My Connection Grew Stronger After his Departure
Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayatah! Sri Sri Gandharvika Giridhari Jayatah!
Sri Sri Radha Nayananatha Jayatah!
First of all, I would like to offer my unlimited prostrated obeisances unto the lotus feet of my most beloved diksa guru padapadma, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijnana Bhārati Gosvāmī Maharaja and my same unlimited prostrated obeisances unto the lotus feet of my most beloved siksa gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvāmī Maharaja, and unto all my Svarupa-Rupanuga Gaudiya guruvarga.
Guru Maharaja is like a multi-faceted spiritual gem. By whichever angle we may approach his divine grace, we are bound to meet with unfathomable astonishment, beauty and bliss. My mind races in unlimited directions when it comes to glorifying him. It is as if each and every quality of his is playing a tug-of-war to gain supremacy over the other.
I just about got a year being around Guru Maharaja and before I could even manage to establish a personal relationship with him, he had disappeared from my external vision. Initially I could not fathom how this void would ever be filled and what my position would be, especially in his physical absence. However, as time passed by, the words of Srila Gurudeva [Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja] came alive, that a sad-guru does two things by his divine departure – he exponentially increases his disciples’ affection towards him and their service mood towards him.
In reality, their act of disappearance is the epitome of their magnanimity and compassion. That is how it exactly panned out for me. My sense of connection with him grew stronger and my inclination to serve him also increased compared to when he was physically present.
I remember when Srila Swami Maharaja was about to leave from this world, his first sannyasa disciple sobbed by his bed in Vrindavan, begging him to stay for a little longer in this world, because they [his disciples] were still very much like children in spiritual maturity and that a lot more had to be learnt from him. To this Srila Prabhupada’s reply was grave, “Some lessons will be learnt only by my departure.” I especially noted that very deeply in my heart.
All of us have to inevitably cross that bridge someday, and it is something everyone truly wishes that they never have to encounter in their lives. However, having witnessed it, we realize how sublime, how monumental, how essential and how instrumental it was in shaping and sky-rocketing our spiritual lives.
It gradually became somewhat clear to me what Guru Maharaja had planted in my heart. How by his mere presence he had effortlessly transformed and purified my consciousness, and how he is continuing to do so. At every step, I experienced his potency working on me, protecting me and guiding me. I could feel his limitless potency, his presence. I realized that although he had become unmanifest from my external vision, he had created a personal channel for his each and every disciple and follower where they could access him and reach out to him without any barrier. Anytime. Anywhere.
In hopelessness, I found hope. In despair, I found peace. That he was there for me, always. That I was not an orphan anymore.
Externally he was so unassuming. He never came with a tag or reputation that ‘I have come to win your hearts’, like was the case with our Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. You had to warm up to Guru Maharaja. It was a gradual process. But yet, I find so many say this, ‘Srila Maharaja captured our hearts with his limitless sweetness and affection’.
Guru Maharaja was quintessentially a PRACTICAL REALIST.
One would often find him say, “Bada Mushkil – Very Difficult” and “Rome was not built in a day!”
So many disciples of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva who came to him for siksa, share that they underwent a reality check about their own adhikara, a sobering experience of sorts. This was also true of anyone else who met him. So many subtle aspects of spiritual life Guru Maharaja made them reach out within their hearts, and assess deeply to rediscover their task at hand. The many generations of Vaisnavas he had witnessed and used to talk about, gave a clear indication of what it was like and how far the ground needed to be covered. His answers were like a soothing balm and not like a wet blanket because they sprang from pure compassion, free from any trace of envy.
For many, it gave them a new meaning and further actualization, of what they had understood of the siksa they had received from Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. And for those who were open, they realized what they had received from him and what they could possibly receive from a Sva-jatiya Snigdha Vraja Rasika Mahabhagavata Vaisnava.
Guru Maharaja, your coming, although for a very short span, was like a spiritual grounding as well as oasis for many, all your loving disciples and followers very dearly miss you. Your spotless precept, your sweet hari-katha and your affectionate exchanges is what we have as our sustenance.
Hoping to reunite with you in some lifetime along with all our rupanuga acaryas whom you so perfectly glorified. Till then what I have is your service in separation. And the service to the Vaisnavas – the supreme panacea as you called it – your supreme gift to this world.
I only have a long list of disqualifications. So I beg you on this day to please empower me to always sincerely and selflessly remain in the service of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas, following in the footsteps of your immaculate precept.
Aspiring to be Vaisanava dasanudasa in the truest sense of the word,
Your unworthy Son,