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A Few Glimpses of the Lotus Feet of Shrila Prabhupada
By Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja
Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja served as Shrila Saraswati Thakur’s personal secretary and editor of the Gaudiya Math publications fro more than ten years. Travelling with him extensively etc.
Once, Shrila Prabhupada was viewing the Deities of Shri-Shri Guru-Gauranga-Gandharvika-Giridhari at the Shri Chaitanya Math, standing on the front porch of the temple. The door of that temple is not very wide, and Shrila Prabhupada did not have his glasses on. Standing next to him was one of his dear disciples. The disciple thought perhaps Prabhupada could not view the Deities very well through the narrow doorway. He suddenly said, “Prabhupada, this doorway is not very wide. So it is not possible to view the Deities very well from outside.”
Hearing this, Prabhupada smiled, and he said for the benefit of all of us, “We should not think of the Supreme Lord as an object of our vision. Instead we should meditate on the thought of how we can acquire some qualifications so we can become worthy objects of His vision. We should think about whether He wants to see us, and whether He will want to reveal Himself to us.
na bhaved grahyam-indriyaih
Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Eastern Wave, 2.109
“The holy name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Shri Krishna are divine and transcendental. They cannot be experienced by material senses. The Lord manifests Himself spontaneously on the tongue of a devotee who is eager to serve Him.” Just as a devotee waits to see the Lord with great patience and eagerness, sometimes the Lord also waits with great patience and eagerness to see His devotee. It is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita, how the hidden Deity of Gopala in Vrindavana was waiting for His beloved devotee, Shri Madhavendra Puri.
bahu-dina tomara patha kari nirikshana
kabe asi’ madhava ama karibe sevana
Shri-Chaitanya-caritamrita Madhya-lila 4.39
“For many days I have been watching the road for you, and I have been wondering, ‘When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?’” In this way the Supreme Lord, who succumbs to His devotee’s love, waits to see His devotee with great eagerness.
bhaktera dravya prabhu ‘kadi’ ‘kadi’ khaya
abhaktera dravya prabhu ‘ulati’ na caya
“The Lord will grab food from His devotee, but He will not even glance at anything given by a non-devotee.” This is why the eagerness to serve Him in loving devotion has to be there.
bhaktir evainam nayati,
bhaktir evainam darshayati,
bhakti-vashah purushah bhaktir eva bhuyasi
“It is devotion which takes us to Him; it is devotion which will reveal Him to us. He can only be conquered by devotion. Therefore in all scriptures, devotion is praised.” When this devotion is mixed with spontaneous love, one quickly acquires the qualifications to be worthy of the Lord’s vision. It is said in the Brahma-samhita,
santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, Who is Shyamasundara, Krishna Himself with inconceivable innumerable Attributes, Whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.”
Another day, we were going from Shri Chaitanya Math to Shri Yogapitha, following Shrila Prabhupada. At one point along the way, that same beloved disciple smelled something bad on the road and covered his nose with the end of his dhoti. Seeing this, Shrila Prabhupada smiled and said, “The transcendental fragrance of the holy dhama is not reaching your nose. Instead, you are smelling the bad odor of the material world. The holy abode of the Lord is always transcendental, and one should not see it with material consciousness. The Lord’s holy abode is non-different from the Lord Himself.”
