[In honor of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's Appearance Day we are presenting the following excerpts. We have heard that by remembering pure devotees on their appearance and disappearance day, they give us special blessings for advancement in Krsna consciousness. We therefore give all our energy to glorify them on that day.
But we do not only want to celebrate the anniversary of Srila Gurudeva's appearance day. We want everyday to be his actual appearance day, in the hearts of millions of human beings. Srila Gurudeva has told us that a powerful way to place him there is by distributing his books. He has said that his books are his greatest legacy.
In the following passages taken from the Soul of Book Distribution, Srila Gurudeva shows how all the greatest personalities, God and His personal associates, also participate in this divine venture.
If you desire to read more such passages, please visit www.gvpbookdistribution.com]
Is Book Distribution Pure Bhakti?
It Depends On One's Motive
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally distributed books to others, so don't think that book distribution is aropa-siddha-bhakti . Never think like that; never. Srila Vyasadeva first compiled Srimad-Bhagavatam, and then he instructed Sri Sukadeva Gosvami to preach it everywhere. If book distribution is aropa-siddha bhakti, why, then, did Krsna give an order in the Bhagavad-gita that this knowledge should be given to everyone?
ya idam paramam guhyam mad bhaktesv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param krtva mam evaiayaty asamsayah
na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad anyah priyataro bhuvi
[He who instructs this most confidential knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita to My devotees will attain the topmost transcendental devotion to Me. Thus becoming free from all doubts, he will finally attain Me. No one in human society is more dear to Me than one who explains this message of the Gita to others, nor will there ever be anyone more dear to Me than him.]
Without Bhagavad-gita in the form of a book, how can we preach? Don't think that distributing that book is aropa-siddha-bhakti. Have strong belief in this. If the motive is other than to please Sri Krsna - if it is to earn money to maintain oneself for sense gratification - then it is bogus, aropa-siddha-bhakti. However, if a book is distributed to please Gurudeva and Krsna, for the benefit of all human beings and the entire universe, then it is not aropa-siddha-bhakti; it is svarupa-siddha-bhakti, or pure bhakti.
What to speak of book distribution, even a person who cleans away the stool of another devotee is much better situated than someone who is chanting and remembering but is criticizing others. Many Mayavadis (impersonalists) and sahajiyas (those who equate mundane sex life with Krsna's transcendental loving pastimes) chant the holy name, which generally comes in the category of svarupa-siddha-bhakti, but what is the fruit they desire by their chanting? They want to merge in Krsna, and this is offensive. Please be clear in your mind; when the book is distributed for the benefit of humanity, to please Gurudeva, it is bhakti.
If Gurudeva tells a disciple to clean away the stool of any devotee, that sincere disciple runs immediately to do so.
There was once a very sincere devotee of our Guru Maharaja who rendered him so much service; playing mrdanga and singing excellently, cooking, and washing his cloths. When that young disciple became sick, Guru Maharaja became busy in serving and caring for him, even though that boy was his disciple. At that time I personally told Guru Maharaja, "I want to help you, so that you may have time to preach. I will look after my god-brother." Every day I would wipe off the blood coming from his mouth, and clean up his urine and stool. As a result of this, my Guru Maharaja became very, very pleased with me, and that is why I have been blessed to come here to preach today.
Please do not have any doubt. Chant, remember, perform nagara-sankirtana and book distribution, and go through the books; learn the essence of these books and try to follow sincerely. Then it will not be aropa-siddha-bhakti. Otherwise, it must be.
Los Angeles, California: May 12, 2002
Caitanya Mahaprabhu Distributes Books
If book distribution is performed for one's own purposes, such as personal material profit or reputation, then it is not pure bhakti. A sincere devotee thinks, "I want people to have this book and read it thoroughly, so that they will be able to enter into a deep understanding of bhakti." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned from South India with Sri Brahma-samhita and Sri Krsna-karnamrta, and He requested His devotees to make a necklace of the teachings therein. Why? Because there is immense conclusive philosophical truth in those books. Without knowing all the subjects therein, one cannot enter the realm of bhakti.
