Glorification of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābājī Mahārāja
[May 1, 2021 is the disappearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābājī Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana, India. Below is an excerpt of his glories from 'My Beloved Masters' by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja]
Composed under the editorship of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Śrī Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābājī Mahārāja appeared in a highly educated, respected family of physicians. He attended Ḍhākā University and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree before taking shelter of the most worshipful Śrīla Prabhupāda’s holy feet, sometime between 1925 and 1926. The brahmacārī name his gurudeva gave him was Śrī Svādhikārānanda dāsa Brahmacārī.
In the maṭha, we have long since and repeatedly witnessed Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s profound attachment to performing nāma-bhajana day and night. He also possessed a remarkably powerful memory. We were always amazed to hear the many Sanskrit prayers and hymns he could recite, which were so numerous that it would be impossible to cover them all in a full month of nonstop recitation. He memorized by heart Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Rāsapañcādhyāya, Brahmā-stuti, Stavāvalī, many songs from Stava-mālā, Virudāvalī, Vilāpa-kusumāñjalī and many more Sanskrit compositions. He would somehow recite all these prayers daily and chant one hundred thousand names of Bhagavān. Pūjyapāda tridaṇḍī-gosvāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Hṛdaya Vana Mahārāja used to call him nāma-siddha, or realized in the holy names. His Sanskrit pronunciation was strikingly beautiful as well as crystal clear, and his voice was very sweet. He was also proficient in playing mṛdaṅga.
NEVER INCLINED TO ARGUE
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s Vaiṣṇava humility and renunciation were exemplary, and his character was pious and dignified. Never was there a day when he was seen expressing anger, violence or hatred. If anyone would say anything to him in anger, he would simply respond with ‘Hare kṛṣṇa’ and laugh. He was never inclined to argue with anyone.
A PRIME RECIPIENT OF BHAKTI-DEVĪ'S MERCY
The scriptures state, ‘kṛṣṇa bhakte kṛṣṇa-guṇa sakali sañcare—Śrī Kṛṣṇa infuses His devotees with all of His qualities.’ This was always glaringly apparent in Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s character. He was a prime recipient of the mercy of Bhakti-devī, the goddess of devotion, who is the empress of all virtues. All the demigods took up residence within him, as he is replete with all good qualities. His beautiful mouth pronounced the names of Hari at every moment.
Practically all of the Vaiṣṇavas of the maṭha loved Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja had great affection for him. Drawn by this affection, Bābājī Mahārāja resided in many of his maṭhas and participated in various festivals and pilgrimages, thus repeatedly pleasing Śrī Mādhava Mahārāja.
Prior to entering into his unmanifest pastimes at his bhajana-kuṭī in Nandagrāma, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja used to stay at our Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha branch in Śrīdhāma Vṛndāvana. However, his most beloved place to perform bhajana was a tiny secluded chamber in the original ākara-maṭha-rāja Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, on the third floor of the Bhakti-vijaya Bhavana, the bhajana-kuṭī of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Aside from there, in whichever maṭha he visited among the many all over India, he would always look for a quiet place to perform his bhajana. He was the living example of the words of the great personalities before us: “dekho bhāi nāma vinā dina nāhi jāya—look brother, let not a single day go by without the chanting of nāma.” He never spent his time in useless conversation. He was ajāta-śatru, that is, he never considered anyone as his enemy. Today, the more I remember him, the deeper and deeper I feel his absence, and my heart becomes exceedingly distraught.
During parikramā, I often had the good fortune of sharing lodgings with him. It was then I saw how he sat and chanted nāma throughout the night and recited the countless verses he knew. Although he would sing the holy names while playing mṛdaṅga for the entire distance of our parikramā, I never saw him become even a little fatigued. He was always smiling.
CONSTANTLY IMMERSED IN CONTEMPLATION OF BHAGAVĀN
Many wealthy people would give Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja money and expensive things, but he would never keep any of it for himself. Instead, he would distribute those items for the service of Bhagavān and the Vaiṣṇavas. He usually wore just a short knee-length garment around his waist, and he kept a simple bed mat and sheet. He gladly went through the harsh cold of winters with a simple blanket while wearing an ever-smiling face, always satisfied at heart. A person who is constantly immersed in contemplation of Bhagavān does not notice the goings-on around him.
