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A Ray of Vishnu
By Rupa-vilasa dasa
©2003 by Rupa-vilasa dasa
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4. In Puri
6. Vaishnava and Brahmanas
7. The Gaura Mantra
8. The Disappearance Pastimes of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji
10. Spiritual Organization: The Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha and the Gaudiya Math
11. The Four Sampradayas
13. Scholars and Indologists
14. Triumph of the Gaudiya Math
15. The Message is Sent to the West
16. 1933 to 1936
17. The Final Days
18. His Contributions Summarized
"Kardama Muni desired to beget a child who would be a ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should beget a child who can perform the duties of Vishnu, otherwise there is no need to produce children. There are two kinds of children born of good fathers: one is educated in Krishna consciousness so that he can be delivered from the clutches of maya in that very life, and the other is a ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and teaches the world the ultimate goal of life ... Kardama Muni begot such a child-Kapila, the incarnation of the Personality of Godhead who enunciated the philosophy of Sankhya ... In the same order as Kardama Muni, about one hundred years ago, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also wanted to beget a child who could preach the philosophy and teachings of Lord Chaitanya to the fullest extent. By his prayers to the Lord he had as his child Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bona fide disciples."
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.22.19 Purport
ALL GLORIES TO SRI GURU AND GAURANGA
LIVES OF THE VAISHNAVA ACARYAS VOL. I
A Ray of Vishnu
The Biography of a Saktyavesha Avatara:
Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada
By RUPA VILASA DASA
(Robert D. MacNaughton)
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna preshthaya bhu-tale
shrimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
shri guru-vandana kori
tanhara carana dhori
ara yata sikshaguru
kripa kara ghucuka vishada
I offer obeisances unto my spiritual master, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and take hold of his lotus feet. And, unto my various siksha gurus who are all like desire trees, I pray, "Please be merciful, and remove all my sorrows."
[Mangalacarana of Shrila Prabhupada's Gitara-gana, verse 1]
This volume, which is a brief biography of Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, is meant to be a humble offering at his lotus feet through the agency of my spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I hope he will be pleased that I am attempting to glorify the amazing activities and words of his spiritual master, which I have been relishing very much over the past few months now. I am feeling much closer to my spiritual grand-father and much enlivened by his association and instruction.
Sometimes devotees claim that to attempt to relish the writings of other acaryas is offensive and constitutes "jumping over". Historically, Shrila Prabhupada was at times known to discourage some of his disciples from reading Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's books and emphasized that they should read his (Shrila Prabhupada's) books.
The point, of course, is that one must always first worship and honor his acarya, his link with the sampradaya, and fully familiarize himself with the teachings of his spiritual master. However, it is not eternally forbidden to enter into the writings of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, as we know that Shrila Prabhupada permitted us to read his commentary on the Brahma-samhita and in one letter to Hayagriva, dated November 16, 1969, he commented, "Articles written by my Guru Maharaja can be published without any hesitation ..."
In 1972, in a Nectar of Devotion class in Vrindavana, Shrila Prabhupada commented, "But in this life if we develop Krishna consciousness by association with devotees, as Narottama dasa Thakura says, 'One's aim of life should be to serve the acaryas: acaryopasanam.'
"So our acarya in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya is Shri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Shri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta, Dasa Raghunatha-the Six Gosvamis. And if we associate with them-this book Nectar of Devotion, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, if you read regularly, try to understand-this means you are associating with Shrila Rupa Gosvami directly. And if you act accordingly you are serving their lotus feet. Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas. [NOD-pgs. xii, xiii]
After all, who are those siksha-gurus who Prabhupada calls desire trees, whose mercy he invokes at the beginning of this essay to "remove all of my sorrows"? Are they not the spiritual masters in our line, the commentators of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other Gaudiya literatures?
When Shrila Prabhupada dedicates the Bhagavad-gita As It Is he writes, "To Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana who presented so nicely the Govinda-bhashya commentary on Vedanta philosophy." Is this jumping over? Certainly not. He dedicates the Nectar of Devotion, "To the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavana." And if we read the Brahma-samhita (which was certainly authorized by Shrila Prabhupada) we are directly worshiping Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by our intelligence. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita:
adhyeshyate ca ya imam
dharmyam samvadam avayoh
ishtah syam iti me matih
"And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence." [Bg. 18.70]
Tenaham ishtah syam: by him I shall be worshipped. If we accept it that the vani of Krishna and the liberated associates of Krishna is non-different than their persons, then they may be directly, personally worshipped by the intelligence of the devotee. Who can deny it? The acaryas in our line are all in the position of worshipable siksha-gurus for us. That is a fact. Once a child takes birth, or a disciple takes diksha, he automatically has direct, affectionate dealings with other family members. This is especially true in spiritual relationships which are transcendental and may be carried on with either the vapu or vani forms of those personalities, unlike material relationships which are limited in so many ways.
Furthermore, if it is jumping over to read the books of previous acaryas, then what will we make of such statements in Shrila Prabhupada's books as these:
Shri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu. teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books. of which the Brihad-bhagavatamrita is very famous; anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krishna must read this book [CC Adi, Ch. 5, p.498]
"The four Vedas with their supplementary Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and their corollaries which are known as smritis are all authorized sources of knowledge. If we are at all to gather knowledge, we must gather it from these without hesitation." [CC Adi, Ch. 5. text 14]
"False devotees think that studying books of the previous acaryas is unadvisable, like studying dry. empiric philosophies ..." [CC. Adi, Ch. 2. text 117]
"There are so many Vedic literatures, including Vedanta-sutra, the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata and the Ramayana. One should take lessons from these Vedic literatures and learn how to practice nivritti-marga." [SB 7.15.41]
It is certainly a principle in our Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy that the writings of previous acaryas must be studied and those acaryas must be worshipped. It isn't jumping over to do so.
Jumping over implies disrespect or disregard of the spiritual master. For example, Vallabha Bhatta thought the commentary of Shridhara Swami inferior to his own and wanted to criticize Shridhara Swami, saying, "I have refuted the explanation of Shridhara Swami. I cannot accept his explanation ... he is inconsistent in his explanation and cannot be accepted as an authority." Lord Chaitanya smilingly replied, "One who does not accept the Swami (husband) as an authority, I consider a prostitute." This is jumping over-disrespecting the conclusions of the previous acarya and going to the predecessor acaryas.
We have seen some of this in our movement, as in the case of one Sanskrit scholar defying Prabhupada's orders and thinking he was more advanced, going to Radha-kunda for "higher association" with other sadhus, changing the tilaka, criticizing Shrila Prabhupada's chanting of Gayatri, etc.
Each guru in our sampradaya is a unique personality (guru is one and different), who can be personally approached and worshipped. Naturally, this worship begins with our spiritual master, his form, his order, his books, etc. Acaryopasanam-one's aim of life should be to serve the acaryas.
In any case, where do we find the essential teachings and intructions of Shrila Prabhupada? In his books. So far as I know there is not a single statement suggesting that we cannot worship Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura or any of the members of our disciplic succession. So far as reading the books of the acaryas, if we go by Shrila Prabhupada's purports, this is also suggested.
No one is denying that Shrila Prabhupada at times discouraged certain disciples from this practice. However, it seems clear that it had to do with particular situations or crises, either personal or societal, in which a disciple or disciples misunderstood Shrila Prabhupada's position, or when a disruption of our Movement was being fomented by persons inimical to Shrila Prabhupada. Those instructions were not meant to be held as eternal principles. Worshiping the acaryas and studying their literatures is an established principle of our philosophy, which is clearly espoused in Shrila Prabhupada's books. We must follow them. We have to understand particular instructions in the light of the overall siddhanta.
An illustrative case in point: the Radha-kunda controversy. In 1976, Shrila Prabhupada was questioned about bathing in Radha-kunda-was it all right? He gave assent and guidelines how it must be done: with utmost reverence and respect. Devotees went and a number of them began to sport, splash and behave frivolously. Shrila Prabhupada found out, became furious and banned bathing in Radha-kunda. However, Shrila Prabhupada's purports from Shri Upadesamrita and the acaryas' commentary clearly enjoin us to take bath there. What is to be done? Shrila Prabhupada gave permission according to time, place and circumstance and withdrew it likewise. The injunction, however, to bathe in Radha-kunda is set down in scripture in a permanent form, including Prabhupada's purport. We can understand Prabhupada's anger had to do with the neophyte attitude of enjoying spirit, offensive to Shrimati Radharani and not to the spiritual principle of bathing in Radha-kunda. The conclusion is that we should adopt the serious, mature, reverential mood desired by the acaryas and take bath there for our eternal, spiritual benefit.
We must therefore worship the acaryas, and study their writings as far as we are able to do so. Naturally such worship begins with our spiritual master.
This book is an attempt to worship Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. It is certainly flawed and incomplete in many ways, but certainly the subject matter is not, and therefore it has value. Such histories have value. By hearing of our spiritual lineage, we feel love, pride and inspiration. We feel inspired to know what we are a part of. We feel inspired by their pure examples, their exalted and purifying words, their deep realizations. We begin to feel transcendental pride in our spiritual ancestry-we realize that we are connected in parampara to the greatest personalities in the universe-the most renounced, most intelligent, most humble, most pure, most ecstatic personalities in the universe. We can have a relationship with them. They are heaving us upward. They are actively giving us association. They constitute the real, eternal, living family of the spiritual world.
To His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my eternal spiritual master, who delivered the merciful teachings of the Vaishnava Acaryas to the suffering world. I pray that he may be a little pleased with this attempt to glorify Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada.
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna preshthaya bhu-tale
shrimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
krishna-sambandha-vijnana-dayine prabhave namah
I offer my respectful obeisances to Shri Varshabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa (another name of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura), who is favored by Shrimati Radharani and who is the ocean of transcendental mercy and the deliverer of the science of Krishna.
shri-gaura-karuna-sakti-vigrahaya namo 'stu te
I offer my respectful obeisances unto you, the personified energy of Shri Chaitanya's mercy, who deliver devotional service which is enriched with conjugal love of Radha and Krishna, coming exactly in the line of revelation of Shrila Rupa Gosvami.
namas te gaura-vani-shri-murtaye dina-tarine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto you, who are the personified teachings of Lord Chaitanya. You are the deliverer of the fallen souls. You do not tolerate any statement which is against the teachings of devotional service enunciated by Shrila Rupa Gosvami.
On the fifth day of the dark lunar fortnight of the month of Govinda [corresponding to February 6th, 1874 A.D. by the western calendar], at 3:30 in the afternoon, Bimala Prasad Datta, later to be known as Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, made his appearance in Purushottama Kshetra [Jagannatha Puri] in the state of Orissa, not far from the temple of Lord Jagannatha. He was the fourth son of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shriyukta Bhagavati Devi, and at the time of his birth all thirty-two bodily symptoms of a maha-purusha, a great personality, were pointed out by an experienced astrologer. Furthermore, the boy was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck like a Brahmin's thread. The astrologer commented at his birth, "I have done many horoscopes in my life, but I have never before seen such a horoscope filled with all the signs of a great personality. This child will become world famous as a brilliant teacher of life's ultimate goal."
When the child was six months old, Lord Jagannatha's Rathayatra Festival was in procession, and the cart stopped in front of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house for three days. Following the instructions of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Bhagavati Devi brought the child before the cart and an offered garland fell from the neck of the Lord, encircling the boy. This was taken as a sign of special favor by all present. The grain ceremony was observed on the cart at this time and was done with Jagannatha prasada. When the boy's vocational inclination was tested, he immediately embraced the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, indicating his future as a preacher. Therefore, from the very beginning of his appearance, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura exhibited all the signs of an exalted, eternal associate of the Lord, who had descended in answer to Shrila Bhaktivinoda's prayer for a "ray of Vishnu" to help him spread the Krishna Consciousness Movement.
Although family lineage may be ultimately irrelevant when considering the appearance of an eternally liberated associate of the Lord, still it is interesting to see what sort of family is blessed with such a transcendental personality. As history shows us, Lord Brahma himself appeared in the family of Muslims as Shrila Haridasa Thakura, and there are other instances of exalted persons taking birth in humble families. Still, as a point of interest, we may hear something of the lineage of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
His family line traces back to Lord Brahma from the descendants of Chitragupta, and they are known as the Brahma kayasthas. Bharata is in the 87th generation from Chitragupta, Bharadvaja is the 88th. After him came Angira, and after him appeared Brihaspati. In the 149th generation of descendants, Purushottama, son of Sivadatta, went to Bengal upon the summons of the King of Bengal, Adisura. Purushottama's youngest son took sannyasa and became famous as Kanaka Dandi. In the 7th and 8th generations of Purushottama's family Binayaka and his son Narayana Datta both did ministerial work for the king of Bengal. In the 15th generation from Purushottama, Raja Krishnananda, the king of Kheturi (in Bengal), and the father of Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, the great Vaishnava acarya, appeared. Raja Krishnananda was also a great devotee and was personally favored by Lord Nityananda Prabhu. The 7th generation from Raja Krishnananda saw the appearance of Madanamohana Datta, who was very famous in Bengal and Calcutta for his spiritual qualities. His great-grandson was Anandachandra Datta, and his son was Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose 4th son was Bimala Prasad. The name Bimala or Shri Bimala Devi refers to the para sakti (internal potency) of Lord Jagannatha, so his name literally means the mercy of the internal potency of the Lord.
Bimala Prasad stayed in Jagannatha Puri for ten months after his appearance and then journeyed to Bengal by palanquin on his mother's lap. He grew up in his early years in Ranaghata in the District of Nadia, hearing about Krishna from his mother.
When he was a small boy, perhaps two or three years old, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought some ripe mangoes from the market. Bimala Prasad took one to eat, saying, "This is mine." Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura got up and said in a grave voice, "What is this? New fruit has come into the house. It has not been offered to Giridhari and you have taken it first? Remember, new fruit is to be given first to the Lord. Without giving the first share to the Lord, nothing is to be taken."
The child was very repentant and exclaimed, "Oh, what evil thoughts I have had! Throughout my whole life I shall not eat these again. This is the right punishment for one ruled by greed." He made the promise and observed it throughout his whole life. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada comments on this incident: "Whenever we offered him mango he said, 'No, I am an offender. I cannot take mango.' He was thinking that I have offended [Krishna] in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity. So this is the characteristic of the acarya. They teach by their life's action-one should be so much determined. A child took the mango, there is no offense, but he took that vow."
When Bimala Prasad was seven years old, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was constructing the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta at Ramabagana. During that construction, a Deity of Lord Kurma was unearthed. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered his son to begin regulated worship of that Deity.
From the very beginning the boy used to hear the preaching of his father with rapt attention. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as well as his audience, were amazed to see how a small boy could hear the topics of Krishna consciousness with such total absorption. By the age of seven he had committed the entire Bhagavad-gita to memory and could wonderfully explain the verses as well. Later on he was trained in publishing and proof-reading at Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's printing press in connection with the Thakura's well-known spiritual journal the Sajjana-Toshani. At the age of eleven, Bimala Prasad toured the various places of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lilas with his father.
Bimala Prasad had an eidetic memory. Whatever he would read once he could later recall with perfect clarity. He was trained in mathematics and astrology at the Shri Ramapura School, and he achieved such astounding scholarship that he was eventually awarded the title Siddhanta Sarasvati by his tutors, Pandit Mahesh Chandra Chauramani and Pandit Sundar Lal.
During this period he used to attend the Sunday weekly meetings of Thakura Bhaktivinoda's Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha and hear the Thakura lecture on the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He was never known to study his school assignments, and while sitting at home, would replace those assignments with studies of Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura's Prarthana, Premabhakti-candrika and other devotional literatures. However, whatever questions he was asked by his teachers, he would immediately answer, and he got excellent results on all of his examinations.
He used to debate everyone he met on all sorts of subjects. No one who argued with him was ever able to defeat him. Just as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had defeated a great scholar, Kesava Kasmiri at a young age, so similarly Bimala Prasad once, during his later college days, debated a scholar named Panchanana Sahityacharya, the disciple of Vasudeva Sastri, a very famous professor of that time on topics of astrological calculation. The debate was held in the home of Shri Rajendra Chandra Sastri and judged by him as well. After some discussion that scholar had to accept defeat. In fact, the scholar became so mortified that he could not check the calls of nature. After that, everyone was reluctant to debate him for fear of being defeated.
At the age of eleven, while in the fifth class, Bimala Prasad invented a type of short-hand writing called Bicanto, and it was during this period that he took a tour of the holy places with his father.
When the boy was in 7th class (equivalent to today's eighth class), and about 13 years old, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought tulasi beads for his son from Jagannatha Puri and gave him the name of Hari and a Nrisimha mantra to chant which he executed very faithfully, along with the worship of his Kurma Deity, according to the instructions of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
At the age of sixteen, while his schooling continued, the books of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura formed the serious content of his studies. He also began writing books on astrology, and during this time he formed the Cirakumara Sabha or the August Assembly amongst his friends with whom he met regularly at Calcutta's Beadon Square. There they used to discuss topics related to religion, and the members were required to take a vow of celibacy. The Society was formed with the purpose of giving people a chance to remain seriously engaged in worship of the Lord and detached from family life. But Bimala Prasad was the only one who observed his vows immaculately.
In 1892, at the age of eighteen, he took an entrance examination and entered Calcutta's Sanskrit College. As before, he paid scant attention to the prescribed books, but he found the time to read all of the philosophical books contained in the library.
During his college holidays he would discuss the Vedas with the scholar Shriyukta Prithvidhara Sharma. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati had become learned in all six branches of Vedic knowledge: siksha (pronunciation), kalpa (sequences of Vedic sacrifice), vyakarana (grammar, especially the use of word roots, inflected words and sentences), nirukta (meanings of inflected words and word roots), chandah (recitation of Vedic mantras) and jyotisha (astrological and astronomical calculation), still to study the vyakarana, the grammatical branch of the Vedas, he approached the Pandit Prithvidhara Sharma. The Pandit praised him for his achievements and encouraged him to study the Siddhanta Kaumudi throughout his life. Siddhanta Sarasvati replied, "My life is for the single-minded cultivation of the teachings of Shri Chaitanya, not for the cultivation of grammar. I have only studied the Vedas, the branches of the Vedas and their related parts in a secondary manner."
In 1895 he left the college, as he was very eager to execute his worship of the Lord and to remain free from the pressure to enter family life. He stated in his autobiography:
"If I remain studying with careful attention at the College, then extreme pressure will be brought upon me to enter family life, but if I am considered to be foolish and inefficient, then no one will put such an inducement upon me for becoming so engaged. By this consideration, I left the Sanskrit College, and, in order to maintain my life for the service of Hari, I was desirous of getting an honest occupation which I could perform with the intention of earning a humble income."
During his student days he also wrote essays on spiritual topics for various magazines and strongly condemned various religious malpractices which had become prominent in society. At the Bhakti Bhavan in 1897 he established a catushpathi (a small academy) called Saraswati Chatuspati where many learned persons from Calcutta attended his lectures and discourses on astronomy. He also published the magazines Jyotirvid and Brihaspati and other old astrological texts like the Surya-siddhanta, a famous and highly regarded Sanskrit astronomical treatise. Here he also established and edited the Bhakti Panjika, an almanac. He was well-acquainted with both the Eastern and Western branches of astrology, but naturally favored the Vedic one. He was offered a chair in astronomy at the University of Calcutta by Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, but Siddhanta Sarasvati declined it, thinking it an impediment to his spiritual life. At the request of Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji he composed the Shri Navadvipa Panjika, a Krishna-ized almanac in which the months, lunar fortnights, days, lunar days, stars, etc. were all given names of Vishnu. He did not spend very long in his astronomical pursuits, however, and soon dedicated himself fully to the worship and distribution of the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
He was also employed by the royal kings of Tripura from 1895 to 1905 in various services. Initially he accepted the post of editor, under Panchashrika Maharaja Virachandra Manikya Bahadur, and he edited a history of their family entitled Raj Ratnakar. During this time he studied all of the principal books in the Royal Library. A year later, however, the Maharaja departed from this world. The succeeding king, Maharaja Radhakisore Manikya Bahadur entrusted Siddhanta Sarasvati with the instruction of the sons of the king in Bengali and Sanskrit. The king also requested him to put an end to various cheating activities of persons who were misappropriating royal wealth. Siddhanta Sarasvati quickly stopped this nonsense much to the delight of the king. He assisted the royal family in different ways until 1905. At that time he requested to be given leave, and this was granted along with a full pension, which he accepted for some time and then later discarded.
During this ten year period many other significant events took place as well. In 1897 he began to strictly observe the vows of Caturmasya, including the practice of cooking for himself one preparation daily, taking the food from the ground and lying on the earth without any bedding or pillow. In 1898 he toured Benares, Prayaga, and Gaya with Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and discussed philosophy with persons in the line of Shri Ramanujacarya. In 1899, Siddhanta Sarasvati published a number of articles on spiritual topics in the magazine called Nivedana, a Calcutta weekly.
Siddhanta Sarasvati had been engaged in regularly chanting the maha-mantra and a Nrisimha mantra given to him by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura when he was in the Seventh Class, and he had been worshiping the Kurma Deity (discovered in laying the foundation of the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta) since the age of seven. Without fail, he had been executing that worship and chanting since his boyhood, and from 1885 onward he had received special training in printing, editing, etc. at the press at the Bhakti Bhavan.
Thus, the young man was a very qualified candidate for becoming the disciple of a guru. Many pseudo-gurus (mantra-peddlers) of the sahajiya category wanted to have him as their disciple to increase their false prestige. After all, Siddhanta Sarasvati was a magistrate's son, he was a strict renunciate from birth, he was learned and deeply attached to the scriptures. But Siddhanta Sarasvati was not interested in such pretenders.
In 1898, after Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had constructed his residence in Navadvipa Dhama at Godruma Dvipa and called it Svananda-sukhada-kunja, and sometime after the discovery of Lord Chaitanya's birth site by the Thakura and Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja arrived in Navadvipa Dhama to see the site of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's birth and to hear the discourses of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. When he arrived, he was singing in ecstasy. His only possessions were the tulasi mala which he wore around his neck and another set he kept in his hand for counting. He kept a few books, such as Narottama dasa Thakura's works: Prarthana and Prema-bhakti-candrika.
Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji had been performing bhajana for many years in Vrindavana. He was extremely renounced and was the disciple of Bhagavata dasa Babaji, the disciple of Jagannatha dasa Babaji. He was not well-educated and had been a grain-merchant in his previous existence, but it was widely known that he was a liberated paramahamsa of the highest caliber in the area of Vraja-mandala.
At the time of his arrival, he was wearing a cap made of tiger skin and was carrying a basket of various items and materials for his service. He spotted Siddhanta Sarasvati and offered him four or five pieces of knotted rope for chanting rounds, a tilaka stamp with the initials for Hare Krishna, the tiger skin cap and paraphernalia for worship. Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja had received the basket and cap from his spiritual master, Bhagavata dasa Babaji. Siddhanta Sarasvati was very attracted to Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji's lotus feet at first sight. He was later to comment with great humility:
"I have been busy within this material world trying to bring sense gratification within the grasp of my hand. I have often thought that by obtaining the objects of sense gratification, all my short-comings will be fulfilled. I often attained different facets that were indeed very rare, but my own personal short-comings were never mitigated. In this material world I have had the association of very high-class, aristocratic persons. However, seeing their various deficiencies, I could not offer them praise. The most merciful Supreme Lord Shri Gaurasundara, seeing me in such a lamentable condition at such a time of adversity, gave permission to His two dearmost devotees Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji to grant their blessings to me. Because I was always intoxicated with a worldly false ego, wanting again and again self-appraisal, I deprived myself of my own real benefit. But because of the influence of my previous births' activities in devotional service, I came into the association of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was the form of my spiritual well-wisher. My spiritual master [Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji] would go and visit Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and many times would reside with him. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, out of his compassion for other living entities, pointed out my spiritual master, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Upon seeing my spiritual master, the extent of my worldly false ego diminished. I knew that all the other living entities who have taken the human form of life were also fallen and low like myself. But by gradually observing the spiritual character of my master, I realized that only a Vaishnava could reside in this material world and be of exemplary character."
At Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's urging, the young man approached Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji for initiation in the month of Magh of the year 1900. Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji expressed reluctance to accept him, knowing Siddhanta Sarasvati to be a great scholar. Finally, when Siddhanta Sarasvati pleaded with him for initiation, Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji replied, "Mahaprabhu will be asked. If He gives permission, your desire will be fulfilled." On another day Siddhanta Sarasvati approached him again and asked, "What was Mahaprabhu's order?" Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji replied, "I forgot to ask." The third time Babaji Maharaja was requested, he replied, "I asked. I did not receive the command of Mahaprabhu." Siddhanta Sarasvati then stood up, his heart breaking, and said, "You [Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shrila Gaura Kisora] are both worshippers of Krishna, the Crest Jewel of Debauchees, therefore why will you take mercy on someone dedicated to ordinary morality like me? In His pastimes as the exemplary teacher, Mahaprabhu has given instructions on the worship of Krishna, the Crest Jewel of Debauchees. Therefore, why will He give the command to take mercy on me? But, karuna na haile kandiya kandiya prana na rakhibe ara-If there is no mercy, weeping and weeping, I can sustain my life no more. If I do not receive your mercy I do not see any need in holding onto life."
After thus indicating his readiness to take his life, Siddhanta Sarasvati began to cry. Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji's heart was melted to see this, so he told him to take bath in the Sarasvati and then come back to him. At the time of initiation, he gave Siddhanta Sarasvati the name: Shri Varshabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa.
This pastime bears a striking resemblance to the relationship between Narottama dasa Thakura and Lokanatha Gosvami-[Lokanatha Gosvami was also an extremely humble and renounced paramahamsa who was reluctant to take any disciples, considering himself unqualified, but finally accepted Narottama dasa Thakura as his only disciple.] It shows how eager and determined one must be for the mercy of a pure devotee of Krishna.
4: In Puri
In 1898 Siddhanta Sarasvati had accompanied his father to Kasi, Prayaga and Gaya and had gathered many facts about all these holy places, which were later incorporated into his commentary on the Chaitanya-caritamrita called Anubhashya. In 1900 he published a book called Bange Samajikata, which described the origin, location and philosophy of various societies, castes and religions, and he expounded the clear superiority of Lord Chaitanya's doctrine of inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference. In March he accompanied Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Orissa where they visited the temple of Kshira-cora-gopinatha at Remuna, and also saw Bhubaneswar and Puri. While in Puri, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura decided to build a place for bhajana just near the samadhi of Shrila Haridasa Thakura, and so Siddhanta Sarasvati stayed and served his father in various ways, assisting him in establishing his Bhakti Kuti by the sea.
At that time the Maharaja of Kasimbazar was camped nearby, and he came regularly to hear from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Siddhanta Sarasvati. Siddhanta Sarasvati was giving regular classes from the Chaitanya-caritamrita in the presence of his father, and many listeners were assembling just to hear it. The famous Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji used to come at that time to hear the discourses.
Later relations with the Babaji were broken because of two deviations by him:
1. He introduced the chanting of Bhaja Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama Japa Hare Krishna Hare Rama. This was introduced with the idea of stopping the audible chanting of the maha-mantra. The first problem with this was that the concocted mantra had the faults of siddhanta-virodha-an opposing conclusion and rasabhasa-conflicting rasas. The second problem was that trying to suppress the audible vibration of the maha-mantra was against the desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as established by His activities and teaching, as well as by the teachings of the Gosvamis. Rupa Gosvami had written in the Prathama Chaitanyashtaka, text five: hare krishnty ucchaih-"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chants the Hare Krishna mantra in a loud voice ..." Therefore, Rupa Gosvami, an eyewitness to the activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and recipient of His full blessings and empowerment for establishing His mission, personally testifies here that Lord Chaitanya did not confine the maha-mantra to inaudible muttering, but loudly proclaimed it to all.
2. Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji also introduced the Sakhibheki doctrine by dressing his follower Shri Jayagopala Bhattacarya as Lalita Sakhi. This was against Mahaprabhu's teaching as well, as an ordinary jiva was being worshipped as though he were an expansion of Shrimati Radharani.
Both Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Siddhanta Sarasvati instructed the Babaji to give up these fallacious practices, but he refused. Siddhanta Sarasvati began to preach publicly and strongly against these misconceived teachings, proclaiming that the maha-mantra is for both japa and kirtana, and that kirtana is ultimately superior to japa. This created quite a controversy in Puri with many taking the side of the Babaji out of misplaced sentiment and others siding with Siddhanta Sarasvati.
During this period Siddhanta Sarasvati was engaged in the compilation of a Vaishnava encyclopedia which contained an explanation of Vaishnava terminology, brief biographies of great Vaishnavas, an introduction to the books of the Vaishnava acaryas, a description of the Vaishnava tirthas, the various conclusions of Vaishnava sects. etc. He called it Vaishnava-Manjusha-Samahriiti, and it was later published in four volumes. A Vaishnava scholar commented on it by saying, "This work is only possible for a supra-mortal, a great personality like Prabhupada Shrila Sarasvati Thakura. Even if 25 to 30 scholars and 10 to 15 men taking the treasury of a king began the work, they would be unable to edit it." The work of compilation was begun in Puri and continued as Siddhanta Sarasvati made his preaching rounds of Shri Mayapur-dhama, Shri Jagannatha Puri-dhama and Shri Vraja-dhama. He also studied the books of Shrila Madhvacarya and Shrila Ramanujacarya and published some of them in Bengali. He also published biographies of these and other Vaishnava saints in the Sajjana-Toshani magazine of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
He toured South India in 1904 and again in 1905-places like Tirupati, Shrirangam, Singhachal, Raj Mahendry, Madras, Perambadur, Conjeveram, Kumbhakonam and Madurai. While on tour he collected all the information about the rites and rules of Vedic tridanda Vaishnava sannyasa from a Ramanuja tridandi swami at Perambadur. Wherever he would go in his travels he would lecture, write and debate the learned panditas of the day. He soon acquired such a reputation that his name would strike fear in the hearts of his philosophical adversaries. All bogus cults and sects were doomed in his presence.
However, in Puri, Siddhanta Sarasvati experienced such severe oppression and censure due to his preaching against the rhyming kirtana and sakhibheki doctrine of the popular Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji that finally Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura instructed him to go and perform bhajana near the Yogapitha, the birthsite of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In 1905, at the age of 31, he began his great vow, following the example of Namacarya Haridasa Thakura, of chanting three lakhs of names (192 rounds) per day. He determined that at the rate of 300,000 names daily, it would take about 9 years to complete one billion names. He resided in a grass hut at the Yogapitha for four years, and in February of 1909 he built a cottage near the Yogapitha at Vrajapattana (town of Vraja) on the site of the house of Shri Candrasekhara Acarya, the uncle of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This place is considered to be non-different from the banks of Radhakunda. There he remained, uninterruptedly executing his chanting. He strictly followed his vow and observed Caturmasya, cooking rice (which had been dried in the sun) in ghee and eating it from the floor in the manner of a cow. He would take rest lying on the ground, never using any pillows and constantly chant and study the scriptures. Seeing his renunciation, his Gurudeva, Shrila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja said, "I observe that the renunciation of Shri Rupa-Raghunatha is manifest in my Prabhu." He used to address his disciple as "my Prabhu."
In commenting on this period Shrila Prabhupada states, "From childhood he was a strict brahmacari, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. And he underwent very severe penances for starting this movement: world-wide movement. That was his mission."
When the roof of his kutir became broken, rather than take time away from his chanting, he would simply use an umbrella when it rained and go on chanting. Sometimes, he had to go to different places, but he continued very strictly and completed his vows always.
In 1906 Shri Rohinikumara Ghosh, (the nephew of Chandramadhava Ghosh Mahasaya, a former justice of the Calcutta High Court), had a wonderful dream, and as a result approached Siddhanta Sarasvati for initiation. The boy had gone to stay with some Bauls, a so-called guru and his consort who he was instructed to address as "Mother" and "Father". These persons were actually sinful rascals in the guise of devotees, but while he was in Mayapur, he had the good fortune to hear from Siddhanta Sarasvati for a long time. He returned to the place of the Baul, and feeling ill, he lay down to rest. In a dream, the Baul took the form of a tiger and the consort, the form of a tigress. They were about to devour the unfortunate lad who was trying his best to take shelter of Lord Gaurasundara. At that moment Siddhanta Sarasvati arrived on the scene, chased the tigers away, and began to lead him to Mayapur. The boy awoke at daybreak and proceeded to Mayapur where he heard discourses from Siddhanta Sarasvati for several days. Finally, he begged for initiation from his savior so feelingly that Siddhanta Sarasvati took mercy on him.
Prior to this, Siddhanta Sarasvati had never given initiation to anyone. His character was such that he never regarded his disciples as his disciples, but he used to see them as being that which was received from the lotus feet of his guru. He used to address them as "Prabhu." In his address to the Gaudiya Math's first Vyasa-puja, he has addressed his disciples as, "My friends, rescuers from danger." He also wrote, "If a Vaishnava does not do the work of a guru, then the spiritual Vaishnava lineage will stop. Again, if he does the work of a guru, then he becomes a non-Vaishnava. For if a guru thinks, 'I am a guru.' then the first 'u' letter in the word guru disappears (the word becomes 'garu' or cow). A real guru does not make disciples and thus remains a guru. Here we see Siddhanta Sarasvati giving a very strong warning about entertaining the conception of overlordship or being the master of anyone. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada observed that when he offered obeisances to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he used to return, "Daso 'smi": "I am your servant." And in a lecture in 1973 on the occasion of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Disappearance Day observance, Shrila Prabhupada in the same ecstatic mood spoke, 'Anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life, and he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel. So, this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying a little bit and you are all helping me, so I have to thank you more. You are actually representatives of my Guru Maharaja, because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja. Thank you very much."