When book distribution is performed on the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to please guru and Krsna, then it is real bhakti, otherwise not. Be careful about this. While distributing Jaiva-dharma, for example, the devotee thinks, "I am doing this to please my Gurudeva and Krsna, so that everyone will know what is written in Jaiva-dharma." You may tell people, "Jaiva-dharma includes everything from top to bottom, from basic philosophic truths to esoteric confidential truths, regarding how to develop your bhakti. If you want to read only one book, then you will have to read Jaiva-dharma by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. From the conclusions of Bhagavad-gita, beginning with saranagati (the six types of surrender to the principles of bhakti) and continuing to maha-bhava (the highest ecstatic love of the gopis), everything has been explained in this book. You will benefit greatly to read and follow it."
Know that book distribution is essential. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did it Himself, and we must follow His example. But always be careful that your book distribution is not sanga-siddha or aropa-siddha-bhakti.
Los Angeles, California: May 11, 2003
Srimati Radhika Promotes Book Distribution
[On this morning walk, Srila Gurudeva is expressing the moods of Srimati Radhika and the left-wing gopis. By saying that the narrations of Krsna make one weep in miserable separation for Him and that the gopis are the evidence of this, Srimati Radhika is glorifying the dissemination of these narrations.]
Jayanta dasa: Srila Gurudeva, as we perform our service, how can we know in our hearts that we are actually pleasing you?
Srila Gurudeva: Your soul will be happy. You will realize, "I am happy." If one truly renders service to Srila Gurudeva, he will realize this. By seeing Gurudeva's face, you will feel his benediction and mercy. On the other hand, if guru or Vaia?avas are not satisfied with you, you will know it because you feel some unhappiness:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
[The supreme occupation (dharma) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. *]
The symptom of unmotivated service is that one will surely be happy.
[To Atula-krsna dasa] Why did Valmiki write the Ramayana, and why did he teach Ramayana to Lava and Kusa (the sons of Rama) in order for them to distribute Rama's hari-katha everywhere? Valmiki could have simply meditated on the pastimes of Lord Rama in his mind. Why did he write the Ramayana?
Atula-krsna dasa: He did so by the order of his Gurudeva, Narada.
Srila Gurudeva: Why did Narada give such an order?
Atula-krsna dasa: Narada wanted everyone to hear this hari-katha for their benefit. Valmiki saw all of Rama's pastimes in his trance, and manifested those pastimes to the world. Narada knew that it was the desire of Lord Sri Ramacandra that everyone would hear His hari-katha.
tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grhanti ye bhuri-da janah
[Nectarean discussions about You are the life and soul of those who are tormented by separation from You, and greatly learned personalities, such as Brahma, Siva, and the four Kumaras, sing of them. Those narrations vanquish the distress of past sins [prarabdha (sinful reactions experienced in this body) and aprarabdha (sinful reactions to be experienced in future bodies)]. Immediately upon being heard, they bestow the highest auspiciousness, and especially the wealth of prema. The nectar of Your narrations is expanded by those who glorify Your pastimes, and therefore such narrators are truly the most generous benefactors in the world.]
Srila Gurudeva: Yes, that is why Srila Vyasadeva wrote the Srimad-Bhagavatam. That is why Srila Sukadeva Gosvami preached, and thus distributed that book everywhere.
Expressing the moods of Sri Radha and other left-wing gopis who were uttering this verse beginning tava kathamrtam, our acaryas have commented thus: Some preachers carry Srimad-Bhagavatam here. [Srila Gurudeva was holding his bead bag in his hand as he spoke. He put his bead bag under his armpit, as though he were tightly holding a book there]. They preach and distribute the hari-katha of that book. They preach that the book is the authority regarding that katha. In the mood of Srimati Radhika, our acaryas comment that such preachers are cheaters and murderers (bhuri-dah). Why are they murderers?
