sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Issue 26, Fortnightly Centennial Edition
Posted: 28 October 2022
In honour of the centennial appearance year of
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Dedicated to and Inspired by
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Deep Separation From a Disciple
A previously unpublished letter to
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Appearing in English for the first time
[A letter from Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja to Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the sudden and untimely departure of Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s personal servant.]
śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅgau jayataḥ
C/o Śrī Śivānanda Dāsādhikārī
(Śrī Śivanātha Sāhā Mondal)
P.O.— Taṅgalā (Darang) Assam
6 September, 1982
śrī vaiṣṇava-caraṇe daṇḍavan-nati pūrvikeyam—
“Offering prostrated obeisance unto the feet of the Vaiṣṇava”—
Pūjyapāda Mahārāja! I hope that by the boundless mercy of our most worshipful Śrīla Guru-pādapadma you are well physically and in regard to the execution of your bhajana. Having completed the annual festival in Meghālaya Gauḍīya Maṭha, we concluded our preaching in Sukhchar, Dhubri, Vilasipada, Vasugaon, and other places and reached the above mentioned address on 2/9/82 via the Arunachal Express. For the past three days, classes and kīrtana have been held here.
Yesterday (5/9/82), in the evening, at six o’clock, kīrtana started. After that, I gave class on Bhāgavatam and came back, and then kīrtana of śrī rāma-līlā started. Here, usually the electricity rarely cuts, but during the kīrtana today, it cut three or four times. There was a mic, but it was not working very well, so Śrīmān Sundarānanda worked on affixing the plug top to the switchboard. Suddenly, a current shot through the switchboard and into his chest. Within ten minutes of him receiving that shock, he fell unconscious. A doctor was brought just moments later, but all his efforts were fruitless. After carefully testing his vitals again and again, the doctor from the government hospital wrote up the death certificate. The OC [Officer-in-charge] came from the police station, wrote his report, left us a copy, and left.
In this condition, we were uncertain about what to do. By the will of śrī guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the subsequent duties commenced. This tragic accident occurred around 8:30 at night, and at around two o’clock in the morning, the maṭha sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs, along with the gṛhastha devotees, carried Sundarānanda on their shoulders to the nearby cremation ghat. After completing the cremation, they had returned to their residences by six in the morning, their eyes filled with tears. I sent you a telegram today (6/9/82), but I am not sure if you received it or not, so I am writing you this letter. For me and for all of us here, things are proceeding as if in a dream. In just five to ten minutes, the unthinkable happened. All the sevakas, the brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs, are grief-stricken, overwhelmed by the weight of sadness. I am unable to determine whether I should cry or have heart failure. With me are Viṣṇu Mahārāja, Yati Mahārāja, Govardhana, Śrīdāma, Svarūpānanda, Śyāmala-Kṛṣṇa, Rāma-Govinda, and others – eleven Vaiṣṇava figures in total. How did a sevaka leave our company forever in such a short time? I am failing to understand this. I sent you a telegram to beg for blessings for the welfare of Śrīmān Sundarānanda’s departed soul. It is my firm belief that by the auspicious wishes and blessings of exalted, senior Vaiṣṇavas, the living entity attains an exalted destination. If he committed any offence to your worshipful feet, knowingly or unknowingly, then surely you will forgive him and will request other Vaiṣṇavas to forgive his flaws and errors. This alone is my prayer.
The natural, simple answer to why sevakas leave the guru-gṛha (home of the guru) or the śrī maṭha is simple: misuse of their independence. If the fault for this is imposed on maṭha management, it is an unlawful lapse of propriety. It is my belief that loving, sweet dealings between the servant (sevaka) and the object of his service (sevya) is to be adopted and learned by maṭha residents. Is it possible to make a rule that no sevaka may leave us for all eternity without any dialogue? If you know of some law or custom like this, then kindly be sure to tell me about it some time. I cannot understand why Sundarānanda was upset with me and left.
Tomorrow we will return to Vasugaon from Tangla. We are being forced to leave one person behind here forever. Now I am without an attendant sevaka. If I have served Śrī Hari, guru, and Vaiṣṇavas with a pure and simple heart, then it may be that I will not have to suffer this sorrow of separation from this sevaka. I myself am deprived of performing service; therefore, I have been dealt due punishment. You all please have mercy on me so that I may relinquish all earthly illusion and attachment and attain prīti (love) for śrī guru and Vaiṣṇavas. May the service of Śrī Hari become my life and the sole duty of my life. I am concluding this letter once again by offering daṇḍavat-praṇāma unto you.
I hope to reach your feet in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma in the middle of Āśvina month via Mathabhanga and Siliguri, along with the party. What more shall I write? Iti—
(a prostrated fallen servant)
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrī Śrī Bhāgavata Pātrikā, Year-18, Issue 10-12
Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja Centennial Special Edition- 2