He has taught us, by his personal example, the high ideal of serving Shridhama Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Gauranga. At different places in Shridhama Mayapur at Shri Yogapitha, Shrivasa Angana, etc. Shrila Prabhupada had many transcendental realizations and experiences. With his supramundane vision, he always saw the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati flowing together through Shridhama Mayapur. He viewed the river Jalangi as non-different from the holy river Saraswati. Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda had the same kind of vision. In his famous poem, the fourteenth song of Bhajana Lalasa (“kabe gaura-vane suradhuni-tate”), he begins by saying, “When will I give up material happiness and wander around the places of Lord Gauranga’s pastimes?” In the second verse, he says, “I will drink the water of the river Saraswati.” This Shridhama Mayapur, the great place of pilgrimage, which is situated by the meeting place of the three holy rivers, was more dear to Shrila Prabhupada than we can imagine. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had predicted that a wonderful temple would be manifest at Shri Yogapitha. Shrila Prabhupada fulfilled this prediction by building a wonderful temple there, assisted by one of his wealthy disciples, Shripada Shakhi-carana Bhakti Vijaya Prabhu. A four-handed Deity of Vishnu manifested Himself from the earth as the foundation of this temple was being dug (June 13th, 1934, 10 AM). Following the conclusions of the revealed scriptures, Shrila Prabhupada called this Deity “Adhokshaja” containing the potencies of Shri, Bhu, and Nila. Some famous archaeologists, headed by Shri Rama-prasad Canda, determined the Deity to be very ancient. Shrila Prabhupada used to say that He was the household Deity worshiped by Shri Jagannatha Mishra. This very beautiful Deity is still being worshiped at Shri Yogapitha.
To perform his service to Shridhama Mayapur with great care and pomp, Shrila Prabhupada brought many famous persons to Shridhama Mayapur. One of them was the king of the independent state of Tripura, and another was the governor of Bengal, Sir John Anderson. Every year, Shrila Prabhupada took great care to celebrate the birth anniversary of Shri Gauranga at Shridhama Mayapur, and personally guided the 32-mile circumambulation of Shri Navadwipa Dhama. Shrila Prabhupada considered Shri Candrashekhara Bhavana, which was north of Yogapitha, and Hulora Ghat, or the meeting place of the three rivers, which was south of Yogapitha, to be greater Mayapur. From his lotus mouth came the prediction that one day there would be many Vaishnava villages and neighborhoods on this strip of land. Many maths and temples would be established there, and tumultuous congregational chanting would be heard, accompanied by the sounds of conchshells, bells, cymbals, and mridangas. Shrila Prabhupada used to say that Shri Gaurasundara, the golden moon of Shri Mayapur, is eternally performing His pastime of congregational chanting with His eternal associates in His eternal abode, Shri Mayapur Dhama.
Even today, the Supreme Lord, Gaurahari, is dancing and singing, wandering around Shri Mayapur with His beloved associates. Occasionally, some fortunate souls have heard a sudden sound of tumultuous sankirtana at Shrivasa Angana or Yogapitha, when apparently no one was there. Shrila Prabhupada himself experienced this. We have seen with our own eyes some individuals who were not very spiritually inclined, whose hearts were hardened by their own faulty arguments and who were proud of their material education, become enchanted upon arrival at Shri Mayapur by the overwhelming spiritual ambience of the holy Dhama. It seemed that their hearts could not resist the sweet attraction of the holy Dhama, which stopped their argument and caused them to lower their haughty heads in humility.
Next to the tall temple of Shri Yogapitha is a big jackfruit tree. The ripe jackfruit of this tree was very sweet and juicy. We had the good fortune of tasting those ripe jackfruit. Our grand-Gurudeva, Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji, used to come and chant the holy name, sitting under that jackfruit tree. In those days Shrila Prabhupada used to live at the Sevaka-khanda of Shri Yogapitha (which does not exist any more). One day Shrila Prabhupada was surprised to see Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji sitting under that jackfruit tree very late at night. At that time, Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji used to live on the Navadwipa bank of the Ganga, at Ranira Cada, under a cha-i (a portable bamboo and straw covering on a boat), and practiced his bhajana there. Shrila Prabhupada asked him how it was possible for him to cross the Ganga so late at night. In those days the ferry service used to be closed at ten o’clock at night. This was also the time when Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji was performing his lila of having poor sight. The road to Mayapur was very arduous. So who had brought him here so late at night? When Shrila Prabhupada asked this question, Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji answered, “‘Someone’ helped me cross the river. ‘Someone’ brought me here, holding my hand, etc.” Shrila Prabhupada had no difficulty understanding that this “Someone” was not an ordinary “someone”. Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji often used to come to Shri Mayapur and roll on the ground of Shri Yogapitha and the courtyard of Shrivasa Thakura in loving ecstasy, and used to cry very earnestly, taking the names of Shri Gaura, Shri Nityananda, Shri Advaita, Shri Gadadhara, and the devotees headed by Shri Shrivasa. When Shrila Prabhupada used to send him some fruit or vegetable grown in Shri Mayapur, Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji would take that with great adoration, touch it to his head and chest, and in due time would offer it to Shri Nityananda and partake of the remnant.
