Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja
Srila B. S. Govinda Maharaja
The Exclusive Guradianship of Gurudeva
The One Channel of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
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by Srila Bhakti Sundara Govinda Maharaja
When I joined Srila Guru Maharaja's preaching mission I was very young, perhaps seventeen years old. After seeing me Srila Guru Maharaja asked, "Can you stay here?" I was surprised. I thought, "Why is he asking me this? I came to stay. I did not come with any thought of leaving, so why is Srila Guru Maharaja asking me this?" I was a little upset wondering why Srila Guru Maharaja was asking me this. Then the brahmachari who first brought me to the Math said, "Yes, Maharaja, this boy can stay."
Srila Guru Maharaja then said, "Yes this is very good. His intention that he must stay is very good." He further said to me, "Can you follow me?" At that time it was not within my nature to give a negative answer. If I was ordered to do anything I would immediately say "Yes." Even without fully hearing the order I would immediately agree to it; that was my nature. If the question would come, "Can you do it?" I would always immediately tell "Yes." I did not like the word "No." So when Srila Guru Maharaja asked, "Can you follow me?" I said, "Yes, I shall do anything you instruct."
Then Srila Guru Maharaja said, "First you try to follow this one instruction of mine." I replied, "Please, Maharaja, say what that instruction is." He replied, do not listen to your mind, but hear from me. What I shall order, you are to follow that. Can you do that?" Immediately I said, "Yes!" Then one day I was taking prasadam but that prasadam didn't appear to be very nice, especially the dahl which contained so many insects. The dahl tasted very nice but there were many white insects floating on the surface. When the cook came to serve that dahl I noticed the insects. Nearby, standing on the verandah was Srila Guru Maharaja. He was watching, so what should I do? At first I thought, "Oh, it is very bad," and my mind told me, “Don't take it!” Then suddenly and immediately I took the decision, "Oh. No, no, I must take it. It has come as the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaja, therefore I must take it." At that time I immediately gave out some sound, "Oh. No, no, I must take."
It was the order of Srila Guru Maharaja: "What I shall tell, you must do. What I shall give you, you must take." So I must take that prasadam, and happily. After taking prasadam I went to Srila Guru Maharaja in order to give some massage and to have some discussion. He was joking with me and said, "Why did you say, 'Oh. No, no, I shall take'?" Then I explained, "Maharaja, it was full of insects. It was not pure dahl but on the top many insects were floating; perhaps thirty or forty! So I was thinking it was not good. But suddenly and immediately I remembered your order, 'What I shall give you, you must take; and what your mind will say, you don't follow that.' Remembering that, I happily took." Then Guru Maharaja said, "Very good. You can follow me." In this way I had my first examination and passed.
Sometimes many things may come to confront us in order to examine us, but we must sincerely try to pass those tests. No doubt we may sometimes fail, but we have heard that "failure is the pillar of success." Therefore there is no problem, and again we must try.
tvayi jataparadhanam, tvam eva saranam prabho
When a young child is at first trying to walk by himself, he will not successfully be able to do that. Sometimes he will fall down but he will get up and try again until finally he is successful. At first he will try one step, then two steps, then three steps, then four steps. In this way he will go forwards and fall down, but then he will try again to walk. Our attempt is also like that: sometimes we must fall down but there should be no fear of that because we must have the strength of mind to know that we have the backing from our Guru and the Vaisnavas. Seeing their merciful world we must take the chance again and again; that is the main thing and there is no other way.
Here where we are living is the mundane plane where in a cyclic way we are receiving birth after birth throughout the fourteen worlds. But our goal is to cross over this environment to Paravyoma Dham and to Goloka Dham: that is our destination. By repeatedly trying, one day we must be successful in reaching that goal. Another way for us to go is by the merciful blessings of Guru and the Vaisnavas. They are not blind, but seeing our intention they must surely help us by giving guidance as to which way we can go and what will be beneficial for us. What we may get by way of inspiration is received from the caitya-guru, the internal Guru. Other directives we receive from the mahanta-guru, the external manifestation of Sri Guru. Therefore our future is very bright no doubt, but we must follow the directives of Srila Guru Maharaja and try to go to our transcendental destination. This is our only duty; there is no other duty.
It is very fortunate when the opportunity to engage in direct service to Krishna comes to the jiva souls, and Krishna gives that through Guru. Therefore Nityananda Prabhu, that is Sri Guru, is the only hope in our lives. Lastly we have seen how Srila Guru Maharaja was always chanting, "Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai." He said, "My only hope is ‘Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai."'
Nobody could understand the meaning within that, but by the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaja I immediately guessed it. Srila Guru Maharaja is showing us the proper line. He has crossed over all stages of the practicing life; that is called paramahamsa, and now he is showing us our fortune, that is Dayal Nitai. By the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu we must be successful, therefore our practicing life must go in that direction. This is my advice to you all and also I am trying, and praying to Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, "Please give me that type of increasing inspiration and power to preach to others and be successful as a servitor myself."
