All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Sri Nandotsav


Holy Appearance of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj

Informal talk by

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

given on this day in London in 2004

Pictures from Dum Dum Dum Park, Kolkata, Sri Nandotsav, 17 August 2006

Pictures by Nitya Gopal Prabhu
Webpage by Damayanti Devi Dasi
Content checked by Spd B.P. Tirtha Maharaj

Srila Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, blessed the attending devotees at morning arati by coming to offer respects to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Radha Madana-mohanjiu on the holy day of Sri Nandotsav and the appearance of His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj.

The programme went on throughout the morning and early afternoon, with bhajans, reading and discourse headed by Sripad Niskinchan Maharaj.


In an informal talk given on this holy occasion in London, 8th September 2004, Srila Gurudev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj spoke of the significance of this day:

Sri Krishnachandra appeared last night, and Vasudev brought the child Krishna to Nanda Maharaj's house. There were twins: a boy and a girl. And Vasudev Krishna merged into Nanda Maharaj's Krishna. It is given in the Scriptures that within all the avatars that are manifesting, only some are Svayam Bhagavan. And who is who Krishna is telling:

yada yada hi dharmasya, glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)

"O Bharata, whenever there is a decline of religion and an uprising of irreligion, I personally make my advent. "

That Krishna is Vasudev Krishna. This is mentioned by Vedavyasa. But Nandatmaja, who is Nandatmaja Krishna? He is Vrndavanam parityajya, sa kvachin naiva gachchhati. For the purpose of killing the demons, making the religion clean etc., that is the job of Vasudev Krishna, Avatar Krishna. And Svayam Bhagavan Krishna wants to play with the Braja-gopis, and Radharani and the Braja-basis. That Krishna appeared from Goloka Vrindavan with His abode, His associates, His paraphernalia; everything. And Vasudev Krishna merged there and maybe fourteen years stayed in Braja Dham. Then Vasudev Krishna came out and Svayam Bhagavan Krishna stayed there in Vrindavan. And Rupa Goswami wrote:

vrndavanam parityajya
sa kvachin naiva gachchhati
(Sri Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, 1.5.461)

He will never go to leave Vrindavan Dham. That is the originality of Avatari Krishna.

Anyhow, in the house of Nanda Maharaj, early in the morning, when Mother Yasoda noticed one boy, a very, very beautiful boy, she was very happy and said to Rohini Devi and others, "Please come and see what last night appeared in my house." Nandas tv atmaja utpanne. In Srimad-Bhagavatam is this sloka, for today:

nandas tv atmaja utpanne
jatahlado maha-manah
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.5.1)

"Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation."

'Maha-manah' means so kind and great. Nanda Maharaj, when he heard he had one boy, came with his associates to Maharani Yasomati's house, and all the Braja-gopis, they also got that news, that Nanda Maharaj had one son.

'Nandanandan:' Mahaprabhu also was so much happy with this word 'Nandanandan.' Gunaraj Khan, Mahaprabhu's devotee, composed one book, Sri Krishna-vijay. There is this sloka, in Bengali: Nandanandan, Krsna - mora prana-natha. My life's goal is Nandanandan, who was born in the house of Nanda Maharaj; that Krishna is my life and life's goal. And Mahaprabhu said, "After hearing this, I am already purchased by their family." 

"nandanandan, krsna - mora prana-natha."
ei vakye vikainu tanra vamsera hata
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya, 15.100)

"Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaj, is my life and soul.' By this statement I am sold into the hands of the descendants of Gunaraj Khan."

Meanwhile, cooking preparations continue in anticipation of the many hundreds of guests who will arrive throughout the course of the day....

Srila Gurudev continues:

When Nanda Maharaj saw his beautiful son, conqueror of all the beauties, effulgent, and manifested in his house, he was very very happy. And all the big personalities of Braja Dham came to see the son of Nanda Maharaj. And all the goalas, they very happily brought some dadhi, dudha, dugdha, ksira, chana, sandesh, etc. They brought many things, especially rabri, to Nanda Maharaj's house. And then they danced with the foodstuff, taking it on their shoulders. That is called bak, one kind of carrying process, carrying on both sides.

nander mandire goala aila dhaiya
hate nari kadhe bhar nache thia thia
(Sri Gaura Parsada Charitabali)

With their foodstuff, dadhi, dudha, dugdha, ksira, chana, rabri, etc. they are dancing. And if something is also falling down on the ground, over that they are dancing and it is becoming mud there like that. It is not cement!

