All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
“The Softness of Vrindavan Within — the Hardness of a Devastator Without”
Article compiled by Jagamohini Devi Dasi
The Divine Advent Day of
He of divine form came forth from the birthplace of the golden lotus — the ocean of the mellow of divine consorthood. His large, merciful eyes dispel the suffering souls’ fear and proclaim the surrendered souls’ victory. His tongue constantly vibrates the whole earth planet with Sri Krishna-sankirttan, his beauty resplendent in the robes of the sun’s saffron radiance that purifies the universe and dispels the suffering of material existence. On his Holy Day of Advent, I, again and again, bow down unto that beloved associate of Sri Vrsabhanunandini, and the servitors of his lotus feet.
Once when someone asked why there is so much suffering in this world His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur answered: “The Supreme Lord is saying, ‘I have arranged so much misery, so much pain, so much trouble and danger, not to make you suffer, but to teach you that all this misery is unnecessary; so you will search for the happiness that is eternally desirable, the joy that is eternally adorable.’ ”
Filled with a deep sense of urgency and with an immeasurable compassion, Srila Saraswati Thakur preached and spread the divine teachings of Mahaprabhu for the benefit of the suffering souls. His conviction was so strong, so uncompromising, that he stated, “If fire burns the whole world, do not waste time trying to put it out. All necessities can be met only by serving Krishna.”
To spread Mahaprabhu’s sublime gift and to fight against the spread of a devouring impersonal philosophy, Srila Saraswati Thakur established sixty-four Gaudiya Maths in the 1930’s. It was his firm belief that people in general will be struck with wonder when they seriously make a study of Lord Chaitanya’s golden gift.
He published many transcendental books and said, “Just as the great external mansion, the Gaudiya Math, has been built, similarly, to establish internal Hari-bhajan in this world quite a few books have to be written and published. The temple which is built within the books and the temple which is within the devotees are more important than the temple built with bricks and stones, because by constructing those temples, Hari-katha can be preached in this world much longer. Now we have only procured a seat (for Hari-katha). We have built a castle to preach about the Lord by spending someone’s entire savings of a lifetime. But we have to protect ourselves in this castle from the association of materialistic people; we have to defend ourselves from the confusion of the age of kali. So we have to publish and distribute many more books. Only if we can construct the temple in the form of books and in the form of ideal lives can the idea of devotional service remain permanently in this world.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was known to utilise everything in the service of the Lord and the Vaisnava. He did not reject modern technology but used whatever came his way in his preaching mission. Whatever was necessary for higher service was embraced. He would say, pujala raga patha Haurava bhange, matala Harijanavisaya range. From a distance we will give our respects. Not that we shall try to bring the higher plane down, but worship from a little distance by constant serving mood.
The devotees surrendered in pure devotion are eternally protected at his lotus feet. He is worshipped by the pure souls endowed with sincerity and good fortune, and he accepts even those who obstruct the service of Sri Hari, just to rectify them. As the very fountainhead of mercy upon all mobile and immobile beings, he crushes the inauspiciousness of the whole universe. On his Holy Day of Advent, I, again and again, bow down unto that beloved associate of Sri Vrsabhanunandini, and the servitors of his lotus feet.
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said that, “Although outwardly he was like a lion, inwardly he was very, very sweet — yet it could be traced only in his internal sweetness. Outwardly, the way of love was worshiped by him with grandeur, awe and reverence, but his object was the simple and beautiful Divine Love of Vrindavan, and his temperament in establishing that in the world was just like a lion’s. After his departure I described his life in one sloka:
With his first step, he cut to pieces the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he crushed the speculation of scholars of salvation and liberation. With his third, he softened vaidhi bhakti with a touch of Divine Love (raga marga). Taking us beyond Vaikuntha, he has introduced us to the highest worship of Sri Radha and Sri Govinda.
“With the softenss of Vrindavan within, and the hardness of a devastator without, he created havoc in the world — fighting with one and all. Singlehandedly fighting against the whole world — cutting everything to pieces — that was his external attitude. And his second attitude was to stop the boasting research of the scholars and doctors of different schools of thought; and third, to minimize and slacken the grandeur of the worship of Narayan, and establish the service of Radha-Govinda as the highest attainment. He caused the domain of love to descend into this plane, with the service of Radha-Govinda, establishing the flow of divine love from the heart as all in all.
