- Bakula Dasi (Siksa Disciple, Vrndavana)
A Strong Pillar in Our Gaudiya Sanga
Jaya Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅga! Jaya Śrī Rādhārāṇī Vinod Bihāriji,
Once we paid a visit to Śrīla Bhāratī Mahārāja in Kolkatta, it was just before Navadvīpa parikramā. In one morning darshan, Mahārāja mentioned, that although he is not able to perform parikramā any more, he is going to Mayapura, because he has a room there. He said. ‘Just by sitting outside my room, I get darsana of the Vaiṣṇavas – darsane pavitra karo ei tomara guna.’ In the life of Mahārāja I witnessed, that he had realized the glories, necessity and importance of Vaiṣṇava sanga. He never forgot to speak about the life of our great Vaiṣṇava saints on their appearance or disappearance days, beginning with ‘Today is a very auspicious day...’ His service towards them was his life’s focus. Repeatedly he emphasized the point in his katha how we must be engaged in serving Vaiṣṇavas. Mahārāja often spoke about the importance of associating with the advanced Vaiṣṇavas.
He would say that if you associate with your father, you feel like a son, and if you associate with your son, you feel like a father. Therefore its important to always feel low, like a son, in lack of knowledge. That is the best way to reduce the false ego. In his association I felt that I again found a strong pillar in our Gaudiya sanga, I desired very intensely to take advantage of his presence. Mahārāja was an encyclopedia of all tattva siddhanta, he made me remember my gurudeva by speaking about the old times, when all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas would perform parikrama together, he quoted Srila Vamana Mahārāja, Srila Trivikram Mahārāja and our gurudeva, narrating exchanges they all had while discussing harikatha.
Mahārāja was not only well-versed in all scriptures, he also knew by heart the whole timetable of the Indian railway. Whenever a devotee had to travel by train, Mahārāja immediately suggested different options of train connections. Mahārāja many times spoke about the language of love, that through this language one can communicate with even animals. In this context he served a very aggressive cow, and transformed her nature fully. I am very grateful that I could associate a little bit with Mahārāja, always remembering that his conclusion to all problems we face was, that there is a lack of surrender.
Bakula Devi Dasi