Everywhere where is Krishna is Radhesh. The people of Radhesh are mostly goalas and play the whole day, some days with their weapon - a stick. And they are worshiping Krishna with their foodstuff. That is their nature; very much they are happy.

siva nache brahma nache ara nache indra
gokule goala nache paiya govinda

Siva, Brahma, Indra and others, all the demigods, came to see Krishna in a human form, hiding their own form. Many came. They saw Him and paid their dandavats, giving honour and praising Krishna. Then taking Krishna prasadam and going. That festival happened for the whole day in Nanda Maharaj's house. Many brahmins also came from far and they worshiped Krishna, but their worshiping style was to give some blessings to Krishna. In that way they enjoyed at Nanda Maharaj's house. And a whole day festival went on there in Gokul. For Nanda-mahotsav.

And that day is today. After Krishna appeared, it is happening everywhere. We also celebrate today in Nabadwip and all the Chaitanya Saraswat Math branches. And not only that, where there is a connection with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, the whole Gaudiya Math are making a festival today. Thousands and thousands of people are coming in our Math.

Arati begins.


Today is another festival day, the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. His appearance day is also today. He is our first Guru in this Western world. From India he took Krishna consciousness, and was the first to distribute everywhere. The very fortunate souls will celebrate today, and we are celebrating Prabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's appearance day today. In the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavan said:

janma karma cha me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma, naiti mam eti so 'arjuna
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)

"O Arjuna, one who comes to know thus the truth of My Pastimes of divine birth and activities, does not undergo rebirth. After giving up this body, he attains Me. (My grace is revealed to him as My personal transcendental joyful potency, hladini-sakti. His heart is melted in divine love and he attains My eternal devotional service.)"

"My birth, My disappearance, My activities; everything is transcendental, not mundane." That is the character of Bhagavan, and His devotees also. And for them also, there is some cause behind their appearing. And that is, Krishna wants to give Himself all over the world - through Swami Maharaj Prabhupada.

Later everyone was very much enlightened by his preaching spirit. We are seeing so many Gaudiya Missions going out now. But first Srila Prabhupada showed the path of our preaching style and preaching line, and by his divine gaze we are at present here, in London also. Srila Saraswati Thakur wanted to send Srila Guru Maharaj to London. At that time it did not happen. But when Swami Maharaj Prabhupada wrote to Guru Maharaj, "I want to meet with you; my first meeting after preaching in the Western world," Guru Maharaj was very, very happy and told me "You arrange as is possible by you for his honour, everything." And I arranged so many things.

And every day he is taking puri, begun bhaja, subji, for morning breakfast. Our style is that we are not sitting with our Gurus at the same table, but we gave prasadam. And one day Prabhupada told me, "Give me here," and I gave there. I took first in my hand, and Prabhupada said, "You also sit here." I told him, "No, Maharaj, it's okay." My feeling is that I am not qualified to sit with him. That is my feeling. And Prabhupada joked with me: "Your caste? You are keeping your caste, then you are not taking prasadam with us?" Then what shall I do? I sat and took. A very heavy charge: 'you are maintaining your caste through separation from us.' That type of joking; many times. But I was very, very happy.


At that time he was not saktyaves avatar, but later when he gave Harinam sankirttan all over the world, Guru Maharaj mentioned that, without Krishna, no one can give in this way; then it is saktyaves avatar activity. "We are happy, we are glad, we are proud;" Guru Maharaj praised Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada so much.

He was very affectionate with everyone; especially to me, he showed much affection. And when he saw a little bit glorious seva of mine, he praised that so much: "Oh you will do this, you can do this," etc. At that time he was in grhasta life, but always his intention was for preaching Krishna consciousness everywhere. He wanted everyone to come under the banner of Sri Chaitanyadev, and chant Hare Krishna; that was his desire. And he has shown his capacity and activity. All over the world - I cannot believe, still I cannot believe - all over the world the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra has spread. How is it possible? In the road anyone will see people and they can say: "That is the Hare Krishna people." This kind of identity is not so easy to get. In Germany, I heard, when the Iskcon group is going out, people say: "This is the Hare Krishna people, this is the Hare Krishna people." That means 'Hare Krishna,' this word, they know very well. You all know better than me, because I am not so qualified with mixing with everybody. But in every country people can feel Krishna consciousness in this word that has come through Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada.

