om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri -gurave namah
Dear Guru Mahārāja! Please accept my countless humble obeisances unto your lotus feet.
Firstly, I beg for an opportunity to offer my countless humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, who introduced me to the path of śuddha-bhakti and unto the lotus feet of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who was instrumental in bringing me to your divine lotus feet.
And lastly, I offer my same unlimited obeisances unto the lotus feet of all my rupānuga gauḍīya guru-varga.
Guru Mahārāja your qualities are unlimited; however I can only access them to the degree they are revealed to me as per my adhikāra (qualification). So I beg you to kindly empower me to justly glorify you for my own auspiciousness and purification.
YOU LEFT US AN INVALUABLE TREASURE
Although you were amidst us for a very short time after you began your ācārya lilā, you left us an invaluable treasure in the form of your spotless precept (ācāra) and profound instructions through your books and hari-kathā (vāni). You also indicated how that [inexhaustible] treasure can be accessed to the extent one desires.
Particularly in ‘Volcanic Energy’ and ‘My Beloved Masters’, you very mercifully showed us how param gurudeva Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja served and pleased his own gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura and the Vaiṣṇavas, and how he infused that same service spirit in you all and how you followed in their footsteps.
The essence of your life’s teachings is there in these books.
This impeccable ideal of selfless service to Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas is the very foundation and backbone of spiritual life. And it graphically came alive through your shining examples.
One time in the context of vyāsa-pūjā,Śrīla Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja said, “We should try to realize the internal ways our gurudeva pleases his gurudeva. The true objective of [celebrating] vyāsa-pūjā is to prepare oneself for serving Śrī Hari under the guidance of guru and Vaiṣṇavas.”
TAKING SHELTER OF YOUR VĀNI
ŚRĪ GURU’S TRUE INHERITANCE WILL BE RECEIVED IN PROPORTION TO ONE’S SURRENDER
You would always say that the process of dīkṣā will not be complete in one day and that the time taken will differ from individual to individual. Dīkṣā is not just about hearing the mantras which may be likened to ‘Some air being blown into the ears’ if one fails to attain transcendental knowledge by not following the instructions of Śrī Guru. In this context you would cite the example of Nārada Ṛsi and Mṛgāri, the hunter, who very attentively heard from Nārada Ṛsiand accepted thoseinstructions in his heart and maintained his life according to them. Only then he got the actual fruit of accepting a guru. As a result, he became completely transformed.
In your own words you summed up, “We must follow, with utmost enthusiasm and strong determination, the very ideal Śrī Guru adhered to and practiced in his own life. A person will receive true inheritance of his gurudeva, his unlimited transcendental wealth, to the extent that he is surrendered to him.”
AUSPICIOUSNESS FOR THOSE WHO ARE ‘SINCERE’
I recall how during your hari-kathā in 2014 at Jagannātha Purī, you repeatedly emphasized and assured that ‘there will always be auspiciousness for those who are sincere. One need only be sincere.’ And then, you also defined what ‘sincere’ means – one who is bereft of all material desires. In this context you would quote this verse (BG 6.40) – na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid durgatiḿ tāta gacchati– a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with degradation in this world or the next. [In other words, one who has given up all material prospects for the sake of spiritual advancement. There will always be auspiciousness for him.]
THE SUPREME PANACEA OF VAIṢṆAVA SEVĀ
You emphasized a lot on Vaiṣṇava sevā, you regarded Vaiṣṇava sevā as an indispensable asset for spiritual advancement. By remembering, glorifying and serving the Vaiṣṇavas, all inauspiciousness in the form of worldly attachments [kanaka, kāmini and especially prathistha] will go away.
You would say, “By our own endeavors we can never become surrendered to the Lord. It is only possible by the mercy of pure Vaiṣṇavas. “Je Vaiṣṇava sevile acintya kṛṣṇa pāya – By serving the lotus feet of Vaiṣṇavas, one can attain service of that kṛṣṇa who is acintya, inconceivable.” That personality whom we cannot perceive or conceive of with our senses becomes conceivable by serving the Vaiṣṇavas.”