In the course of Siddhanta Sarasvati's travels throughout India he became much pained at the erroneous teachings of many pseudo sects and sahajiya groups. There arose in his heart a burning desire to widely preach the true siddhanta according to the desire of the Six Gosvamis and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji ordinarily never allowed anyone to touch his feet, he had voluntarily placed his feet on the head of Siddhanta Sarasvati and ordered him to preach extensively and advised him, "... to preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other works." Siddhanta Sarasvati said of this occasion: "On receiving just a touch of the lotus feet of my Shri Gurudeva, I lost all sense of this external world. I do not know whether any transcendental agent equal to him in greatness has ever appeared in this world. How may those, who are busy with the lust, anger, etc. of the world ever know him?"
6: Vaishnava and Brahmanas
In 1911, a great controversy arose over the relative positions of brahmanas and Vaishnavas. Various caste gosvamis, members of different smarta groups, etc. raised a huge agitation, and so a great conference was organized in the Midnapore District of Bengal to settle the issues. Famous panditas, scholars and spiritual leaders from all over India were to attend. The contentions of the Karmajada Smartas were:
1. Even if a person appearing in a sudra family is initiated by Pancaratrika initiation, according to the Vaishnava scriptural rules, still he remains unfit to worship salagrama-sila.
2. Anyone not taking his birth in a brahmana family (seminally born) cannot perform all the duties of a brahmana. And even if he is an uttama-adhikari, he can never become an acarya.
This was the smartas' attempt to establish their seminal successions as the legitimate and supreme spiritual authority, and to prove the inferiority of the Vaishnavas. They were incensed at Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's preaching in the line of Shrila Sanatana Gosvami (which had gained increasing acceptance) that anyone, regardless of birth, could become a brahmana and a Vaishnava and was fit to offer Vedic sacrifices, worship the Deity, etc.
Of course, this was a conflict with a long history. In the past, exalted Vaishnava acaryas, who were born in non-brahmana families, had initiated persons who were born in brahmana families, because it was understood by the Vaishnava acaryas that in the age of Kali, everyone is sudra by birth. Qualification comes by training and temperament. Shri Syamananda Prabhu had initiated Shri Rasikananda, although Syamananda was not a seminal brahmana. Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura initiated two seminal brahmanas, Ganganarayana Cakravarti and Shri Ramakrishna Bhattacarya. Aside from the historical precedents, there were many scriptural evidences supporting this practice.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was invited to the conference, but he was bed-ridden at the time with rheumatism. Exasperated, he roared out, "Is there no one manifest in the Vaishnava world who is capable of meeting with them and by the conclusions and original logic of the scriptures put an end to their lowly activities, which are nothing but the frenzied dance of the three material qualities?"
At this, Siddhanta Sarasvati then wrote an essay entitled, Brahmana o Vaishnavera Taratmya Visayaka Siddhanta, or The Conclusion Concerning the Comparison of Brahmins and Vaishnavas. He then read it to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The Thakura was so ecstatic when he heard the powerful logic and scriptural evidences put forward by his brilliant son that he sat up and proclaimed, "Sarasvati, truly, truly Sarasvati! Truly, truly he is the acarya-sun illuminating the face of the Vaishnava world. By the light of these judgements the darkness of the Karmajada Smartas' doctrine will certainly soon be dispelled!"
At three P.M. on Friday, the eighth of September, 1911, the meeting was to begin at Midnapore District at Balighai, Uddhavapura. Siddhanta Sarasvati set out from Calcutta, accompanied by a follower of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura named Shriyukta Sureshchandra Mukhopadhyay, on September sixth. In attendance at the meeting were Shrila Madhusudana Gosvami from Radha Ramana, Shrila Visvambharananda Deva Gosvami (from Shrila Syamananda Prabhu's line) and a follower of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura called Shri Sitanatha Bhaktitirtha Mahasaya. All of them saw to it that Siddhanta Sarasvati was received with all the honor of an acarya. The panditas of the Karmajada Smartas were also present, as well as descendants from various caste gosvami families who supported them.
By everyone's consent Shrila Visvambharananda Deva Gosvami accepted the Chair of the meeting. Siddhanta Sarasvati then presented his paper to the huge assembly. The paper was divided into two sections: the Prakritajana section and the Harijana section. Initially he began to recite the glories of the brahmanas. The opposing panditas were beside themselves with joy. They had no idea that there were so many verses glorifying brahmanas, and they eagerly heard Siddhanta Sarasvati speak.
However, Siddhanta Sarasvati then began to explain and define the brahmana, the Vaishnava, the relationship between the two, the qualifications of a guru, etc. And then the opposition's joy quickly subsided. When no one could offer a strong argument in response, a huge uproar commenced. Some counter-arguments were given, but Siddhanta Sarasvati immediately refuted their contentions with searing logic. The meeting went on in this way for three days. Backing up Siddhanta Sarasvati were Shri Madhusudana Gosvami, Sarvabhouma Shriyukta Ramananda Dasa Babaji, and Shriyukta Sitanatha Bhaktitirtha Mahodaya. They all offered strong arguments that no matter what family a Vaishnava appears in, he is perfectly qualified to worship the salagrama-sila and recite the Vedas.
On the final day, Siddhanta Sarasvati was the concluding speaker. He spoke brilliantly with great vigor and incredible rhetoric for two hours. When he finished, no one on the opposing party could say a word. There was simply no way to counter him.
There was a huge uproar in acclaim of the brilliant acarya. Thousands of people rushed forward to take the dust of his lotus feet. The guards pleaded with the people to remain peaceful, and they would certainly have their desires fulfilled. Taking Siddhanta Sarasvati to a separate place, the guards forcibly took his feet and dunked them into a basin of water. The acarya objected strongly, as it was his principle not to allow anyone to touch his feet, and if anyone offered obeisances to him, he would immediately offer them obeisances in return. Yet the guards, desiring to protect him from the press of the crowd, took this action, adding a few buckets of water to the quantity and distributed it to the crowd. In this way the people felt satisfied and blessed, and they exhausted the entire supply in no time. Siddhanta Sarasvati was thus acclaimed as the greatest hero of the conference.
7: The Gaura Mantra
Later in 1911 another controversy surfaced, challenging that the name Gaura in the Gayatri mantra chanted by Gaudiya Vaishnavas was not an eternal name of Godhead, was not found in the original Vedas, and that Lord Chaitanya was not an incarnation of Godhead, but rather, by His own admission, a devotee of God.
Although it is clearly established in the pages of Chaitanya-bhagavata and Chaitanya-caritamrita that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, there were some persons who did not believe that His position as an avatara was revealed in the original Vedas. Of course one actual proof of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's divinity was the darsanas He provided to a number of exalted devotees during the maha-prakasa manifestations in the home of Shrivasa Thakura, to Lord Nityananda as a six-armed Vishnu form, as Shad-Bhuja to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, as Radha-Krishna to Shrila Ramananda Raya, and so on. These proofs along with many convincing verses supplied by Krishna dasa Kaviraja and Vrindavana dasa Thakura in their Chaitanya-caritamrita and Chaitanya-bhagavata, repectively, were sufficient for reasonable men. But the more stubborn worldly scholars and critics wanted proof from the original Vedas. The smartas objected to the worship of the Deity form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and claimed that the Gaura-mantra was not an eternal Vedic mantra.
Siddhanta Sarasvati cited proof from the Sruti, particularly from the Caitanyopanishad from the Atharva Veda:
sa hovaca: rahasyam te vadishyami, jahnavi-tire navadvipe
golokakhye dhamni govindo dvibhujo gaurah sarvatma
maha-purusho mahatma maha-yogi trigunatitah sattva-rupo
bhaktim loke kasyatiti. Tad ete sloka bhavanti
Brahma said: "I shall tell thee a secret! On the bank of the Jahnavi, at Navadvipa, which is called Goloka Dhama, shall Govinda, in a two armed form, as Gaura, the Great One, the Great Mystic, Who is transcendental to the three modes of material nature, and Whose form is eternal, reveal Bhakti to the world! There are a number of verses in that regard." [Text 5].
Other evidence was cited from the Svetasvatara Upanishad, as well as the Smriti, Tantras, Puranas, and especially the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Siddhanta Sarasvati addressed a large assembly at Navadvipa's Bada Akhada Hall, where many erudite scholars had gathered, headed by Shri Madhusudana Gosvami Sarvabhauma. He forcefully and brilliantly proved the eternality and glory of the Name, Form, Attributes, etc. of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati was unaware of it, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was there in one corner of the meeting, and when he heard Siddhanta Sarasvati's lecture he was extremely pleased with him. All of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas who heard the discourse were filled with bliss and began to chant Siddhanta Sarasvati's glories again and again. Due, in large measure, to Siddhanta Sarasvati's strong preaching on this point throughout his life, the Deity form of Shri Chaitanya. Mahaprabhu is now worshipped and accepted all over India as the eternal form of the Lord, and many thousands have received the Gaura mantra with great faith and for eternal benefit.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada commented on Siddhanta Sarasvati's strong preaching against the caste gosvamis and smartas:
"My Guru Maharaja's contribution is that he defeated the caste gosvamis. He defeated this brahmanism. He did it the same way as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya, yei krishna tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya: 'There is no consideration whether one is a sannyasi, a brahmana, a sudra, or a grihastha. No. Anyone who knows the science of Krishna, he is all right, he is gosvami and he is brahmana.'
"This was my Guru Maharaja's contribution. And for this reason, he had to face so many vehement protests from these brahmanas of the caste gosvamis.
"Once they conspired to kill him-my Guru Maharaja told me personally. By his grace, when we used to meet alone he used to talk about so many things. He was so kind that he used to talk with me, and he personally told me that these people, 'They wanted to kill me.'
"They collected twenty-five thousand rupees and went to bribe the police officer in charge of the area, saying, 'You take these twenty-five thousand rupees. We shall do something against Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and you don't take any steps.' He could understand that they wanted to kill him. So the police officer frankly came to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: 'Of course, we accept bribes, and we indulge in such things, but not for a sadhu, not for a saintly person. I cannot dare.' So, the police officer refused and said to my Guru Maharaja, 'You take care. This is the position.' This was because he so vehemently protested.
"When my Guru Maharaja was present, even big, big scholars were afraid to talk with even his beginning students. My Guru Maharaja was called 'living encyclopedia'. He could talk with anyone on any subject, he was so learned. And no compromise. So-called saints, avataras, yogis-everyone who was false was an enemy to my Guru Maharaja. He never compromised. Some Godbrothers complained that this preaching was a 'chopping technique' and it would not be successful. But those who criticized him fell down."
In March of 1912 Siddhanta Sarasvati was invited by Maharaja Manindrachandra Nandi Bahadur to come to his Kasimabazar Palace to give some lectures about Krishna. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati was there for four days, he was prevented from glorifying the Lord except on one short occasion by envious prakrita sahajiyas who were afraid that if the king heard Sarasvati Thakura, they would lose their positions. Therefore, Siddhanta Sarasvati refused to eat any of the foodstuffs sent for him by the king on a golden plate. He took only one tulasi leaf, as he considered that the atmosphere was contaminated by the materialistic envious behavior of the sahajiyas, and that if he could not render service to the Maharaja by glorifying Krishna before him, then he would not take his foodstuffs. Thus, he remained fasting from the 21 st to the 24th of March. On the fifth day he got an opportunity to speak for about five minutes and was then shouted down. He decided to leave.
The Maharaja had been wrongly informed by the sahajiyas that Siddhanta Sarasvati had refused his food, accusing the king of being of the Tili caste [a low caste], yet he sorrowfully met Siddhanta Sarasvati at the railway station and asked him to explain why he had fasted and why he was leaving. Siddhanta Sarasvati then told the king, "I did not get any opportunity to glorify to you the message of the Absolute Truth according to Shrimad-Bhagavatam, so how shall I accept your things'? Apart from that, the Lord does not accept the offered objects of a pujari who is blind to the knowledge of the Absolute Truth. For that reason, it is not prasada." He then left by train at 11 P.M. arid arrived at Dhubuliya, getting down at 2:30 in the morning, and then walked five miles to Vrajapattana, Mayapur, where he cooked and honored prasada. This incident serves as a brilliant example of the principled and staunch behavior a Vaishnava acarya must exhibit.
In November of 1912 Siddhanta Sarasvati went on tour with some other devotees to see some of the places visited by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates like Sree Khanda, Jajigram, Katwa, Jhamatpur, Akaihat. Chakhandi, Daihat, etc. While visiting those places he preached pure devotional service unceasingly. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati was constantly immersed in chanting the Holy Name, at first at the Yogapitha in Mayapura and then later at Vrajapattana, the site of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Vraja-lila dramas, he was always considering how to preach. After Rohini Kumara Ghosh had had his amazing dream earlier on and taken initiation, two other boys approached Siddhanta Sarasvati and were initiated in 1913, and were called Vaishnava dasa and Paramananda Vidyaratna. On the 6th of February, 1913, Siddhanta Sarasvati rented a large house for 36 Rupees a month at #4 Sanagar Lane in the Kalighata section of Calcutta. There he established the Bhagavat Printing Press-the Shri Bhagavat-yantra, so that he could begin to publish the important literatures of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. He called the press the Brihat Mridanga, explaining that an ordinary kirtana party could be heard for only a few blocks, but this mridanga could be heard far and wide. He wanted to print the second edition of the Chaitanya-caritamrita with the Amritapravaha Bhashya by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his own Anubhashya, as well as the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other books. The Bhagavad-gita with the Sarartha varshini commentary of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the Rasikaranjan commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and the great poem Shrila Gaura-krishnadaya by Govinda dasa were also printed. The press was moved to Vrajapattana in 1914, and later in 1915 it was moved to Krishnanagar.
8: The Disappearance Pastimes of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
and Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji
On June 22nd in 1914 at the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura performed his pastime of disappearance. His samadhi was established at Shri Svananda-sukhada-kunja on December 27, 1914. At this time Siddhanta Sarasvati took up the work of publishing the Sajjana-Toshani, and the other books which had been left unpublished by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
On November 17, 1915, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja left the mortal world on the Utthana Ekadashi. A terrible situation was created at this juncture by various heads of mathas who wanted to have the samadhi of Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji as a means of fund-raising for their own sense gratification. A first-hand account of this incident was given in a biographical work about Siddhanta Sarasvati called Sarasvati-jayashri:
"After the departure of Babaji Maharaja there were many types of opinions and disturbances over who would give his samadhi. Hiralala Gosvami and a few other people sent Padmanabha Brahmacari, alias Krishna Chaitanya dasa, to Shridhama Mayapura to fetch Shrila Prabhupada (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura), they also told me to go with him! Crossing over the river by Kuliya's ferryboat, I saw Prabhupada coming with bare feet and covered by a green chaddar. With him was Shriyukta Paramananda Brahmacari. It was then the period of Caturmasya-Prabhupada's hair and beard were long. Seeing him, I prostrated in respect and told him in detail of the situation. After crossing the river by ferry-boat, Prabhupada arrived at the Rani Dharmasala. Shrila Babaji Maharaja used to stay there. Various heads of Navadvipa's Vaishnava gathering places had begun to argue amongst themselves over taking Shrila Babaji Maharaja's spiritually blissful body, and they had begun to rise in order to give the samadhi: the reason being that in the future the samadhi of such a perfect great person could be used as an instrument to raise monetary income. Shrila Prabhupada resisted such illegitimate attempts of theirs. In apprehension of a breach of peace, Navadvipa's Inspector of Police was then present at that place. The Detective Department's Commissioner Raya Bahudar Yatindranatha Sinha Mahasaya was then Navadvipa's Inspector of Police.
"After much controversy the Babajis said, 'Sarasvati Thakura is not a sannyasi, therefore he does not have the eligibility to give the samadhi for a person who has renounced his home.' In reply to that, Prabhupada said in a loud voice like thunder, 'I am the only disciple of' Paramahamsa Babaji Maharaja. Even though I have not accepted sannyasa, I am a celibate brahmacari, and, by the grace of Babaji Maharaja. I am not secretly addicted to abominable habits or involved in fornication as some monkey-like people are. If there is someone amongst the people present who is a renunciate of truly stainless character, then he can give Babaji Maharaja's samadhi. We have no objection to that. He who within the last one year, or the last six months, three months, one month or at least within the last three days has not had any illicit contact with a woman will be able to touch this spiritually blissful body. If anyone else touches it, he will be completely ruined.' Hearing these words, the Inspector of Police said, 'How will evidence be had for this? Prabhupada said, 'I will have faith in their word.' We became amazed at seeing them all-after Prabhupada's words, the people present wearing the attire of Babajis, one by one, turned their backs. The Inspector of Police was speechless.
"Then, according to Shrila Prabhupada's instructions, we had the good fortune to carry the spiritually blissful body of Paramahamsa Babaji Maharaja, which was lying on the ground. Some people gave advice to us: 'When Babaji Maharaja was manifest he said that his body should be dragged through the streets of Shridhama Navadvipa so that it may be bathed in the dust of this holy land. It is befitting to observe the command of Babaji Maharaja.' Prabhupada then said, 'Although we are fools, inexperienced and offenders we will still not be disinclined to understand the true meaning of those humility-filled words which were spoken by my Gurudeva in order to destroy the pride of worldly-minded people, for even Krishnachandra personally thinks Himself to be successful if He carries my Shri Gurudeva on His head or shoulders. After the departure of Thakura Haridasa, Shri Gaurasundara took the spiritually blissful body of the Thakura on His lap and danced. What dignity He adorned it with! Therefore, following in the footsteps of Shriman Mahaprabhu, we shall also bear Babaji Maharaja's spiritually blissful body on our heads."
Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was placed in samadhi on the 17th of November, 1915. Sixteen years later, due to flooding, it had to be moved, and there was a great clamor over who would claim the samadhi and give it a new location. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura commented that those who were most sincere would be successful in locating the samadhi, and his disciples were able to do so, moving the whole samadhi intact in a boat accompanied by sankirtana from Navadvipa to Mayapur where a beautiful samadhi was built at Vrajapattana near the Radha-kunda.
In 1914 Kunjabihari Vidyabhushana, who later took sannyasa and was named Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja, had come to Mayapur and heard from Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja on the verse from Chaitanya-caritamrita: krishna bhakta niskama ... The Babaji then instructed him to hear from "his guru" Siddhanta Sarasvati. He then heard from Siddhanta Sarasvati on the verse from Chaitanya-caritamrita: brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva ... and was so much impressed that he gave up all aversion he had formally maintained against Vaishnavas and determined to hear Siddhanta Sarasvati seriously. He was afflicted with many of the common misconceptions of the day about the nature of sadhus and was on occasion upset by Siddhanta Sarasvati's strong language about such persons, but finally was fully convinced. He came again, having secured two months leave from his job at the Calcutta Post Office and arrived on the day that Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord in Koladvipa on the Utthana Ekadashi, November 19, 1915.
After some days of hearing, Kunjabihari asked for initiation and was then inspired to propose to Sarasvati Thakura that he make arrangements for him to stay in Calcutta and give discourses so that thousands of persons could be benefitted. While engaged in his bhajana at Vrajapattana, Sarasvati Thakura had often considered how he would execute the preaching work that was desired of him by both of his spiritual guides, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. It was especially weighing heavily upon him after their departure. He was feeling their separation keenly, living the words of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that aside from separation from a devotee of Krishna there is no other suffering. He humbly considered at that time, "How shall I preach to the world the pure message of Shri Chaitanya and establish the heart's desire of my gurus? I have no support of people, no support of wealth and I do not have any learning or intelligence which can attract the common people."
He took rest that night, and at that time he saw in a visionary trance the Panca-tattva and their sankirtana associates, entering from the East into the natyamandira of the temple of the Shri Yogapitha, the site of Lord Chaitanya's appearance, their effulgence lighting up the whole scene. With them were Vaishnava Sarvabhauma Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and other previous acaryas. They gave him many assurances and told him, "Don't you worry at all. With supreme enthusiasm preach the conclusion of pure devotion, in intense earnestness chant the glories of the Name, Abode, Form, Attributes, Associates and Pastimes of Godhead at various places. All of us will help you. There is no need to worry. The support of unlimited people, countless wealth and boundless learning await the blessing of being engaged in the service of your preaching. They will be received when they are necessary. No type of worldly hindrance or danger will be able to make any obstruction for this great work of yours. We are always with you."
With this spectacular vision in mind as his impetus and at the urging of his disciples, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura thought the time had come for widespread preaching. Up until 1918 Siddhanta Sarasvati was mainly immersed in chanting and publishing books. In Vrajapattana, Mayapur, on the full-moon day of Phalguna, the 29th of March, 1918, Siddhanta Sarasvati took sannyasa and took the name Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja at the age of 44, according to the Vedic rites which he had gathered from the Ramanujas in his travels. He took initiation from a picture of Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Taking sannyasa from a picture was certainly not a standard practice of the Ramanujas. The situation, however, was unique. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura had no spiritual master who was physically present, and he had no God-brothers, being the only disciple of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. He was furthermore a self-realized soul, and there is no doubt that he took sannyasa to fulfill the innermost desires of his spiritual masters, who had both ordered him to preach. This practice was never meant to be imitated by others in much less unique and less qualified positions. He wanted to establish a mission that would take the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was beginning his preaching effort towards the end of the First World War, in which many Indian nationalists had taken part on the side of the British, thinking that this might encourage the British to consider their desires for independence. This was not to be. In 1919 the British passed the Rowlatt Act to repress the move for Indian freedom, and one week later in Amritsar in the square called Jallianwalla Bagh, British soldiers shot and killed hundreds of unarmed, peaceful Indian protestors. Gandhi's non-cooperation movement gained momentum-nationalistic fervour was at its height. It was in the atmosphere of British rule and nationalistic foment, a time of revolution, that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura began his preaching.
But as Shrila Prabhupada learned in his meeting with the great saintly person in 1922, it was not a nationalistic revolution that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was interested in igniting, but rather the spiritual lives of humanity at large as described in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso 'nkitani yat
shrinvanti gayanti grinanti sadhavah
"On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world's misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest."
He wanted to effect the upliftment of mankind throughout the world to the eternal, spiritual platform of Krishna consciousness, where all strife, sectarianism, social discord, etc., were resolved forever. The means were the teachings of the liberated sages in the form of transcendental books-he aimed to propagate the great science of self-realization far and wide.
Traditionally, the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, beginning with the Gosvamis of Vrindavana had accepted the babaji-vesha (dress). According to the tradition, one does not accept a brahmana's thread (or gives it up if he has accepted one) and does not carry a danda. One wears only a short white wrapper and a top piece. The idea is that when one has reached the liberated platform, he rids himself of any item of dress or symbol of varnasrama-dharma (activities within the modes of nature, of which the sacred thread and sannyasa asrama are perceived as part) and makes his only business the chanting of the Holy Name in the mood of a bhajananandi. This is considered the final, transcendental stage of a paramahamsa Vaishnava. This had been the convention since the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Some persons also thought that to maintain the sacred thread and to accept tridanda-sannyasa were practices opposed to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teaching on the principle of humility: trinad api sunicena. However, this is a fallacious view. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has explained it in the following light: If the sacred thread is not taken at the time of initiation, this constitutes contempt for the process of initiation. The thread is not to signify brahminical pride that "I am meant to be served by everyone." But rather it is a sign that one has been purified by the lotus feet of a guru. The thread is meant to indicate eternal service to the Lord, not egoism. And as far as accepting sannyasa is concerned, that is for increasing one's serving mood-to serve the Lord with one's mind, body and words. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught this when He took sannyasa by chanting the verse of the Avanti brahmana who took tridanda-sannyasa and which is described in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 11.23.56:
etam sa asthaya paratma-nishtham
adhyasitam purvatamair maharshibhih
aham tarisyami duranta-param
"I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krishna. This was approved by the previous acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The characteristics of a gosvami are described by Shrila Rupa Gosvami in the first verse of Shri Upadesamrita:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo vishaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prithivim sa sishyat
"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja wanted to show an example to persons of the world from within the parameters of the varnasrama system. Daivi-varnasrama, or the practice of executing the principles of varnasrama-dharma by those who simultaneously practice and preach the practice of sadhana-bhakti, was also much extolled by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his writings and was especially discussed by him in his Chaitanya-sikshamrita. Therefore, to set a personal example of how the preacher, who comes to the madhyama-adhikari platform for his preaching work, also follows the principles of varnasrama for the sake of showing an example to his followers, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja took sannyasa.
He also wanted to show by this action that he was actually taking a humble position below his two gurus, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, who had both accepted the paramahamsa-vesha. At that time, many sense gratifiers and bogus sahajiyas were wearing babaji dress and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to exhibit, by personal example, just how exalted such personalities should be if they want to wear the same dress as Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and other exalted eternal associates of the Lord. So with a view to exhibit the activities of a gosthy-anandi, a preacher, he accepted the dress of a sannyasi.
For his preaching work, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura wisely chose to accept sannyasa, as people in India naturally show respect to sannyasis, and this was Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's motive as well: to save and attract persons, who would have otherwise criticized Him or not taken Him seriously. There was also further precedent in our line for this action, as Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati, the author of Shri Chaitanya-candramrita, Shri Navadvipa-Satakam, Shri Vrindavana-Satakam, Shri Radha-Rasasudhanidhih, and many other Vaishnava works also accepted tridanda-sannyasa.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also explains in his commentary on the Shrimad-Bhagavatam verse about the Avanti sannyasi in Chaitanya-caritamrita [Madhya-lila 3.6] that, "The most intimate devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, namely Gadadhara Pandita, accepted the tridanda-sannyasa and also accepted Madhava Upadhyaya as his tridandi-sannyasi disciple. It is said that from this Madhavacarya, the sampradaya known in western India as the Vallabhacarya-sampradaya has begun. Shrila Gopala Bhatta Bose, who is known as a smrity-acarya in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, later accepted the tridanda-sannyasa order from Tridandipada Prabodhananda Sarasvati."
Thus with solid historical precedent and a mood to preach widely, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, on the same day as he accepted sannyasa, established a temple at Vrajapattana called the Chaitanya Math and installed the Deities Shri Shri Guru-Gauranga-Gandharvika-Giridhari.
He began to preach in the immediate locality in Krishnanagar, Dalautpur, etc. In June he left Calcutta with a group of 23 devotees for Jagannatha Puri, and he visited Sauri, Kumara, etc. on the way and saw Gopinatha at Remuna. At Balasore he lectured on the Sikshashtaka, and he also gave discourses in Cuttack and Puri.
While in a forested area in Alalanatha, near Jagannatha Puri, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura entered a state of deep ecstasy and trance (vipralambha), having realized the non-difference of this forest and the forest of Vrindavana, and lost his external awareness of the world. When he came back to his external consciousness alone in the woods, he could not determine where he was. Meanwhile, his followers, who had originally assumed that he gone to the forest to answer the call of nature, became very worried about him and began to search for him everywhere. Finally, they found him and led him out. As he traveled to the various sites of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was overwhelmed on several occasions with symptoms of ecstasy and would always cite and chant the appropriate verses from Chaitanya-caritamrita to commemorate the mood and activities of the Lord in those sites.
During this tour when Shrila Sarasvati Thakura and his followers were returning from a darsana of Sakshi-gopala, he noticed that his householder followers refused to give alms to some poor people who were requesting help. He then sarcastically described their attitude as, "Money should not be given to poor, distressed people ... if it is given it will be karma-kanda."
[Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was satirizing the attitude of his disciples who were thinking that it was beneath them, as transcendental Vaishnavas, to give charity to the poor, as though this were a continuing activity within the realm of karmic activity.]
He stated that, "This type of consideration by householders expresses miserliness, mercilessness, and a lack of affliction at others' distress. From this attitude the heart becomes hard and attacked with niggardliness, and as a result the tendency to spend money even for Vishnu's service, which is the means of one's own interest, disappears. Therefore, offense in service (seva-aparadha) is invited. In order to guard against all these hypocritical, sinful deliberations, Shri Gaurasundara in His pastimes used to give help to lowly, distressed people. Even earned wealth is obtained by the mercy of God. It is not the incorrect use of wealth if some portion of mercy is given to requesting poor people-it is its proper use! To distribute mercy (prasada) is the compulsory duty of householder Vaishnavas. Even though their (poor people's) miserableness has been obtained through the fault of their own karma ... they are still God's people. Therefore, to give them help is the compulsory duty of well-to-do people. However, to think of them as 'Narayana' is only blindness to truth and a terrible spiritual offense!"
10: Spiritual Organization: The Visva Vaishnava Raja Sabha
and the Gaudiya Math
In November of 1918 Kunjabihari Vidyabhushana rented a house for fifty rupees near the temple of Paresanatha at No. 1 Ultadanga Junction Road, and Shrila Sarasvati Thakura established the Shri Bhaktivinoda Asana there. Although there was no arrangement for rent, some of the householder disciples of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took up the responsibility for maintaining the preaching effort. Kunjabihari Vidyabhushana worked to support the preaching by getting government service.
Here we see some obvious parallels to the way that Shrila Prabhupada started out: the vision of the forms of Krishna on the Jaladuta, the small store-front beginnings, the disciples getting a place without knowing how the rent was to be paid but with great faith in the paramahamsa, carrying on by getting some ordinary jobs, etc. This was the beginning of fulfillment promised in both the visionary experiences, the only thing required was the sincere effort to satisfy Krishna, and that was certainly there in abundance. This example, in the lives of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura and Shrila Prabhupada underscores the power of saranagati, total surrender to the mercy of Krishna. The secret to success is clearly contained in Krishna's often-quoted but not easily followed instruction to Arjuna: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. There is no material formula, just sincere endeavor to please Krishna. Krishna had assured Arjuna, "Do not fear." The same assurance had been given to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura at the Yogapitha and to Shrila Prabhupada on the Jaladuta. If one undertakes the most auspicious work of trying to deliver the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the lost souls of this age, he will never fail, and he will become a recipient of the merciful glance of the Lord. This should be learned from the living examples of the acaryas.
In December of 1918 Shrila Sarasvati Thakura set out with ten devotees on a preaching tour. His first stop was in Yasohara, and an engagement was held in the house of a famous lawyer named Raya Bahadur and discourses were held in his house which culminated in a Vaishnava conference chaired by Shrila Sarasvati Thakura. During, the conference he gave an ecstatic lecture about Shrila Haridasa Thakura. who had been born in a Muslim family at Butana Pargana in the Yasohara District. At the end of the lecture he concluded:
yei bhaje, sei bada, abhakta-hina chara;
krishna-bhajane nahi jati-kuladi-vicara
"He who worships is great. Non-devotees are of no consequence. There is no consideration of caste, family, etc. in the worship of Krishna. This was followed by powerful sankirtana in the city of Yasohara.
From there the preachers proceeded to the Khulna District, and in the house of Nepalchandra Mahasaya they held a big meeting and devotees from all the neighboring villages attended. At this time there were some arguments offered about Vedic varnasrama-dharma and devotional behavior. By explaining verses from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the Satvata-smriti as proof, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura defeated those arguments, explaining the glories of daivi-varnasrama when determined by one's personal qualities, and one's devotional activities. Even though there were persons in that village who were very offensive in their attitude and behavior, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura personally went door-to-door with his followers in the mood of Lord Nityananda in His dealing with Jagai and Madhai, being very compassionate towards their unfortunate state.
From there. they proceeded to Banagrama where Shrila Sarasvati Thakura met with an old student of his from the time he was teaching astrology at the Sarasvata Chatuspathi in Calcutta. At that time his old student sat down next to him, as was their previous custom, and one of the disciples of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura gave his chaddar, so that his spiritual master would get some special seat of honor. The old student, who was by then a prominent lawyer, became offended and objected to this. The point was that as a former disciple of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura it was not proper for him to assume an equal position, especially since Shrila Sarasvati Thakura had now become a tridandi-sannyasi. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura did not object, but it was pointed out by his followers that this was an exhibition of humility on his part. When Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says:
jagai-madhai haite mui se papista,
purisera kita haite mui se laghista
"I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai, I am lower than a worm in stool." It is not that one is to take him at his word. One in the position of a guru and sannyasi is always to be so honored by his disciples.
On the 1st of January the sankirtana party performed sankirtana in the city of Banagrama and then returned to the Shri Bhaktivinoda Asana in Calcutta.
On the 5th of February, 1919, at the Appearance Day celebration of Shri Vishnupriya, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura re-established the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha and gave a talk on the history of the sabha, which was later to be known as the Gaudiya Mission. At the end of each of Shrila Jiva Gosvami Prabhupada's Shat-sandarbhas the name of the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha is inscribed. He wrote that the Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha refers to the society which is composed of those Vaishnavas who are the kings (the foremost) of all the Vaishnavas present in this world. These foremost Vaishnavas are the followers of the feet of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Who is the savior of Kali-yuga (the Bestower of knowledge about spiritual relationship), the Bestower of His own method of worship (the Bestower of the means) and Who is the incarnation of krishna-prema, even though He is Shri Krishna Himself, the Embodiment of krishna-prema. The objects of respect for this Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha are Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, who are the associates of Mahaprabhu. Their teachings are the Bhagavata-dharma. These teachings constitute the Bhagavat-sandarbhas or the Shat-sandarbhas. Therefore, the members of the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha are those people whose hearts have been illuminated by the light of the Shat-sandarbhas.
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura explained that when the world suffers misfortune and when there was apathy to such pure knowledge, the sabha conceals itself. After the disappearance of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana, the sabha was self-concealed for some time.
The famous Calcutta paper Amrita Bazar Patrika reported the event in this way in 1919:
"On Wednesday last [5th instant] was celebrated with great eclat the Advent ceremony of Sree Sree Vishnupriya Devi at the Sree Asana [1, Ultadanga Junction Road]. The occasion was solemnised by the re-institution of Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha as inaugurated by no less a personage than Sree Jiva Gosvami himself, eleven years after the passing of Sree Sree Mahaprabhu and as given a fresh impetus by Sree Bhaktivinoda Thakura 33 years ago."
