accompanying the entourage of
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
25 February 2008 evening
Dandabat pranams from Sri Govardhan!
Yesterday Srila Gurudev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj left Vrindavan for Sri Govardhan. We really cannot see his divine movements; but we can just give the news as we see it. It was a heart-rending scene, even for those of us who would soon be following along.
As we also later passed along the road to exit Vrindavan, every beautiful building and and distant scene — even the dust of the road — seemed to pull our hearts and minds.
Due to the blessings of our inconceivable Gurudev, we began to remember something we heard, this Pastime of the Lord or that one, and songs about those Pastimes. In this divine place, even a fallen soul like myself must find a prayer manifesting in her miserable heart to find Love Divine someday or other. That most glorious place is surcharged with Pastimes of Divine Love. Its dust is made up of units of Divine Love. We hear that its call to our hearts is more innate to us than that of any mother, and we cannot deny that.
Here in Govardhan last night, Srila Gurudev talked about pure chastity, and his transcendental nature and power to always speak the truth. Where the members of any assembly are not hankering for hearing truth, he is not in any way interested in attending that.
Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj had the transcendental vision to call Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad by the title of 'Bhagavan'. This is another exclusive treasure of our Math; only Srila Guru Maharaj has done this. It is, as were all his activities, perfect. Everyone in the Gaudiya Math knew and acknowledged Srila Sridhar Maharaj as supreme. And Srila Govinda Maharaj gave the simple evidence: when Srila Vedavyas was telling the names of so many rishis and munis, he named his own Gurudev: 'Bhagavan' Narada. This is the name given to the extremely exalted Guru.
Srila Gurudev also expressed unhappiness to see how Western money has changed Vrindavan. The culture of materialism has increased very much due to this, and there is so much commerce, wealth and noise now. He pointed out that it used to be so quiet, simple and peaceful.
Early this morning, Srila Gurudev told us about his early days of begging service for, and on the order of, Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. But he did not feel suited for this and later asked permission to make money by business. Srila Guru Maharaj asked, in which way would he make business with no capital and no manpower. Then Srila Govinda Maharaj explained to Srila Guru Maharaj his idea of making tours to holy tirthas all over India. Srila Guru Maharaj gave him permission and blessings to do this.
During the tours Srila Govinda Maharaj would stay outside guarding the luggage, because back in those days one man was enough for this job; it was not so dangerous then. These tours were his seva to his Srila Guru Maharaj, and Srila Govinda Maharaj was not so interested in the pilgrimage itself. But in Ramesvar, Srila Gurudev said he felt some attraction to see the Deity of Lord Siva. He was thinking, "I am also a worshipper of Siva." He took the chance to run for darshan when the the others came back from the temple, but the doors were closed. But later, on another occasion, he got the chance to see the Deity of Lord Siva there.
Srila Gurudev also said gently but firmly, that we must be on time for the Mangal Arati. The temple bell must ring, announcing the aratik of Sri Anu Giriraj, and this service must be done nicely and timely. He said the beauty of our Temple is in sankirttan. He also said for all of our deep hearts' benefit, that our sadhana is to take prasadam, not to cook for ourselves — underlining this blessed instruction for us again!!
Later this morning, His Divine Grace came out on his scooter and drove to the back of the Temple, looking over an open area of Math land there. He was consulting with Sripad Goswami Maharaj about where to make a good garden, and Goswami Maharaj said that this land would be very suitable, with its good water spigot already established there. Srila Gurudev concurred, and that was the final decision. Then Srila Gurudev visited the land next door.
Srila Govinda Maharaj then requested Ranajit Prabhu to lead the way to Sri Manasa Ganga, which is very close to our Math. A happy group of devotees followed as Srila Gurudev made his way very gently and sweetly along the narrow lanes. Here and there, the residents would come forward to offer obeisances and respects to such an exalted Vaisnava who was suddenly passing by in their midst.
At Manasa Ganga, Srila Gurudev asked for water to be brought from the beautiful kunda, and upon receiving this he put some drops on his own divine head. He then sprayed the head of Ranajit Prabhu, and suddenly a dozen heads expectantly bowed before His Divine Grace.
After sprinkling some more drops from his holy hand, Srila Gurudev smilingly beeped his horn and turned around to make his way back by scooter toward the Math. Again many members of this community came forward with folded hands and respectful greetings, all received by His Divine Grace who reciprocated with such blessings as can only be found in his treasure store.
In our inevitable moments or hours — or days! — of discouragement at our lack of energy, sincerity, affection, tolerance, etc, there is prayer, which is our lifeline. Srila Prabhupad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj used to tell us: "Pray. And if you can not pray, then pray to pray. And if you cannot pray to pray, then pray to pray to pray."
We must cultivate faith in the invincible affection of Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and our most dear Srila Gurudev. We cannot qualify ourselves in any material way; we can only pray to sincerely serve in the mood of surrender. Srila Gurudev's currency is nothing material. It is real, it is divine mercy, oceanic love and and pure affection.
Dandabat to all of you most auspicious, splendorous, fortunate devotees.
~Srilekha Devi Dasi