-guru, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja.
Today is a very sacred day. It is Nandotsava (the celebration of Krsna’s birthday). Nanda Baba, Yasoda Maiya, and all the elder Vrajavasis had as their son the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself. Krsna took birth on the previous day, at midnight, and today, one of the associates of Krsna, Abhaya Caranaravinda, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja took birth. How many years before? 109+.
He was born in a very high-class, aristocratic family. His mother and father were both Vaisnavas. It was on this very day that he took birth. From his childhood, he had some special qualities. His father brought some toys. What toys? Mrdanga and kartalas, not other toys; and from boyhood he used to play on mrdanga. You can only imagine what kind of person he was.
His father named him Abhaya Carana. Who is Abhaya Carana? Krsna Himself. So, he was Abhaya Carana dasa. He was very intelligent from the beginning of his life. From the beginning of childhood, he used to observe Janmastami and all other holidays, and Ratha-yatra and other festivals. His father used to take him to hear discourses of Gita, Bhagavata, Ramayana, and other scriptures. In boyhood, he was very beautiful, and very intelligent. He was given to the English medium Scottish Church missionary school, and he always came first in his classes. When he finished his school, a friend of his father selected him to be his assistant in his medical business, and gave all the burden of responsibility to him. He would come time to time, but Srila Svami Maharaja used to manage everything, top to bottom.
Our Gurudeva joined the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura at the age of 16, in 1916, and took diksa in 1918. Srila Svami Maharaja came in 1922, at the age of 24. When he heard some harikatha from Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, at once he was attracted. After examining him, Prabhupada gave him first harinama and then diksa [this is a part of their human-like pastimes – they are both eternal associates of Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu], and told him, “Try to write articles for the Harmonist.” The Harmonist magazine was established by Prabhupada at that time. He also said, “Try to preach in English everywhere. Your English is very strong. You should write articles and preach in English everywhere. I will send you to Western countries to preach this mission. The people there should know who is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, what is His mission, who is Krsna, who is Radhika, and what is prema-tattva, the truths of pure love and affection.”
Srila Svami Maharaja then began to write essays. He was also learned in Bengali. Our Guru Maharaja established Bhagavat Patrika (a Hindi periodical), Gaudiya Patrika (a Bengali periodical), and made him chief editor. Srila Svami Maharaja used to write articles – so high-class! He once wrote an article about the Murgi Mission. You know the Murgi Mission? The Rama-Krsna Mission – Chicken-mission. Rama-Krsna says that we can eat chicken. In Bengal, people like him very much. He was very popular there, but Srila Svami Maharaja Prabhupada never liked him. Rather, he used to cut all of his arguments. He wrote that they are not even in the line of Indian culture; they are outside. They tell that “All are God,” and about those who are demons they say: “Oh, they are doing bhajan of Krsna.” They also say, “We should not try to search Krsna, because all are God. Especially the poor are God. We should help poor people and those who have so many diseases.”
Our Guru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja cut [defeated] all their arguments. Vivekananda (the disciple of Rama-krsna) went to Western countries, and told, “Oh, everything is zero.” He tried to establish that this idea is Indian culture. Srila Svamiji Maharaja went to Western countries and everywhere established “Zero is nothing. Purnam adah purnam idam. Krsna, God is full and complete.”
om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya
[“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” (Sri Isopanisad, Invocation)]
Thus, he preached everywhere.
[After initiation, he continued to work and maintain his family] He was the manager of a Chemical company, but later left that. He came to Allahabad, and established for himself a medicine factory. But after some time, it failed. Then he made a very big medical hall [Prayaga Pharmacy]. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi used to come to his shop. But after some time it also failed. Then, he became a medical representative. Then, because he knew so many formulas for making medicines, he used to take them to sell in various cities. But this also failed. When he became penniless, his wife and son rejected him.
Somehow he came to Mathura, near Yamuna. One day I saw him and asked. “Oh, where are you staying, and what are you doing?” “I am distributing medicines to shop-keepers.” “Please come stay with us at our Matha.” He had practically nothing with him. By loving force, I brought him and all his luggage. I gave him a room here, in front of my room, and then here. [In his lecture, Srila Gurudeva is pointing to different rooms at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha.]