Shrila Prabhupada’s loving devotion for the lotus feet of his Gurudeva is beyond our comprehension. At one time he told us, “When I used to think that I was a big scholar of mathematics and philosophy, by my good fortune I got the darshana of the lotus feet of Shri Gurudeva. He ignored everything that was previously appreciated in me—my truthfulness, my moral and pious life, and my scholarship—knowing them to be of little value. When he ignored whatever was good in me, I realized how good he himself was, he who could ignore so many ‘good qualities’ in me; what inconceivable wealth there was in him. Being ignored by him, I realized that there was no one more fallen than me, more contemptible than me, and that this was my real identity. This great soul did not consider the things which I considered to be highly desirable, such as scholarship and pure moral character, to have any value. Then I realized that this great personality possessed priceless wealth within him. So I prayed humbly and sincerely to the Supreme Lord for His mercy. Later, by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, I realized that without receiving the mercy of this great saint and serving him, nothing good could happen to me. When I realized that and acted accordingly, by getting the shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Gurudeva and by receiving his unlimited causeless mercy I considered my life fulfilled. I have understood that if the people of the world do not receive the same jolt that I received from my Gurudeva then their consciousness will not awaken. Therefore I am telling everyone, ‘I am more stupid than anyone else in the world; please, all of you, do not be stupid like me. Do not live your life within the limitation of a calculating consciousness. Please enter the realm of the unlimited, the realm of Vaikuntha and you will become very wealthy. I am only asking you to accept that which I have understood, by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord, to be supremely beneficial.’”
In another place, he wrote, “Even after seeing Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji, many people—the immature and the clever, the scholarly and the foolish, those lacking devotion and those proud of their devotion—did not have the proper transcendental vision to see him. This is the incomprehensible power of a pure devotee. Hundreds of people came to him for his instruction, to fulfill their material desires. But that instruction was actually deceiving them. Many people take the garb of sadhus, and many people outwardly act like sadhus, but in reality, not only are they not sadhus but they are very far from any sadhu. But there was no such impurity in my lord. By his own example he demonstrated that purity was truth. His genuine affection was incomparable to anything in this world. One who received that affection would consider the eight kinds of yogic perfection to be of no value. He had no dislike for his competitors or his enemies. Even to those who received his mercy, he did not demonstrate any external favor. He used to say, ‘In this world there is no one who is the object of my liking or disliking. I consider everyone to be respectable.’ Another inconceivable thing was that some deceitful, materialistic people, whose mood was unfavorable to pure devotion, always used to surround my Gurudeva without understanding his real position, and, considering themselves objects of his affection, kept their attachment to petty things. But he did not outwardly make any effort to get rid of them, nor did he accept them in any way.”
In 1898, Shrila Prabhupada had his first darshana of Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji at Svananda-sukhada-kunja in Godrumadwipa (one of the nine islands of Navadwipa). Immediately Shrila Prabhupada became captivated and overwhelmed with loving ecstasy when he heard Shrila Gaura-kishora Dasa Babaji singing a song he himself had composed with intense feelings of love. Shrila Prabhupada later wrote that song down and thus made it available to all the other devotees. This song was addressed to Shrimati Radharani and dedicated to Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami.
