Bidding Farewell to Jagannātha-deva
Almost every year Śrīla Mahārāja’s tickets from Delhi to Bhubaneśvara were reserved three days prior to snāna-yātrā for the purpose visiting Jagannātha Purī. [In 2017] however due to Śrīla Mahārāja manifesting his sickness pastime, he was brought to Faridabad instead of Mānasa, with a stopover at Ambala. When the tickets to Bhubaneśvara were cancelled, his servants explained, “Your health is not good, therefore, we are cancelling your program to go to Purī. Last year, due to your being unwell, so many inconveniences had to be faced, yet somehow we managed to bring you to Delhi. So to go there [to Purī], in the midst of your ill-health, seems inappropriate. When you are there you give darśana and speak with all the devotees and by doing so your condition will get worse. Besides we go to Purī every winter by the end of December anyway.
Śrīla Mahārāja replied, “Generally I will abide by what you all say, however, for approximately 62 years, I have gone to Purī every year for darśana of Ratha-yātrā in the wake of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s words spoken to Śivānanda Sena and the residents of Kulīna-grāma :
prati-varṣe āmāra saba bhakta-gaṇa lañā guṇḍicāya āsibe sabāya pālana kariyā
[O Śivānanda Sena! “Come every year and bring all My devotees with you to the Guṇḍicā festival. I also request you to maintain all of them.”]
kulīna-grāmīre kahe sammāna kariyā pratyabda āsibe yātrāya paṭṭa-ḍorī lañā
[The Lord then with great respect extended an invitation to all the inhabitants of Kulīna-grāma, asking them to come every year bringing silken rope to carry Lord Jagannātha during the Ratha-yātrā festival.] Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 15.97-98
One important consideration is that during the time of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma-parikramā, I was able to bid farewell to Śrīdhāma Māyāpura and now I wish to bid farewell to Śrī Jagannātha-deva as well. Therefore please heed my words this time. You are all my Prabhus, therefore everything depends on you. After this I shall not say anything; whatever your desire may be, whatever you can understand, however you are inspired, act accordingly.” The servants responded, “Mahārāja, this time you are giving the pretext of bidding farewell, next year you will conceive of some other pretext.” Śrīla Mahārāja said, “Whatever you make out of it, I will not say anything.”
After speaking in this manner, the servants arranged for Śrīla Mahārāja’s comfortable travel to Śrī Jagannātha Purī. Śrīla Mahārāja reached Purī two days prior to Ratha-yātrā. Every day Śrīla Mahārāja spoke hari-kathā for the devotees gathered there from all over the world and at the end Śrīla Mahārāja would distribute mahā-prasāda with his own hands. One day, Śrīla Mahārāja visited Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha situated at the appearance place of Śrīla Prabhupāda and upon entering his Guru Mahārāja’s bhajana kuṭīra, he began to say in front of the servants, “I have taken leave of Guru Mahārāja, now take me to Siṁha-dvāra of Śrī Jagannātha Mandira, I desire to take leave of Patita-pāvana Jagannātha as well.” After bidding farewell to Śrī Jagannātha-deva, Śrīla Mahārāja returned to his bhajana-kuṭīra from Śrī Jagannātha Mandira.
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.