Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[February 25, 2017 is Siva-ratri (in India). In observance of this auspicious day, we are sending the following lecture from Holland, July 3, 1997:]


Sri Narada has gone to Sankara, Lord Siva, and is glorifying him; “You are very near and dear to Lord Krsna. Not only that, you are Krsna’s manifestation; you are non-different from Him. You can give moksa, liberation, and also krsna-prema.” Hearing Narada glorify him in numerous ways, Sankara became somewhat angry and said, “Your glorification of me is all false. I am not very dear to Krsna – not at all – but I want to be. I want to be Krsna’s beloved, but actually I am not. I’ve done so many things against Him.”

Sankara had performed a number of activities that were apparently opposed to Krsna, such as giving a benediction to Ravana, as well as other activities opposed to krsna-bhakti. He told N arada, “You know, my boy, what no one in this world can do, Krsna tells me to do.” When the demigods were churning the ocean, first came poison – maha-poison. It was very dangerous and the entire world was burning by it.” The demigods had approached Krsna, who told them to worship Sankara and request him to swallow that poison. So they worshipped Sankara and told him, “O Sankara, save us! No one else can save us.” Sankara at once took that poison and drank it. He took it in his mouth, but he didn’t want to take it in his stomach. This was because he considered, “Oh, Krsna is in my heart, and the poison will affect Him”. He therefore took it only in his throat. His throat was burned and it thus turned blue.

In kali-yuga many persons wanted to worship Krsna, God, thinking, “He should fulfill all our desires. Simply by worshipping Krsna or His incarnations, He will be pleased and satisfy our worldly, material desires.” In this way they began to worship – not to please Krsna, but only because they wished that He would very easily arrange all of their needs. Sri Krsna thought, “This is very dangerous.” He called Sankara and told him, “Tell all the false devotees that, “You yourself are Brahma. Brahma satyam jaganmitya jiva brahma evanapara. This world is false. Jiva is Siva, jiva is Brahma, all these souls are Brahma. There is no need to worship any other God. You are God Himself. You are Paramabrahma.”

Sankara told Krsna, “Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified to do this service.”

Krsna replied, “No, you will have to do it. In the entire world I see no one else qualified to do this.”

Now Sankara told Narada, “At last, I had to agree with this, and I preached everywhere, ‘You are Brahma, you are Brahma, you are Brahma. The whole world is false. ’ Now, I am so much regretting this. Why am I making all these jivas so offensive? It is an offense, I know. But yet, to carry out the orders of Lord Krsna, I am doing this. Because He sometimes orders me in this way, I am not His dear one.

“Also, you know that I always wear ashes from the burial grounds, and I always wear skulls. I have trigunas, three qualities: satya, rajas, and tamas (material goodness, passion and ignorance). All my associates are like bhutas (ghosts) and pisachis (witches). So actually I am not qualified to be Krsna’s dear one.”

Narada then said, “Prabhu, don’t cheat me. I know something. I have heard that the enemies of Krsna and the Pandavas, or the enemies of any bhaktas, worship you, and you give them some benediction. But that benediction is not totally foolproof. There is always some loophole there. Actually you cheat them to please your Lord Sri Krsna. I know that whatever you do, you do to ple ase Krsna. You are His dearest friend.”

In Mahabharata there was a king named Jayadratha who was the brother-in-law of Duryodhana. Duryodhana had given his sister, Dushala, to Jayadratha, and so he was also like the brother-in-law of the Pandavas. Once Jayadratha tried to take Draupadi as his wife, and he put her on his chariot by force. Weeping, she told him, “I am the wife of the Pandavas. If they come, they will punish and kill you.” Jayadratha was so arrogant, however, that he did not hear what she said. In the meantime, Rsi Narada came to the Pandavas and told them, “Oh, I saw Jayadratha take away Draupadi, and she is weeping!” At once Bhima and Arjuna ran after him, and Jayadratha saw that they were coming very quickly. Bhima left his chariot and began to run faster than Jayadratha’s horses. Arjuna told Bhima, “I am going to arrest and kill Jayadratha. You should take care of the rest of the Pandavas.” He thus took his bow and arrows, and by those arrows he created a fire that surrounded the chariot of Jayadratha. Jayadratha was captured in that fire and could not move. At once Arjuna and Bhima arrested him, bound him to the chariot, and took him to the place where Yudhisthira was staying with Draupadi and the others.

Bhima told Yudhisthira “I want to kill him. Please order me to kill him”. Arjuna also said, “Jayadratha has performed a heinous act; he should be killed.” Yudhisthira said, “We should take the case to Draupadi, and whatever she orders we will do”. This was because it was Draupadi whom Jayadratha had taken. They went to Draupadi and kept Jayadratha at her feet. Draupadi was now very merciful. Although Bhima repeatedly said, “I want to kill him at once”, Draupadi told them, “Don’t kill him. Forgive him, because he is our brother-in-law. If you kill him, your sister will be a widow and she will weep forever.”

Indian wives are always very chaste. They can give their lives for their husbands. Their husbands may give them up or divorce them, but these women will never give up their husbands. Rama left Sita, but Sita never left Rama. This is Indian Vedic culture, and we should try to follow this because Parama-pujyapada Srila Swami Maharaja wanted it. Both husband and wife should help each other. You should never think, “I will give up my husband.” First follow Varnasrama-dharma, and then bhakti will come. When you are matured, then you can choose to either give it up or not give it up; no harm. But now you should try to follow Varnasrama-dharma. Some of the devotees were not following, and Srila Swami Maharaja was worried. Males and females should both be like this – very chaste. You can give up your life, no harm, because your soul will never die. However, if given to anyone, be chaste like this. Otherwise you can also give up Lord Krsna . So practice here. Take a vow that, “In my life I will never divorce; I will never give up my husband (or wife).” Then you will be chaste and you will never give up Krsna. Nowadays it is very easy to give up Gurudeva and to take a new one – like western women. In a second, for nothing, they can change their husbands. Although it may be a problem for their children, they are accustomed to act in that way. We should try to change this habit.

So Draupadi said, “Your sister will be a widow, and she will weep for her entire life.” Bhima and Arjuna asked Sri Krsna, “What should we do? We have promised to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi is telling us that we should forgive him.” Krsna replied, “If a man is very much respected but requires punishment, then he should be dishonored; and this will be like death.” Arjuna then shaved his head, keeping five sikhas, and he shaved one side of his face while leaving the othe r side half-shaved. This system is practiced in France, and nowadays it is a very good fashion. But Jayadratha was insulted there, and he felt totally humiliated.

When Bhima and Arjuna released him, Jayadratha thought, “It was better to die than to live.” He vowed, “I will somehow take revenge.” He therefore did not go to his home. Instead he went to Kailasa and performed very severe austerities there. After some months he gave up all food, water, and everything else, and he was about to die.

At that time Sankara came and asked him, “What do you want?” Jayadratha said, “I want to take revenge against the Pandavas. I want to defeat all the Pandavas and kill them.”

Sankara told Jayadratha, “You can defeat the Pandavas once, and only Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva; but not Arjuna”

Jayadratha said, “If you cannot give me a benediction to my full satisfaction, t hen you should give me the benediction that neither Arjuna nor anyone else can kill me.”

Sankara replied, “If anyone kills you by cutting off your head, then, if it falls on the ground, that person who made your head land on the ground will die immediately. Your life will be saved and your head will be joined back to your body. However, if your head goes to your father, and your father throws it on the ground, then you will remain dead. If someone kills you hundreds and thousands of times, you will not be able to be killed, but if your father throws your head anywhere, then you will be killed.”

Jayadratha was satisfied. He thought, “My father will never do this!” Later, when the Mahabharata battle was fought, Arjuna cut off Jayadratha’s head with his arrow. It was evening and the sun was setting, and his father was doing arpana to the Sun-god (offering some water). In the meantime, Arjuna shot Jayadratha’s head into the hands of his father. Without thinking, his father tossed it on the ground, opened his eyes and said, “What is this wet thing?” But it had already gone from his hand. He now saw that this was the head of his son and began to cry, “O my son, O my son! You are now dead.” Thus, if Sankara gives any benediction to the enemies of Lord Krsna’s devotees, there is always some loophole. He is so clever, and he is always serving Krsna.

There was a very big demon named Tripurasura, who performed severe austerities to please Sankara. When Sankara came, Tripurasura told him, “I want a benediction that I can make three airplanes. They should be managed only by mind, so that when I order them to go to heaven, they will go there. They should not be like present-day machines. They should do as I wish. In summer they should be air-conditioned. If two men are seated, then there should be only two seats. And if I want to travel on the airp lanes with hundreds of thousands of persons, then that many seats should be arranged. They should never fall down due to mechanical difficulty. Never. They should be made of gold, copper, and silver, and they should be equipped with all kinds of weapons.

After attaining his benediction, Tripurasura began to fight with Lord Sankara himself. Sankara fled and took shelter of Krsna. Tripurasura also had a khupa, a well, and that well was full of nectar. If anyone would try to kill him, he could at once take that nectar and then he would not die. Sankara was very worried. Because so much warfare was going on between them, he took shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. In order to save him, Krsna, as Visnu, then took the form of a cow. That cow drank all the nectar from the well, after which Sankara was able to kill Tripurasura and the other demons. We can see here that Sankara even gives benedictions to his own enemies, knowing that Krsna will save him.

So don& rsquo;t fear. Sri Krsna will save you if you offer yourself to Him. He has promised, “Sarva dharma parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisami ma sucah.” If you give your whole responsibility – your intelligence, your senses, your everything – to Krsna, He will take all responsibility for you. Don’t fear. No sufferings or sorrows of any kind will come to you. Arjuna killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but he did not have to taste the fruit of that. In other words, He did not have to suffer from the results of his actions. Ajamila committed so many sinful activities, but he also did not have to taste the fruit of that. He went to Vaikuntha. So you should try to give all your responsibilities, Varnashrama-dharma and everything to Krsna – and be happy forever. Then only you can enter into bhakti.

Sankara is always serving Krsna. Narada knows this fact, but he wanted to glorify Sankara so that every one will know that he is very near and dear – and non-different from Krsna. How? “Saksad haritvena samasta sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya vande guroh sri caranaravindam”. Here saksad haritvena means priyatvena haritvena. He is very near and dear. “Vaisnavanam yata sambhu – he is the greatest Vaisnava”.

Sankara-tattva is extremely complex. Brahma-tattva is not so complicated; he is always jiva-tattva. And sometimes, when there is no qualified jiva, Lord Visnu himself comes as Brahma. But Sankara is not like this. He is not jiva-tattva. Where does he live? Beyond Brahmaloka. After passing through the eight kinds of material coverings, after crossing the Viraja, Muktidhama, Mahakalapuram, and then Brahmaloka, there is the planet of Sankara. There he is known as Sadasiva, and he is Visnu-tattva.

For any reason, if something sour is put into milk, it becomes yogurt. Yogurt is nothing but milk. It has all the potencies that are in milk, like ghee and so forth, but it is not milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. Sankara is like that. He is not an ordinary jiva. Sometimes, but very rarely, there may be a reason that Sadasiva cannot come to this world – if he is engaged in his destruction of the universe, or anything like that. In that case a qualified jiva can work as Siva; temporarily, but not permanently. So you should always try to honor Lord Sankara.

I can tell some pastimes of Sankara from Srimad Bhagavatam and Skanda Purana. When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to go to Sri Lanka with his hundreds of thousands of soldiers, He established a Siva-linga of Ramesvara. When it was established, all the male human beings were glorifying Sankara, shouting, “Ramesvara ki jayaho! Ramesvara ki jaya! They were calling Ramesvara “Rama Isvara”. “You are isvara; you are the God of Rama.&rdq uo; Thus they used the name Ramesvara. The Demigods were not happy or satisfied by this. They said, “Ramas ca asau isvarah”. Rama is God, and Sankara is also God. Both of them are the same. Hearing this, the Sankara-sila (linga or stone) broke. Sankara came out from it and told them, “You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara.”

Common people generally don’t know very much, and so they thought that Ramesvara meant that Sankara is the God of Rama, and that Rama is controlled by Sankara. The demigods were of the opinion that Rama and Sankara are the same and both are God. But Lord Siva, Sankara himself, told them, “I am not the God of Rama. Rama is my beloved and my God.” Sankara is called Ramesvara because of this. He himself told this.

We see in Srimad Bhagavatam that once Sankara went to the council of Praja pati Daksa, and everyone there was honoring Daksa. Daksa Prajapati had given his daughter in marriage to Sankara, so he thought that Lord Siva was like his son. He offered pranamas to Brahma because he was his father, but not to Sankara. All were honoring Daksa except Sankara, who was only sitting and chanting, “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Daksa Prajapati felt insulted, cursed Lord Siva, and so many incidences took place after that. Sankara returned to Kailasa. From that time on Daksa thought Sankara his enemy, but Sankara never thought like this.

One day, in Treta-yuga, Sankara and his wife Sati came to Dandakaranya Forest. At that time Rama had been living in the forest for 14 years with Sita and Laksmana, to obey the order of his father, King Dasaratha. Now Ravana had stolen away Sita and taken her to Lanka. Rama was now weeping so much, and Laksmana was trying to pacify Him. The more Laksmana tr ied to pacify Him, however, the more He wept. He was asking the trees of Pancavati, “O Pancavati! Have you seen Sita? Where has She gone? O deer, have you seen Sita?” And He was crying – bitterly weeping – asking the Godavari River, “O Godavari, have you seen My dear Sita? Where has She gone? Why has She left me?” Rama became mad in separation.

Sankara came with Sati to the Dandakaranya Forest to see Rama’s divine pastimes and to take darsana of Him. Sankara was very moved and his heart was melting, He offered sasthang-pranama (full obeisances, with all the eight limbs of the body touching the ground) to Rama, and glorified Him, saying, “O, these pastimes are so beautiful and marvelous that anyone’s heart will melt to see them.” He then did parikrama from very far, far away, weeping, “O these pastimes are so beautiful”. When he did his final pranama and was ready to go back to Kailasa, Sati as ked, “My beloved, to whom are you doing pranama?” Sankara told Sati, “Rama is my worshipful deity. I always worship Him.” She told her husband, “Why? I see that Rama is like an ordinary man, weeping for His wife. Even I know where Sita is, and He does not know and He is weeping? He is not strong enough to bring Sita back? He is very weak; so He must be a man, not God. Why are you doing pranama to Him? Who is He?” Sankara told Sati, “You are ignorant; you do not know that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” She had no belief or trust, so Sankara told her to test Him somehow.

Sankara went from there and rested under a banyan tree. Sati changed her form to look like Sita, went to the place where Rama was searching for Sita, and came in front of Rama. Rama was weeping, “Oh Sita, where are you, where are you?” Sati thought, “If I appear before Rama as Sita, then He will look at me and He will at once come and embrace me, saying “Oh, I have received my Sita.” And He will be happy.” But Rama was ignoring Sati. Again and again she came in front of Him, yet He was looking away. Then He told her, “Mother, why are you roaming here alone? Where is Sankara?” Sati wondered how Rama knew who she really was. Now she was afraid and did pranama to Rama. Then she saw that all the trees, all the creepers, and everything else became Rama and Sita. Wherever she looked, here and there and everywhere, she only saw Sita Rama, Sita Rama, Sita Rama. Rama showed Sati that, “Sita is never separated from Me, She is always with Me. I am doing this pastime for all human beings, so they will remember My lila.”

Sati realized, “Sankara can never be ignorant. He was right and I was wrong.” After Sati offered pranama and stood up, she saw that now Rama was there alone with Laksmana, and He was still weeping. “Oh Sita, where ar e you, where are you?”

Sati then went back to the place where Sankara was waiting under the banyan tree, and he asked her, “Have you tested Him to see who He is?” Sati replied, “Prabhu, what can I do? I believed you and I didn’t test Him.” She told a lie. You should always have faith in your Guru. Sankara was the Guru of Sati, but she did not believe him when he had told her that Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If a disciple does not obey his Gurudeva, what will happen? His bhakti and spiritual life will go down. Never tell any falsehoods to your Gurudeva, otherwise you again go to hell. She lied to Sankara, saying “I have not tested Him.” But Sankara saw in his trance that she had tested Him, and he saw how she had become Sita. He considered, “She has taken the form of Sita, who is my mother. She is therefore not my wife; now she is my mother. Now I will always treat her as my mother.” When he made this vow, the demigods at once showered flowers from heaven, and they praised him, “You have made such a marvelous vow.” Sati asked her husband, “What vow have you made?” But he was silent and never said anything.

When they returned to their cottage in Kailasa, Sankara gave Sati a seat in front of him. The wife can sit on the left side of her husband, and the mother always sits in front, as a guru. In the same way, a disciple should not offer pranama to his Gurudeva while keeping his left side to him. The disciple should always sit at the front of his Gurudeva, and ask some very good questions with honor. If the disciple does not do this, he is not a disciple. He should ask some questions – not always being silent. He should serve and inquire from the Guru. “Tad vidhi pranipatena pariprasna.” Questions should be there – not with a challenging mood, but to learn. So Sankara gave Sati a seat in front.

Sa ti thought, “Sankara has left me. He is treating me like his mother because I took the form of Sita. In this body he will not accept me as his wife, so I’ll have to give up this body.” After some time, Sankara went into a trance for hundreds and thousands of years, and Sati was feeling grievous separation. She was ready to give up her body.

One day, after Sankara had returned to external consciousness, Sati saw that so many goddesses were going to the palace of her father, Daksa, because a very good sacrifice was taking place there. Daksa’s daughters were also going there, and he had invited everyone except for Sankara. Sati also wanted to go, but she asked Sankara first. He replied, “A woman can go without an invitation to see her Gurudeva, or her father and mother; but if a father thinks that her husband is his enemy, then the wife should not go to see him. You know that your father thinks I am his enemy, although I never think like this. At the same time I cannot order you to not go there. You must decide.” Sati left that place and went to her father’s house, and there she saw that Daksa Prajapati was dishonoring Sankara. At once she became furious and left her body by burning to ashes, with the help of a fire that came from her heart. Here we see that Sankara’s worshipful diety is Rama, and because Sati took the form of Sitadevi, he left her. So he is a chaste Vaisnava, and he is always serving.

Don’t have any doubt in your Gurudeva. You should test him before initiation, and after initiation you should have very firm belief in him. Don’t give him up. If he is a madhyama-adhikari, and not so much qualified, then you can go to a siksa-guru, taking your Gurudeva’s permission. He must give permission. If he does not give permission, then he is not a pure devotee. There is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru. Both are the same. Sometimes the siks a-guru may be higher, and sometimes the diksa-guru may be higher. No harm. If the guru does not know all siddhanta, conclusive philosophical truths, but he is a Vaisnava with very firm belief in Krsna, drdha-sraddha, then don’t give him up. Serving him and honoring him, you can go to a siksa-guru, but you’ll have to honor him. However, if he’s offensive to his Gurudeva, he is not following the line of bhakti, he has so much wrong attachment and he is fallen, at once give him up. That guru cannot help you, and he will create so many problems for you. So give up this guru forever, and accept a new initiation from any bona-fide Guru who can give this bhakti and take you to Krsna.

All good qualities are in Sankara.

Sri Sanatana Gosvami has written that some Vaisnavas don’t observe Siva Caturdasi, the appearance day of Lord Siva or Sankara. In Hari Bhakti Vilasa he has written that Vaisnavas should honor Sankara, and they may observe that date. I observe that date. I know Sankara, because in his form of Bankandi Mahadeva in Vrndavana he was the friend of Sanatana Gosvami. He became Bankandi Mahadeva from Gopisvara. Do you know this history?

When Sri Sanatana Gosvami became old, Sankara told him, “Now you are old. You should not come daily to see me, because you are coming from so very far away. Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I should come. I cannot change this habit.” Then Gopisvara Mahadeva said, “Then I’m going to come very near to you – as Bankandi Mahadeva.” He thus became Bankandi Mahadeva and resided very near the Madana Mohana Temple. Srila Sanatana Gosvami is also the very dear friend of Cakralesvara Mahadeva in Govardhana. He also used to be with Sankara in Kamyavan, where he is known as Kamesvara. He cannot be without Sankara.

As Nandisvara, Sankara has become the mountain of Nandagaon. He wanted that all Krsna’s pastimes be p erformed on his back. Regarding Brahma, he has become Brahma-parvata in Varsana. Because he is so near to Radhika, he is therefore our Gurudeva

These are the tattvas. We should try to honor Sankara as a great Vaisnava and as Guru. Don’t dishonor him. We don’t worship him separately, but we can observe Siva Caturdasi and glorify him in relation to his relationship with Sri Krsna. We should offer pranama to him with prayers like:

vrndavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma maule
gopisvara! vraja-vilasi-yugangri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namaste

[“O gatekeeper of Vrndavana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable by the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada! O Gopisvara, desiring that you bestow upon me that prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dham a, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.”]

Sankara is telling Sri Narada that Prahlada Maharaja is superior to him. Why? Because he is “tricky”. He does this only to give some encouragement to worldly persons. Actually, Prahlada cannot go to Vrndavana, but Sankara, as Gopisvara, resides there. As Hanuman, Sankara is always with Rama. As Bhima, he is with Krsna. When Hanuman and Bhima combine together in Kali-yuga, they become Madvacarya, our Sampradaya-guru.

Thus, Lord Sankara serves in so many ways, and we should always honor him as our Guru. He is hundreds of thousands of times superior to Prahlada because he knows and meditates on asta-kaliya-lila. Parvati also meditates on asta-kaliya-lila. This is very secret, yet they both do it. Although Sankara is so much superior and more worshipful than Prahlada, still he says that Prahlada is superior. Why? There are some reasons which I will explain later.

Gaura Premanande ! Hari Hari Bol!

Devotee: In the Gita Krsna says, “Of all the Rudras, I am Sankara.”

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Here Krsna is telling about His vibhutis. Vibhuti means opulence. Arjuna is an opulence, and Sankara also. The Pippal tree is an opulence, and gaya, cows, are also—but they are not Krsna Himself. In this way, so many things and personalities represent Krsna’s opulence—things that are very near and dear to Him.


Lecture by
Trindandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Dear Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
This year, 2017, February 15th (in America) is the sacred appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Please accept this lecture, given by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on his appearance day in Germany, in 2003. The pastimes described below are naturally ever-fresh and new, and therefore Srila Maharaja discusses them every year:]

Listen –…/20030221_olpe_am_eng_sbsstpvya

Today is a very auspicious day. It is the very holy birthday of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. I want to speak something of his glory.

If this great self-realized soul had not descended in this world, no one would have known the meaning of pure bhakti. No one would have known the identity of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the book Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, or the books and glories of the Gosvamis.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave us two jewels, the first one being the holy birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He manifested Gaura-dhama. Before him, no one knew where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had taken birth. No one knew where Sridhama Mayapura was actually located.

Secondly, he gave the jewel of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who preached throughout the world and universe the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the conceptions of the disciplic line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the glories of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Before the birth of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and after the disappearance of Srila Narottama Thakura, Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Srinivas Acarya, and especially Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyubusana, pure bhakti was covered. The sahajiyas’ ideas were spread throughout Sri Vraja-dhama and Sri Navadvipa dhama. Their influence prevailed and there were hardly any real Vaisnavas.

In the name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His philosophy and His prema-dharma, the sahajiyas were degraded in character and were most sinful. To live with widows, to dance and sing with them, and to smoke cigarettes and drink wine with them – this was their idea of parakiya- and vaisnava-dharma. Because of their influence, none of the learned and aristocratic persons even wanted to hear the name ‘Gaudiya Vaisnavas’, what to speak of follow them. They hated Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

There are eleven sahajiya groups, like gaura-nagari, sakhi-bekhi, aul, baul and so on. In India, their main function was widow-bhajana, and they maintained their lives by doing professional kirtanas during funeral processions. After following a dead body and singing, they would receive a donation from the deceased relatives. True vaisnava-dharma is completely pure, but due to these practices, all aristocratic persons began to hate it, and Mahaprabhu’s message was thus in danger.

At that time, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appeared in Sri Jagannatha-dhama as the son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was born with many symptoms of a great soul, such as natural tilaka marks on his body and the impressions of kanti-mala on his neck. At that time Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told his wife Bhagavati-devi, “He is not an ordinary boy. No ordinary boy can have these natural tilaka, kanti-mala and other signs. He has taken birth in Jagannatha Puri, and also I have prayed to Vimala devi, the consort of Lord Jagannatha. He has come by Her mercy.” The Thakura thus gave his boy the name Vimala Prasada. Prasada means ‘mercy’.

After six months, the baby became qualified to have his anna-prasana mahotsava (grain ceremony in which a baby is fed grains for the first time). At the same time the Jagannatha Chariot festival was taking place. The three carts carrying Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra were in procession and had stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house for three days. The Thakura was the manager of the entire festival. Therefore, without any problem or obstacle, he took his son upon the chariot and placed him in front of Jagannatha-deva. He took some prasadam from there and placed it in the mouth of Vimala Prasada, and at that time the flower garland from the neck of Lord Jagannatha dropped on the baby’s head. It is a very good sign when the Deity’s garland falls in this way, for it means the recipient is being blessed by the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Sri Govinda-deva, Sri Gopinatha, or any other Deity. This also happened to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Thus, Vimala Prasada’s anna-prasana mahotsava was observed.