The Sajjana-Toshani carried an essay based on Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's talk, which was published that same year, a portion of which follows:
"On the recent birthday of Shri Vishnupriya many pure devotees joined together at the Calcutta Shri Bhaktivinoda Asana and re-established the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. Even though this sabha (society) is eternally established, it has descended into the world three times. Eleven years after the disappearance of Shriman Mahaprabhu, when the world was beginning to darken, six wonderfully bright stars arose in Shri Vraja-mandala and were engaged in the service of Gaurachandra. Apart from these six brilliant stars, there were several other great souls who beautified Shri Gaurachandra's Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. They were headed by Shrila Lokanatha Gosvami, Shrila Bhugarbha Gosvami, and Shrila Kasisvara Gosvami. Sixty-four dear associates of Shri Gaurasundara increased the beauty of this Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. The twelve friends of Shrila Nityananda Prabhu's Nama-Hatta was a main branch of this Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha.
"Shri Shri Bhagavat Krishna Chaitanyadeva is the saviour-incarnation for the age of Kali. He is the Instructor of His own bhajana and of the knowledge of relationship (sambandha-jnana). He is the Delineator of devotion which is the means (abhidheya) and He is the Embodiment of Krishna-prema which is the final goal (prayojana). Another name for the devotees of Shri Gaura is 'Chaitanyadeva-charana-anuchara'. Shri Chaitanyadeva is Krishnachandra Himself-the King of all the Vaishnavas in the world [Visva-vaishnava-raja]. The gathering of His devotees is the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha; the foremost ministers amongst the members of the society are Shri Rupa Gosvami and his honoured Shri Sanatana Gosvami. Those who consider themselves to be the followers of Shri Rupa are the members of this Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. The leaders amongst them are Shri Shri Prabhupada Shrimad Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami and Shri Shri Prabhupada Shrimad Jiva Gosvami. During the period of misfortune for the world's inhabitants, after Shri Gaurachandra displayed the play of His disappearance, Shrimad Jiva Prabhu preached the Shri Bhagavata dharma by the command of Shri Shri Rupa-Sanatana. The people who were accepted as disciples by Shri Rupa-Sanatana-the leaders of the sabha, later became the directors of the sabha. Shri Jiva Prabhupada, upon becoming the director of the sabha, termed the teachings which Shri Rupa had propagated in the sabha as the 'Bhagavata-sandarbhas' or 'Shat-sandarbhas'. The members of the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha know these Shat-sandarbhas to be the teachings of Shri Rupa-Sanatana and thus engage themselves in Shri Hari-bhajana. The pure and transcendental method of worship which has been given by Shrimad Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (one of the leaders of the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha) by bearing the commands of Shri Rupa on his head, is the only thing adorable by the devotees of Shri Gaura. By taking shelter at the pure feet of Shri Rupa and Shri Raghunatha, Shripada Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami Prabhu-the king of the family of rasika devotees (those devotees who are able to comprehend the inner significance), became one of the directors of the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. Again, Shri Narottama Thakura Mahodaya-the crest jewel of transcendental devotees, decorated the crown of this Vaishnava-raja-sabha in the post of its director. Later, such kings of devotees as Shri Shripada Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura spread their moon-like rays upon the sabha. The darkness of night cannot always predominate over the three-worlds which are covered by ignorance, therefore we sometimes behold shining stars in the spiritual firmament which is bathed in the moon-like rays of Shri Gaurachandra.
"In 399 Gaura Era (1885 A. D.), a brilliant star of the universal Vaishnava firmament re-illuminated the Shri Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha. During that period many people in the great city of Calcutta received light from this sabha. As a result of that light, the sight of the cooling rays of Shri Gaurachandra reflected in loving eyes is nowadays visible in this world. Just as autumnal clouds suddenly spread in the sky and cover the moon's rays, so materialistic, non-Vaishnavas in the dress of Vaishnavas cause hindrances to that transcendental light in society. Today, it is four years since the servant of the King of universal Vaishnavas and the leader of the followers of Shri Rupa departed from this world, and sometimes his light is becoming covered by mist; seeing this, the group of people sheltered at the feet of the followers of Shri Rupa have become firmly resolved to protect the light of discourses on Hari from the strong gale.
"The transcendental flower of Krishna-prema that was budded forth by the Acharyas headed by Shri Rupa, Raghunatha and Jiva was shown to the world as a blossom by Shrimad Bhaktivinode Thakura and after his disappearance it has begun to fully bloom. The followers of Shri Rupa have protected that beautiful and fragrant flower from the attack of depraved people and have thus given aid to the olfactory function of the bees swarming at Shri Gaura's feet. In this connection we request everybody to read the Adi Lila, ninth chapter of the Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita composed by the king of rasika devotees about the divine loving activities of the Gardener Shri Chaitanya."
Although the language of the article is a bit flowery, it clearly describes the history of the parampara since the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and aligns the purpose of the Society with the mission of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as it was revealed through the Six Gosvamis, headed by Shrila Sanatana and Shrila Rupa Gosvamis, and as it descended through Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana and re-vitalized by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. So the parampara, or line of preceptorial descent, is not strictly presented as a line of diksha, but rather more as a line of the siksha of mahajanas, who have perfectly realized and are presenting the original teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in their purest form.
Following the re-institution of the Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha, a large meeting was held at the Bengal Literary Society to honor Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and many famous speakers honored him on that occasion. On Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Appearance Day an enormous festival was held for him at the Asana, at which time 1200 kilograms of rice were prepared, and thousands were served prasadam. It was observed by Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's followers that after that occasion there was never any lack of funds or other hindrances to any of his plans or desires. Whatever he desired was seen to manifest. This is a good example of the power of guru-puja. By properly honoring the pure representative of Godhead, the grace of the Lord is invoked, and all success is bound to follow.
The living situation at the Bhaktivinoda Asana at Ultadanga Road was that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura lived on the roof in one nice room, and four household couples lived below. The sannyasis and brahmacaris stayed in another area, begged from door-to-door, worshipped the Deities, performed kirtana, and preached in various places. In 1920 the Asana was renamed the Gaudiya Math and in 1922 began the publishing of a weekly magazine in Bengali, called the Gaudiya, which was filled with preaching and glorification of the Lord. It was there, of course, in 1922 that the fateful meeting with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada took place, which has been so nicely described in the Shrila Prabhupada-lilamrita Vol. 1. The seed was then planted by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that would lead to the fulfillment of his heartfelt desires and the predictions of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Lord Chaitanya: the chanting of the Holy Name would be spread all over the world. So it was in the very beginning days that the two transcendental titans met by transcendental arrangement. As Shrila Prabhupada later commented, "He, in 1896, Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to introduce this Krishna Consciousness Movement by sending his, this book, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu His Life and Precepts. Fortunately, that year was my birth year, and by Krishna's arrangement we (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Shrila Prabhupada) came in contact. I was born in a different family, my Guru Maharaja was born in a different family. Who knew that I would come to America? Who knew that you American boys would come to me? These are all Krishna's arrangements. We cannot understand how things are taking place."
In the course of his preaching, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura personally traveled all over India from the Himalayas to the ocean, and in that course he circumambulated Navadvipa-dhama, Gauda-mandala, Kshetra-mandala, Vraja-mandala and the whole of India, accompanied by many followers and wonderful sankirtana. Since a detailed catalogue of his active preaching would fill many volumes, it will serve the purpose of this brief history to attempt to summarize his activities by mentioning some of the highest points, in as much as in a mountain range, the highest peaks are especially note-worthy.
On June 27th, 1919, the deity form of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was installed in Godruma-dvipa at Svananda-sukhada-kunja, at which time Shrila Sarasvati Thakura gave a profound lecture about service to the guru and worship of the deity form of the acarya. He also arranged for the completion of the Vaishnava-viswakosh, an encyclopedia of Vaishnava vocabulary, which was the fulfillment of a desire of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and for which Shrila Sarasvati Thakura had been collecting material since 1900. In 1921, in Puri, he published a book called Achar and Acharya which served as a great shock for so-called Vaishnavas who had been making a business of religion. As is mentioned in Shrila Prabhupada-lilamrita Vol. I: Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta condemned temple proprietors who made a business of showing the Deity for a living. To be a sweeper in the street was more honorable, he said. He coined a Bengali phrase, salagrama-dvara badam bhanga: "The priests are taking the salagrama Deity as a stone for cracking nuts.' In other words, if a person shows the salagrama form of the Lord (or any form of the Deity) simply with a view to make money, then he is seeing the Deity not as the Lord but as a stone, a means for earning his livelihood."
He revived the circurnambulation of Navadvipa-dhama in the same year and gave an amazing lecture in Dacca giving 30 interpretations of a single verse of the Vedanta-sutra. He toured Vrajamandala during, this period, trying to start a center there. In 1923 he attended the Puri Ratha-yatra and danced before the Lord in ecstasy. He began to send out many preaching parties to propagate the message of Lord Chaitanya. In 1923 he also set up the Gaudiya Printing Works in Calcutta and began to publish the Shrimad-Bhagavatam part by part with word for word meanings, translations and purports.
11: The Four Sampradayas
In 1923 at Vrajapattana, work was begun on a beautiful, twenty-nine pinnacled temple in which the four Vaishnava sampradayas and their main acaryas are all honored. On each outer corner of the building there is a deity alcove. In one we find the Brahma-sampradaya and Shrila Madhvacarya, in another the Rudra-sampradaya and Shrila Vishnusvami, the Kumara-sampradaya with Shrila Nimbarkacarya in another, and the Lakshmi-sampradaya headed by Shrila Ramanujacarya on the fourth corner. All of this can be seen as the temple is circumambulated. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's idea was that, although there are some distinctions in the teachings of the Vaishnava acaryas, they are united in their opinion that the Lord is the Supreme Eternal Person, meant to be served eternally by the eternal living beings. They had also all written commentaries on the Vedanta refuting the impersonal teachings of Sankaracarya.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu praised certain conclusions of each acarya:
1. From Shrila Madhvacarya-his refutation of the Mayavada doctrine and the worship of the form of Lord Krishna, knowing it to be eternal.
2. From Shrila Ramanujacarya-pure devotion and service to the Vaishnavas.
3. From Shrila Vishnusvami-the attitude of God being one's all and all and the raga-marga path of spontaneous devotion.
4. From Shrila Nimbarkacarya-the raga-marga and performing bhajana following in the footsteps of the gopis.
By establishing the acintya-bhedabheda-tattva siddhanta Lord Chaitanya had perfected and completed the Vaishnava philosophy, and to make this widely understood was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's mission.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had gone to all the places of the four acaryas, studied their books, their Deity Worship, etc. and he published many of their writings, along with their life histories. His attempt was to unify the Vaishnava world by propagating the sublime teachings of Lord Chaitanya in the form of the writings of the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, especially Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who are the Gaudiya acaryas of sambandha-tattva, abhidheya-tattva, and prayojana-tattva, respectively. These three acaryas committed to writing the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as they heard it from Him and His two most intimate associates: Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Shrila Ramananda Raya. The Gosvamis established everything on the basis of exhaustive, scriptural research, strong logic and ecstatic realization of the Absolute Truth. It was exactly in this ocean of revelation that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura swam and preached.
On February 24, 1924, on Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's 50th birthday, the Shri Vyasa-puja celebration was inaugurated. On that occasion he gave a remarkable and often-cited lecture called Be Humbler Than A Blade of Grass. The concluding remarks of the lecture are reproduced in the Appendix. It should serve to enliven the reader with the amazing humility of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's expression.
Later in 1924, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura traveled and preached vigorously, establishing a temple in Bhubaneswar and preaching in Orissa, Dacca, Benares, and Allahabad, where he located the spot where Lord Chaitanya imparted His teachings to Shrila Rupa Gosvami at the Dasasvamedha-ghata.
In 1925, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and his followers were performing the circumambulation of Navadvipa-dhama, which had been a regular practice since 1921. The procession was proceeding with the Deities mounted on the back of an elephant, and thousands of pilgrims were loudly chanting the holy name. This circumambulation had a great history beginning with Shrila Jiva Gosvami being led on the circumambulation of the Dhama by Lord Nityananda Himself after the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. (This is recounted in detail in Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya.) In the Bhakti-ratnakar it is also recounted how Narottama dasa Thakura, Syamananda Prabhu and his disciple Ramachandra Kaviraja also took this journey with Isana, the life-long servant of Mother Saci. Krishna Misra, one of the great devotee sons of Advaita Acarya, had some descendants named Shri Jagabandhu (Bada Prabhu) and Shri Viracandra (Chota Prabhu) who established the worship of the Deity form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Katwa. After they performed the installation, they took sannyasa and also performed the circumambulation of Shri Navadvipa-dhama.
While Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was proceeding with the roaring procession with the Deities of Shri Shri Radha Govinda, a vicious crowd attacked the procession throwing hundreds of stones and bricks. Demonic persons, agitated by the preaching of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura (who had refuted the various bogus doctrines of the 13 Sahajiya sects like the Aulas, Baulas, etc.) had instigated the local people against him. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura had also debunked, as he would throughout his preaching, the nonsense practices of compulsory fees for viewing Deities and the worship and recital of Shrimad-Bhagavatam for money. He strongly opposed the conversion of the Deities and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam into some sort of merchandise. Therefore, these persons who tried to profit by these practices, led and instigated the local populace to commit violence on the procession. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, the Deities and the pilgrims were all pelted by these demons, but the procession continued, unbowed. This was a living example of the adage, "The jackals may howl, but the caravan will pass." An eye-witness wrote in the Ananda Bazar newspaper, "Today, I saw the re-enactment of the activities which were carried out four hundred years ago towards Avadhuta Nityananda by the two wicked constables of Navadvipa at that time-namely Jagai and Madhai."
12: Daivi Varnashrama
During this period (1925-1926) Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura spoke widely on the topic of daivi-varnasrama, a theme he often dwelt on throughout his preaching. For example, in an interview in 1929 with Professor Albert Suthers of Ohio State University, he made the following stunning analysis of varnasrama in response to a question on the caste system:
Professor Suthers: Do you recognise caste distinctions? The caste Hindus look down upon the other classes with an eye of contempt and neglect. Do you too do so?
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: As the judgement of the Vaishnava philosophy is favourable towards the service of God, the technologies giving expression to it are also different from those of the ordinary judgements of moralists of other sects. You have already heard that the Vaishnavas have no regard for the morality or ethical principles of atheists. They do not also pay much respect to the reality of the moral principles of the theists in whose judgement worship of God is only of secondary importance. They (the Vaishnavas) say that the service of God or love of God is the principal matter. Other matters should be helpful and subservient to that principal matter. When the two things, viz., innate tendency and circumstance of man become ready to be helpful towards the principal matter viz., God's service, then is established a good social order known as daivi-varnasrama (divine system of castes and stages of life). Till the natural tendency of the human soul is manifest, the violation of this order causes much disorder and difficulty both individually and aggregately. This caste system follows man's nature and predilection. It is scientific to ascertain one's caste in accordance with one's natural predilection. Much disturbance is created, both individually and aggregately, on account of the non-acceptance of this inviolable scientific principle of natural predilection as observed and promulgated by our ancient sages of vast experience, and the wrong adoption of the seminal principle only, i.e., the principle of determining caste by birth alone. It is due to the fact that this principle of caste determination was at one time perfect and nice at all points in India, that even this day the Indians are able to stand erect with a challenging mood before the world on the glorious foundation of the past. If we examine the present social system of the Europeans, we find that whatever beauty we find in that system has as its source the determination of the caste or social order according to natural predilection. There we find that a person having a martial tendency (i.e. that for the life of a kshatriya) joins the army; another with a tendency of a vaisya is engaged in improving commerce; those with the tendency peculiar to sudras serve others. No society can work well, if it does not, more or less, adopt the caste system based on natural inclination in some form or another. Even among the European natives in marital relations and during social feasts a distinction is made between the higher and lower forms of society governed by natural predilection to which the participants belong. Though the natural caste system is to a certain extent adopted by the European Society, it has not yet acquired scientific perfection. It can do so alongside of the progress in civilization and knowledge. In India, however, this system attained to perfection on the basis of the determination of the natural predilection. The great history of India, viz., the Mahabharata, gives thousands of instances to prove this fact. It is on account of the fact that in India such a system was based on a scientific foundation that all other nations of the world adored the Indians as their spiritual guides. Even the people of Egypt, China, etc., received instructions in all matters with their heads bent down before Indians.
We find in the ancient history of India that formerly there was only one caste and that later on society became most scientifically divided into the castes of brahmana, kshatriya etc., according to disparity in the instinctive inclination for the service of Godhead. The Acarya placed one in the higher or lower grade of caste system according as the degree of liking for God's service was high or low. Those who were attached towards this service with the strongest devout ardour, and, as such evinced the greatest intelligence, became brahmanas. They formed the head of the huge body of the society. According to the guidance of the head were conducted the hands, the thighs and the legs, viz., kshatriyas, vaisyas and sudras respectively.
Please consider this: It is this head of ours that occupies the highest place in our body, and it is the propellant of all our senses. What need is there to say more, when all the senses, viz., the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin are all combined in the head. It is there that these along with the mind, intellect and egoism, are all settled. When any other limb becomes disordered, its work may be conducted in some other way: for example, when a hand is amputated, oftentimes its function is managed by means of fixing up an artificial hand in its place. But when the brain becomes defective or when the head is decapitated, none of the limbs like the hands, legs, etc., can work. In the same way, the head of the social body, which guides its intelligence indicates the faculty of the brahmana. So prayer is offered for being directed with the mood for serving God in the Gayatri-mantra (Rig Vedic hymn) to be daily recited by a brahmana with a worshipful spirit. The brahmanas have no other intellectual aptitude than such an ardent mood of service to God-head. One is degraded to a kshatriya, vaisya or sudra according to the degree of his fall from that ardent mood of divine service, under the guidance of some other motive. The brahmanas represent the brain and the mouth. The function of the brain is to regulate all with the aptitude of devotion towards God, and that of the mouth is to propagate the accounts about God. It is these brahmanas that are the real owners of everything; because they are the Gosvamis or masters of the senses i.e., servitors of God. They do not misappropriate anything to their own use, but they appropriate everything to God. For this, all persons of society confide in them and choose them as their spiritual guides. They who, instead of accepting such a brahmana, rather bear a grudge against him, fall off from the path of all good. After this brain and mouth comes the consideration of the arms to which are compared the kshatriyas, then that of the thighs which the vaisyas represent, and then come the sudras, who, on account of their base character and unsteady mind, are likened to the feet. And those whose lives are altogether uncontrolled are known as antyajas (untouchables) and regarded as outside the group of the four classes as above. The Vaishnava philosophy recognises Daiva-varnasrama-dharma which implies classification according to the divine system by which men are divided into castes according to their natural predilection. There arises no question of hating or disregarding any body according to the system of varnasrama recognised by Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya Deva or according to the process of culturing devotion to God as shown by Him, which is ever beyond that system. In the teaching given by Him there is found instruction to show respect to every creature in its relationship with God. The judgement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is far superior to the slight improvement of the condition of the lower castes as proposed by the modern social reformers, nay, it far excels even the impartial equality as taught in the Gita. The proposal of the worldly-minded moralists for slightly raising the status of the lower forms of society has some extraneous motive as its cause; there are various purposes hiding behind it, such as political objects, personal interests, motive for acquiring fame and such other ends. These subordinate principles have given rise to attempts for uplifting the lower castes, which are of an extremely worldly character and clearly betray their hyprocrisy. The instruction in the Gita to look on all as equal to the self from the principle that all are souls is several times more elevated than they, and is free from the worldly dirt. But the teaching of Shri Chaitanya Deva is not merely prohibitive of worldliness and based on impartiality, but it is a positive one of the character of transcendentalism.
Shri Chaitanya Deva wants to engage all jivas in the service of God and thereby to elevate them to the highest status. He converts a crow to Garuda (the prince of Eagles). The religion promulgated by Him is not meant for Bengal alone, nor India even, but for all countries, all villages, His is the universal religion for all creatures. So has He said: "My Name will be propagated in all towns, all villages that exist in the world." His universal religion of Love attracted animals, trees, grass, shrubs, creepers and even the ferocious creatures like tigers, etc. from their outward identification to the inward one of the very essential constitution, having been spread among them too. The religion as promulgated by Him is that of the soul; and not that of the society, physical, mental and moral, and is not restricted to the usual form of devotion of the servant to the Majestic Lord. His religion discovers the innate nature of the jiva soul and is manifested in the unabated plenary love for God. According to Him, Krishna is the Absolute Personality, the Spiritual Despot. The religion of love consists in the full gratification of His Senses. The jiva should be the fuel to the fire of the gratification of the Senses of the unrestrained Autocrat Whose Will is law. It is the service of the Autocrat under the guidance of those (devotees) who are well-established in the eternal service of the gratification of the Senses of Krishna (Who is the very Figure embodying the succulence in fulness giving the utmost sensation of transcendental pleasure) that is the object to be accomplished by a jiva and also the means to that end. The difference between the Vaishnava philosophy and all the other philosophies of the world lies in the fact that in the former both the object of accomplishment and the means leading to it are identical without any distinction. The means when purified and matured reveal themselves as the Object. According to the Gaudiya philosophy the chanting of the mellifluous Name of God constitutes both the end and the means for it. This doctrine concerning the Name of God is a main feature of this philosophy."
[It is doubtful that the good professor could grasp the Absolute nature of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's words, but as we will see later on when we quote from other portions of the interview, the good professor was non-plussed with the brilliance of the spontaneous exposition of the acarya and admitted as much to him.]
In 1926 Shrila Sarasvati Thakura sent his sannyasis out to Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and Northwest India to start centers. He met with Vaishnava leaders and acaryas in Nathadwar, Bombay, Udupi and Salimabad, and he also established temples in Naimisaranya and Mayapur. He conducted the installation of the Deities and the forms of the Vaishnava acaryas at the Shri Chaitanya Math in Vrajapattana, Mayapur.
In 1927 the Sajjana Toshani began publication in English, Sanskrit and Hindi, the English edition being entitled the Harmonist. He preached widely in Northern India and established more temples and even traveled as far as Assam.
In 1928 at Kurukshetra, on the occasion of the solar eclipse, he preached to thousands and thousands of persons, while absorbed in the mood of separation of the gopis, and unveiled a diorama exhibition of Krishna's meeting with the gopis, inducing everyone present to chant the names of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna. He also installed a Deity of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at a temple in Kurukshetra.
13: Scholars and Indologists
In Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's 1924 Vyasa Puja Address, the following passage highlights a theme that arose frequently in discussions with scholars:
"We do not find God in this world. The devotees, who serve God, out of their mercy show themselves to us. We should follow their conduct and teaching. It is the only path to our well-being. Due to our meagre education and small experience, to most of us the ideas and ways of thinking of the devotees of God appear to be unedifying 'slave mentality'. Let us not indulge in such profane ravings under the urge of mental aberration. On the contrary, our line of thought should be, 'Let the censorious people calumniate us to their hearts' content. We will not mind them. Let us roll in the dust and forget everything in the ecstasy of intoxication by excessive drinking of the strong and tasty wine of the Love of Lord Hari.'"
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's references here to "slave mentality" can be understood to be, at least in part, the reaction of the Indian intellectuals of his time, who had been bewildered by a false presentation of their own culture and religion. As the British had successfully brainwashed many intellectuals in their educational institutions by making them think that their religion was barbarous, backward, etc., the Indians sometimes took it that the ways of the Vaishnavas represented something useless from their past to enslave them in the stereotype fostered by the British of foolish, illiterate "Hindoos". Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments on this in his book, The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics and Its Theology:
"'What sort of a thing is the Bhagavat: asks the European gentleman newly arrived in India. His companion tells him with a serene look, that the Bhagavat is a book, which his Oriya bearer daily reads in the evening to a number of hearers. It contains a jargon of unintelligible and savage literature of those men who paint their noses with some sort of earth or sandal, and wear beads all over their bodies in order to procure salvation for themselves. Another of his companions, who has travelled a little in the interior, would immediately contradict him and say that the Bhagavat is a Sanskrit work claimed by a sect of men, the Gosvamis, who give Mantras like the Popes of Italy, to the common people of Bengal, and pardon their sins on payment of gold enough to defray their social expenses. A third gentleman will repeat a third explanation. Young Bengal, chained up in English thoughts and ideas, and wholly ignorant of the pre-Mohamedan history of his own country, will add one more explanation by saying that the Bhagavat is a book, containing an account of the life of Krishna, who was an ambitious and immoral man! This is all he could gather from his grandmother while yet he did not go to school! Thus the Great Bhagavat ever remains unknown to the foreigners like the elephant of the six blind men who caught hold of the several parts of the body of the beast! But Truth is eternal and is never injured but for a while by ignorance."
[Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, herein clearly describes the situation that he, and later, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura were forced to combat in their preaching. Bengalis, in particular, and Indians, in general, had largely been made into foreigners in their own land, due to the British Sanskritists and educators, who had portrayed Vedic literature and culture as something recent, barbaric, and inferior. Prabhupada once commented that by this tactic, the British were able to do more harm to Indian culture and religion in their short period of rule than the Mohamedans were ever able to do in their much longer one. To this day, although Indian pride in their great cultural and religious antecedents is more developed due to the efforts of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, Shrila Prabhupada and others, still the Sanskrit dictionaries, text books on Indian religion and culture, etc. reflect this cultural bias, the result of deliberate undermining work done by the British in Indological studies with the disguised intention of asserting the superiority of their own Christian-based cultural values and outlook.]
In 1929 he had a series of meetings with Professor Albert E. Suthers of Ohio State University and spoke to him on a number of topics, including Vaishnavism and Christianity, transmigration, evolution, idolatry, and avataras. Professor Suthers had come from Bombay to do research for his course in comparative religions at Ohio State University. He went to Calcutta to meet Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, who was at that time in Krishnanagar. So the professor journeyed there and heard from him for three days consecutively. The professor, as will be seen, was initially very argumentative and skeptical, but was clearly very impressed with Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's presentation, and concluded his visit with a pilgrimage to the birthsite of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although the following exchanges are a bit lengthy, they are representative of the type of questions posed by Western intellectuals who met Shrila Sarasvati Thakura in the course of his preaching, and are entirely relevant for our preachers today, who can study the masterful presentation of Vedic culture and philosophy by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as the pinnacle of all human thought and potential.
Prof. Suthers: Did the worshippers of Krishna encourage the obscenity of the engravings on many Hindu Temples?
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Those who are actual worshippers of Krishna are never in favour of indecencies. All decency and morality are entirely confined to the Lotus-Feet of Shri Krishna. The highest sense of morality of the unadulterated soul consists in its love towards the Over-soul. And the culmination of this pure love is found only in the devotees of Krishna. The best of the moral rules as preached by the noble Jesus, do not come anywhere near the principle of Amorous Love of the devotees of Krishna for service thereof.
Prof. Suthers: Your Holiness seems to have taken a biased view in saying that the good moral precepts of Christ come nowhere near "the morality of amorous love of the devotees of Krishna."
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Certainly not. We claim to be greater and better Christians than Westerners. Our judgement is not restricted only to secular morality. The morality of the object of spiritual love transcends the supra-natural morality, which again surpasses secular morality. If Christian morality is perfected thereby, then it may be said to receive proper nourishment. To a pure soul that remains situated on that transcendentally moral plane of love, the secular moralities appear reduced to the smallness of pygmies. But there is not found any feeling of apathy, nor attachment towards these secular moralities. On the other hand, all moralities wait like maids behind the spiritual moralities to become glorified, being permitted to serve the Lord of transcendental Love. The character of a culturist of spiritual love is never devoid of morality. One hostile to morality or fallen from it can never be a spiritual man. In the blaze of the teaching of Shri Chaitanya Deva's ideal, it has been propagated that dissoluteness is not devotion. Its palpable evidence is found when we reflect on the character of Shri Chaitanya Deva or the followers at His Heel. The people of the realm of the secular morality concerned with the worldly enjoyments and their renunciation will not be able to grasp in their tiniest brains how fostered by the climax of morality and how adored in the highest degree by all the morality of the universe are the Amorous Sports of Krishna, so much glorified by the noble clan of such high personages of strictly continent character as the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Deva like Shri Rupa, Shri Sanatana, Shri Raghunatha Dasa, Shri Raghunatha Bhatta, Shri Gopala Bhatta, etc.
Prof. Suthers: How can your Holiness's statements be reconciled with the descriptions that are found about Krishna's amorous sports?
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Krishna's Amorous Sports are not temporal like the lustful sports of dramatic heroes and heroines like Romeo-Juliet or even ideal spouses. Lust as prevalent in this world is only a mental passion, but the lust of the transcendental region has its own form. Here lust is always goaded by the enemy (one of the six passions); whereas in the transcendental region of Krishna, the loveliness of the spiritual Body of Krishna ever drives the Lust for Krishna, which takes form as sublimated love or the desire to gratify the immaculate senses of Krishna. The conductor of the worldly lust is the enemy (passion), and the conductor of love is Krishna. It is the Amorous Sports of Krishna that have appropriateness; but there is no such consistency in the lust born of the body and mind of jiva (creature). Krishna's Amorous Sports are not to be called indecency, because it is Krishna Who is the only one unrivalled Enjoyer, Embodiment of the Real Truth and the Spiritual Despot.
Prof. Suthers: I cannot fully appreciate this; please let me understand it a little more clearly.
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Suppose there are some angles, two right angles, four right angles, etc. There is the contracted character of a corner in the acute, obtuse or right angle. But in the two right angles called the straight angle, even though called an angle, there is no contractedness or want of straightness, as in the case with angles in general. Such is the case with the Autocrat Krishna. There is no want or contractedness or despicable character or indecency in the perfect Entity Krishna, like the circle of 360 degrees, though the communities of enjoyers or renouncers, championing morality or immorality, may, due to the meagreness of their intellect, wrongly regard the lustfulness of Krishna, the result of His despotism which is only His, as vulgar like that of common men and other creatures.
[Here we see the professor becoming a bit intimidated by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta's unexpectedly confident, mysterious, cerebral, transcendental explanation of a subject clearly beyond his ability to understand, so he changes the subject.]
Professor Suthers: The Gita has admitted the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul. What does your Vaishnava philosophy say about this?
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: The Gita is not separate from the Vaishnava philosophy. In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam has been fully revealed the true import of the doctrine, viz., that of changes of births for the soul. Christianity has disregarded the principle of change of births on the alleged ground that if it is accepted, men will not restrain their sinful propensities, rather they will indulge in vices at their sweet will in their present life, on the expectation that they will be able to make good their sins, guilts, and wrong doing of this life in the course of the following ones. But the Shrimad-Bhagavatam has crowned the principle with its true significance, by means of a much fuller scientific and philosophical meaning, by giving the instruction about the urgent necessity for ardently taking up and culturing devotion to God even while the human life, not easily available in the after-lives, is at our disposal, without spending a single moment thereof in other useless pursuits. If we do not accept the doctrine of transmigration of the soul and adopt the instruction of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, we shall not be able to get over the all-devouring disaster of regarding matter as the sole object of our concern, which has kept its mouth wide open.
Though most of the Christians do not admit transmigration, yet many intellectual giants of the Christian world have shown several instances of their acceptance of the doctrine. Even in the Bible we find "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying,-'Master, who had committed the sin? This man or his parents, that he was born blind?'" [St. John 9, 1-2] It is seen that even some Christian Fathers clearly gave instructions about transmigration. Origen said: "Is it not more in conformity with reason that every soul for certain mysterious reasons is introduced into a body and introduced according to its deserts and former actions?" [ Origen contra celscea, I xxxii] "I am sure that I, such as you see me here, have lived a thousand times, and I have to come again another thousand times" says Goethe.
What the Greeks called 'Metempsychosis' or what is 'Transmigration' in the English language, was at one time, more or less, admitted in ancient Greece, Egypt, and many places in the west. Some say that the apostles of Christ the Great, failing to reconcile their previous and subsequent conclusions with the doctrine of transmigration, were compelled to discard it. Yet no rationalist among the Christians has been able to refute the doctrine on the basis of sound reasoning; on the other hand, most of them have had to admit it even. Heredotus, Pindar, Plato, etc. have all accepted it. Huxley, the illustrious scientist of the nineteenth century, has written in his religious work, Evolution and Ethics: "None but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity, like the doctrine of evolution itself, viz., that of transmigration which has its root in the world of reality, and it may claim such support as the great argument of 'analogy' is capable of supplying."
Professor Lutoloski has said, "I cannot give up my conviction of a previous existence on earth before my birth, and I have the certainty to be born again after my death, until I have assimilated all human experiences, having been many times male and female, wealthy and poor, free and enslaved, generally having experienced all conditions of human existence." But such transmigration theories of the empiricists of the west or those of the western philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries like Franciscus Mercurius Helmont, Leichtenburg, Lessing, Herder, Schopenhauer, etc. or of Jalaluddin Rumi of the Sufi sect of Persia, or of the Theosophists, or of the Indian Nyaya philosophy under the aphorism: " From the desire for the mother's breast milk due to the habit of the previous life," or of the Buddhistic doctrine of annihilation in matter-these are assailable by various hostile reasonings and having their origin in inductive concepts are incomplete and imperfect. But the conclusion in this respect of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is fully flawless and significant. The Vaishnava philosophy having shown the royal road to the acquirement of the highest blessedness even in the present life, there is no need of waiting for future lives. As such, the Vaishnava philosophy is thoroughly aloof from all wrangling full of useless riddles over the doctrine of transmigration.
[Now we will see that the professor, after prolonged exposure to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, is beginning to realize the acarya's clear superiority on all fronts: intellectual, scholarship and spiritual realization. Still, though now more respectful, he clings to his Christian chauvinism, which is evident from the next question.]
