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.
THE MANTRA RECEIVED FROM ŚRĪ ŚRĪMAD BHAKTI PRAJÑĀNA KEŚAVA GOSVĀMĪ MAHĀRĀJA
For a certain period, on the order of my Guru Mahārāja, I would daily visit Śrī Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha in Navadvīpa to take dictation from Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja and later have it edited by Śrīla Śrīdhara Gosvāmī Mahārāja. At one point, Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja filed a court case against Śrīla Bhakti Kevala Auḍulomi Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the then ācārya of Bāgbāzār Gauḍīya Maṭha. He accused him and his supporters of not being real followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura as they had rejected: (1) the loud chanting of the hare kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra; (2) the saffron dress of the sannyāsa order; and (3) the performance of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā. He therefore asserted that they were not worthy of being called disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and hence, they had no right to reside in the maṭhas established by him.
The day before the judge was to present the verdict, Śrīla Auḍulomi Gosvāmī Mahārāja awarded sannyāsa to eight of his disciples. The next day, before arriving to court, donning saffron colored sannyāsa-veśa and accompanied by all his disciples and followers, he loudly chanted harināma-saṅkīrtana around the whole town. In the presence of the judge, he said, “We have arrived here clad in saffron, holding our sannyāsa-daṇḍas in hand amidst the loud chanting of harināma-saṅkīrtana. We have even established a maṭha in Godrumadvīpa in the name of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and have established his mūrti (deity form) in that maṭha as well. Who then can claim in any way that we are not the disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda?”
The judge awarded the decision in favor of Śrīla Auḍulomi Gosvāmī Mahārāja and his followers. Thus, Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja had apparently lost the case. I said to Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, “You and your god-brothers have invested a lot of effort into this case. So now, having lost it, won’t you resubmit your petition for a review of the verdict in the court?” Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja replied, “We will do that only if they stop following Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings again. My sole objective was to make them follow the directions of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and now we have observed that they are indeed doing this. Thus, in reality, the victory is ours. Although they have won the case externally, factually they have lost, as they were unsuccessful in all their attempts to act whimsically and contrary to the conclusive truths. We were only fighting to establish viśuddha-siddhānta (supremely pure conclusive truth) and to maintain their connection with Śrīla Prabhupāda. We have no other motivation.”
While Śrīla Prabhupāda was physically present, Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja desired to buy a piece of Muslim-owned land adjacent to Śrīvāsa-aṅgana. The Muslim owner, however, being displeased with the growing influence of Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpura, was unwilling to sell that land to them.
Impelled by some circumstances, when Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja officially separated from Śrī Caitanya Maṭha, and formed his own organization called ‘Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti’, that Muslim owner very gladly sold that land to him. As soon as the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Maṭha came to know Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja had acquired that land, they broke its boundary wall and claimed it to be part of their property.
When I reported this to Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, he laughingly said, “That is absolutely fine. I do not have any reservations with it. During Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence, I wanted to acquire that land from the Muslims. Seeing that we owned all the surrounding property except for this small piece of land owned by those who are opposed to the activities of bhakti greatly pained me. I did not purchase this land for my own enjoyment, but solely with an objective of service unto Śrīla Prabhupāda. If Śrī Caitanya Maṭha has claimed that land, it is not an offence. Rather, it is my fortune that they have taken that land for the service of Śrīla Prabhupāda.” After that, he gave me the following mantra as a teaching - “We are not here to deal in real estate business. Our only aim and objective is to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda and the Vaiṣṇavas.”
In this way I received from Śrīla Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja the following mantras:
‘Never compromise when it comes to principles. Lead your life with the sole aim of protecting principles.’
‘We are not here to deal in real estate business, but to serve the Vaiṣṇavas.’
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.