Gradually he began to grow up. After some time, when he became a boy of five years, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself gave him harinama and the arcana mantra for the worship of Lord Kurmadeva, the Deity of Sri Krsna’s Tortoise incarnation.

He began to learn many things. He was always with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, carrying his father’s Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and other books on his own head as he accompanied him to various places for preaching or giving classes. Thus, from the beginning of his life, very good samskaras came to him. This, of course, was his naravata-lila (human-like pastimes), because he was actually the eternal associate of Sri Varsabhanavi-devi dayitaya, near and dear to Varsabhanavi devi, Srimati Radhika. In his pranama mantra he is referred to as krsna-presthaya. Krsna has so much love and affection for the manjaris, so Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is also near and dear to Him.

The words ‘gaura-vani-sri murti’ is also present in his pranama-mantra. This adjective has also been used in the pranama mantra of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and we must go deep to uncover its meaning. Gaura-vani refers to that which Gaura (Sacinandana Gaurahari) preached, and that which He inspired in the heart of Srila Rupa Gosvami – the glorification of the mood of the gopis and Srimati Radhika. Sri Gauracandra said, “O Nityananda, O Haridasa Prabhu, you should go door to door and preach ‘Bolo Krsna, bhaja Krsna, karo Krsna (chant Sri Krsna’s name, worship Him, and serve Him)”. This is gaura-vani.

It is also what Mahaprabhu discussed with Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Svarupa Damodara in the Gambira. In that regard it is especially His hidden revelation of the meaning of ceto-darpana-marjanam, yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam, and aslisya va pada-ratam. This is gaura-vani. It is also the love and affection explained by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nila-mani, Sri Vidagda-madhava and Sri Lalita Madhava. This is gaura-vani.

Our entire parampara descended to this world from Goloka Vrndavana, and Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura was one of the most prominent acaryas. If he had not come, everything would have been transferred into sahajiyaism – wherein all philosophy is asat-sampradaya (outside the parampara line of philosophy, spiritual sentiments and behavior.)

If one is not serving his Gurudeva, if he does not have strong belief in his Gurudeva, and if he is not following his line of thought, such a person must be sahajiya. This is taking place nowadays. We are preaching and therefore they are somewhat stopped, but I do not know what will happen after I leave this world. A very dangerous stage is coming.

Many Iskcon devotees left Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, their Guru, Srila Prabhupada, and they went to Radha-kunda. They wanted to remember the 24-hour daily amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna (asta-kaliya-lila) as goopis – not gopis, but goopis – and for this offense they went to hell. They became ‘babajis’. Keeping two, three, or four widows with them, they began to relish their ‘parakiya-bhajana’. I know not only two or three or four, but so many. They want to jump – not to practice bhakti-yoga. They want to be gopis by paying two pennies to any bogus person who will ‘give’ them siddha-deha, their perfected personal identity, and tell them, “You are a gopi.” Such persons will give a name, and all other false information, about that ‘gopi’. Then, after some time, such ‘disciples’ imagine themselves absorbed in Sri Sri Radha and Krsna’s most confidential pastimes in the kunjas. Please do not try to be like that – do not go in that direction.

There are some ill-charactered persons who have been rejected from the Gaudiya Matha, and they also went to Radha-kunda to become babajis in that asat-sampradaya. Such characterless or unqualified persons imagine themselves to be absorbed in the asta-kaliya-lila of Radha and Krsna in Their midnight and end of the night (nisanta-lila) pastimes. At that time, Radha and Krsna are meeting in a kunja. If They are alone, half naked and kissing each other, what will that ‘meditator’ think? Material ideas will come to him. He is bound to think in this way, and this is wrong.

Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-lila is transcendental. Only a saintly person like Sri Sukadeva Gosvami who was a brahmacari from his birth, or like Sri Narada Gosvami who is a liberated soul, or like Lord Sankara who is an ideal personality, can properly think of asta-kaliya-lila.

You should offer obeisances to such pastimes and try to practice bhakti-yoga as our predecessors acaryas have taught us. Gradually begin from the root of the tree, then be qualified to climb, and then reach the top. Then you can take the fruits. Otherwise, you will have nothing but these bogus ideas. Try to follow Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravasti Prabhupada, our Gurudeva Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. Otherwise, you will be like those misdirected persons and you will also go to hell.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent his son to a Sanskrit college and, at the age of twelve perhaps, he received the degree in astrology and the title Siddhanta Sarasvati. At that time he had become the champion in astrology throughout Bengal, and therefore all the elevated scriptural scholars gave him that title. Sometimes Srila Saravasti Thakura would defeat the arguments of his teachers, and he therefore left that college. Our Gurudeva also left college. They both left because they had nothing to learn from the teachers there.

During that time, the governor of Bengal was Ashutos Mukarji. At that time the Indian government was ruled by the British, and the British had made him governor. He was very qualified. He established the Calcutta University, and there he reserved a seat for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He requested him, “Oh, please come and be the head of the department. Please oversee it. You are the most qualified for this.” Srila Sarasvati Thakura replied: “I have not come to this world to count the stars in the universe. I have not come to count the sands on the ocean beaches of the world. I cannot fulfill your desire.” As long as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati remained in this world, that post was reserved for him, but he never accepted it.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then thought: “What should I do for this boy?” He established a medical dispensary and told his son, “Remain there, and somehow maintain it so that there are no losses. Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura began to do so, but the dispensary failed, and again the father wondered what to do.

There was a king in India at that time who was the king of Kashim Bazar, and he was a bosom friend of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He told the Thakura, “I want a tutor for my son. He will be king after me, so I want a tutor for him.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied. “Let us try; I will tell my son to teach him.” At that time the salary was very high.

Srila Sarasvati Thakura went to the king and began to teach his son that the entire world, along with all the sandhis and samas (movements of the moon) is an emanation of Krsna and non-different from Him. He taught as Mahaprabhu taught when He was a teacher in Navadvipa. After some time the boy became very learned and a scholar in Vaisnava philosophy, and the result was that he became renounced. He was not like you. Many of you have been hearing for sixteen or twenty years, but you have not become detached. On the other hand, being taught by Srila Saravati Thakura, that prince became detached from worldly enjoyment.

The boy’s mother became very disturbed, and she told her husband, the king: “You have only one son, and you want to make him a sannyasi? Your only son? I do not want this. If you continue in this way I will take poison and die.” The king became upset and asked Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “What should I do?” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, “I will tell my boy to return home.” The King said, “I will continue to give you money, the same salary that I have been giving, but he should return.”

At that time the king had a very big library, and Srila Sarasvati Thakura Pabhupada studied the thousands of books there – all the Gosvami’s books, Srimad Bhagavatam, Brahma-sutra, books of the other sampradayas, and so on. Though he already knew their contents, he studied those books just to set an example for us. Quickly, in one or two years, he completed that study.After that he returned home, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura again considered what might be a good engagement for his son. He purchased land in Mayapura, beginning from Jagannatha Bhavan (the house of Sri Sacinandana), the Yogapitha, Candrasekara Bhavan and beyond. He gave the entire area to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and he himself then began to perform bhajana in Svarupa-ganja, in Godruma. He told his son, “We have discovered the birthplace of Mahaprabhu by the help and mercy of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Now you should glorify it.”

Srila Saravati Thakura then made a hut where Sri Gauracandra, Srimati Visnupriya, Srimati Laksmipriya and Pancha-tattva were established, and his father then ordered him, “You should perform arcana in the Deities’ hut, and you can maintain yourself by depending on Lord Krsna while performing His worship and service.”

As you may know, in general, a father does not believe that his boy is very intelligent and capable. Our Guru Maharaja considered us his babies and thought, “What will they do?” He told us that he had made this Gaudiya Matha with bricks, and added, “After I leave this world, if you cannot maintain yourself you should sell these bricks and somehow maintain.” Similarly, Srila Bhaktivinoda used to think, “My baby is the same as he was when he was young.”

Srila Prabhupada very quickly preached over the entirety of Bengal. He began to establish the Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Kartika parikrama. Then, after some time he gave sannyasa to very qualified disciples – who were practically only boys. At that time Pujyapada Bon Maharaja, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, Pujyapada Vaikhanas Maharaja, Pujyapada Auduloumi Maharaja and many others were only about 25, 26, or 27, and they were the cream of all qualified personalities in Bengal and all of India. They were the upper-class. He brought them to himself, gave them brahmacarya and sannyasa, and established Sri Caitanya Matha.

What is the meaning of the word ‘matha’? Mathanti vasanti satrah – it is a place in which students study and learn under the guidance of their Gurudeva. It is like the gurukulas of previous times, wherein boys would study and become very qualified in all kinds of siddhanta (philosophical conclusions). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established this. He gave brahmacarya to many beautiful boys, and thus very quickly preached all over India.

After some time he wished that this religion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would also go to the Western countries, and he inspired Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja – Sri Abhaya Caranaravinda. By his mercy Parama-pujyapada Srila Svami Maharaja went abroad and preached throughout the world in just a few years. Srila Svami Maharaja established preaching centers and translated and published many books, which were in turn translated in all the prominent languages of the world. You have come by his mercy, and the root mercy is that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura.

The divine appearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[This year, 2017, the divine appearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja is February 13 (in America). Please accept this lecture given by Srila Narayana Gosavmi Maharaja in 2004:]

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Today is a very auspicious day. It is the birthday of my spiritual guru-padapadma, om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I have seen with my own eyes how he used to observe Vyasa-puja on his birthday, by giving respect to all other Vaisnavas – especially to senior Vaisnavas but also to juniors.

The backbone of bhakti is guru-nistha (strong faith in ones spiritual master), and those who have no guru-nistha can never develop in Krsna consciousness. We have seen his guru-nistha. He wanted to glorify his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, but he became overwhelmed simply by beginning to utter the name “Prabhupada”.  He would begin to weep loudly, and then he would call upon us (Srila Vamana Maharaja, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, myself and others) by any signal to glorify his Gurudeva. Having heard from him about his relationship with his Gurudeva, we glorify him in connection with his absorption in his Gurudeva’s service.

This is also the way in which we glorify Lord Krsna. What is the glorification of Krsna? It is the glorification of His associates – especially the gopis, and especially Srimati Radhika. If one glorifies Srimati Radhika, Krsna is automatically glorified. Similarly, if Parama-gurudeva (Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada) is glorified, the glories of our Gurudeva will come; it is bound to come.

It may be that the liberated guru is not liberated in the eyes of his god-brothers, but in the eyes of the disciple he is the direct representative of Sri Krsna Himself. The disciple will always have strong faith that, “My Gurudeva is a special representation or manifestation of Krsna. We have heard everything from him.”
What is the symptom of a disciple who has guru-nistha? He will give proper respect even to a dog that is related to his Guru. If he does not give proper respect to everyone related to his guru whether they are initiated or not, if he has no regard and honor for them, then his honor for his guru is actually only for show. He has no real guru-nistha.

I have seen how my Gurudeva has served the mission and mood of his Gurudeva. This service is called guru mano-bhistam.

sri caitanya-mano bhistam sthapita yena bhutale
svayam rupa kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

[“When will Sri Rupa Gosvami give me the shelter of his lotus feet? Because he understood the innermost desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was able to establish His mission in this world and is very dear to the Lord.” (Sri Prema-bhakti-candrika, Narottama dasa Thakura)]

Always have such nistha towards your spiritual diksa-guru and siksa-guru. The diksa-guru may also be siksa-guru. If your diksa and siksa-guru are the same personality, this is very good. In some cases a separate siksa-guru is needed, as the disciple cannot always reveal his thoughts to the diksa-guru because of a mood of great awe and reverence (aisvarya-bhava). With the siksa-guru there is visvrambha-bhava (a mood of intimacy). In visvrambha-bhava, the disciple may even quarrel with Gurudeva – for Gurudeva, for his service. Sometimes we used to quarrel with our Gurudeva, for his service, and this is a symptom of guru-nistha. Another symptom is always offering respect to superiors – especially to god-brothers. Nowadays, I see that god-brothers quarrel with each other. They do not want to be together – to glorify their Guru.

Gurudeva used to observe Vyasa-puja according to the book discovered by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada and edited by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In that book there is an explanation of the seven groups with five personalities in each group (the seven pancakas), to be worshiped by the acarya on his birthday. These seven groups are guru-pancaka, acarya-pancaka, krsna-pancaka, sanakadi-pancaka, vyasa-pancaka, panca-tattva pancaka and upasya-pancaka. We should try to have regard for all acaryas of the four sampradayas, the four guru-paramparas: including Ramanujya, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya and the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanat-kumara and Sanandana). We should have regard for Sri Panca-tattva, and especially for Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Gurudeva. Try to follow all the details of this worship.

Gurudeva used to say, “On my birthday I should give proper honor to all guru-parampara acaryas, god-brothers and all senior Vaisnavas. What I have and what I am preaching is not coming from me. It is not that I am so intelligent or that I am preaching – the credit belongs to my Gurudeva. By the mercy of my Gurudeva I know the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Rupa-Sanatana, Sri Rupa-Raghunatha and other guru-parampara acaryas. I was sinking in the well of worldly activities in material existence, but he took my sikha and dragged me, and he mercifully engaged me in his service – fully, not partly. He did not tell me, “You should be a householder.” He dragged me and engaged me. Sometimes desires outside the realm on pure devotion came in my mind, and I asked him, “How can I be saved?” He answered, “Don’t be worried; I will save you. If one is sincere, Guru and Krsna mercifully save him. So don’t be worried.”

When he would perform his Vyasa-puja, he would first worship his Gurudeva, and then he would give proper honor to all Vaisnavas and especially seniors. During his manifest presence there were no seniors, because he was the senior-most. He joined the movement of Srila Prabhupada and became a disciple in 1916, so he was senior to others. Only five or six had joined before him, like Narahari prabhu, Bhakti-vilasa Tirtha Maharaja and a few others like the brother of Vasudeva, Bhaktipradipa Tirtha Maharaja. At that time, when Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would do arati, my Guru-Maharaja would ring the bell and Narahari prabhu was also there.

At that time there was no Sri Caitanya Matha. Instead there were many Muslim graves and Muslim influences.*[See Endnote 1] My Guru-Maharaja came in the night, took out all the graves and threw them away. On that same night he planted a large garden of mango trees and flowers. On the next morning, when the Muslims came to do their Namaz, they exclaimed, “Oh, Where is our place?”

Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada was very happy because Guru Maharaja used to give his life and soul to fulfill Prabhupada’s desires, and this is very difficult for most disciples to do. Sometimes a disciple does not obey his guru. Guru says, “Don’t do this,” for the betterment of that very fellow, and yet that disciple rejects his guru’s order. This is not a symptom of guru-nistha. We should give our life to serve his every word. Our Gurudeva always used to “keep his life in his hands” (a Hindi expression meaning “to be prepared to give ones life”) for the purpose of Srila Prabhupada. He even went to jail for him.

Once a person tried to defame Prabhupada *[See Endnote 2] by writing, “He is a tattva-jnani (knower of philosophy) and not a rasika-bhakta (knower of Krsna’s sweet pastimes). He does not know the taste of mango; he simply sucks the seed. As there is no taste in a seed, concentrating on philosophy without absorption in Krsna’s confidential pastimes is tasteless. He is like that, and so he is a tattva-jnani. He does not know Sri Rupa-Raghunatha’s line and he does not know the krsna-prema of the gopis. He especially wrote these things. He is preaching tattva-jnana everywhere”.

They were blind. They never actually saw him. By what his disciple, my Gurudeva, preached to me and others, you can realize his position. He preached under the cover of tattva-jnana. He did not expose the confidential secrets of Krsna’s pastimes and the philosophy behind them. He preached for qualified persons, and he kept the highest truths of Krsna consciousness covered from others.

My Gurudeva wrote against those persons, and for that reason they filed a court case against him   They managed to get big qualified advocates to plea that Guru Maharaja should be put in jail. Our Gurudeva then engaged an advocate from the high court in Calcutta, and those persons were made to apologize.

By the grace of our Gurudeva, when I was in Mathura, I was the editor, writer, translator and manager for his monthly magazine called Bhagavat-patrika. I published it alone. I used to translate Srila Prabhupada’s articles, Gurupada-padma’s articles, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s articles and other articles.

Someone once wrote in a publication of the Nimbarka sampradaya*[See Endnote 3]  that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met with Kesava Kasmiri, Kesava Kasmiri defeated Him and gave Him the gopala-mantra. Sriman Mahaprabhu was thus the disciple of Kesava Kasmiri.

This publication came to me and I showed it to my Gurudeva. His face at once became red, he became angry and he ordered me to get a piece of paper. He then dictated to me that there was no Nimbarka in our history and no books of Nimbarka. He said that Srila Jiva Gosvami and our other Gosvamis, Sri Madhavacarya, Sri Ramanuja, Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami and all other previous acaryas never wrote about anyone named Nimbarka acarya. The followers of this false person used to say that Nimbarka Acarya lived at the time of Krsna. If that were true, why have none of the acaryas written about him? Sankacarya never wrote about him and Srila Jiva Gosvami never wrote about him in his Sandarbhas. Thus there was no person named Nimbarka – this false person’s followers had invented a story.

Guru Maharaja explained from the evidence in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta that Kesava Kasmiri came to Navadvipa and was defeated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then he received some teaching from the Lord. Gurudeva wrote: “The mentality ‘I will conquer the whole world’ is not the teaching of vidya, knowledge.” Our paper was sent to those persons involved in writing the misinformed article, after which they became quite furious. “Oh, there is no Nimbarka?!” They challenged, and they filed a case in court for defamation. Our Guru Maharaja replied, “I will prove my statements, so you should file a suit for one million rupees for defamation. You should go to court, and I am also coming. I am ready and will prove my points.” He proved all his points and the opponents apologized.  They promised, “In the future we will never write like this.”

If one wants to have guru-nistha, he should read my Guru Maharaja’s biography and philosophy. This book has been appreciated all over the whole world. In this biography I have tried to bring all the teachings of our acaryas. If you read it, you will be able to understand what is guru-nistha and what was the greatness of my Guru Maharaja. Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja did not take sannyasa from him as a formality. He knew all the principles and philosophy of pure devotional service. Since the time he joined the temple he had so much honor for Guru Maharaja, for he saw what he was doing for Prabhupada. He did not take sannyasa from him accidentally or to complete a formality.

Our Guru Maharaja took sannyasa from Parama-pujapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja. Even though Srila Sridhara Maharaja joined the mission of their Gurudeva after him, he was an elevated philosopher and a knower of the established truths of bhakti, and his very name, Bhakti Raksaka, means “protector of devotion”. He has also extensively glorified our Gurudeva. To teach other devotees, they used to hold meetings and defeat each others arguments in philosophy. Parama-pujapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja would establish one thing and Guru Maharaja would defeat all his arguments, and then at the next moment Srila Sridhara Maharaja would defeat all the arguments of our Gurudeva. The entire audience would hear them, enjoy their discussions, and in this way learn so much philosophy.

All the sannyasis of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had great regard for our Gurudeva. When Srila Sridhara Maharaja came to Mayapura for the first time, his name was Ramananda Brahmacari. He saw a young boy of about twenty years old sitting on a chair under the shade of a jackfruit tree and keeping his feet on the table and hands joined together. Srila Sridhara Maharaja saw from a distance that the young brahmacari was wearing white cloth, not in saffron cloth, and he was sitting in a very relaxed manner. At that time senior and very qualified sannyasis would come and offer him their obeisances, and they would ask him questions. Staying in the same position, not getting up to offer obeisances, he would answer. Then, again offering him their obeisances, they would leave.

Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja told this story to me personally. He told me that he asked the devotees present there at that time, “Who is this young boy in white dress, to whom even sannyasis in saffron cloth are offering obeisances? Who is it that in the same position is answering their questions and they are leaving very satisfied?”  Someone replied, “He is Vinoda-babu. He managed the complete Mayapura premise. Now there is no longer any influence of Muslims.” If you want to know more, you can read his biography and learn what an influential and great acarya he was.

At the time of parikrama I have seen that when an editorial article was needed, Parama-pujyapada Srila Vamana Maharaja would wait with paper and pen – to know what he wanted to write. Guru Maharaja would be surrounded by thousands of persons at that time, so at the same time he would dictate the required article and also talk with those persons. If we would write any article, we would have to look at so many books for reference, and we would have to carefully think and consider. But Guru Maharaja had no need to think. Although continually interrupted by others, he would speak and Srila Vamana Maharaja, who was qualified like Srila Vyasadeva’s divine scribe Ganesha, would take the dictation.

Read the biography and learn how to respect others and obey the bona fide and transcendental Gurudeva. Don’t wonder, “Is what my Gurudeva telling wrong or right?” You may test him before the time of initiation, not after. If he says, “Jump in the ocean” and you can do so, that is good. We have seen so many qualified devotees like Ananta Vasudeva and Sundarananda Vinoda prabhu who were vastly learned; but they left their Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, because they were thinking, “Is what he is telling right or not?” They thought that he was not qualified for raganuga-bhajana and thus offended him. They took poison and went to hell, and one of them literally took poison.

Try to think about these activities of my Guru Maharaja and be a disciple like him. If Gurudeva tells his disciple to give his life and soul to him, he should do that at once – like Hanuman, who gave himself for the service of Sri Ramacandra. The disciple thinks that Gurudeva should not tell his to do this, however. He does not understand that whatever Gurudeva says is for his benefit.

So today is his birthday and we are going to celebrate Vyasa-puja – guru-puja. We will do so in the way that was introduced in our sampradaya by Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gaura premanande
[The following is from the book Acarya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami His Life and Teachings Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja:

Endnote 1 – “After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered aprakata-lila and His lilas became unmanifest, the Bhagavati Ganga changed course many times. Places that had once been in Mayapura were relocated to the relatively high ground of the west bank. The extensive town of Nadiya (Navadvipa), which had previously been on the east bank, became situated on the Ganga’s west bank, and the east bank became a deserted, desolate place. During the reign of the yavanas (Muslims), all the sacred places of the Hindus were destroyed, temples were demolished and the names of the places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were changed. The temples at the birthplaces of Sri Rama in Ayodhya and Sri Krsna in Mathura were razed, and mosques were erected on their foundations. Their names were changed to Phaijabad and Mominabad. Similarly, the Muslims changed the name of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace from Mayapura to Miyampur. Later, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, the birthplace of Sri Gaura, and again called it Sridhama Mayapura. In this way the name Sridhama Mayapura once more became known to the world.

“Besides changing the name of Sridhama Mayapura, the Muslims had also made a graveyard on the huge courtyard of Candrasekhara Bhavan, which was very close to Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, and this was still there when Sri Vinodabihari became manager of Sri Caitanya Matha. He could not tolerate this atrocity and acted fearlessly and boldly. One night, while all were asleep, he had all the graves in the graveyard dug up and placed elsewhere. In their place he had large, beautiful trees and foliage planted and overnight he made a beautiful park with a wall all around it for protection. The next morning everyone was astounded at what had taken place. The local Muslims reported it to the police and filed a case in court. But police officials and governmental investigators could not find any trace of the graveyard; they saw only an old garden. In this way the devotees reclaimed Candrasekhara Bhavan and no one was able to stop them. For this pious act the name of Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari will be written in golden letters in the history of India.”

[Endnote 2 – “After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered aprakata lila and His lilas became unmanifest, the Bhagavati Ganga changed course many times. Places that had once been in Mayapura were relocated to the relatively high ground of the west bank. The extensive town of Nadiya (Navadvipa), which had previously been on the east bank, became situated on the Ganga’s west bank, and the east bank became a deserted, desolate place. During the reign of the yavanas (Muslims), all the sacred places of the Hindus were destroyed, temples were demolished and the names of the places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were changed. The temples at the birthplaces of Sri Rama in Ayodhya and Sri Krsna in Mathura were razed, and mosques were erected on their foundations. Their names were changed to Phaijabad and Mominabad. Similarly, the Muslims changed the name of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace from Mayapura to Miyampur. Later, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, the birthplace of Sri Gaura, and again called it Sridhama Mayapura. In this way the name Sridhama Mayapura once more became known to the world.

Besides changing the name of Sridhama Mayapura, the Muslims had also made a graveyard on the huge courtyard of Candrasekhara Bhavan, which was very close to Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, and this was still there when Sri Vinodabihari became manager of Sri Caitanya Matha. He could not tolerate this atrocity and acted fearlessly and boldly. One night, while all were asleep, he had all the graves in the graveyard dug up and placed elsewhere. In their place he had large, beautiful trees and foliage planted and overnight he made a beautiful park with a wall all around it for protection. The next morning everyone was astounded at what had taken place. The local Muslims reported it to the police and filed a case in court. But police officials and governmental investigators could not find any trace of the graveyard; they saw only an old garden. In this way the devotees reclaimed Candrasekhara Bhavan and no one was able to stop them. For this pious act the name of Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari will be written in golden letters in the history of India.”