Atula-krsna dasa: They cut out all of one's material desires, material entanglements, and material attachments. Thus, no one is able to stay in this world and be happy with family, friends, or home. They must leave and become like mad persons.
Srila Gurudeva: We should therefore distribute the books. Book distribution is not aropa-siddha-bhakti or sanga-siddha-bhakti. If it were either, then why did our predecessor acaryas, like Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Rupa Gosvami, write books? Why did Srila Rupa Gosvami tell Srila Jiva Gosvami to print and distribute these books? And why did Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu do so? On His trip to south India, Mahaprabhu found Brahma-samhita and Krsna-karnamrta in the form of handwritten texts. Knowing them to be authoritative, He took them with Him to present to His devotees, and requested them to copy and distribute them.
We will thus have to reconcile any apparent contradictions regarding the category of bhakti within which book distribution falls. If one sells books for a selfish motive, to make profit and thereby manage his worldly affairs, his activities would be called aropa-siddha; otherwise not.
Atula-krsna dasa: Srila Gurudeva, someone may say, "It is my Gurudeva's desire that his books are distributed, so I will distribute books. But I have no need to hear hari-katha or read those books."
Srila Gurudeva: This is aropa-siddha.
You must know what you are distributing, just as Srila Sukadeva Gosvami and Lava and Kusa knew what they were speaking and singing. You must know what you are giving to others.
[To Prema-prayojana dasa (at that time Aranya Maharaja)] Do you understand?
Prema-prayojana dasa: Yes.
Srila Gurudeva: Do not be so bold. Do not say anything against my teachings or the teachings of our guru-varga.
Prema-prayojana dasa: I only repeated what you have said many times, but not all of the details.
Srila Gurudeva: We must reconcile all apparent contradictory statements; otherwise, so many devotees will be discouraged and misguided. Why do you personally take books under your arm and act like a 'murderer'?
Prema-prayojana dasa: For guru-seva.
Srila Gurudeva: In the past I have told what you told last night [that book distribution is aropa-siddha-bhakti], but that is only when it is performed for personal material profit. You will have to harmonize all my instructions on the matter.
Brajanath dasa: Is book distribution one of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti [as described in Bhakti-rasamtta-sindhu]?
Srila Gurudeva: Srila Narottama dasa Thakura cleaned away the stool passed by his gurudeva. Where is this written as a limb of bhakti? Still, his service was the purest bhakti.
Prema-prayojana dasa: Does the category of bhakti one performs depend on the adhikara (qualification) of the person performing the activity? If such persons have no bhakti adhikara, no sambandha-jnana (realization of one's relationship with Krsna), how will their activity be called bhakti?
Srila Gurudeva: Even without your sambandha-jnana, the limbs of bhakti are so powerful that they will surely affect you, like fire. I heard that a child, despite the protest of his mother, put his hand into a fire, and his hand was burned; and after that he would not go near a fire. Similarly, the pure limbs of krsna-bhakti are so powerful that even a person like Ajamila was transformed by its performance. Ajamila was so sinful that there was no sin he had not committed. Valmiki also committed innumerable sins, but what became of him? He was touched by Narada and became perfect.
On the other hand, if one criticizes a Vaisnava or commits an offense against him, this will destroy his bhakti. Whether or not a person has sambandha-jnana, his bhakti will disappear. Of course, if one truly has sambandha-jnana, he would never commit such an offense. This is one of the symptoms of one who is blessed with sambandha-jnana.
Prema-prayojana dasa: When is one qualified to perform visrambhena-guru-seva (intimate service to guru)?
Srila Gurudeva: When one has sambandha-jnana of his relationship with gurudeva, he will be of this conviction: "I cannot serve Krsna now, but simply by serving my Gurudeva I will receive his mercy to attain Krsna's service. There is no other way." He serves his gurudeva with this conviction.
When I first joined the ma?ha, I had no sambandha-jnana at all; but I gave my heart, and all the attachment I'd had for my wife, children, father, mother, and all material possessions, unto my Gurudeva's lotus feet. When I told him this, he began to weep, and after that he engaged me in his personal service. I would sit on his bed, massage him, wash his clothing, and prepare whatever he wanted prepared. At that time I had no sambandha-jnana, but I surrendered to him, and by his mercy, you are all now honoring me.
