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In 1924 I renounced all worldly association with my revered parents and affectionate blood-relations, and surrendered myself unconditionally and completely at the feet of my spiritual master Om Vishnupad Bhakti Siddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupad and accepted the life of a vaishnava tridandi monk at the age of 23. In 1927 my Gurudeva, out of his infinite affection, asked me to unfold the esoteric supra-mundane love-sports of the transcendental damsels of the all-conscious spiritual realm of braja in their eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, at a theistic exhibition that we organized at his instance at Shri Mayapur, the birthplace of Shri Krishna-Chaitanyadeva. By the blessings of my Spiritual Master I was able to please him by demonstrating Vrndabana-Radhakunda on the basis of Shri Govinda-lilamrtam. Thus pleased, my Gurudeva asked me to serve the spiritual cause of Brajadharma, and was a1so very kind to place me in charge of conducting the ever-well-organized circumambulation of Braja-mandala that was also organized at his directions.
This offered me ample opportunities to go deep in the correct conceptions of the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krishna, and His associates in Braja.
I, therefore, assured my master that I would endeavor in my humble way to serve the cause of Braja-dhama to please him and the Lord of Braja and also for my own spiritual unfolding. But before I could engage myself in this much desired task, my spiritual master sent me to Europe early in 1933 with the object of informing the intelligentsia of England, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and France about the super-excellence of the message of prema as was preached by Shri Chaitanya. I returned to India early in 1936 and my spiritual master passed away at five in the morning of 1st January 1937. Soon after his demise, the Gaudiya Mission was split into factions due to internal dissension. Gravely shocked at this most unfortunate turn of events of the institution to which I had dedicated my life from my very early youth, I went away to Burma, Japan and the USA on a lecture tour in order to keep myself aloof from the unpleasant and unhappy affairs of the Gaudiya Math, and returned to India in 1941. I dissociated myself from all the factious parties of the Mission. Under all these unforeseen and adverse circumstances I could not take up the service that I promised my Master.
In 1942 I finally decided to settle down in Vrindaban. But before I could do this, I went out on foot on a pilgrimage of 650 miles to Yamunotri, Garigotri, Kedarnatha, and Badrinatha, and at last took my residence at Vrindaban and remained in exclusive seclusion observing silence for four years. In the meantime I had written a few books on the Vedas, the Gita and the Life and teachings of Shri Chaitanya. But the main task, which my spiritual master had entrusted to me, remained unfulfilled all these years. In 1946 I broke my self-imposed silence and began to study the present conditions of Vrindaban, which is one of the most important places of pilgrimage of the Hindus. My impression was that present-day Vrindaban, was alas very backward socially, economically, educationally, culturally, and above all, spiritually. I thus put my mind and energies to the establishment of an academic institution for advanced scholars for objective studies of the spiritual heritage of India in general and Vaisnavism in particular. I thought that advanced research in comparative philosophy and comparative religion at a research center here would enhance the glories of Vrindaban and of India in a lasting manner. The spiritual values of Krishna-prema must stand on their own merit. This academic institution was started in 1950 against terrible oppositions from various quarters for different reasons. It is now an affiliated post-graduate institute under Agra University.
But the uplift of the true cause of Braja, which is associated with the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna and Krishna-prema, could be far better enhanced by translating into English the vast Sanskrit literature of the Six Gosvamins of the Chaitanya School, headed by Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana, who expounded the supra-mundane, transcendental and esoteric significance of the realm, associates, and pastimes of Lord Krishna. This could not so long be possible for want of a group of scholars who could sit around the table and take up the noble work with a proper frame of mind and heart, freed, as far as humanly possible, from mundane sex-thinking. The subject matter of Lord Krishna and Krishna-Prema is most difficult and most misconceived because of the apparently earthly, and essentially transcendental nature. To put the subject into English language is indeed no easy matter.
Anyway, I was happy to secure the active cooperation of Dr. Susil Kumar Maitra, MA, Ph.D., P.R.S., (unfortunately he is no more in this world), and Pandit Krishnadasa Vyakaran-Gaudiyadarsana-Tirtha, and thus I undertook to translate into English Shri Rupa Gosvami's classical work Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhuh with all the humbleness of my heart. Should I be able to complete it and see it through printing, I shall have the satisfaction that hereby I am able, with all my limitations, to serve the wishes of my spiritual master and also the cause of spiritual Vrindaban as well as of Shri Rupa Gosvami.
I apologize for mentioning all these my personal affairs in this PREFACE. I have purposely mentioned these personal factors because of the special background of my mind with which I undertook this translation of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhah.
I am deeply grateful to Dr. Susil Kumar Maitra, M.A., PhD., P.R.S. who took great trouble in looking through my English rendering, polishing it here and there, and thereby encouraging me immensely.
I express my sincere gratefulness to Pandit Krishnadasa Vyakarana-Gaudiyadarsana-Tirtha but for whose help I would not have been able to translate the three commentaries. Panditji helped me in following the Sanskrit tikas and explained to me wherever I found the grammar complex and difficult. In fact I have been able to complete this translation of the text and the commentaries in collaboration with Shri Krishnadasaji.
Professor Tapodhira Krishnadasa Dastidar, M.A., B.L. has corrected all the proofs of the first volume with great devotion. May the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna bless him profusely.
I acknowledge with thanks the promptness with which the Navana Printing Works (Pvt.) Ltd., Calcutta has completed printing of the first volume. I feel confident that they will pay equal attention to the printing of the next two volumes. The book will be completed in three volumes.
As the founder-rector of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Vrindaban, I beg to express our sense of deep gratitude to the government of India, Ministry of Education, for granting 50% of the total expenditure of this first volume of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh.
And the most pleasant thing that I have to mention here is that my dear friend Mr. Sydney Ashton Hill of England voluntarily came forward to contribute the balance of the total expenditure for publication of this first volume of the book. When he came to know that the government of India had sanctioned only half the amount of the cost of publishing for this volume. I felt extremely shy when my friend sent me a check without informing me beforehand, and I wrote him back that in this world money often disturbs the relations between father and sons, husband and wife, brother and brother, and friend and friend! I would value his selfless friendship and affection more than any financial gift. He felt pained, and wrote back that this gift was a token of his genuine friendship for me! I could not any longer refuse his affectionate gift for the publication of this important and authentic book of the philosophy of bhakti If my friend Mr. Sydney Ashton Hill benefits by reading this book of unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord of all, I shall be happy that his noble name shall ever remain associated with this publication.
Vrindaban The 30th of October, 1964
B. H. BON