[Endnote 2 – “On another occasion, members of the sahajiya-sampradaya of Bengal wrote essays full of apasiddhanta, opposing Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Srila Gurudeva argued with them in a similar way, using abrasive words. The opposition party actually presented a lawsuit in court against Srila Gurudeva and other devotees, including the editor of Sri Gaudiya Patrika. However, when they were faced with Srila Gurudeva’s train of thought, they also had to bow their heads in defeat. They begged him for forgiveness in the court of law and thereafter avoided him. For these reasons, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisaranga Gosvami Maharaja, who was Srila Gurudeva’s dear Godbrother and a leader of the Gaudiya community, decorated Srila Gurupadapadma with the title ‘Pasanda-Gajaikasimha,’ the lion who vanquishes the elephants of heresy.’]

[Endnote 3 – “Some time in 1956, Srila Gurudeva came to Mathura to see Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. At that time followers of the Nimbarka sampradaya in Vrndavana used to publish a spiritual journal called Sri Sudarsana. In one issue they cast aspersions on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, saying that He was a disciple of Kesava Kasmiri. In other editions they insolently dared to claim that Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas such as Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were in the Nimbarka sampradaya. When I showed these editions to Srila Gurudeva, he became extremely angry and immediately had a short essay written for Sri Bhagavata Patrika. The headline was ‘Sri Nimbaditya and Nimbarka are not the same person.’ The purport of his headline is as follows.

“‘Nowhere in the scriptures is there any mention of a Nimbarka sampradaya. The Puranas mention a vaisnava-acarya called Sri Nimbaditya, and the Catuhsana (the four Kumaras) have accepted this Nimbaditya Acarya as their sampradaya-acarya in the age of Kali. However, Nimbarka Svami is a completely different person. Nimbaditya was a disciple of Naradaji at the end of Dvapara-yuga, but Nimbarka Acarya appeared much more recently. Great and eminent authors of scripture such as Srila Jiva Gosvami have mentioned the names of the prominent acaryas of all the other sampradayas, but they have not mentioned the name of Nimbarka Acarya anywhere.

“‘The Nimbarka sampradaya currently uses the Parijata-bhasya which was written, not by Nimbaditya Acarya, but rather by Srinivasa Acarya and Kesava Kasmiri. These two wrote this scripture and then preached that it had been written by their guru. The scriptures of the Six Gosvamis mention the names of acaryas such as Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnu Svami, Sri Nimbaditya and Sri Vallabha Acarya. If the Nimbarka sampradaya had existed even to a slight extent at that time, then they would most certainly have mentioned the name of Nimbarka Acarya as well. None of the other sampradaya acaryas, such as Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnu Svami and so on have mentioned Nimbarka Acarya’s name in any of the scriptures that they have written.’

“When this essay was published in Sri Bhagavata Patrika, the office directors of the Sudarsana journal announced that they were making arrangements to prosecute for slander. Srila Gurudeva replied firmly, “We will prove each and every word that we have written on the basis of evidence supported by sastra.” When the prosecution party heard about Srila Gurudeva’s immense scriptural knowledge and his profound personality, they became absolutely silent, and from that day onwards they did not dare to write any more nonsense.]

The Glories of Nityananda Prabhu

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[This year, 2017, Nityananda Prabhus appearance day is on February 8th (in America). Movie

Gaudiya Vaisnavas observe all Visnu tattva appearance days along with special fasting. Sometimes these days come next to each other or next to an Ekadasi or Dvadasi tithi which is meant for fasting.  This happens somewhere in the world for Lord Varaha Dvadasi and Lord Nityananda Trayodasi, but not at all locations due to different sunrise times.

The proper way to observe Vaisnava festivals, for example, Ekadasi, Varaha-dvadasi, and Nityananda Trayodasi is as follows:

In countries or cities where the first day is Ekadasi, the second day is the appearance of Lord Varahadeva, and the third day is the appearance day of Lord Nityananda (Nityananda Trayodasi), for both those who follow nirjala Ekadasi (full fasting, even from water) and those who follow anukalpa (respecting Ekadasi preparations) on Ekadasi tithi: on the next day they should first offer arati to Lord Varahadeva, pray for forgiveness*[see endnote 1], and then break the fast* [see endnote 2] with grains and continue to respect regular prasadam (grains and all other offerings). Then, on the third day – Sri Nityananda Trayodasi – they should observe the Ekadasi rules and regulations.

In countries or cities where  Ekadasi fasting and the appearance of Lord Varahadeva are observed on same day, or in countries and cities where the appearance of Lord Varahadeva and Lord Nityananda are observed on same day,   the devotees who follow nirjala Ekadasi, can break their Ekadasi fast by drinking water on the next day, and for the rest of the day respect anukalpa (regular Ekadasi preparations).

For those devotees who respect Ekadasi in the regular manner (respecting offerings of anukalpa), the next day they should first offer arati to Lord Nityananda (and Lord Varaha if those days are merged), then hear Their glories. After this they should pray for forgiveness*[see endnote 1] and then they may break their fast by taking grains. The rest of the day they may respect regular prasadam.

To know the exact time of breaking the fast for your city, please check the Vaisnava calendar.

To hear the soundfile: ]

We will discuss the pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu: Jagai and Madhai and other pastimes, such as vyasa-puja and Mahaprabu’s sannyasa-lila. The Lord’s associates went with Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu to Jagannatha Puri.  We will discuss how, in the midway, Nityananda Prabhu broke Mahaprabhu’s danda. Caitanya Mahaprabhu then left all His associates and went to Jagannatha Puri, where He took darsana of Jagannatha and prayed to that Deity, “Oh Vrajendra-nandana (the son of the King of Vraja, Nanda Maharaja), You are not a statue. You are personally Yasoda-nandana (the son of Mother Yasoda), Vrajendra-nandana.”

We will discuss how Mahaprabhu tried to reach and meet with Jagannatha-deva as soon as He saw Him, but He at once fainted. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya came and took the unconscious Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home, where he tried to teach Him Vedanta. We will discuss what occurred in that pastime.

We will discuss Nityananda’s pastimes in Puri at the Ratha-Yatra festival, how He returned to Navadvipa and Bengal, and how He used to preach over the whole of Bengal – especially to those who were very fallen and out of caste. After that, how He married with Jahnava-devi and Vasudha-devi, and how His son Virabhadra Prabhu took initiation from Jahnava-devi.  There are so many qualified persons to speak.

[Srila Gurudeva called on a few devotees to speak, and then he continued:]

Nityananda is jagat-guru, guru of the universe. He is personally Baladeva Prabhu, (the first expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.) In Krsna’s pastimes Baladeva Prabhu went to Naimisaranya, where He saw that Romaharsana-suta was giving Srimad-Bhagavatam class. All the sages and saintly kings stood up and offered pranama to Baladeva Prabhu, but Romaharsana remained on the vyasasana without standing and offering pranama to Him or welcoming Him. Baladeva Prabhu thought, “He is not qualified to read Srimad-Bhagavatam or to teach Bhagavatam. He thinks that I am born in a gopa (cowherd) dynasty, and that he is a brahmana, so literate, learned, and quite qualified to explain Bhagavata.”  He then told Romaharsana, “You are not qualified. Be a bhagavata (devotee of Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and then explain Bhagavata (The Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam.)” He took up a piece of kusa grass in His hand, and by that kusa grass He at once cut off Romaharsana’s head.

In great wonder, all the rsis exclaimed, “Oh Baladeva Prabhu, what have You done? Baladeva replied, “What do you want? Do you want me to bring him back to life?”

Now they understood the glories of Baladeva Prabhu. “No we don’t want that,” they replied, “but how will we hear Srimad-Bhagavatam?” Baladeva at once brought the son of Romaharsana, Ugrasrava, who was only eight years of age. He was not wearing clothes and he looked like an ignorant person, but Baladeva made him sit on the vyasasana (the seat of honor, as the representative of Krsna’s literary incarnation Sri Vyasadeva.)  Baladeva looked towards him and inspired in his heart knowledge of all Vedic literature – all Vedas, all Srimad-Bhagavatam, all Puranas, Upanisads, Smriti, Sruti, Mahabharata, and Ramayana.  Ugrasrava at once uttered hymns in glorification of Baladeva Prabhu, and then he began to explain the topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam in a wonderful way.

Do not think that Baladeva Prabhu, or Nityananda Prabhu, had not attended school and that He was illiterate. He is the complete embodiment of Gurudeva (akhanda-guru-tattva).

In Krsna’s pastimes He killed Dhenukasura, a demon who was in the form of an ass. Dhenukasura represents ignorance. What kind of ignorance? Those who do not honor Vaisnavas (devotees) and yet think themselves devotees, they are all like Dhenukasura. Nityananda Prabhu honored all devotees, even those who were not devotees but who wanted to be devotees. If anyone came in the association of a pure Vaisnava, Nityananda Prabhu respected them. He brought the message of Krsna Consciousness to all those who were neglected by society.

In India, at first, the goldsmiths, oil makers, betel-nut makers, and groups like them had no right to read the Upanisads and Vedanta; they were not allowed. But Nityananda Prabhu exclaimed that even those like Jagai and Madhai are most qualified to chant Harinama and to have Krsna-prema. And, to whomever He saw, He gave initiation:  He would tell everyone, “Chant ‘Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.’ Nityananda Prabhu embraced and inspired everyone in Bengal, including all those who were fallen, the most inauspicious groups of persons.

Today, we are making some mistakes. We are dishonoring sincere and senior devotees who have served Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja throughout their lives.  They have served Radha-Krsna and Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu their whole life, and from the beginning of his mission. I have also served so much, more than anyone in ISKCON. But I am not allowed to go to take darsana in any of the ISKCON temples, although it was I who gave samadhi to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja in Vrndavana. The doors to his temples are now closed to me.

This is a very bad sign. By this, one goes to hell.

We should try to correct these things. We should know that we are all in Mahaprabhu’s family. Those who have not even taken initiation but are chanting Hare Krsna should be treated as the family of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And those who are senior, sincere, and serving lovingly for so many years, should be more respected. Otherwise, one who disrespects such devotees is like Ramacandra Khan.

In His later pastimes, Nityananda Prabhu went to a village in Bengal, where a very rich person lived named Ramacandra Khan (who had previously attempted to make Haridasa Thakura fall down). That rich person did not honor Nityananda Prabhu or any of the devotees of Nityananda Prabhu. Rather, he told them, “Get out from here. You cannot be hosted for the night here.”

Nityananda Prabhu began to laugh loudly, and said, “Oh, devotees are not honored here. Devotees are disrespected here. So, we should not remain here. Let us go; but, I see that tomorrow Mohammedans will come, they will slaughter cows here and prepare meals of flesh, and the whole family of Ramacandra Khan will be destroyed.” He then left that place.

The next day, this person who was not honoring Vaisnava devotees was killes along with his entire family, his cows were slaughtered, and his entire village became barren.

So, we should always remember Nityananda Prabhu and His teachings. Don’t disrespect any Vaisnava. Always try to honor Vaisnavas according to their stage of advancement in bhakti, namely kanistha-adhikari, neophyte, madhyama-adhikari, intermediate, and uttama-adhikari, advanced.

You must know all these teachings, and if you do not know them, then you are not devotees at all. You are only show-bottle devotees.

Nowadays they are not approaching those who are strong in Vaisnava philosophy. We should try to establish ourselves in all these teachings; otherwise, being a show bottle devotee and simply giving instructions to others will not do.

Come with me to Puri, where Caitanya Mahaprabhu was calling out to Lord Jagannatha, “Oh, I am meeting with the same Vrajendra-nandana.  I have been burning in a separation mood for so many years and years. I have found my Vrajendra-nandana.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the mood of Radhika, calling “Krsna, Krsna. You are the same Vrajendra-nandana,” and He fell unconscious on the ground while dancing. Nityananda Prabhu was there, but not touching Him.

When Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to dance in Srivasa-angam and would faint in the courtyard, Nityananda Prabhu would not touch Him. He would do so after Mahaprabhu came to His external senses, otherwise not. Nowadays, we don’t know all the principles of transcendental etiquette, and thus we speak and write so many rasa-abhasa ideas (misrepresentations of the relationships among the personalities in the pastimes). We keep Nityananda Prabhu with Radha and Krsna in the same section of the altar [see endnote 1], and also Jagannatha. You should know the principles of etiquette by reading Caitanya-caritamrta in the association of superior, advanced devotees.

yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
(Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 5.131)

[“If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”]

That is why Nityananda Prabhu ordered Jiva Gosvami to go to Vrndavana and learn all philosophical conclusions under the guidance of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Santana Gosvami. Nityananda Prabhu inspired Jiva, after which Jiva became so learned that in the whole world at that time there was no person as learned as he. He defeated so many learned persons. How? Only by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.

We should try to follow Nityananda Prabhu, outwardly and inwardly.

Do you know the song Nitai Pada Kamala? We will sing it.

nitai-pada-kamala, koti-candra-susitala
je chayaya jagat judaya
heno nitai vine bhai, radha-krsna paite nai,
drdha kori’ dharo nitaiyer paya (1)

[“Nitai’s lotus feet are more cooling than the shining of millions of moons. Their shade gives solace to the universe. O brother, without a personality such as Nitai, it is not possible to attain Radha and Krsna. So hold on very tightly to His lotus feet.”]

se sambandha nahi jara, vrtha janma gelo tara
sei pasu bodo duracara
nitai na bolilo mukhe, majilo samsara sukhe,
vidyakule ki koribe tara (2)

[“If someone does not establish his relationship with Nityananda Prabhu, his life is wasted. Such a wicked person is no better than an animal. Not taking the name of Nitai on one’s lips, he loses himself in the so-called happiness of this world. Then what is the value of one’s education and birth in a high family or great nation?”]

ahankare matta hoiya, nitai-pada pasariya,
asatyere satya kori’ mani
nitaiyera koruna habe, vraje radha-krsna pabe,
dharo nitaiyera carana du’khani (3)

[“Forgetting Nitai’s lotus feet, one becomes maddened by the false concept of bodily life and considers the illusory energy as real. If Nitai is merciful, one can attain Sri Radha and Krsna in Vraja, so firmly catch hold of His lotus feet.”]

nitaiyera carana satya, tahara sevaka nitya,
nitai-pada sada koro asa
narottama bodo duhkhi, nitai more koro sukhi,
rakho ranga-caranera pasa (4)

[“The feet of Nitai are real and His servants are eternal. Always hope and pray for the lotus feet of Nitai. “Narottama is very unhappy! O Nitai, please make me happy. Keep me tucked close to the reddish lotuses of Your feet.”]


One of the prayers of Vrndavana dasa Thakura is Sri Nityanandastakam.

yathestam re bhratah!  kuru hari-hari-dhvanam-anisam
tato vah samsarambudhi-tarana-dayo mayi laget
idambahu-sphotair-atati ratayan yah pratigrham
bhaja nityanandambhajana-taru-kandam niravadhi

[“O brothers, simply chant incessantly the names of Sri Hari, and let the responsibility of delivering you from the ocean of repeated birth and death rest upon Me.” While traveling constantly, He approached the door of every home, declaring this with outstretched arms. I perpetually worship Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the root of the krsna-bhakti tree. (verse 5)]

He is telling to all persons, without any consideration of caste or creed, wealth or poverty, inferiority or superiority, brahmana or sudra, male or female, young or old. He calls even to animals and birds, “Come on. Come on.” Raising His arms and speaking in this way:  “Yathestam re bhratah!  kuru hari-hari-dhvanam-anisam – O brothers, always chant ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare;’ loudly, and more loudly, again and again. In this way you will cross the ocean of birth and death, suffering and sorrows. And, if you are not getting the desired result, then I am liable for this. I am telling you the truth, that if you once chant ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,’ I promise to take all responsibility for this – that you will certainly attain Krsna-prema.”

No one else has told anything like this.

Nityananda Prabhu used to go to each person’s door, and He would personally tell that person, “I am begging only for your devotion to Sri Krsna. I don’t want anything else.” We are now deviating from this line of Nityananda Prabhu. If you want Krsna-prema, you will have to come in this line again. Nityananda Prabhu is telling each person, “I am responsible if you are following My instructions but not getting Krsna-prema,”

In the last verse, Vrndavana dasa Thakura is telling,

rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam
rasagaram saram patita tati taram smaranatah
param nityanandastakam idam apurvam pathati yas
tad anghri dvandvabjam sphuratu nitaram tasya hrdaye

[May Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s two lotus feet brilliantly manifest in the hearts of those who recite this unprecedented and supremely potent Nityanandastakam, which is the reservoir of rasa, the treasure of exalted rasika Vaisnavas, and the abode of the essence of bhakti-rasa. It bestows liberation upon all fallen souls who simply remember it.” (verse 9)]

Don’t think that Nityananda Prabhu is merely a mad person. You should know that He is rasanam-adharam, the reservoir of all rasas. He is in dasya-rasa, in sakhya-rasa as Baladeva, vatsalya-rasa also as Baladeva, and in madhurya- rasa in the form of Ananga-manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radhika. He came to taste these five rasas. Don’t think that He is only serving Krsna in a male form, in only four rasas. He is serving also in madhurya-rasa. So, rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam – He is so rasika.

He often used to enjoy mock-fighting with Advaita Acarya. Once, when He was throwing maha-prasadam here and there, Advaita Acarya jokingly told Him, “My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman. To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana.”

Nityananda Prabhu at once began to laugh, and said, “Ho, ho ho. Oh, Advaita Acarya, I’ve heard that you are a learned person, but I see that you are not. You do not know anything. You are telling Me that by taking maha-prasadam one loses His brahmanical caste and becomes impure? Such words are offensive to the lotus feet of maha-prasadam. You do not know the real power of maha-prasadam. Maha-prasadam is Krsna Himself.” [See endnotes 1-3]

maha-prasade govinde, nama brahmani vaisnave
svalpa-punya-vatam rajan, visvaso naiva jayate

[“Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in maha-prasada, in Sri Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaisnavas.”]

And sometimes They were quarreling in the large lake named Indradyumna Sarovara, splashing there in the water. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so grave. Raya Ramananda and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya were wealthy, learned persons, and also so grave. But They also began to play-quarrel like children, throwing water upon each other. During the splashing of Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya, Nityananda Prabhu defeated Advaita Acarya. Advaita Acarya told Nityananda Prabhu “I am an old person. Do you want that I should die? Would you cause Me to die?” So much good siddhanta (conclusive philosophy) was there in these quarrels.

So, Nityananda Prabhu: rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam. He was rasika vara, meaning the best of the rasika associates of the Lord. Giriraja Govardhana is also rasika-vara, but Nityananda is the root of all rasikas. Without His mercy, no one can be rasika. Those who pray to Nityananda Prabhu for His mercy will become bona fide Vaisnavas.

But always remember: don’t criticize any Vaisnava. Don’t dishonor anyone, otherwise Nityananda Prabhu will be unhappy. He will not give Krsna-prema to that offender.

Treat all who have taken shelter of Nityananda and Gauracandra as Vaisnavas. Moreover, regarding those who are not following, we should simply pray to Nityananda Prabhu, “Please bestow Your mercy upon them so that they will be reformed.” Don’t criticize. Don’t do anything against them. Always have faith in Nityananda Prabhu. Especially, I am praying for you all, and for myself also. I am praying for the whole world, that Nityananda will bestow His mercy to all, so that you will know who Mahaprabhu is and what is the identity of Krsna’s name: “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

May He give us ruci (taste) in Krsna-nama, and in Gaura-nama, the holy names of Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya. A Vaisnava has written in his prayer that Krsna and Krsna’s abode and Krsna’s name have some consideration regarding offenses. They consider whether or not a person is nama-aparadhi (offender to the holy name), but Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu have nothing to do with these things. Even if an offender calls out, “O Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu,” They bestow Their mercy.

We should also be like that. If someone is doing any nonsense, we should tolerate, and also pray for him. Don’t have any enmity towards them; nothing at all. Be like Nityananda Prabhu. Follow His footsteps. Nityananda Prabhu will then unconditionally bestow His mercy upon you.

Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!


Endnote 1 (from Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.84, 85)

His Divine Grace Advaita Acarya, after hearing the statement of Nityananda Prabhu, took the opportunity presented by the joking words and spoke to Him as follows.Advaita Acarya said, “You are a reject paramahamsa, and You have accepted the renounced order of life just to fill up Your belly. I can understand that Your business is to give trouble to brahmanas.”


There is always a difference of opinion between a smarta-brahmana and a Vaisnava gosvami. There are even smarta opinions and Vaisnava gosvami opinions available in astrological and astronomical calculations. By calling Nityananda Prabhu a bhrasta avadhuta (a rejected paramahamsa), Advaita Acarya Prabhu in a sense accepted Nityananda Prabhu as a paramahamsa. In other words, Nityananda Prabhu had nothing to do with the rules governing smarta-brahmanas. Thus under pretense of condemning Him, Advaita Acarya was actually praising Him. In the avadhuta stage, the paramahamsa stage, which is the supermost stage, one may appear to be visayi, on the platform of sense gratification, but in actuality he has nothing to do with sense gratification. At that stage, a person sometimes accepts the symbols and dress of a sannyasi and sometimes does not. Sometimes he dresses like a householder. We should know, however, that these are all joking words between Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu. They are not to be taken as insults.

In Khadadaha, sometimes people misunderstood Nityananda Prabhu to belong to the sakta-sampradaya, whose philosophy is antah saktah bahih saivah sabhayam vaisnavo matah. According to the sakta-sampradaya, a person called kaulavadhuta thinks materially while externally appearing to be a great devotee of Lord Siva. When such a person is in an assembly of Vaisnavas, he appears like a Vaisnava. Actually Nityananda Prabhu did not belong to such a community. Nityananda Prabhu was always a brahmacari of a sannyasi of the vaidika order. Actually He was a paramahamsa. Sometimes He is accepted to be a disciple of Laksmipati Tirtha. If He is so accepted, Nityananda Prabhu belonged to the Madhva-sampradaya. He did not belong to the tantrika-sampradaya of Bengal.

Madhya 3.86

Endnote 2 (from Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.94, 96)

After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took a handful of rice and threw it on the floor in front of Him, as if He were angry.

When the rice thrown by Nityananda Prabhu touched His body, Advaita Acarya thought Himself purified by the touch of remnants thrown by Paramahamsa Nityananda. Therefore He began dancing.


The word avadhuta refers to one above all rules and regulations. Sometimes, not observing all the rules and regulations of a sannyasi, Nityananda Prabhu exhibited the behavior of a mad avadhuta. He threw the remnants of food on the ground, and some of these remnants touched the body of Advaita Acarya. Advaita Acarya accepted this happily because He presented Himself as a member of the community of smarta-brahmanas. By touching the remnants of food thrown by Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya immediately felt Himself purified of all smarta contamination. The remnants of food left by a pure Vaisnava are called maha-maha-prasadam.

This is completely spiritual and is identified with Lord Visnu. Such remnants are not ordinary. The spiritual master is to be considered on the stage of paramahamsa and beyond the jurisdiction of the varnasrama institution. The remnants of food left by the spiritual master and similar paramahamsas, or pure Vaisnavas, are purifying. When an ordinary person touches such prasadam, his mind is purified, and his mind is raised to the status of a pure brahmana. The behavior and statements of Advaita Acarya are meant for the understanding of ordinary people who are unaware of the strength of spiritual values, not knowing the potency of food left by the bona fide spiritual master and pure Vaisnavas.

Endnote 3 (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.97-99)

Advaita Acarya jokingly said, “My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman.


The words sahaje pagala (“by nature a madman”) indicate that Nityananda Prabhu was transcendentally situated on the paramahamsa stage. Because He always remembered Radha-Krsna and Their service, this was transcendental madness. Sri Advaita Acarya was pointing out this fact.


“To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana.”


The words apanara sama indicate that Advaita Acarya considered Himself to belong to the smarta-brahmanas, and He considered Nityananda Prabhu to be on the transcendental stage with pure Vaisnavas. Lord Nityananda gave Advaita Acarya His remnants to situate Him on the same platform and make Him a pure unalloyed Vaisnava or paramahamsa. Advaita Acarya’s statement indicates that a paramahamsa Vaisnava is transcendentally situated. A pure Vaisnava is not subject to the rules and regulations of the smarta-brahmanas. That was the reason for Advaita Acarya’s stating, apanara sama more karibara tare: “to raise Me to Your own standard.” A pure Vaisnava, or a person on the paramahamsa stage, accepts the remnants of food (maha-prasadam) as spiritual. He does not consider it to be material or sense gratificatory. He accepts maha-prasadam not as ordinary dhal and rice but as spiritual substance. To say nothing of the remnants of food left by a pure Vaisnava, prasadam is never polluted even if it is touched by the mouth of a candala. Indeed, it retains its spiritual value. Therefore by eating or touching such maha-prasadam, a brahmana is not degraded. There is no question of being polluted by touching the remnants of such food. Actually, by eating such maha-prasadam, one is freed from all the contaminations of the material condition. That is the verdict of the sastra.