Devotee: Gurudeva, I have a question. When we distributed Srila Prabhupada's books in the past, some people would immediately throw away the books because they couldn't understand them. Are there certain books that you would like us to distribute to the public on a general basis?
Srila Gurudeva: Try to realize what you are distributing. If you are distributing Gita, you must know the purport of the Gita. Can you tell me its purport?
Devotee: The purpose of Gita is giving them Krsna; giving them contact with the spiritual master.
Srila Gurudeva: What is the purport of the Gita? What is the essence of Gita?
Devotee: To surrender to Krsna through the spiritual master, and to develop pure love of Krsna.
Srila Gurudeva: There is more. The purport is much, much higher than that; you cannot even imagine its true purport. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. What do you understand from this sloka? Have you read it?
Devotee: Just try to understand, and surrender to the spiritual master.
Srila Gurudeva: Have you heard this verse?
Devotee: Yes, I have, but I forgot it.
Srila Gurudeva: There are two important verses: The first begins man-mana bhava, and after that there is sarva-dharman parityajya. Which verse's mood is superior? I know that you cannot say. Man-mana bhava is higher.
To chant harinama and to worship the Deity is svarupa-siddha-bhakti. If a person is thus engaged, but at the same time he is criticizing others and committing offences, and another person is not engaged in worship but is only clearing away the stool of his gurudeva and massaging him, who is superior?
Prema-prayojana dasa: The second personality.
Srila Gurudeva: One person is clearing away the stool of his gurudeva and washing his gurudeva's clothes, and the other person is performing the activities of svarupa-siddha-bhakti such as sravana (hearing), kirtana (chanting), and smarana (remembering Krsna), but criticizing others and thinking, "I know more than anyone else in the world." Who is superior? The first person.
Los Angeles, California: May 13, 2003
Srila Gurudeva Distributes Books
[Srila Gurudeva often inspired his various audiences to collect and read his books. That was one of the ways he promoted and distributed them:]
purnah pulindya urugaya-padabja-raga-
limpantya anana-kucesu jahus tad-adhim
The gopis lament in separation from Krsna, "O, see the forest girls. They are born of very low caste, with black complexions. Although they are Pulinda, from the hilly tribes, still they are so fortunate. When Krsna goes to the forest, His footprints, mixed with some kunkuma powder, come on the grass. When the Pulinda girls see this, they take that kunkuma and smear it on their breasts. When they do this, they feel as if Krsna is meeting with them. But we cannot do even this."
There are very good explanations of this sloka by Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. I've given only some hint. I've not explained so much. In India I have explained their commentaries, and a book has been published called Venu-gita. If you want to know more, you can read that book.
I think that all my books can help you so much. The explanation of Gita by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura will help you more, more, more, and more. And the biography of my gurudeva will also help you so much. All my books - about forty books, such as Upadesamrta, Manah-siksa, Siksastakam, and Jaiva-dharma - will help you so much, so much. Try to read them; this will give you the association of Vaisn?avas.
Discourse on Venu-gita
Murwillumbah, Australia: January 21, 2001
Visakha dasi: We are returning to England. What should our specific service be? What should we do?
Srila Gurudeva: Chant in a very heartfelt way, remember what I have taught you, read bhakti books, and worship Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Giriraja. It is necessary to do something for your personal development; this is your duty.
Devote more and more time to devotional services, like chanting and hearing. When you are not hearing from me, you can hear each other; in other words you can read a book aloud and others will hear, and then you can all discuss the subject matter together. Now you have many books. You have Vilapa-kusumanjali, Harinama-cintamani, Caitanya-caritamrta, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and so many other books. Try to discuss all the topics therein, and if there are any questions, you can write to me and I will reply.