You always kept encouraging us, “For those in whom the desire to serve is not born yet, please continue to hear hari-kathā in sādhu-sanga and one day you will be inspired to serve.”
By rendering sevā an affectionate bond develops and the relationship becomes condensed.
TAKING INSPIRATION FROM YOUR ĀCĀRA
Although there are countless instances about your precept which touched and transformed many hearts, it is not possible to mention them all here. Hence I will only mention a few.
NOT BY THE EXTERNALS
One time one Vaiṣṇava, having met you after many years, asked if you recognized him, your answer was as usual very deep, you said, “I do recognize you from your gross appearance, but I can never know you internally.” From this you gave us the teaching that we can never judge any Vaiṣṇava merely by their external appearance.
From my own conditioned experience it is evident how easy it is to fall prey to judging. I personally witnessed on few occasions, how you dealt with sensitive situations by always addressing the principle rather than attributing anything to the individual involved. In this way, you showed us how to stay offenceless.
I AM NOT A SADHU
Once, one of your servants engaged in a heated argument with some devotee while you quietly heard all that transpired from inside your room. When that servant returned, you said, “I guess I am not a sadhu. That is why you behaved like this. Because if I was indeed one, after having been in my association for so long, you would not have behaved this way.”
You showed us how real prācāra is done through ācāra.
POLITE YET FIRM ON YOUR STANCE
One time one devotee approached you with a set of Gaura-Nitāi Deities with an intention of installing and worshipping them, you politely but very firmly replied, “Gaura-Nitāi worship is for those in sakhya rasa, for those who are upāsakas of madhura rasa, they worship Gaura-Gadādhara.”
Also, on many occasions when devotees would bring either Deities or neck-beads with an intention to get them blessed by you, you would say, “They are Gaura-Nitāi! Rādhā-kṛṣṇa! Tulasi-devi! Am I in the position to bless them or take their blessings instead? They are higher than me. They are worshipable.” Saying this you would touch them to your head.
BY YOUR EXAMPLE
For someone who considered it demeaning [because of your high-class brahminical upbringing] to even set foot on land belonging to a telī(an oil merchant), you even went to the house of a congregational member who had a pet dog, just to reciprocate with her genuine regard for sadhus since brahmacāris would not go there to hold any kirtana or preaching program because of the dog’s presence.
By your own example, [although you came from the transcendental realm] you showed and encouraged us how with sincerity and surrender all the pious and impious samskāras can be overcome.
All these glories of yours are but a tip of an ice-berg. During one of your viraha-mahotsavas one senior Vaiṣṇava remarked, “With the departure of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the whole generation [of stalwart Vaiṣṇavas] is now a bygone era.” Indeed, I am certain that we will not witness such a league of ideal in our present lifetime again.
Thank you Guru Mahārāja for all the hardships you endured while externally having to leave the institution you served for 62 years, just so that you could give shelter to many souls like myself who were eagerly looking for shelter.
Thank you for continuing to travel till your final days to spread your mercy.
Thank you for all the causeless sweetness and affection you showered on us.
Thank you for all the prasādam you handed out after every class and darśana, and for looking at each one of us to give your special mercy.
Thank you for all your answers which instantly soothed the heart.
Thank you for implanting in our hearts the special affection and appreciation towards all the disciples of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura and our guru-varga. You made us feel a part of the family.
Thank you for implanting in our hearts the selfless spirit of Vaiṣṇava sevā.
Thank you for being such a spotless ideal.
Thank you for everything.
I hope that someday I will realize the true worth of what you have given us. I pray to you to always keep me engaged in serving you and the Vaiṣṇavas. And I beg to become offenceless so that I can taste the real incredible sweetness of this process.
You continue to live eternally through your vāni, your ācāra and through all your sincere dedicated servants.
Your insignificant son,
Ambarīśa Dāsa (Vrṇdāvana)