First day page 6: Sixth stop, Sri Chaitanya Math.

This is one of the first maths established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and is the principal of the sixty-four Sri Gaudiya Maths.
The parikrama party continued to Sri Chaitanya Math and, within the compound, to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad's Samadhi Mandir. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad in the Samadhi Mandir.

Lecture at the Samadhi Mandir.

After the lecture, the parikrama party proceeded to the Temple to pay respects to the Deities, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridharijiu (right).

Lecture by Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj at Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada's Samadhi Mandir:

Srila Guru Maharaj tells us in one of his slokas:

guru-dam grantha-dam gaura-dhama-dam nama-dam muda
bhakti-dam bhuri-dam vande bhaktivinodakam sada

The wealth of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is so extensive. He has given us everything. He revealed Nabadwip Dham, and we are engaged in the Nabadwip Dham Parikrama. He has given the Holy Name of Krishna; we are all chanting Krishna Nama. He has given us the aspiration for the service of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. But of all this, he has also given us Guru: Guru-dam.

One of the gifts of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is that Srila Saraswati Thakur was attracted by the wealth that was in the melted heart of Bhaktivinod Thakur, and that is what brought him down to this plane.

Sometimes we are told that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur prayed that Mahaprabhu would send one of His own men, and that's a fact. So Srila Saraswati Thakur descended into this plane, but Srila Guru Maharaj told us that it is on the basis of being attracted to the wealth in the melted heart of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. So the only way that we have come to know these things is by the divine grace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

It's here in this area where he was residing, that he came in connection with his initial followers, and the Gaudiya Math sprung out here from the soil of Mayapur Dham. Srila Guru Maharaj said that Sripad Sakhi Babu told him that, when they initially saw Srila Saraswati Thakur he was so intense, that when he was preaching his Krishna conception to them he would pound his fist on the table, and his face would become flushed red from all the intensity. Sripad Sakhi Babu said, "All we could understand was that it was as if he was forcibly trying to make us taste some nectarean substance. What he was trying to give us we could not really understand completely, but we knew that there is some kind of nectar and he wants to make us taste that by force."

Srila Guru Maharaj said that although they had read in the Scriptures so many times about 'lotus face,' it was when they saw Srila Saraswati Thakur's beautiful divine lotus face become flushed with intensity; they would see one pink petal, one white petal, and they thought: "Oh this is the meaning of lotus face; we are seeing it before our very eyes."

Srila Guru Maharaj tells us Srila Saraswati Thakur was always eager to engage in Hari-katha incessantly, as was sung in the song:

kripaya hari-kirttana-murtti-dharam

He is Kirttan personified. Hari-katha, Krishna-katha — the only famine he recognises is the shortage of Krishna-katha. He is the kripaya Hari Kirttana murtti personified, he could not stop talking about Krishna. And that Srila Saraswati Thakur, when meeting with a barrister once over some legal action, was engaged in talking Krishna-katha. So that man said to him, "Are you trying to convert me? We are not talking any legal business here. Are you trying to convert me?"

Srila Saraswati Thakur said, "Yes, if you would pay attention to what I am saying for five minutes, you would be completely converted, but actually it would not even be a conversion, because you would realise that this is your own innate wealth. So no conversion is necessary."

Just as we hear of the sloka of Prabodhananda Thakur:

dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya
krtva cha kaku-satam etad aham bravimi
he sadhavah sakalam eva vihaya durad
chaitanya-chandra-charane kurutanuragam

"My dear sir you know so much, you are so exalted, you are a great scholar, you have so much experience. And a person like me, I am taking a straw between my teeth and approaching you, and asking you for just one small favour. I am sure you will grant that to me, and what is that favor I am asking of you? Please forget everything you know; that's all I'm asking, forget everything you know and turn your attention to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu."

So this is Saraswati Thakur's movement. And Gaudiya Math is personified, Guru Maharaj says, in the following model. When he established the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math as the flagship temple of the Gaudiya Math, that day, the Deities, who had been living in a hired house, were moved to take possession of Their new property and Saraswati Thakur composed a song of which the refrain was:

matala harijana kirttana-range
pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange

The path of Raga Marga, the line of Srila Rupa Goswami; that we will always keep above and higher in the worshipable plane. And what will we be doing?  Here in this plane we will be engaged in so many activities meant to serve and promote that conception. This policy caused some people to doubt his authenticity, his legitimacy.