Mathura, India: February 3, 1995
Gurudeva Has Done It
Syamarani dasi: Srila Gurudeva, you said in your class that Brahma thought he had stolen the cows, but actually it was Yogamaya who'd done it. And we think, "I am doing something," but our activities are actually done by maya. So, suppose I distribute a book and think, "Oh, I've distributed a book." Who has really distributed the book?
Srila Gurudeva: Gurudeva has done it. How will you do it? You cannot do anything. You cannot even make one blade of dry grass. Guru gives this energy to a disciple, but sometimes a disciple becomes bewildered and thinks, "I am the doer." This is wrong thinking, and it forces that disciple to fall down. All of you must be very careful.
Ramacandra dasa (Delhi): Guru gives opportunity and capacity.
Srila Gurudeva: He gives both. He gives both the meal and the power to digest it.
Badger, California: June 2, 2002
Srila Gurudeva Promotes Books
Sri Jayadeva Gosvami was a very high-class maha-bhagavata, and he wrote a book called Sri Gita-govinda, The Glories of Govinda. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw this book, He made a copy and instructed His followers to also obtain one. At that time there was no printing press, books were reproduced by hand. Mahaprabhu therefore ordered His followers to copy it by hand, and then preach. In Jagannatha Puri, all the Vaisnavas and associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu copied that book by hand and thus crafted for themselves a necklace of the beautiful songs therein.
Manjari dasi has sung the first song in this book, namely Srita Kamala. The words and meaning of the song are so very near and dear to Krsna. A devi-dasi was once singing this song in the forest at night. Hearing this sweet kirtana, Krsna in the form of Jagannatha-deva opened His door. It may seem to some persons that He is a statue of wood, but He is not. He left the temple and began to run very quickly through the forest towards that singing, causing the many thorny bushes in that forest to scratch His body and tear His clothing. Before He reached that devi-dasi, she stopped her kirtana, but He had already become maddened.
He somehow returned to His temple and closed the door. In the morning, when the pujari came for mangala-arati, he found Jagannatha covered with scratches and His cloth torn. The pujari called the main priest and the king, who both became very anxious, wondering, "Who could have done this?" They wanted to arrest the culprit, but of course, Jagannatha Himself was the 'culprit.'
Why did Jagannatha run after a lady? It was because of His intense attraction for that song. Jagannatha-deva appeared to the King in a dream. He explained to the King that He had heard His maidservant singing from very far away, and was so attracted that He was impelled to run to her. He told the King that it was the bushes and thorns of the forest that had scratched His body.
After this incident, it was mandated as a precaution that this song be sung only in the presence of Jagannatha-deva. Everyone was ordered to be very careful not to sing it in a distant place.
Once at night, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Cataka-parvata , a lady was sweetly singing Srita Kamala in a very beautiful tune. Mahaprabhu could not restrain Himself. He was oblivious to who was singing and began to run in the direction from which the song was coming. His servant, Govinda, knew that this song was coming from a lady - a very young lady. He chased after Mahaprabhu, calling, "Don't go! Don't go! Otherwise You will want to give up Your life for having embraced a lady!" He could not run like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was moving very swiftly, so he loudly shouted, "O Prabhu, what are You doing? This song is coming from a very beautiful young lady! Don't go and embrace her!" Hearing this, Mahaprabhu became alert and came to His external senses. He then told Govinda, "If you had not stopped Me and I had touched that lady, I would have jumped into the ocean and given up My life." This song is so full of rasa.
Gita-govinda is very famous, and we have now translated it from the original Sanskrit into Hindi, with good explanations. It will soon be ready for distribution all over India, and to Hindi speaking people around the world. The English edition will also be available very soon, and so many other books will be available as well.
I am working very hard, and my associates are helping. Sri Krsna and my parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja have sent me so many learned and qualified bhaktas. I'm very lucky. They have arranged everything; they are helping me. Sri Ujjvala-nilamani and other very good books will also be published soon. Sri Bhakti-rasamtta-sindhu of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta of Srila Sanatana, the guru of even Srila Rupa Gosvami, will be printed soon. Studying these books will greatly help you in your understanding of bhakti.