Later we have seen Shrila Prabhupada displaying the same symptoms of deep loving ecstasy and intense separation in the mood of Shrimati Radharani. As described in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, during the chariot festival of Shri Jagannatha, Shriman Mahaprabhu was overwhelmed with intense feelings of separation. This mood of Shrimati Radharani, as displayed by Mahaprabhu, and His inner thoughts and feelings, were described very beautifully and eloquently by Shrila Kaviraja Goswami, beginning with the famous verse anyera hridaya mana, mora mana vrindavana.
My Mind is Vrindavan
Speaking in the mood of Shrimati Radharani, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrindavana, I consider My mind and Vrindavana to be one. My mind is already Vrindavana, and since Vrindavana is most dear to You, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy. My dear Lord, kindly hear My true submission. My home is Vrindavana, and I hanker for Your association there. But if I do not get it, it will be very difficult for Me to keep on living. My dear Krishna, formerly, when You were staying in Mathura, You sent Uddhava to teach Me knowledge and mystic yoga. Now You Yourself are speaking the same thing, but My mind doesn’t accept it. There is no place in My mind for this. Since You are very knowledgeable and merciful and You know My heart, You should not speak to Me this way. I would like to withdraw My consciousness from You and engage it in material activities, but even though I try, I cannot do so. I am naturally inclined to You only. Your instructions for Me to meditate on You are therefore simply ludicrous. It is not very nice of You to think of Me as a candidate for Your instructions. The gopis are not like the mystic yogis. They will never be satisfied simply meditating on Your lotus feet. Outwardly Your words sound quite nice but within them are deceit and duplicity. This makes the gopis more angry with You. Since the gopis are not even aware of their bodies, they are not materially conditioned. Therefore they are not aspiring for liberation. The gopis are fallen in the great ocean of separation, and they are being devoured by the timingila fish, which represent their intense desire to be united with You. So My Lord, please rescue the gopis from this great ocean of separation.” (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.137–142)
Being immersed in this mood of separation, Shrila Prabhupada established the Gaudiya Math in Jagannatha Dhama, participated in the chariot festival, and inaugurated the Bhagavata exhibit. Whenever the topic of Shrimati Radharani’s seeing Krishna at Kurukshetra, which is non-different from Jagannatha Dhama, came up, he became overpowered with deep feelings of separation and love. Tears would flow from his eyes and his voice would choke up with emotion. By seeing Shri Jagannatha in Nilacala, Shrila Prabhupada would be immersed in this mood and he would chant the following verse by Shrila Rupa Goswami, in the mood of Shrimati Radharani:
priyah so ‘yam krishnah
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinya sprihayati
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 1.76
“O My friend, today I was united with My beloved Krishna in Kurukshetra. He is the same Krishna and I am the same Radha, and the joyful ecstasy of Our union is the same. Yet My heart is hankering for that forest on the bank of the Yamuna which used to be flooded with joy by the reverberations of Krishna’s playful flute.”