Nityananda Prabhu replied, “These are the remnants of food left by Lord Krsna. If You take them to be ordinary remnants, You have committed an offense.”


In the Brhad-visnu Purana it is stated that one who considers maha-prasadam to be equal to ordinary rice and dhal certainly commits a great offense. Ordinary edibles are touchable and untouchable, but there are no such dualistic considerations where prasadam is concerned. Prasadam is transcendental, and there are no transformations or contaminations, just as there are no contaminations or transformations in the body of Lord Visnu Himself. Thus even if one is a brahmana he is certain to be attacked by leprosy and bereft of all family members if he makes such dualistic considerations. Such an offender goes to hell, never to return. This is the injunction of the Brhad-visnu Purana.


Srila Madhvacarya’s Disappearance Day

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Srila Madhvacarya’s Disappearance Day

[This year, 2017, February 5th is the disappearance day of Sri Madhvacarya, our sampradaya-acarya. Please accept this lecture given by Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on his appearance day on October 13, 2005 in Mathura. To hear this lecture, please click on this link:]

Today is the appearance day of Sri Madhvacarya, who is the sampradaya-acarya of our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.*[See Endnote 1] He appeared in a place called Pajaka-ksetra. His father’s name was Madhvagaya, his mother’s name was Vedavidya, and his childhood name was Vasudeva. He took sannyasa at a very young age, and his sannyasa-name was Purna-prajna. His sannyasa-guru, who totally followed the mayavada philosophy of impersonalism, was called Sri Acyuta-preksa.

Srila Madhvacarya’s life was quite astonishing. There was once a businessman who was trading in gopi-candana (tilaka). His boat became stuck, and by the grace of Srila Madhvacarya it was saved. To show his appreciation, the businessman gave Madhavacarya a gift of a huge piece of gopi-candana, and from that gopi-candana manifested an extremely large Deity of Bala-gopala – Dadhi-manthana Gopala. This Gopala Deity carries a stick for churning yogurt.

The Deity is very heavy, and Srila Madhvacarya was about seven miles from Udupi. He carried the Deity there himself, and on the way he composed many stavas and stutis (hymns and prayers) to Gopala.

Srila Madhvacarya wrote many books, and especially important are his three commentaries on Brahma-sutra – Brhad-bhasya and two Anubhasyas. In the Brhad-bhasya Madhvacarya gave evidences for the presentation of his suddha-dvaita-vada philosophy. This philosophy states:  Lord Sri Krsna, God, is the supreme eternal, the supreme living entity, the Supreme Self. The purpose of the entire yoga system is to concentrate the mind on this Supreme Self. We are not the Supreme Self. That should be understood. The Supreme Self is God. This is suddha-dvaita-vada – duality. God is different from me. He is supreme and I am subordinate. He is great, and I am small. He is infinite and I am infinitesimal.

In his commentary, Srila Madhvacarya wrote his own composition in the form of Sanskrit verses, defeating the conception of Sri Sankaracarya (the acarya of all the impersonalists).

All the Vaisnava-acaryas, like Sri Ramanujacarya, Visnusvami and Nimbaditya, have contributed to defeat of the theories of Sri Sankaracarya. Srila Madhvacarya did this especially with his philosophy of suddha-dvaita-vada or bheda-vada (pure dualism).

The Srutis (Vedic scriptures) have described both principles: that the individual soul is the same as God and also that it is different from Him. In most cases, however, prominence has been given to the aspect of difference.
In his writings, Srila Madhvacarya has described five differences. There is an eternal difference between God and the jiva (the infinitesimal living entity), God and maya (the Lords deluding, material potency), maya and jiva, one jiva and another jiva, and one feature of maya and another feature of maya.

All the four bona fide sampradayas are Vaisnava-sampradayas. This means there is similarity in their goal and object of worship. They all worship Visnu-tattva (The Supreme Lord in His plenary manifestation). The followers of Ramanujacarya-sampradaya worship Sri Laksmi-Narayana. In the sampradaya of Srila Madhvacarya there is worship of Bala-gopala Krsna.

Srila Madhvacarya established four main Mathas (temples). In each of these Mathas there were two sannyasis, so in total there were eight sannyasis. These eight sannyasi acaryas practice worshiping Lord Krsna in the mood of the gopis, but this worship is not given to the general population.

Sriman Mahaprabhu saw some lacking in the conception of Srila Madhvacarya, and He adjusted that. In their commentaries to Mahaprabhu’s discussion with the tattva-vadis (the followers of Srila Madhvacarya), in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Kavi Karnapura and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana have both declared that our Sampradaya-acarya is Srila Madhvacarya. In our guru-parampara we see that Srila Madhavendra Puri took diksa from Srila Laksmipati Tirtha. Therefore we have a connection with Sri Madhvacarya, although we are especially related with Srila Madhavendra Puri. Sri Advaita Acarya and Sri Nityananda Prabhu are related with Srila Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri is related with Sri Madhvacarya.

Some people do not accept the position of Sri Madhvacarya – that he is our Sampradaya-acarya.*[See Endnote 2] Some sahajiyas and caste gosvamis cannot reconcile this. They say that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana was not in our sampradaya, because he was in the Madhva-sampradaya.*[See Endnote 3] But actually, our sampradaya is related to Srila Madhvacarya. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore said very strongly that those who do not accept Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana or Srila Madhvacarya are demons, and they have no relation to suddha-bhakti. They are kali-chela, disciples of Kali [this present Age, the Age of Quarrel and Hypocrisy].
We must understand all these tattvas (established philosophical truths). Then we can understand who Srila Madhvacarya is, and what our relation with him is.

We are Vaisnava-sannyasis. We have the name Bhaktivedanta. I want that especially those who are in the renounced order – sannyasis – should learn and remember at least some of the sutras of Vedanta. They should remember at least twenty-five verses, together with their meaning and explanation. If you will remember at least ten sutras of the Brahma-sutra, from the first one up to the tenth, all philosophy will come. In Srimad-Bhagavatam’s four original verses, the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam is present, and this is also the case with Brahma-sutra. All the sutras are included in the first ten. You should surely remember them; otherwise you will be defeated by mayavada philosophers.
Gaura-premanande hari hari bol!

*Endnote 1:

Caitanya Mahaprabhu next arrived at Udupi, the place of Madhvacarya, where the philosophers known as Tattvavadis resided. There He saw the Deity of Lord Krsna and became mad with ecstasy.


Sripada Madhvacarya took his birth at Udupi, which is situated in the South Kanarada district of South India, just west of Sahyadri. This is the chief city of the South Kanarada province and is near the city of Mangalore , which is situated to the south of Udupi. In the city of Udupi is a place called Pajaka-ksetra, where Madhvacarya took his birth in a Sivalli-brahmana dynasty as the son of Madhyageha Bhatta, in the year 1040 Sakabda (A.D. 1119). According to some, he was born in the year 1160 Sakabda (A.D. 1239).

In his childhood Madhvacarya was known as Vasudeva, and there are some wonderful stories surrounding him. It is said that once when his father had piled up many debts, Madhvacarya converted tamarind seeds into actual coins to pay them off. When he was five years old, he was offered the sacred thread. A demon named Maniman lived near his abode in the form of a snake, and at the age of five Madhvacarya killed that snake with the toe of his left foot. When his mother was very much disturbed, he would appear before her in one jump. He was a great scholar even in childhood, and although his father did not agree, he accepted sannyasa at the age of twelve. Upon receiving sannyasa from Acyuta Preksa, he received the name Purnaprajna Tirtha. After traveling all over India , he finally discussed scriptures with Vidyasankara, the exalted leader of Srngeri-matha. Vidyasankara was actually diminished in the presence of Madhvacarya. Accompanied by Satya Tirtha, Madhvacarya went to Badarikasrama. It was there that he met Vyasadeva and explained his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita before him. Thus he became a great scholar by studying before Vyasadeva.

By the time he came to the Ananda-matha from Badarikasrama, Madhvacarya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. His companion Satya Tirtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvacarya returned from Badarikasrama, he went to Ganjama, which is on the bank of the river Godavari. There he met with two learned scholars named Sobhana Bhatta and Svami Sastri. Later these scholars became known in the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha. When he returned to Udupi, he would sometimes bathe in the ocean. On such an occasion he composed a prayer in five chapters. Once, while sitting beside the sea engrossed in meditation upon Lord Sri Krsna, he saw that a large boat containing goods for Dvaraka was in danger. He gave some signs by which the boat could approach the shore, and it was saved. The owners of the boat wanted to give him a present, and at the time Madhvacarya agreed to take some gopi-candana. He received a big lump of gopi-candana, and as it was being brought to him, it broke apart and revealed a large Deity of Lord Krsna. The Deity had a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. As soon as Madhvacarya received the Deity of Krsna in this way, he composed a prayer. The Deity was so heavy that not even thirty people could lift it. Madhvacarya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Madhvacarya had eight disciples, all of whom took sannyasa from him and became directors of his eight monasteries. Worship of the Lord Krsna Deity is still going on at Udupi according to the plans Madhvacarya established.

Madhvacarya then for the second time visited Badarikasrama. While he was passing through Maharashtra, the local king was digging a big lake for the public benefit. As Madhvacarya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvacarya visited the king, he engaged the king in that work and departed with his disciples.

Often in the province of Ganga-pradesa there were fights between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus were on one bank of the river, and the Muslims on the other. Due to the community tension, no boat was available for crossing the river. The Muslim soldiers were always stopping passengers on the other side, but Madhvacarya did not care for these soldiers. He crossed the river anyway, and when he met the soldiers on the other side, he was brought before the king. The Muslim king was so pleased with him that he wanted to give him a kingdom and some money, but Madhvacarya refused. While walking on the road, he was attacked by some dacoits, but by his bodily strength he killed them all. When his companion Satya Tirtha was attacked by a tiger, Madhvacarya separated them by virtue of his great strength. When he met Vyasadeva, he received from him the salagrama-sila known as Astamurti. After this, he summarized the Mahabharata.

Madhvacarya’s devotion to the Lord and his erudite scholarship became known throughout India . Consequently the owners of the Srngeri-matha, established by Sankaracarya, became a little perturbed. At that time the followers of Sankaracarya were afraid of Madhvacarya’s rising power, and they began to tease Madhvacarya’s disciples in many ways. There was even an attempt to prove that the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was not in line with Vedic principles. A person named Pundarika Puri, a follower of the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya, came before Madhvacarya to discuss the sastras. It is said that all of Madhvacarya’s books were taken away, but later they were found with the help of King Jayasimha, ruler of Kumla. In discussion, Pundarika Puri was defeated by Madhvacarya. A great personality named Trivikramacarya, who was a resident of Visnumangala, became Madhvacarya’s disciple, and his son later became Narayanacarya, the composer of Sri Madhva-vijaya. After the death of Trivikramacarya, the younger brother of Narayanacarya took sannyasa and later became known as Visnu Tirtha.

It was reputed that there was no limit to the bodily strength of Purnaprajna, Madhvacarya. There was a person named Kadanjari who was famed for possessing the strength of thirty men. Madhvacarya placed the big toe of his foot upon the ground and asked the man to separate it from the ground, but the great strong man could not do so even after great effort. Srila Madhvacarya passed from this material world at the age of eighty while writing a commentary on the Aitareya Upanisad. For further information about Madhvacarya, one should read Madhva-vijaya, by Narayanacarya.

The acaryas of the Madhva-sampradaya established Udupi as the chief center, and the monastery there was known as Uttararadhi-matha.  A list of the different centers of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya can be found at Udupi, and their matha commanders are (1) Visnu Tirtha (Soda-matha), (2) Janardana Tirtha (Krsnapura-matha), (3) Vamana Tirtha (Kanura-matha), (4) Narasimha Tirtha (Adamara-matha), (5) Upendra Tirtha (Puttugi-matha), (6) Rama Tirtha (Sirura-matha), (7) Hrsikesa Tirtha (Palimara-matha), and (8) Aksobhya Tirtha (Pejavara-matha). (Caitanya-caritamrta – Madhya-lila 9.246 (purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)

Endnote 2:

“Objection 4: While touring in South India, Sriman Mahaprabhu went to Udupi. There he had a discussion with a tattva-vadi acarya, who was in Sri Madhva Acarya’s sampradaya. Mahaprabhu refuted the views of the tattva-vadis, so He can never be included in that sampradaya.

“Refutation: Sriman Mahaprabhuji did not directly refute Madhva Acarya’s ideas about suddha-bhakti. Rather, He refuted the distorted opinions of the tattva-vadis which had entered into the Madhva Sampradaya in the course of time. Readers can understand this simply by looking in this section of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 9. 276-277)

prabhu kahe,–karmi, jnani,–dui bhakti-hina

tomara sampradaye dekhi sei dui cihna

sabe, eka guna dekhi tomara sampradaya

satya-vigraha kari’ isvare karaha niscaye

“Karmis and jnanis are devoid of devotion, and it is seen that both of these are respected in your sampradaya. Still, in your sampradaya there is one very great quality – the form of Bhagavan or sri vigraha has been accepted. Not only this, but sri vigraha has also been accepted as Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna Himself. He is worshipped in your sampradaya in the form of Nrtya-Gopala.”

“This proves that Sriman Mahaprabhu refuted distortions which later entered the Madhva Sampradaya in the course of time. He did not refute Madhva Acarya’s opinions on suddha-bhakti or the fundamental conclusions that he expressed in his commentaries. On the contrary, we have already shown that literatures such as Tattva-sandarbha and Sarva-samvadini have been based on the conclusions of Sri Madhva and his disciples and grand-disciples. In this connection we should point out that a difference of sampradaya does not generally arise from some minor difference of opinion. Rather, the difference between sampradaya comes from the differences of theory about the principal object of worship.” ((Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 423-424)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the chain of disciplic succession from Madhva Acarya, but the Vaisnavas in His line do not accept the tattva-vadis, who also claim to belong to the Madhva-sampradaya. To distinguish themselves clearly from the tattva-vadi branch of Madhva’s descendants, the Vaisnavas of Bengal prefer to call themselves Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Sri Madhva Acarya is also known as Sri Gauda-purnananda, and therefore the name Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is quite suitable for the disciplic succession of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Our spiritual master, Om Visnupada Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, accepted initiation in the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. (Caitanya-caritamrta – Adi-lila 1.19, purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)

*Endnote 3:

“Of the four Vaisnava sampradaya-acaryas, only Madhva Acarya is celebrated by the name of tattva-vadi. Since Sri Jiva Gosvami has personally established tattva-vada, the Vaisnavas of the Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya are therefore tattva-vadis. In the third sloka of the mangalacarana (auspicious invocation) of Tattva-sandarbha, Sri Jiva Gosvami glorifies his guru Sri Rupa Gosvami and his paramguru Sri Sanatana Gosvami as ‘tattvajnapakau’ (the acaryas who proclaim tattva). Similarly, the crown of the dynasty of vaisnava acaryas, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, has also designated Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana as ‘tattvavid-uttamau’ (the highest of all knowers of tattva) in his commentary on this same sloka.

“It is clear from this that Sri Jiva Gosvami has offered respect to Sri Madhva Acarya, and that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana has followed Jiva Gosvami in honoring Madhva Acarya. Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu has not shown any prejudice towards Madhva Acarya. On the contrary, if we compare Jiva Gosvami with Baladeva Vidyabhusana, we find that Baladeva Vidyabhusana has glorified the two Gosvamis Sri Rupa and Sanatana more than Jiva Gosvami has. There is no doubt whatsoever that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana is situated in the amnaya-dhara (the transcendental current of conclusive evidence) or the parampara of Sri Gaura-Nityananda Prabhus and of Srila Jiva Gosvamipada who immediately follows them. Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana is in the ninth generation from Sri Nityananda Prabhu according to bhagavat-parampara, and in the eighth generation according to pancaratrika-parampara. Historians have accepted his pancaratrika-parampara as follows; Sri Nityananda, Sri Gauridasa Pandita, Hrdaya Caitanya, Syamananda Prabhu, Rasikananda Prabhu, Nayanananda Prabhu and Sri Radha-Damodara. Sri Baladeva Prabhu is the initiated disciples of this Sri Radha-Damodara and is also the most prominent siksa disciple of Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti.

“Historians have declared that in no branch of the Madhva guru-parampara were there any brilliant scholars of such widespread fame as Baladeva. In fact, at that time no one in any sampradaya anywhere in India could equal Sri Baladeva’s knowledge in logic, in Vedanta and in sastra such as the Puranas and itihasas. It is true that he stayed for some days in the most prominent matha established by Sri Madhva Acarya in Udupi, and that he studied the Sri Madhva commentary on Vedanta; however, the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya was more of an influence upon him than was the Sri Madhva Sampradaya.

“It is natural for scholarly personalities, who are worshipable throughout the worlds and who are the preceptors of great precepts, to follow in the lotus footsteps of the Vaisnava acaryas of the very influential Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. Sri Baladeva thoroughly studied the commentary of Madhva, and also made a meticulous study of the commentaries of Sankara, Ramanuja, Bhaskara Acarya, Nimbarka, Vallabha and others. It is illogical to say that he is included in each one of those sampradayas because he had studied those groups of philosophers.

“Sri Baladeva Prabhu has described historical events and quoted the conclusions of the previous Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas in many literatures, such as his Govinda-bhasya, Siddhanta-ratnam, Prameya-ratnavali and his commentary on Tattva-sandharba. He has enabled all the philosophers of the world to understand that the Sri Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is included within the Madhva Sampradaya. In this regard all the scholars of the world, eastern and western, ancient and modern, have bowed their heads in reverence, and have unanimously accepted the siddhanta and opinions of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu.

“Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana was sent by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti to protect the honor of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya in the Galata Gaddi in Jaipura. There he defeated the objecting panditas of the Sri sampradaya in scriptural debate. There are no second opinions about this. Does this not show that Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura personally inspired his siksa disciple Baladeva Vidyabhusana to prove that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the line of Madhva Acarya? Srila Cakravarti Thakura sent his diksa disciple Sri Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma with Sri Baladeva to help him. If Sri Cakravarti Thakura had not been so aged and weak at that time, he certainly would have gone to Jaipur in person to take part in this debate about the sampradaya. He would also have established the very same conclusion as Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana. There is no sound evidence to prove that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana was first an acarya or disciple in the Madhva Sampradaya. There may be hearsay and imaginative rumors, but no one has given any substantial proof.” (Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 416-419)

The Glories of Ramanujacarya

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
The Glories of Ramanujacarya
North Shore, Hawaii: January 26, 2007

[Respected Harikatha Readers,
This year, 2017, Sri Ramanujacarya’s disappearance day is February 6th. In order to serve you in observing this sacred day, we are sending you a transcription of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s informal darsana, at which time Srila Maharaja discussed his glories. That informal darsana took place with only the devotees in his traveling party, so we especially thank his personal cook, Madhuvrata dasa brahmacari, for sending us the sound-file. Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s talk in Hawaii was brief, and therefore we have included excerpts from his lecture given in Mathura, in 2000, in brackets, to fill out the history:]  Listen

Sri Ramanujacarya was born in South India. He is an incarnation of Laksmana. The word ‘anuja’ means ‘younger brother’. Rama-anuja refers to the younger brother of Lord Rama; therefore, he is Ramanuja. In Kali-yuga, he is the acarya of the Sri (Laksmi) Sampradaya. He is the disciple of Yamunacarya.

As a boy, he was exceptionally intelligent. At a very young age, he knew all Sanskrit grammar (vyakarana), literature (sahitya), and all the deep conclusions of the Vedic scriptures.

[Sri Ramanujacarya is an incarnation of Laksmana (Lord Rama’s younger brother), and he accepted the Sri Sampradaya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada took many teachings from him, such as the duties of the sannyasi, the duties of the disciple, and the etiquette of the Vaisnava. He utilized one-hundred eight teachings. We follow these teachings, and we have also published them in our Bhagavata Patrika and Gaudiya Patrika (Hindi and Bengali Magazines).]

His teacher, Yadavacarya, was a follower of the Mayavada (the theory that all variety and individuality are illusion) and Advaitavada (the theory that the only truth is impersonal undifferentiated oneness) philosophies. One day, his teacher began to explain his understanding of the beauty of Sri Krsna’s eyes. In this regard Chandogya Upanisad uses the word ‘kapyasam.’ Yadavacarya explained that ‘kapi’ means ‘monkey’, and that the monkey’s rear-end (kapi-asam) is reddish on both sides. He concluded that Krsna’s lotus eyes are like a monkey’s rear-end. Hearing this, Ramanuja began to weep.

Later, when Ramanuja was massaging Yadavacarya, he told him, “The explanation you have given for kapyasam is wrong. ‘Kapi’ can be understood to mean ‘that which takes water from everywhere’. Who takes water? The sun. The word ‘asam’ also means ‘to blossom’, so the word ‘kapi-asam’ can be understood as ‘that which blossoms under the sun,’ or, in other words, ‘the lotus flower’. Thus, we can understand the verse to mean that the Lord’s eyes are as beautiful as the lotus flower.”

[Sri Ramanujacarya took birth in a simple family. His mother and father were not very wealthy, but they were of a high brahmana caste and they were very learned. Ramanuja was an outstanding boy from his childhood. While under the guidance of a Mayavadi guru named Yadavacarya, he was very careful in his studies. One day, when his guru was giving an impersonal explanation of a verse that contained the word kapyasana, he compared the lotus-eyes of the Lord to the hind part of a monkey which is reddish near its tail. Hearing this from his gurudeva’s mouth, Ramanuja began to cry in great pain. He felt grief in his heart that his gurudeva had used such a bad analogy for describing the lotus-like eyes of the Lord. After collecting himself, he very politely asked if he could say something about the verse. Yadavacarya assented, and Ramanuja very nicely gave many explanations according to Sanskrit grammar. He said that the term kapyasana actually means one who brings water, and that is the sun. The lotus blossoms by the potency of the sun, and therefore the Lord’s eyes are compared to the lotus, not the monkey.]

Ramanuja’s teacher became astonished, thinking, “If this boy is so knowledgeable at such a young age, what will he do when he is grown up? If he remains alive, this Mayavada teaching will be finished.” His teacher then planned to murder him.

[When Yadavacarya heard this, he thought, “This boy is dangerous. He is very expert and is giving such nice explanations. In the future he might uproot all the impersonal teachings from the Vedas, and so I must kill him.”]

Thinking to trick Ramanuja, Yadavacarya told him that he was going to travel with all his students to do some preaching, and that Ramanuja should also accompany them. Ramanuja was a very sincere and innocent boy, so he didn’t understand his teacher’s intentions.

Then, when they were all in a very deep forest, they decided that this would be the time to murder him. Govinda, his cousin-brother, told him of their plan, and urged him to quickly flee from there. Therefore, in the middle of the night, Ramanuja told them that he was going to the toilet, and he ran away.

Now alone, he suddenly saw a hunter, along with his wife, holding a hurricane light. The man asked him, “Where are you going?”

Ramanuja answered, “I am going to Kancipuram.”

The man replied, “We are also going there, so come with us.”

When he arrived at Kancipuram, his own village, which was very far away, those persons disappeared. Ramanuja then began to weep. He understood that it was certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, along with His eternal consort, Laksimi-devi, who had saved his life.

[Throughout the day and night, he passed through the dense forest. It was difficult for him to discern his way, especially at night. The Lord, seeing His dear devotee in such a state, then appeared in the form of Bharadraja and, holding a lantern in His hand, showed Ramanuja the way. Thus, within no time at all, Sri Ramanuja crossed the entire distance of the forest and found that he was standing outside his village.]

Sometime later, Ramanuja’s teacher returned to the village. He had been thinking that perhaps a lion or tiger had eaten Ramanuja, and he was very happy. However, when he arrived, he saw that Ramanuja was alive. He called him and told him to forget everything that had happened, Ramanuja again resumed his Sanskrit studies with Yadavacarya.

[After some days, out of compassion for Yadavacarya and with a desire to deliver him, he again began studying under his guidance. After some years, Ramanuja converted Yadavacarya to Vaisnava philosophy, whereupon his teacher became his disciple. At one point thereafter, Ramanuja began hearing of the qualities of a great Vaisnava guru in South India by the name of Sri Yamunacarya, and he eventually became Sri Yamunacarya’s disciple.]
Later he married. After his marriage, he began to teach boys in a Sanskrit school, and all the students liked him.
[Later on he married, and his wife was very quarrelsome. Her behavior was discourteous and uncooperative, and incidents would often take place which he would somehow have to tolerate.]

One day, a disciple of Sri Yamunacarya named Kancipurna came to the house of Ramanuja. He was from a very low-caste family, but he was a very high-class devotee. He came there along with his wife by the order of his Gurudeva, and he now began to give his association to Ramanujacarya.

[A disciple of Sri Yamunacarya and elder god-brother of Ramanuja named Kancipurna came to Ramanuja’s village along with his wife. Ramanuja accepted Kancipurna as a siksa-guru.]