Los Angeles, California: May 12, 2003
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Promotes Book Distribution
[The following two vignettes are not by Srila Gurudeva, but by his parama-gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, who wrote the following in his Upadesavali ('Garland of Instructions'):]
Establishing a printing press to print devotional books, and preaching by organising nama-hatta programmes, constitutes genuine service to Sri Mayapura.
* * *
[The following excerpt was spoken by Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada to a retired Deputy Collector, Sri Amarendranatha Pala Chaudhary, at Ca?aka-parvata in Jagannatha Puri, Sri Puruaottama-dhama. It was later published in his weekly Gaudiya (Year 14, No. 37), and a translation of this article appeared in the Rays of the Harmonist, which is published by Srila Gurudeva's disciples under his direction.]
In Sri Gaudiya Matha, those who are preaching by composing devotional books or writing articles for periodicals and journals are certainly performing krsna-kirtana. They are doing this through the medium of the brhad-mrdanga, which includes opening a 'post-office' and establishing a printing press. They are performing krsna-kirtana by organizing exhibitions. Some are engaged in krsna-kirtana through their own ideal, exemplary behaviour. To ensure that this krsna-kirtana does not become lost in the ether, it is being recorded and presented as devotional literature. Thus, people in future epochs will also be able to hear this krsna-kirtana.
Krsna-kirtana: The Root of Successful Sadhana
Rays of the Harmonist, Karttika 2008
[Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada's emphasis on book publication and distribution is also glorified in the arati song, written for him by Srila Gurudeva's Guru Maharaja, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. In the biography of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Gurudeva gave the following purport to Verse Six of this arati song:]
sarva-vadya-mayi ghanta baje sarva-kala
brhat-mrdanga vadhya parama rasala
Srila Prabhupada Arati (6)
[Krsna-kirtana, which is accompanied by karatalas, bells, and other instruments, resounds for all time in all directions, but really it is the printing press, known as the brhad-mrdanga, which distributes the supreme rasa.]
The bell is very important in the arcana of sri vigraha. It is essential to ring the bell, which is sarva-vadya-mayi (the sum total of all musical sounds), while offering incense, lamp, and other ingredients. The role of the bell, which keeps ringing eternally in this extraordinary arati, is also quite unique. This transcendental bell is powerful hari-katha. The whole life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was permeated with hari-katha; in fact he is the embodiment of hari-katha. His hari-katha would never stop, even for a moment. It would automatically start to flow, even when he saw innocent children or plants and bees. His hari-katha was so potent and effective that anyone who heard it would immediately become inspired with bhakti.
Kirtana is also essential during the performance of arcana. Srila Jiva Gosvami has written in his Bhakti-sandarbha, "Yadyapy anya bhakti kalau karttavya tada kirtanakhya bhakti samyogenaiva - If anyone executes other limbs of bhakti, he should perform harinama-sankirtana at the same time. In Kali-yuga, performing any sadhana independent of sankirtana will not bear any fruits." Thus it is essential to perform kirtana while doing arcana. Sankirtana is divided into different types such as nama-kirtana, rupa-kirtana, guna-kirtana, and lila-kirtana. Amongst these, nama-kirtana is the best of all: tara madhye sarva srea?ha nama-sankirtana.
The mrdanga is another essential part of sankirtana. The contribution of the brhad-mrdanga, the printing press, is of the utmost importance in the arati propagated by Srila Prabhupada. The sound of an ordinary mrdanga is very limited, but the bhakti literatures published by the brhad-mrdanga reach every corner of the world. They enter the hearts of sadhaka bhaktas, and make them dance in the ecstasy of harinama-sankirtana. The sound of this brhad-mrdanga never stops. It eternally arises in the hearts of the devotees, and keeps inspiring them. All glories and victory to the arati of Srila Prabhupada, who has established this brhad-mrdanga!