Shrimati Radharani and Her own Shri Radha Kunda were Shrila Prabhupada’s life and soul. He used to become overwhelmed with loving sentiments whenever he described the glories of Shrimati Radharani and Her merciful nature. The collection of verses called Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, by Shrila Prabodhananda Saraswati, was very dear to Shrila Prabhupada. I still remember how Shrila Prabhupada’s voice would choke in loving ecstasy and his eyes would become tearful as he was reciting verses from that holy book. (“I offer my obeisances in the direction of the breeze coming from the stirring of the garment of the daughter of King Vrishabhanu. That breeze makes Madhusudana feel very satisfied.”) Equally dear to him was Vilapa-kusumanjali, by Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami. He interpreted for us with deep feelings of love many such scriptures and verses glorifying Shrimati Radharani. His extreme attachment for the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani is expressed in his own name Varshabhanavi-Dayita Dasa (“servant of the Beloved of Shrimati Radharani, Krishna”). (“O Radharani, why should I keep this life if You are not merciful to me? What need is there for me to reside in Vraja? O lotus-eyed One, without Your mercy, I do not want Krishna, the killer of demons.”—Vilapa-kusumanjali)
Every year, many devotees, following in Shrila Prabhupada’s footsteps, would go to Mathura Dhama to observe Karttika-vrata. Shrila Prabhupada used to celebrate Karttika-vrata with great earnestness and austerity, and he used to spend his time in the holy Dhama absorbed in deep meditation in a mood of separation. The memories of those times we spent with him observing Karttika-vrata are still inspiring us to go on with our spiritual lives. I remember in 1932 Shrila Prabhupada circumambulated the entire perimeter of the holy Dhama of Vraja-mandala on foot in the association of many, many devotees, starting his journey on the 9th of October, the appearance day of Shri Madhvacarya. At every place of Krishna’s pastimes, he himself described those pastimes. At the same time, for the benefit of devotees who came from many different regions, he saw to it that lectures were given in various languages. At the meeting-place of Shri Radha Kunda and Shri Shyama Kunda, in a big assembly of devotees, including many Vraja-vasis (residents of Vraja Dhama) and many scholars, Shrila Prabhupada gave his interpretation of Shrila Rupa Goswami’s Nectar of Instruction in Hindi. I also remember a photograph of Prabhupada giving a lecture at the bank of Shri Radha-Lalita Kunda which was published in the contemporary weekly devotional magazine Gaudiya. So many tents were set up there that it looked like a little town. What a beautiful sight it was!
On the 29th of October, 1934, Shrila Prabhupada discovered the place of pilgrimage where Shrila Rupa Goswami saw Shri Gopala in the village of Sati-gara in Mathura. We were fortunate to be with him in 1935, when Shrila Prabhupada observed Shri Damodara-vrata on the bank of his beloved Shri Radha Kunda, starting from the 8th of October. Every day he gave lectures on Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Upanishads, and other holy scriptures. Every day he would circumambulate Shri Radha Kunda and would hear or talk about the eight daily pastimes (ashta-kaliya lila). At this time, to properly serve Shri Vraja-mandala, he started a regular meeting for the sake of preaching the glories of Shri Vraja-Dhama (Shri Vraja-Dhama Pracarini Sabha).
How much he loved talking about Krishna is inconceivable. He would talk about Him for hours on end, and if anyone asked or even gestured for Shrila Prabhupada’s prasada to be brought in, he would be displeased. There were times when, being so instructed by experienced doctors, his disciples requested him not to talk very much. If anyone would ask him how he was, Shrila Prabhupada would answer, “I am fine. My only disease is that I am not allowed to talk about Krishna.” He used to say, “To wake up a single sleeping soul, to make a single conditioned soul aware of his real identity, one should be willing to dedicate one’s whole life.”
Shrila Prabhupada used to love to listen to kirtana. But he could not stand to hear kirtana which was sung by an unqualified person, which was against bona fide Vaishnava conclusions, or which reflected a mixture of clashing sentiments. That is why he has said, in a song he composed,
prana ache tara, se hetu pracara,
pratishthasha-hina krishna gatha saba
shri-dayita-dasa, kirttanete asha,
kara uccaihsvare harinama raba
“Kirtana lives only when it is sung by a devotee who is free of the desire for name and fame. Such kirtana, full of life, is capable of preaching the holy name, since it consists of the glories of Krishna without being contaminated by personal ambition. ‘Shri Dayita Dasa’ (Shrila Prabhupada) is always hoping to hear such kirtana. All of you please loudly take the name of Lord Hari in that pure mood.” The path of exclusive surrender, without a desire for one’s own name and fame, is the life and soul of a devotee. The kirtana which comes out of the mouth of anyone who is not following this path of exclusive surrender is completely lifeless and not fit to be heard. Shrila Prabhupada could not tolerate any kind of imitation. Nor could he tolerate anyone overstepping the boundary of their rightful position, which had been earned by their devotional practice. He made it clear to us that one should try to be simple, humble, offenseless, and honest in the path of devotion, and there should not be a tinge of duplicity, deceit, hypocrisy, or desire for name and fame. In one song he said,
yadi bhajibe gora sarala kara nija mana
kutinati chadi’ bhaja gorara carana
gorara ami, gorara ami,
mukhe balile nahe cale
gorara acara, gorara vicara,
la-ile phala phale
“If you want to worship Lord Gauranga, make your heart simple and straightforward. Worship the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga, giving up deceit and duplicity. Merely saying ‘I belong to Gauranga, I belong to Gauranga’ is giving Him lip service and has no effect. Following the example of His action and sentiment will bear fruit.”
