"Simultaneously Strict and Sweet"
What to possibly write in honor of a pure guru as our Srila Maharaja?
When crisis and despair is so deep, the Supreme Lord mercifully sends His non-different (saksad-haritvena) representative to pull us closer, to keep us under His umbrella of shelter. Showing us we are not alone and have no reason to fear.
My Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja sent this person to me, to continue instructing and guiding me on my journey of the soul.
On first meeting Srila Maharaja in Maypura in 2011, he told me a story to show how he and my spiritual master were bosom friends and on the same level. How my heart could breathe again.
In 2011 and 2012, I was blessed with intimate association, as Srila Maharaja did not have many “policemen” as he jokingly called his sevakas.
In Chandigarh, 2011, we got to sit in his divine presence and hear with relish, him explain his seva as a young brahmacari to his Gurudeva, constructing mathas, even to the extent of heavy cement falling on his chest. This did not deter his service one bit. He also shared how his Guru Maharaja taught him and his disciples to help all, regardless of what temple they were from. Cement in those days was hard to purchase in bulk, yet he developed relationships in order to do so, so when my Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvmai Maharaja was building Devananda Gaudiya Matha in Navadipa, Srila Bharti Maharaja got him the permits for the cement.
Upon leaving Chandigarh, Srila Maharaja personally sat myself and Vaijayanti-mala didi down in his room and arranged and watched us honor mahaprasadam before our journey back to Braja. Another time when I was leaving Pune back to Braja, he went into the kitchen to make sure the devotees were packing me prasadam.
SO STRICT and SO SWEET SIMULTANOUSLY
Once in Pune, on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada’s disappearance day, Srila Maharaja came out of his room and watched us honor prasadam. One little girl took too much prasad and was playing with her food. Srila Maharaja told her to finish her whole plate, or he would beat her with his cane (and he held his cane up). I only had okra left on my plate, and I unfortunately dislike okra so was feeling worried he would see that it was left on my plate. Lo and behold, he looked my way, held up his cane and said, “that goes for you too.”
A few days later I was leaving Pune to go to South India (Udupi) to pick Syamarani didi up from an ayurvedic clinic she was receiving treatment at. I went to Srila Maharaja to tell him I was going and he asked how I was getting to Udupi. I said, “by bus,” and he said, “so much hardship.” I told him it was no hardship.
Now its hard to believe a year has passed and I am again in the airport on my way to see him. As Srila Maharaja would always say, no need to ask for mercy, it is already there, I pray I can see him and his protection and love in my minute-to-minute, second-second existence.
Aspiring to serve Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, Vasanti dasi