A speech ten days after the disappearance of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

The following is an English translation of Srila Govinda Maharaj’s Bengali speech at the midday festival held on 22 August 1988.

devam divya-tanum suchanda-vadanam balarka-chelanchitam
sandrananda-puram sad-eka-varanam vairagya-vidyambudhim
sri-siddhanta-nidhim subhakti-lasitam sarasvatanam varam
vande tam subhadam mad-eka-saranam nyasisvaram sridharam

vanchha-kalpa-tarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

Today Parampujyapad Srila Puri Maharaj, Parampujyapad Srila Madhusudan Maharaj, and devotees from various Maths have mercifully assembled here. I always strongly feel the attraction that you all have to my Guru-pada-padma. In the presence of Guru Maharaj, there were no differences. He greatly respected everyone he met in Srila Prabhupad’s society. By his grace, everyone, from insects to the mahabhagavata paramahamsa Vaisnavas, came to see him. I saw this, and I had the chance to associate with everyone who came.

I was with Srila Guru Maharaj twenty-four hours a day. I spent forty-two years of my life in the Math with him, and I went through all sorts of ups and downs. … I have never seen anywhere the way that he mercifully bound me to him and gave me the chance to associate with the Vaisnavas.

With regard to his mercy, I recall a verse. This verse should not be spoken from my mouth, but no more appropriate expression comes to mind. So, I will quote the verse. Please excuse me.

vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
krpambudhir yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami
(Vilapa-kusumanjali: 6)

[“I take shelter of Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu. He is an ocean of mercy and sorrowful to see the sorrow of others. Although I was blind and unwilling, he carefully forced me to drink the nectar of renounced devotion.”]

You all know this verse. Raghunath Das Goswami wrote this verse about Sanatan Goswami Prabhu, and by his mercy we have received it.

vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham

Here Raghunath Das Goswami says, “I have drunk nectar”, yet I certainly have not. I have no qualification to drink the nectar of renounced devotion, so I will not say that I have. Yet through a verse of Guru Maharaj I have received hope. Thus, I cannot deny that something has come into my heart. … If I deny that I have received from him a connection with something substantial, then I will be in great denial. Srila Kaviraj Goswami said,

apana-hridaya-kaja kahite vasiye laja
tabu kahi laja-bija khana
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 2.44)

[“I am ashamed to express my heart’s feelings. Still, having indulged My shame, I shall speak.”]

I am ashamed to recite Raghunath Das Goswami’s verse because I have no qualification to do so. I am one hundred percent sure of this. Actually, I am two hundred per cent sure. Still, I need to say something, and if I do not speak from my heart, what shall I say? … I feel that the way my Gurudev forcefully kept me at his feet and continues to do so even to this day is truly divine mercy. If you examine me, you will be sure that you are seeing an example of Guru Maharaj’s mercy.

vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham

[“He carefully forced me to drink nectar though I was blind and unwilling.”]

I did not want to serve; I did not want to drink the nectar of renounced devotion. He, however, vowed to make me drink it; he vowed to give me this nectar though I would not drink it. … He is far more powerful than I am. I am a great offender and very unqualified. He forcefully kept with him a person like me from the time I was young, and still today he pulls me along with him. This is an example of the greatest mercy.

I consider myself greatly fortunate because he engaged me in learning things which were beyond my imagination. I have never understood the Lord’s service. I have never desired to serve the Lord. I have never properly understood the meaning of serving the Lord. The only thing I have understood is that Maharaj’s unconditional mercy attracts and keeps me at his feet. From time to time I feel the magnetism of his mercy playing within me, and I become astonished.

You all know the verse he wrote at the end of his book Prapanna-jivanamrta in which he explains why he wrote Prapanna-jivanamrta:

sri-srimad-bhagavat-padambuja-madhu-svadotsavaih sat-padair
niksipta madhu-bindavas cha parito bhrasta mukhad gunjitaih
yatnaih kinchid ihahrtam nija-para-sreyo ’rthina tan maya
bhuyo-bhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam: 10.14)

[“Drops of nectar have fallen from the mouths of the bees immersed in the festival of relishing the nectar of the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet and scattered all around. Here, I have carefully gathered some of those drops for my own supreme benefit, and in this way I worship again and again the dust of their feet.”]