Professor Suthers: I am able to feel the super-excellence of the Vaishnava philosophy among the Indian Philosophies. But to my mind, the acceptance of idolatry in the Vaishnava philosophy like the other Indian philosophies seems to be a stigma in it.
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Idolatry has never been accepted in the Vaishnava philosophy; on the other hand, it has been more or less accepted in the other philosophies, at least mentally, if not in so many words. In the very word 'Bhagavan' (God) have accumulated all the excellences that are there in the human and supra-human conceptions. The existence of Majesty, viz., the furthermost limits of both vastness and minuteness, is a characteristic of God. The second characteristic is His Omnipotence. If one understands the word 'omnipotence' to mean what is conceivable by the human intellect or what is possible for man, one is wrong. God is Omnipotent, because what is impossible according to the human intellect is within the ambit of the inscrutable power of God. Due to His inscrutable power, He is simultaneously both with and without Form. It will be the denial of His inscrutable power, if you say that He cannot have His Form, or He has not his Eternal Form, only having a Form for the time being, none in the end. By dint of his inscrutable power, He is with His Eternal Sportive Form before a liberated soul conversant with the service of His Potencies. Contemplation only on formlessness is rather unnatural and devoid of all differential excellence. God is always All-Good, All-Glory and All-Beauty. His Beauty is visible only to the transcendental eye. God is the Transcendental Reality, Pure, Full and sentient in essence and Sentient Essence is His Form.
It is true that God has no material body, but He has His Sat (eternal), Cit (all-Sentient), Ananda (all-Blissful), Transcendental Body visible only to the eye that is clear (devoid of matter). To the material eye, God is Formless, but to the transcendental eye He is with His Body of Cit or All-Sentience. The Murtis (forms of body) prepared and worshipped by those who have not seen this Cit-Body of God with their true and eternal eye cleansed with the collyrium of the Love of God are of course idols and all the worshippers of those idols must be idolators. The worship of murtis of God prepared from imagination may be called idolatry. Suppose I, who have not seen Jacob, make a murti of his out of imagination, this murti is not the replica of his form. Besides, if Jacob is a creature of this world, whose body, mind and soul are different from one another, his photograph being only the replica of his material body is different from his eternal and intrinsically true form. But God with His Sat-cit-ananda Body is not such a thing; His Body and Soul are not different from each other; nor are his Name and Soul, His Attribute and Figure, His Attribute and Soul, His Sport and Soul, His Sport and Figure, His Sport and Attribute, different. If a pure entity or unmixed soul sees that Eternal Form of God and receives It in his own pure receptacle and then places this Transcendental Form in the world from his heart as illuming the intrinsically and essentially true Form of God, that never deserves to be called an idol. Just as even by coming down to this phenomenal world, God remains untouched by the influence of maya by dint of His inscrutable power, so does His true Form, too, as revealed to the unmixed entity of His devotee, remain above it even though brought down here. For this reason the Vaishnava philosophy terms Shri-murti as His 'Arcavatara' (Worshipable Descent). The conception of God without Form in contra-distinction to His Essential Form is as calamitous as is the falsely imagined Form of God for one competent to see His True Form. Such insignificant processes occur before attaining to the Real Entity and do only grope in the darkness. The Shri-Vigraha of the Vaishnava philosophy cannot but be the direct indication of the Essential Form of God. By way of an imperfect comparison it may be said to be the proxy of the essential Form of God which is beyond the cognisance of the material eye, just as there are, in art and science, crude representations of invisible matter.
How can those, that have not in their heart Love of God which is the true function of the soul and is the science of the true knowledge of realities, think of the Shri-murtis (Shri-Vigrahas) as other than idols? The deliberations of the Vaishnava philosophy are very fine. These have shown by true scientific analysis that they are all, more or less, idolaters who declare themselves as partisans either of the doctrine of no Form of God or that of His material Form. Just as those who attribute God-ship to matter and worship it like the fire worshippers among the uncivilised people or the worshippers of the planets, such as Jupiter, Saturn, etc., of Greece, are crude idolaters, in a similar manner the others, who declare everything beyond matter as formless, and become exponents of the doctrine of non-distinction, are equal or even greater idolaters. The Henotheists or worshippers of one of the Vedic deities or the worshippers of the five deities (called Panchopasakas) worship imaginary icons, considering them as God. According to them, God has no Sat-Cit-Ananda-Vigraha, and as without some form there can be no subject for contemplation, to make it easy to meditate on Him, some form has got be imagined. They are all idolaters. So also is the conduct of some of the yogis and others to be regarded as idolatry, who, for purifying their heart or improving the functions of the mind, imagine a God and perform practices of contemplation, etc., of some imaginary form of His. Those who consider jivas as God are the most blasphemous idolaters, because to imagine any worldly thing or form as God is idolatry.
There is a world of difference between the worship of Shri-murtis as ordained by the Vaishnava philosophy and the doctrines of God with Form and without Form of the other thinkers. Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya Deva has refuted all sorts of idolatry and instructed the service of the Arcavataras of the All-merciful God of Inscrutable Potency.
Professor Suthers: (amazed) I have truly been astonished to hear from your Holiness these mysteries of the Vaishnava philosophy and their scientific analysis with the most reasonable arguments. I could not even think before that there are in the Vaishnava philosophy such excellent solution, corroboration and elucidation of the problems of Indian philosophy.
[There is one other exchange, though as usual, decidedly one-sided, when the professor in the earlier stages of the discussion foolishly tries to challenge and even decry the idea of God as a fish, boar, etc. I include Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's rather long tour-de-force on the avataras of God, spiritual evolution of serving mood, etc. just to give some idea of the superhuman genius of an eternally liberated soul, who has, bear in mind, responded quite spontaneously to the question, obviously (to any reasonable person) from a totally realized and empowered platform.]
Professor Suthers: In the scriptures of India, adorable Deities have been represented as creatures of the lower creation like fish, tortoise, boar, etc. Is this approved by the sense of decency of civilised humanity? Some again are in favour of supporting such representations as allegorical symbols.
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Imagination does not find a place in Vaishnava philosophy. In it, or in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the highest scripture for all men in the universe, has been described the topmost ontology about God, millions of times better than what the most civilized races of humanity five thousand years old, nay, as old as several millions of eras, can conceive of even in imagination. The eternal transcendental forms of God that descend or are manifested according to the gradual evolution of the aptitude for offering service by the totally purified soul quite aloof from the regions of the body and mind, when man becomes the worshipper of the ultimate Reality at the loftiest stage of civilisation, are never the idols of imagination or allegories like unreal things manufactured in the mental factory of man or like imaginary animal deities of the barbarians such as the tiger-god, serpent-god, horse-god, etc. The worship of the Vishnu Incarnations like Fish, Turtle, etc., is not fabrication of imagination like that of one of the five deities of the Henotheists formed out of imagination, based on the coinage of set speeches like the imaginary conception of the forms of Brahman (as in the Panchadasi of the monistic school). The Henotheists do not admit the Transcendental Personality of Godhead. The sects of figurative allegorists like the Theosophists are not real theists, cherishing, as they do, doubt against the Personality of God and as such, not having faith in realistic truth, and for that reason they want to curtail God's Omni-potentiality and His Transcendental Names, Appearances, Attributes, Sports by means of allegorical descriptions. The Vaishnava philosophy (or that of the ever-existent religion of India) has never supported the atheistic doctrines of such professors of imaginary forms of Brahman, or figurative allegorists. It is about the doctrine of pure and real Avatara-vada (cult of Incarnation) that the philosophy of the ever-existing Indian religion has said. As the pure and real doctrine of Avataras of Fish, Turtle, etc. of the Vaishnavas is not a kind of imagination of the barbarian taste, nor the idolatry of the Mayavadins on the basis of their aphorism of forms of Brahman, imagined for the convenience of practicants, nor the allegorical descriptions of the psychists, so it is not the Anthropomorphism (i.e. representation of the deity as having human forms), as devised by the so-called civilised section of the people, nor Therianthropism (i.e. representation of one's tutelary deity in a combined man-and-beast form), nor even Apotheosis (i.e. elevating man to the dignity of deities). These are respective types of the idolatry of the mental speculationists of the inductive school. In imitation of Mayavada, the evil fruit of the Indian civilisation, Anthropomorphism was invented in Greece and Rome and Therianthropism in Egypt, etc. When the new doctrines got access in those countries along with the commodities produced by the Indian civilization which were based on the imagination of the anthrophysites like the Indian Mayavadins who exalted man or beasts to the status of God with the attribution of divinity to them calling jivas and the poor as 'Narayana' with gratification of the senses in the background, then the mental speculationists of those respective countries adopted the cheap, vitiated Indian dogmas, and, labelling new names on them, passed these doctrinal commodities into the forum of religious tenets. But the true Vaishnava philosophy of India never indulged in any such doctrine based on imagination. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has refuted all such imaginative doctrines or idolatries and rejected both Anthropomorphism and Therianthropism. He vouchsafed the Sastric teaching, viz., that he must be a heretic and sinner who looks upon God, Narayana, as equal to deities like Brahma, etc.
[Here we see the perceptive Acarya readily understanding the misconceptions accumulated by the American professor in his studies of comparative religions, thinking that the avataras of Vishnu were either to be understood allegorically or as being part of a pagan Indian past. Again, this is the climate produced by the Indological researches of the British and German scholars. So Shrila Sarasvati Thakura is carefully enumerating and discounting any type of allegorical, anthropomorphic, therianthropic, etc. interpretation in relation to the avataras of Vishnu. He mentions some of the bogus ideas of Western theorists: the Theosophical Society which considered the stories to be symbolic and not real, the Henotheists, who believe in one God, but who is ultimately impersonal, and he ultimately lays the blame for all these foolish conceptions at the door of the Mayavadis, whose philosophy he calls the "evil fruit of the Indian civilisation" who call ordinary animals and men "Narayana" and the real background interest of its followers as "gratification of the senses". He then describes this Avatara-vada (cult of incarnation) as the "philosophy of the ever-existing Indian religion". This was indeed a surprise for the good professor! Shrila Sarasvati Thakura continues:]
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: Anthropomorphism, i.e., representation of the Deity with human form and attributes, resembles the tenet of the Bauls of Bengal attributing divinity to the head of their sect, professing, as they do, though wrongly, to have preceptorially descended from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Such tenets are the mental imaginations of atheists like the Bouddhas [followers of Buddha-ed.] and of the Bauls as above, running contrary to the teachings of Shri Buddha-Vishnu and Shri Chaitanya-Vishnu respectively. The Mayavadi sect too has adopted similar principles. The really scientific philosophy of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the preachings of Shri Chaitanya Deva have, of course, accepted the human body as the Divine Manifestation [S.B. 3.2.12]; but that human body is not the creation of anthropomorphism, nor of the Baul doctrine, but it is the eternal Sat-cit-ananda Body, the Cause of all causes, the highest Sportive Entity. When the human soul can acquire the wealth of all the sciences in perfection, then only is opened the door of the foremost mystery of true science. According to the Vaishnava philosophy, the Sportive Manifestation of God is of two kinds. One kind is the creation of the material and spiritual universe and its systematization with inviolable rules. The school of intelligent empiricists can to a certain extent experience this type of God's Sportive Manifestation. The second kind is the descent of God's Transcendental Sport in this created universe. It is the jivas who are the attendants in His Sports. They become attached to matter having deviated from their own essential nature as the result of their desire for enjoyment. But when again the soul of jiva, gains true wisdom of the transcendental region of God at the feet of a representative of His, he begins to get back his pure essential nature gradually unfolded, and God's Transcendental, Eternal Forms appear as the objects of his worship according to the comprehension of His service in the graded evolution of acceptance of His protection, self-surrender or theism. So in such a case there remains no room, even in the slightest degree, for any form of imaginative doctrines of the so-called civilised or uncivilised human minds, whether apotheosistic, anthropomorphic, henotheistic, theriomorphic or therianthropic. The real, eternal and transcendental Divine Forms reveal themselves to the pure souls according to the nature of their serving mood in the evolutionary growth thereof. The only cause of these Divine Descents is the intense Mercy of God towards jivas. In Europe the theories of physical evolution of Darwin and Lamarck have been considered. But it is in the Vaishnava philosophy alone that we see the fully scientific and real conception of each eternal and transcendental Divine Form for worship by the freed souls according to their evolutionary growth of serving mood.
[Here, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura shows his ready awareness of the evolutionary theories of Darwin and Lamarck, but explains that real evolution of the jiva is in the growth of his serving mood to the Lord. He now proceeds to further describe how there are ten different stages of animal life described by the sages of India, and that these may be called the "historical stages of jivas". He then further analyzes that the ten incarnations of God indicate these different stages of jivas in the evolution of their serving mood. In other words, the Lord appears to attract the conditioned souls to His worship by appearing in all the various stages of animate beings which the conditioned souls have experienced in their thousands of births, and He does so, being aware of the various kinds of serving moods they have developed which will cause them to be attracted to one of these forms. This will be described in his next amazing remarks.]
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: We can notice the different stages of animal life from the invertebrates to the fully grown human beings. These stages have been classified by the Indian sages of a scientific outlook in ten orders, viz. (1) the invertebrate, (2) testaceous or shelly, (3) vertebrate, (4) erectly vertebrate (as in the combined form of man and beast), (5) mannikin (dwarf), (6) barbaric, (7) civilised, (8) wise, (9) ultra-wise, (10) destructive. These are the historical stages of jivas. According to the gradation of these stages as indications of evolution of the serving mood of the jiva soul, there are manifested the ten Incarnations of God, viz. Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (boar), Nrisimha (man-Lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki, as worshippable Deities with eternal transcendental Names, Forms, Attributes and Sports. Those, who have acquired a true knowledge about Incarnations with a thorough culture thereof, will be able, with the grace of the philosophers trained in the school of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to appreciate the ontology of Shri Krishna, specially the intense sweetness of His Sports at Braja (i.e. Vrindavana and the neighbourhood).
Professor Suthers: (obviously trying to grasp what he'd just heard) I have just listened to many subtle truths in the science and philosophy of religion. Please let me have a conception of these intricate matters.
[The professor had himself undergone an "evolution" from skeptical and challenging to amazed, impressed, even awed. Practically, he is inquiring at this point like a student. Now see how Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, the consummate pure preacher, seeing the professor as a conditioned soul needing to be illumined, uncompromisingly does not spare him the truth regarding the price of such illumination.]
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura: The essential principle of Vaishnavism is that, how-so-ever great a scholar and intellectual giant a man may be, he will not be able to appreciate even the easiest points of the Vaishnava philosophy, until and unless he has entirely surrendered himself to an Acarya whose character is the embodiment of the Vaishnava philosophy. You must have heard about the Indian scripture named Gita, which has been translated into different languages of the civilised world. There is a sloka in it [4.34] which says that the Vaishnava philosophy is understandable only with unconditional surrender, honest enquiry and serving temper. It is only to such an approach the professors of Vaishnava philosophy with these three as the preceptorial fee, that they give instructions about the correct philosophical truths. These professors are never to be tempted by any type of worldly fees.
[The professor was unprepared for full surrender though, so again he changed the subject. However by the end of the interview, he was most humble and impressed and told Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, "I do not know how fortunate I am to have met your Holiness and got spiritually enlightened in this manner." He then traveled to see Lord Chaitanya's birthplace, and when leaving India he spoke to many friends about the incomparability of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's contribution. These excerpts serve to underscore the wonderful scholarship, brilliance and transcendental ingenuity of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as a preacher of the highest philosophy known to mankind. No wonder that the initially proud professor was so flabbergasted by the end of the interview.]
14: Triumph of the Gaudiya Math
The following years marked an unparalleled rise in the activities of the Gaudiya Math, throughout India and beyond. In the scope of this book it is possible to note only the high-points of these efforts.
In 1929 Shrila Sarasvati Thakura began a program to glorify the holy places sanctified by the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by establishing 108 pada-pitha memorials of the footprints of the Lord in various places where He traveled and preached. He established one such pada-pitha at Kanai and one at Mandar. In Benares, while installing a pada-pitha, he also gave a lecture on the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Shrila Sanatana Gosvami on the site of the actual spot where those talks were held.
In January of 1930 Shrila Sarasvati Thakura installed Deities of Radha and Govinda at the Triveni on the occasion of the Purna Kumbha-mela and he sent out his team of preachers in the area to enlighten people. His preaching work was increasingly more organized. His teams would canvass from door to door, asking for contributions, selling subscriptions to their magazines, starting centers, making devotees, etc. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was making lecture tours, talking with intellectuals and scholars of the day, presiding over installations of Deities, initiations and festivals organized for diorama exhibitions, temple openings, prasadam distribution, etc. Meanwhile, his presses were rolling, producing books. He was even meeting with the English governors, viceroys, Indian kings, etc. and encouraging them to assist in the opening of his temples and projects. Of course this was frowned upon by some of the nationalists and religious purists, but Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was far removed from the bodily concept of life; his idea was to involve and purify everyone in the flood of the sankirtana movement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In February of 1930 a tremendous diorama exhibition called the Sreedham Mayapur Navadwip Exhibition was opened in that holy site, which contained many stalls exhibiting the stories and lessons from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It created a sensation, thousands flocked to see it, and it remained open for a month and a half.
On October of 1930 there was a magnificent installation ceremony of Shri Radha Madana-mohana, Radha Govinda and Radha Gopinatha at the Gaudiya Math in Baghbazar, Calcutta. A palatial marble temple had been constructed with the help of a wealthy Vaishnava merchant. This was Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's practical exhibition of the principle of yukta-vairagya: to utilize the material energy for Krishna's purposes. Although previously Vaishnavas tended to avoid the cities and live in seclusion, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's idea was to have his sannyasi and brahmacari preachers go to the cities and establish temples and tend to the spiritual welfare of the masses. Thus, the small beginnings in Calcutta at No. 1 Ultadanga Junction Road had culminated in a magnificent temple with a conference hall for discourses, many rooms, a library, press, etc. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's ideas were considered revolutionary: sannyasis riding in motor cars, wearing sewn cloth, buying the most modern printing presses, staging huge exhibitions with dioramas illustrating the profound philosophy of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Chaitanya-charitamrita. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had laid the groundwork by reviving interest in Vaishnava thought, establishing its credibility and respectability, publishing the books of the Gosvamis of Vrndavana, and also creating his own brilliant transcendental storehouse of Vaishnava literature, poetry, songs and deep philosophical tracts. Now Sarasvati Thakura was distributing it, publicizing it, writing books, and creating a sensation. His activities were that of an empowered preacher. He preached to the intellectuals all over India, had exhibitions, established many temples, established pada-pithas, wrote many books, published magazines, held huge festivals, re-established holy places, installed Deities, etc. He burned with the desire to fulfill Lord Chaitanya's mission, to spread Krishna consciousness all over the earth.
By year's end he had preached in Jajpur, Kurmakshetra, Simhachal, and Kovvur, the site of the meeting and discussion between Ramananda Raya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In 1931 a school was opened in Mayapur-the Thakur Bhaktivinode Institute. At that time it was the only English medium high school based on spiritual instruction. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura delivered a lecture called Apara and Para Vidya (Material and Spiritual Education) at the opening. Deities were established in Alalanath, where years earlier he had entered the trance of ecstasy and become lost in the forest. He also established Deities in New Delhi, the capital of India and the former capital of the Pandavas. He spoke to many scholars like Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld from Germany, Dr. Stella Kramrisch, another German scholar who taught in Calcutta University, and Mr. A. J. Jacob from America. To all he taught the importance of hearing the transcendental sound from a transcendental agent:
"The transcendental Sound has got innumerable potencies. It has power of delegating power to us to receive all of it. When it comes from an unknown region it should first inject such power to our feeble receiving instrument as would enable us to welcome it. We must not show a challenging or rejecting attitude as we are liable to do towards advice offered gratis.
"If we are fortunate to receive the Sound that is beyond the human scope we should listen to it. God-head sends down His messengers in symbolised figures to give us, if we are at all really sanguine, ideas of the Absolute. It is only then that we would be enabled to make any progress. This fortune is denied to all who have love for transformable things.
"We must not neglect the transcendental Sound freely transmitted by the agents of the Absolute. We find ourselves interested in many things that are not known to us. The doctors do not know the remedies of many diseases. We require no monetary value in exchange for transmitting our message. We live a simple life and require little help from others in the way of scientific facilities. As we have got our ear we can receive transcendental Sound and vocalise the same to any intelligent person who may hear us.
"This will not be accessible to persons who have very little culture, who are engrossed in sensuous engagements. But we expect the intelligent section to make some preparatory progress toward a region of which we are essentially in need. In these days of materialism we are no doubt puzzled by these high thoughts. We are trying to do much to enrich the human intellect. But we are startled when we are told to look beyond. This is silly.
"We want to rouse up the true mentality of the civilized world for seeking true help towards spiritual progress. The secular help cannot appease our inner hunger. The transcendental Help can. We intelligent people should receive this transcendental Sound. We are now vitally concerned in this as every one is engaged in exploring ways and means for getting rid of our present unbearable inadequacies. We should spare a portion of our time to receive those Sounds."
[Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura shows how much aware he is of the foolish mode of thinking of contemporary society by such phrases as "In these days of materialism we are no doubt puzzled by these high thoughts. We (meaning human society) are trying to do much to enrich the human intellect. But we are startled when we are told to look beyond. This is silly." But he also compassionately notes, "...everyone is engaged in exploring ways and means for getting rid of our present unbearable inadequacies." Then he notes the eternal solution to what is really the eternal problem of conditional existence: "We should spare a portion of our time to receive those Sounds."(transcendental sounds from a liberated soul.)]
In November of 1931 Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura sent the preachers from his Delhi Math with a spiritual message to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Willingdon. Shrila Sarasvati later delivered some lectures in Delhi in the latter part of that year and glorified the Shrimad-Bhagavatam at Sukaratala, the place where Sukadeva Gosvami delivered the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Parikshit 5,000 years earlier.
In 1932 Deities were installed in Madras, and many well-attended discourses were held in the area. In Mayapur he initiated a series of examinations for the titles of Bhakti Sastri and Acarya (in ten subject areas): 1. Sruti (Vedas) 2. Vedanta 3. Bhagavata 4. Ekayana Pancaratra 5. Literature 6. History 7. Sampradaya Vibhava 8. Bhakti-sastra 9. Philosophy 10.Rasa. Disciples were expected to at least try to achieve a Bhakti Sastri degree, and those who were to become expert priests and preachers would study puja, Vedanta, philosophy, etc. for higher degrees. We may note that Shrila Prabhupada also wanted a system of degree courses devised for the study of his books, including higher degrees for advanced studies in Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Chaitanya-caritamrita.
In May of 1932 he revised and corrected a scholarly English presentation on the life of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called Sree Krishna Chaitanya, which was composed by one of his disciples who was a professor at Ravenshaw College named Dr. Nishi Kanta Sanyal. The work was done in a very thorough way compiling the pastimes of the Lord from all the prominent biographies of the Lord written by his immediate followers, especially the Chaitanya Bhagavata and Chaitanya-caritamrita. Professor Sanyal also was the editor of the English Harmonist of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, and being pleased with this effort, the acarya wrote a wonderful introduction to the volume printed in Madras, noting: "The writer has got the prime object of furnishing a comparative study in which the position of a reader has the highest place. This is his only ambition, of healing the depraved mentality of the so-called culturists of True Knowledge. But the readers have different motives of utilising the product of their enterprise of perusing the book. One class of readers are found to criticise the merits and demerits of the writer in order to establish their superiority, with a view to puff up their vanity. Another class is observed to muse over the subject by spending their time for the gratification of their senses. The third section of readers mean to profit by reading the book in order to regulate their life for a better purpose. The under-estimation of a desirable element for some utilisation through temporal gratification of the senses, would not equipoise the third position of the reader who will surely mark the distinctive situation by comparing other things and agree with the author in spending his valuable time for true amelioration."
[Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura warns the audience of intellectuals to whom this book has been addressed not to commit the errors of trying to fault the author on some intellectual or literary basis to establish their own superiority or to try to examine the contents with a view to gratify their senses with some story. He delineates the proper approach as "reading the book in order to regulate their life for a better purpose" and thereby "healing the depraved mentality of the so-called culturists of True Knowledge." Certainly this is the "chopping technique" of the pure sadhu at work. Right from the start he addresses the intellectuals of his day and warns them not to drag any material preconceptions to the region of the Absolute Truth. He continues:]
"The body of the book will appear before readers as a historical account of the Journey of life of a Hero. But the Hero is not an ordinary mundane hero for a hallucinative ambition with a spiritual tinge. The account will no doubt show that the targetted Object of the manifestive spiritual world is Eternal and identical with the Hero of the speaker. Hasty conclusions will be pouring forth to oppose this by welcoming anthropomorphic and apotheotic thoughts. The delineations will prove that the Object pointed to is beyond the comprehension of crippled senses. And the Absolute Eternity made up of Pure Knowledge and Incessant Bliss is never to be had within the compass of our senses. All objects of the phenomena which are comprehended by senses have temporal situation and deformed entity void of different 'qualities' that are always submissive to senses." [In other words, Lord Chaitanya's activities are of the spiritual world and cannot be comprehended by sensory or intellectual inspection, because He is the Supreme Lord Himself.]
At the same time he was editing Professor Sanyal's book, he also checked the proofs of his English presentation of Brahma-samhita with Sanskrit commentary by Shrila Jiva Gosvami, a book discovered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His travels, which perfectly elucidated His teachings about Krishna. When Lord Chaitanya visited the temple of Adi-kesava in South India on the bank of the Payasvini River, He discussed some spiritual topics with highly advanced devotees there, and while there He found a chapter of Brahma-samhita. (Actually the book was originally much longer but the Fifth Chapter was all that remained.) This incident is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter 9, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, as follows:
"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was greatly happy to find a chapter of that scripture, and symptoms of ecstatic transformation-trembling, tears, perspiration, trance and jubilation-were manifest in His body. There is no scripture equal to the Brahma-samhita as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned. Indeed, that scripture is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, for it reveals the topmost knowledge about Him. Since all conclusions are briefly presented in Brahma-samhita, it is essential among all the Vaishnava literatures." (texts 238-240)
Purport: "The Brahma-samhita is a very important scripture. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu acquired the Fifth Chapter from the Adi-kesava temple. In that Fifth Chapter, the philosophical conclusion of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva (simultaneous oneness and difference) is presented. The chapter also presents methods of devotional service, the eighteen-syllable Vedic hymn, discourses on the soul, the Supersoul and fruitive activity, an explanation of kama-gayatri, kama-bija and the original Maha-Vishnu, and a specific description of the spiritual world, specifically Goloka Vrindavana. Brahma-samhita also explains the demigod Ganesa, the Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, the origin of the Gayatri mantra, the form of Govinda and His transcendental position and abode, the living entities, the highest goal, the goddess Durga, the meaning of austerity, the five gross elements, love of Godhead, impersonal Brahman, the initiation of Lord Brahma, and the vision of transcendental love enabling one to see the Lord. The steps of devotional service are also explained. The mind, yoga-nidra, the goddess of fortune, devotional service in spontaneous ecstasy, incarnations beginning with Lord Ramacandra, Deities, the conditioned soul and its duties, the truth about Lord Vishnu, prayers, Vedic hymns, Lord Siva, Vedic literature, personalism and impersonalism, good behavior and many other subjects are also discussed. There is also a description of the sun and the universal forms of the Lord. All these subjects are conclusively explained in a nut-shell in this Brahma-samhita."
In the same 9th Chapter of Madhya-lila Lord Chaitanya presented Brahma-samhita and Krishna-karnamrita to Ramananda Raya and told him, "Whatever you have told Me about devotional service is all supported by these two books." From this we can see the importance Lord Chaitanya gave to this scripture, and it is further explained that He personally copied it down with His own hand. Later Ramananda Raya made a copy, and in this way it was passed on until Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura published it on a large scale for the first time.
During this period Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura completed his Gaudiya Bhashya commentary on the Chaitanya-bhagavata and wrote a short English biography called Rai Ramananda, an account of the life of Shrila Ramananda Raya. The latter work, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta divided into two parts. The first part, "The Lord and His Beloved" (Viewed By Empiricists), he describes as: "... a short Narrative of the Supreme Lord and Rai Ramananda as gauged by mundane spectators known as hagiolaters who search about the accounts of heroes." This first section almost humorously accounts for Ramananda Raya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in a manner suitable for speculative scholars and historians. The second section is called "The Lord and His Beloved" (Viewed by Devotees), which he addresses to those in his audience whom he clearly takes more seriously. On the first page of that chapter he writes, "We have surveyed in the last chapter the seeming conception of worldly people about Rai Ramananda. Now we are to enlighten those who are interested in the esoteric aspect of the devotee. Savants of the spiritual manifestations do not corroborate the view of the ordinary observer of mundane phenomena. Conception is carried both in worldly phenomena as well as Transcendental Manifestive Aspects. A stricter caution may not be neglected in distinguishing the two different planes so as to rescue the true view from confusion."
[Here we see Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's often-repeated theme that the "materialistic demeanour cannot possibly stretch to the Transcendental Autocrat." There are two distinct planes of existence-that of the exoteric material appearances, which tell us something about spiritual personages (but not much), and the esoteric spiritual plane which reveals the essence and which is vastly more important and of permanent significance. This small book is a wonderful display of just how true this principle is. Nothing of Raya Ramananda's true character can be comprehended by an external view of biographical facts and figures. The only entry into his true glories was by a transcendental agent like Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.]
In June of 1932 he visited the Maharaja of Mysore and stayed as a guest in his Ramya Palace where he delivered a series of discourses about Lord Chaitanya's philosophy. He then preached in Bangalore and then travelled to Kovvur where he installed Deities near the transcendental site of the conversations between Lord Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya.
In October and November of 1932 the circumambulation of Vraja Mandala was held, accompanied by many thousands of pilgrims. Shrila Sarasvati Thakura toured all of the sacred places of Krishna's pastimes and engaged constantly in chanting the name and glories of the Lord on the actual sites of the Lord's pastimes. The pilgrimage required massive organization with many tents, a moving kitchen, stage equipment, animals, etc. The pilgrims would rise early, chant and proceed in a huge procession with kirtana accompanying the Deity of Lord Chaitanya, a police band, a lead horse, flag bearers and all of the followers. At night a city of tents would be erected, kirtana and discourse areas would be set up, along with the kitchen, and there was even a system of guards for the tents.
However, the pilgrimage encountered opposition in the form of the Vrindavana temple proprietors, the caste gosvamis, who objected to Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's awarding of brahminical status to those not born in brahmana families. Although Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta had established this practice strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, who was one of the founding fathers of the present town of Vrindavana, still the panditas did not approve what they considered the deviation of giving brahmana and sannyasa initiation to members of lower castes.
In this regard, Shrila Prabhupada wrote an extensive reply to Acyutananda Swami in 1970 explaining some of the background of this controversy:
"Regarding the validity of the brahminical status as we accept it, because in the present age there is no observance of the Garbhadhana ceremony, even a person born in a brahmana family is not considered a brahmana, he is called dvija-bandhu or unqualified son of a brahmana. Under the circumstances, the conclusion is that the whole population is now sudra, as it is stated kalau sudra sambhava. So for sudras there is no initiation according to the Vedic system, but according to the pancaratrika system initiation is offered to a person who is inclined to take Krishna consciousness.
During my Guru Maharaj's time, even a person was coming from a brahmana family, he was initiated according to the pancaratrika system taking him to be a sudra. So the birthright brahmanism is not applicable at the present moment. The sacred thread inaugurated by my Guru Maharaj according to pancaratrika system and Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Shrila Sanatana Goswami must continue. It does not matter whether the priestly class accepts it or not. When my Guru Maharaj Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada introduced this system, it was protested even by His inner circle of God-brothers and friends. Of course He had actually no God-brothers, but there were many disciples of Bhaktivinode Thakura who were considered as God-brothers who protested against this action of my Guru Maharaj, but He didn't care for it.
"Actually one who takes to chanting Hare Krishna mantra offenselessly immediately becomes situated transcendentally and therefore he has no need of being initiated with sacred thread, but Guru Maharaj introduced this sacred thread because a Vaishnava was being mistaken as belonging to the material caste. To accept a Vaishnava in material caste system is hellish consideration (naraki buddhi). Therefore, to save the general populace from being offender to a Vaishnava, He persistently introduced this sacred thread ceremony and we must follow His footsteps ... This system introduced by my Guru Maharaj is a chance for all the members of the society, scientifically based and applied, apart from the exploitative sentiment of birthright 'caste' system, to become actually situated on the transcendental platform.
The panditas met with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and a discussion took place. Although the panditas appeared satisfied with the talks, when the parikrama reached the seven main temples, the doors were closed. Shopkeepers closed their shops, and some people even threw stones at them. Finally, they reached Kosi. It was at this point of the pilgrimage that Shrila Prabhupada met Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, having traveled from Allahabad, and he sat with rapt attention hearing him speak for many hours. And it was at this time that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura marked him, "He likes to hear. He does not go away."
The pilgrimage was unprecedented in scope, almost like a moving city. The 168 mile circumambulation took from the 9th of October to the 11th of November. During the Radha-kunda portion of the tour a wonderful discourse was delivered by the ecstatic preacher, the personified energy of Shri Chaitanya's mercy." Who delivers "devotional service which is enriched with conjugal love of Radha and Krishna, coming exactly in the line of revelation of Shrila Rupa Gosvami" at the junction of Radha and Syama Kunda on the subject of Shri Upadesamrita by Shrila Rupa Gosvami. A large audience of Vrajavasis and panditas were fortunate enough to hear him speak.
At the conclusion of the parikrama, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura proceeded to Allahabad where he oversaw the laying of the foundation stone for the Sree Rupa Gaudiya Math in Allahabad. Sir Malcolm Haily, the Governor of U. P., was on hand for the occasion and personally laid the cornerstone in Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's presence. It was there that Shrila Prabhupada received first and second initiation from Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, who was pleased to see him. When he was presented as a candidate for initiation, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura commented, "Yes, he likes to hear. He does not go away. I have marked him. I will make him my disciple."
