Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[March 12, 2023 is the appearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja, a dear disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura. This is a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the disappearance day of Śrīla Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja, on January 29, 2017. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Today is the disappearance of Śrīla Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja, a disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Externally speaking, he was born in Jessore district (now in Bangladesh), in Bodhkhana village. After joining the maṭha, he was awarded the name Parānanda Prabhu.
One of his services was to perform ārati at the Yogapīṭha temple. At that time, ladies from Viṣṇupriyā-pallī would attend the ārati. Later he went to Godruma. Even then all the ladies continued to go and see him perform the ārati. Thereafter, due to some reversal or rearrangement, he went to Bardhaman district, and made his āśrama in Ahiyāpura. When he performed Deity installation there, he decided to take Guru Mahārāja (Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayitā Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja) with him. At that time, Guru Mahārāja inspired him not to stay there, but rather to reside in the dhāma. So, he moved to Māyāpura and made another āśrama there. Guru Mahārāja would often convince his god-brothers to settle in Māyāpura and stay together.
While Śrīla Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Mahārāja was constructing his maṭha in Māyāpura, he was residing in our maṭha. His specialty was that he would nurture small children, cultivating them spiritually, by teaching them how to perform bhajana. Upon being trained nicely however, some other devotees would later adopt the readily trained young devotees [to serve at their respective maṭhas]. Śrīla Śānta Mahārāja would never become upset by this because he considered awarding training as his duty, regardless of where his students ended up. He would name his disciples Rāma Gopāla, Śyāma Gopāla, and so on. His used to speak very softly and sweetly.
Later Guru Mahārāja urged him to take sannyāsa from Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhānasa Gosvāmī Mahārāja and he came to be known as Śrī Bhakti Śaraṇa Śānta Mahārāja. He would participate in festivals at our maṭha and he would also preach. He desired that Guru Mahārāja accept his maṭha, but he declined the offer as he did not want two maṭhas in one location. Guru Mahārāja requested him to retain the ownership, and promised to provide whatever support would be required. Our maṭha in-charge used to help him in all possible ways. Eventually he left his body and was given samādhi there itself.
I never saw Śrīla Śānta Mahārāja engage in a quarrel or argument with anyone. He would not even raise his voice towards his disciples. Most of the time, he used to reside in our maṭha. He was a very loving Vaiṣṇava. I am remembering him on his disappearance day because both appearance and disappearance days [of Vaiṣṇavas] can bestow auspiciousness. Both of them are equally worthy of worship. Remembrance of Vaiṣṇavas brings auspiciousness and their forgetfulness brings inauspiciousness.