śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 13, Special Online Edition
Posted: 6 January  2021

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

The Incomparable Affection and Compassion of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas

a letter from Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Appearing in English for the first time

Srila Bhaktivedanta Vaman Maharaja

śrī śrī guru gaurāṅgau jayataḥ

(All glories to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga)

Śrī Nīlācala Gauḍīya Maṭha
Gourvātsāhi, Swargadwār (Purī)

Dear Uma,

If one can engage one’s aged cow of a body solely in the service of Śrī Hari, Guru, and Vaiṣṇavas, one can know that its purpose has been fulfilled. If one ends up living for the comforts of home and body, then where is one’s advancement in sādhana-bhajana? Becoming distressed by winters, summers, and so forth often hinders one’s resolve to render service (sevā-niṣṭhā). As important as it is to exert oneself rigorously in service, it is just as necessary to give rest to one’s body, which is valuable for bhajana. These two things are synonymous. Rest is for service; rest does not detract from service. These are two complementary states of being. Ārāma (rest) devoid of longing for the joy of service is called hārāma (that which is forbidden) and is in the category of mundane desire and hankering. One should never impose material ideas on transcendental truths, as this begets aparādha.

Śrīpāda Trivikrama Mahārāja is especially affectionate to destitute and unfortunate people like me, which is why he made his auspicious journey to Navadvīpa to confer with me. But I, due to misfortune, was deprived of his darśana, having left for preaching just before he arrived. The wellbeing of all of us and that of the mission was contingent on that consultation.  Let it be.  Later, when I return from preaching, we will have a chance to discuss this matter.  

There is nothing equal to the Vaiṣṇavas’ transcendental affection and compassion. If a soul who wishes to perform bhajana can appreciate this compassion, then he will surely reap auspiciousness. It is indicative of great fortune to be able to comprehend the essence and substance of the chastisement and compassion of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Human beings who are attached to the objects of the senses mistake the compassion of Bhagavān and His devotees for mercilessness, and they mistake their chastisement for anger and lack of sympathy. In reality, chastisement and mercy are employed for the same purpose. “Vajrād-api kaṭhorāṇi mṛduṇi kusumād-api – more brutal than a thunderbolt and softer than a flower.” It is imperative to take this notion to heart. The supremacy of one who can grasp this mood and intent is accepted everywhere.

The meaning of the words vando mui sāvadhāna mate is that one will have to become free from offences, and praise the feet of Śrī Guru-pādapadma. In the realm of sādhana-bhajana, there are offences to śrī nāma, offences to the dhāma, offences while rendering service, and other countless types of flaws and mistakes. There is no reason to despair. By heartfelt endeavour and simplicity, all unfavourable conditions will vanish and all types of good fortune will arise. Rejecting what is unfavourable, one will have to accept what is conducive for bhakti. This is the ultimate verdict. That instruction is given in the statement “tato duḥsaṅgam-utsṛjya satsu sajjeta buddhimān – an intelligent person gives up bad company and associates with saintly persons.” 

In service, there is no notion of rest. The nature (dharma) of service is eternal, and it has a characteristic momentum. So why would sevakas and sevikās in the service of Bhagavān look for a chance to rest? In sleep, in dreams, and in waking – in all states of being, the perpetuity of sevā-dharma is evident. 

Please accept my heartfelt blessings. Please convey my daṇḍavat-praṇāmas and blessings of auspiciousness, appropriately, to all the other devotees. 

Your eternal well-wisher,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana


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