And he saw my Guru Maharaj as his siksa-guru - and it is true, because I have seen it. When he was translating Srimad Bhagavad-gita, every day he came to Guru Maharaj to consult and with consultation, he is making that translation. When Guru Maharaj came back to Nabadwip, I stayed there in Calcutta, because I was studying Sanskrit from a pandit. Then Guru Maharaj told me, "Every day you will go to Swami Maharaj and read Srimad Bhagavad-gita. He is translating, and you will hear and you can learn from him." And he told Swami Maharaj, "This boy is here and you are the guardian of this boy; you look after him." In this way, my first life continued in Calcutta by the grace of Srila Swami Maharaj.

Subji, khichri, puspanna, sweet rice....

He was preaching, but he thought that in his white cloth, people will not give much respect. And so he took us; we are in saffron cloth, me and others, and we went to preach, house to house. And they were also inviting Swami Maharaj. I read the Sanskrit slokas from Srimad Bhagavat and he explained that to everyone, the audience. He is explaining, and I am reading the sloka, and he is explaining to me. And he gave me the Acharyya position there, at those meetings. And not only that, he had no ego. He played the mrdanga himself, and I played karatals, and I am singing. In this way I enjoyed my first life in the ashram.

Everyday I was going to his house. Some days, he had not finished his breakfast, and after that I am going; he is seeing me and giving some luchi. Luchi with ghee. He is eating pure ghee. And when I am taking dalda, vegetable ghee, he is chastising me. I am taking sometimes, on Ekadasi day or some other day, and he is chastising me: "Why are you taking dalda? You must take ghee!" He is always taking ghee - his mood was in favour of ghee. A very happy mood. And I have seen his Mayapur time, with Pisima. She is making for Prabhupada so many pakoras, and parathas. He likes pakoras very much. Today we can eat pakora prasadam in remembrance of Prabhupada. And luchi. He wants to eat pure things and wants to give pure things to everyone.

His family life was not so happy, because his mood of preaching did not allow him to earn so much money. But finally his sister Bhavana Didi, 'Pisima,' she told Prabhupada: "This is not your line of life. You go and take sannyas and preach, that is your life." And Prabhupada said to Pisima, "But who will look after this family matter? Something I am trying to do." And Pisima said, if you leave them, we shall try to maintain them. That was Pisima's comment. And Prabhupada left and came to Srila Guru Maharaj for sannyas. Guru Maharaj told him, "Wait six months because your family are very much known to me, and they will come and they can disturb me if I give you sannyas at this time." "No, no, I cannot wait. I shall take." Then Guru Maharaj told him, "You can go to Keshav Maharaj; I gave sannyas to him, so you take sannyas from Keshav Maharaj." And the 'Bhaktivedanta' name was given by Guru Maharaj. Then Keshav Maharaj gave him sannyas. Keshav Maharaj had no connection with his family, but a very close connection with Guru Maharaj and ourselves, the brahmacharis.

The devotees and guests happily receive the feast.


Then he stayed in the Radha-Damodar Temple in Vrindavan, and after that, everything is known by the Western devotees what happened. But Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur told him: "You are a qualified man in the English language, and you can preach in the English world; that will be very good." And those blessings he took: "I have got those blessing from Prabhupada, so I am thinking I can do."

And really everything did not come to him easily. In a very hard way he maintained his life in America. And there, he cooked for someone, his friend; getting some roti for him, and arranging some food. He is cooking for that person, and two roti or four roti he is making for him. And not only that, he had such a broad mentality for preaching Krishna consciousness. He told, "My food, I am keeping in the same fridge where his food is." That is a miracle for others, but not a miracle to us. Srila Guru Maharaj and his associates, all of his culture and class, they were all happy to hear that. That in the same fridge his food was with mlechchha persons.

The sign is entitled,
Tompkins Square Park.'

But finally Krishna heard and not only heard; Krishna started through him to preach Krishna consciousness. And under a tree - that tree I have seen - in New York, under the tree he was seated, with mrdanga and karatals, and hippies coming and dancing. And Prabhupada would say: "Dance, dance! Chant Hare Krishna and dance!" His whole enthusiasm was going to the hippies and gradually they came to Krishna consciousness. And he rented one garage like that house. That I have also seen.

This is what started Krishna consciousness in the world. And I am very happy and very much attracted with his preaching, especially when I heard about his preaching going and starting in America. Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur started in England. Goswami Maharaj, and before that Bon Maharaj and Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj: they tried to preach in England, and they preached, but no fruits came. Not one person came to take Krishna consciousness. But when Prabhupada Swami Maharaj started in America, the clean Americans were very much attracted with his simplicity and with his mantram, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra. They are so fortunate; very quickly it spread all over the world.

Sitting after sitting was necessary to accommodate the many guests.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip | What's New?