If we read Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita we can understand the whole siddhanta. But in which way can we follow the line of Srila Rupa Goswami and the other Goswamis? This we can easily understand through the books of Srila Guru Maharaja. There are many questions answered there. I have not had a chance to read all the books of Srila Guru Maharaja, but I am very satisfied with their titles. When I hear the name of the book The Loving Search for the Lost Servant I can immediately remember Krishna's pastimes as described in Sri Brhat-Bhagavatamrtam. In The Loving Search for the Lost Servant there is a very nice picture of Krishna embracing a lost servant, and this is the theme of its title.
Only love can give us all wealth of transcendental happiness, but in the material conception only its shadow is found, and it is bad. We cannot see everything of the origin in the shadow. In the negative world all must be negative, and in the positive world all are positive. In this mundane world paramour love is not praiseworthy, but the opposite is the case in the transcendental world. The only enjoyer there is Krishna. Everyone is engaged in supplying materials for His enjoyment, therefore everything there is very joyful, auspicious and transcendental.
Krishna engages in a loving search for His own satisfaction. In the positive world, the loving search is in a positive way. Krishna is the enjoyer but He feels some deficiency in enjoyment because His servant is lost. He has everything, but He wants to give enjoyment to His lost servant. He gave freedom to us, but we misused it and therefore came within the mundane world and we try to enjoy mundane things, therefore we are also searching. We are searching for happiness, but happiness is not found here, so we are unfulfilled. A person here feels, "If I have five dollars I will be happy." Then, having five dollars, "If I have ten dollars I will be more happy." Then, "A hundred dollars is necessary then I'll be happy." Similarly we try to collect for ourselves kanak, kamini and pratist.ha (wealth, enjoyment and fame) but always we become dissatisfied. Krishna says (Bg 9.21),
ksine punye martya-lokam visanti
"After enjoying that great, extensive, heavenly happiness the residents of heaven, with the depletion of their piety, then enter the human plane."
punar avartino 'rjuna
"From the planet of Lord Brahma downwards the residents of all planets are naturally subjected to repeated birth and death."(Bg. 8.16) We are moving in such a way throughout the mundane world, the Brahmanda. But Krishna is searching for us, "Where is that soul who misused his freedom?" He sees everything but He does not interfere. The only reason He does not interfere is that He wants that each will willingly serve Him.
When someone crosses over illusion and enters the transcendental service world, particularly the super-service section which is under the guidance of madhura-rasa, Krishna immediately embraces that devotee, "Oh, after so long I am seeing you. I know service to Me is your life's goal, and now after so long you have come back to your home. I have been always wondering when you will come." Such is Krishna's nature.
In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta it is related how Sri Gopalji stayed hidden on Giriraj Govarddhan and how, when Madhavendra Puri came nearby, He supplied him some milk and then gave a dream to him saying, "I am waiting for you and the time that you will come here, take Me out and arrange My service. I have to undergo so much austerity here. In the winter I have no clothes; in the summer I have no fan. Every day no one comes to feed Me. I am fasting, but every day I am waiting for the day you will come and take Me and give Me nourishment."
purnasya purnam adaya, purnam eva vasisyate
The Lord is full. He is full of everything, but His deficiency is found in love. It is not actually a deficiency but it is His pastimes, His lila. He is feeling deficiency, and when His servitors serve Him, Krishna happily accepts and gives in return the opportunity of more and more service. But until that point when the servitor comes to willingly serve Him, Krishna waits for that lost servant.
Krishna is full of joy, ecstasy and everything, but it is His pastime that He wants to play, therefore there must be both positive and negative otherwise He cannot play. In the positive world is also one kind of "negativeness," otherwise He cannot play, and that is called separation. Srila Guru Maharaja is living and present here today, but we are unable to see his form. In this way, in a negative way we feel Srila Guru Maharaja's presence but it is also positive. In the positive world everything is positive, but when the play will take place, a type of negativity must come. That "negative" is not like the negativity of this mundane plane. The negative of the higher plane is always helping the positive. To the degree of its necessity "negativity" will come, and that is called separation. Union in separation is the topmost ideal of the transcendental world. For the play of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, separation gives more and more ecstasy.
yanha yanha netra pade tanha krsna sphure
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi. 4.85)
When Krishna hides, His form is always before Radharani. She can never be without Krishna. In this way Union in Separation is the highest goal of life. When there is union, devotees are no doubt happy, but they need more happiness! And that comes through separation. That is shown in Krishna-lila where His separation from the Gopis lasted one hundred years. But this is all inconceivable. Such a position is unimaginable, and it is also not good to try to imagine it. Sometimes to have direct association may be considered to be bad. One day Rupa Goswami Prabhu invited Sanatana Goswami to take sweet rice, etc. but when Sanatana Goswami understood that the ingredients had been supplied by Srimati Radharani he was very unhappy: "We want to worship Her, and if we can do even a little service for Her, we consider that to be the fulfillment of our lives. But, seeing the wish of Rupa, She is trying to serve us."
