RECEIVING MANTRAS REPLETE WITH PRICELESS TEACHINGS
Śrīla Mahārāja used to say, “Although I received my dīkṣā mantras from my Gurupādapadma, I received various mantras from the many disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda. In other words, I received mantras in the form of the many teachings from them.” Among those, we are presenting a few mantras here, from the very words of Śrīla Mahārāja.
TRANQUILITY EXPERIENCED ONLY AT THE LOTUS FEET OF EXALTED VAIṢṆAVAS
[Busily] engaged in the service of guru and Vaiṣṇavas, I did not have the slightest inkling as to how twenty-four years passed by [before Guru Mahārāja devised his unmanifest pastime (aprakaṭa-līlā)]. Thereafter, Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Mahārāja became our guardian. He would guide us on how to conduct ourselves, what we should do, what is appropriate and what is not, etc. Only at his lotus feet [or in his shelter], I would experience tranquility – nowhere else.
THE MANTRA RECEIVED FROM ŚRĪ ŚRĪMAD BHAKTI PRAMODA PURĪ GOSVĀMĪ MAHĀRĀJA
Once, Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was ecstatically singing in front of Śrī Jagannātha’s chariot – ‘sei ta parāṇa-nātha pāinu, ĵāhā lāgi’ madana-dahane jhuri’ genu’ (now I have gained the Lord of My life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away). There was a bag hanging from his shoulder in which he would carry a kīrtana book, bead bag and other small, miscellaneous items. Just as one pickpocket, citing an opportunity, reached into Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s bag, my god brother Śrī Nārāyaṇa Kapoor, caught that pickpocket’s hand and began to loudly proclaim with great pride, “I have caught the pickpocket! I have caught the pickpocket!” Repeating this over and over again, he somehow managed to get the attention of Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who chastised him, “Money will come and go. Whoever wants it, may take it. But can this mood that has now awakened be attained at all times?” Śrī Nārāyaṇa Kapoor then said to me, “I was only doing a good deed; I cannot understand why Mahārāja chastised me in return!” Although Śrī Nārāyaṇa Kapoor could not comprehend Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s response, I accepted the essence of his words in the form of a mantra: ‘When spontaneous bhāva arises for Bhagavān, all other things become inferior in comparison.’
Once, under the guidance of Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, I went to Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Saurabha Bhaktisāra Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s maṭha in Māyāpura to attend a Deity installation festival. While honoring prasāda, Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja made me sit next to him. Śrīla Bhakti Saurabha Bhaktisāra Gosvāmī Mahārāja, with his own hands, served parboiled (processed) rice onto Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s plate and because I was seated next to Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, he served that same rice onto my plate as well, in spite of being my guru-varga. Prior to that day, neither Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja nor myself had ever accepted parboiled rice in our entire life. Reading my state of mind, Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja said, “Everything offered by a Vaiṣṇava is nirguṇa, or transcendental”, and he began to honor the rice prasāda. Following Śrīla Mahārāja’s precept, I also honored the rice prasāda and from that day on I accepted the words of Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja as a mantra and abided by them throughout my life.
Once, my god-brother Śrī Viṣṇu Prabhu and I were seated with Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja at Kolkata station in a train bound for Jagannātha Purī. Upon noticing us, one very affluent gṛhastha Vaiṣṇava approached and began to heavily chastise Śrī Viṣṇu Prabhu. Later taking a large sum of donation in his hand, he offered it to Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who responded by saying, “You have committed an offence to a Vaiṣṇava, what to speak of accepting anything from you, I don’t wish to even speak or have any relationship with you.” That affluent person said, “Mahārāja I wish to serve you, please accept my offering.” Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja retorted, “If I accept anything offered by you, then I will have to share the result of the offence you have committed. Therefore, I shall not accept anything from you.” Despite his many endeavours, Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja did not accept anything from him. I noted those words of Śrīla Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja as a mantra – ‘By accepting anything offered by an offender, one has to share the result of his offence.’ Since then, I have followed this principal throughout my life.
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.