Pūjyapāda Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[February 26, 2023 is the disappearance day of Pūjyapāda Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the same tithi on March 5, 2017. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Today is Pūjyapāda Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s tirobhāva tithi. Although he appeared in a lineage of high-class kavirājas (expert Ayurvedic doctor), he chose to become a maṭha-vāsī. He took sannyāsa from Pūjyapāda Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Gosvāmī Mahārāja at Āśrama Mahārāja’s bhajana-kuṭīra in Māyāpura. [Editors’ input: Pūjyapāda Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja is a disciple of HDG Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda]
UNFAILING COMMITMENT TO BRINGING PRASĀDA
Śrīla Mahārāja used to stay in the Kovūra Maṭha and each time we would pass Kovūra by train he would unfailingly come to meet us with prasāda in hand. Then he would also take us for darśana of the Kovūra maṭha. [Kovūra is the place where Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu first met Rāmānanda Rāya] Later he established a maṭha in Rājamundarī, on the east side of the Godāvarī river. His disciple, Śrī Bhakti Kamala Govinda Mahārāja, who was still a child at that time, would also accompany him to the train station with prasāda. They would visit our Hyderabad Maṭha often.
LESSONS BAY BECOMES RĀDHĀNAGARA
Once, Śrīmad Bhakti Vijaya Puruṣottama Tīrtha Mahārāja established a maṭha in Visakhapatnam in the area called "Lessons Bay". Pūjyapāda Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja and myself attended the inauguration of the maṭha and deity installation ceremony there. I suggested for them to change the name from Lessons Bay to Rādhānagara, similar to Kṛṣṇanagara. I felt very happy many years later, when I was there on Mahārāja’s āvirbhāva tithi and I heard his disciple announce the name had been changed to Rādhānagara.
AN ILLNESS PASTIME
There is another maṭha in Purī established by Śrīmad Puruṣottama Tīrtha Mahārāja, and later given to Purī Mahārāja. There, Śrīla Puri Mahārāja performed his illness pastimes. Once, after becoming so ill that he was unable to eat or move, his disciples requested me to go and speak to him, "He accepts only caraṇāmṛta and nothing else. Because he has great affection for you, please encourage him to take something more".
I went the very next morning and asked, "Mahārāja, why have you given up eating and drinking?" In a very low voice he explained, "I have burning pain". I told his disciples to give him one or two spoons of miśri [sugar candy] with saunf [aniseed] soaked in water, every so often. When I met him again after 2-3 days, he told me "I ate rice, brinjal, and jackfruit, so far".
His sevaka confirmed this but admitted he had only taken very little, next to nothing. Eventually they consulted with a doctor from Visakhapatnam who prescribed him strong medicines to be taken with sweet lime juice. The sweet lime juice was not available in Purī at that time so they used to get it from Bhubaneśvara and bring it back to him. After some time he was restored to health and later traveled abroad to preach.
Today is Śrīla Mahārāja’s disappearance day. I remember him and offer my obeisances to him.