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's preaching was going on in a big way. He had teams of sannyasis and brahmacaris constantly travelling and preaching, distributing magazines and books, establishing centers, arranging programs, etc. A core of 18 sannyasis were organizing things. His propaganda attracted so many people that Subhas Chandra Bose, the famous nationalist and a former classmate of Shrila Prabhupada's at Scottish Churches' College, met with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and complained, "So many people you have captured. They are doing nothing for nationalism." The reply: "Well, for your national propaganda you require very strong men, but these people are very weak. You can see, they are very skinny. So don't put your glance upon them. Let them eat something and chant Hare Krishna." Shrila Prabhupada commented on this incident, "In this way he avoided him." The kind of revolution Shrila Sarasvati Thakura had in mind could not be appreciated by Mr. Bose.
In January of 1933 a large diorama exhibition was opened in Dacca (presently the capital of Bangladesh, it was then a part of India). Called Sat Siksha, it featured toys, dolls, etc., and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta gave discourses there for one month to large crowds of learned and respectable people.
15: The Message is Sent to the West
After the annual Gaura Purnima celebration and circumambulation of Shri Navadvipa-dhama of 1933, Shrila Sarasvati Thakura resolved to further expand his preaching of Krishna consciousness to Europe, in line with the desires of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Inspirationally, on Lord Chaitanya's Appearance Day, the thick English volume Sree Krishna Chaitanya by his disciple Professor Sanyal was brought out, in a beautifully bound edition.
On the 18th of March Shrila Sarasvati Thakura gave instructions to two of his sannyasi disciples and a third disciple in a special meeting in Madras which served as a farewell address. The three disciples who were to proceed to Europe on behalf of their Guru Maharaja were Shripada Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaja, a disciple of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the sannyasa disciple of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura, Shripada Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaja and Shri Sambidananda Prabhu. The instructions he gave them form a brilliant essay on the mood and behavior of a preacher in foreign lands. As we read it, it is impossible not to meditate on how Shrila Prabhupada perfectly fit the description of the ideal preacher according to Sarasvati Thakura's description. The talk entitled L'Envoi (which means one who is dispatched on a mission, a messenger) was later published as an essay in the collected English writings of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
"The happy day has come when we are destined to spread the message of our Great Master [Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] to distant corners of the earth. The spiritual service to which we are dedicated has now passed the bud-stage and blown fully into a flower whose aroma we have to carry across the seas with that willingness which characterised Shri Hanuman when he leapt over the wide ocean with the message of Shri Rama. This extension of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's spiritual gift to foreign countries is our humble offering at His Feet...
"The Words of instruction of Shri Gaurasundara are verily His beautiful body; the preachers of His Word through the ages are His secondary limbs; the teaching of Shri Gaurasundara is His potent weapon; and the Grace of Shri Hari Himself established in the Word of Shri Chaitanya, is His eternal associate. Therefore, for the purpose of truly presenting Shri Gaurasundara, the Lord of the Gaudiya, to the aliens, I am addressing these few words of mine to the preachers who are about to proceed to countries beyond India."
[This was very revolutionary. Traditionally, sannyasis never journeyed across the ocean or rode on conveyances of any sort, as it was considered a type of sense gratification for a true renunciate. However, the consideration here was to deliver the message of Mahaprabhu for the salvation of the suffering world.]
"We find the following great precepts (Mahavakya) in the body of the Teaching that has been vouchsafed to us by the Supreme Master of all Masters: 'To chant constantly the discourse of Hari by being (1) extremely more humble than the blade of grass, (2) by being as forbearing as the tree, (3) by seeking no honour for oneself and (4) by offering due honour to all entities, is the highest natural function of the unalloyed individual souls (jivas).' The lotus-feet of my Shri Guru-deva attracted me to his service by his manifestation as the living embodiment of these four great precepts. My friends will be in a position to attract all souls of the world to the foot-stool of the Real Truth by purchasing the same unfailing method.
[Note that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is herein exhibiting his humility by referring to his disciples as "his friends".]
"The crest-jewel of the order of the Sannyasis of the triple-staff, Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada, has taught the same process to those who assume the triple-staff of renunciation, in the following words: 'I say this by holding the straw between my teeth, by falling at your feet and uttering hundreds of the humblest entreaties: All ye good souls, by throwing off everything to a distance, practice love to the Feet of Shri Chaitanya Who is so surpassingly Beautiful.' Following in the foot-steps of all the former devotees I am making my submission to them to pursue the identical method of propaganda.
"Shri Krishna Chaitanya Deva is the Supreme Teacher of all teachers of this world and the ideal possessor of intelligence that is the highest of all. It should be our only duty to constantly chant those words regarding the cleansing of the mirror of the heart of which He speaks in His Eight Precepts (Shikshastakam). We are only the bearers of the Transcendental Word. We shall never in any way hesitate to offer every honour and facility, for which they are eligible, to all persons of this world. We must pray to all for the boon of aptitude for the service of Krishna. We shall come across many persons in this world, possessing an endless variety of characters, disposed or hostile to the service of Krishna. But we should not slacken in our loving service of the Lord of our hearts and should offer due honour to all persons.
"We will have opportunities, as we approach different persons in all parts of the world with the vendor's bag of the discourse of Hari, to see a good many sights, to hear much and to seek to derive much benefit from our experience. May we never forget that all entities of this world are essentially proteges of the Lotus-feet of Shri Guru for helping the expansion of His service. May we always remember that they are excellent only if they are prepared to wait with the utmost eagerness on the particle of dust of the lotus-feet of my Shri Guru and that otherwise they are merely the mirage devised by the deluding potency for our ruin. I wish to remind those friends of mine who are proceeding to the west for preaching the words of Shri Chaitanya, the two precepts of my Master Shri Rupa: (1) 'The constant endeavour for cultivating relationship with Krishna of a person who, being free from all mundane affinity, enjoys the entities of this world, having due regard to the propriety of each case, in pursuance of his purpose, is called the proper kind of renunciation.' (2) 'The abnegation, by persons desirous of liberation, of entities that have an affinity with Hari, in considering their mundane nature, is termed renunciation possessing little real value.'
[Here Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura points out how to avoid temptation by only being interested in those persons who exhibit the inclination to serve the feet of Shri Guru and to practice yukta-vairagya, not phalgu-vairagya.]
"It is my request to my friends by giving due honour to all persons to follow in their preaching the ideal of Shri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu in his exposition of the aphorism of the Vedanta viz., 'Cessation of mundane birth from (the transcendental) sound, cessation of further birth from sound,' under the section of result to be achieved, to be found in such Shlokas as 'All Glory to the Bliss of the Name of Murari ...'
"Those nations to whom you are going for the propagation of the chant of Hari are mounted on the summit of proficiency in all affairs of this world. They are practised in the exercise of their rational judgement, are endowed with the quality of good manners should maintain our hope unshaken that they will prove to be the worthiest recipients of the heard transcendental Voice if we unlock to them the gates of the natural exhibition of abiding argument and enduring judgement. If we unpack our baggage of the genuine discourse of Hari by relying on the qualities of forbearance it will certainly receive the garland of welcome from the hearts of nations gifted with keen intelligence.
"We have not been actuated by any attempt of rivalry or hostility in undertaking this propaganda. This should always be borne in mind. We should call at the door of each and every seeker of the Truth, bearing on our heads the baggage of the Real Truth to be offered to them. It is no business of ours to be elated or discouraged by the praise or neglect of any person. We must be constantly alive to the duty of enhancing the pleasure of our Master by serving Him with perfect sincerity.
"We must not look at the world by being weighed down with the mentality that is oppressed with the sense of deficiency or otherwise, by the poverty or otherwise, of the display of worldly erudition, rank, etc. by any particular person. This is the state of forgetfulness of our real selves. All persons of this world are really superior to us in every way as far as this world is concerned. All those matters are not any commodities that are fit to be coveted by us. We are merely beggars with the triple-staff of renunciation devoted to the chanting of the Words of Shri Chaitanya. We have no more nor any higher desirable object than the Pleasure of serving Shri Hari-Guru-Vaishnavas.
"We are not the operators of the instrument, but only the instruments. We must always bear this in mind. The triple-staff Bhikshus are the living mridangas of Shri Chaitanya. We must constantly give forth our music at the lotus-feet of Shri Guru. We should practice the function of the peripatetic preacher (pari-vrajaka), of carrying aloft the victorious banner of the Commands of Divine Shri Gaurasundara by constant submission to Shri Guru and the Vaishnavas, fixing our eye on the pole-star of the heard transcendental Voice. We must always bear in mind that we have been initiated in the vow of the peripatetic preacher for the sole purpose of promulgating the Heart's Desire of Shri Guru and Gauranga. If we are constantly inspired with the duty of discoursing about the Truth under the guidance of Shri Guru, no hankering after travelling, nor any veiled form of desire other than chanting of Hari-nama, will ever strike any terrors into our hearts.
"The vowed service of the Name, the Transcendental Abode and the Desire of Shri Gaurasundara, is our only eternal function. We are Bhikshus of the triple-staff. The in-gathering of the smallest alms, even such as are gathered by the bees, is our only means for serving the manifestation of the Manifestive Divine Form of Shri Chaitanya Math all over the world. We are neither enjoyers nor abnegators of mundane entities. We recognise as our highest objective the desire for carrying with veneration the shoes of the order of the Paramahamsas.
"It will be our only duty, to proclaim to all the people that complete reliance on the Transcendental Absolute Truth is by far the highest form of freedom and one that is Infinitely superior to the partial independent mastery over the distorted reflected entity in the shape of this mundane world. By holding the straw between our teeth in supplication we shall carry aloft the banner of that real freedom to all persons. We should be constantly engaged in chanting the exhilarating Name of Shri Hari by adopting as our fundamental enlightening principle that the highest path is the path of submission, endorsed by Shri Rupa with the further exhortation to cherish the unwavering faith that He will always protect us."
[What an inspiring speech! Imagine the scene, the magnificently, romantic spiritual figure of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the commander-in-chief of the Vaishnavas, exhorting his men to carry the transcendental Sound into the Heart of Darkness, the Western world, reminding them that their only duty is to serve the Master with "perfect sincerity", reminding them that they are not the doers but simply the instruments, the "living mridangas of Shri Chaitanya", giving forth "our music at the lotus-feet of Shri Guru." He is reminding them to remain humble, that "All persons of this world are really superior to us in every way as far as the world is concerned." He also reminds them that "We have not been actuated by any attempt of rivalry or hostility in undertaking this propaganda." And finally, "It will be our duty to proclaim to all the people that complete reliance on the Transcendental Absolute Truth is by far the highest form of freedom ... we shall carry aloft the banner of real freedom to all persons." This speech shows perfect realization of the preaching spirit in the mood of the perfect humility of a Vaishnava.
Compare this mood of perfect humility to Shrila Prabhupada's prayers invoking Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's mercy, composed on the Jaladuta on his journey to America:]
"Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who is very dear to Lord Gauranga, the son of Mother Saci, is unparalleled in his service to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. He is that great saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krishna at different places throughout the world. By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krishna. As the vast mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land. When all the sinful, miserable living entities become happy, the Vaishnavas' desire is then fulfilled. Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to do it, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging you for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all. If you bestow Your power, by serving the spiritual master one attains the Absolute Truth-one's life becomes successful. If that service is obtained, then one becomes happy and gets Your association due to good fortune."
[And then arriving in Boston, he speaks out his heart to Lord Krishna: ]
"My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place? Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it. But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible because You are the most expert mystic. How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message. All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if you like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message. The words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message! It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17-21): 'Shri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relished His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and by rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome in the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. At the time loving service is established in the heart, the modes of passion (rajas) and ignorance (tamas) and lust and desire (kama) disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness and he becomes happy. Thus established in the mode of goodness, the man rejuvenated by loving service to the Lord gains liberation from material association (mukti) and comes to know scientifically of the Personality of Godhead. Thus the knots of the heart and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions (karma) is terminated when one sees the Self as master.' He will become liberated from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious things accumulated in the core of the heart will disappear. How will I make them understand this message of Krishna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore, I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own. Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like. O spiritual master of all the worlds! I can simply repeat Your message, so if You like You can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding. Only by your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life. O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord make me dance as You like. I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now if You like You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta."
[Comparing this powerful invocation for the mercy of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Lord Krishna with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta's L'Envoi, we see that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's mood, words and activity were the living personification of the preacher as described by his spiritual master. We can see that Shrila Prabhupada was clearly the full manifestation of the intense desires of Shrila Sarasvati Thakura to spread Krishna consciousness in the Western world, as he was consumed with the same intense compassion and humility to deliver the unfortunate. These two liberated and empowered preachers were clearly Krishna's choice for the salvation of the earth.]
In May, a preaching center was established in London at Kensington. At the end of the month Shrila Sarasvati Thakura received some inquiries from Lord Zetland, who had formerly been the Governor of Bengal during Shrila Prabhupada's student days, and he also heard from the Marquis of Ludian. He sent them replies. In June he received letters of thanks and appreciation from the secretary of Lord Irwin, the Marquis of Ludian, the Editor of the London Times and Sir Stanley Jackson. His preachers then had a meeting in July with King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace, and also with the Archbishop of Canterbury. By December his European preachers had proceeded to Germany and France and delivered some lectures there.
16: 1933 to 1936
On August 27th of 1933, the appearance Day of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura delivered a lecture at the Saraswati Assembly Hall in the Baghbazar temple of the Gaudiya Math. This lecture was printed in many Gaudiya publications and widely distributed. Later on in the 1960's, it was reprinted in Back to Godhead magazine. The title of the discourse was The Vedanta, Its Morphology and Ontology. The language of the essay was so erudite and complex that we are reminded of Shrila Prabhupada's comment, "Sometimes I would understand. Sometimes I would not understand, but I would go on hearing." Scholars and intellectuals are still intrigued and baffled simultaneously by it. Not that Shrila Sarasvati Thakura was being deliberately confusing, but just as certain sounds go above the wave length that an ordinary human can hear, so similarly some of the thoughts of such a transcendental genius, are very hard to follow. The essay is beyond brilliance and beyond scholarship, being perfect spiritual knowledge. We reproduce here some of the easier portions:
"The Vedanta deals with a theme beyond the finite views of phenomena. The subjects dealt with in that particular philosophy are not confined to any part of the material space, any definite span of time or any object of sensuous peception made up of any substance of this Universe. The activities of a being are measured in time, the playground of a being either linear, superficial or cubical is accommodated in space and the limited subjectivity or fleshy tabernacular entity is confined to phenomenon. The Vedantic scheme is quite different from such limited structural monuments though some people attempted to bring Vedanta within the prison bars of their senses.
"Though Vedanta deals with ordinary language quite dovetailing the views of ordinary intelligentsia to gradually heave them up to the supersensuous regions where senses cannot work by their present implements or cannot help them by the words of their credulous friends, still the transcendental topics are imparted slowly through the linguistic and rationalistic attainments to differentiate the plane of transcendence and the undesirable transformable plane of enjoyments. As it is helping the journey of understanding, we need not stick to a stagnant view in order to gratify our senses at cost of rationality and harmonious language exactly fitting our whims. So the method of studying this particular philosophy should never be confined to the same process of confusing the transcendence with our present plane of thought."
[Some portions are much harder. One brief example:]
"Some of the adventurers have been found to transform the substratum itself or proselytize their mundane exploitive journey to the theory of misconception. The analytic process meets the synthetic aspirant at a point, and we find a combined attempt of their development in literatures which are also included later on in the Vedantic School. Dvaitadvaita scholars of the Bhaskara and the Nimbarka schools have given us such views. The empiric starting from a perishable plane aiming at the indestructible direction could bring for us a cumulative view of the terminus. The system of the Vedanta philosophy should always look forward to approach the Absolute and not to any non-absolute search. The mundane morphological march need not be considered identical with the transcendental morphology which cannot in any case show its transiency and altering phases."
In August of 1933, the second annual diorama exhibition was held in Kurukshetra and was called the Gaudiya Exhibition.
In September of 1933 Shrila Sarasvati Thakura went on a sankirtana tour with his disciples, preaching and chanting in different places around Navadvipa, utilizing two motor launches called "Leela" and "Suradham". Towards the end of the year he preached in Patna, where he opened another diorama exhibition, again called Sat-siksha, and many eminent persons from Patna University attended. At the end of November he published his edited edition of Shrila Jiva Gosvami's Bhakti Sandarbha. Other preachers went to Karachi and simultaneously a theistic exhibition was organized in Kasi (Benares).
In the beginning of 1934 the Maharaja of Tripura visited Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in Calcutta and praised the programs of the Gaudiya Mission. He offered his respects to the feet of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, inquired from him on spiritual topics and heard from him attentively. In February he inaugurated a newly built temple at the birthsite of Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, at Modadruma-dvipa in Navadvipa-dhama. Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, the Vyasa of Chaitanya-lila, was the author of Lord Chaitanya's biography, Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata. He also opened a temple at Shrivasa-angana, the place of Lord Chaitanya's inauguration of the Sankirtana Movement, as well as His nocturnal kirtanas with His eternal associates. The newly constructed samadhi of his spiritual master, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was also completed and opened at this time.
During the course of the year, he engaged in discourses with many scholars, government leaders and religionists, and he initiated a good number of his followers into the sannyasa order. On June 13th of 1934, while the foundation of the Mayapur Yogapitha Temple was being dug, a four-armed Adhokshaja Deity was discovered and identified as the household Deity of Jagannath Misra, the father of Lord Chaitanya. Everyone on hand was amazed and excited at this event, which only further confirmed the absolute authenticity of the site discovered by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In July the deity form of Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was installed in his samadhi temple accompanied by tremendous sankirtana. In October Shrila Sarasvati Thakura and many disciples stayed in Mathura for more than a month, strictly executing the Karttika vow. During this time, he spoke on the topics of Krishna's asta-kalika-lila (the pastimes of the Lord executed during the day's eight divisions.) On the 29th of October, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura discovered the actual site where Shrila Rupa Gosvami had the darsana of the Gopala Deity in his old age in the Mathura area.
This Deity of Gopala has a great history. He was originally established by Vajra, the grandson of Krishna. Later, during the Mohammedan era, there was threat of attack and the priest hid Gopala in the bushes and ran away. When Madhavendra Puri, the parama-guru of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, came to Vrindavana, Gopala appeared to him in a dream, told him of his location, and asked him to install him once again on the top of Govardhana Hill. Madhavendra Puri built a temple, held a magnificent installation ceremony with hundreds of buckets of water and mountains of prasadam, and established a very high standard of Deity worship. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Vrindavana, in the mood of a humble devotee, He did not want to put His feet on Govardhana Hill. Therefore the Deity, on the pretext of an imminent attack by some Turkish soldiers, descended to the village of Ganthuli-grama and gave His darsana to (or took darsana of) the ecstatic Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for three days. Later Gopala returned to His place on Govardhana Hill. In their old age Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami also wanted to receive the darsana of Lord Gopala, but following in the footsteps of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu they did not want to step on Govardhana Hill. Therefore, the Deity made an arrangement for them as well, by descending to Mathura and staying in the temple of Vitthalesvara for one full month. A huge procession of spiritual luminaries accompanied Shrila Rupa and Shrila Sanatana Gosvamis to Mathura and stayed with them there. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Lokanatha dasa Gosvami, Bhugarbha Gosvami, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shri Yadava Acarya, and many other exalted Vaishnavas were all present.
Toward the end of 1934 Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura directed his European preachers to deliver lectures in the German universities, where there was much interest in Sanskrit and Vedic culture.
In January of 1935 the Governor of Bengal, Sir John Anderson came to Mayapur and heard about the Holy Dhama from Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. In February the 61st birthday of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was celebrated in Jagannatha Puri, the place of his appearance, and a large meeting was convened, chaired by the king of Jagannatha Puri. That was the year that Shrila Prabhupada composed his poem and essay, which he submitted to the Harmonist for publication. One stanza was particularly pleasing to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:
Absolute is sentient
Thou has proved,
Thou hast moved.
He liked it so much that he showed it to everyone who came to see him. One of Prabhupada's God-brothers compared it to the incident of Shrila Rupa Gosvami's composing a verse revealing his understanding of the inner thinking of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Shrila Sarasvati Thakura liked the essay very much also. He instructed the editor of The Harmonist, "Whatever he writes, publish it."
On the day after the Vyasa-puja ceremony, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura led his followers on a circumambulation of Purushottama-dhama, Jagannatha Puri, and spoke to them about its glories. On Gaura Purnima he was visited in Mayapur by the King of Tripura, who opened the gate of the Yogapitha Temple. In April he traveled to Gaya, where he opened a center, saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's places of preaching and gave wonderful lectures to a sophisticated and learned audience. To further spread the waves of Lord Chaitanya's mission, he sent preachers to Burma in the same month.
In June he broadcast, for perhaps the first time, by radio, Harinama Sankirtana from the Indian Broadcasting Service Center in Calcutta. This led to regular Sunday broadcasts of various Gaudiya functions like live broadcasts of sankirtana and bhajana from different parts of Calcutta, the Janmashtami celebration, Nanda-utsav, Radhashtami and the Appearance Celebration of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
In September the complete edition of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam was published in 12 Cantos with elaborate indexes, word meanings, Bengali translation, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Saratha varshini commentary, Shrila Madhvacarya's purports and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's own Vivriti commentary.
In October Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura stayed in Radha-kunda, Vrindavana, for one month and lived in a small one-storied house which Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had constructed. He spoke to the assembled devotees on the Upanishads, Chaitanya-caritamrita, and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and he installed Deities at the Kunja-behari Math. It was at this time that Shrila Prabhupada met with Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and heard the prophetic comment, "Agun jvalbe": "There will be fire", in connection with the fighting over rooms which had broken out amongst Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's disciples at the Baghbazar Gaudiya Math. "When we were living in a rented house," he said, "if we could collect two hundred or three hundred rupees we were living very nicely at Ultadanga. We were happier then. But since we have been given this marble palace in Baghbazar, there is friction between our men. Who will occupy this room? Who will occupy that room? Who will be the proprietor of this room? Everyone is planning in different ways. It would be better to take the marble from the walls and secure money. If I could do this and print books, that would be better." Then he turned to Shrila Prabhupada and said, "Amar iccha chila kichu bai karana": "I had a desire to print some books. If you ever get money, print books." Thus, important seeds were planted.
On November 6th Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established a pushpa samadhi for Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Kunja-bihari Math in Radha-kunda, and following this, he preached in Delhi and Gaya. News came regarding preaching successes in Burma and notable discussions were held with a number of western scholars. In December he went to Patna and Allahabad, and in Allahabad delivered discourses on the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Shrila Rupa Gosvami on the original site.
1936 was to be the last year of the intense preaching which had resulted in 64 temples being established in India and abroad. During this final year Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura met with many scholars, installed Deities, established more temples and preached widely in Mayapura, Cuttack, Puri (for 100 days), Alalanatha, Dacca, Kurukshetra, Darjeeling, Mathura, Vrindavana (where he established a bhajana kutir at Govardhana) and then back to Calcutta, where he was constantly engaged in preaching. A doctor named Sivapada Bhattacarya tried to restrain him from so much lecturing, due to his heart condition, but Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura replied to his entreaties, "Life is for the glorification of topics on Hari. If that is stopped, then what need is there to carry on life." In that same year in discourses in Dacca he had made some revealing remarks in the same line:
"Physical illness with Hari-bhajana is preferred to physical fitness sans Hari-bhajana."
"Our span of life on earth is short. Our life will be crowned with success if the body wears out with constant discourses on Hari."
He also uttered some other aphoristic remarks at these Dacca meetings, which due to their pithy and sutra-like nature remind one of the renowned Canakya Pandita, had Canakya been a pure devotee of Krishna.
"We are here on earth not to work as artisans for making big buildings with wood and stone but to work only as messengers of the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Deva."
"We are put to test and trial in this world. Only those who attend the kirtana of the devotees can succeed."
"A sychophant is neither a guru or a preacher."
"To transform the adverse desires of the jivas is the supreme duty of the most merciful. To rescue one person from the stronghold of Mahamaya is an act of superb benevolence, far superior to opening innumerable hospitals."
"Every spot on earth where discourses on God are held is a place of pilgrimage."
"Possession of objects not related to Krishna is our main malady."
"Let me not desire anything but the highest good for my worst enemies."
"Unless we are devoted to God, secularism shall not leave us."
"As dalliance with the body in luxury increases, so wanes the spirit of service for the Lord."
"Those favored by God find their paths set by thorns."
"There is no peace or happiness in our worldly life. Circumstances create turmoil and annoyance."
"Chant the maha-mantra loudly and with attachment. This will drive away inertia, worldly evils and pests."
"Be indifferent to bazaar gossips, stick firmly to your cherished goals, no lack or impediments of the world will ever stand in your way."
"Pay due respects to the extroverts of the world, but do not be appreciative of their manners and conduct. They are to be shaken off from your mind."
"A devotee feels the presence of God everywhere, but one averse to the Lord denies His existence anywhere."
"You cannot appreciate transcendental matters with the reasoning of the world. It is sheer nonsense to decry them with the measuring stick of your intellect."
"To recite the name of Shri Krishna is bhakti.
In October Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura sent Bhakti Saranga Maharaja to preach in England and, if possible, America. His other preachers had not been able to accomplish anything very substantial after three years of preaching. They had met many scholars and dignitaries, and there was one woman who had started a center in England, but beyond that none of their preaching had established any sizeable centers, despite great expenditure on the effort.
When Bhakti Saranga Maharaja later met Lord Zetland, who had very favorably received the first preachers and arranged various conferences for them, the English lord had asked him, "Swamiji, can you make us into brahmanas?" The reply was forthcoming, "Yes, why not." When the lord inquired about the restrictions, Bhakti Saranga Maharaja replied, "No meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication and no gambling."
"Impossible!" came the astounded reply. And that had reflected the conclusion of those preachers-that to actually turn mlecchas (meat-eaters) into followers of Vedic culture was practically impossible. It continued to appear impossible with the exception of the English lady and some German scholars who became Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's disciples, until Shrila Prabhupada came to the West and exhibited the transcendental empowerment bestowed upon him by the grace of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Lord Gauranga!
17: The Final Days
In October Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura went to Jagannatha Puri, and there he exhibited his pastime of illness for some time. At the Chatak-parvata in Jagannatha Puri, which is considered to be non-different than Giri-Govardhana, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura observed Madhvacarya's Appearance Day celebration and chanted verses specified for such occasions from the writings of Shrila Rupa and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's writings. He also held a similar festival for his spiritual master, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja.
While he was passing his days in Puri, he was often heard to utter phrases from the verses of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami:
pratyasam me tvam kuru govardhana purnam
"Oh Govardhana! Please fulfill my desire."
nijanikatanivasam dehi govardhana tvam
"Oh Govardhana! Please give me a dwelling place on the banks of the pond nearby You."
He also said pointedly, "You all take to sincere Hari-bhajana. There are not many more days." He gave lectures in Puri for about a month and a half, and then on December 6th he left Puri for Calcutta.
At the Puri station he was paid respects by many distinguished persons, especially due to their appreciation of his monumental activities of preaching Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's message in India, as well as abroad. Along the route there was a stop in Cuttack, where he was met by Professor Sanyal and other followers, and in Calcutta many devotees greeted him at Howrah Station and brought him to the Gaudiya Math at Baghbazar. There he gave a lecture which lasted over an hour, and he covered many profound topics. He spoke of the importance of good association, the mystery of Lord Chaitanya's madness-in-separation in Puri during the last days at the Gambhira in the association of Shrila Svarupa Damodara and Shrila Ramananda Raya. He spoke of the guru's vision of seeing his guru everywhere:
"It is my Gurudeva who is graciously present in all these different forms. If he is not graciously present in all these different forms who would then preserve me? Those whom my Gurudeva has made his own are my saviors. The order of the gurus who have in their nature the protecting power of the Divinity, are always present in different forms and figures to bestow their mercy on me. All of them are specific manifestations of Shri Guru who confers spiritual knowledge ... The transcendental reflections, which are also of the nature of supporters, are the worship of the Divinity, which appear in the different planes of cognitive existences, are my Gurudeva in His different forms. He who is constantly showing us how to serve Godhead throughout life, is no other than our Shri Gurudeva. Shri Gurudeva is present in every object as the supporting principle. He is graciously present in every object."
ye 'nye parartha-bhavaka yamunopakulah
samsantu krishna-padavim rahitatmanam nah
"O Cuta, O Priyala, O Panasa, Asana and Kovidara, O Jambu, O Arka, O Bilva, Bakula and Amra, O Kadamba and Nipa and all you other plants and trees living by the banks of the Yamuna who have dedicated your very existence to the welfare of others, we gopis have lost our minds, so please tell us where Krishna has gone." (S.B. 10.30.9) Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also discussed the danger of discussing other topics, after having admitted the topics of the Supreme Lord are "superior", thereby indicating that other topics in connection with the Lord are "inferior".
He quoted the line from Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Manah Siksha: sada dambham hitva-always give up pride. He discussed the necessity of being careful about offenses to Vaishnavas, especially in connection to the brahmanda brahmite verse from the Chaitanya-caritamrita, particularly describing the dangerous creepers of adoration, profit and distinction. He quoted from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Saranagati from the Dainya (Humility) section, which begins amara jivana sada pape rata nahiko punyera lesa-"I am an impious sinner and have caused others great anxiety and trouble", in which Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura feels himself to be a grossly sinful, materialistic person. The translation which perfectly describes the life of an envious materialist serves to instruct us what qualities must be overcome in our endeavor for self-realization and which a self-realized person, in his humility, feels that he still possesses:
1. I am an impious sinner and have caused others great anxiety and trouble.
2. I have never hesitated to perform sinful acts for my own enjoyment. Devoid of all compassion, concerned only with my own selfish interests, I am remorseful seeing others happy. I am a perpetual liar, and the misery of others is a source of great pleasure for me.
3. The material desires in my heart are unlimited. I am wrathful, devoted to false pride and arrogance, intoxicated by vanity and bewildered by worldly affairs. Envy and egotism are the ornaments I wear.
4. Ruined by laziness and sleep, I resist all pious deeds; yet I am very active and enthusiastic to perform wicked acts. For worldly fame and reputation I engage in the practice of deceitfulness. Thus I am destroyed by my own greed and am always lustful.
5. A vile, wicked man such as this, rejected by godly people, is a constant offender. I am such a person, devoid of all good works, forever inclined toward evil, worn out and wasted by various miseries.
6. Now in old age, deprived of all means of success, humbled and poor, Bhaktivinoda submits his tale of grief at the feet of the Supreme Lord.
It is clear from these themes, that aside from personally feeling a state of profound humility, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was discussing the giving up of pride, the weeds that choke the creeper of devotion and the above verses were a profound instruction and warning to his disciples about how to cultivate bhakti with great humility themselves. He was aware of the fire of ordeal that was to come for them collectively and individually. Therefore, he identified the anarthas and explained how to remove them without falling prey to arrogance or envy of others. The great acarya who was now soon to depart was giving essential instructions about the pitfalls that would ensnare many of his disciples.
[In the same manner in Shrila Prabhupada's last days he gave many warnings about cooperation and not allowing ourselves to be falsely motivated by pride or egotism. Similarly he exhibited extreme humility, asking his God-brothers to forgive him for his offenses, saying that he had been proud, etc. And we see how cogent and important these warnings by the self-realized acaryas are, who although having personally transcended such petty problems of heart, can clearly see the absolute necessity to warn their neophyte disciples about the stumbling blocks on the path of bhakti, both by example and precept.]
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura elaborated on these themes in Dacca in 1935:
"Look within. Amend yourself, rather than pry into the frailities of others."
"In this world of Maya, averse to the Lord, full of trials and tribulations, only patience, humility and respect for others are our friends for Hari-bhajana."
"The Lord, Gaurasundara, puts His devotees in various difficulties and associations to test their patience and strength of mind. Success depends on their good fortune."
"When faults in others misguide and delude you-have patience, introspect, find faults in yourself. Know that others cannot harm you unless you harm yourself."
"I wish that every selfless, tender-hearted person of Gaudiya Math will be prepared to shed two hundred gallons of blood for the nourishment of the spiritual corpus of every individual of this world."
That evening Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave another long lecture which centered on the theme of how to deal with an unwieldy mind. He again referred to the first verse of Manah Siksha by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami:
"O Mind! My brother! I fall down at your feet and beg you to relish unprecedented and excessive rati (bhava) in the constant remembrance of the spiritual master, the cows, the cowherdsmen, and the milkmaids of Vraja, the loving devotees of Lord Krishna, the pure brahmanas, the living mantra (heard from the divine master which releases the mind from maya's bondage), the Holy Names of Krishna and the divine youthful couple of Vraja, casting aside all thoughts of pride (egoism) of the mundane plane, at all times and under all circumstances."
He also referred to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's song from the Gitavali under the topic of sreyo-nirnaya (spiritual welfare) which begins: bhaja re bhaja re amar mana ati manda: "Worship, O worship, extremely wicked mind." He explained the song in some detail, especially the first verse:
bhaja re bhaja re amar mana ati manda
(bhajan bina gati nai re)
(bhaja) braja-bane radha-krishna caranaravinda
jnana-karma parihari re
(bhaja) braja-bane radha-krishna
"O my mind, how wicked (foolish) you are. Just worship the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna in the forests of Vraja. Without such worship there is no means of spiritual advancement. Give up all speculative knowledge and materialistic activities and just worship Radha and Krishna in the forests of Vraja."