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami – His Life and Teachings, Part 7, Srila Prabhupada Arati
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Distributed
In the year 1838, Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura auspiciously appeared in a well-educated and cultured family in the village of Vira-nagara, which is near Sri Navadvipa-dhama in West Bengal. By compiling approximately one hundred authoritative books on the science of bhakti in Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, English, and other languages, he ushered in a new era in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line and re-established its lost glory. For this great effort, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas will remain eternally indebted to him. In the modern age, Srila Bhaktivinoda ?hakura set in motion once again the bhakti-bhagirathi, the mighty, flowing river of pure devotion, and for this he is well known as the Seventh Gosvami.
* * *
Do you know what Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura did? Although he was a very high class of government officer, the district magistrate in Puri, he used to go to village after village with nagara-sankirtana. He established numerous nagara-sankirtanas and nama-hattas throughout the villages of Bengal, and he would personally say about himself, "Nama-hatta jhadu-dara – I am a sweeper of the nama-hatta market."
He wrote more than one-hundred books. I used to think, "Where are there a hundred books?" But now I am seeing that he has written a thousand books. Why did he do this? He did this for us. All of his songs and literature is our wealth; if you have got such faith, then go on singing and reading. Even by singing one of his songs, our attachment to this world can very easily disappear.
Birmingham, U.K.: June 21, 2001
* * *
[The following quote is from Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja:]
Bhaktivinoda Thakura distributed his literature. In 1896 he sent his first book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya [Lord Caitanya – His Life and Precepts], to McGill University, and I saw that book. That was the year of my birth also, 1896.
Vrndavana, India: October 15, 1972
Srinivasa Acarya Distributes Books
Srinivasa Acarya was the diksa disciple of Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and he was mostly trained by his sikaa-guru, Srila Jiva Gosvami. He introduced many melodies for kirtanas, and he was such an exalted devotee that our Srila Rupa Gosvami and the other Gosvamis depended upon him. They directed him: "Go and preach in Bengal, and distribute all the literature written by us [Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and the other Gosvamis]." Along with his associates, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura and Srila Syamananda Prabhu, he took their order and books, bound for Bengal.
Along the way, some dacoits looted the cart that carried all the books. The dacoits thought they'd gained a trunk full of jewels, for an astrologer had told the dacoits' leader, "This trunk is full of treasures."
The three devotees became mad in separation from the manifest heart of the Gosvamis - their writings. Srinivasa Acarya then sent both of his associates to Bengal, telling them, "I will remain here until I discover the location of the books."
The local king was the leader of the dacoits, but he was also a devotee. Though he used to loot, he would also hear scriptures, like Srimad-Bhagavatam especially. There was a bhagavata-pandita in his council who would read aloud and explain Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srinivasa Acarya, in very simple dress, went there one day, when a Bhagavata discourse was taking place. He humbly sat in that assembly, hearing from the court pandita. After the discourse was completed for that day, Srinivasa requested, "May I comment on what the pandita explained?"
The king said, "Oh yes, very well; you may explain something about these topics." The pandita had been speaking on Gopi-gita, but he was not able to explain it very deeply.
Srinivasa Acarya then stood up and began to explain it, weeping and making the audience weep. He gave the same explanations given by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and Srila Jiva Gosvami in their purports to Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The king at once approached Srinivasa Acarya and offered dandavat-pranama, begging, "I want to take diksa initiation from you, and I want to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam."
Srinivasa accepted the king and gave him initiation. Then the king offered, "I want to give you some guru-daksina. As you like, I can give."
Srinivasa replied, "Oh, is this a promise? If so, then please try to arrange for the return of our cart-full of books."
The king immediately exclaimed, "Oh, it is with me! It is with me! My astrologers told me, 'Three devotees from Vrndavana are coming, with lots of jewels - more than jewels.' And that is why we took the trunk. When we opened the trunk we could not tell in what way they are jewels. But now, hearing from you, I know that they are so much more than jewels."
Jewels cannot give krsna-bhakti. They cannot help us. Those books can help us thousands of times more than jewels. You are coming here only by the grace of those books.