Shrila Prabhupada was extremely affectionate to his disciples, and if he found out any one of them was bewildered by maya he would shed tears. In confronting those who had a demoniac mentality, he was deadly like a thunderbolt, but in his loving relationships his heart was softer than a flower. If in any of his maths, any of his servants had to face any difficulty due to lack of money, Shrila Prabhupada used to take great care to send that money as soon as he heard about it. He could not bear the thought that a devotee had to undergo hardships due to lack of money. He used to become very concerned if he heard of any devotee being ill. His affection could not be compared with that of millions of fathers and mothers. If we were ever sad and miserable, as soon as we sat near him, all sadness went away due to the shower of his unlimited affection. Even his chastisement seemed very sweet. “Shrila Prabhupada has chastised me.”—we used to say that with great pride, and considered ourselves to be really fortunate. All difficulties in our service were made worthwhile a million times over when we could see the signs of pleasure on his affectionate lotus face. What we felt can be expressed by this verse of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his book Sharanagati:
tomara sevaya duhkha haya yata,
seo ta’ parama sukha
seva-sukha-duhkha parama sampada,
“The suffering that comes from Your service is also our supreme happiness. Both the suffering and the happiness that come from Your service are our greatest treasure, and they destroy the miseries that come from ignorance.” If we could not properly perform some service which had been ordered by Shrila Gurudeva, that would cause us great sadness. Our service to Shrila Gurudeva seemed to consist of everything: devotion, worship, meditation, realization, austerity, and sacrifice. He was most dear to Krishna. Therefore if we could somehow bring him some satisfaction, we considered that as the highest fulfillment of our devotional practice.
If Shrila Prabhupada went away from us for a few days, our hearts used to ache in separation, and we used to think day and night, “When will he come back again?” Alas, how many years have passed since he left this planet! How am I spending my days in this long separation from him? Why is my soul still living here? For the sake of what kind of happiness? Perhaps due to my offenses to the holy name and at the lotus feet of Shrila Prabhupada my heart has become hard like a thunderbolt and it does not feel any pain any more. If I really loved him, how could I live this worthless life here? O my merciful lord, please protect this fallen servant of yours. Even though I’m so fallen, so sinful, and so deviated from the path of devotional service, please pick me up and put me at the shelter of your lotus feet. Once you did give me shelter at your lotus feet, considering me the servant of the servant of your servants. We also got the assurance that if necessary you would come here again and again to rescue fallen souls like myself. O merciful Gurudeva, your heart is so full of affection! Please forgive all the offenses I have committed at your lotus feet, knowingly or unknowingly. The day before you left us, I clasped your lotus feet on my chest, and you looked at me with eyes full of affection. Please remember that. I am stupid, ignorant, bereft of scriptural knowledge; I do not know what is good or bad for me. Please correct me and make me worthy of your service. Please make me understand what my faults are and what my offenses are, so I will have the privilege of serving you. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said to Murari Gupta,
sei bhakta dhanya,
ye na chade prabhura carana
sei prabhu dhanya, ye na chade nija-jana
durdaive sevaka yadi yaya anya sthane
sei thakura dhanya tare cule dhari’ ane
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Antya-lila 4.46-47
“Glorious is that devotee who does not give up the shelter of the Lord, and glorious is that Lord Who does not abandon His servant. If by chance a servant falls down and goes somewhere else, glorious is that Master Who captures him and brings him back by the hair.”
