- Manjari Dasi (Canada), Disciple
"The Great Gift of Meeting in Separation"
Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayatah, First I offer my unlimited dandavat pranams to my Harinam Gurudeva Nitya lila pravista astotara sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaj, And secondly, I offer my unlimited of dandavat pranams to my Diksha Gurudeva Nitya Lila Pravista astotara sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Vijyana Bharati Gosvami Maharaj. I also offer my unlimited dandavat pranams to our entire Rupanuga Gaudiya Guru Varga, and to all Vaisnavas past, present and future. I consider myself so unqualified to speak anything of the glories of Srila Maharaj, however due to his causeless mercy upon me, and with a straw between my teeth, I am attempting to do so now, and pray for forgiveness from the Vaisnavas for anything I speak incorrectly. I first heard about Srila Maharaj’s lotus feet in 2011 from Vasanti didi at a time when so many devotees around the world were feeling the greatest pains of separation from our Srila Gurudeva. She told me that when asked about Srila Maharaj, our Gurudeva had said, “He has the same mood as me.” And she shared how she and Krsna Mayi didi had left from Srila Maharaj’s darshan with the same rare feelings in their heart that they had felt with our Srila Gurudeva. For many many years since then, although never going to India physically, I followed along Srila Maharaj’s Harikatha whenever it streamed online, and tried to listen even when there was little or no translation, knowing as Maharaj said many times, the words would still enter my heart and have some effect. For many years I made an effort to keep in touch and make a relationship with those who carried faith in Srila Maharaj, hoping to receive a drop of his mercy of some kind. However above all, just by knowing of Srila Maharaj’s presence on this earth instilled a strong and deep hope within. The same hope our Gurudeva instructed us not to lose, ever. Regarding initiation, the more I thought about accepting diskha, the more I felt unqualified for such, but I knew from Srila Gurudeva, and especially in his book Guru-devatatma how significant and important such a step is in our spiritual line, and life, and I therefore held out a humble prayer for that. So the day I found out that Srila Maharaj was accepting disciples was a very memorable, and joyous day because I knew my most significant hope and aspiration may be possible. I also read in places such as Jaiva Dharma that it is recommended to observe a Vaisnava for some time before accepting initiation from them, and to make sure to the best of one’s ability you can see their perfect character, knowledge of sastra, and ability to remove one's doubts. So I feel grateful that even aside from seeing the deep faith in Maharaj from so many of my dearest and most respected seniors and god family, that all such important considerations had been validated in my own heart and mind and one year later I got the most auspicious invitation to attend a skype initiation with Srila Maharaj in Alachua, Florida. By Krsna’s arrangement and despite a few small obstacles, including my own overwhelming feelings of total inadequacy, I had just enough time to attend that most merciful initiation ceremony. There, Srila Maharaj spoke in english, and reminded us among other things to, “always chant Harinam for peace of mind.” This felt like a direct and personal answer for my tired, distressed condition after a chaotic journey from Vancouver to Alachua, but furthermore felt like a real reminder and total means of relief from our unavoidable material suffering, the mind, so often being one of the greatest causes of such suffering. Due to my flight booking I had to fly back in the early morning just before the concluding fire yajna, and felt great despair and hesitation to leave before the yajna could finalize my initiation, however the night before I left, the devotees had gone out for their weekly ecstatic Harinam sankirtan party which I was mercifully able to participate in, and was later reminded by the Vaisnavas that this Harinam Sankirtan is truly the greatest of all yagnas one can preform. I think this was Srila Maharaj’s perfect arrangement. Being always at a distance from Srila Maharaj, I felt always the need to remember the omniscience and transcendental nature of Sri Guru. And also, similar to now, I felt the great gift of meeting in separation, or the chance to look within his instructions to meet with Srila Maharaj. Similar to my Srila Gurudeva, where I had only one very precious moment of direct association, I had the same rare darshan with Srila Maharaj. And as with both, I felt in that one short moment, Srila Maharaj had also seen me in the same way. Not as I thought I was in that moment, but rather only as he was just then giving me the ability to become. Srila Maharaj is Bhakti Vijyana, meaning, in my own simple understanding, he who possesses realized knowledge of Bhakti tattva. So I pray he may also open my eyes by such knowledge, as in the prayer (oṁ) ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ I am blinded by the darkness of ignorance, but śrī guru has mercifully opened my eyes, anointing them with the salve of divine knowledge. I offer praṇāma to that śrī gurudeva. All glories to Srila Maharaj! Patita pavana, Srila Bhaktivijyana Bharati Gosvami Maharaj ki jaya!