I requested him, “Krsna does not want you to be very happy in this world. Therefore, your wife and children have rejected you, and now you are also penniless. You are a very qualified person. You should take sannyasa and preach, and thus fulfill the desire of your gurupada-padma.”
He responded by telling a story: “After taking diksa from Srila Prabhupada, I used to read Srimad-Bhagavatam very minutely, and there I studied the sloka: ‘yasyaham anugrhnami, harisye tad-dhanam sanaih – Whom I accept, I make him a street beggar.”
harisye tad-dhanam sanaih
tato 'dhanam tyajanty asya
[“The Personality of Godhead said: If I especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. Then the relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man abandon him. In this way he suffers one distress after another.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.88.8)]
“I began to fear and thought, ‘What should I do? If I am doing bhajana, chanting and remembering, doing all these things, then I will have to be a street beggar. Krsna will take everything from me. So what should I do?’ But I never stopped. Yes, now I am penniless, but I am very happy that Krsna has accepted me.”
[Srila Gurudeva has shared these remembrances of our Srila Prabhupada several time. One time he said that Prabhupada was only pretending to be worried that Krsna might take everything from him; he said Prabhupada was joking. Another time, in May of 1996 he said that Prabhupada was demonstrating, “For one who takes shelter of Krsna, Krsna takes away everything and that devotee becomes a street beggar. Then, if he doesn’t give up Krsna at that time, Krsna proceeds to give him everything.”]
After a few days my Gurudeva came here, and I requested him, “He is your god-brother. Please request him to take sannyasa.” Gurudeva asked him to take sannyasa, and he did. There was also a person, Sanatana Prabhu. He came and said, “If you will take sannyasa, even in my age of 90, I will take sannyasa.”
Then, here where you are sitting, sannyasa was given to him. I taught him how to wear the red [saffron] cloth of sannyasa. He is my siksa guru, but I am senior in sannyasa [Srila Gurudeva had taken sannyasa some years earlier.] I made his sannyasa danda, performed the fire sacrifice, and did everything else required.
Krsna dasa Babaji Maharaja or Seshayi were doing kirtan. Thus, here in our Mathura matha, he accepted sannyasa. From here he went to Jhansi and from there he brought this Mahaprabhu Deity here and gave him to our matha. Here, he completed his translation and commentary of the three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam [Canto One]. These three volumes were then given to Delhi for publication.
He then decided to go to America, but he had no money. He requested the head of Scindia Navigation, and he was accepted, without paise [money]. On the way he was so sick, about to die, but Krsna wanted that he should be saved. He wrote a poem on the steamship. He landed in Boston, and then after that, he went to New York. He had no help; he was not known to any person.
Thus, he took his pair of kartals, and he sat down in Thompkins Square Park. His eyes closed, he began to chant, “Sri krsna caitanya prabhu nityananda, sri advaita gadadhara srivasa adi gaura bhakta-vrnda, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Then, so many hippies came to him, like Syamarani and Vrndavana-vilasini – they were hippies, hippie-like. And now you see, they are both world preachers. He made all these hippies happy, and became guru of the whole world. Tamal Krsna, Satsvarupa, Giriraja, and so many others came to him. So many hippies used to come to him, dancing in his kirtana, and presenting to him wine and cigarettes and other things that they used. After that Srila Svami Maharaja began to initiate, and in practically a moment he established ISKCON.
In the beginning, I helped him. I sent his books to America. Even though in doing so, I became sick, still I did it. [Our Srila Prabhupada’s books were in Delhi. They were terribly dusty, and the dust affected Srila Gurudeva’s lungs] He used to write letters to me, about 500, and he requested me to come and join his preaching. I told him, “My guru is here, so after that, I will come.” I went to America, but after sometime – now I am going.
In a couple of years, he translated and wrote so many books – Gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, Easy Journey to Other Planets, Krsna book – so many books. They became very popular books. By these books, in a couple of years, he preached everywhere in the world. He established preaching centers in forests, on hills, and in the midst of oceans. Whether or not he has established centers in the sky, I don't know. He established them practically everywhere. Thus, you see that people have come and joined from all parts of the whole world.