One day, when Ramanujacarya’s wife was drawing water from the well, Kancipurna’s wife was also there drawing water. Some water from the bucket of Kancipurna’s wife fell into Ramanuja’s wife’s bucket. She immediately became very angry and started to insult the wife of Kancipurna with abusive language. When Kancipurna returned, his wife told him of the incident at the well, and he immediately left the house of Ramanujacarya. Upon hearing the reason why his siska-guru had departed, Ramanujacarya began to think, “I should not be with this lady. Somehow, I should give her up right away.”

[One day, when Kancipurna’s wife was taking some water from a well, she met Ramanuja’s wife, who had also come to the well for drawing water. It so happened that while taking the water out of the well, some water from the pot of Kancipurna’s wife spilled into the pot of Ramanuja’s wife. Although this was a small accident, Ramanuja’s wife became furious and insulted Kancipurna’s wife with abusive language. Kancipurna became hurt when he later on heard about this, and, without informing Ramanuja, he and his wife left that place and went to Sri Rangam. When Sri Ramanuja came to know that his wife’s behavior had offended a Vaisnava, he felt very bad and thought, “She is committing vaisnava-aparadha; she has such an offensive mentality. I must do something about this.”]

Later, Sri Yamunacarya sent Purnacarya to bring Ramanuja to him in Sri Rangam. However, Yamunacarya was very sick at that time, and, by the time Ramanuja arrived in Sri Rangam, he had departed from the vision of the world. Purnacarya, was sent there to bring him to Sri Rangam. Ramanuja used to give him so much honor – always offering him obeisances and treating him like his siksa-guru. While living with Ramanuja, Purnacarya began to impart the instructions he had received from his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya.

One day, when Ramanuja was teaching at the school, a hungry brahmana came there. Ramanuja told him, “If you go to my house to beg, my wife will give you something.” However, when the brahmana went there, Ramanuja’s very cruel wife said, “I can’t give you anything. Go! Get out of here!” The brahmana returned to Ramanuja, who then told him to go back to his house and tell my wife, “I am coming from the house of your father. He sent me to you, so please take this letter from him.” Ramanuja personally wrote the letter he gave to the brahmana to deliver to his wife. The letter stated, “Your brother will marry very soon, so you must come to your father’s house.” After reading the letter, Ramanuja’s wife began to honor that brahmana, and she gave him a large quantity of delicious prasadam.

[One day, a hungry brahmana came to Ramanuja, asking for some food. Ramanuja sent this brahmana to his wife, telling him, “Go to my home and tell my wife that I sent you. She will give you some food.” When that brahmana came to Ramanuja’s wife, she boldly insulted him again and again. She told him he should get out of there, and that there was no food for him. Returning to Ramanuja, the brahmana reported what had happened, and Ramanuja replied, “Wait here for a few minutes.” He left and wrote a letter to his wife, as though it was written by her father, stating, “O my dear daughter, I am arranging the marriage of my son, your brother. So you should come. Please bring your husband with you.”

Writing these words very nicely, he folded that letter and tied it with colorful threads. And, along with that, he sent a coconut and other auspicious items. He then gave that letter to the brahmana and said, “Now go again to my wife. She will welcome you nicely this time. The brahmana went again. After reading the letter, Ramanuja’s wife’s behavior completely changed. This time she welcomed him warmly and sweetly, and offered him all kinds of palatable food and sweets. When Ramanuja came home, his wife told him about the marriage. She cited her father’s request for both of them to come, and requested him to please come along.

Ramanuja said, “No, I cannot come, for I am very busy; you may go now with this brahmana. Don’t be late.”]

When his wife left to go to the house of her father, Ramanuja also left that house. He went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya, but Yamunacarya had left his body just before Ramanuja arrived. Ramanuja saw that many devotees were walking with the transcendental body of Yamunacarya. All of his disciples were weeping as they carried his body to be placed in samadhi.

[After his wife left with that brahmana, Ramanuja locked the door of his house and went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya. He wanted to take sannyasa from him, but when he reached Sri Rangam, he found that Sri Yamunacarya had just passed away and his disciples were walking in procession with his divine body. Ramanuja felt very disheartened and sad.]

He told them, “I have accepted Yamunacarya as my Gurudeva. I want to see his face.” Yamunacarya’s disciples stopped and lifted the cloth from his body. Ramanuja could see that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers were folded.

[He asked them to stop for a moment. He wanted them to uncover the transcendental body so that he could take darsana of his Gurudeva’s divine form. He observed that all the fingers on one of his Gurudeva’s hands were open, and on the other, three fingers were closed. He inquired from the disciples all around as to why this was, and he wanted to know when it happened. No one could answer. They said, “We didn’t notice it before; it must have happened just now.”]

He promised in front of all present, ‘I will write the Sri-bhasya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra.” One of the fingers immediately became straight. He then said, “I will take sannyasa,” and the second finger relaxed. Lastly, he said, “I will preach the mission of my Gurudeva, Yamunacarya”, at which time the last finger relaxed and became straight. Seeing this, everyone present became astonished.

[Ramanuja became silent, and after some time he spoke, addressing Sri Yamunacarya’s transcendental body. He said, “Now, I will first of all write a Vaisnava commentary on Vedanta, and I will preach that Vaisnava commentary throughout India.” One finger opened, and Ramanuja spoke further, “I will take tridandi-sannyasa right now, and I will preach the message of vaisnava-dharma and your teachings.” When Sri Yamunacarya heard that, his second finger opened. Ramanuja then said, “I will systematically write about Vaisnava etiquette, explaining the behavior required to execute pure devotional service, and what precautions should be taken. I will also preach this throughout India.” After uttering this third statement, Sri Ramanujacarya observed, along with all present, that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers had now opened. Then and there, Sri Ramanujacarya formally accepted tridandi sannyasa from Sri Yamunacarya.]

After Yamunacarya was given Samadhi, Ramanujacarya was elected to become the next acarya, as Yamunacarya’s successor. He immediately said, “I will not become the next acarya right away. Give me time. Give me two years.” He then spent some time with each of the prominent disciples of Yamunacarya. He served them and heard from them what they had learned from their Gurudeva. Only after hearing from them for two years did he accept the post of acarya.

[Sri Ramanujacarya had now formally taken sannyasa initiation from Sri Yamunacarya. Afterwards, all the disciples of Sri Yamunacarya, who were great scholars and who had served their Gurudeva for so many years, came together. Having seen the extraordinary characteristics and personality of Sri Ramanujacarya, they collectively decided that he should be appointed as the next acarya after their Guru, and they honored him with the acarya seat in Sri Rangam. Sri Ramanujacarya accepted the orders of his god-brothers, but before sitting and acting as the acarya, he went to each of his god-brothers, for two months, four months, six months, or one year, and served each of them. He thus formally endeavored to understand the teachings of Sri Yamunacarya, since he had not gotten the opportunity to spend much time with him. After serving and satisfying them, he commenced his role as acarya of the Sri Sampradaya in Sri Rangam.]

Later, the ruler of that country, King Koluttunga II, heard that Ramanujacarya was very strongly preaching his philosophy. Koluttunga II wanted him killed, fearing that if he remained alive, the Saiva Sampradaya (comprised of so-called devotees of Lord Siva) would be finished. He sent a message telling Ramanujacarya to come at once for a debate.

Ramanujacarya and all his associates knew that the king wanted to kill him. His disciple Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, please do not go. I will go in your place. Please give me your danda and sannyasa cloth.” Insisting, Kuresh took them from him and gave him his own white cloth. He told Ramanuja to leave that place at once. Then, having taken his Guru’s sannyasa cloth and danda, Kuresh went to the palace of the king.

In the palace there was a great debate, during which Kuresh defeated all the king’s pandits. However, Kuresh was alone, so the king’s pandits told everyone that he had been defeated. They forcibly detained him, and only released him after blinding him by plucking out both of his eyes. He then began to search for his Gurudeva, who was now very far away. Fortunately, after some time, he came to the same village where Ramanujacarya was residing.

Within that village there were two disciples – one very rich and one very poor. Ramanujacarya told his disciples to go to the house of the rich devotee, because his group was more than fifty in total, and ask him to prepare prasadam and a place to stay for all of them.

Two of Ramanuja’s disciples went to the rich man’s house and gave him this message. The rich man felt extremely happy and became totally absorbed in preparing for the arrival of Ramanujacarya and all of his devotees. However, he didn’t come back out to share these plans with his two god-brothers at the door. After waiting for some time, those disciples went back to Ramanujacarya and told him that they had gone to the house of that rich devotee, but he had left them waiting and had not come back to them. Ramanujacarya replied, “Oh, then we will all go to the house of that poor man.”

That very poor brahmana used to go and beg for ingredients so that his wife could cook prasadam. He had only one piece of proper cloth, which his wife used, so when he would go begging, he would take the cloth of his wife.

On that particular day, after midday, he could not collect any more, and he decided to return home. In the meantime, before his return, Sri Ramanujacarya, with all of his disciples, suddenly came to his house. His wife was very happy to see her Gurudeva, but she also felt very ashamed because she had no proper cloth to wear. Sri Ramanuja understood this, and he gave her his own chadar. She wrapped this around herself and came in his presence.

After she gave a mat for her Gurudeva and his followers to sit on, she began to wonder, “How shall I arrange prasadam for everyone?” She remembered that one of her neighbors, who was a rich businessman, was very attracted to her and had lusty desires toward her. He had previously told her of his desires, but she was very chaste and had always rejected his proposals. However, in her current predicament, she went to that man and told him that she would fulfill his desire.

She was thinking, “What is the use of my chastity if I cannot serve my Gurudeva? For my Gurudeva, I should be prepared to do anything.” She told that rich man, “I am ready to do what you want, but in return I want you to arrange many ingredients so that I can cook and give prasadam to my Gurudeva and all of his disciples.” Hearing this, the rich man became very joyful and gave her more than what she wanted. Taking all that he gave her, she prepared very good prasadam for all the devotees, and everyone was happy.

While Ramanujacarya and all the devotees were resting after prasadam, her husband returned home. He asked her, “Gurudeva and all his disciples have come. How are we going to arrange for their needs?”

She replied, “I have done everything. There is nothing to worry about. They have all taken prasadam and are resting now.”

Her husband asked, “How did you make all those arrangements?”

She began to tell him the story about the lusty neighbor. She said, “I was thinking that my Gurudeva has come; if I cannot serve him, then what is the use of my chastity? So I went and told that lusty man that if he would give me all the ingredients to make very nice prasadam, then I would offer myself. He did as I asked, so now that it is night I must go to him.”

Her husband told her, “I will come with you.”

It was raining at that time, so they took an umbrella and went to the house of that rich person along with the mahaprasadam. The wife entered his home alone, and the man became very happy. The man asked her, “It is raining heavily tonight, and it appears you have come all alone. Didn’t anyone bring you?” She told him, “My husband came with me,” and she gave him the prasadam remnants of Ramanujacarya. The lusty man took those remnants and became totally transformed. He fell flat at the lotus feet of that lady and begged her, “Excuse me. Excuse me.”

The lady and her husband then returned to their house. The next day, their neighbor came to Ramanujacarya and prayed to him, “I want to be initiated by you.” Ramanujacarya then initiated him.

In the meantime, Kuresh arrived in the village of the poor devotee couple where Ramanujacarya was staying. Seeing Kuresh, Ramanujacarya called out his name. Kuresh went to his Gurudeva and wanted to take his darsana, but he had no eyes. Ramanujacarya put his hand over Kuresh’s wounds and two eyes at once manifested. He could see again.

Afterward, Ramanujacarya went to North India. After traveling for a long time, he eventually arrived in Kashmir. He went to Sarada-pith, the place of Sarada-devi, where he came across the Bodhayana-bhasya (commentary) of Vedanta-sutra. This Bodhayana commentary contained Vaisnava philosophical conclusions, not Mayavada theories. In the library at Sarada-pith he read that commentary, and in the night he took that book. and escaped with Kuresh

They fled from there, but the Kashmiri pandits followed them. Finally, the pandits took the book and returned to their own place. Ramanujacarya was very unhappy, but Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, do not be unhappy. I have also read that book, and I remember all its contents. I will write them down.” Later he did this, and he gave the writings to Ramanujacarya. Ramanujacarya then wrote his Sri-bhasya on Vedanta-sutra [* See Endnote] and fulfilled the three desires of his Gurudeva, Yamunacarya.

[When Sri Ramanujacarya officially became the acarya, he began very strongly preaching the cult of Sri Yamunacarya. In South India, two impersonalist sects are very prominent: Saiva and Sankaracarya. Sankaracarya’s followers subscribe to the Vedanta sutras like “sarvam kalvidam brahma” and “tat tvam asi.” They think themselves impersonal brahma (God), and they think everything comes from brahma. The Saiva School considers Lord Siva to be the ultimate truth, and they want to merge into him. This is the basic difference between the two. Sri Ramanujacarya refuted and defeated all impersonalism by his very strong and effective preaching.]

Gaura premanande

[*Endnote: Sri Ramanujacarya has also refuted the arguments of Sankara in his own commentary on the Vedanta-sutra, which is known as the Sri-bhasya: “Sri Sankaracarya has tried to equate the Pancaratras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pancaratras contradict the Vedic injunctions. The Pancaratras state that the personality of jiva called Sankarsana has emerged from Vasudeva, the supreme cause of all causes, that Pradyumna, the mind, has come from Sankarsana, and that Aniruddha, the ego, has come from Pradyumna. But one cannot say that the living entity (jiva) takes birth or is created, for such a statement is against the injunction of the Vedas. As stated in the Katha Upanisad (2.18), living entities, as individual spiritual souls, can have neither birth nor death. All Vedic literature declares that the living entities are eternal. Therefore when it is said that Sankarsana is jiva, this indicates that He is the predominating Deity of the living entities. Similarly, Pradyumna is the predominating Deity of the mind, and Aniruddha is the predominating Deity of the ego.

“It has been said that Pradyumna, the mind, was produced from Sankarsana. But if Sankarsana were a living entity, this could not be accepted, because a living entity cannot be the cause of the mind. The Vedic injunctions state that everything-including life, mind and the senses-comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for the mind to be produced by a living entity, for the Vedas state that everything comes from the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord.

“Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have all the potent features of the absolute Personality of Godhead, according to the revealed scriptures, which contain undeniable facts that no one can refute. Therefore these members of the quadruple manifestation are never to be considered ordinary living beings. Each of Them is a plenary expansion of the Absolute Godhead, and thus each is identical with the Supreme Lord in knowledge, opulence, energy, influence, prowess and potencies.

“The evidence of the Pancaratras cannot be neglected. Only untrained persons who have not genuinely studied the Pancaratras think that the Pancaratras contradict the srutis regarding the birth or beginning of the living entity. In this connection, we must accept the verdict of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which says, `The absolute Personality of Godhead, who is known as Vasudeva and who is very affectionate toward His surrendered devotees, expands Himself in quadruple forms who are subordinate to Him and at the same time identical with Him in all respects.’ The Pauskara-samhita states, `The scriptures that recommend that brahmanas worship the quadruple forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called agamas [authorized Vedic literatures].’ In all Vaisnava literature it is said that worshiping these quadruple forms is as good as worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vasudeva, who in His different expansions, complete in six opulences, can accept offerings from His devotees of the results of their prescribed duties.

“Worshiping the expansions for pastimes, such as Nrsimha, Rama, Sesa and Kurma, promotes one to the worship of the Sankarsana quadruple. From that position one is raised to the platform of worshiping Vasudeva, the Supreme Brahman. In the Pauskara-samhita it is said, `If one fully worships according to the regulative principles, one can attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva.’ It is to be accepted that Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are as good as Lord Vasudeva, for They all have inconceivable power and can accept transcendental forms like Vasudeva. Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are never born, but They can manifest Themselves in various incarnations before the eyes of pure devotees. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature.

“That the Lord can manifest Himself before His devotees by His inconceivable power is not against the teaching of the Pancaratras. Since Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are, respectively, the predominating Deities of all living entities, the total mind and the total ego, the designation of Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha as `jiva,’ `mind’ and `ego’ are never contradictory to the statements of the scriptures. These terms identify these Deities, just as the terms `sky’ and `light’ sometimes identify the Absolute Brahman.

“The scriptures completely deny the birth or production of the living entity. In the Parama-samhita it is described that material nature, which is used for others’ purposes, is factually inert and always subject to transformation. The field of material nature is the arena of the activities of fruitive actors, and since the material field is externally related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is also eternal. In every samhita, the jiva (living entity) has been accepted as eternal, and in the Pancaratras the birth of the jiva is completely denied. Anything that is produced must also be annihilated. Therefore if we accept the birth of the living entity, we also have to accept his annihilation. But since the Vedic literatures say that the living entity is eternal, one should not think the living being to be produced at a certain time. In the beginning of the Parama-samhita it is definitely stated that the face of material nature is constantly changeable. Therefore `beginning,’ `annihilation’ and all such terms are applicable only in the material nature.

“Considering all these points, one should understand that Sankaracarya’s statement that Sankarsana is born as a jiva is completely against the Vedic statements. His assertions are completely refuted by the above arguments. In this connection the commentary of Sridhara Svami on Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.1.34) is very helpful.”

For a detailed refutation of Sankaracarya’s arguments attempting to prove Sankarsana an ordinary living being, one may refer to Srimat Sudarsanacarya’s commentary on the Sri-bhasya, which is known as the Sruta-prakasika. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, 5.41 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]


Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Dear Harikatha Readers,
This year, the divine appearance day of Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja is January 27. Please accept this lecture he gave on his Appearance Day in 2004, in Hawaii:Listen]

It is the custom in our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya that any acarya who is widely spreading Krsna consciousness in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Gosvami under the guidance of Sri Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva will worship Srila Vyasadeva and the guru-parampara on his birthday. This worship is called Guru-puja and also Vyasa-puja.

We have seen how our Gurudeva and his god-brothers used to very humbly celebrate their Vyasa-puja. This occasion is not meant for taking puja, worship, from disciples. On his birthday the acarya worships his guru and guru-parampara – Srila Vyasadeva, Sri Krsna, Sriman Mahaprabhu, Srimati Radhika and others – in a mood of great respect. This is Guru-puja or Vyasa-puja.

Why do we offer devotion to Sri Krsna? What is the reason we pay so much respect to Sri Gurudeva? If we are gaining spiritual advancement from someone, we respect him. No gain, no respect. Sri Gurudeva always feels indebted to his Gurudeva and guru-parampara. Without Guru, guru-parampara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Krsna, what is there? Nothing. In other words, there can be no spiritual advancement.

Sri Guru considers that all his tattva-jnana (knowledge of established truths) and bhakti are due to his Sri Gurudeva and guru-parampara. Sri Guru is not independent. He is dependent on his guru-parampara coming from Srila Vyasadeva. Being a manifestation of Lord Narayana Himself, Srila Vyasadeva is the root of all Gurus, and he has written in his books – Srimad-Bhagavatam, Puranas and all others scriptures – about the great debt we owe to Lord Krsna.

Alone, a person is never able to search out a bona fide Guru. If you search on your own, you will accept a bogus guru because you don’t know who is Guru and what are his qualities and standards. You will have to judge by the words of Vyasadeva:

tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
brahmany upasamasrayam
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.3.21)

Srila Vyasadeva has given this definition of guru, and our guru-parampara has accepted it. If you are going to search out your Gurudeva independently, I think that most of you will have bogus gurus who are fallen. You will choose Australian kan-guroos – nothing more than that. When you will have the association of a high class devotee you will have power to judge – not before that.

You will also have to take the help of a vartma-pradarsaka-guru, he who shows the path to the pure guru. The vartma-pradarsaka-guru will point him out and tell you, “Oh, he is really guru.” Otherwise, how could you have known that Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja is guru? Could you have judged by your intelligence? No. On you own you are not even able to judge whether or not Sri Krsna is the Supreme Lord.

Even Lord Brahma and Lord Rudra are not able to judge. Muhyanti yat surayah – the great sages and demigods are bewildered about Him. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1]. Even liberated persons could not understand that the son of Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda-maiya is the Supreme Lord.

Gurudeva is very merciful. He will attract those who have sukrti (sufficient past spiritual pious merits) and he will reveal his purity in those devotees’ hearts.

Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was, in another form, the priest of the demigods named Brihaspati. We cannot imagine how learned he was, but still he could not understand that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Lord. When Sriman Mahaprabhu mercifully revealed that truth in his heart, then he understood. Otherwise, how would he have been able to know?

Today we are celebrating Guru-puja, because we are very indebted to our Gurudeva, the guru-parampara and Srila Vyasadeva. In India, all the various sampradayas – Vaisnava and Mayavadi as well – accept Sri Vyasa as Guru, and all worship him on the day of Guru-puja without hesitation.

We have heard from our Gurudeva that although Sankaracarya worshiped Vyasadeva externally, he also said that Vyasadeva was bhranta, meaning that he had spoken wrongly:

“In his Vedanta-sutra Srila Vyasadeva has described that everything is but a transformation of the energy of the Lord. Sankaracarya, however, has misled the world by commenting that Vyasadeva was mistaken. Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout the entire world.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 7.121)

Sankaracarya is therefore not really a sisya, disciple, and Srila Vyasadeva does not accept his so-called respect and puja.

We should try to know the heart of Gurudeva – what he really wants. Don’t cook as you wish. Don’t do anything as you like. This is not service to Gurudeva. We should try to know the mood of Gurudeva – what he wants and what Lord Krsna wants. Try to realize this and try to please Krsna. Whatever you do should be done to please Krsna.

Here, Sri Krsna means the whole guru-parampara, Krsna Himself, and especially Srimati Radhika and all the gopis, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Whatever you do should be done to please guru and Gauranga. You should only marry – to please Krsna. You should only not marry – to please Krsna. The gopis married their husbands to please Krsna. They thought, “We will serve Krsna in parikiya-rasa.” If they had married Krsna there would have been no parikiya-rasa.

We are very fortunate to have come to this guru-parampara line of Srila Vyasadeva, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and our Gurudeva. This line is perfect. In this line you can very easily have the topmost bhakti, Vraja-bhakti. You cannot have it anywhere else.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came to this world and to western countries only to deliver these truths, and they are present in his books for those qualified to see them. However, due to the fallen state of his audience he had to begin his preaching by cutting the jungles of Mayavada, sakhi-bheki, sahajiya and other philosophies – and then his period of stay in this world was over.

Lord Krsna called him: “Please return here. I am sending your successor to take your place.” So he left. He could have stayed here longer, but he saw the mood of his Gurudeva and Sri Krsna – and he went to fulfill their desires.

Sri Vyasa-puja is observed for the purpose of pleasing Krsna, and it has been celebrated since the very beginning of our parampara. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami first performed Vyasa-puja to his Gurudeva, Srila Vyasadeva himself. Then, Srila Suta Gosvami performed Guru-puja to his Gurudeva, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Just before replying the questions of the sages at Naimasaranya he prayed:

yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato ‘smi
(Srimad-Bhagavatan 1.2.2)

[“I offer pranama to Sri Sukadeva Gosvami, who can enter the hearts of all living beings. When he left home without undergoing the purificatory processes such as accepting the sacred thread, his father Sri Vyasadeva cried out, ‘O my son!’ As if they were absorbed in that same feeling of separation, only the trees echoed in response to his call.”]

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami prayed, “O Sri Vyasadeva, my father and Gurudeva, how marvelous you are! And how merciful! You are causelessly merciful! You dragged me from the forest and from Mayavada philosophy to your lotus feet, and you taught me Srimad-Bhagavatam. By your mercy I was totally changed.” This is the duty of a guru.

The bona fide Guru does not consider that his disciples are his property. He does not think, “They are my property.” Nowadays I see this going on. So-called gurus think that their disciples are their property; so they accept all their offerings and fall down. A real guru never thinks like that.

At the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu there was a meeting in the evening after nagara-sankirtana in the house of Srivasa Pandita. In the meeting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu announced, “Tomorrow is Vyasa-puja. Srivasa, we will observe Vyasa-puja here in your courtyard. Do you have the paraphernalia?”

Srivasa Thakura replied, “Oh, yes. I have sacred thread, betel nut, rice and all other required ingredients and paraphernalia.” Mahaprabhu ordered, “We should be ready at nine in the morning.”

All others came on time the next day, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself arrived somewhat late, and saw that all were waiting for Him. He asked, “Why are you waiting? Nityananda Prabhu is My guru – My guru-varga (senior). It seems that he is My elder brother, but I see him in relation to his Gurudeva, who is My param-gurudeva (grand spiritual master). Nityananda is My Gurudeva’s guru and is still greater; so He will perform Vyasa Puja.” [Nityananda Prabhu had taken diksa from Laksmipati Tirtha, the guru of Sri Madhavendra Puri, who was in turn the parama-guru of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Prabhu was actually Sri Madhavendra Puri’s god-brother, but He accepted him as His siksa-guru.]

Before Mahaprabhu’s arrival, Srivasa Thakura, Sri Advaita Acarya, and all others had requested Sri Nityananda Prabhu to perform Vyasa-puja. They had told Him, “Please begin.” Nityananda Prabhu replied, “Yes, yes, I am just about to do it. I will do it right now.” But He was not doing it. He simply remained in his seat. Then, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came He at once ordered Nityananda Prabhu, “Why are You delaying? You should begin Vyasa-puja.”

