The most honorable thing I can say about His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Goswami Maharaj is not my own words, but those of Srimati Syamarani Didi, my siksa Guru, who referred me to him. She said he is a pure devotee on the same level as Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaj. Those who know Srimati Syamarani Didi know that praise, nor anything else, does not casually from her lips, and this praise was about as high as it gets.
My most memorable moment with my Guru Maharaj was when he gave me my Diksa initiation. After blessing my beads and my bead bag, he reached out to hand them back to me, and I, foolishly as more often than not, especially when I am nervous, reached out with one hand to receive them. With such sharpness he exclaimed, “No!” And instilled, finally, somewhat of a fear of God that I am still developing, to help me be careful in all that I do (we should receive with both hands, respectfully). We can learn so much philosophy, but it is the love and the care in our activities for Bhagavan that I find actually deepen our relationship with Guru, Vaisnava, and Bhagavan. Guru Maharaj lived in a sharp clarity of reality and shared that consciousness with all of us, through his every action, word, and silence.
Along the same line of thought, Guru Maharaj also instructed us to chant the Holy Names gloriously, with clear and valiant pronunciation.
As sharp as he was, he was also unlimitedly merciful and accommodating to us. When we were receiving our diksa initiation, and instructions for chanting, one fellow Godbrother asked how many rounds we should chant. Maharaj said he would not tell us how many rounds to chant, as, if we did not chant that many rounds, it would be an offense to our Guru’s orders.
He did not want to weigh us down in any way, but to help us stand up, and stand up straight. He is an inconceivable harmony of the most serious strictness and the most unlimited and accommodating acceptance, like the strongest of fathers and the sweetest of mothers combined.
Prior to his association, a lot of my thoughts of Krishna consciousness were centered on Krishna philosophy, and conceiving of the Supreme Personality of Godhead -mental activity. My actual activities were far from ideal – still are. It was my Guru Maharaj who finally cleared the way for Krishna consciousness to become a reality, by emphasizing the practical side of bhakti, perhaps the only real side – true devotion, which shows as care and dedication in every activity, at every moment.
His love and acceptance of me have broken all the boundaries of shame. He was of the highest of brahmins, coming from the highest, strictest culture on the planet, in the universes I suppose. His past-times are of him having to give up rules and regulations in order to please His Guru Maharaj, whereas I have to learn how to behave like a human being. I have to claw my way up, whereas he had to let himself come down, in a sense. Yet despite this huge difference, like the difference between an angel and a pig, He honestly believes in us.
This perhaps is the most powerful asset they have given me that I see making success in Bhakti a possibility – their unconditional acceptance, and belief – honest belief – in me. Without such, I would certainly give up. I believe that may be true for all of us sincere disciples of a bonafide Guru who are not nitya sidhyas, but conditioned souls.
All of my Love and Affectionate Dandavat Pranams to His Lotus Feet