In the last, he called me to Vrndavana. He was about to pass away from this world and join the service of his holy master. He requested me to come, and I went there. He took my hands in his own hands. He wanted me to sit with him on his bed, but I offered him pranama, and sat on a separate chair. He took my hand in his hand, and began to weep. He told me that, “Oh, I have done some mistakes, some wrong things. Now, I repent for this. I apologize for this, to you and all of my god-brothers. I have said, ‘Gaudiya Matha does not do anything. They take prasada and sleep. They do nothing.’ This is wrong. I told my disciples this only to save them, so they would not be out of control. That is why. So, I beg forgiveness from you and all of my god-brothers.
“Also, I request you that I have brought so many disciples…” He told secretly, in Bengali language, “I have brought so many monkeys from here and there. I have collected them, but I could not fully train them [due to their inability to accept full training]. Please help them to advance. And, one thing more. After my departure, you should give me samadhi by your own hand.”
I told him, “I will do all these things. You are my siksa-guru. But I want to tell you that you have not done anything wrong. For the situation, to save your disciples, you have told what you did. I know that you have not told all these things from the core of your heart. I promise that I will help all of your disciples.”
He then told all his disciples present – Tamal, Brahmananda, Jayapataka, and all other sannyasis present, “You should hear from Narayana Maharaja, and try to follow his words.”
Then I told them, “I know that after the departure of any very high class of guru, quarrel comes among the disciples. For what? For money, name and fame. I request you all to follow your guru. Don't quarrel for position, money, name, and fame. Don’t quarrel for this. Respect all your god-brothers. Then you can preach the mission of your gurudeva; this will be the service of your gurudeva; otherwise, it will not be possible.”
After his departure, I gave him samadhi and performed nagara-sankirtan [carrying the palanquin upon which Srila Prabhupada’s divine form was seated.] For so many years, I helped them. I used to go to Bombay to give evidence in his court case – to save ISKCON.
But, what became? They neglected me, and they neglected their gurudeva. They could not follow what he ordered. They had no sadhu-sanga. Sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sanga, sarva sastre kaya. [meaning that all sastras urge the conditioned souls to avail themselves of association with pure sadhus.]
’sadhu-sanga’, ‘sadhu-sanga’—sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
[“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 22.54)]
They neglected this, and that is why, top to bottom, almost 99.9 % derailed – they left sannyasa and everything else in relation to bhakti. So many sannyasis became householders. So many left ISKCON and began to take meat, eggs, wine, and all other abominable things.
So, again I requested them, “I still want to help you, if you want my help. If I will help you, you will not deviate.” Now, we see that so many who were seniors like Syamarani, even though they took sannyasa, they derailed. But Syamarani and all others like her are preaching throughout the world the mission of their gurudeva, and they are rendering services. They cannot deviate.
So, I remember when he took sannyasa here, and from here he went to Western countries and preached in a couple of years. Everywhere there were preaching centers. I used to send him kartals, mrdangas, books, Deities, pera [an Indian sweet] and everything else he requested of me. I remember all these things, and pray to his lotus feet, that he will sprinkle his mercy so that we can serve our gurudeva, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna in his line. He is so merciful.
We should not think that he is dead. Never. Guru never dies. I think that all devotees, those who have come to me as my disciples – somehow or other the credit will go to Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. I served him; they knew this, and then they came to me. Otherwise, they never would have come.
In the evening, Syamarani and others will speak. Now there is no time. We will have to take paran [breaking the Janmastami fast] also. I will do arati, and after that, you can take prasadam.
Question: In what way did our Prabhupada think he was saving his disciples by telling them that the Gaudiya Math didn't preach?
Srila Gurudeva: He saw that one of his disciples came to India, but somehow the disciple went to Bon Maharaja and was disturbed in his bhakti. Others also went here and there. So he told them, “Why are you going there? What are they doing? Is there any preaching? Any book distribution? What are they doing? They only take prasadam and sleep.” But really, he did not think in that way. If it was so, then why did he take sannyasa from my gurudeva, and why did he so much honor to Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Gosvami Maharaja, and others like them?
If I had not come here to preach, who would have known that I am such a big preacher? Srila Svami Maharaja sent me to Western Countries, and then like his one hand, I preached all over the world.
At 5PM we will come for bhajanas and we will glorify him.
Gaura Premanande. Hari Hari Bol.
[The devotees then performed the kirtana Sri Guru-carana-padma, as Srila Gurudeva lead them in offering arati to Srila Prabhupada and the guru-paramapara.]
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Assistant Editor: Vasanti dasi