Nityananda Prabhu then took a very beautiful, fragrant garland and placed it around the neck of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, saying, “You are the same as Lord Krsna,” and then He began to perform the arati and worship of Mahaprabhu.

Sriman Mahaprabhu became ashamed, thinking, “Why is He doing this?” Nityananda Prabhu, who is Baladeva Prabhu Himself, possesses full knowledge of all tattva (established truths). In fact, His lotus feet stand on the head of all tattvas. He replied, “What I am doing is correct. We should try to please the worshipable Deity of Srila Vyasadeva – Rasamayi Sri Krsna, who is akhila-rasamitra-sindhu (an ocean of the nectar of pure transcendental mellows). This is Vyasa-puja.”

The history of Sri Vyasa-puja began at the beginning of the world, when the Vedas were first created. Vyasadeva divided Veda into four sections, and after that he further explained them in the form of the Puranas and the Upanisads. The Svetasvatara Upanisad states:

yasya deva para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

[“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”]

For those who have the supreme bhakti for the lotus feet of Parama-brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, and equal bhakti for the lotus feet of their Gurudeva (who reveals Lord Krsna to them), the essence and all meanings of the Vedas, along with bhakti, will manifest in their hearts.

You should not think of Gurudeva as if it is a fashion. In fact, you should have more faith in guru than in Krsna. Krsna will never cheat you, but even if He will cheat you, Sri Gurudeva will not cheat you. And you should not try to cheat Gurudeva by trying to hide the contents of your heart and thinking, “Oh, Gurudeva should not know.” He knows everything, so why attempt to cheat him?

At the time of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja there were practically no disciples advanced enough to understand what kind of faith one must have in the lotus feet of Gurudeva, nor were they able to understand his identity and mission. His disciples thought only that their Gurudeva had come to spread nama-sankirtana.

This is not his greatest glory. This is one aspect of his glory, but there is more. His real glory is that he is Dayita-dasa. Srimati Radhika is Dayita, Sri Krsna’s most beloved, and Her dasi is Sri Gurudeva. This is his supreme glory. You should realize who he is. If a person who claims to be guru is not actually that glorious, how can he give krsna-prema to the world? If he has no krsna-prema, not even a scent of krsna-prema, how can he give it? If he has no raganuga-bhakti, how can he give it? If he does not even have vaidhi-bhakti – like Prahlada Maharaja who performed sravanam-kirtanam visnu-smaranam (pure hearing, chanting and remembering the Supreme Lord) – how can he preach? Such so-called gurus are fallen, and other fallen persons will think, “Oh, my Gurudeva is very, very high.” But he is actually fallen like his disciple. So you must learn and realize how to discriminate.

In one of the Upanisads there is a history of a guru and his disciple Aruni. Aruni’s Gurudeva decided to test him, to see how surrendered he was to him. One dark night he told Aruni, “It is raining and night has fallen. Go at once to the field.” The field was some distance away and there was much rain and also severe cold, and Aruni had no umbrella or any other protection. Still, his Gurudeva ordered him, “Go to the field and collect water there for paddy. You must reinforce the dam so that the water will not go to the other fields.” His Gurudeva then gave him a spade.

Aruni then went to the field in the downpour and severe cold of the dark night. The water was not remaining in the field because the dam was broken, so Aruni took that spade and began to put some earth on the dam to hold the water. But he failed. Such heavy rain and strong current was coming that all the earth was being washed away. Thinking, “I have failed to do this task,” he could not return to Gurudeva. Rather, after some consideration, in order to check the water he laid his own body down beside the dam, and thus he succeeded in keeping some water in the field. The whole night his body was tortured by the water current.

In the morning, Gurudeva saw that Aruni had not returned. He asked, “Where is Aruni? I sent him to check the water, but he has still not returned.” He then went to the field and called out, “Aruni! Where are you? What are you doing?” Aruni answered in a weak voice, speaking like an almost dead person, “Oh Gurudeva, I am here.” Gurudeva then approached him, took his hands, and said, “Stand up.” He gave Aruni a blanket, embraced him, and said, “Oh, you have passed the examination. Now I bless you that all kinds of knowledge – everything that I have learned from the Vedas – shall manifest in your heart. You shall realize all this knowledge and you shall be like me.”

At once, without delay, in a moment, Gurudeva had performed a miracle! Aruni became knowledgeable, with realized knowledge, in all the Vedas. This was the examination of “cruel” Gurudeva, who was actually very soft.

In another Upanisad you can see the history of Upamanyu, who was a disciple of Dhaumya Rsi. Upamanyu came to his Gurudeva and prayed, “I want brahma-jnana (knowledge of spirit beyond matter) Please give me this.”

His Gurudeva replied, “Brahma-jnana is a very secret and powerful thing. You will have to stay in my gurukula for twenty-five years and graze the cows. After twenty-five years I will give you brahma-jnana if you are qualified.”

Upamanyu then began to graze the cows, and after six months to one year Dhaumya Rsi called him and asked, “Upamanyu, although I never give you anything to eat, you are very strong and healthy. What do you eat?”

He answered, “When the calves drink milk and some remnant is left, I take that.”

His Gurudeva ordered, “Oh, why you are doing that? You should not do that.”

But he did not tell him what to do. Upamanyu again went out with the cows, and after some days Dhaumya Rsi called him and asked, “Oh, you are still very strong and heavy-set. What you are eating? Are you drinking milk?”

“No, no.”

“Then what do you eat?”

“When the cows are resting they chew their cud. Some foam comes outside their mouths and I take that. There are hundreds of cows, so I am okay.”

“I have not given you permission to do this, so why you are doing it? You should not take that foam. They are my cows.”

Upamanyu again went out with the cows, and after some days he did not return with the cows in the evening, Dhaumya Rsi began searching for him. He called out, “Where is Upamanyu? Oh Upamanyu, what are you doing? Where are you?”

“Gurudeva, I’m in a well.”

“Why are you in a well?”

“Because you told me not to take the foam of the cows, so I took the juice from a plant, without understanding that the plant was poisonous, and I became blind. That is why I am here. I have fallen in the well.”

Gurudeva approached him, pulled him out, and told him, “First your eyesight shall be restored, and then all Vedic literature and brahma-jnana shall come to you. No need of waiting twenty-five years – you are qualified.”

Upamanyu is an example of guru-seva. If you will give your life, surrendering yourself like Upamanyu and Aruni, then you will receive brahma-jnana. But you will not get Vraja-bhakti; this type of prema is very high.

At the time of Sri Vyasa, Sri Krsna and Sri Baladeva went to the gurukula of Sandipani Muni. At that time Sudama Vipra from Dvaraka was also there. He was a brahmana and the same age as Krsna. One day the wife of their Gurudeva told Krsna and Sudama, “I have no wood for cooking and no wood for the fire sacrifice. Go to the forest and bring some wood.” They went, and while they were out in the forest a heavy rain came with severe cold and wind. There was so much rain that they could not see where to walk. Everywhere the fields were flooded. The boys had gathered some bundles of dry wood, and now they took shelter under a dense tree and stood there the entire night. At the same time, they were holding the wood on their heads so that the wood would not get wet. In the morning Sandipani Muni personally came out of his asrama, searching for his disciples and calling out, “Where are Sudama and Krsna?”

“We are here.”

“Why did you not return to the asrama?”

“Oh, there was such a flood.”

The two boys were trembling from the cold. Lord Krsna is the Supreme Lord, yet He was trembling and obeying His Gurudeva. When one will be submissive like this, bhakti will then manifest in his heart. Bhakti is not so easy.

I think you understand this. You will have to surrender like Krsna did. Then guru will be happy. He will give his blessings and benedict you with brahma-jnana and more than that.

Sandipani Muni embraced both boys and blessed them by saying, “You have come to me to learn all sixty-four arts and all Vedic knowledge. I bless you that everything shall come in your heart at once.” Krsna already had all knowledge, but not Sudama, so by serving his Gurudeva he received his blessings of Vedic knowledge and realization. You should try to be like that.

To be a disciple of a rupanuga Vaisnava is still far superior, and for that you will have to follow Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and Srila Jiva Gosvami. Still more sacrifice is required to achieve the type of bhakti they offer. When Srila Rupa Gosvami’s disciple, Srila Jiva Gosvami, corrected Vallabhacarya in order to defend the glory of his Gurudeva, Srila Rupa Gosvami told him, “You were disrespectful to a learned brahmana. He was only trying to help me by correcting my manuscript. You should return home.” Jiva Gosvami then went to Nanda Ghata, still in Vraja Mandala, where he stayed in a crocodile hole. He fasted there and was on the verge of starving, thinking, “If Gurudeva is not happy, I should give up my life.” He became so sick that it seemed there was no hope for him to remain alive.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami once passed through the area where he was staying, he saw his condition, and then went to Srila Rupa Gosvami and asked him, “What is your duty to the jiva?” Rupa Gosvami replied, “To help the jiva attain krsna-bhakti.”

“Then why have you rejected Jiva?” Rupa Gosvami began to weep. Sanatana Gosvami brought Jiva back and Rupa Gosvami gave him medical help and nursed him back to health. Jiva Gosvami fulfilled the desire of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

Another perfect example of guru-seva is Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu placed him in the hands of Sri Svarupa Damodara, and Raghunatha dasa served his guru with his heart. He did not just massage him; this external seva will not do so much. To massage the heart, to please Gurudeva – this is what is needed. How can we please Guru? How did Srila Rupa Gosvami please his Gurudeva, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? He knew His heart and he wrote Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Lalita Madhava, Vidagdha-madhava, and other books.

Mahaprabhu was extremely happy when Srila Rupa Gosvami wrote the verse,

yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate

[“That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 1.58)]

The nature of the pure Vaisnavas in our parampara is that when they sprinkle their mercy upon you, you will enter raganuga-bhakti. Under the guidance of Sri Rupa Gosvami you will serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, with a leaning towards Srimati Radhika. This truth is very, very secret, and I have brought you here to understand it. Your Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, wanted to give this, and it is explained in his books; but you were not mature enough at that time for him to discuss it openly in his classes. Therefore, following in the line of our acaryas and by his desire, I am revealing many things about raganuga-bhakti.

No one else is speaking like this. All are silent, but I am not silent. In our entire parampara hardly anyone will give this. I want you all to have raganuga-bhakti. To get it, however, you will have to surrender and really become like the devotees I have described today.

Don’t be like Ekalabhya. No true guru will name his disciple Ekalabhya. We have no connection with him. He was a demon, not a guru-bhakta. Dronacarya told him, “I will not teach you archery.” He replied, “I must learn from you.” He made a statue of Dronacarya and learned everything from him (in the form of that statue). When Dronacarya later on came to the forest and saw his skill, he was in wonder and asked him, “How have you learned this?” “Oh, without your mercy I could do nothing. I received your mercy by worshiping your deity, and in this way I have become very expert in archery.” Dronacarya was not pleased with Ekalabhya, who he knew wanted to fight with Sri Krsna Bhagavan and His associates like the Pandavas. He therefore asked him, “Where is your guru-daksina? I want your right hand thumb.” Ekalabhya then cut off his thumb and gave it to his guru, and later on, during the Battle of Kuruksetra, Krsna finished him by the use of His cakra.

We should not try to be like Ekalabhya. Someone may want bhakti so that by the power of bhakti he can destroy his enemy, but that is not good. What is the actual method to come to bhakti?

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniya sada harih

[“One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)]

This is the way by which we achieve bhakti. You will have to sacrifice and you will have to become saranagata, completely surrendered. Sri Krsna explained this in Bhagavad-gita. He played the part of guru and Arjuna played the part of the disciple. Because Krsna is guru, we must obey Him if we want krsna-prema. This prema is much higher than brahma-jnana.

Now I will worship my guru-parampara and offer puspanjali. Guru-parampara and Srila Vyasadeva are also here. I am very happy with the arrangements today.

Gaura Premanande

For the Disappearance Day of Srila Jiva Gosvami

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[This year, 2016, Srila Jiva Gosvami’s disappearance day is December 31. Below is a lecture Srila Gurudeva gave in the 1990s: Movie 1998]

Srila Jiva Gosvami’s father, Anupama, was the brother of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. His exalted father and uncles were employed by the Muslim ruler, Srila Sanatana Gosvami as prime minister, Srila Rupa Gosvami as the private secretary, and Anupama as treasurer. All three of them met Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He came to Ramakeli where they lived.

As the only son of the three brothers, Jiva received abundant affection. Srila Rupa Gosvami was always especially affectionate towards him and treated him as if he were his own son. When Jiva was still very young, Srila Rupa Gosvami took him to Mahaprabhu, who blessed him by placing His hand on his head.

During childhood, Jiva studied and soon learned all logic, Sanskrit grammar, and theistic philosophy from the books in his father’s home. Before Srila Rupa Gosvami and Anupama left household life to retire in Vrndavana, they divided all the family’s wealth and property, allocating sufficient funds for Jiva to continue his studies. All three brothers realized that he was the only son in their dynasty, so they nurtured him with great affection and ensured he had whatever material facility he required.

Jiva had a very soft nature, and as he grew, he gradually began worshipping Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Making garlands for Them and offering puja to Them, he would become immersed in meditation, preferring these activities to playing with other children. When he was about fourteen years old, he went to Navadvipa. By then, Mahaprabhu had returned to the spiritual world and all the devotees of Navadvipa had left and gone elsewhere. Because Navadvipa now brought them all great sadness, Srivasa Pandita, Advaita Acarya, and everyone else had left, and Navadvipa was deserted.

A few days before Jiva’s arrival, Nityananda Prabhu had arrived at Srivasangana from Khardaha. When Jiva Gosvami arrived, Nityananda Prabhu was very pleased to meet him. Nityananda prabhu placed His feet on Jiva’s head and said, “I came here just to meet with you; otherwise I would have stayed in Khardaha.” He showed Jiva all the places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Navadvipa, and then showed him great mercy by ordering him to go stay with Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami in Vrndavana.

On the way to Vrndavana, Jiva stopped in Varanasi, where he met a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya named Madhusudana Vacaspati who was teaching Vedanta, but not the commentary of Sankaracarya, which was famous at that time. Mahaprabhu had refuted that commentary when Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya tried to teach it to Him. Madhusudana Vacaspati was a great scholar and, having studied and understood everything which Mahaprabhu had taught to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, was teaching it there. Jiva Gosvami went to his home and learned all bhakti-vedanta from him. He also learned Sankaracarya’s commentary, because without learning it, he would have been unable to refute it. After studying all of this and fully understanding it, he proceeded to Vrndavana. There in Vrndavana, Sanatana Gosvami placed him in the care of Rupa Gosvami, and he stayed near Rupa Gosvami’s hut at the Radha-Damodara temple.

Rupa Gosvami would read everything he was writing to Jiva Gosvami. One day while they were in the midst of reading together, an effulgent, elderly brahmana arrived there. This was most likely, judging from his age and his scholarship, Sri Vallabhacarya, who knew Rupa Gosvami from the time Mahaprabhu was in Prayaga. He was approximately the same age as Advaita Acarya, so Rupa Gosvami would have been the appropriate age to have been his son. He asked, “Rupa, what are you writing these days?”

Hesitating a little, Srila Rupa Gosvami replied, “I am writing a book entitled Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.” Vallabhacarya then picked up the book and, turning the pages, said, “Very good, I will look through it and correct any errors.”

At that time Jiva Gosvami was fanning Rupa Gosvami with a leaf from the tala tree, but when he heard Vallabhacarya say this, he felt disturbed; according to him, his Gurudeva was being criticized. Later when he went to the river to fetch water, he met Vallabhacarya, who was just finishing his midday bath. Jiva Gosvami said, “Gosai, you said before that you would proofread the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which Rupa Gosvami is writing. If you have found any errors, precisely where are they?”

Vallabhacarya replied, “How can you understand, child? Have you studied Sanskrit grammar?”

“Yes, a little.”

“Then what could you possibly understand?”

“Still, please just show me any errors you have detected.” When Vallabhacarya showed him an apparent error, a fierce debate commenced between them. Eventually Jiva Gosvami established the point so convincingly that Vallabhacarya could neither refute it nor give any answer.

When Vallabhacarya returned to Rupa Gosvami’s hut, he asked, “Who was that boy who was fanning you? He is very intelligent and extremely learned in the scriptures.”

Very humbly and with folded hands Rupa Gosvami replied, “He is the son of my younger brother and is also my disciple. He does not know how to behave.”

“No, he is a genius, and in the future he will be very famous.”

Soon afterwards, Vallabhacarya left. When Jiva Gosvami arrived with the water, Srila Rupa Gosvami said to him, “You are so intolerant that you quarrel with an elderly, scholarly brahmana who kindly proofread something for my own good? Your behavior is unacceptable; leave now.”

Being obliged to obey his guru, Jiva Gosvami left Vrndavana. He went to the village of Bhayagaon to live in a cave infested with crocodiles. There, for some days, he remained in the cave doing bhajana and crying, feeling bereft of his guru’s affection. He stopped eating and taking water, and within a short time he became emaciated. After some time, Sanatana Gosvami happened to visit that village as he was wandering around Vraja. The local people said to him, “Baba, we always considered you to be a great bhajananandi (one who is absorbed in bhajana), but a young boy who is even more of a bhajananandi than you has come to our village. Day and night he calls out the names of Radha-Krsna and weeps. We take him food but he refuses it, and he never sleeps either. Day and night he remains immersed in bhajana; we have never seen anything like it.”

Srila Sanatana Gosvami could understand that this was Jiva, and immediately went to him. Reunited, they both wept. Sanatana Gosvami then took him back to Vrndavana, where he said to Rupa Gosvami, “The duty of Vaisnavas is to be compassionate to others, yet you renounced this young disciple of yours who is adorned with so many extraordinary qualities. You should be merciful to Jiva, but instead you banished him. This was a mistake and you should correct it. I am ordering you to quickly call him back.”

Hearing this, Rupa Gosvami began crying for Jiva, whom he loved so much. When Sanatana Gosvami brought Jiva there and placed him in the lap of Rupa Gosvami, both guru and disciple wept. Rupa Gosvami arranged for Jiva to be treated by the best doctors from Mathura, and gradually Jiva became strong again. From then on, their former practice resumed with Rupa Gosvami giving whatever he wrote to Jiva to proofread.

Later, Srila Jiva Gosvami expanded upon and enhanced the writing of other acaryas. One such acarya, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, had heard hari-katha directly from Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, who he considered to be his siksa-gurus. While studying the writings of ancient Vaisnava acaryas such as Madhva and Ramanuja, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami selected different points in relation to sambandha (establishing one’s relationship with Krsna), abhidheya (acting in the dealings of that relationship), and prayojana (achieving life’s ultimate goal), and compiled everything in a notebook.

Srila Jiva Gosvami learned all of this tattva from Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Then, he took the volume which contained all the information on sambandha and enlarged it. He also took from the conceptions given in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Brhad-bhagavatamrta, and the other books composed by Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, and composed the first sandarbha.

The word sandarbha means ‘a chest of valuable jewels.’ Of the Six Sandarbhas, the first four – Tattva-sandarbha, Bhagavat-sandarbha, Paramatma-sandarbha, and Krsna-sandarbha – all expound sambandha-jnana. They include knowledge of the jiva, the illusory energy, and the objective of the jiva; all of this was explained in the first four sandarbhas.

In the Tattva-sandarbha, the conception of pramana (the body of evidence) and prameya (evidence) is given. What is the meaning of pramana? In any issue, whose words will we accept as authoritative? Suppose a young boy reports that a large fire has ravaged a holy place and everything has been burned. An elderly gentleman, however, reports that a small fire started in a tea shop there, but was easily contained. From these conflicting stories, whose words will we accept as authoritative? Certainly, the man’s words are more authoritative because he is older and more mature than the boy.

This conception of pramana relates to many things. Different people may assert their beliefs that this world is real, their status as human beings or brahmanas is real, or that they are masters of their property. All this false identification and proprietorship causes so much fighting and quarreling. Another man will say, “These things are all temporary, so do not bother fighting over them. Instead, do something for your soul and for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; they are permanent.” Which of these two opinions will we accept? Analyzing the relationships between the Supreme Lord, the jiva, and material existence, Srila Jiva Gosvami explained where we should place our faith. He wrote that the Vedas are the sole authority, and that any other, so-called authority lacks credibility. That which we perceive with our limited senses and mind may be defective, but the words of the Vedas cannot be so.

In his Bhagavat-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Gosvami writes that everything we see has the same source. The Absolute Truth is one, and He is naturally endowed with inconceivable potency. By the power of this potency, He exists within four forms: svarupa (His original form), tad-rupa-vaibhava (all incarnations, beginning with Baladeva Prabhu), jiva (the living entity), and pradhana (the illusory energy). He is like the sun which also exists in four forms: its original form, the sun disc, its rays, and its reflected light which is compared to maya.

Jiva Gosvami took parts from Brahma-sandarbha and wrote his own Bhagavat-sandarbha, in which he analyzes brahma-tattva (the established truth about the Supreme Spirit Whole) and refutes the opinions of Sankaracarya. The jiva is not brahma (an impersonal God). If brahma is the Absolute Truth, which is full in knowledge as some say, then how did it separate into billions of living entities and become bound within material existence? Sankaracarya states that it was covered over by maya, but then where did this separate entity he calls maya come from? If there is no separate entity known as maya and all is the one brahma, where could this other object known as ignorance have come from? Refuting all of Sankaracarya’s concepts, Srila Jiva Gosvami proved that Krsna is Parabrahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of brahma.

He also analyzed paramatma-tattva, and in the Krsna-sandarbha he explained how Krsna alone is the original Personality of Godhead. He explained how Krsna is all-powerful (sarva-saktiman), how He is an ocean of rasa, how from Him the jivas and all else emerge, and how the jivas can achieve His eternal association. He refuted the concept that Krsna is an incarnation of Narayana. Using evidence from the Vedas, Upanisads, and Puranas, he established that Krsna is the original Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that all other incarnations are His plenary or partial expansions. On the basis of scriptural evidence, he reinforced Mahaprabhu’s conception, which had been established in the literatures of Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. In doing so, he established our sampradaya upon a firm philosophical foundation. He protected the flowing river of rasa by placing large rocks of siddhanta on both its banks; in that way no contaminated water of misconceptions could ever enter it.

In his Bhakti-sandarbha, he explained many subtle aspects of bhakti. He delineated the sixty-four types of bhakti, and he expertly explained guru-tattva. He also described guru-padasraya, the process of taking exclusive shelter of the guru, how it should be done, what are its rules and regulations, and so on. If the guru carefully evaluates the prospective disciple and the disciple carefully considers the guru, then a circumstance will never arise where the disciple will have to abandon his guru. He taught that one should not accept a guru whimsically; one should accept a guru in whom he will never lose faith, otherwise there will be a problem. One should make sure that he only accepts a sad-guru, who is detached from sense enjoyment, who is conversant with all tattva and siddhanta, who is rasika, who is spiritually realized, and who is affectionate towards him. One should examine the guru carefully, even if this process takes as long as a year,

Srila Jiva Gosvami also explained that all bhakti is not the same, just as all varieties of water are not one and the same – there is clean water, purified water, contaminated water, sewage water, and so forth. Jiva Gosvami examined all these issues in depth in his sandarbhas, which one must read in order to understand the true nature of bhakti. Thus, by regularly hearing the knowledge delineated in these books and by associating with advanced Vaisnavas, one’s bhakti will gradually become uttama-bhakti. Srila Jiva Gosvami described at length the five types of prema (santa (neutrality), dasya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental love), and madhurya (amorous love), especially emphasizing gopi-prema and explaining the sadhana for achieving it.

Much of this came in his Gopala-campu, which is a very philosophical book. Srila Jiva Gosvami wrote that book in Goloka Vrndavana and then gave it to this world. He composed so many literatures that we could spend this entire birth immersed in reading them. Moreover, in practicing the sadhana prescribed by them, who knows how many lives we could spend?

If we endeavor to enter into these books, and if we examine both the personal conduct and conceptions of Jiva Gosvami and try to personally follow them, our spiritual lives will certainly be successful. May Srila Jiva Gosvami be merciful upon us so we can learn all the instructions he gave, in order to perform bhajana purely.

The Appearance day festival of Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja

06 January 1994

The Appearance day festival of Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja

[The following transcription is a translation of Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja Srila Gurudeva’s hari-katha in Hindi.]

Srila Gurudeva: First of all, I offer my prostrated obeisance to my spiritual master, Paramaradhya Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I also offer my prostrated obeisance at the lotus feet of Guru-presta, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, whose appearance day we are honoring today. I also offer my obeisance to all the assembled Sannyasis, Vaisnavas, and Vaisnavis. I offer my obeisance to everyone. Today, we are celebrating the Vyasa-puja Mahotsava. What is a mahotsava? A mahotsava is a festival where everyone is so blissful. An ordinary person feels happy by eating and drinking. But, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas celebrate the festival of hari-katha. Now it has become late. All of you have been listening to hari-katha from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon.

