- Remembrance in Separation - Bhagavata Patrikā
Service in unfavourable circumstances
After accepting shelter at the lotus feet of my Guru Mahārāja, I once was required to spend a long time living under a tin-shed in Māyāpura. One day, due to an intense storm, the tin-shed flew away. I couldn’t even estimate how far it was flung. So, to protect the cement bags from the rain-water, I placed them on my bed (a traditional Indian four-legged bed with no storage space underneath) and, covering them with a plastic sheet, I spent the whole night sitting there, underneath the bed. For two days, there wasn’t even any arrangement for prasāda. However, due to my youth, no inconvenience even came to my cognition. On the contrary, I felt euphoric thinking how even Dhruva [Mahārāja], despite being a prince, had sustained on tree leaves for such a long time, whereas I am just the son of an ordinary brāhmaṇa, engaged in studying and teaching the scriptures, performing Deity worship and training others in Deity worship. Secondly, I remembered how Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Sudāmā had gone to the forest to collect wood on the instruction of the wife of their guru Sandipāni Muni and established an ideal in service despite the incessant rain they encountered. So, if a similar circumstance has come upon me, then it is only my good fortune.
One time in Śrī Jagannātha Purī, a bag of cement fell on my shoulder from a great height, fracturing one of the shoulder bones. Thus, [as a precaution] the doctor advised me against climbing any high place [until full recovery]. However, on the day of the Deity installation, seeing that no technician, engineer or devotee could muster the courage to climb the dome of the temple to fix the cakra, I said, “What is the fear? I can do this service myself”. Some of my god-brothers dissuaded, “But you have been prohibited by your doctor from climbing heights”. I said, “What is the worst that can happen? I will die. So be it. I will die while serving”. Eventually I myself fixed those cakras.
I was the one to recite the mantras during the fire sacrifice conducted at the famous temple named Devi Tālāba in Jhalandhara. Because, that day, when I observed that the priest [who was appointed to conduct the sacrifice] was not chanting the mantras properly, I said, “I know how to invoke and douse the fire for different sacrifices. Therefore, let me recite the mantras.” Again, during the Deity installation at the Gauḍīya Maṭha in a place called Bhatinḍā, I was the one to recite the mantras. Earlier my body had the strength and spirit. Whenever any service opportunity arose, whatever the circumstance may have been, I never worried about anything. Even now, my enthusiasm and will-power has not dampened to the slightest. In fact, even now I think – what is the inconvenience even if I were to die while residing underneath a tree? I cannot escape my destiny.
SERVICE DONE WITH GOOD INTENTION GLADLY ACCEPTED BY GURU MAHĀRĀJA
Once, an electronic [spiritual] exhibition [depicting different pastimes of Bhagavān] was organized during the time of Jhūlana-yātrā in our Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha in Vrṇdāvana. In a letter from Kolkata, Guru Mahārāja instructed me to demarcate the visitors, for their convenience, into two separate queues using ropes, one for men and one for women.
I wrote back to Guru Mahārāja saying that it would be better to have three queues instead of two. Guru Mahārāja again instructed, “Two queues will suffice.” Still, I arranged for three queues for the visitors. When Guru Mahārāja arrived in Vrṇdāvana, seeing three queues, he said to me, “I told you to form two queues, yet you arranged for three. Nevertheless, it is fine.” As our maṭha was the first to organize such an electronic exhibition in Vrṇdāvana during Jhūlana, the throngs of visitors coming for the exhibition continued to increase, so much so that they became a challenge to manage. Contemporary eminent scholars as well as the extremely honorable and famous personalities of Vrṇdāvana such as Śrī Ānandamayī Mā, Śrī Atula Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī, Kāṭhiyā Bābā and the likes wrote to Guru Mahārāja, “We have heard that an exceedingly beautiful exhibition has been organized in your maṭha. Despite our ardent desire to pay a visit, big impediments are our old age, and added to that, the throngs of visitors. Is there any arrangement by which we can [comfortably] witness the exhibition?” After consulting with me, Guru Mahārāja responded, “I will make all the arrangements for your darśana.” In this way, when the many eminent personalities arrived to see the exhibition, one by one, with utmost ease, Guru Mahārāja would accompany each of them through the third queue for a personal tour the exhibition while explaining elaborately. After five days of such encounters, while patting my back with his benedictory hands, in other words, while giving me his blessings, Guru Mahārāja exclaimed, “Wise work! Wise work!”
The ‘Remembrance in Separation’ series, dedicated to Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was first published in Sri Sri Bhagavata Patrika in Hindi in the year 2018. The series unfolded over three volumes (Year 14, Volume 9-10, 10-11, 11-12).
Now, we are presenting the English translation of this in the form of a series of articles released in www.vcvani.com.
Since it covers a brief sketch of Śrīla Mahārāja’s life and precepts from childhood to his final pastimes, this series will be unfolded from now until his tirobhava tithi.