We know when he went to Vrindavan with his disciples, they were even barring the temples; forbidding their entrance, because they perceived him as an enemy, that his ways were unorthodox — just as how he re-established the tridandi sannyas and the saffron dress. So at the time they would quote Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita saying, "These things are not recommended for a Vaishnava, even Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu himself has said that this saffron dress is not fit for a Vaishnava. What do you say to that?"

Srila Guru Maharaj's response was: "Just as a general assesses a battlefield, and sees what will be the appropriate strategy for the soldier, so Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur assessed the battlefield of the Krishna conception versus the mayik misconception, and he established this dress."

Srila Guru Maharaj, being noted for his use of analogy, gave his own example. In the Austro-Hungarian war, when they were fighting against the French and winning, a new French general was appointed: Napoleon. Once his methods became implemented, the tide turned. The King called in his leading general and said,

"Please explain to me why we are now losing this war."

They said, "The reason is there is a general on the other side, a newly appointed general, and he does not know how to fight properly."

The King said, "That's why we are losing? Because he does not know how to fight?"

They said "Yes."

So they have maintained all this time, his methods are unorthodox. He does not know properly. The Gaudiya Math Guru is a mushroom, he has no real disciplic line — but today we are all sitting here; East, West, North and South. People have come from all over the world as a result of his method. Even Srila Guru Maharaj himself said these things were a little perplexing to him.

Once Srila Saraswati Thakur said in Bombay, "I am thinking, if the Western people have some objection to coming to the Math for Hari-katha, and it is based on the restriction of the diet, we can arrange from a hotel nearby some non-vegetarian food for them."

Srila Guru Maharaj, who is a high class Brahman Bhattacharyya was really shocked to hear this, and said, "I think the end result will be contamination in our Ashram, from this policy. We will be contaminated by implementing this."

And he said Saraswati Thakur's words struck his heart like a thunder bolt when he turned around and said: "Oh you don't know? I decided this ten thousand years ago. We have to employ Vaikuntha-vritti, if we are going to entice the Western world." And Vaikuntha-vritti means no limitation on extending; there won't be any disqualification or any limitation that will obstruct this flow, this current.

So even in Poromotala, where we came through today, in an open assembly where Saraswati Thakur was preaching, one man threw a Scripture at him. We know that Srila Saraswati Thakur had to go into seclusion and exchange dress with his disciple Srila Keshava Maharaj, before he went away from there, preventing him from being attacked by those people.

At that time, they took another disciple, Srila Goswami Maharaj, and they said, "We are going to sacrifice you in Poromotala, make you an offering." They were so enraged. But when they found out his background, that he was a vamsa (in the bloodline) of Nityananda Prabhu, they let him go.

Later, the man who threw that book, in time came to realise, after seeing the world-wide expansion of the Krishna consciousness movement — just as today, people are coming from all over the world and singing, "Jaya Sachinandana, jaya Sachinandana!" and praising Mahaprabhu's Krishna conception — he realized that, "Srila Saraswati Thakur was right. He is a Siddha Mahatma of the highest order, and I have committed a great offence." So to overcome that offence he thought, "If I go to Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and take some prasadam from Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, I will be readjusted and put in my rightful position."

It is by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj that we have some conception of the glories of Srila Saraswati Thakur.

When we presented the Search for Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful to him, it was also Gaura Purnima day, and Srila Guru Maharaj marked it and said: "Oh! 50 years earlier Sri Krishna Chaitanya, a book by Professor Sannyal was also published. So how auspicious, 50 years later you are presenting this book to me." 

As we read to Srila Guru Maharaj the different parts of that book, we came to a picture of Srila Saraswati Thakur and read the caption to Srila Guru Maharaj: "He declared totalitarian war against maya, illusion, including all other religious conceptions."