Today, I feel very fortunate to have heard many wonderful explanations on Guru-tattva. I also heard many instructions and pastimes of Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. All of us took part in listening to the glories of Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. I am also very happy to see that all the Vaisnavas of the line of Srila Prabhupada i.e. the Saraswat Gaudiya Vaisnavas have assembled here and are taking part in this festival. After Prabhupada, many scholarly, most powerful disciples like Pujyapada Nemi Maharaja, Pujyapada Bon Maharaja, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, Pujyapada Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja, our Gurudeva—Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja, Pujyapada Yayavara Maharaja, Pujyapada Shrauti Maharaja, and Pujyapada Gosvami Maharaja, would assemble at hari-katha festivals. When they would assemble, we would sit in the corner of the assembly. Today, we consider ourselves very senior Vaisnavas. But if we look at these disciples of Srila Prabhupada, we will see how their transcendental qualities, Guru-nista, and divine preaching all over the world has made such a powerful impact on this world. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was also one such disciple. Just see the number of places he has preached in! He has preached all over the world. When I look at myself after seeing the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, I feel very sad.

pracenanaa bhajanamatulaa dunkaraacaevato me
nairyacyena jvalatihadayaa bhakti-lecalasasya
vinvadrecem agha-haratavakareyakarueya-vecem
aca-binduknitamidamupaityantare hanta caityam

[“I am too weak and too lazy to do even the smallest devotional service, so when I hear of the peerless and difficult-to-perform services performed by great devotees in ancient times, my heart burns with despair. O Lord! O killer of Aghäsura! When I hear that the waves of Your mercy splash everyone from the demigod Brahmä down to the most insignificant creature, my heart is sprinkled with a cooling drop of hope.”]

They were so qualified and where are we? But we are hopeful. All of you just heard Pujyapada Bhakti Prasad Puri Maharaja and others speak. We are hopeful that:

brahmanda tarite sakti dhare jane jane

[“Each and every one of the devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu can deliver the entire universe.”]

I also wanted to offer my puspanjali at the lotus feet of Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. But my flowers are not worthy of being called as a puspanjali. Yet, I want to speak some words. In the evening, there will be another assembly. I especially want to speak on the character and Guru-nista of Pujyapada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja. I will try to state some glories of Vamana Maharaja’s qualities because I have been under the shelter of the lotus feet of these personalities for more than fifty five years. When I came to the Matha, Vamana Maharaja was the first person to receive me. He saw me at the station and said, “Are you Tiwariji?” Finding me at the station, he brought me to the asrama. He would give me everything I needed. Except for Guru Maharaja, Vamana Maharaja, and Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja, there was no one else in the Matha. Vamana Maharaja joined the Matha when he was only eight years old. His mother was a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. She offered him at the lotus feet of her Gurudeva. Since then, he has been residing in the Matha. Guru Maharaja admitted Vamana Maharaja in the Thakura Bhaktivinoda institute. If Vamana Maharaja would remember one sloka, Guru Maharaja would give him a glass of lemon juice. Vamana Maharaja would remember more than ten slokas every day. He is a great Srutidhara. He would remember a sloka just by listening to it once. We try so hard to learn one sloka. Vamana Maharaja is the sabdha-kosa (an encyclopedia) of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. He knows and remembers so much! I think no one knows as much as him because I have not met with other Vaisnavas. But, I have the association of Vamana Maharaja. He remembers everything. He will recite all the slokas from the beginning to the end of Bhagavad Gita. He will not even stop for a moment. He knows all the slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam as well. The sutras of the Vedanta Sutra correspond to the slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

The sutra, “Athato brahma jijnasa,” corresponds to the sloka, “Janmadyasyayato ‘nvayaditaratas ca.” I have marked one very special quality of Srila Vamana Maharaja. If we do something even a little, then we will be quick to praise ourselves in one way or another. But, up until this day, I have never seen Vamana Maharaja praise himself in a direct or in an indirect manner. This is a very special quality. We praise ourselves in one form or another. But this quality is not found in Vamana Maharaja. His Guru-nista is of this caliber. When some problems came in the Gaudiya Matha, the Matha residents started returning to their homes. Court cases were filed in the Gaudiya Matha. At that time, Vamana Maharaja would cook while chanting harinama and he would take the Prasad to Guru Maharaja and all the devotees. He would also meet the lawyer at the same time. He did not have a minute to spare. If we were there during that time, then we would have returned to our homes. When Vamana Maharaja was studying at school, his name was Santosh. When he joined the Matha, Guru Maharaja named him as, “Sajjana-sevaka.”Sajjana-Sevaka would collect banana leaves and serve prasadam to all the Vaisnavas before going to school. He would arrange asans for all the Vaisnavas. He would serve banana leaves, salt, pieces of lemon, and water to all the Vaisnavas. After the Vaisnavas had finished honoring prasada, he would sweep and clean the floor. This was his service. He would do all the services. An express train doesn’t stop at any place; similarly, Vamana Maharaja would speak hari-katha from four in the afternoon to eleven in the night. We cannot speak for more than an hour. But, Vamana Maharaja explains one tattva after another in very simple language. His command of the Bengali language is brilliant. He explains many philosophical principles in a simple manner.

Vamana Maharaja defeats the false conceptions of others in a very unique manner. He doesn’t defeat a person’s arguments in a way that is apparent. We cannot understand how he does this. He corrects a person in a very polite, humble manner. He will completely break the person’s arguments; but the person will not realize that he has been soundly corrected. He does this in a very simple and perfect way. He is a very simple and tolerant person. He embodies all the qualities of a Vaisnava. Vamana Maharaja has four brothers. Druva was the eldest son after Vamana Maharaja. Nimai Pandit was the next brother. He used to work in a bank in Delhi. Subala and Nitai were the other brothers. All of them used to come and visit Vamana Maharaja. When Vamana Maharaja left home, they faced some problems. But, Vamana Maharaja did not have any mamata towards them. He treated them like ordinary people. Many devotees become subservient to their relatives. But Vamana Maharaja was not like this.

purvaitihasa, bhulinusakala, seva-sukhape’ye mane
ami to’ tomara, tumi to’ amara, kikajaaparadhane

–Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Atma Nivedana

[Since I have become absorbed in happily serving You, I have completely forgotten all my past history. All I know is that I am Yours, and You are mine. What else is of any value?]

He is always engaged in the service of Guru Maharaja. What is Guru-tattva? I remember so much about this topic. Tomorrow, I will speak on this subject during the morning. I wish to speak on Guru-tattva. What is Vyasa-puja? The day of the full moon during the month of Asada (June-July) is called Guru Purnima. This is the appearance day of Vyasadeva where everyone offers their puspanjali at his lotus feet. This is the general observance of this day. But a devotee who is the representative of Vyasa and who preaches Krsna’s glories everywhere is called an Acarya. When an Acarya worships his Gurudeva and the Guru Parampara on the day of his appearance, then that day is called Vyasa-puja. The Guru doesn’t accept the worship of his disciples. On his appearance day, a Guru or an Acarya worships his Gurudeva, Guru-parampara, Vaisnavas, Sri Radha-Krsna, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is called Vyasa-puja. You can see this in the Vyasa-puja of Nityananda Prabhu. We can also see this in the life of Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja. Not many years have passed since his disappearance. On his appearance day, Maharaja would honor all the Vaisnavas and Vrajavasis who came. He would apply tilak and garland them. He would give them clothes and worship them in all ways. He would also honor the disciples of his Godbrothers who were like his own disciples. He would garland us and honor us so much. He would worship the Guru-parampara. He would worship Radha-Krsna. If the Acaryas don’t show by their own example, then many people will think that Guru-puja means the day when the Guru is opulently worshiped by his disciples. This worship is not bona fide. Yes, the disciples should learn to worship their Gurudeva; this is imperative or else everything will be spoiled. The disciples should worship their Gurudeva. But if the Guru doesn’t worship his Gurudeva or the Guru-parampara, then how will the disciples ever learn to worship him?

Krsna has said in the Srimad Bhagavatham that “You must consider your Gurudeva to be My svarupa.”

acaryah mamvijaniyan
sarva-deva-mayo guru

–SrimadBhagavatham 11.17.27

[One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.]

Krsna is Himself saying this. In his commentary to this verse, Srila Jiva Gosvami has said that if this verse implies to a spiritual master of the karmis, who consider him to be Bhagavat-svarupa; then what to speak of the Suddha-Vaisnavas?

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

–Sri Gurvastakam 7

[All the scriptures proclaim Sri Gurudeva is saksathari, the direct potency of Sri Hari, and is thus considered by saintly authorities to be His non-different representative. Because Sri Gurudeva is so dear to the Lord, being His confidential servitor (acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa-vigraha, the inconceivable different and non-different worshipable manifestation of the Lord), I offer prayers unto his lotus feet.]

yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasya prasadan na gatih kuto’pi
dhyayam stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyah
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

–Sri Gurvastakam 8

[Only by the mercy of Sri Gurudeva can one receive the mercy of Krsna; without his grace the living entities cannot make any advancement nor be delivered. Meditating three times a day on the glories of Sri Gurudeva and reciting stava-stuti, I offer prayers unto his lotus feet.]

Gurudeva is asraya-vigraha. He is the servitor Personality of Godhead. The root of asraya-vigrahas are two-Baladeva Prabhu and Srimati Radhika. Both of them have expanded from Krsna. Srimati Radhika is Krsna’s hladini-sakti and Baladeva Prabhu is Krsna’s sandhini-sakti. Krsna is the predominating deity of cit-sakti. One line of devotion flows from Baladeva Prabhu and another line of devotion flows from Srimati Radhika. One who is under the guidance of Baladeva Prabhu and Srimati Radhika and who teaches other Their service is called an Acarya. Our brahmacari spoke very beautifully on this. A Guru who doesn’t teach his disciples on proper devotion is not a bona fide Guru. Our Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya has a specialty.

yayalibhir yuktir apeksaniya
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

–Sri Gurvastakam 6

[Sri Gurudeva is always present with the sakhis, planning the arrangements for the perfection of yugala-kisora’s amorous pastimes (rati-keli) within the kunjas of Vrndavana. Because he is so expert in making these tasteful arrangements for Their pleasure, he is very dear to Sri Radha and Krsna. I offer prayers unto the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva.]

In the other sampradayas, these pastimes of Sri Radha-Krsna are not served as much. The qualification of being a Guru largely rests on this quality.

mahaprabhoh kirtana-nrtya-gita-
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

–Sri Gurvastakam 7

[Sri Gurudeva is inspired by Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana and is always dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments. Because he is tasting Mahaprabhu’s prema-rasa in his heart, like a madman he sometimes exhibits ecstatic symptoms—his hairs stand on end, he shivers, and waves of tears flow from his eyes. I offer prayers unto Sri Gurudeva’s lotus feet.]

All these slokas tell us the qualities of a bona fide Guru. A Guru worships Thakuraji by himself. He does the arcana-pujana. And, he is also making arrangements for:


[Sri Gurudeva is always present with the sakhis, planning the arrangements for the perfection of yugala-kisora’s amorous pastimes (rati-keli) within the kunjas of Vrndavana.]

This is the quality of a Guru; this is his Gurutva. If a guru cannot give this siksa, then he cannot be called a Rupanuga Acarya. Who is a Rupanuga? We call our Guru-varga, “Rupanuga.” What is the meaning of Rupanuga? By the inspiration and mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami wrote Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-Nilamani, Lalita Madhava, Vidagdha Madhava, and many other books. One doesn’t become a Rupanuga by following Vraja-bhakti because he maybe a Raganuga as well. A devotee is following a Ragatmika associate of Krsna but this Ragatmika associate may belong to either dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhurya-rasa. But what is the specialty of being a Rupanuga? What was Rupa Gosvami’s identity in Krsna-lila? As an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he is Rupa Gosvami. As the associate of Sri Radha-Krsna, he is Srimati Rupa Manjari. What is Rupa Manjari’s seva? She is a prana-sakhi of Srimati Radhika; she is Her manjari. She serves the Divine Couple while being Radha-paksiya (having a strong inclination towards the service of SrimatiRadhika). She serves the Divine Couple, but where does Rupa Manjari’s tendency to serve lie in? She is always absorbed in the service of Srimati Radhika.

Krsna will call her or Srimati Radhika may also call her at the same time. But where will Rupa Manjari go? She will reject Krsna’s advances and go straight to Srimati Radhika. This is Rupa Manjari. If Krsna loses to Srimati Radhika, then the first sakhi who will clap her hands will be Rupa Manjari. And she also teases Krsna while engaging in the service of the Divine Couple. Therefore, Raghunatha das Gosvami has glorified Rupa Manjari by speaking this sloka:

tvam rupa-manjari sakhi prathita pure’smin
pumsah parasya vadanam na hi pasyasiti
bimbadhare ksatam anagata-bhartrkaya
yat te vayadhayi kim u tac chuka-pungavena

–Sri Vilapa Kusumanjali 1

[O dear friend Rupa Manjari, you are famous in Vraja as a very chaste girl. You never so much as look at the face of any other man. Your husband has been away at another village for the past few days, and yet your lips are freshly cut. Can it be that some excellent parrot has bitten them, having mistaken them for a bimba fruit?]

Who is a Rupanuga? A devotee who only follows the acara-vicara of Rupa Gosvami and who following his svarupagat-seva (the inherent service), gives this seed of the desire to serve in the hearts of his disciples, is a Rupanuga Vaisnava. Our sampradaya is the Rupanuga sampradaya. Narada Gosvami came and preached dasya-rasa in this world. Later, many Acaryas and the expansions of Krsna came as well. Yet, they could not give what Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave. What they gave is not even close to what Mahaprabhu gave. And, Caitanya Mahaprabhu inspired everything in the heart of Rupa Gosvami. Where did He do this? In Prayaga and Jagannatha Puri. Mahaprabhu inspired everything within Rupa Gosvami’s heart. A Guru who has these moods and who can give them to his disciple as well is a Rupanuga Gaudiya Vaisnava Acarya. Mahaprabhu is “Namomaha-vadanyaya,” but Srila Prabhupada said that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is also Namomaha-vadanyaya. Why? Bhaktivinoda Thakura distributed what Mahaprabhu came to give on a golden plate in a new manner. Therefore, Bhaktivinoda Thakura is maha-maha-vadanyaya. And what Srila Prabhupada do? He manifested the glories of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Also, he manifested the Guru-parampara that stems from Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu. Those, who manifested Srila Prabhupada to this world are very auspicious personalities. We are so inconceivably fortunate because we came near such associates of Srila Prabhupada. We are not far away from them. But, I am unfortunate to not have obtained their moods. But these Mahapurusas have these moods.

Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja is one such eternal associate of Srila Prabhupada. We are very fortunate to have the association of such Mahapurusas. If we can accept their teachings and gain entrance into the realm of devotion, then we will have realized our inconceivably great fortune. Today, I will stop here because time is over now. Offenses at the lotus feet of Vaisnavas should not be committed. All of you should be merciful to me.

Devotees: Haribol!

Srila Gurudeva: Now arati should be done.

[End of Part 1. To be continued in Part 2]

[Break of audio]

[The transcription of Part 2]

Srila Gurudeva: What is Vyasa-puja? A person who is the representative of Vyasadeva i.e. who follows the instructions of Bhagavat-katha, is an Acarya or a Guru. You must understand him to be Bhagavan’s svarupa. It is said:

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

–Sri Gurvastakam 7

[All the scriptures proclaim Sri Gurudeva is saksathari, the direct potency of Sri Hari, and is thus considered by saintly authorities to be His non-different representative. Because Sri Gurudeva is so dear to the Lord, being His confidential servitor (acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa-vigraha, the inconceivable different and non-different worshipable manifestation of the Lord), I offer prayers unto his lotus feet.]

The sastras state that a bona fide Guru should be seen as non-different from Krsna. Guru is very dear to Krsna. Hence, he is regarded as non-different from Krsna. Sankaraji is also considered non-different from Bhagavan because of this reason i.e. he is very dear to Bhagavan. In the tattva-sandharba and the bhakti-sandharba, Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained Guru-tattva. Firstly, he has described the characteristics of a bona fide Guru. Karmis, jnanis, yogis, and tapasvis have gurus. But, what are the qualities of a Guru? I had spoken something about this during the morning class.

Rupanugatva is Gurutva (the quality of being a guru is parallel to being a follower of Rupa Gosvami). If a madhyama-adhikari gives siksa and is a simple, non-duplicitous Vaisnava, then he is a guru. Even if he doesn’t have a clear understanding of the sastras there is no harm. He need only possess bhakti towards Bhagavan. A person maybe conversant with all the sastras; yet, if he doesn’t have realization of Krsna, then he is not a guru. A guru must have realization of Krsna. How can a person who doesn’t have Radha-Krsna in his heart, give Them to the hearts of his disciples? Therefore, the most prominent quality of a guru is that he has realization of Bhagavan. The knowledge of the sastras is a secondary quality. Many people have an inclination towards collecting knowledge of the scriptures. They don’t pay attention to realizing Krsna in their hearts. Therefore, the guru and the disciple don’t benefit themselves. Hence, the realization of Krsna is the most prominent quality of a guru. The specialty of our sampradaya is that a Guru is fully conversant with the teachings of Rupa Gosvami. Thus, being fully realized, such a Guru belongs to our sampradaya. A conditioned soul has lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride, and envy in his heart. Yet, the conditioned soul has not committed any dhama-aparadha or seva-aparadha. To dispel these anarthas, a special potency is needed. To accumulate this potency is very difficult.

In the Gita, it is said:

kama esa krodha esa
mahasano maha-papma
viddhy enam iha vairinam

–Bhagavad Gita 3.37

[This desire to enjoy sense objects, which indeed transforms into wrath, is born of passion. It is all-devouring and extremely formidable. Know it to be the primary enemy of the jivas in this world.]

Lust and anger destroy a person. You must rid yourself of these anarthas. But how can you rid yourself of anger? Firstly, the mind focuses itself on sense objects. Then the conditioned soul develops desires for sense-gratification. If the conditioned soul is unable to enjoy the sense objects, then the unfulfilled desires make way for anger. When there is anger, the conditioned soul’s intelligence becomes bewildered. The conditioned soul thinks, “What should I do? What should I not do?” Thus, the conditioned soul’s intelligence is destroyed. Therefore, you should not have any desires in the first place. So how can you not have any material desires? Why will you not have any material desires? The mind is meant to have material desires. Therefore, it is very difficult to rid yourself of these material desires. Hence, lust, anger, greed, and the other anarthas don’t leave the conditioned soul. How can they go away? Don’t let your mind wander towards any material desires. Therefore, it is forbidden to even look at sense objects. But this is also impossible. This is a very difficult solution; yet, it doesn’t guarantee freedom from these anarthas.

But, by serving one bona fide guru, all the aparadhas and anarthas like lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness, and envy will be dispelled. This will be achieved by serving one Guru. Thus, the Guru must be of this caliber.

guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,
ara na koriho mane asa

–Sri Guru-carana-padma 2

[Embrace within your heart the words emanating from Sri Gurudeva’s lotus mouth, desiring nothing else.]

What is the meaning of aikya? There are two meanings. You must consider the words and instructions of your Gurudeva to be everything. You must follow his every word. The other meaning is that you must reconcile the words of Sastra, Vaisnava, and Guru. Srila Narottama das Thakura has also said:

sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, hrdaye kariya aikya
satata bhasiba prema-majhe

–Sri Prema-bhakti-candrika by Srila Narottama das Thakura

[Making the words of the saints, the scriptures, and çré guru one with my heart, I will float forever in divine love.]

Therefore, you must reconcile their words. You will have to consider the words of Sastras, Vaisnavas, and Guru to be one. If there is any difference between their words, then you must consider the two sources that correspond to each other. And then, you must deeply consider. If Sastras, Vaisnavas, and Guru have the same understanding, then it is all right. There is no room for doubt then. But if the words of Sastras and Guru are different, then there is something wrong. It may be that the words have a specific meaning. There is difficulty in understanding. For instance, the assertions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada may be different. The conclusion of Bhaktivinoda Thakura is always right. Then does that mean that the words of Srila Prabhupada are wrong? Never. He is also an eternal associate of Sri Radha-Krsna. Therefore, what he says is always in the line of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. But we may be unable to reconcile. Srila Prabhupada is the Guru of the entire world. He is steeped in the conclusions of the purports of the sastras; he is a realized soul. Whatever he says is entirely correct. Therefore, in the light of his explanation of the sastras and of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s conclusions, although there may be some apparent difference—still whatever he says is correct.

krsneti yasya giri tam manasadriyeta
diksasti cet pranatibhis ca bhajantam isam
susrusaya bhajana-vijnam ananyam anya-

–Nectar of Instruction 5

[One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Krsna, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that Pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others.]

In his purport to this verse, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has stated that even if a person has chanted the holy name just once; yet, you must offer your obeisance to him. If he is initiated, you must offer your obeisance by your body and mind. And if a devotee is chanting the holy name continuously and never criticizes anyone, and is absorbed in serving the eight fold pastimes of Sri Radha-Krsna, then you should be ready to give your life to him and considering him to be your dear most friend of the heart, you must serve him. The sloka is one, but Srila Prabhupada gave a slightly different explanation.

He said, “If a person chants the pure holy name even once, then you must offer your obeisance to such an exalted personality by your body and mind.”

When these statements of our Acaryas were being considered, some devotees said, “What Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said is correct.”

And our Gurudeva said, “Who taught us who Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is? Did you know who Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is by yourself? Srila Prabhupada told us who he is. He is also Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s direct disciple. He has propagated his conceptions everywhere. Whatever he has heard, he has heard from him. So, he is only speaking what Bhaktivinoda Thakura has spoken. Therefore, what he has said is correct also.”

In the end, everyone agreed to what our Gurudeva said. Therefore, apparent differences must be careful deliberated on. So, Guru’s seva must be done with intimacy, visrambha guru-seva. To render intimate service, we must also ascend to that same stage where Gurudeva is. To worship Bhagavan, you must become like Him. Therefore, to render service to Guru, you must properly understand Guru’s conceptions. You must understand his desires. Just as you should not worship demigods independently; similarly, you cannot render service to Guru without understanding his conceptions. If you render intimate service to Guru, then he will be pleased and you will cross over this material existence. In the morning, some devotees spoke on how some wish to cross over this material existence to attain liberation, Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, or something else. Some do sadhana-bhajana for the anugatya, the guidance of Krsna’s friends like Subala or Sridhama. Some do sadhana-bhajana for the anugatya, the guidance of Krsna’s parents i.e. Nanda-Yasoda. Some also do sadhana-bhajana for the guidance of the sakhis. And what does our Guruvarga say?

They do sadhana-bhajana for the attainment of the service of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s foot dust. There is no higher attainment than this. What did Srila Prabhupada write?

adadanas trnam dantair idam yace punah punah
srimad rupa-padambhoja-dhulh syam janma-janmani

–Taking grass between my teeth, I pray repeatedly that I may become a speck of dust at Sri Rupa Goswami’s lotus feet, birth after birth. (Raghunath Das Goswami, Muktacarita.)

To aspire for the service of Sri Radha-Krsna is the highest and most beautiful desire of every soul. It is not possible for a higher desire than this to exist. When Srila Prabhupada came in this Guru-parampara, many of his eternal associates also came with him. In a very short time, they preached Mahaprabhu’s mission all over the world. Among them, Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja is his foremost disciple. This is his identity. Many people are identified according to the families they belong to; they are also identified when their parents are identified.

Srila Vamana Maharaja’s mother was the disciple of Srila Prabhupada. His mother’s name was Bhagavati Devi. Has anyone seen her?

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: I did.

Srila Gurudeva: Where did you see her?

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: At Guru Maharaja’s math in Navadvipa.

Srila Gurudeva: So, Bhagavati Devi was Srila Prabhupada’s disciple. And who was Srila Vamana Maharaja’s father?

Devotees: Satish Candra.

Srila Gurudeva: He was a disciple of our Guru Maharaja. Except for Vamana Maharaja’s mother, all his family members were the disciples of our Guru Maharajaji. His mother was one of the first disciples of Srila Prabhupada. She offered Vamana Maharaja to our Guru Maharaja’s lotus feet when Vamana Maharaja was still a little boy. Guru Maharaja was a fatherly figure to Maharaja and looked after him in every way. And who cared like a mother?

Devotees: Narahari Prabhu.

Srila Gurudeva: He was the mother of the Gaudiya Math. He would even clean everyone’s stool. During the night arati, he would gather all the children. There was no electricity then. If he saw some children sleeping then he would gently awaken them and bring them to arati. He would teach them, feed them, and care for them in all ways. There were many devotees then. These children loved him because he loved them more than any of their family members or friends did. Hence, a Guru must be loving and affectionate like Narahari Prabhu. Then he can attract everyone to him.

