sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 4, Issue 1, Amāvasyā Special Edition
Posted: 1 February 2021
Dedicated to and Inspired by
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Yearning to Remain in Vraja
by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Appearing in English for the first time
Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅgau Jayataḥ
Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha
Kaṁsa-ṭīlā P.O. Mathurā (U.P)
24 November, 1978
Mā Umā, I became extremely delighted to receive your letter dated 22 November, 1978. In that letter, whatever you have written with humility befitting a Vaiṣṇava and with logical deliberation is extremely pleasing. In reality, this year during Kārtika-vrata, niyama-sevā, the way in which we took darśana of the multitude of secluded and rasa-laden pastime places of Vraja and the recitation and explanation of bhakti scriptures saturated with the line of thought of Gosvāmīs brings, in all respects, auspiciousness for the jīva. Especially, it is exceedingly auspicious for a sincere sādhaka. You have grasped all this kathā and your heart became softened by that. Truly you are utterly fortunate. Such an opportunity [to attend Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā and hear such kathā] is not gained unless one has accumulated sukṛti (spiritual merit) over millions of lifetimes. Or, even if one receives such an opportunity, not much benefit is attained [due to lack of interest or inattentiveness]. By this [parikramā in Kārtika-vrata], you have advanced somewhat in the realm of bhakti. Knowing this has made me immensely happy.
One day, after you returned [to Bengal], I went for darśana of Māṭavana, Bhāṇḍīravana, Muktavana, Vaṁśivaṭa (within Bhāṇḍīravana), Bhadravana, Nanda-ghāṭa, Bhaiyagāon and other pastime places. Within next three to four days I will take brahmacārīs and other maṭha-vāsīs for the darśana and parikramā of all these pastime places. The local devotees [from Mathurā] can also go with me. When you come here next year, I will take you, also, for the darśana of all these places.
The kathā-kīrtana in the maṭha is going on as before. I do not give kathā in the morning but speak at 4 p.m. in the afternoon and in the late evening. In the late evening class, I give kathā from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [going through each Canto] in a sequential manner. The audience of local and maṭha Vaiṣṇavas all faithfully participate in kathā and kīrtana.
If we can develop greed for kṛṣṇa-kathā and śuddha-bhakti by regularly hearing all these potent pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and hearing about His conduct, it will be the most fortunate thing for the jīva. It is with this yearning that I am staying in Vraja – remaining here with the hope of attaining the mercy of Śrī Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas. By the mercy of Bhagavān, the local people and eminent and educated people have developed faith in the maṭha. This has become very helpful for maṭha services and management.
We are all more or less well. May you gradually advance on the path of bhakti with a sincere heart. This is my sole wish. What else? Accept my affectionate blessings. Thus I conclude.
Your ever well-wisher
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa
Translated by Rays of The Harmonist team