“That was his history — the real existence of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad. May his divine teachings, bhaktisiddhanta-vani, dance eternally within the core of our hearts.”
Like a miracle, his body moves with a joyful elegance and charm beyond the world’s understanding, fulfilling the artist’s aspiration. (Or, dancing in Pastimes transcendental to the world, his artistic form incites Divine Love’s hankering). His intellect surpasses that of even the demigods, and he is nobility incarnate as the commander-in-chief of the Vaisnava sannyasis (tridandi-yatis). The sadhus of profound intellect describe the nature of his personality as meticulously in the line of Sri Sanatan, Sri Rupa, and Sri Raghunath, and they speak of him as being on the same plane as Sri Jivapada (being superbly replete in perfect theistic conclusions). On his Holy Day of Advent, I, again and again, bow down unto that beloved associate of Sri Vrsabhanunandini, and the servitors of his lotus feet.
“In the beginning, his followers were astounded by the depth and intensity of his devotion. His lectures were so philosophically deep that afterward a few of his intimate disciples would have to explain to the audience what they had just heard. Sometimes, pounding his fist upon a table and raving about the Krishna conception of divinity his face would blush like a red lotus (kuvalaya).” (From Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur: The Life and Precepts of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.)
His Divine Grace was renowned for his acute intellect. He met with scholars, educators and leaders. He wrote more than 108 essays and books in which he presented Bhakti as a theistic science. In his deep humility, he saw everything through the eyes of a pure servant. He said, “Those of the jnana-marga wish for being one with God; but we do not cherish any such wrong desire. Our hope is to become the carriers of foot-wear for servants of Hari unlike those who adopt jnana. We do not claim to possess learning nor intelligence; we mind only the truth received from the lotus feet of Sri Gurudev in the capacity of his servants. We do not lay down any new proposition. We say only what we have got to say in favour of the realisation of that one Truth.”
Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj wrote in beautiful poetic verse that Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, “is the illustrious personality to raise the flag that sings the glory of Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatan and Sri Raghunath. His glory is sung throughout the world as non-different from the powerful personality of brilliant erudition, Sri Jiva.”
On the bank of Sri Radha Kunda at Svananda Sukhada Kunja, he is devoted to the service of his Beloved, and he is greatly endeared to the divine damsels of Vraja headed by Lalita. He is most favourite to Kamala-manjari who is pre-eminent in Vrndavan, and with the glorious qualities of Gunamanjari he builds the residence of Sri Hari. On his Holy Day of Advent, I, again and again, bow down unto that beloved associate of Sri Vrsabhanunandini, and the servitors of his lotus feet.
Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur reminds the searching souls, “The living entity is constitutionally a servitor of the Supreme Lord, but if we do not always associate with the Lord and His devotees and serve them, then how can we feel close to the Lord? If we are busy with worldly matter then how can we hear the Lord?”
Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj notes, “During the time of my Guru Maharaj’s preaching, one newspaper in Calcutta complained, ‘Gaudiya Math is spreading slave mentality to the country — this is most objectionable. This will destroy the military spirit of the land, so that can’t be encouraged to spread slavery. They have no patriotism, what are they?’ The atheists cannot tolerate the call to come hither and live in Vaikuntha. They can’t tolerate the spread of this ‘poison’ within the country.
“But Saraswati Thakur countered, ‘Gaudiya Math stands for the dignity of the human race, not slavery.’ That human soul, any soul, how from above he can get his chance, and he can rise up. Such a prospect a jiva has, the adoration of the almighty, of Svayam Bhagavan.”
The creed of the Mayavadi followers is “we are one with Brahman.” The higher the Vaisnava is, the more he will say “I am the slave of Krishna, and the slave of the slave of the slave of Krishna.” Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj says, “We need this wholesale and radical cure: ‘I do not belong to me, I have my eternal master.’ We need slave mentality.