On the 13th day of December, 1936 at the Gaudiya Math's Auditory Hall, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave a very long lecture in which he covered a wide range of topics, touching again and again on the theme of the danger of worldliness encroaching on one's spiritual endeavors. He quoted a song he had written called Nirjana Anartha:
tomara kanaka, bhogera janaka,
kanakera dvare sevaka madhava;
kaminira kama, nahe tava dhama,
tahara malika kevala yadava.
na pela ravana yujhiya raghava;
vaishnavi pratistha, ta'te kara nistha
taha na bhajile albhibe raurava
"Your gold is the progenitor of enjoyment-serve Madhava with gold. The desire in your heart for beautiful women is not for you-their only proprietor is Yadava. The tree of desire for fame is the desert of the illusory energy. Ravana did not get it by struggling against Raghava. Be dedicated to the fame of a Vaishnava. If you do not worship that, you will go to hell (raurava)."
[In the Fifth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.26.10), the type of person who deserves to go to the hell of Raurava is described as follows:]
"A person who accepts this body as his self works very hard day and night for money to maintain his own body and the bodies of his wife and children. While working to maintain himself and his family, he may commit violence against other living entities. Such a person is forced to give up his body and his family at the time of death, he suffers reaction for his envy of other creatures by being thrown into the hell called Raurava. "
Again the theme of ridding oneself of anarthas was strongly being preached by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Compassionately, he was urging everyone to give up pride and envy and simply immerse themselves in spreading the glories of the Lord. His mission had become an immense vehicle for this. He didn't want it to fail. He quoted multiple sources to establish the point of single-minded devotion to Krishna. Finally, he concluded:
"We are all sojourners on the path of death. Everyone has to die; therefore, in this state of life whether one is male or female, high or low, king or subject, rich or poor, learned or foolish-everyone can make this very rare human form of life successful by becoming a servant of the servant of the eternally pure, completely blissful Shri Hari. Even in this conditioned life one can become liberated. Therefore, it is overwhelmingly necessary to try ..."
On December 23rd, eight days before entering the eternal pastimes of the Lord, he made the following remarks:
"I have given anxiety to many people, as I have been compelled to speak genuinely truthful words, and as I have told people to worship Hari without any hypocrisy. There are possibly many people who even consider me to be an enemy. So that they may become eager to perform the sincere service of Shri Krishna, freed from other desires and deceitfulness, I have given various types of anxieties to numerous people. One day or another they will certainly be able to understand this.
"With great enthusiasm preach the words of Shri Rupa Raghunatha to everyone. Our ultimately desirable object is to become the dust at the lotus feet of the followers of Shri Rupa. All of you remain united in allegiance to the Asraya-vigraha (spiritual master) in order to satisfy the senses of the Transcendental Entity of Non-Dual Knowledge. Everyone, with the sole view of worshipping Hari, will carry on life in this temporary, two-day material existence in any way possible. Do not give up the worship of Hari even amidst hundreds of dangers, hundreds of insults or hundreds of persecutions. Do not become unenthusiastic upon seeing that the majority of people in this world are not accepting the message of Krishna's sincere worship. Never give up the audition and glorification of the topics of Krishna. They are your own personal worship and your very all and all. Being humble like a blade of grass and patient like a tree, constantly glorify Hari.
"We are nurturing a desire to dedicate this good-for-nothing body in the samkirtana-sacrifice of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His associates. We are not at all desirous of any heroism in fruitive actions or religion, but our real condition is to be the dust at the lotus feet of Shri Rupa Prabhu birth after birth-this is our all and all. The line of Bhaktivinode will never be closed. With even more enthusiasm you should become engaged in preaching the desire of Bhaktivinode's heart. Amongst you there are many capable and accomplished men. We have no other desire at all, these are our only words:
adadanastrinam dantairidam yace punah punah;
shrimadrupapadambhojadhulih syam janma-janmani.
'Taking a blade of grass between my teeth I fall down and again and again pray that I may become the dust at the feet of Shrimad Rupa birth after birth:
"There are various types of inconveniences while staying in this world, but there is no need for us to become extremely afflicted by these inconveniences or to try to dispel these inconveniences. While staying here it is necessary for us to gain an introduction to what our eternal life will be and to what Entity we will attain to after all these inconveniences have been removed. Here, it is compulsory to make decisions about all those objects which attract and repel us in various ways-both that which I want and do not want. We will be drawn by the attractions and repulsions of this place to the same degree as the amount of intervening distance there is between us and the lotus feet of Krishna. When we go beyond the attractions and repulsions of this world and are attracted by the Transcendental Name, then the topics about the mellow of service to Krishna can be understood. At the present time the topics about Krishna are greatly startling and perplexing. Adventitious occurences are obstructing our eternally needed realization. To eliminate these, everyone who holds the name of a human being is more or less consciously or unconsciously engaged in a struggle. To enter into that eternally needed kingdom beyond all duality is our only necessity.
"In this world we do not have any attachment or aversion towards anybody. All the arrangements of this world are momentary. That supreme desideratum is indispensably necessary for every single person. May all of you, with one aim and in a single voice, attain the right of serving the original Asraya-vigraha. May the flow of thought of Shri Rupa's followers stream over the world. May we never, in any condition whatsoever, show aversion to the sacrifice of chanting the seven-tongued samkirtana of Shri Krishna. If there is ever increasing attachment for this, perfection on all sides will be achieved. May all of you, by the earnest pursuance of Shri Rupa's followers, preach the words of Shri Rupa-Raghunatha in a fearless voice with supreme enthusiasm."
16a: Disappearance Nitya-lila
On the morning of December 31, 1936, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Shripada B. R. Shridhara Maharaja to sing Shri Rupa Manjari by Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura and Shripada Navin Krishna Vidyalankar to sing the Sikshashtaka. In the forenoon he requested the Editor of the Gaudiya magazine to see to it that the Vaishnava Manjusha (Casket of Vaishnava Vocabulary) would be compiled and published.
In his last days he had specifically requested that his disciples form a Governing Body Commission (GBC) of 10 or 12 devotees to manage the Society's affairs.
Two of his last statements were, "Love and rupture-both should have the same end in view. Thakura Narottama lived on the principles of Rupa-Raghunatha. It is good to follow that path." To all he announced, "Please accept my blessings to you all, present and absent. Please bear in mind-our sole duty and religion is to spread and propagate service to the Lord and His devotees."
Thus, the great acarya, the simha-guru, the uncompromising sadhu, the "Vaikuntha man" as Shrila Prabhupada once described him the tireless preacher of the pure teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left this material world uttering the name of Krishna at about 5:30 A.M. on Thursday, January 1st, 1937, and entered the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, having firmly established the foundation of a spiritual movement, which would be carried around the world by his pure servant, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder/Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
After Om Vishnupada (108) Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada's disappearance pastime, his transcendental body was worshipped with scented oil, flowers and sandalwood paste. Then his spiritual body was brought before the Deities in the Shri Sarasvata Auditory Hall and decorated with flowers, garlands and cloth. There the appropriate worship and arati was performed.
After this, an immense sankirtana procession carried the divine form to Sealdah Railway Station. Along the way, thousands had a final darsana. From Krishnanagar he was moved by motor car to Svarupganj and carried with a sankirtana procession to Shridhama Mayapur. A huge crowd of devotees and onlookers had gathered, and there was an immense outpouring of grief and separation, but simultaneously a constant glorification of the Holy Name of Krishna.
First, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was brought to the Yogapitha, then to Shrivasangana, and then to Shri Advaita Bhavana. Finally, he was brought to Shri Vrajapattana, the place of his intense bhajana where he had performed the vow of chanting a billion names. He was taken to the front of the samadhi of Om Vishnupada Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja by the banks of Radha-kunda and then to the Shri Avidyaharana Natya Mandira where tremendous kirtana was held for the whole night.
The work on the samadhi was immediately begun by sannyasis, babajis, brahmacaris, grihasthas and vanaprasthas who had all taken shelter at his lotus feet. At the end of the night samadhi mantras were written on his body according to the directions of the Samskara Dipika by Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. His spiritual body was then brought to the samadhi site and placed on a throne of white marble. His feet were anointed with aguru and sandalwood paste, and the flowers offered to his feet collected. Flower garlands were offered around his neck, and tulasi plants were sown on all sides. His favorite songs were sung: Shri Rupa Manjari, Svananda-sukhada-kunja-manohara, and Yasomati-nandana. Then, chanting ye anilo prema dhana, the devotees circumambulated the samadhi site four times. The samadhi was covered with earth and surrounded by tulasi on all four sides, marked with the sign of tilaka and covered with flower garlands. Then a fire sacrifice, offering of bhoga and arati were performed, and there were readings from the Disappearance of Shrila Haridasa Thakura and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's poems from the end of his Anubhashya.
Thus, the "acarya-sun", as he had been called by his father Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, passed from earthly vision, and he entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord.
18: His Contributions Summarized
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada especially commented on Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's powerful preaching against caste-ism and sahajiyas, and how effective he was at debunking these very strongly rooted influences in Indian cultural and religious traditions. This was practically one of his most important contributions, coupled with his constant axe blows against the impersonalists and voidists.
He also did much to establish a unifying influence on the various Vaishnava sects by stressing the points of agreement shared by the four major sampradayas. He published the writings of the other Vaishnava acaryas, especially Shrila Madhvacarya and Shrila Ramanujacarya and also published accounts of their lives.
In his travels throughout India and especially South India, he enjoyed a reputation as an incredibly powerful debator, and received the title "simha-guru"-lion guru. Various proponents of the Mayavadi school would cross the street rather than confront him, and he was known to accost such scholars and chastise them for cheating the innocent public with false philosophy.
He established 64 temples, 17 in Navadvipa-Mandala, including the 29-pinnacled Shri Chaitanya Math, Shri Advaita Bhavana, Shri Shrivasangana, the large temple at the site of the Yogapitha, which was opened by the King of Tripura in 1935, Svananda-sukhada-kunja, the place of bhajana and samadhi of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Modadruma Gaudiya Math, the site of Vrindavana dasa Thakura's appearance, and many others.
He established 13 more in other parts of Gauda-mandala and Bengal, notably Shri Gaudiya Math in Calcutta, first established at No. 1 Ultadanga Junction Road in 1920, and which later shifted to the marble temple in Baghbazar. Five more were established in Shri Kshetra-mandala at Puri, Alalanatha, Bhuvaneswar, and Cuttack. In Vraja-mandala 10 temples were established in Vrindavana, Mathura, Varshana, Nandagrama, Hodal, Govardhana, Radhakunda, etc. 14 more were established in other important sites in India: Assam, Madras, Bihar, Benares, Allahabad, Naimisaranya, Haridwar, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Balesvara, Bombay, Gaya, and Kovuur, the site of the talks between Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya.
Outside of India temples were established in Rangoon, and small centers in London and Germany.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established many presses and printed thousands of books. In 1928 he even established a daily newspaper called the Nadia Prakash. When challenged how it was possible to publish a daily newspaper about God, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explained how this world was a small place, only one quarter of the creation, compared to the spiritual world which comprises the other three quarters. He further replied, "Here in this world there are thousands of newspapers and magazines reporting the stale, repetitious happenings of this limited space. So for reporting the news of the unlimited spiritual realm, concerning the eternal, ever-fresh Supreme Personality of Godhead, we could publish a newspaper at every second, what to speak of daily."
His presses were the Bhagawat Yantra (Bhagawat Press) established in Calcutta in 1913, the Gaudiya Printing Works established in Calcutta in 1923, the Nadia Prakash Printing Press established in Mayapura in 1928, and the Paramarthi Printing Works, established in 1936 in Cuttack, Orissa.
He published the following magazines: Sajjana Toshani, established in 1881 by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (later taken over by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and re-named The Harmonist, an English monthly); The Gaudiya, his first magazine, established in 1922 as the official weekly journal of the Gaudiya Math; The Nadia Prakash, established in 1926 initially as a English/Bengali magazine, but later a daily newspaper; The Bhagavata, established in 1931, as a Hindi fortnightly; The Paramarthi, established in 1932, a fortnightly Oriyan magazine; and Kirtana, established in 1932, an Assamese monthly.
He personally wrote over 108 essays and books (listed fully in Appendix 1) and aside from these, he also published hundreds of articles in the Sajjana Toshani, Nivedana, Gaudiya, and Nadiya Prakash.
Apart from his own writing, he also published many other books: the Bhagavad-gita with commentary by Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, etc., 12 Cantos of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, with commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Shrila Madhvacarya and others, the Chaitanya-bhagavata with his Gaudiya Bhashya, the Shri Chaitanya Candramrita and Navadvipa-Sataka by Shrila Prabhodananda Sarasvati, the Vedanta-tattvasara by Shrila Ramanujacarya, the Mani-manjari by Shrila Madhvacarya, the Sadacara-smriti by Shrila Madhvacarya, the Navadvipa-dhama-granthamala by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, an English version of the Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata and 20,000 copies of Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura's Prema-bhakti-candrika, the Shri Chaitanya Mangala by Locana dasa Thakura, the Brahma-samhita with Shrila Jiva Gosvami's comments and his own Gaudiya Bhashya. He also edited countless other books by his father and was prepared to do much more.
He met with many scholars, leaders and educators and established Krishna consciousness as a great science, worthy of the highest esteem. He had interviews and debates with the acaryas of other schools of thought and was never defeated, thus establishing the acintya-bhedabheda-tattva philosophy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the supreme doctrine of all time.
He also propagated theistic displays and diorama exhibitions in Kurukshetra in 1928, 1933, and 1936, in Mayapur in 1930, in Calcutta in 1930, 1931, in Dacca in 1933, in Patna, Bihar in 1933, in Kasi (Benares) in 1933 and in Prayaga (Allahabad) in 1936. These exhibitions were free and were staged with the help of toys, dolls, pictures, writings and even mechanical devices for moving the dolls, describing the lilas of Lord Krishna, Lord Chaitanya, etc. Generally, these exhibitions were held for 15 days, but occasionally longer, according to popular demand.
He also established several important parikramas of the Dhamas, especially the Navadvipa Dhama Parikrama and the Vraja Mandala Parikrama, which were both originally set in motion by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, setting the example as the greatest devotee of Krishna. The whole purpose of organizing these huge undertakings, in which thousands took part, was to arouse the awareness of the reality of the Lord's pastimes in the minds of the pilgrims. He also discovered many pilgrimage sites of Lord Chaitanya and His associates' pastimes and established Pada-pithas, Lotus Feet markers on many sites of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's preaching pastimes from His pilgrimage tour of India.
Shrila Sarasvati Thakura always emphasized kirtana and talks about Krishna and called his press the Brihat Mridanga, meaning the Greater Mridanga, which could be heard far and wide, as opposed to just a few blocks.
He preached the theme of daivi-varnasrama very vigorously, in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as well as the division of devotional writing into three categories: sambandha (establishing one's relationship with the Lord), abhidheya (acting according to one's constitutional relationship with God), and prayojana (the ultimate goal of life, love of God). He particularly stressed the line of thought coming down from Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, the acaryas of abhidheya and prayojana-tattvas respectively.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was an innovator in many ways. Although sannyasis traditionally never used any conveyances with the exception of ox-carts, he rode in motor cars, motorized boats, etc. Although sannyasis never wore sewn cloth, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and his preachers on occasion wore overcoats, kurtas, etc. He utilized the radio for broadcasting his message and sent sannyasis over the sea, which was considered revolutionary. All of this innovation was strictly in the mood of spreading the glories of the Lord and engaging people in Krishna consciousness. He adhered strictly to the principles of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, but with a view to liberate people. His principle of renunciation was the type described by Shrila Rupa Gosvami-yukta vairagya, engaging the illusory energy fully in the service of Krishna. For himself, he was never influenced by any desire for adoration or any other sort of sense gratification, being an eternally liberated servitor of the Lord.
Armed with the books of the Gosvamis and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he fought against deviant sects like the Auls, Bauls, Kartabhajas, Neda, Darbesh, Shai, Atitari, Churadhari, and all other malpractices, nonsense theories, Mayavadis, atheists, etc. He was indomitable. Once in Dacca, where there was a great prominence of sahajiyas and caste conscious people, the word was passed around that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's sannyasis and brahmacaris should not be given any alms and that the doors should be shut in their faces. When his disciples asked him what to do, he replied that if necessary they should subsist off Ganges water alone, but not to give up distributing Lord Chaitanya's message. With great determination, they continued to preach, gradually received help, and ultimately a nice center was established in Dacca, despite so much opposition.
His physical appearance was tall. He had long arms, a slender body, broad forehead, aquiline nose, intense eyes, golden complexion, and he was full of ecstatic love of God. His presence was amiable and majestic. He was well-versed in all subjects and scriptures, having devoured and memorized many libraries, and was called the "Living Encyclopedia". He knew Sanskrit, Bengali, English, Astronomy, and many other branches of knowledge. He was very courageous, had unlimited capacity for preaching, and was naturally decorated with all 26 qualities of a pure devotee. Shrila Prabhupada once commented when asked about His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, "What can I say? He was a Vaikuntha man!"
List of the principal publications of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur with dates of Publication
List Of The Principal Publications Of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura With Dates Of Publication
This list is reproduced from Shrila Sarasvati Thakur (A Short Sketch of His Career and Teachings) by Tridandibhiksu Shrimad Bhakti Pradip Tirtha. Printed by Shri Jagajjiban Das at Shri Bhagabat Press, Baghbazar, Calcutta.
('W' written and 'Ed' edited)
W-1886-Prahlada-Charitra (in 5 chapters in Bengali verses)
W-1896-Articles on Astrology published in the monthly magazines 'Brihaspati' and Jyotirvid': -(a) Bengali translation and explanation of Bhaskaracharya's Siddhanta-Shiromani Goladhyaya with Basanabhasya, (b) Bengali translation of Ravichandrasayanaspastha, Laghujatak with annotation of Bhattotpala, (c) Bengali translation of Laghuparashariya or Ududaya-Pradip with Bhairava Datta's annotation, (d) Whole of Bhauma-Siddhanta, according to Western calculation, (e) Whole of Arya-Siddhanta by Aryabhatta, (f) Paramadishwara's Bhatta, Dipika-Tika, Dinakaumudi, Chamatkara-Chitamoni, Jyotish-Tatwa-Samhita
W-1897-Sanskrit Bhaktamal (a review, in Sajjana-toshani 8/4)
W-1899-Shriman Nathamuni (in Sajjanatoshani from 10/3)
Ed.-1899-Nivedana (a weekly journal, the spiritual portion)
W-1899-Yamunacharya (in Sajjanatoshani from 10/50)
W-1899-Shri Ramanujacharya (in Sajjanatoshani from 11/8)
W-1900-Bange Samajikata (a review of the society and religious sects of Bengal, in Bengali)
W-1911-Truth regarding the comparative position between a Brahmana and a Vaishnava (in Bengali)
W-1913-Sept. 7 1913-June 14 1915-Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita (commentary named 'Anubhasya')
W-1914 (finished on Aug. 28)-Anuvritti (explanation of Upadeshamrita)
Ed.-1914-Gaura-Krishnodaya (an epic composed by Govindadas an Utkal poet)
Ed.-1914-Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita (with annotation by Shrila Vishvanath Chakravarty and translation by Shrila Thakur Bhaktivinode
Ed.-1914-Nabadwip Panjika (pocket edition)
W-1914-Sangita-Madhava (a poem in Sanskrit, published in Sajjanatoshani 18th year)
1915-1916-Shri Sajjanatoshani (from the 18th year, edited and published the following articles):
Purvabhash, Pranir Prati Daya, Madhvamuni-Charit, Books on Bhakti in the Visvavidyalaya (university), Thakurer Smriti-Samiti, Divyasuri or Alvar, Jayatirtha, Godadevi, Pancharatrik Adhikar, Prapti Svikar, Vaishnava-Smriti, Shri Patrikar Katha, Bhaktanghrirenu, Kulashekhar, Samayik Prasanga, Shri Gauranga, Abhakti-marga, Vishnucitta, Pratikul Matavad, Krishnadas Babaji, Toshanir Katha, Gurusvarup, Prabodhananda, Bhaktimarga, Samalochana, Toshani-Prasanga, Artha and Anartha, BaddhaTatastha and Mukta, Gohite Purvadesh, Prakrita and Aprakrita, Antardwip, Prakat-Purnima, Chaitanyabda, Upakurvan, Varshashesh.
1916-1917-Sajjanatoshani (19th year) Articles:
Navavarsha, Asaner Katha, Samayik Prasanga, Acharya-Sanatan, Videshe Gaura Katha, Samalochana, Amar Prabhur Katha (life of Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Shrila Gaurakishore das Gosvami Maharaj), Vaishnaver Vishaya, Gurusvarup (a query), Vaishnava-Vamsha, Viraha-Mahotsava, Shri Patrikar Ukti, Prakrita-Rasa Shata-Dushani (refutation of the wrong-mentality of the Prakrita-Sahajiya-Sampradaya), Duiti Ullekh, Ganer Adhikari Ke?, Sadachar, Amaya, Prathana Rasa-Vivriti (an explanation of Shrila Narottama Thakur's 'Prarthana'), Pratibandhak, Bhai Sahajiya, Varshashesh.
1917-1918-Sajjanatoshani (20th year) Articles:
Navavarsha, Samlochana, Samayik Prasanga, SajjanKripalu, Shati-Parinata Jagat, Sajjan Akritadroha, Prarthana-Rasa-Vivriti, Sajan Satyasar, Prakrita Shudra Vaishnava Nahe, Nagarimangalya, Sajjan Sama, Sajan Nirdosha, Sajjan Vadanya, Bhadatiya Bhakta Nahe, Sajan Mridu, Sajan Akinchan, Sajan Shuchi, Vaishnava Darshan (a lecture delivered in Sahitya-Sabha in the Town Hall of Krishnagar in March 1918), Varshashesh
1918-1919-Sajjanatoshani (21 st year) Articles:
Navavarsha, Sajan Sarvopakarak, Sajan Shanta, Shri Gaura Ki Vastu?, Sajjan Krishnaikasharan, Sajan Akam, Sajjan Niriha, Sajjan Sthir, Sajan Vijita Shadgun, Shri Murti and mayavad, Shri Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha, Sajan Mitabhuk, Bhaktisiddhanta, Sajan Apramatta.
1919-1920-Sajjanatoshani (22nd year) Articles:
Varshodghata, Sajan Manad, Sajjan Amani, Sajan Gambhir, Sajan Karun, Sajan Maitra, Kal-Sanjnaya Nama, Shaukra and Vrttigata Varnabhed, Karmir Kanakadi, Gurudas, Dasha, Dikshita.
1920-1921-Sajjanatoshani (23rd year) Articles:
Hayanodghata, Aikantika and Vyabhichari, Nirjane Anartha (a song "Man, tumi kisher Vaishnava?"), Sajan Kavi, Chaturmasya, Pancho-Pasana, Vaishnava and ?tar Smriti, Samskar-Sandarbha, Sajjan Daksha, Vaishnava Maryada, Sajan Mauni, Shri Murti-Seva in Yogapith, Aprakrita.
1921-1922-Sajjanatoshani (24th year) Articles:
Navavarsha, Savishesh and Nirvishesh, Meki and Asal, Samayik Prasanga, Shrimad Bhagavata, Smarta Raghunandan, Harinama-Mahamantra, Sagunopasana, Nishiddhachar.
W-1922-Laghuvivaran of Shikshashtaka
Part I-Jan. 1922
Part II-May 1922
Part III-May 1923
Part IV-March 1925
1923-1935-Shrimad Bhagavata (with Gaurakishore Anvaya, Svananda-Kunjanuvad, Ananta Gopal-Tathya and Sindhu-Baibhav-Vivriti. Publication commenced from Shri Gaudiya Math in 1923 in parts, and was completed on 12th December 1935).
W-1924, 24th Feb.-Pratisambhashan
Shri Chaitanya-Bhagavata-1st edition, published during the Advent-Festival of Shri Gaurasundar; and 2nd edition with Gaudiya Bhasya, completed on 29th May 1932
1924-1933-Bhakti-Sandarbha (with Gaudiya Bhashya)
1924, April-Prameya-Ratnavali (with Gaudiya Bhashya)
1926-Shri Chaitanya Chandramrita and Nabadwip Shatak (by Shrila Prabhodhananda Sarasvati with prose order, Bengali translation and Gaudiya Bhasya)
1926, Feb.-Address in Vyasa Puja (Abhibhashan)
Ed.-1926, Apr.-Vedanta-Tatvasar (by Shri Ramanujacharya, with Bengali translation)
1927, Feb. 20-Shri Bhagavater Punaravritti
1927, Jan.-Feb. Shri Madhyacharya's Sadachar-Smriti (Bengali translation)
1927, Jan.-Feb. Shri Nabadwip Dham Granthamala
1927, June 15-Sajjanatoshani Patrika or Harmonist (in English, Sanskrit and Hindi)
1927-Shri Chaitanya-Bhagavata (English translation)
Ed. 1927-Prem-Bhakti-Chandrika (20 thousand, of Thakur Narottama)
Ed. 1927-Shri Hari namamrita-Vyakarana (Grammar)
1928, Feb. 10-Pratinivedana
1928, Feb. 28-Vijnapti
Ed. 1928-Shri Chaitanya-Mangal (by Shri Lochandas Thakur)
1930, Feb. 18-Vyasa Pujaya Pratyabhibhashan
1931, Feb.-Hari-Bhakti-Kalpalatika (2nd edition, with Bengali translation)
1932, Feb. 26-Varshik Abhibhashan
1932, Feb. 26-My Guru Puja (written in Madras, in English)
1932, May 29-Rai Ramananda (in English)
1932-Shri Brahma-Samhita (5th Chapter, translated into English)
W 1932, Aug. 24-The Vedanta-Its Morphology and Ontology
W 1932, Aug. 28-Relative Worlds
W 1932, Aug. 28-Paratantra-Jagaddvaya
W 1932, Sept. 3-Purushartha-Vinirnaya
W 1932, Sept. 11-A Few Words on Vedanta
JOURNALS Edited by Shrila Sarasvati Thakur
Gaudiya (weekly journal in Bengali established by Shrila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakur, some of his articles published in the same) 1st year:
W 1922-23-Shri Krishnajanma, Madhur Lipi, Loka-vichar, Paramartha, Purana Samvad, Nitibhed, Ruchibhed, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Gaudiye Priti, Durga Puja, Sharadiyavahan, Je Dike Batas, Marute Sechan, Smarter Kanda, Vichar Adalat, Sevapar Nam, Tridandi-Bhikshu-Giti, Shri Madhva Janma-tithi, Varnashrama, Aprakat-Tithi, Braje Vanar, Samajik Bhed, Chyuta-gotra, Nrimatradhikar, Bhritak Shrota, Vaishnava and abhritak, Diksah-vidhan, Asurik Pravritti, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushan, Sadachar-Smriti, Pancharatra, Nigam and Agam, Shri Vishvanath Chakravarty, Vaishnava-Darshan, Varnantar, Parichye Prashna, Asatye Adar, Ayogya Santan, Ashudra Diksha, Pujadhikar, Anatmajnan, Nija Parichaya, Vamsha-Pranali, Gaura-Bhajan, Dhanya and Shyama, Tritiya Janma, Avaidha Sadhan, Baija Brahmana, Prachare Bhranti, Bhagavata Shravan, Math Ki?, Acche Adhikar, Shridharsvami, Vyavahar, Kamina, Shaktisanchar, Varsha-Pariksha, Ekajati, Ihalok, Paralok
W 1923-24-Gaudiya, 2nd year:
Varshapravesh, Brahmanyadeva, Gurubruva, KirtaneVijnan, Avirbhava-Tithi, Mather Utsava, Dikshita, Gosvamipad, Krishne Bhogabuddhi, Gaudiya-Bhajan-Pranali, Shri Vigraha, Javala Katha, Smarta and Vaishnava, Samajik Ahit, Prakrita. Bhokta Ke?, Gaudiyer Vesh, Pratisambhashan, Sutravidvesh, Samayik Prasanga
W 1924-25-Gaudiya, 3rd year:
Gaudiya Hospital, Samayik Prasanga, Bhagavata-Vivriti, Shri Kulashekhar, Meyeli Hinduyani
W 1925-26-Gaudiya, 4th year:
Mahdur Lipi, Shri Vyasa Pujaya Abhibhashan, Prapta. Patra (Rahasya), Ashrauta. Darshan, Vedanta-Tatvasarer Upodghata.
W 1926-27-Gaudiya, 5thyear:
Patravali, Darshane Bhranti, Vaishnava Shraddha-Vyavastha, Alochaker Alochana, Nyakabokar Svarup
W 1927-28-Gaudiya, 6th year:
Man-Dan and Hani, Prati-Nivedana, Paramartha, Gaudapur, Asal and Nakal, Ahaituk Dhama-sevak, Sarva-Pradhan Vivechanar Vishaya, Bhai Kutarkik, Krishnabhakta Nirbodh Nahen, Prachin Kuliya Sahar Nabadwip, Kaptatata Daridrata. Mul, Ekashchandra, Punyaranya, Godaya Galad, Nilachale Shrimad Satchidananda Bhaktivinode
W 1928-29-Gaudiya, 7th year:
Samayik Prasanga, Virakta Jaghanya Nahe, Ami Ai Nai Ami Sai, Vayvasadarer Kapatata, Hamsa-jatir Itihas, Patravali, Mantra-Samskar, Bhog and Bhakti, Suniti and Durniti, Krishna-tatva, Shridham-Vichar, Ekayan-Shruti and Tadvidhan, Pratichye Karshna-Sampradaya, Vijnapti, Pancharatra, Nilachale Shrimad Bhaktivinode, Tirtha Pandharpur Manikyabhaskar, Vaishnava-Smriti, Mahanta-Gurutatva, Boshtam Parliament, Alaukik Bhaktacharitra
W 1929-30-Gaudiya, 8th year:
Shridham Maypur Kothaya?, Gaudachale Shrila Bhaktivinode, Satvata and Asatvata, Bharata and Paramartha, Paramarther Svarup, Patravali, Vyasa Pujaya Pratyabhibhashan, Prachin Kuliyaya Dvarbhet, Shikshaka and Shikshita, Vishayir Krishnaprem Atmahara Pathak, Ashramer Vesh
W 1930-31-Gaudiya, 9th year:
Shri Bhaktimarga, Paramarthik Sanmilanir Sabhapatir Abhibhashan, Bhavarogir Hospital, Jagabandhur Krishnanushilan, Patravali
W 1931-32-Gaudiya, 10th year:
Gaudiya-Mahima, Patravali, Satshik-sharthir Vivechya, Nimbabhsakar, Ajna and Vijner Narmakatha, Vaishnava-Vamsha, Varshik Abhibhashan (read in Vyasa Puja in Madras), Confucius Vichar, Patra
W 1932-33-Gaudiya, 11th year:
Ekadash-Prarambhika, Patravali, Vaishnave Jati-buddhi, Madhukar Bhaikshya, Pradarshaker Abhibhashan Patravali, Drishti Baiklabya, Amar Katha, Satshiksha-Pradarshani, Krishnabhakti-i-Shoka-Kama Jadyapaha Krishne Matirastu
W 1933-34-Gaudiya, 12th year:
W 1934-35-Gaudiya, 13th year:
Sva-Para-Mangal, Vaikuntha and Gunajata Jagat, Bhogavad and Bhakti
W 1935-36-Gaudiya, 14th year:
Navavarsha, Patravali, Bada Ami and Bhala Ami, Tadvan, Vastava Vastu
Gaudiya, 15th year:
2. Daily Nadiya Prakash (a Bengali daily paper contains many articles of Shrila Prabhupad) Mar. 1926
3. The Harmonist (English fortnightly, contains many articles of Shrila Prabhupad). Ed. 1927
4. Bhagavata (Hindi fortnightly) 8th Nov. 1931
5. Paramarthi (Oriya fortnightly) 16th May, 1932
Works of Shrila Thakur
by Shrila Sarasvati SRILA SARASWATI THAKUR
Shri Chaitanyopanishad (2nd edition), Shri Brahma-samhita (2nd edition), Shri Brahma-samhita (English translation), Prem-Vivarta (4th ed.), Bhajan-Rahashya (3rd ed.), Archana-Paddhati (3rd ed.), Archanakan (2nd ed.), Jaiva-Dharma, Shri Chaitanya-Shikshamrita (in English and Telegu), Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita (with annotation of Shri Vishvanath Chakravarty and Thakur Bhaktivinode, 3rd ed.), Ishopanishad (2nd ed.), Shri Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya (3rd ed.), Tatvamuktavali (2nd ed.), Tatvavivek (2nd ed.), Tatvasutram (in Devanagari type), Shri Hari nama-Chintamani (4th ed.), SatkriyaSara-Dipika and Samaskar-Dipika (3rd ed.), Life and Precepts of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (4th ed.), The Bhagavat; Its Philosophy and Theology (3rd ed.), Shri Chaitanya-Charitamrita (Amritapravaha Bhashya, 4th ed.), Sharanagati (13th ed.), Saranagati (in English and Tamil), Kalyan-Kalpataru (8th ed.), Kalyan-Kalpataru (in Oriya type), Gitavali (7th ed.), Gitavali (in Oriya type), Gitamala (4th ed.), Sanmodan-Bhashya of Shikshashtaka (3rd ed.), etc.
