Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja
[November 23, 2023 is disappearance day of Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of discourses by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on September 2, 2009, October 13, 2014 and November 04, 2014. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
THE FIRST DARŚANA
When Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura would speak on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in Godrumadvīpa, Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would also come to hear from him. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja wouldn’t speak or associate with anyone, but he would come to Godrumadvīpa to hear Bhāgavatam. It was at that time that Śrīla Prabhupāda first took darśana of him. Sometimes Śrīla Vaṁśī dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would also join him.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had given Śrīla Prabhupāda harināma and chanting beads as well as the Nṛsiṁha mantra with which he would worship Nṛsiṁhadeva. On Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s order, Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted dīkṣā from Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja.
MOST SUITABLE PERSON TO PROPAGATE MAHĀPRABHU’S TEACHINGS
My parama-gurudeva Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda approached Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja for dīkṣā on many occasions. First he was told, “You possess vanity for [high] education, wealth and physical beauty, so you cannot be given dīkṣā.” When he approached him the second time, he was told, “I will ask Mahāprabhu and if He approves, then I will award you dīkṣā.” The third time Śrīla Prabhupāda approached him, Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I forgot to ask Mahāprabhu.” When he requested again, Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja explained, “Mahāprabhu has declined to give – you have conceit hence you cannot be awarded dīkṣā.” But Śrīla Prabhupāda did not give up, he again approached Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and said, “I will not be delivered.” [I will give up my life if you don’t accept me as your disciple.] Then Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja confirmed, “I was testing you. You are a very suitable person to propagate Mahāprabhu’s vāṇī [teachings].” Being pleased, Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja smeared his own foot dust over the whole body of Śrīla Prabhupāda [as a blessing]. Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was a niṣpakṣa [without any prejudice] paramahaṁsa. He was unpredictable, but eventually he had to accede [and give initiation to Śrīla Prabhupāda]. Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was defeated by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s sincere determination.
EXTOLLING THE GLORIES OF THE DHĀMA
In 1910, a gentleman went for dhāma darśana with a return ticket. He bought a watermelon and offered it to Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who usually would not accept anything given by anyone, however he accepted that watermelon. When Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja inquired his reason behind visiting the dhāma, he replied, “I have come for dhāma darśana and I also have my return ticket so I will go back after some days.” Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “I haven’t heard of anyone coming to the dhāma and returning.” Will anyone be able to read in between the lines and understand the import of what Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said? In Bhagavad-gītā we have heard this śloka a hundred times –
na tad bhāsayate sūryo
na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
[That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.]
Despite hearing this śloka so many times, did we ever think of the śloka in this way? We only read, but we don’t follow; we don’t imbibe the teachings or the moods of the ślokas. This is our position.
That person, who was visiting the dhāma, became completely astonished and [by the inspiration of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja] accepted dīkṣā from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. By accepting dīkṣā in the true sense, one becomes a real dhāma-vāsī. After that, wherever one goes, he carries the dhāma with him; one carries the dhāma within his heart. The dhāma then becomes the centre of one’s existence.
THE GREATEST SCHOLAR
Śrīla Prabhupāda said with reference to Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja – “I roamed all over India but I did not come across a scholar like him.” Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja was illiterate from the worldly consideration. How is he a ‘scholar’ then? He was completely aware of the concept of śabda, as explained in the Bhāgavad Gītā.
Śrīla Bābāji Mahārāja used to reside in a broken boat. Once, it became very cold and so one wealthy individual from Navadvīpa named Kunḍu offered a quilt to Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja. Accepting it, Śrīla Bābāji Mahārāja folded it and kept it outside. He commented, “Seeing this quilt the cold won’t approach me, as I will be reminded that this blanket belongs to him [Kundu].”
One time there was flood and although the boat in which Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja stayed was tied to a big noose, people still did not believe it was safe; they felt that the noose would break and the boat would drift away. Thus [someone] requested Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja, “Please come with us.” Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja replied, “Only if you allot the room of my choice, I will go.” He was assured, “Yes of course.” When Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja went there, he chose to stay in the toilet. Why toilet? Because no one would come and disturb him there. He would perform his harināma there.
On another occasion, Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja asked the place where Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken, to be smeared with cow dung, but when he was questioned, ‘Why should we do so? This is the place where Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has been spoken!” Then Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja replied, “Well, I did not hear any Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. All I heard is Rupaiyā! Rupaiyā! [Money! Money!].”
At another time, one individual mentioned that in future he would reside in the dhāma and for this purpose, he had purchased a piece of land which measured 200 square yards. In response Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja said, “Is he so wealthy as to purchase 200 square yards of land where one speck of dust is Cintāmaṇi [a wish fulfilling gem]?” Just see, what a response!
That is the reason Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura said, “Great scholars would not be able to reconcile what Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja was be able to reconcile. That is why he is such an exemplary scholar.”
Often, when people would crowd up to meet with Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja, he would say, “Please pay three rupees for my darśana [audience]. Only if you pay the requisite three rupees, you will get my audience, not otherwise.” Else he would stay indoors. [In this way, he would delude those with ulterior motives.]
One time Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja went to the residence of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura dressed in a nice dhoti and kurtā, holding a cane in his hand. When Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura inquired, “Bābāji Mahārāja what is this līlā (pastime)?” He responded, “Nowadays this outfit is nice. Because nowadays sādhus behave opposed to the way they dress.” [Better dress like a materialist so at least people will not call me sādhu and thus call me names.]
WHO CAN DARE TO TOUCH?
Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja had declared – “When I leave this world, tie a noose around my neck and drag my body on the road smeared with the dust of Navadvīpa. When my body contacts the foot dust of the devotees, then it will be auspicious for me.” So when he actually left his body, some bābājis came, to tie a noose around Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja’s neck [as per his desire] and then give him samādhi. But Śrīla Prabhupāda warned them, “Dare you do so!” [fully aware that Śrīla Bābāji Mahārāja’s ‘instruction’ was just an expression of his utmost humility.]
Then some refuted that Śrīla Prabhupāda was just a brahmacāri. Any bābāji’s final rites are to be performed by bābājis and sannyāsis. By that time, a police inspector also arrived on the scene. Śrīla Prabhupāda then said, “Anyone who touches the transcendental body of Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja will be doomed, only those who have not had any illicit connection with a woman can touch his body. Otherwise they will be doomed.” So the police inspector questioned, “This way anyone will claim. [That they are pure.]” Then Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Let them speak if they dare and we will see. Even within last one year, within one month, even in their minds, if anyone has not had any illicit connection, only they can touch the body of Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja.” Everyone went away, and then Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja was given samādhi. And later when there was fear that Ganga would flood the place where Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja was originally given samādhi, then his samādhi was shifted to Śrī Māyāpura where it is presently situated. And his Deity form was also established there itself. That Deity of Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja is very amazing, Śrīla Prabhupāda manifested it from his heart. So many days [years] have passed and it is as it is.
So I beg for Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābāji Mahārāja’s mercy.