“One day Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur sitting in his bhajan kutir told the devotees, ‘All the residents of the Math should always be engaged in the service of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnava. They should always be engaged in hearing Hari-katha and discussing Hari-katha. If one becomes averse to Hari-katha and Hari-seva then one will again be entangled by one’s material desires. Then one’s time will be spent in gossiping, criticising others, fighting with others and gratifying one’s senses. If the residents of the Math do not understand that Vaisnava-seva is the most beneficial thing, then they will not make progress in the realm of devotion. One has to cultivate one’s Krishna-conciousness by sincerely serving the Vaisnavas and by endeavouring to please the Vaisnava with body, mind and soul. By the petition of a Vaisnava, merciful Krishna will give His mercy to this sinful soul.’ This we have to remember all the time.” (From Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur: The Life and Precepts of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati)
He is immaculate joy incarnate. He is the graciousness and joy of Bimala Devi. He manifested the Pastimes of his Advent at Purusottama Ksetra in the holy land of Orissa, and he revealed his Pastimes of delivering the fallen souls and extending his mercy upon them by awarding them the gift of Divine Love at the ‘new ilses,’ or Nabadwip. Circumambulating Gaura Dham in the same way traditionally done at Braja Dham and Purusottama Dham, he continuously propagates the loving desires of Braja, the divine abode of Vaikuntha, and the Holy Name of Krishna. On his Day of Holy Advent, I, again and again, make my obeisance unto that dear associate of Sri Vrsabhanunandini, and the servitors of his holy lotus feet.
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was the fourth son of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur and Srimati Bhagavati Devi. He appeared in this world in the Holy Dham of Sri Jagannath Puri on the 6th of February, 1874. He was named Sri Bimala Prasad — the mercy of Lord Jagannath’s potency, Srimati Bimala Devi — and was an extraordinarily beautiful young child with all auspicious bodily symptoms. When he was born, the family and friends were surprised to see that his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck just like a brahman’s sacred thread. His saintly father led a devoted and pious life and from early on little Bimala Prasad was surrounded with the divine sounds of Hari-kirttan and Hari-katha.
The family home faced the road on which Lord Jagannath’s cart travelled during the huge annual Ratha-yatra Festival. When Bimala Prasad was only six months old the cart festival took place. The cart of Lord Jagannath came to a stop right in front of Thakur Bhaktivinod’s home and for three days, despite much effort, no one was able to move it. Bimala Prasad’s mother carried the baby to see the Lord. The small baby reached toward the Lord and the garland of the Supreme Lord fell from the Deity onto the body of the young Sri Bimala Prasad. Everyone could realise that a beautiful blessing had come to this divine child.
Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, on the suggestion of his father, took initiation from Srila Gaura Kisor Babaji Maharaj, but he still considered Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur as his Guru. Srila Guru Maharaj says that, “Bhaktivinod Thakur selected Srila Gaura Kisor for him, but from what we have found in him, he knew Bhaktivinod Thakur as his Guru from the internal consideration. We find his outside and inside were filled with Bhaktivinod Thakur. Bhaktivinod Thakur, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. He saw everything through his Gurudev, Bhaktivinod Thakur. His attempt to approach Sri Sri Radha Govinda or Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is inconceivable without Bhaktivinod Thakur’s intervention in him.”
We are warned against thinking that our Gurudev is in ‘mortal relativity.’ In Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion Srila Guru Maharaj says that, “Srila Prabhupad Saraswati showed us by his ideal conduct how much earnestness one may have for Gurudev. We have witnessed this in his practices and teachings. Gurvvaika-nistha — exclusive adherence to the service of Sri Guru. Bhaktivinod Thakur was his very being. Everything was Bhaktivinod Thakur.”
Feeling very low and timid in the face of such greatness, I offer my sincere obeisances to the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur who is always surrounded by his personal servitors, like the moon that delights stars.
I offer my dandavat pranam to the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, to the merciful feet of His Divine Grace Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, to our glorious and brilliant Sri Guru-varga and to all the virtuous Vaisnavas.
sarvva-vaisnavera pa’ ye kari namaskara,
I bow at the feet of the Vaisnavas;
~Jagamohini Devi Dasi
Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
http://scsmath.com | What's New | Main Centres