Remembering an exalted servant of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
The Departure of Param Bhagavat
Sripad Saurindranath Bhakti Varidhi Mahoday
Translated from the Bengali article
published in Sri Gaudiya Darsan,
Volume 13, Issue 1, Sunday, 24 August 1969.
There is a village named Madla not far from Bogra. In this village is the opulent home of the renowned and powerful landholder Yogendranath Sarkar Mahoday. Yogendra Babu himself was a very clever and forceful administrator. He twice fought in lawsuits that went up to the Privy Council (Supreme Court of Great Britain) between a landholder in Bogra and Sri Mohamed Ali, the former chief minister of Pakistan [Bangladesh]. Once, he also invited the Bahadur governor of Bengal at that time to his home and honourably hosted him.
Sri Saurindranath Sarkar was the eldest son of Yogendra Babu. After finishing his higher education, Sri Saurindranath Babu passed an English M.A. examination with honours and then successfully passed a law examination. He started practising law in the high court as an assistant to the widely renowned Kolkata High Court advocate Sri Atul Gupta Mahasay. Later, at the wish of his venerable father and out of necessity for the maintenance his estate, Saurindranath Babu began to plead in the Bogra district court, and by doing so he was able to acquire abundant fame and wealth. Later, at a mature age, even after Pakistan [Bangladesh] was established, while he was doing praiseworthy work as a public prosecutor, he would come to stay in Sri Dham Nabadwip, being desirous of sincere spiritual life.
About thirty-five or thirty-six years earlier, Sri Saurindranath Sarkar Mahoday became extremely grief-stricken and confounded by the death of his only daughter. He suddenly pulled his extremely busy life to a halt and went out on a pilgrimage. At this time it so happened that he started to visit the Delhi Gaudiya Math, and after he came there, he became attracted upon seeing a resemblance between his dead daughter and the Deity of Srimati Radharani in the Math. Although he showed some eagerness for spiritual discussion with the residents of the Math, as an expert advocate with a modern education and educated mind, he was unable to give up the illusion that so-called service to humanity is the highest good, and he would bewilder the residents of the Math with arguments.
It so happened that Jagad-guru Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad was at that time staying in Mathura at a famous place known as Sivalaya near Dampier Park. When he was informed by letter of the above mentioned events by the caretaker of the Delhi Math, Srila Prabhupad sent my Guru-pada-padma Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, who was expert in the conclusions of all the scriptures, to the Delhi Math to attract Sriyukta Saurin Babu to the proper conception of devotion. There, for a few days, my Guru-pada-padma elaborately discussed the supremacy of the conception of pure devotion with the renowned advocate. As a result, Saurin Babu realised the insubstantiality of so-called service to humanity and attained a clear conception of the supremacy of service to the Lord, and, above all, service to Krishna under the guidance of Sriman Mahaprabhu. He immediately went to Sri Mathura Dham, met Srila Prabhupad, and became completed satisfied upon hearing the divine message pouring from Srila Prabhupad’s holy mouth. He and his wife then surrendered themselves at Srila Prabhupad’s feet and were blessed to receive Sri Hari-nam initiation.
After returning to his residence in Bogra, desiring good fortune for all souls, he became intensely eager to spread the speciality of Sri Gaudiya Math‘s preaching—the message of Sri Chaitanya as propagated by Srila Prabhupad—and he courageously endeavoured to do this. Gradually, he invited qualified preachers to his home and set a great example by spending and endeavouring extensively to spread the unparalleled teachings of Sri Gaudiya Math amongst the educated section of society.
Attracted by his efforts to preach and serve, Srila Prabhupad set foot in his house in Bogra as he was returning from Darjeeling in the company of his associates (with the German scholar Sadananda Brahmachari and other exalted associates). The grand reception and procession that Saurindranath Bhakti Varidhi Mahoday organised with the cooperation of the Bogra Bar association for Srila Prabhupad was envied even by many famous political leaders.
From the time of Srila Prabhupad’s manifest Pastimes, Saurindranath Bhakti Varidhi was attracted to the special quality of the deeply insightful Hari-katha spoken by my Sri Guru-pada-padma, and he had deep faith in my Sri Guru-pada-padma. After Srila Prabhupad’s disappearance, when Srila Guru Maharaj established Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Kolerganj within Gupta Govardhan in the southern part of the town in Sri Dham Nabadwip and separately dedicated himself to a life of service through preaching and other devotional activities, Saurindranath Prabhu also engaged in devotional practice as his follower, eager to be near Srila Guru Maharaj; in many ways Saurindranath Prabhu assisted with various services for Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in the company of the Math’s servitors.
On the day of worship of the holy appearance of our Sri Guru-pada-padma, he would come unfailingly every year (whatever his health condition was) and personally feel great satisfaction in worshipping our Acharya as a nondifferent form of Srila Prabhupad. Furthermore, by teaching with his hands and his pen fallen souls like me how to worship Sri Guru, and inspiring us in our service, he would bless us with eternal good fortune. In particular, he would again and again take care to make me appreciate the qualification and special characteristics of he whom Srila Prabhupad on the eve of his disappearance, personally summoned and requested to sing Sri-Rupa-manjari-pada, he from whom Srila Prabhupad heard Narottam Thakur’s bhajan which illuminates the highest development of divine service. It is our great fortune that we were blessed to get the association of this great soul Saurindranath Bhakti Varidhi.
Unfailingly every year, and with intense devotion, he would organise in allegiance with Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math a grand festival commemorating the disappearance of Srila Saraswati Thakur in the Sri Saraswat Kutir at his house. At this function, he would invite and gather distinguished, honourable, educated, and qualified people, recount for everyone the Hari-katha spoken by Srila Prabhupad’s worshippable associates and the glories of Srila Prabhupad, and by distributing to everyone, invited and uninvited, the four types of Bhagavad-prasad—those that can be chewed, sucked, licked, and drunk—he would ensure everyone attained good fortune.
By attaining one drop of the firm constancy for endeavouring to serve Sri Gaura Krishna under the guidance of Srila Prabhupad and His associate—the Acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math—that was observed in his life and up until his last moment, even a fallen soul like myself could become qualified for eternal good fortune and be supremely blessed.
On Varuthini Ekadasi, the day of the last vernal equinox, this great soul deprived souls like myself of an intimate friend and departed to lovingly serve Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundar in his own plane, that of pure divine service.
According to his desire, on the eleventh day after his departure, his last rights were performed for his spiritual satisfaction at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math with decorum and dignity. Many renowned tridandi sannyasis and pure devotees attended this observance and perfectly performed the functions of worship, recitation, chanting, lecturing, praising this exalted Vaisnava soul [Saurindranath Bhakti Varidhi], conducting a fire sacrifice, and distributing mahaprasad. Lastly, everyone in attendance was offered wonderful mahaprasad.
Many of his family members, personal companions, and friends came to the Math on this occasion and were satisfied with mahaprasad. When they took leave to depart, singing his glories, his disappearance festival was complete.
All of Srila Prabhupad associates, one by one, are taking leave from this mortal world and depriving the earth of its jewels. Without this great soul, the Gaudiya sampradaya and the servitors of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math are feeling an irreparable loss for which there is no solace. But what can done? Svatantra Krishnera ichchha ha-ila sanga-bhanga: such association has been lost by the independent will of Lord Krishna.