The higher souls do not want to see Krishna. Raghunath Dasa Goswami said, "What shall I do with Krishna? I need to serve You, Radharani, and if You give that chance, it will be the fulfillment of my life. But without Your service, I do not want to serve Krishna directly." The Gaudiya-Vaisnavas, especially the Rupanuga sampradaya, do not follow Mirabhai because she shows herself to be directly connected with Krishna. Rather they think, "We are the servitors of the servitors of the servitors of Radharani." This is our line, and in this way we will get the fulfillment of our transcendental life.
When the real Vaisnavas get some sight of Krishna they think it is illusion and they are not satisfied with it. Even Mahaprabhu Himself expressed, na prema-gandho 'sti darapi me harau krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum (Chaitanya Caritamrtam 2.45). He could not tolerate the separation from Krishna, therefore He cried. But while crying He expressed, "Nothing I have is sufficient for Krishna. Actually, I have no love for Krishna. Why am I crying for Krishna? Simply as a show to others. But it is not real love, because if it is real love then I would not be able to live, I would certainly die for Him. But I am not dead." When the Vaisnavas see Krishna they think, "I am too unqualified, it is not possible for me to see Him. It must be illusion. I do not want to see Him in this way." They want to see Krishna living with Radharani, and that is the real form of Krishna. That is where Krishna is supremely happy. And that is our goal.
Leaving aside that ideal we can see Krishna in His pastimes in many places: in Dvaraka, in Mathura, in Hastinapur, etc. In each place of His pastimes He is present, but the Gaudiya Vaisnavas have no specific connection there. They even do not go to Dvaraka, to Hastinapur, and even they do not go to Mathura. They do not like to see the appearance-place of Krishna. The mood of the Rupanuga-sampradaya is that our line is very fine. Srila Guru Maharaja was very heavy and strict on this point.
For the service of this Math we started running pilgrimage tours to different places around India to bring in funds and to attract good people. At first we started Purusottamadham-Puridham-Parikrama. Each advertising pamphlet we made was composed under the very careful guidance of Srila Guru Maharaja to ensure it followed the line of the Rupanuga-sampradaya.. Later we went to Badarikashram, but it is the place of Nara-Narayana, so what relevance does it hold for the Gaudiya-Vaisnavas? Nothing directly. But we wanted to go because pilgrims would automatically want to join such a tour, thereby helping the Math. Therefore I asked Srila Guru Maharaja, "Please indicate how we can go there and still keep its relevance to our line." Then Srila Guru Maharaja gave the connection that a short distance after Badarikashram is the place of Vyasadeva, his cave. "If you wish to go there for the service of this Math you must not break the line of the Gaudiya-Vaisnavas. You must indicate Vyasadeva's cave in the pamphlet. " He instructed me to mention in the pamphlet the connection with Nityananda Prabhu's pilgrimages and the ashram of Vedavyasa and Sukadeva Goswami as the motive.
When I planned a pilgrimage tour to Dvaraka, Srila Guru Maharaja said that if we go to Dvaraka we must also go to Kuruksetra otherwise it will not be able to be harmonized within our Gaudiya-Vaisnavas' line. Srila Guru Maharaja never gave permission to leave the track of the Rupanuga-sampradaya to go along any other sampradaya's track. We are running in the Rupanuga-sampradaya, so we are not to leave our track to go to see with any other's vision.
The Gopis went to Kuruksetra. But we must remember why they went. The place where there is extreme separation from Krishna is Kuruksetra. Krishna as the head of the Yadavas was present there with many of His wives. They were all highly decorated. The Gopis were very poor and they thought, "Krishna is our Krishna, but they are enjoying with Him. We need this Krishna, but not in the way we see Him before us now."
Srimati Radharani feels, "Krishna is present in front of us and He has met with us. I am that same Radharani and our meeting is not false, it has actually happened, but it is not giving Me any actual satisfaction." The rasa-lila also happened there but She further mentions, "Here we are meeting and dancing with Krishna, but I am very unsatisfied and unhappy. How will I be happy? If this Krishna will go to the banks of the Yamuna and play with us as we did before, then I shall be happy."
In an extended way this has been preached by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja also, but after Srila Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaja became the helmsman and took firm control of the rudder. All the Godbrothers of Srila Guru Maharaja came to have his association because of this. Because Srila Guru Maharaja was controlling the whole of the Rupanuga sampradaya they all come to him. He was not only controlling, but he was guiding everyone. Srila Guru Maharaja tried to help everyone. The holder of the rudder-the helmsman-was Srila Guru Maharaja.