You gave me the Tulasi beads so I could offenselessly take the holy name. But alas, I am still indifferent to that. My worshippable Godbrothers, who are all my well-wishers, have set such examples for me by their own actions, but I was not inspired by that. I do not have the desire to take the holy name, what to speak of having love for the holy name. Have I been deprived of the mercy of the holy name due to my offenses at your lotus feet and the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas? O merciful Prabhupada, please give me love for the holy name. Please inspire me. Let those lotus feet of yours, which I had the good fortune of holding on my chest and which are more cooling than millions of moons, be installed and be worshiped in my heart for all eternity. This is my only prayer to you.
Shri Rupa Manjari Pada
Just prior to the withdrawal of his manifest lila, my causelessly merciful Divine Master, Shrila Saraswati Thakur, handed me over to the holy feet of that Divine Personality by having me sing the glorious prayer unto his lotus feet, Shri Rupa-manjari-pada. Despite my lowliness, when will – disregarding all my various qualifications and disqualifications – Shrimad Rupa Prabhu grace me with the dust of his holy lotus feet?
Shri-rupa-manjari-pada, sei mora sampada, sei mor bhajana-pujana — my everything is Shri Rupa Goswami’s holy feet. We are to discuss so many classifications and positions of rasa: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhura . And in madhura-rasa Radharani’s camp is special. Then again there are so many gradations of sakhis. Then there is a class of the manjaris, the younger girls, and they have more freedom to approach: when Radha and Govinda are in union in a private environment, the manjaris can still approach. They have such freedom to visit Them. If any materials of service are necessary, the sakhis send the manjaris to that place. The sakhis do not approach there. In that way the manjaris enjoy the best confidence. The most secret service of both can be supplied through the manjaris In the highest position they have free entrance, and their leader is Rupa Manjari. She is understood to be the leader of the whole group of younger girls, the manjaris , therefore in madhura-bhajan she is all-in-all. This has been taught to us by Narottama Thakur. For us – and the younger batch – she is our highest resort.
Sei mora sampada – my wealth is there in her feet. Sei mor bhajana-pujana – my worship and service is also in her. Sei mora prana-dhana, sei mora abharana – the very wealth and gist of my life is there; and the ornaments of my life, if any there may be, that is within her grace. Sei mor jivanera jivana – indeed, the very life of my life, if there is anything, that is also her. I am for her pleasure.
Sei mora rasa-nidhi – if there is anything, the source of any and all desirable ecstasy is only to be found there. The mine, source, and fountainhead of all rasa is there in her feet. Sei mora vancha-siddhi – and if I am to expect any other fulfillment in life, that is also there in her feet. Sei mor vedera dharama – if any duty is recommended by the Vedas for me, I would like that such duty be at her feet.
Sei brata, sei tapa – if at all there is any desired accumulation from any penance or observance of vows, that is also to be found there – sei mora mantra-japa – and the continuous repetition of a mantra in japa all ends there: all things have only one end in my case, and that is that they all meet in different phases in the feet of Rupa Manjari. If she is satisfied then the variegated nature of all sorts of my devotional practices are satisfied. Sei mor dharama-karama – and any of my conceptions of duty or activity of any phases of form all have one end and meet in one point: the holy feet of Rupa Manjari.