So, Vamana Maharaja’s childhood name was Santosh. This was his identity then. But what is our real, topmost identity? Our identity is that we belong to one of Jagat-Guru Srila Prabhupada’s foremost disciples—Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. This is our identity in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. But another identity remains. This is our gross identity. If Guru Maharaja gives us our internal identity, then we will know our eternal identity. According to worldly vision, Vamana Maharaja belonged to one village of Bengal. But since his childhood, he has remained in the Gaudiya Math. Guru Maharaja admitted Vamana Maharaja in the Thakura Bhaktivinoda Institute. Staying in the asrama, he would study there. He had many classmates. But none of them..

[Break of audio]

Vamana Maharaja was a vidya-anuragi. He was a great vidya-anuragi. I related his glories in regard to his seva. He would distribute leaf-plates, salt, and water to everyone. He would then clean the place. This was his first service. In the Vaisnava Mathas, cutting vegetables is a very prominent service. He would cut vegetables and cook very swiftly. None could be compared to him. He would look another way and cut vegetables; such was his expertise. He would cut vegetables in one size. None would be big or small. While serving Guru Maharaja, he got a fever of 104 degrees. During that time many Vaisnavas from the other Mathas came to the Matha. And there was no one else left to cook other than Vamana Maharaja.

At that time, Guru Maharaja told Vamana Maharaja, “Are you sleeping? Do you have fever? Arise immediately and cook for everyone.”

Vamana Maharaja immediately got up and started to cook for everyone despite having a fever of 104 degrees. He did all the services. Guru Maharaja told him, “Now that you have performed all the services, you should go back to sleep.” Can anyone do like him? Can anyone cook and do all services while having a fever of 104 degrees? You cannot do or think about anything when you are sick. He did seva like this. When there was a flood in Mayapura…I heard this from Vamana Maharaja. We used to stay together during Guruji’s manifest presence. We used to also preach together. Even if no one would go along with Guru Maharaja, Vamana Maharaja and me would go along with him. Another person would also accompany us. Along with our Guru Maharaja, the three of us would go to Medinipura, 24 parganas, and to many other places. So, we had the opportunity to know many things.

Once, a flood came to Mayapura. He was swept away by the flood. Some villagers are expert boatmen; so was Vamana Maharaja. When he started to row a boat, a swift current came and carried Vamana Maharaja along. Now, Vamana Maharaja was in a dangerous position. Meanwhile, he found a tree. He caught hold of the tree and tied the boat to it. But, he saw a hissing snake above. He had no other place left to go. He took shelter of the tree while being surrounded by water from all four sides. And if the snake fell from top, then it would only make the situation worse.

Vamana Maharaja told me, “Chanting Bhagavan’s names, I caught hold of the tree for the entire night. After some time, people understood my position and rescued me.”

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: He was alone?

Srila Gurudeva: He was alone. He found shelter on some branches of the tree. He stood on one leg. Even when I came, I would stand on one leg and travel for many miles on the Calcutta carrier. There was nothing else then. We did not know what a thick dhoti was in the Matha back then. We were so renounced. Today’s devotees cannot even imagine how renounced we were. We were doing big, big jobs but after coming in the Matha, we practiced renunciation. Day and night, we were engaged in many services. Vamana Maharaja didn’t have a moment to spare. All the Matha’s responsibilities are on him. He would look after the Matha especially when Guru Maharaja would go preaching.

Later, he became the in charge of the press in Chuncura. The monthly journal, Gaudiya Patrika started sometime after I joined the Matha. Nrsingha Maharaja was the uncle of Vamana Maharaja; he was his father’s elder brother. He was a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and he took sannyasa from Sridhara Maharaja. He never left our Gurudeva. Although Narottama Prabhu and all the others left our Gurudeva, Nrsingha Maharaja said, “If I will stay then I will stay with the lion. I will not stay with goats.”

When the Bhaktivinoda Institute opened, Guru Maharaja made some changes. He told us, “In other schools, Sunday is a holiday. But I said, ‘In our school Sunday will not be a holiday. The day of Ekadasi will be a holiday.’ So, the government opposed this. They said, ‘Sunday will remain as a holiday.’ But I was determined. This is the parampara of our Sanatana-Bharatvarsa i.e. the culture of India. Hence, is this the culture of India or the foreigners? Rather than having a holiday on Sunday, we will have a holiday on Thursday, the day of Brhaspati or on Ekadasi.”

Guru Maharaja wanted the students to be first in all subject matters. In other places, the subject of dharma is optional. No one cares for dharma in these places. Guru Maharaja said, “This will be the rule in our school. If one fails in dharma then even though he has passed in all the other subjects, he will be considered a failure.” And Guru Maharaja implemented this. In the end, the Muslims and other persons wrote to the government saying, “Our son has passed in all the subjects but he has failed in the subject of dharma. So he is considered a failure.” So, this case went to the High court. But in the end, our Guru Maharaja won the case. In this way, Guru Maharaja had special conceptions. Therefore, whoever studied in the Thakura Bhaktivinoda Institute became great devotees. Although many became householders; still, they were followers of dharma.

As I mentioned earlier, Vamana Maharaja came to the Matha at a very young age. He came during the time of Srila Prabhupada. He even came before Sridhara Maharaja. Sridhara Maharaja joined the Matha in 1930. Vamana Maharaja joined earlier. And I came in 1946. So there is a difference of more than sixteen years. Vamana Maharaja came sixteen years earlier than me. And, he has been serving Guru Maharaja since. He has been listening to him since 1930. Therefore, many great devotees came after him. He took harinama from Srila Prabhupada. When there was some dissension, he had to leave the Matha. When he was told to take harinama again, he did not. Guru Maharaja then gave him initiation. After taking sannyasa, Guru Maharaja established the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti in Kolkata and has always kept him close. He then gave Maharaja initiation and sannyasa as well. In 1952, the sannyasa ceremony of Pujyapada Vamana Maharaja, Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja, and mine took place. The three of us took sannyasa at the same time. Before taking sannyasa the three of us told Guru Maharaja, “We are not qualified for taking sannyasa. We will not take sannyasa.” Trivikrama Maharaja was the eldest of us. Trivikrama Maharaja was more than thirty five years old and Vamana Maharaja was thirty three years old. And I was a couple of years younger than Vamana Maharaja.

When Trivikrama Maharaja was asked, he said, “Guru Maharaja I will not take sannyasa.”


“Srila Prabhupada was such a renowned and learned scholar. So are Nemi Maharaja, Shrauti Maharaja, and you. All these personalities are so exalted. They are most worshipable to me. So, I will not take sannyasa.”

When Vamana Maharaja was asked, he replied, “Then I will also not take sannyasa.”

When Guru Maharaja asked me, I also said, “I will not take sannyasa.”

All three of us refused to take sannyasa. Then Nrsingha Maharaja asked me, “You will not take sannyasa?”



“I am not qualified.”

“Who will judge your qualification? Your Gurudeva or your own self? Are you taking sannyasa for your own self or for the service of Gurudeva? Do you want to act according to the wishes of your Gurudeva or according to the wishes of your own self? Then why didn’t you remain at home?” asked Nrsingha Maharaja. He was a great logician.

His words entered my mind and I said, “All right. I will take sannyasa no matter what will happen. If Gurudeva wants to give me sannyasa, then I accept. If he wants to give me red cloth, I accept. I will do whatever Gurudeva tells me to do. I will not act according to my desires.”

When Vamana Maharaja and Trivikrama Maharaja were asked again, they refused again. Then Guru Maharaja told them, “All right. Gaura-Narayana will take sannyasa alone. No one else will take sannyasa.”

When all the preparations for the ceremony were made, Vamana Maharaja and Trivikrama Maharaja said, “Gaura-Narayana is taking sannyasa according to the desire of Gurudeva. He is acting completely according to the desires of Gurudeva without judging about one’s qualification. So, we will also take sannyasa.”

Hence, they also agreed. In this way, the three of us were the first sannyasa disciples of Guru Maharaja as well. Really, I see that the two were qualified for taking sannyasa. Nowadays, I see that the qualification for taking sannyasa has been lowered. Those, who don’t have any knowledge of the Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy, and who don’t know the purports of the Srimad Bhagavatham, are taking sannyasa. But, how qualified were Vamana Maharaja and Trivikrama Maharaja. The only qualification one should have while taking sannyasa is, “I only want to serve my Guru Maharaja.” This is the only qualification needed. Vamana Maharaja served Guru Maharaja since the beginning of his life, and his service is most inspiring. Guru Maharaja would give the dictation for the Gaudiya Patrika and for his books just once and Vamana Maharaja would do everything. He would single handedly look after the Gaudiya Patrika. Guru Maharaja would dictate an essay and Vamana Maharaja would compile all the references. At that time, there were no cassette recorders. But, Vamana Maharaja would listen to every word and compile the essay of Guru Maharaja.

Vamana Maharaja was a very shy personality. He was of “Kanya-rashi.” He was very shy. He will not speak to anyone. Some people say, “Vamana Maharaja doesn’t speak to guests.” But this is not true; people don’t understand. He is of a very shy nature. He speaks only a few words. But he does speak and preach. Earlier, he would give hari-katha. I saw this during my own time.

Guru Maharaja would say, “Vamana Maharaja, speak hari-katha.”

When he would not speak, then Guru Maharaja would tell me to speak. I didn’t know Bengali, yet I would speak Bengali couplets in a broken manner. And, I would also do a little kirtan. If Guru Maharaja would become immersed in bhava, then he would tell me to sing. And I was not shy. I would stand and speak regardless of knowing anything or not. Therefore, Guru Maharaja would tell me to speak. When we were preaching in one place, Guru Maharaja told Vamana Maharaja, “You should speak hari-katha.” And Vamana Maharaja felt he was in a great dilemma.

He thought, “How can I speak?”

He then beautifully recited the slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam and read the translation. He was of a very shy nature. Guru Maharaja thought, “How can I make him ready?” Vamana Maharaja was the in charge and publisher of the Gaudiya Patrika. One day, Guru Maharaja told him, “You should go preaching. Take Vrndavana das along with you as well.” Vamana Maharaja became very sad.

He thought, “Guru Maharaja is making me leave the Chuncura Matha. What should I do now?

He was very sad. When he returned from his preaching, he was completely changed. Now, he no longer remained in the press. After his preaching service, he made a vow and said, “I will no longer engage in press seva even if I am forced to.” This came to pass and Vamana Maharaja no longer actively participated in the press seva. He now went to preach everywhere and he would speak hari-katha for many hours.

Maharaja would sometimes go somewhere without telling anyone. No one knew where he went. His one specialty is that he will not tell anyone what he is going to do or where he is going to go. He will not tell anyone. On one night, he left Chuncura and caught a train from Kolkata to a place called Jayanagar. He got down and travelled by foot as there was no other way. He had to walk for four miles. It was night and it was 11 o’clock. The road was dilapidated. When he reached one place, he saw that at 11 o’ clock in the night, a festival was taking place on the banks of a river. A marriage ceremony was taking place. Puris were being made and everyone was dancing and making merry. Meanwhile, the father of the bride offered his obeisance to Vamana Maharaja and said, “Maharajaji, please bless my daughter and then leave.” At that time, he was still a brahmacari. He was also very thin. Now he has become broad. He would tell this to the children.

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: He told it to us as well.

Srila Gurudeva: He was an expert in telling stories to children. He told the children, “When I came there, the marriage party approached me and told me to bless the bride. They surrounded me on all four sides.”

Vamana Maharaja thought, “What should I do? I am also a little scared. This is supposed to be a joyous marriage ceremony.”

After a while, he started chanting harinama. If he had listened to the requests of the marriage party then it would have been very difficult for him to have escaped with his life. He started chanting harinama and left the place. No one disturbed him anymore. He started to chant loudly. When he reached the temple, Pishima (an affectionate Bengali term for a mother) asked him, “Baba, where were you?”

Upon hearing Vamana Maharaja’s encounter, she said, “There are only ghosts in that place.”

“Ghosts? A marriage ceremony was taking place there. How can ghosts possibly be there?”

“It was not a marriage ceremony! There were only ghosts there,” said Pishima.

Vamana Maharaja thought, “Oh Baba! I shall not return to that place.”

Vamana Maharaja would speak to the children this way. When Guru Maharaja would speak, Vamana Maharaja would swiftly take down the dictation. One month has thirty days. On one such month, forty religious assemblies were organized. Whenever Guru Maharaja would speak, Vamana Maharaja would quickly write down anything and everything would be published. When Guru Maharaja left the Gaudiya Mission, he established the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti at Boshapada Lane in Kolkata. Vamana Maharaja was also there. He would cook and distribute prasad to all the assembled Vaisnavas. At that time, Sridhara Maharaja, Nrsingha Maharaja, Svami Maharaja, and Santa Maharaja was also there. The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was established there.

After proofreading a script, a correction takes place. On that day of the press seva in the Chuncura Matha, there was no one to do the correction. So, Vamana Maharaja ran the machine and obtained the proof. After correcting it, he started the press and started putting the paper in. Meanwhile, his hand was caught in the machine and his hand became completely bloodied. His fingers were also cut. Guru Maharaja was in his room and when he heard what happened, he started crying. Guru Maharaja immediately took Vamana Maharaja to Kolkata. Taking him there, he admitted him in a medical college for some days. After slowly recovering, Vamana Maharaja was discharged. Guru Maharaja was crying for him. Guru Maharaja was of a very grave nature; we would never see him cry. But I was there that day in the Matha. Guru Maharaja and me had gone preaching and we had just returned. Even when I was with Ananga Mohan Prabhu at Siddhabadi, Guru Maharaja would always weep for him. When Ananga Mohan Prabhu became sick, Guru Maharaja left all his services and took Ananga Mohan with him to Shimla. He had him admitted in a hospital there.

The foremost quality of Vamana Maharaja is his shyness. He never praises himself. He is always grave. His power of remembrance is astonishing. He is a brilliant speaker and writer. He has written Guru Maharaja’s biography and many other books. He has also published many books. He doesn’t have a tinge of arrogance. Also, he never speaks of his magnanimity. This is his special quality. If we give one paisa to anyone, we will be quick to tell everyone. But no one knows what Vamana Maharaja gives to another. He will give to another person very silently. No one knows what he gave or how much he gave. Vamana Maharaja gave one disciple of Kolkata everything. He had much faith in him. But this disciple returned home. No one knows how much he took along with him. People only speculate on how much he took. He is probably the brother of Kamalini. After Guru Maharaja’s disappearance, I was collecting donations when I was at Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. I didn’t have any money and I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t know any of the residents of Mathura. So what could I do since I had already started preaching? When Vamana Maharaja found out, he gave me five thousand rupees without telling anyone. From that money, I slowly started the preaching mission in Mathura. I don’t know what Vamana Maharaja has given to many people because he receives donations as well. He doesn’t tell anyone what he gives to others. He gives silently—charity must be of this nature. Your other hand should not know the donation you have given from your hand. And, he is also of a “gopana” nature. This is his expertise. No one can predict his actions. This quality is very necessary for an Acarya. His love and affection for disciples is unequalled. He even speaks to disciples who have just started to tread the path of Krsna consciousness. Hence, every disciple thinks, “Guru Maharaja likes me the most.” We don’t know how to love devotees as much as he does. But Maharaja knows how to love everyone. He is also very renounced. He embodies all the qualities of a Vaisnava.

The most important quality of a Vaisnava is that he is completely realized in Vaisnava philosophy. Vamana Maharaja knows everything. And, he will not speak in a place where I am present. Isn’t it? He will refuse to speak.

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: When Guru Maharaja came to speak, he immediately asked for another asana for you. He said he would leave if another asana wasn’t given.

Srila Gurudeva: He will not speak when I am there. He will say, “You should speak. You should speak.” As the audience looked on, we would spend five minutes trying to have each other speak. And, he will not say anything even if I made a mistake. Once, when we were in the Syamasundara temple, I said, “Baladeva Vidyabhusana has made this temple.” But, Syamananda Prabhuji had made the temple. After some days, Vamana Maharaja told me, “Syamananda Prabhu made this temple and not Baladeva Vidyabhusana.” He didn’t say directly. So, he is like this wherever I am. Even now, he will always tell me to speak. If there is something to be written, he will say, “You should write.” Giving respect to others is a very prominent quality of Vaisnavas.

So, today is his appearance day and not his birthday. He is not directly present here—but he is present here. How is he present? Where does Bhagavan reside? Where his glories are spoken. So, he is present here in one way or another. Hence, may he shower his mercy on all of you. And may all of you accept his blessings. If you can really do bhajan and render service to Guru and Vaisnavas, then you have really offered puspanjali at his lotus feet. And if you don’t follow his principles and conduct then no matter how many times you offer puspanjali at his lotus feet—you have not offered any puspanjali at all.

Therefore, all of you must try hard to do sadhana-bhajana. You must try to imbibe his qualities and conceptions. You should try to chant harinama. You must become lower than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree, then you can offer puspanjali at his lotus feet. We pray at his lotus feet that we may obtain the Guru-bhakti, Guru-nista, and Bhagavad-bhakti that he has. We pray that we can have nista towards the lotus feet of Guru like he does and that we may also engage in Guruseva like him. I will stop for today and we will deliberate on Vamana Maharaja’s glories on another occasion. I will stop for today.

vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

[“I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desire of everyone. They are oceans of mercy and are the purifiers of the fallen souls.”]

Mahamantra should be sung.

This year, Dec. 22, 2016, is the disappearance day of our beloved Srila Gurudeva

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Dear Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
This year, Dec. 22, 2016, is the disappearance day of our beloved Srila Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. What a compassionate acarya he is. He trained us in the mood of separation from the Lord by first having it for Gurdueva. In the excerpts from the following 7th verse from Vilap-kusumanjali (spoken in 1991 in Vrndavana/Mathura) he shares with us the secrets of that topic: (Listen)]

Text Seven

aty-utkatena nitaram virahanalena
dandahyamana-hrdaya kila kapi dasi
ha svamini ksanam iha pranayena gadham
akrandhanena vidhura vilapami padyaih


O Svamini, my mistress, Radhe! The heart of this maidservant constantly burns in a great fire of separation from You. Being thus afflicted and crying out with great love, I lament in the following verses.


The purpose of reading and uttering the prayers of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is to develop some samskara, impressions, on the heart.  My Guru Maharaja, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, told us to only sing the songs composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Premananda dasa Thakura, Sri Govinda dasa, and other siddha-mahapurusas – perfected, great personalities in our guru-parampara. If we sing the kirtanas of such devotees who are empowered and advanced in bhakti, something of their bhava will certainly enter our hearts.

Guru Maharaja told us a story about Sripad Narahari Prabhu, a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Narahari Prabhu was not very learned, but he was a very sincere devotee and such a good servant of Srila Prabhupada that all the sannyasis and more learned devotees would bow down at his lotus feet. Even my Guru Maharaja and Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja paid respects to him. He was always chanting, never sleeping, and he would always perform any seva at any time.

Narahari Prabhu was ‘the mother of Gaudiya Matha.’ He would take the young boys on his lap, give them milk, put them to sleep, and do everything required to look after them. In the night he would take a hurricane lamp to attend the younger boys, and if one of them had passed urine, he would clean their bedding. He would give them medicines and do whatever else was needed, and everyone considered him to be like Florence Nightingale. [Florence Nightingale was a famous nurse who tended wounded soldiers, often checking on them throughout the night with a lamp in hand.]  They also addressed him as Narahari Da, meaning dada, or elder brother.

Narahari Prabhu once became so ill and unable to digest anything that he was about to die. Our Guru Maharaja, who was known as Sri Vinoda Brahmacari at that time, took him to East Bengal, near his own ancestral home, to meet a very famous ayurvedic doctor. After examining him, the doctor said, “If you had not reached here today, he may have died within two or three days. Somehow God has sent you to me. First I want to give him one spoonful of ghee daily.”

Guru Maharaja said, “He will die at once if he takes ghee. He cannot digest even water, what to speak of other things.”

“I know that he will not die,” the doctor explained. “His stomach requires ghee. I will give him ghee, knowing that it will pass through him, but some coating will remain in his stomach. I will give him one spoonful each morning and evening. This will be his treatment.” After fifteen days they obtained a good result, and in one month he was cured.

Similarly, in our present condition we have no bhakti at all, and we cannot understand or ‘digest’ the confidential topics discussed by our acaryas. Yet, when we sing their songs, something will certainly come – a coating – and that will do. It will give a good result. It will give samskara, and we will try increasingly to develop greed. We therefore practice uttering our acaryas’ prayers and songs, and always with great honor and care.

* * * * *
Separation from Guru

Although our Gurudeva has also entered his aprakata-lila, we remain in this world in a very pleasant manner. On special days, like his avirbhava (appearance day) and tirobhava (disappearance day), the occasion comes that we may remember him. At that time, however, we are involved in arranging the festival, and there is very little chance to realize our separation from him.  A tear may come to our eye while we are speaking something about him; but it may not come. If the festival is very elaborate, there will be no tears.  There is so much to manage, such as the abhiseka, guru-puja, and distribution of maha-prasadam to Vaisnavas, and consequently there is no time to remember him and weep.  For the most part we hold these festivals for the general people who have no intimate relation with him, but on that day we should do something so that a feeling of separation will come within our own heart. That is called bhajana.

Special persons, who have realized their immense obligation and indebtedness to Gurudeva for all they have received from him, and who have rendered abundant service to him with visrambha-bhava, a mood of intimacy, will feel separation. They will weep. Such devotees will not consider, “I am so low and my Gurudeva is in such a high stage.” Awe and reverence will not preside; otherwise one cannot weep.

Sastra enjoins, visrambhena guroh seva – the sevaka should perform such intimate service to Gurudeva that Gurudeva is always pleased with him. The guru will not consider even for a moment that, “He is my servant and disciple.” Instead he will feel, “He is my near and dear. He is my heart.” Sri Isvara Puripada, the disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri, and Govinda, the disciple of Sri Isvara Puri, were servants of this caliber. Although such a relationship with Sri guru is very rare, it is absolutely necessary for raganuga-bhakti. Without a relationship like this, we cannot weep like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

When we consider how merciful Gurudeva was and how much greater he is than ourselves, we feel a certain type of sentiment. However, when we remember how near and dear he was and how much he loved us, then we will weep profusely for him.

Yasoda Ma can weep more than Nanda Baba, but the gopis can weep even more than YaSoda; their relationship with Krsna is more intimate. We require this kind of keen relationship with Sri Krsna, Srimati Radhika, and also with our Gurudeva, Sri Rupa-manjari, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all others like them. Then we can weep for their mercy.

If we have yet to develop an intimate service relationship with our Gurudeva, then surely we cannot imagine our relationship with Sri Rupa-manjari or Srimati Radhika and Krsna. Our entire advancement depends upon on how intensely we serve our Gurudeva; all other relationships and experiences develop on that platform. If we can weep for Gurudeva, we can weep for Srimati Radhika. If we cannot weep for our Gurudeva, we cannot weep for Her. That is my experience. Whatever we know, we know from Gurudeva, and therefore we must weep in our hearts for him.

In the first verse of Vilapa-kusumanjali, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prayed to Sri Rupa-manjari.

tvam rupa-manjari sakhi prathita pure ‘smin
pumsah parasya vadanam na hi pasyasiti
bimbadhare ksatam anagata-bhartrkaya
yat te vyadhayi kim u tac chuka-puìgavena

My dear friend Rupa-manjari, you are well known in Vraja for your chastity, and you don’t even look at the faces of other men. It is therefore surprising that although your husband is not at home, your lips, which are as beautiful as red bimba fruits, have been bitten. Has this perhaps been done by the best of parrots?

Was Raghunatha dasa Gosvami weeping or laughing? It may seem that he wrote this verse in a laughing, pleasant mood, but actually, while remembering a previous pastime, he was weeping for the lotus feet of Sri Rupa-manjari. “You were so merciful to me. I remember seeing your mood after Krsna kissed you and left a mark on your lips. When will I see you in that condition again?” In the second verse, beginning, “Sthala-kamalini yuktam garvita,” he again offered pranama and wept, “Will I see this again?” These first two verses are very important.

Now, in this seventh verse he cries, “Ha svamini ksanam iha pranayena gadham – if even for a moment I can realize this, I will weep constantly.”

How should we weep? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has expressed this in the sixth verse of Sri Siksastakam:

nayanam galad-asru-dharaya, vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada, tava nama-grahane bhavisyati

O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy names?

Although kim, meaning ‘when?,’ is not present in this verse, we should have this mood: “When will I feel so much lamentation that I will weep while chanting the names Hare Krsna, Radha-Govinda, or Vrndavanesvari?” Weeping is our dharma, the essence of our religious principles.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says, “Aty-utkatena nitaram virahanalena – my heart is burning in the great fire of separation.” He sincerely feels this sentiment; and by his grace, and also by the grace of our Gurudeva and guru-parampara, we will also realize something of this one day. This is our real prayer. When we pray and sing that sixth verse of Sri SiksasTakam, this will be our mood: “Tava nama-grahane kim bhavisyati – when, by hearing, chanting harinama, and remembering, will I weep for You?” Those who are very fortunate can lament, weep, and realize the heart of this author.