In this way, Sri Caitanya-caritamtta, the books of Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all the other Gosvami's literature were saved.
This was Srinivasa Acarya, a highly elevated devotee.
Discourse on the Appearance Day of Srinivasa Acarya
Badger, California: May 15, 2003
Srila Jiva Gosvami Copied Books By Hand
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna Himself who has taken the beauty and intrinsic mood of Srimati Radhika, came to this world, but it was Srila Rupa Gosvami who established in this world His innermost heart's feelings. If Srila Rupa Gosvami had not come, perhaps we would not have known Mahaprabhu's identity.
Srila Jiva Gosvami served Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the credit for all the publishing of Rupa Gosvami's literatures belongs to him. By publishing Rupa Gosvami's literatures, he established his innermost desire. At that time it was very difficult to publish books because the authors had to write all their books with their own pens, as there were no printing presses. Jiva Gosvami wrote down, in his own handwriting, every copy of every book of Srila Rupa Gosvami.
Srila Jiva Gosvami was the topmost learned person at that time, and he preserved the legacy of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Because he was always with him, he was able to write many commentaries in pursuance of rupanuga-vaisnavism. If it were not for him, all of Srila Rupa Gosvami's books would have been lost. He also preached, especially to Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, and Sri Srinivasa Acarya. Try to practice serving the cause of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission as he did.
Discourse on the Disappearance Day of Srila Jiva Gosvami
Oahu, Hawaii: January 16, 2002
The Original Distributor, Srila Vyasadeva
What is vyasa? The line that touches the opposite sides of the circumference of a circle by going through the central point is called the diameter, or vyasa . What is the meaning? Krsna is the center of all. Not only this one world, but so many universes, hundreds of millions of universes, are in this circle. Vyasa is touching Krsna and going to all the innumerable ends of material existence. Who is Vyasa? He who is preaching the glories of Krsna to all, and teaching everyone: "You should serve Krsna; otherwise no one will be able to save you from this endless chain of birth and suffering." Vyasa is he who is always serving Krsna from one point to another, everywhere in this material world.
Singapore, February 11, 2001
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Today we are going to observe guru-puja, or vyasa-puja. First of all, it is essential to know what is guru-puja and what is vyasa-puja. Actually, both are the same. Sri Krsna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa divided the one Veda into four. Then, because it would be difficult for people to extract the essence of the four Vedas, he wrote Brahma-sutra (Vedanta-sutra).
...The meaning of the gayatri-mantra has been clearly revealed by Srila Vyasadeva in the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Had he not come to this world, 'everything would have been nothing.' He revealed this gayatri-mantra, as well as the catu?-sloki (four essence verses) of Srimad-Bhagavatam and their explanation, and he especially revealed the highest love of the mahabhava of Srimati Radhika. He revealed the meaning of Vedanta-sutra, which is Srimad-Bhagavatam, he manifested all the Pura?as, and especially the Mahabharata. The essence of all these scriptures is the same.
Srila Vyasadeva first taught his four disciples – Jaimini, Vaisampayana, Paila, and Angira – and he especially taught his dearest one, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami was not only his son, but also his dear-most disciple. Srila Vyasadeva manifested all his knowledge in the heart of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who then preached it everywhere. All acaryas, and also their disciples, in our entire guru-parampara are so much indebted to those who are in the line of Srila Vyasadeva.
It is therefore essential to know the meaning of vyasa. Suppose there is a circle. If from any point of the circumference a straight line is drawn, and that line passes through the center to the other end, this is called vyasa (diameter). The diameter is always straight, and it covers all 360 degrees of the circle. It always divides the circle in half, making that circle 180 degrees. This is vyasa.
Similarly this vyasa, Srila Vyasadeva, touches everywhere in the world. Srila Vyasadeva revealed the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he revealed Radhika, and he revealed all other knowledge. We are thus unlimitedly indebted to him. Our whole guru-parampara is indebted to him, and it is for this reason that the mantra of vyasa-puja is:
naram caiva narottamam
devim sarasvatim vyasam
tato jayam udirayet