- Vrinda Dasi, (Siksa Disciple, Holland)
A Beacon in a Turbulent Ocean
Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayatah, Dear Maharaja, I offer my unlimited dandavat pranams to you, whose glorious appearance in this world we are celebrating today. I offer my most affectionate dandavat pranams to my beloved Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja, to my spiritual grand fathers, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja and to our Sri Rupanuga Guruvarga - all mercifully came to this world to enlighten the hearts of the conditioned souls with pure bhakti.
Dear Maharaja, the more I am recollecting your qualities and your contributions you gave to this world, the
more I am realizing that they are unlimited, countless and far beyond my limited conception. I therefor beg you to help me to glorify you in a proper way, so that my heart can become purified.
After the disappearance of our beloved Srila Gurudeva from our vision, a dark period was gradually setting in our sanga, resulting in dissatisfaction, miscommunication, devotees feeling discouraged, neglected and disconnected. They started to scatter here and there in different groups or individually and any attempt to unify a loving family which our Gurudeva so desired, was of no avail.
During this time, hearing our desperate crying hearts, like a beacon in a turbulent ocean, our Srila Gurudeva mercifully send you to help us and give us hope and shelter. I remember in 2013 during a big upheaval in our sanga we encountered during our Vraja Mandal parikrama, I escaped to your lotus feet while you were giving hari-katha at Vinod bihari Gaudiya Matha. Sitting in the assembly of your loving, growing, affectionate family, even though I could not register your hari-katha, but by just being there, observing your gentle gestures, your merciful glances, my heart at once came to peace. I was convinced that your personality was beyond doubt, that each syllable you spoke was the absolute truth, fully realized and loaded with pure bhaktisiddhanta, and that you are the embodiment of genuine love and affection and that by your association I somehow or other become purified. This conviction continues for the rest of my life
In times that I needed your personal advice in regards of my services, your loving, gentle sevaks, Madhava priya prabhu and Sundar Gopal prabhu, always helped me to grand your darshan. You kindly gave me time to speak with you and your answers were always so satisfying, inspiring and encouraging that I was convinced that our Gurudeva was speaking through you.
I remember that during these happy years of being in your physical association you quenched our spiritual thirst, you soothed our turbulent hearts and made us feel genuinely loved and fully satisfied. Your humility, gravity and service mood to your Sri Guru and Vaisnavas was extraordinary and sublime.
You often reminded us:
“Je Vaiṣṇava sevile acintya kṛṣṇa pāya – By serving the lotus feet of Vaiṣṇavas, one can attain service of that kṛṣṇa who is acintya, inconceivable.” That personality whom we cannot perceive or conceive of with our senses becomes conceivable by serving the Vaiṣṇavas.”
In this regard you said: “As soon as the opportunity to serve the Vaisnavas presents itself, immediately avail of it, otherwise an opportunity to serve them may never come again. By rendering seva an affectionate bond develops and the relationship becomes condensed.”
This valuable instruction I try to keep close to my heart, together with so many beautiful things you shared. Maharaja, please bless me that one day I can also become a dasanudasa in true sense.
One day I told you that we never were able to come to Puri during Rathayatra and have Sri Jagannath deva’s darshan and that our Gurudeva promised: “One day I will take you there.” But as we were traveling with him during this period of the year it never happened until he departed from our vision in 2010. You encouraged us and said: “You come and I will guide you.” So we came and we were so fortunate to have your association, to observe the Ratha yatra festival and to have your darshan, to hear your hari-katha and receive Jagannath maha-prasad from your hand. We realized that our Gurudeva was guiding us through you and we try to lock those precious moments we had with you tightly in our heart.
One of the greatest contributions you gave to us and to the entire world for generations to come is that you revealed and preserved the richness of the history of our Gaudiya Vedanta lineage in your beautiful book: ‘My Beloved Masters’ and the glories of your Guru Maharaja in ‘Volcanic Energy’. With this you are giving us a glimpse into the lives of illustrious, Gaudiya Vaisnavas in our line by heartedly glorifying them on their appearance day or disappearance day and implanted in our hearts the special affection and appreciation towards all the disciples of Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami and our guru-varga, making us feel a part of the Vaisnava family.
