sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 6, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 21 December 2013
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
The Duty of Gauḍīyas During the
Festival of the Solar Eclipse at Kurukṣetra
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Appearing in English for the first time
Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅgau Jayataḥ
17 October, 1928
Dear recipient of my affection,
I have received many letters and telegrams from you. Today I sent you a telegram asking you to send aid to Kurukṣetra. During the solar eclipse, a festival will be held at Śrī Vyāsa Gauḍīya Maṭha in Kurukṣetra, so the followers of the path of bhakti will also have many duties to perform there. To protect the personal associates of Bhagavān, who are our āśraya-jātīya-sevya-vigraha (our worshipful deities who are the abode of love of God)* from the pangs of separation they have been suffering for many, many days and to bring them face to face with Kṛṣṇa, we must take them to Kurukṣetra. Therefore, it is our topmost dharma to render service to the Vrajavāsīs, who have been experiencing extreme pangs of separation from Kṛṣṇa since He left for Mathurā. Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa is residing in Dvārakā as the Lord of those who worship His feature of supreme opulence, we must nevertheless induce Him to ride a transcendental chariot and bring him to the Sannihit-sarovara** at Śyāmanta-pañcaka during the solar eclipse. A special chariot is required for this.
* This refers to the Vrajavāsīs headed by Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Mother Yaśodā and so on.
** This pond, also known as Brahma-sarovara, is the holy pond where the Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs bathed during the solar eclipse.
You know that all such activities of service involve some worldly expenditure. Although we are materially conditioned souls, we are busy accepting the objects of sense enjoyment in forms that stimulate service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, when the narration of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes becomes visible to us in the form of the Deity and His paraphernalia, then a mood of service deep within us will become visible as well. The ultimate essence of our service is to arrange for the viṣaya and the aśraya to meet. Apart from this, the stimulation (uddīpana) these pastimes provide is specifically helpful in our bhajana and in making us service oriented. In other words, it fully liberates us from service to mundane sense objects and thereafter manifests the activities of the servants of the eternal pastimes (nitya-līlā) of Bhagavān within the disposition of our pure consciousness.
Śrī *** [the name of this individual was not mentioned in the original record of this letter] has been entrusted with the service of bringing Śrī Kṛṣṇa – riding on His chariot – from Dvārakā to Śrī Vyāsa Gauḍīya Maṭha (where those who have taken shelter of Śrī Vyāsa reside) near Sannihita-sarovara. In order to support this activity, wherever you may reside, you should send some of the funds you have collected as compensation for the worldly labours of your body, mind and words. There is very little time available, yet it is everyone’s duty to try to support this from the core of their heart so that we will all be able to behold these pastimes in their deity feature and follow them in the same mood as the eternal associates who perform them.
After you have brought Śrī *** to the festival of Kāśī and for darśana of Naimiśaraṇya, you should induce him to have darśana of the special Vṛndāvana pastimes wherein the Vrajavāsīs met with their own beloved Śrī Kṛṣṇa when He travelled to Kurukṣetra. Those pastimes are described in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 1.76): “tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-pañcama-juṣemano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati – Still, I would like to go to the bank of the Yamunā beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vṛndāvana.”
If Śrī *** can serve such pastimes, his desire for sense gratification shall decline and his human life shall be successful. Know this: if one bathes in Sannihit-sarovara, which is also known as Brahma-tīrtha, and the Dvaipāyana-pond of the Śyāmanta-pañcaka during a solar eclipse, all of one’s sins shall vanish. But most importantly, by bathing in these auspicious waters during a solar eclipse the deep desire to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa awakens, and as but a secondary effect even the very desire to engage in ordinary sin or virtue for the purpose of material sense gratification is dispelled.
All of the followers of the present-day Vallabha-sampradāya, which is sheltered within the Śrī Visnusvāmī-sampradāya, shall be present there at the time of the solar eclipse. Since Kurukṣetra is very far from the land of Gauḍa, not many are able to be physically present there. But even though they reside in distant lands, they can still endeavour to bring about the meeting between Śrī Radha and Śrī Govinda, either by their own effort or with the help of others. It goes without saying that expert visionaries shall see it as the most excellent service if one helps, in any way, those suffering from pangs of separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who left Vṛndāvana and went to Mathurā, to meet with Him again; no matter how worldly that aid may seem to be. And those who are unable to visit Kurukṣetra physically to have darśana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa can still help that meeting from a distance with the same mood of separation, and contribute by enhancing the rasa laden pastime from afar.
Although adherents to the path of karma are unable to understand these exalted subjects, they may have the desire to destroy the effects of their sins. They may therefore simply bring their physical bodies to Kurukṣetra during the solar eclipse. Within such endeavours of simple piety, service to Kṛṣṇa will still be performed as a secondary effect. A hospital will be established there this year with the objective of restoring the health of any seekers of piety who fall ill while there as well as treating those pilgrims who are already suffering from health problems.
At Navābpura in Dhākā, the current of opposition among the *** [the name of this group was not mentioned in the original record] towards śuddha bhagavad-bhakti has caused antagonism towards the festival arranged by the Śrī Madhva Gauḍīya Maṭha. By asking even those who are being swept away by this current to give aid to this festival at Kurukṣetra, they will be liberated from any connection to the offences committed by the caste goswamis and will thus be able to progress along the path of ajñāta sukṛrti [that is, they will earn credit in the path of bhakti without even knowing it]. Thus I conclude.
With eternal blessings,
Śrī Siddhānta Sarasvatī