PRINTING PRESSES Installed by Shrila Sarasvati Thakur
1. Bhagavata Press (Krishnanagar) 1914-15
2. Gaudiya Printing Works (Calcutta) 1923
3. Nadia Prakash Printing Works (Sree Mayapur) 1928
4. Paramarthi Printing Works (Cuttack) 1936
SRI CHAITANYAS FOOTPRINTS Installed by Shrila Sarasvati Thakur
1. Mandar, 13th October 1929
2. Kanai-Natshala, 15th October 1929
3. Jajpur, 25th December 1930
4. Kurmakshetra, 26th December 1930
5. Simhachalam, 27th December 1930
6. Kovur, 29th December 1930
7. Mangalagiri, 3 1 st December 1930
8. Chhatrabhog, 2nd April 1934
Concluding portion of the Vyasa Puja address: "Humbler than a blade of grass," given February 24, 1924
Concluding Portion Of The Vyasa Puja Address "Humbler Than A Blade Of Grass," Given February 24, 1924
"It is only when we have occasion to listen to the praises of the Supreme Object of all praises from the Master and they react on our hearts, that we may learn, about our utter worthlessness. Their profound humility and obedience teach us that it is never possible to approach God and His devotees except by such humble submission. If we learn to be arrogant, we would surely be deprived of the service of God and His devotees for good. 'There are persons who do not worship His devotees while worshipping God. Verily, they are arrogant persons and not worshippers of God.' In the matter of worship, God and His devotees are to be equated. If the same devotion with which we worship God is not aroused in our hearts to the feet of His devotees, we are rendered perfectly worthless, and will have lived in vain.
"All of them are instructing me about the highest service of God. May we be ever ready to sweep away from our hearts, by the rough application of hundreds of pointed broomsticks, the wicked design of desiring to be honoured above other persons by the devotees of God. God will be merciful to us, and we shall be blessed by the gift of devotion to His Divine Feet the very day that we are delivered from the evil desire of seeking advantages and honours from others. A person is relieved from all ineligibilities by being imparted fitness for the service of God. Women, sudras and the rest look condemnable and contemptible in the eyes of the world for their evil deeds. Even such persons are enabled to attain the eternal good by noting the model disposition of the devotees of God, who honour all persons without requiring to be honoured, and by following their conduct and teaching. Let us remember the text already quoted: 'There are those who worship God but do not worship His devotees. Verily such persons are arrogant sinners. They are not worshippers of God.'
"If we become arrogant after having adopted the path of devotion, if we worship only God and disregard the worship of His devotees, we would be put to manifold difficulties for our offence at the feet of the servants of God; we would be overtaken by the greatest of all misfortunes by being afflicted with apathy for the principle of devotion itself.
"Human life is meant solely for the attainment of the supreme good. Why do I forget it? Why do I forget that I am the meanest and least of all entities? The ambition to lord it over others, to be great, to be an elevationist or salvationist, is brought about when we allow ourselves to fall victims to the temptations of the deluding energy of God. Such ambition is petty and useless. If there is any use in curbing one's hankering after becoming great in the eyes of the world, if there is any use in gaining one's real health, it is imperative to accept the line of the thought of the Vaishnavas.
"Those who are fit possess abundant power of devotion. They are strong. I should not apply myself to find out the shortcomings of the Vaishnavas, or to condemn the service of Lord Vishnu or to seek to establish my own point of view by neglecting the method by which I may be enabled to serve the Lord and His devotees. No language can describe the havoc that is wrought in human life by such arrogance. I make this submission with all humility, 'May you kindly refrain from merely imitating the conduct of the Vaishnavas. May you always follow their line of thought.' There is no relationship for us other than with the devotees of Vishnu. Relationship with other persons can only aggravate the desire for sensuous gratification.
"Many a year has now passed over me one by one. I at last realise that there is no other help for me than the mercy of the holy feet of the Vaishnavas. Every one of my acts is fit to be attacked. I pray to those, who look down upon me, that if they consider that it is allowable for me to follow the conduct and the teachings of the Vaishnavas, they would no longer maintain that attitude. They will kindly impart to me the needful strength and fitness to communicate their power to those who are stupid and ignorant and devoid of all strength.
"One who serves Lord Hari counts himself as the least of all entities. One is lifted to the highest order of the Vaishnavas when one can feel himself the least of all. One can then proclaim out the message of the highest devotion to Lord Hari.
"'The best of all persons deems himself to be less than all others.' Such is the great dictum.
"It is necessary for the best to scrutinize one's ineligibility. Why should a person be anxious to pry into the defects of other when he does not seek to scrutinize his own conduct? Is this the disposition of the Vaishnava? On the other hand, even those who are low in the scale of service may attain the higher level. Let us remember the texts: 'Not to speak of persons who listen to and remember with care the instructions of the spiritual scriptures, even those who live by sin, viz. women, sudras, Hunas, Savaras, and the birds of the air, can know God and prevail over His deluding power if they follow the conduct of the devoted servants of the Lord who covers all the worlds by His wonderful strides!
"'The acts and expressions of the Vaishnavas cannot be understood even by the wise ...' The devotees are attached to the Lord who pervades the worlds with His wonderful strides. Let us not be misled by the apparent sight. Many a person has been liable to mistake the pebble for the pearl, the snake for the rope, evil for good, by failing a victim to delusion by relying on apparent sight. It is only when a person allows himself to fall into the clutches of self-delusion that one's senses show their eagerness for supplying the wants incidental to the phenomenal world by supposing himself to be an inhabitant of the same. We should consider well how we are to be delivered from being thus exploited by the deluding energy. It will never bring us relief if we adopt the lordly mentality for supplying our present inadequacies and for avoiding what certain hasty observers have been pleased to dub as 'the slave mentality' of the devotees of God. Such modes of thinking accelerate our march towards the inferno by plunging us into the course of sensuous indulgences.
"If we disregard or ignore the devotees of God for elevating ourselves, we would thereby be cast into the prison of three dimensions and spring toward inflation instead of contraction. 'I will be good; I will be cured of my mundane desires; I will have real well-being'; this is the the proper kind of judgement. But it is not at all laudable to entertain the contrary thoughts: 'I will be great, I will gratify my malice by stopping the course of the whole world.' It is by no means proper to set up one's superiority against the worshipfulness of God's devotees. The path of hearing to the Transcendental Word has been rendered devious by the misinterpretation of the text 'Aham Brahmasmi'. I have listened to the true interpretation of the text at the lotus feet of my divine master. It is to this effect, "It is our eternal duty to chant constantly the Name of Hari by being infinitely more truly humble than the smallest blade of grass, more truly forbearing than even the proverbially patient tree, and to honour others without seeking honour.
"What persuasive courtesy, what humility do these words express! How great is the benefit, how great the good that we may have by listening to such words! We have it from the Talaba Upanishad that those who aspire to be masters of the devotees, who are the masters of God Himself, are indeed most culpably arrogant. Shrimad-Bhagavatam significantly declares, 'Let those who profess to know God brag of their knowledge, but let me have nothing to do with such fellows. This is all I have got to say in this matter.'
"Not one among the paths of this material world is a path of the service of the Divinity. The idea that one should be master of God's devotees leads to inferno. It is harmful to follow any worldly path. To follow the devotees of God is the only path that leads to one's real good. Whatever method is followed by the devotees is worthy of being cherished with utmost love and reverence.
"Holding the blade of straw between my teeth I pray time and again for this only boon, that I may be a particle of dust of the lotus-feet of the most revered Shri Rupa Gosvami Prabhu. Let there be birth after birth for us that we may walk in the path of the followers of Shri Rupa by being the particles of dust on the lotus-feet of the devotees of God. The root of it all is humility or the due realisation of one's own ineligibility. If the conviction of our unfitness for the service of God is revealed to us either automatically or by the instruction of other persons, we are only then in a position to appreciate the beauty of the lotus-feet of God's devotees. In all the tasks of the average people of this world the idea that is uppermost is how to promote the gratification of one's senses. If we happen to be obsessed with the idea that it is the path of religion, we would be prevented for good from becoming truly religious.
"All persons are accustomed to worship the Beautiful Feet of God. But the conception that God is to supply our comforts and conveniences in lieu of worship is worthy of a shopkeeper. That we are to receive some other things in exchange for our worship is not the trend of thought of the devotees of God. If one seeks to follow such a course, one will never understand the nature of service to Krishna. God is full of the highest well-being. It is no proof of one's goodness of judgement to pray to God for the gratification of one's senses instead of the highest good. It should be the duty of all persons to follow the line of thought that seeks to find out how Krishna is to be served.
"'Oh my Lord, I pray to Thee for being employed in Thy service. I will no more serve dogs and horses, iron and gold, men and gods. I have courted my own destruction by engaging in their service. Thy service, O Lord, is the only means of being delivered from this dire misfortune. But it is a far cry to seek to obtain Thy service without serving those who have dedicated themselves to Thy service. The service of thy devotees is productive of greater good than any other method!
"We do not find God in this world. The devotees, who serve God, out of their mercy show themselves to us. We should follow their conduct and teaching. It is the only path to our well-being. Due to our meagre education and small experience, to most of us the ideas and ways of thinking of the devotees of God appear to be unedifying 'slave mentality'. Let us not indulge in such profane ravings under the urge of mental aberration. On the contrary, our line of thought should be, 'Let the censorious people calumniate us to their hearts' content. We will not mind them. Let us roll in the dust and forget everything in the ecstasy of intoxication by excessive drinking of the strong and tasty wine of the Love of Lord Hari."'
Back to Godhead article by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, published in March 1952, Vol. 1, Part IX
Back to Godhead article by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, published in March 1952, Vol. 1, Part IX, entitled, "Paramahansa Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj"
[The article begins with Shrila Prabhupada's poem, "Adore adore ye all ..." and then the article ensues:]
Om Vishnupada Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami appeared in this mortal world in the year 1874 in February on the 6th as the third son of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur known as late Kedarnath Dutt in His early householder life. Shrila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was known as Bimala Prasad Dutt in His early life and from His very boyhood, inspired by His devotee father, lived a strict pious and religious life. One instance in His early life will prove how much He was rigid in His principle of religious way of life. The instance may be cited here as a matter of course. Shrila Kedar Nath Dutta as an ideal Grihastha used to worship Sree Sree Radha Govinda Vigraha at his house. As such one day he purchased some good quality mangoes for the deity when Shrila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was a mere child. The child Bimala Prasad pretending the childish nature ate up the mangoes without the knowledge of his father. The father when he came to know that the mangoes purchased for offering to the dieties at his house were swallowed up by his child Bimala Prasad, he mildly rebuked Him and warned Him also not to commit the mistake in the future. The child Bimala Prasad took up this matter very seriously and as the proverb goes that child is the father of future men, so He proved Himself then as the future Acharya of the human community. From that day forward till His departure from this mortal world He remembered that mistake which He had committed in His early life and as a matter of self imposed punishment, He never touched mangoes of any kind for His eating purpose. In His later life He was so many times requested by His thousands and thousands disciples to accept mangoes but He always reminded of His childish so called mistake and always quoted the instruction from the Ishopanishad that everything belongs to the Almighty God. No body therefore accept anything in this world unless the same has first been offered to Him (Almighty God).
Another instance of His early life may be stated here that when Bimala Prasada was on the lap of his beloved mother His father Late Kedar Nath Dutta was posted as Magistrate of Puri. The Car festival of Sree Sree Jagannathji took place at that time. The house was situated just near the main road through which the Car used to pass. So when the Car was moving it stopped all of a sudden in front of the house where Shri Bimala Prasad was on the lap of His mother. The Car of Jagannath stopped and did not move with utmost endeavour of the pulling devotees. The mother of Bimala Prasad took this opportunity and was helped to get up on the Car for Darshan of the Deity with her saintly son. The baby Bimala Prasad was then thrown up on the holy feet of Sree Sree Jagannathji and at once the baby was blessed by the God as some flowers fell down on the baby from the hands of the Deity. After this incidence the Car began to move and every intelligent person present there could understand that the child Bimala Prasad was not an ordinary one. There are many such small but very significant instances from His very childhood which indicated Bimala Prasad to be a future great personality and it so happened that in His later age, He became the most powerful Acharya in the line of Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya in the desciplic succession from the Madyacharya who was in the line of Brahma Sampradaya coming down Brahma the Creator of this Universe. There are four Sattawata or transcendental spiritual Acharya Sampradayas or fundamental schools of Theism such as the Brahma Sampradaya beginning with Brahma after his initiation from the Personality of Godhead; the Rudra Sampradaya beginning from Sankara or Mahadeva; the Shree Sampradaya beginning from Sreemati Luxmi Devi the Eternal Consort of Sree Narayana and the Kumar Sampradaya beginning from the Kumar namely Sanak Sanat Kumars. Sree Madhyacharya belonged to Brahma Sampradaya, Sree Ramanuja to the Sree Sampradaya, Sree Vishnuswami to the Rudra Sampradaya and Sree Nimbarka belonged to the Kumar Sampradaya. All these four Acharyas are bonafide preachers of the pure transcendental philosophy dealing with the problems of this world, the living entities and the Almighty God who is the Father of creation as well as the living entities who are falsely trying to dominate over the creation and the controlling energy known as the material Nature.
Sree Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj happened to be the tenth generation in the line of disciplic succession from Lord Chaitanya who accepted Shrila Iswar Puri as His spiritual Master. Shrila Madhabendra Puri was the spiritual Master of Shrila Iswar Puri and He (Shri Madhabendra Puri) belonged to be in the disciplic succession from Madhyacharya who was direct disciple of Sree Vyasdeva. The Spiritual Master of Shrila Vyasadeva was Shrila Narada Muni who was directly initiated by Brahma the originator of the Brahma Sampradaya and therefore my spiritual Master Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj belonged to the transcendental school of philosophy of the Brahma Sampradaya linking Brahma to Vyasadeva; from Him to Madhyacharya from Madhyacharya to Lord Chaitanya and from Lord Chaitanya to Himself in a systematic principle as stated in Bhagwat Geeta:
Ebam Parampara Praptam etc. [Bg. 4.2]
As a bonafide Acharya of the Brahma-Madhya-Gaudiya Sampradaya the mission of Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami was to re-establish the pure form of theism as propounded by Lord Chaitanya in the line of His predecessors. Lord Chaitanya preached only the teachings of Bhagwat Geeta in the most practical way to suit the present environment created by the dark age of quarrel and fight. In the latter-age calculated to be two hundred years before the advent of Shrila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja many pseudo-spiritualistic parties in the name of Lord Chaitanya grew up like mushrooms to exploit the noble sentiment of spiritualism of the innocent people of Earth. Such pseudo spiritualistic parties deviated poles asunder from the preaching of Lord Chaitanya because they were unfit to undergo the disciplic regulations and as such they had mitigated a via-media principle of rotten materialistic idea with pure spiritualism. They misunderstood the highest form of worship contemplated by the Gopies of Brindaban in the spiritual process with a materialistic idea of erotic principle. As such the highest principle Rashlila stated in the Bhagwat to be understood and relished at the stage of Parahansas was made a plaything by such pseudo parties are known as the Oul, Baoul, Nera, Karta Bhaja, Sain, Darbesa, Sakhi-vekhi, Sahajiya, Caste Goswamins, Caste Brahmins and so on. These pseudo parties passed as the disciples of Lord Chaitanya with their cheap nefarious activities and of all the above parties the Sahajiyas and the Caste Gosvamins became the most obstinate-obstructors to the onward-progress of the universal movement of Lord Chaitanya.
The Philosophy of Lord Chaitanya was that God is One without a second. He is known as Sree Krishna but His incarnations such as Rama Nrisingha are all identical with Him. The living entities or Jivas are qualitatively one with Godhead but quantitatively they are innumerable but eternal servitors of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The present materialistic activities of the Jivas are to be understood as the acts of maya or illusion and therefore they are all waste of energy of the human being. The energy of the human being as also of other living being should therefore be directed under the bonafide regulations of the Acharya in the line of Lord Chaitanya and as such He vehemently protested against the principles of those pseudo transcendentalists now passed in the name of Lord Chaitanya.
Shrila Thakur Bhaktivinode initiated the reformatory movement by literary contributions while he was still engaged as a high Government Officer. During his householder life and serving as a Magistrate he wrote books of various descriptions in Bengali, English, Sanskrit & etc. to present an actual picture of pure devotional activities of Lord Chaitanya. Shrila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj got inspiration from his very Childhood all about Shrila Thakur Bhaktivinode's movement. As a matter of fact out of all his other son's Shrila Saraswati Thakur practically worked as the private secretary of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur as such Bhaktivinode Thakur gave Him (Shrila Saraswati Thakur) the transcendental Power of Attorney to espouse the cause of Lord Chaitanya and so after Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur's departureShrila Saraswati Thakur took up reins of that reformatory movement.
The first and foremost task of Shrila Saraswati Thakur was to excavate the holy birth-place of Lord Chaitanya at Sreedham Mayapur in the district of Nadia in West Bengal. To substantiate this preliminary act of His great future movement Shrila Saraswati Thakur had to face tremendous difficulties offered by the caste goswamins at Nabadwip-because they apprehended a lawyer in the initial movement. The caste goswamins were exploiting and still are exploiting the religious sentiments of the common people in the name of Lord Chaitanya and presented themselves as so called relative and descendants of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda. Factually Lord Chaitanya or for the matter of that Lord Nityananda accepted nobody as their relative or kinsmen who were not devotee of the Lord. On the contrary Lord Chaitanya accepted Thakur Haridas, who happened to come out of a Mohammedan family, as the Namacharya or the most powerful authority for preaching the samkirtan movement which Lord Chaitanya inaugurated so arduously.
Lord Chaitanya, as it is stated in the Bhagwat Geeta or in other authentic scriptures, wanted to re-establish the Vaishnava Dharma on the real basis of spiritualism. He never deprecated the natural caste system but neither He approved of the birth-right caste system, which has degenerated into slut of anachronism. Lord Chaitanya opined that anyone who is well conversant with the philosophy of the Absolute Truth Shree Krishna, never mind what he is either a born Brahmin or Sudra or in the Ashram of a Sanyasi or Grihastha is perfectly competent to act in the role of Spiritual Master. And He practically demonstrated this fact during His preaching work.
The caste gosvamins assisted by the other pseudo-transcendentalists made a clique to check up the universal movement of Lord Chaitanya and made a business of despatching those foolish followers to the kingdom heaven after having drawing a lumpsum amount for this priestcraft hooliganism.
Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj wanted to check up this pseudo-spiritualistic activities of the so called followers of Lord Chaitanya and present the actual thing for acceptance by the general public religionists and modern philosophers for a critical study of the sublime gift of Lord Chaitanya. It is the honest belief of Shrila Saraswati Thakur that people in general, modern philosophers and thinkers as also the religionists will be struck with wonder when they seriously make a study of the gift of Lord Chaitanya.
What was thought by modern leaders like Gandhi and Rabindranath was long before thought by Lord Chaitanya not as a public leader of political aspiration but as the Father of all living entities. The movement of Lord Chaitanya is generally known as the Samkirtan movement which is a transcendental process of self-realisation by removing the dust of materialism on the mirror of human intelligence. The present problem confronting the human civilization is due to lack of a proper introspection of the goal of human knowledge.
Excerpts from the lectures of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Excerpts from the lectures of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
1. Lecture given on December 9, 1968, the Disappearance Day of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, in Los Angeles, California:
"So, today is the Disappearance Day of my Guru Maharaja. As I told you that sadhava jiva va maro va. There was a nice story the other day that I told you: that a sage is giving different kinds of blessings to different types of persons. So, to a king's son, a prince, he blessed, raja-putra ciran jiva, 'Oh, you are a king's son, prince, you live forever! And muni-putra, the son of a saintly person, he blessed him, na jiva na jiva-'You don't live! Raja-putra ciran jiva muni-putra na jiva. And sadhu, devotee, he blessed him, 'jivo va maro va-that you live or you die, as you like. And there was a butcher. He blessed him, na jiva na maro, 'You don't die. You don't live!'
"So these words are very significant. That I have already explained. Still I am explaining. The prince is enjoying sense, that's all. He has got enough facility for sense enjoyment. So his next life is hellish, because if you indulge in sex life, then Krishna will give you facility to have sex life three times in an hour just like the pigeons, the monkeys, the sparrows-they are very sexually strong. You have seen it. So that facility is given. So princely order they are after sense enjoyment, so he is blessed that better you live forever, because after your death you do not know what is going to happen to you. You are going to get a hellish life. Better you live for some time, go on with your enjoyment. And muni-putra-na jiva-brahmacari, working under guidance, under strict disciplinary guidance of the spiritual master. He is blessed na jiva, 'You better die, because you are so trained to enter the kingdom of God, so why should you take so much trouble. Better you die and go back to Godhead, na jiva. And a devotee he blessed, jiva va maro va, 'My dear devotee, either you live or you die, the same thing. And the butcher he blessed him na jiva na maro, "You don't live. Don't die.' What is to do? His living condition is so abominable. From the morning he has to slaughter so many animals, see the blood stains, the ghastly scene. That is his livelihood. So, what a horrible life this is. So don't live, and don't die also, because after death, oh, he is going to be in so much hellish condition, nobody can describe. So both life, living condition and death, after death, his condition is very horrible.
"Anyway, apart from others, the devotee, for him, appearance and disappearance-the same thing. Just like when my spiritual master appeared in Jagannatha Puri. He was the son of a very big Government Officer, Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was Magistrate, Government Officer, and in those days the magistrate is a big Officer in Government, practically next to Governor. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura was in charge of the Jagannatha Temple. That is the system in Jagannatha Puri; the manager in charge of the temple is the District Magistrate. So, there was Rathayatra Festival, and the cart was passing in front of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house (Bhaktivinoda Thakura's name was Kedaranath Datta.) The car stopped before his house, and at that time Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a child in the lap of his mother ... the mother took the opportunity of rising on the cart. She was a Magistrate's wife, so she had the facility. Immediately people gave her way to going on the top of the cart and placed the child on the Lotus Feet of Jagannatha. And there were many garlands, one garland fell upon him, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati-blessings. This was one of the ... there are so many other things.
"When he was a child, two, three years old, he ate one mango fruit which was kept for offering to the Deity, so his father mildly rebuked him, 'Oh, you have done a very wrong thing. It was meant for the Deity and you have taken it? You should not have done it.' The child was two or three years old. He took it so seriously that never after that he took mango. Whenever we offered him mango he said, 'No, I am offender. I cannot take mango.' He was thinking like that. Never in his life he took a mango. He was thinking that I have offended in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity. Well, this is the characteristic of the acarya: they teach by their life's action. That one should be so much determined that one should not be ... a child took the mango, there is no offense. But he took that vow.
"Another instance in my presence: at that time, we were also young men, and one of my God-brothers, his name is Dr. Oud Behari Kapoor, he is now retired in Vrindaban, last time I saw him. He was also young man, and his wife was also young. We were sitting together talking with Guru Maharaja, and the girl proposed, 'My dear Master, I want to speak with you.' Guru Maharaja said, 'Yes, you can talk whatever you like.' So she said, 'I want to talk with you secretly, not in the presence of everyone.' Guru Maharaja said, 'No. I cannot talk with you secretly. You can talk in the presence of my all other disciples.' So, even that girl was just like his grand-daughter by age calculation, he refused to talk with a young woman in a secret place. These are the instances. In his life he was always akanda-brahmacari. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had many other sons, and was the fifth son. And some of his other brothers also, they did not marry. And my Guru Maharaja, he also did not marry. From the childhood a strict brahmacari: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. And he underwent very severe penances for starting this movement, world-wide movement. That was his mission.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to do this. In 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to introduce this Krishna Consciousness Movement by sending his, this book, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts. Fortunately, that year was my birth year, and by Krishna's arrangement we came in contact. I was born in a different family. My Guru Maharaja was born in a different family. Who knew that I will come to his protection? Who knew that I would come to America? Who knew that you American boys will come to me? These are all Krishna's arrangements. We cannot understand how things are taking place.
In 1936 ... Today is 9th December, 1968, that means 32 years ago in Bombay ... I was then doing some business. All of a sudden, perhaps on this date, sometime between nine or ten December, at that time Guru Maharaja was indisposed, little, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri on the seashore. So I wrote him a letter, 'My dear Master, Your other disciples, brahmacari, sannyasi, they are rendering you direct service, and I am a householder. I cannot live with you. I cannot serve you nicely. So, I do not know how can I serve you.' Simply, an idea, I was thinking of serving him. How can I serve him seriously? So, the reply was dated 13th December, 1936. In that letter he wrote, 'My dear such and such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English.' That was his writing, and, 'that will do good to you and to the people who will help you.' And I was ... and that was his instruction, and then in 1936 on the 31st December, that means just after writing this letter, a fortnight before his departure, he passed away.
"But I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously, but I did not think that I'll have to do such and such thing. I was at that time a householder. This is the arrangement of Krishna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master, his order, then Krishna will give us all facilities. That is the secret. Although there was no possibility, I never thought ... But I took it a little seriously by studying a commentary by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita, in connection with one verse: vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives his commentary that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master very rigidly without caring for our personal benefit or loss. So I tried a little bit in that spirit. He has given me all facilities to serve him. Things have come to the stage that in this old age I have come to your country, and you are also taking this Movement seriously, trying to understand it. We have got some books now, so there is little foothold of this Movement. Now on this occasion of my spiritual master's departure, as I am trying to execute his will, similarly I shall also request you to execute this same order through my will. I am an old man, I can also pass away at any moment. That is nature's law. Nobody can check it. So that is not very astonishing, but my appeal to you, on this auspicious day, the departure of my Guru Maharaja, that at least to some extent you have understood the essence of the Krishna Consciousness Movement. You should try to push it on. People are suffering from want of this consciousness ...
"... This Krishna Consciousness Movement is authorized, very important. Now you American boys and girls, you have taken to this Movement. Please take it more seriously, and that is the mission of Lord Chaitanya and my Guru Maharaja. And we are also trying to execute the will of the disciplic succession. You have come forward to help me. I shall request you all that I shall go away, but you shall live. Don't give up pushing on this movement, and you will be blessed by Lord Chaitanya and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. Thank you very much."
2. Lecture given on December 13, 1973, in Los Angeles, on the Disappearance Day of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja.
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
shrimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti namine
"Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati passed away from this material world on 31 st December, 1936. So almost forty years passed. There are two phases: prakata and aprakata, appearance and disappearance. We have nothing to lament on account of disappearance, because Krishna and Krishna's devotees, (not only devotees, even the non-devotees) nobody disappears. Nobody disappears because every living entity ... as Krishna is eternal, it is confirmed in the Vedic literature nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam, the description of the Supreme Lord is that He is also nitya, eternal, and the other living entities are also eternal. But He is the Chief Eternal. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. Qualitatively, there is no difference between Krishna and the living entities. Quantitatively, there is difference. What is the difference between nitya, the singular number and nitya the plural number? The plural number nitya is subordinate, eternal servants of the singular number nitya. Just like if you want to serve somebody, the Master is also exactly like you. He has got two hands, two legs, all the same sentiments. He also eats. Everything is there in God. But the difference is the Master and servant, that's all. Otherwise equal in every respect. So spiritually, appearance and disappearance, there is no difference. Just like in material point of view, if a person takes birth ... suppose you get a son born. You become very happy. The same son, when he passes away, you become very unhappy. This is material. And spiritually there is no such difference-appearance or disappearance. Although this is the Disappearance Day of Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, there is nothing to be lamented, although we feel separation. That feeling is there, but spiritually there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. There is a song, Narottama dasa Thakura's song, ye anilo prema dhana-can you sing that song, anyone? I don't remember exactly the whole song. That is all lamentation.
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura brought this message to deliver all over. Of course Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu expressed His desire ... He predicted that all over the world, as many towns and villages as are there, everywhere My Name will be known. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Name, which is now attempted. Now actually. To execute this will of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He said personally, bharata-bhumite haila manushya-janma yara janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara. He wanted that His Name should be brought all over the world in every town and village. And who would do it? He asked that anyone that has taken birth in Bharata-varsa, India, it is his duty, first of all, make himself perfect by understanding the philosophy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and broadcasting, distribute. This was the duty of every Indian ...
"So that advantage is there in India, by culture, by education. Therefore Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu requested that Indians, those who have taken birth as human beings. He doesn't speak to the animals bharata-bhumite haila manushya-janma. Manushya-janma means human, because without being human beings, nobody can understand these things. The cats and dogs, they cannot understand. A person whose behavior is like cats and dogs, he also cannot understand. Therefore, He says janma sarthaka kari', first of all, make your life perfect and then distribute this knowledge. This is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. He simply said, but He was expecting, in the later days, His followers would do that. That attempt was made by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he desired that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's message should be accepted by East and West equally. And that both the Indians and the Europeans and Americans they should dance together in ecstasy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy. That was his desire. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he simply expressed the desire: when shall I see this happening. Both these Eastern and Western people they are united on the basis of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's cult and dancing together in ecstasy. That was his ambition. This was ambition of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and this was ambition of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took up this affair, business. He wanted, first of all, every student, any disciple, every disciple, especially those who are competent he requested that you take up this mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and preach in the Western countries. That was Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's first attempt. Before that, even the acaryas, Rupanuga Gosvamis, they left literature, but they did not attempt to preach practically. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was very, very anxious to preach this Chaitanya cult in the Western countries. That is his, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's special contribution.
"So, when I met Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura ... It is a long story how I met him. One of my friends, he dragged me. I was at that time a nationalist, and manager in a big chemical factory. My age was about twenty-four years. So one of my friends he asked me that there is a nice sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he has come to Calcutta. Let us go and see. I was reluctant. I thought that there are so many sadhus, I am not very much ... and because I had bad experience, not very good, so I said that this kind of sadhu, there are many. You'll be glad to know, that even at my young age, or early age, it was Krishna's grace, even amongst my young friends, I was considered the leader. In my schooldays, in my college days, in my private friendship. Somehow or other I became their leader. And one astrologer, sometime he read my hand. He said in Hindi, "Your hand speaks that your order will be executed." Anyway it was Krishna's grace. I would not go, but their point of view was that unless I certified that sadhu Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he would not be accepted. Therefore, he dragged me. So I went to see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that day and on the first meeting we offered our obeisances, as it is the practice. Immediately he begins talking that you are all educated young men, why don't you take up Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's cult and preach all over the English-speaking public? Why don't you take up this path? So I argued with him in some way. At that time I was a nationalist. So I told him that who will accept our message? A dependent nation-nobody will care. In this way, in my own way, in my younger days. But we belong to the Vaishnava family, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, Radha Govinda, that is our worshipable Deities. So I was very glad that Radha- Krishna cult, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that this sadhu is trying to preach. It is very nice. At that time we had some talks. Of course I was defeated by his argument, my argument. And then when it came out we were offered prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Math. And when I came out on the street this, my friend, asked me, 'What is your opinion of this sadhu?'And I said that here is the right person who has taken up Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's message and now it will be distributed. I was at that time a fool, but I opined like this, and I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. No officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922.
Then in 1923 I left Calcutta on my business too, and I made my headquarter in Allahabad. Allahabad is about five hundred miles from Calcutta. I was thinking that I met a very nice saintly person. That was on my thinking always. In this way in 1928 there was a Kumbha Mela. At that time these Gaudiya Math people came to Allahabad to establish a center there, and somebody else said, somebody informed them that you go to that Prayaga Pharmacy. My drugstore was named that-Prayaga Pharmacy. My name was also there. 'You go and see Abhay Babu. He is religious. He will help you.' These Gaudiya Math people, they came to me. They said, 'Sir, we have come to you. We have heard that you are a very good man. We want to start a temple here. Please try to help us.' Because I was thinking of these Gaudiya Math people, and I met a very nice saintly person. As soon as I saw them, I was very much engladdened. 'Oh, here are these persons. They have come.' So in this way, gradually, I became attached to these Gaudiya Math activities. And by the grace of Krishna my business also was not going very well. If someone actually wants to be a devotee of Krishna-at the same time keeps his material attachment, then Krishna's business is, He takes away with Him everything material so that cent per cent he becomes, how do you say, dependent on Krishna. That actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this Movement to take up this very seriously.
"And I was dreaming that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me, 'Please come out with me.' So I was sometimes horrified. 'What is this? I have to give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me. I have to take sannyasa.' Oh, I was horrified! But I saw him several times calling me. Anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life and so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel. This is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying a little bit, and you are all helping me. So I have to thank you more. You are actually representatives of my Guru Maharaja. Because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja. [At this point in the lecture, Shrila Prabhupada cannot continue due to strong ecstasy] "Thank you very much."
3. Lecture given on March 2, 1975, the Appearance Day of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
"One hundred and one years ago Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura appeared on this day. Bhaktisiddhanta is gaura-sakti. Gaura-sakti means empowered. Empowered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted His mission to be broadcast all over the world. He desired prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. Prithivite-all over the world, as many towns and villages are there. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that His mission will be spread. This prediction was made by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally 500 years ago. My Guru Maharaja attempted to fulfill the desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometime in the year 1918. He was brahmacari and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his material father, he wanted, actually he wanted-Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Of course everyone wanted. But he wrote one small book Lord Chaitanya-His Life and Precepts in 1896. And he presented that book to the McGill University in Canada. He very much desired that the foreigners, especially Americans, would join this Movement. That was his desire in 1896.
"And then in 1918 my Guru Maharaja started with this Mission one institution known as Gaudiya Math. Perhaps some of you know the name, Gaudiya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And by chance or prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that you preach the cult of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in English language. This is very much essential. On the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. At that time I was in favor of Gandhi's movement. So I said that we are not independent, subjugated, who will hear our message? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated. That this so-called nationalism or any -ism, they're all temporary. Real need is self-realization. I was convinced, but at that time, although he wanted me to immediately join him and spread this movement. At that time I was married man, young man. I was married in 1918, and I got a son at the time, 1921. And in 1922 I met him. At that time I was manager in a big chemical factory. So I thought that I am a married man. I've got so many responsibilities. How I can join immediately? It is not my duty. Of course that was my mistake. I should have joined immediately. (laughter, jaya!) I should have taken the opportunity immediately. But maya is there. I thought like that. So that's a long history ...