I was a little nervous at the time thinking, "Is this the right way to portray him?" I looked at Srila Guru Maharaj for some approval, and Srila Guru Maharaj began to beam, and very happily he said: "If you didn't say anything else, if all you said about my Guru Maharaj was this one statement, then he would be fully and properly represented there."

So he was very happy to hear that. He said that once, Srila Saraswati Thakur's mood was compared to Mohammed Ali. Mohammed Ali said, "I am the greatest," and he would challenge everyone. But in Saraswati Thakur's case he said, "Our Guru-varga (succession of Gurus) is the greatest: Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Srila Gaur Kishor das Babaji Maharaj...." And, like in the Maidan, where a wrestler would challenge anybody, "Come and try to defeat me." That was his mood so much so, that even when he was a child, this spirit was there.

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur had a father-son talk with him one day, because he was always fighting with the other students in favour of the Krishna conception. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said to him, "Son I am wondering how you are going to get on later in life?"

And Srila Guru Maharaj said, Srila Saraswati Thakur said: "Don't worry about me, I'll do just fine. It won't be a problem." 

Before, we were in Yogapith, Mayapur. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur wanted to give the service there to Srila Saraswati Thakur, and Srila Saraswati Thakur was hesitating to actually accept it. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur detected some hesitation in him, and in a joking, teasing way he said, "Oh! you want to become a mayavadi? The service of Krishna is too much trouble for you?" So Srila Saraswati Thakur, reading the mind and heart of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, took up that service.

He came out and began his preaching on a one by one level, converting all who came into connection with him until he reached a point, ten years later, where he expressed to the effect, "I've got 500 men, trained to say everything that I say. They are steeped in this conception, they are hardcore followers, and on the basis of their association, so many Maths (temples) are expanding, and it's being extended all over the world."

But in his final days sometimes he said, "Oh! we didn't take it to America." Srila Goswami Maharaj went to England. But Srila Saraswati Thakur said: "We didn't take it to America, and that we want."

Srila Guru Maharaj said that Srila Saraswati Thakur was unyielding on this point, so much so that one man, whose job was ploughing the fields, was seen reading a book in English and the devotees said, "You are not a preacher, why are you studying English?"

Then he said, "Well, Prabhupad said, we are all going to have to preach in the West, so maybe some day I'll be ploughing fields in America."

So even the man ploughing the fields had these feelings in him. Srila Saraswati Thakur wouldn't allow his disciples to escape from this. Even Srila Guru Maharaj really thought of going into seclusion, doing nirjan bhajan (personal meditative worship), but he said, "I know Srila Saraswati Thakur would not approve of that, so I took the middle route, I made the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. I am not going to aggressively canvas people, but in a small group I am going to distribute his divine substance."

When we had the good fortune to come to Srila Guru Maharaj in those times, he said, "So much wealth was stored in me like a treasury from Srila Saraswati Thakur; you are bringing it out in my final days."

I'll just give one example of that. We have to admit that we cannot not say that Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad fulfilled that desire of Srila Saraswati Thakur. Like Srila Gurudev said, "Sometimes we used to think that what Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said that, 'They will come from all over the world, and join in Mahaprabhu's sankirttan,' we thought of it in a metaphorical way. But then, through Srila Swami Maharaj it was realised. As Srila Guru Maharaj used to say, 'Gaura-Nitai opened the business, and Srila Swami Maharaj took it to America.'" Srila Guru Maharaj paid him the highest complement.

During the time of Srila Saraswati Thakur, after the publication of that book Sri Krishna Chaitanya, whenever Srila Goswami Maharaj would come back from England, wherever lectures were given, Srila Saraswati Thakur would put pins with little flags on them on a map on the wall in his room. He would mark, "Hari-katha here, here..., Westminster Abbey, the meeting with the Queen...." Like a battle map he was showing all the different places where the Krishna conception was entering.

Srila Guru Maharaj told us that one of Srila Saraswati Thakur's disciples, Kundalal Prabhu, used to be an editor for a paper and was a spy during the war. When Srila Saraswati Thakur was giving him Harinam initiation, he gave a military example. He said, "The Krishna conception should be able to land in your heart, the way the navy brings the army to the beach, and then they establish a beachhead, and then gradually start gaining ground, and then fully establish full-fledged theism — the Krishna conception."