Anukula habe viddhi, se-pade hoibe siddhi – I only pray to the controller who is at the root of all these arrangements of affairs in this world, “Please connect me there. Oh Absolute Manager, may you grant my prayer that all my tendencies may go to attain her favor. Nirakhibo e dui nayane – and it will be so very intense and concrete as if I can see it with these eyes. It will not be vague, abstract, or imagination, but I want the most concrete realization by the grace of the Absolute Manager.”
Se rupa-madhuri-rasi, prana-kuvalaya-sasi—what sort of high class beauty is there in her holy feet! I want to jump. Let my heart be a lotus.
There are two classes of lotus: the white lotus came from the sun and the red from the moon. The kuvalaya is a mixture of the two. The luster of her body will feed me day and night as the life of my life which is compared to a kuvalaya . The kuvalaya is fed and nourished by the luster of the moon, and her holy feet are the moon, and my very vitality is likened to the lotus. May the luster of her beauty maintain and nourish my heart of hearts. Praphullita habe nisi-dine – and the lotus of my heart will grow by that ray, and dance.
Tuya adarsana-ahi – this is my prayer, but what is my present condition? My present condition is in the negative side, my Mistress. My present position is such that without having a sight of you, Your Grace, my heart will burn into ashes. That is my present position. Garale jaralo dehi – this is just like the poison of a cobra which produces pain within my heart. I have been bitten by a snake, and what is that snake? It is that I am not getting any direct contact with you, Your Grace. The serpent’s poison has captured my heart and I am going to die. Ciro-dina tapita jivana – and this is not a sudden thing, but from the beginning I have been suffering this sort of pain of separation from such a beautiful and hopeful life of fulfillment.
Ha ha rupa koro doya, deho more pada-chaya, narottama loilo sarana – but I have now reached the extreme position and for the last time I am begging for your favor; otherwise I am going to be finished.
This was composed by Narottama Thakur in praise of Shrila Rupa Goswami. In this way he has given us light of the higher quarter of bhajan life. This sampradaya is named as the Rupanuga-sampradaya, and our Guru-parampara and all these things are adjusted according to that. And the Lotus Feet of Shri Rupa Manjari are the sum and substance of the life and precepts of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
—Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhar Goswami
Shri Rupa’s Line of Thought
Preach all over the world the teachings of Shri Rupa and Shri Raghunath with all your might. Our highest ambition in life is to turn
ourselves into the dust of their feet. Ever remain united in order to satisfy the transcendental senses of the one Absolute consciousness (Krishna) under the guidance of His eternally corelated aspect, His absolute subservient self, Shri Gurudeva.
Somehow manage to eke out your existence in this transitory world for the sole purpose of serving Godhead. Never give it up even if
hundreds of dangers, insults and abuses come, nor be discouraged if the majority of the people in this world do not accept your words to serve Krishna sincerely. Renounce everything in life to serve Krishna, to sing about Him and to listen to talks about Him. Sing ever His Name, being humble as grass and patient like a tree.
I pray to offer this useless body of mine in the sacrifice of united singing of Shri Krishna’s Name. That is my only wish. We do not desire heroic success in great deeds, nor wish to acquire immense piety in life.
Our very self consists in the dust of the feet of Shri Rupa Goswami Prabhu, my master. He is the be-all and end-all of our life. The spiritual line of Shri Bhakti Vinode Thakur will never close. You shall with greater energy devote yourselves to preach the desires of the soul. There are many men among you who are competent to do that with ability. We have no other object in life. Our only words are:
Holding a blade of grass with my teeth, I repeatedly pray, may God make me the dust of the feet of Shri Rupa in my every birth here below.
Let Shri Rupa’s line of thought ever flow on earth. Let us never turn away from the united singing of the seven-tongued Name of Shri Krishna. If we can wholeheartedly be attached to it, with increasing aptitude, every desire of our soul must be fulfilled. With unflinching complete submission deserving the whole-hearted followers of Shri Rupa, let you all preach the word of Shri Rupa and Raghunath with the greatest energy and without fear.
—Shri Siddhanta Saraswati