Often times I was struck with your utter humility, your patience and tolerance and firm dedication in Guru-seva, such as you revealed in 2016 when you wrote a letter to the GBC of your Guru Maharaja’s mission. You reluctantly decided to leave the mission, which you served with full dedication for 62 years. As a response to a letter to clarify their misconceptions about the process of initiation you wrote:
Reply to GBC, Notice Dated 07-01-2016
“In this advanced age, there is no reason for me to crave for having disciples, as if a lady in deep labor pains (prasava pida) praying anxiously for the delivery of the newborn. However, at the same time, although I feel that I am totally unqualified for this task and there is a risk that it may even take me to hell, but purely for the service of Guru Maharaja, as well as to maintain the reputation of the society, the gravity of the sampradaya and for service of those devotees seeking harinama-diksha who are repeatedly asking me to perform this service for them, I decided to take upon myself this onerous but crucial task and started giving harinama-diksha to sincere devotees and shall continue to do so.”
Later on that year, just before Gaura purnima, before the annual GBC meeting in Mayapura would take place in which the decision was already made to dispel you from your responsibilities, Madhava priya prabhu took you to Gurgaon, Delhi, where later on we met you again together with your sevaks, BV Nemi Maharaja, Syamarani didi, Vasanti, and a few other senior devotees. With utmost humility you explained: “I firmly believe that whatever has transpired, is only an outcome of my previous karmas. No one is responsible or to be blamed for this. While lying on the bed of arrows, Sri Bhisma Pitamah had explained to Sri Yudhisthira Maharaja, in the presence of Sri Krsna, through the pastime of Sri Gautama Rshi’s son being bitten by a snake “Yudhisthira, just as the snake bit the son of Sri Gautama Rshi as a mere instrument of the fruit of his past karma, similarly my past karma alone is behind my current suffering; you are a mere instrument. Therefore, there is no need for you to become despondent”.
“Sri Bhisma Pitamah is the last among the twelve mahajanas (great personalities). My Guru-varga has always instructed me to only follow in the footsteps of great personalities – ‘mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ’. Similarly, being the follower of their lotus feet, I consider the dealings that were meted out to me solely as the fruit of my previous karma. There is no other person to be held as the culprit or responsible for this.”
Hearing this we were thunderstruck with your utter humility, knowing that you endured so many hardships while externally having to leave the institution you served for 62 years, you were completely devoid of any desire for worldly gain, recognition and fame, because you possessed so much sincere faith in rendering service to Śri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas. Your mercy to help the suffering, seeking jiva’s, by giving them harinama diksha, filled our hearts with joy and hope. Where else could we advice the devotees to go? Where else could they take shelter?
As a result of this service, so many beautiful sincere devotees came to your shelter and are now nourished by your sincere sevaks and followers. As such you will continue to live eternally through your vani, your acara and through all your sincere dedicated servants.
Like father Bhisma, You continued to serve till your last breath. You said: that your body may fail, but as long as your tongue can speak hari-katha you would see still use to live. Also you were adamant to personally distribute the prasadam you handed out after every class and darśana, your merciful glance and soft touch of with your fingers tips, was loaded with your compassion and mercy. As such you were the embodiment of service, sweetness and affection.
Srila Maharaja, I would like to go on and on and will still not be able to even touch the surface of your unlimited glories. On this auspicious day of your divine appearance in this world I pray that someday I will realize the true worth of what you have given us. I pray from the core of my heart for your continued mercy and guidance. I beg to become offense-less so that I can taste the real result of seva, which is the incredible sweetness of Harinama. May I, one day, one life, with pure heart be able to serve you and our Srila Gurudeva, in the eternal service of your Beloved Masters.
Your insignificant servant,