Our Raghunath Das Goswami wrote vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnair. Consider also the central idea by which Guru Maharaj manifested the nectar of devotion in this world.

sri-srimad-bhagavat-padambuja-madhu-svadotsavaih sat-padair
niksipta madhu-bindavas cha

Drinking the honey of the Lord’s lotus feet, the Lord’s devotees—the mahabhagavatas, the Lord’s associates—become intoxicated. They enthusiastically sing in an intoxicated mood and continue to drink the honey. If one drinks while talking, liquid spills from one’s mouth. If one speaks loudly, spit comes out from one’s mouth. Thus, as the devotees, intoxicated by their devotion, sing and drink the honey from the Lord’s lotus feet, drops of the honey scatter in all directions.

yatnaih kinchid ihahritam nija-para-sreyo ’rthina tan maya

“I have gathered drops of honey that have fallen from their mouths and compiled them in this book. Why? ‘For my benefit.’ ‘For the benefit of others.’ ‘For my  supreme benefit.’ Various meanings may be applied here.

bhuyo-bhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje

“If I have any obligation, it is to the lotus feet of the Lord’s devotees, and thus I offer my obeisance hundreds and hundreds, thousands and thousands, of times to them.”

This is the idea behind Guru Maharaj’s book, and you all know that he has distributed this honey to the world.

We have seen that Guru Maharaj has an amazing character. People young and old would come to visit him, to offer their respect to him, to express their love for him, and to receive his love. We have also seen that many of his godbrothers came here not only to receive his love but to find peace within their hearts.

Yesterday, perhaps you remember, I said that Parampujyapad Madhav Maharaj would come here, speak with Guru Maharaj, take prasadam, and then lie on a torn mattress in Guru Maharaj’s room. Once, I saw this and said to him, “Maharaj, what are you doing? Please get up. Guru Maharaj told you to lie on his bed. Please lie there. Guru Maharaj will lie on a bed outside.” Madhav Maharaj always appeared effulgent. He shined with a divine aura like that of the Lord’s as he rested. He replied, “Hey! Stop! I was resting peacefully, and now you are disturbing me. You cannot conceive of peace greater than the peace I feel when I rest here on this torn mattress without a pillow.”

All of Guru Maharaj‘s godbrothers felt love like this for Guru Maharaj in their hearts. I saw so many examples of this. I have heard Guru Maharaj‘s glory from Parampujyapad Madhusudan Maharaj many times. I myself know nothing. Whatever little I know is filled with offence.

eka-bara krsna-name yata papa hare
patakira sadhya nahi tata papa kare

[“A sinner cannot commit more sin than once chanting Krishna‘s Name can remove.”]

We are chanting Krishna’s Name. Day and night we are chanting, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna”. Where is the effect? Do we see any result? We don’t. Why? The burden of our offences is increasing. The worst offence is sadhu-ninda, criticism of devotees.

satam ninda namnah paramam aparadham vitanute
(Padma-purana)

[“Criticising devotees is the greatest offence to the Holy Name.”]

Disobeying Sri Guru and criticising sadhus are the worst offences. If we make such offences twenty-four hours a day, how will we speak Hari-katha? We have not understood true devotion to the Lord. We have not properly understood the true nature of Sri Guru.

Yet we are fortunate and should consider ourselves fortunate. Why? Guru Maharaj’s godbrothers have mercifully come here and from their mouths we have heard Guru Maharaj’s glory. This fulfils our hearts. Alone we cannot see him. Even though we always stay within him, we are like bedbugs and lice. Lice live on a man’s head, and bedbugs live in a man’s bed, but do they associate with him?  … Actual association means understanding his nature and our relationship with him. This is only possible through the telescopic system. We cannot understand him otherwise. If we want to see stars in the sky, how shall we see them? We cannot see them with our open eyes. … We feel extremely fortunate that we have heard Guru Maharaj’s glories from his godbrothers.

In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta (Antya-lila, 11.97), Sriman Mahaprabhu described the importance of a Vaisnava’s presence in this world.

haridasa achhila prthivira ‘siromani’
taha vina ratna-sunya ha-ila medini

“Haridas Thakur was the crown jewel of this world and without him the world is ‘jewel-less’. There are many jewels in the world, but a jewel like him will not appear again.”

Mahaprabhu Himself mourned in this way.

I have no qualification to speak such great words with my small mouth. I simply desire to remember these things in the company of you all. May Mahaprabhu bestow His mercy so that by the mercy of you all my Guru-pada-padma will always stay with me and shower his mercy upon me. I pray to you all that you will appeal on my behalf to Guru Maharaj, “You left without your boy! Please look after him.” What more can I say?

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern representative of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both definitive and progressive, his exemplary life, practice, and teachings brilliantly illuminate the path of divine love. For more information on Srila Govinda Maharaj, please visit his biography page.

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