On September 3rd, Śravaṇa Māhā-dvādaśī, Śrīla Mahārāja accepted mauna (silence) while fasting and continued his mauna through Monday, September 4th, the āvirbhāva tithi of Saccidānanda Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. On Tuesday, September 5th, choosing the tirobhāva tithi of Nāmācārya Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Mahārāja manifested his disappearance pastime from this world by entering into the very special pastime that takes place in the afternoon, namely Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa madhyāhna.
Half an hour before Śrīla Mahārāja entered nitya-līlā, his servants painted an extremely beautiful tilaka marking on his forehead, his different limbs were smeared with the dust from various pastime places of Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma which was brought by one devotee, then one portion of Jagannātha mahāprasāda, brought by another devotee was placed in Śrīla Mahārāja’s lotus mouth and his favorite picture of his Guru Mahārāja, which was present in his room, was placed on his heart. At that time, both the doors and windows of Śrīla Mahārāja’s room were flung open for the devotees to take his darśana. The approximately 150 devotees present at the maṭha at that time immediately understood the situation and everyone, together in a mood of extreme separation, weeping, began loud kīrtana of the mahā-mantra, with tear-filled eyes. For approximately fifteen minutes Śrīla Mahārāja heard the kīrtana of the mahā-mantra sung by all by the assembled devotees in an enraptured state and at 12:26pm he entered the eternal pastimes.
It is not possible to describe the state of the assembled devotees. In a moment, the news about Śrīla Mahārāja’s departure spread all over the world and all felt acute separation from him.
DEPARTURE ON THE TITHI OF NĀMĀCĀRYA ŚRĪLA HARIDĀSA ṬHĀKURA
Śrīla Mahārāja entered the eternal pastimes by choosing the disappearance tithi of that very Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, whose body Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu lifted in His arms and danced with, and who was ornamented by different titles such as 'siddha deha’, the preacher of the holy name. While glorifying Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared as if he possessed five mouths. On Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s viraha festival Mahāprabhu promised to give benedictions to all the devotees: “Those who obtained the darśana of the vijayotsava of Haridāsa, those who participated by performing kīrtana and dancing or in giving him samādhi, those who honored mahāprasāda during the viraha-mahotsava, will all soon gain the favour of Śrī Kṛṣṇa”. In separation from His dear devotee, lamenting, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:
“Being merciful upon Me, Śrī Kṛṣṇa gave me the association of Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura and now by His own independent desire He has broken that association. When Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura desired to leave this world, it was not in My power to detain him. Simply by his will, Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave up his life (prāṇa), exactly like Bhiṣma Pitāmah. Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was the crown jewel on the head of this world, without him this world is bereft of this valuable jewel”.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then told everyone to say, ‘Jaya Jaya Śrī Haridāsa – All glories to Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura’ and to chant the holy name of Hari.
The fact that Śrīla Mahārāja chose this tithi to enter the eternal pastimes is, in itself, supernatural and insinuates a message filled with deep mystery. Just as Śrīla Mahārāja would himself express:
“It is not a coincidence that my gurupādapadma nityalīla praviśta oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottaraśata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja manifested the pastime of choosing to appear in this world on Utthānā Ekādaśī. By selecting the appearance tithi of Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and consequently, choosing to disappear from this world by selecting the tirobhāva tithi of Śrīla Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, demonstrates his eternal relationship with these personalities. However, ‘bhujibe rasika jana nā bhujibe muḍa’— only those devotees who are fully accomplished with realization of rasa can fathom this, what will those who are bereft of the realization of rasa be able to understand?”
The ‘Remembrance in Separation’ series, dedicated to Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was first published in Sri Sri Bhagavata Patrika in Hindi in the year 2018. The series unfolded over three volumes (Year 14, Volume 9-10, 10-11, 11-12).
Now, we are presenting the English translation of this in the form of a series of articles released in www.vcvani.com.
Since it covers a brief sketch of Śrīla Mahārāja’s life and precepts from childhood to his final pastimes, this series will be unfolded from now until his tirobhava tithi.