sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Rays of The Harmonist Fortnightly Edition

Issue 28, Fortnightly Centennial Edition
Posted: 2 November 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

Remembrances of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja

Part 5


Appearing in English for the first time


SBVVGM for Fortnightly posting

A Living Example 

 Śrī Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, who is jagad-guru, the chief of the universal Gauḍīya congregation, and paramahaṁsa, the topmost of ācāryas, has said: 

 “The conditioned soul keeps an exhibition of guru-sevā open as long as his own selfish interest is not hampered.  As soon as there is any hindrance in his execrable selfish interest, his artificial ideal of guru-sevā ceases.” 

In the realm of service to śrī guru and Vaiṣṇava, however, the whole life of this mahājana – Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja – is a perfect example of true guru-sevā.  Śrīla Prabhupāda said: 

“Unless conditioned souls have a living example present before them, they cannot get the inspiration to perform bhagavad-bhajana.”


Bhajana & preaching are synonymous  

It can be said without doubt that in accordance with Bhagavān’s desire, this mahājana, Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, has appeared in this world to deliver the jīvas

Once while Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja was preaching in a part of the 24 Paragana District of West Bengal, a talkative sevaka opined, “There is no benefit in coming and preaching here; one only spoils one’s bhajana.”  

Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja was bound to respond. “As long as one does not understand that bhajana (devotional absorption) and pracāra (preaching) are one and the same,” he said, “preaching is not possible. Merely displaying one’s bravado is not preaching. Without a mood of compassion for the jīvas, the service of [real] preaching (pracāra-sevā) is not possible.” * 

He made us understand that without unending tolerance, patience, and strength of bhajana (bhajana-bala), [a show of] compassion for the jīvas and preaching is simply deception.  

* The words of Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja provide us with invaluable discernment regarding what denotes actual qualification for preaching, thus echoing the words of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura: 

kabe jīve dayā,      hoibe udaya,
nija-sukha bhuli’ sudīna-hṛdaya
bhaktivinoda,      koriyā vinaya,
śrī-ājñā ṭahala koribe pracāra

Kabe Ha’be Bolo (8)

“When will compassion for all living entities arise within me? At that time, forgetting my own happiness, and with a humble heart, this Bhaktivinoda will meekly wander about and propagate the sacred order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”

So actual qualification for preaching – the qualities of unending tolerance, patience etc. – comes by the strength of one’s bhajana (devotional absorption).

But would Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja want those who are devoid of strength in bhajana and true compassion for the jīvas to stop sharing Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s message? Certainly not. As a pure representatives of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they embrace Mahāprabhu’s instruction: 

jāre dekho, tāre kaho ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
āmāra ājñāya guru haĩyā tāra’ ei deśa

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 7.128)

“My order is to instruct whomever you meet to follow the instructions of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as given in the scriptures, which advise one to worship Him. In this way become guru and deliver everyone in this land.”

This śloka is expanded upon in a Bengali article entitled “The Most Compassionate Avatāra” written by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedanta Svāmī Mahārāja in 1956 and published in English in Rays of The Harmonist, Kārtika, 2007, Issue 17:

“Only the endeavour to spread the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in a simple manner, while being careful not to manipulate them even slightly, will be our sole bhajana. But if a person waits till he becomes perfect before he disseminates those teachings, he will be deprived of the service of preaching. Indeed, he will remain in that immature state throughout his whole life.”

Exceptional preaching ideal   

Once Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja went for pracāra in Assam, along with some of his god-brothers, to attend a huge religious assembly there. Due to the heavy and continuous downpour of rain, none of his god-brothers was feeling inclined to go to the assembly place. But Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, walked with great difficulty to the assembly’s location, holding an umbrella over his head and lifting his clothes above his knees. Surprisingly, hundreds of simple hearted and faithful people, disregarding the unfavourable weather conditions, had gathered to avail themselves of the opportunity for sādhu-saṅga. For two hours Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja blessed the audience with the nectar of his hari-kathā. Such an example of preaching with compassion for jīvas (jīve dayā) is truly exceptional. 

[Memories by Śrīpāda Śyāma dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, a dīkṣā disciple of Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja  and a śikṣā disciple of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja.]

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 


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