Your Invaluable and Unprecedented Gifts
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
I offer my respectful obeisances to my diksha-guru, nitya-lila pravista Om Visnu-pada paramahamsa astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Gosvami Maharaja and with the same attention, respect and affection I offer pranams to my siksha-guru, my most well-wisher, Om Visnu-pada paramahamsa astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja.
Dear Gurudev Bharati Maharja,
Before I attempt writing a glorification letter I would like to express my position by using Devakinandana dasa‘s Vaisnava-vandana when he expresses his regret:
vandanā korite mui kato shakti dhori
tamo-buddhi-doshe mui dambha mātra kori (9)
tathāpi mūkera bhāgya manera ullāsa
dosha kshami’ mo-adhāme karo nija dāsa (10)
“What power do I have to glorify them (the Vaisnavas)? Afflicted by ignorance, I only exhibit conceit. Yet, even one who is dumb (such as me) is greatly fortunate and joyful at heart (to have an opportunity to glorify them). (O Vaisnavas,) forgive the fault of this fallen soul and make me your own servant.”
If Devakinandana dasa, out of his great humility, is expressing his feelings in this way, what to speak about my position?! To glorify a Vaisnava one must be at least at the level of that Vaisnava. But I find myself like an ant on the shore of a big Ocean, like a grasshopper at the foot of the Himalayan Mountain, like a spider underneath a big Banyan three, how could they probably describe what they see in front of them? Impossible! So, how am I able to glorify You in this most auspicious event of your Vyasapuja anniversary? Still I found somewhere in my heart the courage to express my tiny understanding of Your personality.
In his Caitanya Caritamrta, Krishna Dasa Kaviraj Gosvami writes:
jive sakshat nahi tate chaitya guru rupe siksha guru hai Krishna mahanta svarupe
Adi lila 1.58
“Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna Himself.”
In this verse it has been revealed the absolute truth about the identity of the Guru. However I remember almost every time when the devotees would gather together during the festivals and they would glorify Your transcendental qualities then You would utter this verse:
jagai madhai hoite mui se päpistha purisera kita hoite mui se laghistha mora nama sune yei, tara punya-ksaya mora nama loy yei, tara papa hoy
“I am more sinful than Jagäi and Mädhäi and I am lower than a worm in stool. Anyone who hears my name loses his pious merit and anyone who pronounces my name commits a sin.”
I especially remember the first class I heard from You some years back in Jalandar. Only fifteen days earlier I had the opportunity of meeting You the first time in Mayapur. I did not know much about You at that time (even now I do not know much), but already my heart was stolen by You. On that occasion a big gathering was organized, many senior Vaisnavas and Acaryas were invited. They all spoke Hari Katha one by one for a couple of hours. Then at the end of their speech everybody stood up and looked in the same direction. I felt a big energetical wave crashing in the hall as You appeared. It seemed to me that You were not walking but flying. I held my breath while You were walking. Your clothes were emanating radiant effulgence. All attention of the big crowd of guests went on You. No one was distracted in that moment. Unanimously everybody felt the urgency to pay their heartfelt respects to You, even the new comers. When you started to speak and this sentence was the most striking for me:
“All Vaisnavas and Sannyasis here are sitting on the floor and I am sitting on the chair. This is only due to the problem of my old age. In reality I came in this assembly only to fulfill their order. I consider all these Vaisnavas here sitting on the dais to be my Gurus; to honor their order I came to speak.” And then You uttered with great emphasis the famous sloka:
jagai madhai hoite mui se päpistha purisera kita hoite mui se laghistha
I was struck by wonder. It was really evident that You could attract easily the multitude of the different variety of guests and devotees in the assembly, but when You revealed Your heart, when You showed Your genuine Vaisnava humility, then in that moment Your words cut automatically a piece of ego from my heart. And by your grace I could understand why in the scriptures it is so much emphasized that we should always be in association with the devotees who are in higher platform than us. It Is the only easy way to became honestly humble.
What I miss of You
krsna-bhakti-janma-mula haya `sadhu-sanga' krsna-prema janme, tenho punah mukhya anga
["The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krsna is association with advanced devotees. Even when one's dormant love for Krsna awakens, association with devotees is still most essential." (Caitanya-Caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.83)]
Dear Gurudev Bharati Maharaj, I miss Your astonishing Hari Katha in Jagannath Puri Dham, especially during Ratha Yatra festival. At that time I was always feeling that I could listen from Your lotus lips speaking about Caitanya Caritamrta for hours, for days, for years, all life and life after life. And the way You were explaining each and every associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu coming from Bengal to Puri was revealing Your secret and confidential personal association with them. Otherwise, how were You able to describe some of their small peculiar quality? For instance, that day when You described the dear associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu, Kolavecha Sridhar. You mentioned how he is so innocent, that he can believe anything one would say to him. Even it was not Your intention to show openly that you knew personally all those associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu on a spiritual platform, it was easy to understand it by the intimate way You could described their qualities. Automatically you revealed that you were taking their association and in this way continuing to nourish your Bhakti.
Dear Gurudev Bharati Mahraja, You gave (and still giving) an immense contribution to whole Vaisnava society. Your translation in Hindi of the Caitanya Caritamrta is the crest jewel of Your innumerable services. You are the most qualified to do this translation because before accomplishing this task You served all the lotus feet of all prominent disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Who are the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta? They have been sent directly from Sriman Mahaprabhu to support His service, so they are actually His intimate associates. And what is the Caitanya Caritamrta if not the glorification of all the associates of Lord Caitanya and about the spiritual waves of loving devotion in which the Lord wanted to relish Himself and inundate all those who were surrounding Him? So, before accomplishing this translation, You wanted to be sure that by personally serving all of them, by their mercy, You would have realized all the teachings of the Sri Caitanya Caritamrta to set an example for all of us that we should not speak or write anything that has not been personally realized and experienced first.
HOW DO I SEE YOU
As Valmiki came as Tulasi Das-ji to compile the Ramayana in a simple language;
As Rupa Gosvami came as Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur to make more accessible his writing;
As Vyasa came as Vrindavan Dasa Thakur to narrate Sriman Mahaprabhu’s pastimes;
In my small opinion, in the small kingdom of my heart, You are Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami that came, not only to translate his Caitanya Caritamrta in the official language of India, or Hindi, but also to compile the precious and unedited “Vaisnava Caritamrita”, in other words, the life and teaching of all the prominent disciples and grand-disciples of Srila Bhatisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. If You would not have narrated all your personal experiences that You collected by serving those Vaisnavas, and if Your tireless intimate sevaks of the publishing group would not have dedicated themselves to realize this task, all the Vaisnava community would now be deprived of an important milestone in their spiritual life. What would be our condition if Krishna Dasa Kaviraj Gosvami would not have compiled his Sri Caitanya Caritamrta? Same condition we would have now if you would not have spoken Your life history.
Please Gurudev, on the auspicious day of Your Avirbhava Tithi, bless me and all the Vaisnava community to become inspire more and more, to read, speak, share and distribute Your books, that are a matchless gift.
Dasa-anudasi Kalindi dasi