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Srila Bhaktivedanta Vaman Gosvami
Srila Bhaktivedanta Vaman Gosvami
Vyasa is the personality who delineated the glories of the name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Bhagavan in this world. The ceremony to honour the
who, sitting on a throne in the service of Bhagavan, preaches His glories and attracts people toward him is called Vyasa-puja. Another name for
. In India, the general convention is that
os pbserved on the day of Guru-purnima.. It is considered Vyasa appearance day, and on that day all
worship their respective gurus. But in accordance with the scriptures, the primary
of modern times, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsvati Gosvami Prabhupada, established special worship of the
own specific appearance day. Real
is when on his appearance day, the
worships his whole
and instructs his disciples on how to do the same.
In the scriptures, the glories of the guru have been described extensively. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written:
Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
Yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi
By the mercy of the
, one receives the mercy of Bhagavan. And if one doesn’t receive the mercy of the guru, he will never attain the
of Bagavan. In the
(11.17.27), Sri Krsna says:
Acaryam mam vijaniyan
“One should know the
and non-different from Me. One should never disrespect him or attribute faults to him by perceiving him with material vision, for he is the embodiment of all the demigods.”
There are numerous demigods and goddesses, and amongst them Brahma, Visnu and Mahesa are primary. The
is the embodiment of Brahma, the embodiment of Visnu, and also the embodiment of Mahesa. He is compared to Brahma because just as Brahma creates this world. The guru creates
by sowing the seed of devotion in our hearts. Visnu is the maintainer, and Gurudeva is he who maintains our
. As long as we haven’t attained the stage of
, he continues to strengthen our devotion. As conditioned souls, we cannot even imagine how much endeavour he makes for even one disciple. And as Mahesa is the destroyer, the
destroys all of our
. This is why the
is said to be the embodiment of all the demigods.
There are so many jives in this world, and although some are inclined towards Bhagavan, most are averse to Him. Their instrinsic forms are as eternal servants of Krsna, but forgetting this, they are wandering in material existence. Without
they will never possess any auspiciousness. Therefore sometimes Krsna Himself descends into this world, sometimes He assumes different incarnations, and sometimes He sends His
i in the form of the
Otherwise it would be impossible for the jivas to ever receive auspiciousness. Only by bhakti can they attain their ultimate good fortune; yet
is not a thing of this world. Inside the eternally perfected associates of Krsna, the essence of the
is always present in the form of
. Until the
receives that essence, he will not possess any real auspiciousness. The guru is a resident of the spiritual world, and he descends into this world. He brings the
of Goloka-Vraja to this world and bestows it upon the conditioned souls. Such a great personality, and eternally perfected
devotee who possesses
and brings it to this world, is known as a suddha-guru.
As the current of the Ganga carries water from the Himalayas down to the ocean, there is a current flowing through our
which, beginning from Krsna Himself, has come down to the modern
and is presently flooding the entire material world with
This is the primary function of the guru. If someone is not able to give this prema then he is not really a guru at all. Being capable of bestowing Krsna-prema is the primary attribute of a genuine Vaisnava guru.
Today is the appearance day of such a
, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, who serves as the president acarya of the Sri Gauudiya Vedanta Samiti. He took birth in 1916 in the district of Jessore in East Bengal, which is now Bangaladesh. His boyhood name was Santosa, and his paternal uncle was one of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada’s first disciples, Nrsimha Maharaja. Vamana Maharaja’s mother was also a disciple of Prabhupada, and she was very strict; she would even discipline her husband. If her husband had been eating any prohibited food, she would not allow him to enter the house, and she disciplined the children in the same manner. Vamana Maharaja was the oldest of her four sons, and she was very concerned about him being influenced by his father. So when Vamana Maharaja was only nine years old, she took him to Prabhupadas’s
in Mayapura where Nrsimha Maharaja was already staying. When they arrived there, Nrsimha Maharaja led them to our
, Srila bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, who was the temple commander at that time. Residing in the
from that day on, Vamana Maharaja received
initiation directly from Prabhupada and has remained a lifelong nais
Our Guru Maharaja immediately put Vamana Maharaja in school and would say to him, “I will give you some chocolate if you will recite just one
for me.” In this way he learned many slokas, and gurudeva was always extremely affectionate to him. At that young age Vamana Maharaja learned how to seat Vaisnavas for taking
by giving the a leaf to eat from and some salt and water. And after all the Vaisnavas were finished taking
, he would clean everything.He also learned how to cook there, and he could very quickly prepare first-class offerings.
After some time Prabhupada departed from this world, and then our Guru Maharaja established the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti in l943. I joined the mission in 1946, and at that time I saw how Vamana Maharaja was doing everything; writing letters, managing the temple, cooking, and travelling for preaching. Together with my godbrother Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, we received sannyasa from Guru Maharaja on Gaura-purnima in 1954. Vamana Maharaja is a great scholar just as our
was. It has been said that he is like a dictionary of
because he knows so many verses from the scriptures. When while lecturing Gurudeva would sometimes forget a sloka, Vamana Maharaha would always supply it from memory. Once, when we went to Assam for preaching, Gurudeva bodly One of the sects there, who were virtually prepared to stone us, challenged us by saying, “You say that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Bhagavan Himself, but what evidence is there of this?” Guru Maharaja turned to Vamana Maharaja and said, “Speak.” Then Vamana Maharaja recited fifty
one after the other from different scriptures as evidence, and those people were silenced.
Guru Maharajaleft the entire responsibility of editing and publishing our Bengali magazine exclusively upon Vamana Maharaja. From his boyhood Vamana Maharaja studied
verses and their commentaries, and as a result he can speak on Vaisnava philosophy for hours without stopping. His such great scholar, and he is a very sweet persons as well. With children he is very affectionate, and he speaks with them concerning things like ghosts which they enjoy hearing about. He attracts everyone to spiritual life, and evening an assembly of scholars, he is always the greatest scholar. He refutes others’ misconceptions , but he does it in such a way that their feelings are not hurt , as if carefully performing a surgical operation.
Vamana Maharaja is very grave and quiet, and there is another special quality which he possesses: I have seen many people, myself included, who give explanations from the scriptures and enjoy taking praise from others for it. But having known Vamana Maharaja for almost fifty years, I have never seen him do this, note even by accident. He is also very tolerant. As if taking poison and digesting it, he may see the faults in others, but he never speaks about them. He has so much eagerness to preach the instructions of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he has preached in all the villages of West Bengal and Assam. Bhagavan has especially empowered this great personality with many transcendental qualities. Today I pray to Srila Vamana Maharaja that he will mercifully allow me to always remain as his shadow, thereby enabling me to always follow him. I consider him to be my
, because since the day I joined the mission he has given me whatever I required with great affection.
a lecture by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja given on the event of the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja
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