THE PERSONIFICATION OF TṚṆĀD-API SUNĪCENA
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja was never eager for any material gain, worship or prestige. Indeed, he did not long for such things at all. It was as if he was the personification of the tṛṇād-api verse as instructed by Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Alas! Now that I have lost the company of such an exemplary Vaiṣṇava who took such great delight in the worship of the holy names, who knows how long I will have to endure the hellish torture of this unlucky life on the earthly plane.
A PROPAGATOR OF THE MAHĀ-MANTRA
The stickers Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja printed in Hindi and Bengali about the principle of kīrtanīyā sadā hariḥ and mahā-mantra can be seen almost everywhere in Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala, in many places in Śrī Gauḍa-maṇḍala and Śrī Kṣetra-maṇḍala, as well as in almost all of our branches of Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha. Reading or even seeing these stickers always brings to mind sweet memories of him. There are also many places in Vraja where he propagated these teachings by means of stone etchings.
HIS VERY DEAR SONGS
Very dear to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja were the many songs written by the presiding ācārya of Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha in Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa, the most venerable tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, such as Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda-padma-stavakaḥ, Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda-viraha-daśakam, Śrī Śrī Dayita-dāsa-daśakam, Śrī Śrīmad Gaura-kiśora-namaskāra-daśakam, and the seventy-verses of Śrī Śrī Premadhāma-deva-stotra, especially the following verse:
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa-nāma kīrtanaṁ
rāma rāma gāna-ramyadivya-chanda nartanaṁ
yatra yatra kṛṣṇa-nāma-dāna-loka-nistaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devaṁ-eva naumi gaura-sundaraṁ
Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotra (22)
I venerate that Lord, the abode of love Gaura-sundara, who always danced as He sang the names “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa” and “Rāma, Rāma” in beautiful melodies. Wherever He went, He bestowed the names of Kṛṣṇa and delivered the people of that place.
He often sang the above verse as well as one of the lines from Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda’s song Vaiṣṇava Ke?: “karô uccaiḥ-svare harināma-rava—chant the names of Śrī Hari at the top of your voice.”
HIS INDOMITABLE ENTHUSIASM FOR PRACTICING AND PREACHING HARINAMA
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja printed a small booklet containing a collection of teachings of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and His dear associates, the Gosvāmīs, regarding nāma-bhajana. He would distribute this booklet everywhere free of charge and give it to others to distribute, as well. He was possessed of indomitable enthusiasm when it came to the practice and preaching of śrī harināma. Kṛṣṇa was very merciful to have granted us the fortune of associating with a Vaiṣṇava so dedicated to the holy names. Today, it is a matter of great misfortune that we have been deprived of his company. But as it is said, “svatantra kṛṣṇera icchā hôilô saṅga bhaṅga—it is by the independent will of Kṛṣṇa that my association with him has been severed.”
OUR LAST INTERACTION
During Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā last Kārtika, when we had his audience at that same bhajana-kuṭīra in Nandagrāma, he repeatedly declared, “I will not go anywhere else.” Nandagrāma was time and again the place he chose as most favorable for his bhajana. Hence, Śrī Hari, who is a wish-fulfilling tree, granted him the eternal shelter of His lotus feet at that very place.
Being a Vaiṣṇava, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja saw no faults in others. All I pray is that he may, out of his good nature, purify me of the various offenses and mistakes I committed at his feet, either knowingly or unknowingly.
OUR PRAYER AT HIS LOTUS FEET
It is our misfortune that one by one, Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda’s intimate associates are all leaving to that eternal abode to render eternal service at his beautiful lotus feet, thereby depriving us of the great fortune of their company. As Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja has recently entered those eternal pastimes, my sole prayer at his lotus feet is to accord me the ability to very soon serve the lotus feet of my eternally worshipful gurupāda-padma.
HIS ATTEMPT TO EDUCATE US
By leaving this world, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples are attempting to educate us, as it is said, “śeṣāḥ sthāvaram icchanti kim āścaryam ataḥ param— the greatest wonder is that people think they will live forever, despite the inevitability of death.” Or, as Lakṣmaṇa has said, “niśvāse naiva viśvāsaḥ kadā ruddho bhaviṣyati—one cannot trust when one might stop breathing.” But we are so unfortunate that even after listening and witnessing these lessons, we are unable to learn them, and thus continue to act in ignorance.
Published in Śrī Caitanya-vāṇī
(Year 22, Volume 4)