So Srila Guru Maharaj said, Srila Saraswati Thakur's plan at that point, was that for the next ten years of his life he was going to go to the West. Those who went before him were meant to establish a foundation and then he was personally going to go and lead the preaching there. But he left this world, as they say sometimes, prematurely.

However, Srila Guru Maharaj said that through Srila Swami Maharaj it happened. His gift to his Guru Maharaj was those ten years because basically Srila Swami Maharaj inundated the Western world with the Krishna Consciousness movement within roughly a ten-year period. In Guru Maharaj's words, "So those ten years that our Guru Maharaj wanted, he gave that to him." This is the meaning of:

vyavasayatmika buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas cha
buddhayo 'vyavasayinam

He emptied himself of any other desire than the desire of Srila Saraswati Thakur, and became a super-conductor of divine current.

I'll just conclude with one story to show you how merciful he is and how revolutionary his conception is. He met Srila Saraswati Thakur at the Vraja Mandal Parikrama in Kosi. Srila Guru Maharaj was there and just like today where we are having the pilgrims traveling, someone like Sripad Acharyya Maharaj made an announcement and said: "You can go with the sannyasis to see Sesayi Vishnu, or tonight you can attend the class given by Prabhupad. There is a choice."

So, many went to see Sesayi Vishnu, but Srila Swami Maharaj said, "I am thinking if I go and see Sesayi Vishnu, what will I see?"

Srila Guru Maharaj said, "Eye exercise." They both laughed.

Srila Swami Maharaj said, "So I stayed to hear Prabhupad."

Srila Guru Maharaj said, "I also stayed."

Then Srila Swami Maharaj said, "Some things he said I could understand and some things he said I couldn't understand, but I would go on listening and then he would mark, 'Oh he doesn't leave, he is listening, giving full attention.'"

But Srila Guru Maharaj, just to give a hint of his extraordinary capacity to extract the maximum from Srila Saraswati Thakur, once said, "My tendency was more for collection, not distribution." Here he means collecting spiritual substance, "I tried to collect the maximum from my Guru Maharaj, and I did."  So he said, not only does he remember that he stayed for the lecture, but he told what the lecture that he heard that evening was about! He said that that night, Srila Prabhupad gave a revolutionary conception of Govardhan, that they had never heard before, with reference to the sloka of Srila Rupa Goswami:

no diksam na cha sat-kriyam na cha purascharyam manag iksate
mantro 'yam rasana-sprg eva phalati sri-krsna-namatmakah

When Krishna Nama wants to distribute Himself it is not even remotely dependent on diksam (initiation), sat-kriyam (pious activities, purascharyam (regulative practices), or any such thing. If it is Krishna's will to distribute Himself, consider it done.

So just like the cowmen of Vrindavan, Krishna's group, who are vaishyas, cowmen. When they want to increase the number of cows, there is no consideration of brahmana, ksatriya, vaishya or sudra (priest, administrator, farmer/merchant, or labourer). They have the potent source and they just generate more and more cows. So when we want to extend this Krishna conception to others, there will be no consideration of brahmana, ksatriya, vaishya, or sudra — this is his Vaikuntha vritti. Just by the divine will of Krishna to distribute Himself in the form of His Holy Name, it will be done. So Srila Guru Maharaj says:


The dana-sagar (oceanic gift) is that Mahaprabhu is distributing the divine abode of nectar and the Name of Krishna. This was Srila Saraswati Thakur's mission. He is the sanctioning agent who is fueling all of this.

I asked Srila Guru Maharaj once, "So sometimes Srila Saraswati Thakur, you could see him singing and dancing in the kirttan?"

And Guru Maharaj said: "Prabhupad? Inconceivable."

That person who is kripaya Hari-kirttana-murtti-dharam, all his devotees are singing, chanting and dancing, but you couldn't see anything, no movement in him. But Srila Guru Maharaj said, "Every word that ever came out of his mouth was kirttan, and every movement of his divine form was dance."

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur ki jaya!