"1958 I took sannyasa and then I decided to take up the responsibility that my Guru Maharaja (gave) ... I thought that my other God-brothers are trying. I'm not capable to do it. They're better situated. But somehow or other they could not do very much appreciative activity in this connection. So when I was 70 years old I decided, "Now I must do it. Execute the order of my Guru Maharaja." And thus this Movement was started in 1965 from New York. And I was not very much hopeful because it is a very difficult task. Just opposite the European and Western culture. I came, when I first came, I had no money. I got a free passage through some Indian steam navigation company. I came by ship. When I was on the sea by Boston port, Commonwealth Port, I was thinking that I have come here. I do not know what is the purpose, because how the people will accept this movement. They're differently educated, and as soon as I say, 'So, my dear sir, you have to give up meat-eating and illicit sex and no intoxication and gambling.' They will say, 'Please go home!' (laughter) Because that was the experience. One of my God-brothers, he went to London, and he had the opportunity to talk with one big man: Marquis of Zetland. Marquis of Zetland was formerly Governor of Bengal. At that time I was student. He was Scotsman, and I was student of the Scottish Churches' College. So he came to see our college, and he was standing in front of me in the second year class. He was a very nice, good gentleman. So he proposed to my God-brother, 'Whether you can make me a brahmana?'My God-brother proposed, 'Yes. We can make anyone brahmana, provided you follow these principles: No illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling.'
"That Lord Zetland immediately replied, 'Impossible!' (laughter)
"So I was thinking that (laughing) I will propose something that is impossible. Anyway, let me try! (laughter, cheers of jaya and Haribol!) Now by the grace of Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Maharaja, you are so nice boys and girls. In front of Guru Maharaja you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra and you are taking part in it very seriously. My Guru Maharaja will be very very pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits. He wanted this, and it is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being he does not die, na hanyate hanyamane sarire. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized persons like Bhaktisiddhanta. He's seeing. I never feel that I am alone ...
"I had full faith that my Guru Maharaja is with me. I never lost this faith. And it is fact. There are two words: vani and vapu. Vani means words and vapu means this physical body. vani is more important than the vapu. Vapu will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. If we keep to the vani, to the words of our spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn't matter. Just like Bhagavad-gita. It was spoken 5,000 years ago. But if you keep to the words of Krishna, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Krishna about the instructions of Bhagavad-gita, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gita as it is, then you should know that Krishna is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gita. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences ..."
4. Excerpts from a lecture given in Mayapur, India, on February 8, 1977, the Appearance Day of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
"We should not remain vimudha. We should become intelligent. And to make us intelligent Krishna comes. Krishna's devotees come. Some messenger comes. And Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is one of the messengers of Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to preach Krishna consciousness. And not only he preached, but he trained up many disciples to preach this Krishna consciousness all over the world. By his grace we are also endeavoring to do something with this ISKCON-parampara system. So we should take advantage of this Vaishnava mission. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as Prahlada Maharaja said, they are very anxious. Vaishnava means para duhkha duhkhi. Vaishnava. Our Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura-he is Vaishnava, cent per cent Vaishnava. And he was para duhkha duhkhi. This is Vaishnava. He criticized nirjana bhajana. He has personally written one song:
dushta mana! tumi kisera vaishnava
pratishthara tare, nirjanera ghare,
tava hari-nama kevala kaitava
'O rascal mind, what kind of Vaishnava are you. In a lonely place your chanting of Hare Krishna is simply cheating.'
"It is a long song. Vaishnava means he doesn't want any material profit or material opulence or material reputation. He doesn't want. That is ... But in the material world everyone is busy for three things: material profit, material reputation, and material adoration. This is not Vaishnava's business. Vaishnava never cares for all these things. Vaishnava is always thinking how to do good to this suffering humanity ...
"You must search out your real life-that is intelligence. That intelligence is given by the Vaishnava. Therefore. Vaishnava has got a very very great responsibility. My Guru Maharaja pointed out-Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, pratishthara tare, nirjanera ghare/ tava hari-nama kevala kaitava. Formerly, people used to know that if I take a mala and sit down in a secluded place, 'Oh, that is good. That is not bad.' But the real business of Vaishnava is not for himself but for others. Just like the example given about Rupa Gosvami:
lokanam hita-karinau tri-bhuvane manyau saranyakarau
"Not personally. Personally is not high class Vaishnava. I shall become liberated. I shall give up everything. Let me sit down and ... Sometimes that is also good, but sometimes we also take it that to get cheap adoration from innocent public, that here is a Vaishnava-he sits down. No! My Guru Maharaja Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he was not that type of Vaishnava. That was his special gift. He wanted every one of his disciples to go and preach the cult of Krishna consciousness."
Excerpts From Shrila Prabhupada's Letters
"When a disciple misunderstands a bonafide spiritual master, the master regrets for his inability to protect the disciple and sometimes he cries with tears in the eyes. We had an experience while my Guru Maharaja was alive. One of his disciples who accepted sannyasa was one day forcibly dragged by his wife. My Guru Maharaja lamented with tears in His eyes saying that He could not save the soul." [67/11/16]
"I may inform you that you cannot be fool as you have humbly expressed yourself. Better to remain an ever fool before the spiritual master. But if a disciple is actually fool it reflects on the spiritual master. To think of becoming a fool is the real qualification of the bonafide disciple. As soon as one thinks that he has become the wiser man than the spiritual master one is surely doomed. We should remain everlastingly a fool before the spiritual master. Not artificially but feelingly and then we can make real progress. Even my spiritual master a great scholar remained a so called fool before his spiritual master Who was outwardly an illiterate village fellow. So in the Absolute world the fool is also the master and the master is also a fool in reciprocal exchange of dealings." [67/12/6]
"My Guru Maharaja never liked to open a Branch preaching center in a place where there is less population. We are not meant for living peacefully in a secluded place. We are meant for recruiting Krishna's eternal servants and therefore a better populated place." [67/12/10]
"I may say that practical devotion is the secret to understanding the Shastras. My Guru Maharaja used to say that for one who is not engaged in devotional service, reading all the books is simply like licking the outside of the honey jar. One who thinks the books is the thing is content in this way. But we should learn the secret to open the jar and taste the honey." [68-2-26]
"... my Guru Maharaj's opinion is that press is the brihat mridanga, or the biggest, or the greater mridanga. The sound of press goes long long distance, so the organization of press and literature and public sales, should be our main business." [68/8/24]
"My father also trained me and instructed me to his best capacity, and he prayed for me that Radharani may be pleased upon me, and I think that by my father's blessings and grace, I may have come to this position, and I might have gotten into relationship with His Divine Grace, Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj. So it is also Krishna's grace that I got a good father, and a good Spiritual Master, and in my old age also, Krishna has favored me with so many good children. So when I feel I see that Krishna is so kind upon me, so I offer my obligations unto Him." [68/8/35]
"Regarding your question about my Guru Maharaj, I never told anyone that He was one of the eight sakhis. I do not know how you got this news. According to Vaishnava principles, nobody should think or imagine somebody as Krishna, Radharani or Their associates. Everyone should aspire to follow the footprints of such associates. If somebody thinks that somebody is Radha or Krishna that is not sanctioned by the Vaishnava philosophy. So far as I know, my Guru Maharaj's position was one of the assistants of the manjaris. For the present, it is better not to discuss on these confidential things of a higher level, but you are always welcome to put your genuine questions for an answer. Otherwise, how will you know things as they are?" [69/1/27]
"So we should now organize in such a way that there shall be nice kirtan and attempt for selling our publications. My Guru Maharaja indicated that the mridunga and the press are the mediums of our missionary propaganda activities, and we shall follow His path in the same way. We must have large quantities of mridungas for vibrating in different parts of the world and we must distribute our literature also." [69/1/64]
"Anyway, the actual fact is that the eight Gopies are as good as Krishna and Radharani. Therefore, no Vaishnava will claim to be one of the eight Gopies because that will tinge one with Mayavadi philosophy. If some body says 'I am Krishna,' or 'I am Radha,' or 'I am one of the eight Gopies,' that is against Krishna philosophy. My Guru Maharaja claimed to be one of the sub-devotee assistants of the eight Gopies. Lord Chaitanya also claimed Himself as servant of the servant of Krishna. So even though you might not have understood, you can correct it now and don't be disappointed." [69/2/12]
"My Guru Maharaja although he was Brahmacary, sometimes he used to say that if I could beget Krishna conscious children I am prepared to indulge in sex life a hundred times. The summary is sex life should be utilized only for begetting Krishna conscious children-that's all." [69/2/52]
"Thakur Bhaktivinode was not official Spiritual Master of Gour Kishore das Babaji Maharaja. Gour Kishore das Babaji Maharaja was already renounced order, Paramhansa, but Thakur Bhaktivinode while He was even playing the part of a householder, was treated by Gour Kishore das Babaji Maharaj as Preceptor, on account of His highly elevated spiritual understanding and thus He was always treating Him as His Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master is divided into two parts; namely, siksha guru and diksha guru. So officially Bhaktivinode Thakur was like siksha guru of Gour Kishore das Babaji Maharaj." [69/5/ 1]
"In India, therefore, there are many akanda brahmacharies, and my Guru Maharaj was the best brahmachary." [69/6/20]
"My Guru Maharaj used to say that just rise early in the morning and then kick the mind with a shoe one hundred times. Then while going to sleep, one should take a broomstick and strike the mind another one hundred times. The mind is so restless, that it can be brought to tameness only by the process suggested by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. So you should try this process and stop the mind from running away now and then. If you follow the process of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, naturally He will help you in controlling the mind and bestow all His blessings upon you." [69/6/67]
"You have achieved a great blessing from my Guru Maharaja. My Guru Maharaja had an ambition to publish the message of Lord Chaitanya in all the languages of the world, and when He was present in India, He published six magazines in five languages; one in Hindi, one in Assami, one in Bengali, one in English, and one in Oria. Your Zuruck Zur Gottheit is certainly a unique gift to me, and I shall ever remember it." [69/7/11]
"I remember that my Guru Maharaj would often send young boys out to sell literature of Krishna Consciousness, and if they would come back having sold only a few issues, Guru Maharaj was very, very pleased. Now you report that you have sold 300 issues of Back to Godhead in just a few days, so I know that Guru Maharaj is very, very pleased with your work." [69/7/74]
(To a God-brother) "I have also read specifically your articles on the matter of acharyas, wherein on the 14th Paragraph I see the acharya shall be entitled to nominate in writing his successive acharya. But we do not find any record where our Shrila Prabhupad nominated any acharya after Him. Different persons have interpreted on this point, and every one of our God-brothers are acting as acharya, so this is a controversial point which I do not wish to enter into while we are proposing for cooperation. I think now we should cooperate fully for preaching the Mission of Shrila Prabhupad. He very eagerly desired that the message of Lord Chaitanya should be preached all over the world. About 40 years before, Shripad Bon Maharaj, guided by our senior old Tirtha Maharaja were sent to London, and perhaps Gaudiya Mission was established at that time. Since then, activities in foreign countries was practically stopped altogether ... I started for New York in 1965. This was out of my inspiration in receipt from Shrila Prabhupad, and it appears that my attempt in the foreign countries has become successful to a great extent. By my personal attempt I have established preaching centers numbering about two dozen, beginning from Hamburg to Tokyo. I think if my Godbrothers would have attempted similarly, preaching centers would have been established all over the world by this time. Therefore, I wish that Gaudiya Mission should send their preachers and establish different centers in different parts of the world. That will fulfill the Mission of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj." [69/8/38]
"Regarding publication of BTG No. 29, it is good that you are publishing Morphology and Ontology of Vedanta by Guru Maharaj, 4 pages." [69/8/45]
(To a God-brother:) "Shrila Prabhupad said that it was better to accept some menial service for maintaining oneself then to get some money by showing the Deities to the innocent public and being satisfied thereby ... They are simply satisfied with some Maths, and they have forgotten the preaching spirit of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj." [69/8/46]
"I am pleased that the press arrangement is proceeding nicely, and you will be pleased to know that my Guru Maharaj drew a picture in which He gave great importance to the symbolic representation of the press next to the mridunga. Press means publication of various types of books and literatures and the mridunga means Samkirtan Party." [69/9/24]
"... so in the future we can form a central governing body for the whole institution. Therefore the management should be done very cautiously so that everyone is satisfied in their autonomous managing capacity. Of course, the central point is the order of the Spiritual Master, and I am very glad that you are trying to give importance to this aspect of management. The difficulty is sometimes things are interpreted in a manner dovetailing one's own sense gratification. I have got this personal experience in my Guru Maharaj's institution. Different Godbrothers took the words of Guru Maharaj in different interpretations for sense gratification and the whole mission disrupted. This is still going on for the last 40 years without any proper settlement. I am always afraid of this crack, but I am sure if our aim is to serve Krishna sincerely and the Spiritual Master simultaneously, that will be our success." [69/10/24]
"Actually I am not worthy of any one of the words spoken by you but all of them are due to my Spiritual Master Who was so kind to me. In fact I am a worthless person because my Spiritual Master ordered me to take up this work in 1922 but I did not carry his order until 1958, when I was obliged to carry out His order by His arrangement only. This means although I was not very enthusiastic to carry out His order He forced me circumstantially to accept it. So this is His special mercy on me and I always think about this with gratitude to this exalted personality coming directly from Vaikuntha World and we had the great fortune to meet Him. I think that is the only credit on our part that we happened to meet Him by some 'ajnata sukriti' or unknown auspicious activities. He is so kind upon me that when I came to your country, where I was completely unknown, He sent me some good souls like you unsolicited. So I accept you all as assistants or representatives of my Guru Maharaj Who is still helping me because I am so feeble and unworthy. Anyway, the business which we have taken to work together is neither your business nor my business as far we are personally concerned, but it is the business of Lord Chaitanya and His bonafide servants like my Guru Maharaj." [70/1/21]
(letter to Hanuman Prasad Poddar:) "As you want to publish a comprehensive article in the Kalyan, I think it is proper to give you a short history of my coming to the Western world.
"Sometime in the year 1922, when I was acting as manager of Dr. Bose's Laboratory Ltd., I was fortunate enough to meet my Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad Paramhansa Paribrajakachary 108 Shri Shrimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad. On the very first meeting with His Divine Grace, He asked me to preach the message of Lord Chaitanya. in the Western world.
"At that time, I was a young man and a nationalist, admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and C. R. Dass. So I replied Him at that time, who would care for the message of Lord Chaitanya while we are a subject nation? In this way, I had some argument with my Spiritual Master, and at the end I was defeated. But at that time, because I was already married, I could not take His words very seriously.
"In this way, I passed on as a householder, but, by the causeless mercy of my Divine Master, the order of preaching was impressed on my heart. I was initiated regularly in 1933 at Allahabad, when Sir Malcolm Haley, the then Governor of U.P., opened our Gaudiya Math branch there. Then, in 1936, my Spiritual Master left this world leaving a message for me that it would be better for me to preach in English language." [70/2/12]
"You are doing so much for fulfilling the desire of my Spiritual Master so you are indirectly the representative of my Guru Maharaj. He has been helping me in this matter by sending so many young boys and girls, otherwise who would help me in this mission while I came here empty handed and without any friend. I can only pray to Krishna to take care of you, otherwise I cannot repay your sincere service in my mission." [70/2/47]
"The kindly words that you have used in this connection are very much pleasing, but all the credit goes to my Guru Maharaj. He asked me to take up this job as soon as I met Him in 1922; unfortunately I was so worthless that I delayed the matter until 1965, but He is so kind that by force He engaged me in His service; and because I am very much worthless, therefore He has sent me so many of His nice representatives-the beautiful American boys and girls like you. I am so much obliged to you that you are all helping me in the discharge of my duties towards my Spiritual Master, although I was so much reluctant to execute it. After all, we are the eternal servants of Krishna, and by the Divine Will of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur we are now combined together, although originally we are born to different parts of the world, unknown to one another." [70/3/22]
"Now everything is there and you are also experienced, therefore go on opening branches as many as possible and preach Samkirtan movement to your best capacity. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur entrusted the responsibility to my Guru Maharaj, and He also in His turn empowered us to do the work." [70/3/24]
"In the London streets, introduction of Ratha Yatra procession, as well as Lord Chaitanya's Birthday ceremony procession, and in the most important part of the city, a Radha Krishna Temple-all these things are great achievement of your London Yatra party, and personally I feel a great credit for me because by such activities my Guru Maharaj is certainly very pleased upon us. So whatever progress we are making by the grace of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, we must stick to them and make further progress." [70/3/53]
"My Guru Maharaj used to say that there is no scarcity of anything within this world, the only scarcity is people are not aware of Krishna Consciousness. The whole world is suffering for want of this great benediction." [70/4/43]
"In the beginning I was seriously corresponding with Indian friends to get some good mridanga players, but when I found it too difficult to get a man from India some of my students were given the rudimentary lessons in playing and simply by practice they are pulling on Samkirtan Party everywhere. My Guru Maharaj used to say that in a foreign land where you cannot speak the language with natives very nicely, what do you do when there is a fire in your house just to get their help? In such emergency one has to express himself somehow or other to his foreign friends and get their help to extinguish the fire. But if he wants to learn the language first and then talk with the foreign friends to get help, then everything in the meantime would be finished." [70/4/47]
"My Spiritual Master, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, advised me to preach the Krishna consciousness movement in the Western world on my first meeting with him and I was preparing to come here in the Western world since a long time. I met late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Radhakrishnan and the late Lal Bahadar Shastri for this purpose. I was convinced by my Guru Maharaja that in the present status of civilization there is not scarcity of anything except Krishna consciousness." [70/7/31]
"After taking sannyas I was more engaged in writing my books without any attempt to construct temples or to make disciples like my other God-brothers in India.
"I was not very much interested in these matters because my Guru Maharaj liked very much publication of books than constructing big, big temples and creating some neophyte disciples. As soon as he saw that His neophyte disciples were increasing in number, He immediately decided to leave this world." [70/7/52]
"During my Guru Maharaj's time, even a person was coming from a brahmana family, he was initiated according to the pancaratrika system taking him to be a sudra. So the birthright brahmanism is not applicable at the present moment. The sacred thread inaugurated by my Guru Maharaj according to pancatrika system and Hari-bhakti-vilas by Shrila Sanatana Gosvami must continue. It does not matter whether the priestly class accepts it or not. When my Guru Maharaj Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada introduced this system, it was protested even by the inner circle of God-brothers or friends. Of course He had actually no Godbrothers, but there were many disciples of Bhaktivinode Thakur who were considered as God-brothers who protested against this action of my Guru Maharaj, but He didn't care for it.
"Actually one who takes to chanting Hare Krishna Mantra offenselessly immediately becomes situated transcendentally and therefore he has no need of being initiated with sacred thread, but Guru Maharaj introduced this sacred thread because a Vaishnava was being mistaken as belonging to the material caste. To accept a Vaishnava in material caste system is hellish consideration (naraki buddhi). Therefore, to save the general populace from being offender to a Vaishnava, He persistently introduced this sacred thread ceremony and we must follow His footsteps ... This system introduced by my Guru Maharaj is a chance for all the members of the society, scientifically based and applied, apart from the exploitative sentiment of birthright 'caste' system, to become actually situated on the transcendental platform." [70/11/28]
"My Guru Maharaj once told this story; one friend informed another that one man has become the High Court Judge. 'Oh no,' he replied, 'No. That cannot be right.' 'Yes, he is now a Judge,' said the first friend. 'I have seen him sitting on the bench.' The second man replied, 'Maybe. But I don't think he is getting any salary.' Such envious men will find out some fault anywhere. There is no fault actually, but they will manufacture some fault. That is their business. So many persons were envious of my Guru Maharaj, but He was preaching and did not care for them." [70/11/41]
"My Guru Maharaj used to say 'Don't worry about money. Do something nice for Krishna and money will come.' So we should always be thinking how to distribute the message of Krishna and surely He will give us facility." [70/11/58]
"My Guru Maharaj has declared that the real life of a man is preaching. If one has at all got any life in him then he will preach." [71/1/7]
"Yes, we were saved by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Road. We shall always expect to be saved by His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj Prabhupada. Always pray to His Lotus Feet. Whatever success we have had in preaching Lord Chaitanya's mission all over the world it is only due to his mercy.
"Actually cottage life for chanting Hare Krishna Mantra is very nice but because we are dealing with the Western people, Americans and Europeans, they require some nice apartment. Therefore we have to construct a nice house for them. My Guru Maharaj's policy was to give nice facility to devotees so that they may chant Hare Krishna Mantra peacefully and make advancement. But we cannot be luxurious. As far as possible minimize the needs of our life but we shall not curtail the bare necessities." [71/8/21]
"You are all helping me in pushing forward this mission of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, coming down by disciplic succession to my Guru Maharaj. So whatever you have spoken, it is simply due to them. I am simply the via media to receive them, on behalf of my Guru Maharaj, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaj Prabhupada." [71/8/29]
"The language of Krishna Consciousness is ever-fresh and we can explain everything by it, just like my Guru Maharaj once lectured for three months on one verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam." [71/11/25]
"If Bill Prabhu holds a university post, then that is a very important position for spreading Krishna Consciousness and he should try to keep it as long as it will be beneficial in that way. My Guru Maharaj used to say that anything material, if it is used in the service of Krishna, it is a mistake to give it up." [71/11/27]
(Regarding the Pancha Tattva) "Yes, Shrinivas Pandit has sikha. Vaishnava must have sikha. Advaita Prabhu has a full white beard. He was an old man. He was practically older than the father of Lord Chaitanya. He was an elder gentleman in the town of Nabadwip, elder of the brahmin community. All should wear Tulasi kunti beads, not less than two strands. Three, four strands or my Guru Maharaj had five strands." [71/11/28]
"Regarding your question about incense, Karandhar has just informed me that our Spiritual Sky incense business is making now $1,000,000 a year to spend for Krishna. How can that be maya? My Guru Maharaj used to say, 'Anything material, if it is used for the service of Krishna, it is a mistake to give it up.' Because I have understood this principle, he used to appreciate me in front of my God-brothers. I have given this idea all along-why you big leaders do not understand it?" [71/11/29]
"This kind of service is especially appreciated by Krishna, that some devotees should take risk for His preaching work. And my Guru Maharaj repeatedly requested his disciples to go out into faroff lands for spreading the message of Lord Chaitanya. Thank you very much for this." [71/11/30]
"I am very glad that you are challenging all of these so-called swamis and gurus. My Guru Maharaj appreciated devotees who boldly present our Vaishnava philosophy. We must take advantage of every opportunity to defeat these rascals and drive them away, so please continue this strong attitude." [71/11/43]
"The fact is that I am the only one in India who is openly criticizing, not only demi-god worship and impersonalism, but everything that falls short of complete surrender to Krishna. My Guru Maharaj never compromised in His preaching, nor will I nor should any of my students. We are firmly convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others are His part and parcel servants. This we must declare boldly to the whole world, that they should not foolishly dream of world peace unless they are prepared to surrender fully to Krishna as Supreme Lord. [72/1/9]
"Your program of speaking in colleges and other places and getting paid is very much liked by me; in this way, try to penetrate every school and college and introduce our books profusely. That is nice you are taking advantage of every opportunity for spreading Krishna Consciousness by speaking on radio, attending engagements, etc. That is the method recommended by my Guru Maharaj-now you are practically demonstrating this fact with good results." [72/1/47]
"This was my Guru Maharaj's policy that we should remain in the big cities in order that the maximum amount of people could take advantage of our preaching." [72/1/54]
"So far personal association with the Guru is concerned. I was only with my Guru Maharaj four or five times, but I have never left his association, not even for a moment. Because I am following his instructions, I have never felt any separation. There are some of my Godbrothers here in India who had constant personal association with Guru Maharaj, but who are neglecting his orders. This is just like the bug who is sitting on the lap of the king. He may be very puffed-up by his position, but all he can succeed in doing is biting the king. Personal association is not as important as association through service." [72/2/31]
"Henceforward, anyone proposing to marry must produce some outside income and live outside the temple, they know this in advance and be prepared to carry such burden. Let them be married, but at their own risk. I cannot sanction anymore. My Guru Maharaj never allowed, but when I came to your country it was a special circumstance so I gave concession, but I am not so much inclined anymore, so I shall not sanction, but they may marry on their own risk of knowing that such arrangement is always troublesome." [72/2/44]
"My Guru Maharaj said that this materialistic society is a society of cheaters and cheated. Because people want to be cheated, men such as you mention have become very popular." [72/3/17]
"My Guru Maharaj used to say that these literatures are the 'Brhat Mrdunga,' that is to say, the big mrdunga, because like the mrdunga which can be heard from a long distance, simply a few words can have a tremendous effect on millions of people if they are propagated widely." [72/5/47]
"My dear beloved Children,
"Please accept my blessings. I am so much pleased with your kind and affectionate words on the occasion of my birthday anniversary on the Nandotsava day this year (1972). My Guru Maharaj wanted me to spread this Krishna Consciousness Movement in the western world, and you are all helping in this great attempt.
"My Spiritual Master knew it that alone I could not do this great work. Therefore He has very kindly sent you all to help me in this task. I accept you therefore as representatives of my Guru Maharaj playing as my affectionate disciples.
"It is said that child is father of man. Kindly therefore continue your help in this great task and act as my young father and mother in my old age. I am
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami" [72/8/42]
"Yes, the preaching work is giving you new life. My Guru Maharaj Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati used to say pran ache var sehetu pracar, 'one can preach who has got life.' So one who is preaching this Krishna Consciousness Movement means he has got real life." [72/9/2]
"But if he buys a book that is the real successful preaching. That is the certificate of my Guru Maharaja, if someone, brahmacari, would sell a one paise magazine, if one of our brahmacaris would go and sell a few copies, he would be very very glad and say 'Oh, you are so nice.' So distribution of literature is our real preaching." [72/9/46]
"I know that you are both best preachers and you will not stand by idly and listen to any nonsense ideas or mayavadis. That is very nice. My Guru Maharaj was also inclined toward his bolder preachers." [72/12/27]
"My Guru Maharaj said, it does not matter if anyone comes to hear. You go on with your chanting. If no one hears you the walls will hear. But this does not mean that we should sit down someplace and simply chant Hare Krishna for our own benefit. We should be always anxious to save the cripple minded people with the science of Krishna Consciousness. This is the position of a Vaishnava." [73/2/10]
"When my Guru Maharaj was present even big, big scholars were afraid to talk with His beginning students. My Guru Maharaja was called 'Living Encyclopedia', he could talk with anyone on any subject. He was so learned-so we should be like that as far as possible. No compromise-Rama Krishna, avataras, yogis, everyone was enemy to Guru Maharaja-he never compromised. Some God-brothers complained that this preaching was chopping technique and it would not be successful. But we have seen that those who criticised, they fell down. For my part I have taken up the policy of my Guru Maharaja-no compromise. All these so called scholars, scientists, philosophers who do not accept Krishna are nothing more than rascals, fools, lowest of mankind, etc. [73/7/20]
"You have written so many nice things in praise of me but I think that my Guru Maharaj is great, I am not great he is great. So sometimes by association of the great one appears great. Just like the sun is great heat and light and by reflecting the greatness of the sun's light the moon in dead of night also appears great, but actually the moon is by nature dark and cold, but in association with sun it has become accepted as great, this is the real position. So I thank you very much that you are appreciating my Guru Maharaja who wanted to preach Krishna Consciousness all over the world, he is so great." [73/8/1]
"Some 50 years ago some Christian priest went to Vrindaban and inquired from many residents why Krishna enjoyed Rasa dance with others wife which is against the Vedic principle, but nobody could satisfy him. On this point my Guru Maharaj said that Vrindaban is inhabited by neophyte devotees. So we wish our temple will be able to reply anyone in the matter of Krishna Consciousness, then many modern philosophers and scientists will come to Vrindaban, that will be very much prestigious." [73/8/17]
"My Guru Maharaj condemned living alone in a lonely place. He wrote as follows:
dusta mana, tumi kisera vaishnava
pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare
tava hari-nama kevala kaitava
"O rascal mind, what kind of Vaishnava are you. In a lonely place your chanting of Hare Krishna is simply cheating."
And, Narottama Das Thakur says:
tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa
"To serve the feet of the acaryas in association of the devotees is my desire birth after birth."
"Why I have opened this Society? I was living with four children, and now I have 4,000. There is no good in living alone." [73/11/11]
"Just like I have written in the first publication of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 'The spiritual master lives forever by His divine instructions and the disciple lives with him', because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings I am now even never separated from Him. Sometimes maya may come and try to interfere but we must not falter, we must always follow the chalked out path laid down by the great acaryas and in the end you will see." [73/11/21]
"All are satisfied with a place for residence in the name of a temple, they engage disciples to get foodstuff by transcendental devices and eat and sleep. They have no idea or brain how to broadcast the cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. My guru maharaj used to lament many times for this reason and he thought if one man at least had understood the principle of preaching then his mission would achieve success. In the latter days of my guru maharaj he was very disgusted. Actually, he left this world earlier, otherwise he would have continued to live for more years. Still he requested his disciples to form a strong governing body for preaching the cult of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He never recommended anyone to be the acarya of the Gaudiya Math.... If Guru Maharaj could have seen someone who was qualified at that time to be acarya he would have mentioned. Because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acarya. His idea was acarya was not to be nominated amongst the governing body. He said openly you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self effulgent acarya would be automatically selected." [74/4/52]
"Now Bhadaraj and his wife have become expert doll makers. So give him all facilities. Let all those with artistic talent assist him. I want very extensive doll exhibits in every center. My guru maharaj used to spend lots of money on doll exhibitions on Shrimad-Bhagavatam. So I am sure that if we make doll exhibitions very prominent, many tourists and visitors will throng in our temples." [74/9/41]
"Here at Mayapur my guru maharaj was printing one paper. It was selling for only a few paise. Sometimes whenever one brahmacary would go to Nabadwip and sell even a few copies, I would see my guru maharaj become very much pleased. Even if the brahmacary was not a very important member, my guru maharaj would become very very pleased with him. He personally instructed me that books are more important than big temples. At Radha Kund he told me that since constructing the big marble temple at Bhag Bazar, there have been so many difficulties. Our men are envious over who will live in which room. I think it would be better to take off all the marbles and sell them and print books. He told me this personally." [74/10/63]
"So far I am personally concerned, following the footsteps of my guru maharaj Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupad, we accept the principles of all the acharyas, although officially we belong to the Madhva sampradaya. Our sampradaya is known as the Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya. We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Ramanujacharya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the mayavadi philosophy." [74/11/60]
"I blindly follow my guru maharaj. I do not know what is the result. So I am stressing on this point of book distribution. He told me this personally." [74/12/20]
"Besides that, in 1933, Bon was given the first chance to preach Lord Chaitanya's movement in London. He remained there about four years and not a single person could be converted to become a Vaishnava, and he was receiving regularly 700 Rs. per month for his expenditure, being supported by the whole Gaudiya Math institution, and still, as he could not do anything appreciable, he was called back by Guru Maharaja ..." [75/6/8]
"No, you should not bother with all this nonsense. Astrology will not save you at the time of death. My Guru Maharaja was a great astrologer and astronomer, but he gave it all up. It is meant for the karmis. We have no interest in such things." [75/6/32]
"He has written that people will want to learn Bengali just to read Chaitanya Charitamrita. That was the prediction of my Guru Maharaj. This is very enlivening." [75/9/51]
"I think if you can go on renting, that is better. Personally, I do not have a financial brain. But my Guru Maharaja, he preferred rented house rather than one's own house. At least India, a rented house is preferred than possessing one and that is practical." [75/11/73]
"Your report of book sales is over encouraging. You are all becoming very very dear to my Guru Maharaja. I started this movement by book selling. I was never a beggar for money, but I was writing books and selling. My Guru Maharaja very much liked my writing and he used to show others in my absence 'Just see how nicely he has written, how he has appreciated.' He encouraged me, and my God-brothers, they also liked my writing. After I wrote that poem for Vyasa Puja of my Guru Maharaja they used to call me Poet." [75/12/6]
"My Guru Maharaj also did not approve of seclusion. He used to say: Dusta mana, tumi kisera vaishnava? Pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare, tava hari-nama kevala kaitava. 'My dear mind, what kind of Vaishnava are you? Simply for cheap adoration you sit in a solitary place and pretend to chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, but this is all cheating.'" [76/1/58]
EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAYS OF SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKURA
1. From Search For Truth (Story of Narottama dasa Thakura):
"The only duty of sadhus is to cut away all the accumulated wicked propensities of every individual. This alone is the causeless natural desire of all the sadhus. Worldly people possess a double nature. They express one kind of sentiment but internally cherish a different purpose. Moreover they want to advertise this duplicity as a mark of liberalism or love of harmony. Those who are unwilling to show any duplicity, wish to be frank and straightforward, or in other words to exercise unambiguously the function of the soul; such really sincere persons are called sectarian and orthodox by those who practice duplicity. We will cultivate the society only of those who are straightforward. We will not keep company with any person who is not so. We must by all means avoid bad company. We are advised to keep at a distance of a hundred cubits from animals of the horned species. We should observe the same caution in regard to all insincere persons.
"There was a time when Thakur Narottam was pleased to tell the plain truth to many worthy persons who came of the highest lineage. Thakur Narottam, in the eye of worldly people, had manifested himself just as a member of an Uttaradiya Kayastha family. For telling the truth he became the object of attack by bad people. Those who judge other people by the testimony of their senses, are, as a matter of fact, maliciously disposed. These persons, devoid of any sound judgement, began to find fault with Thakur Narottam. Why was he, born in a kayastha family, going to set up as a religious teacher of persons born in Brahman families and also make them his disciples? When these accusations reached the ears of Thakur Narottam he said that rather than provoke the opposition of any person he would completely desist from instructing anybody. Shri Ramakrishna Bhattacharya and Shri Ganganarayana Chakravarti, who were disciples of Thakur-mahasaya, thereupon said that if he gave up teaching the world will go to the dogs and there will be a greater increase in the number of atheistical pashandas in the world. Saying this, one of them put on the garb of a betel-seller and the other attired himself as a potter. Meanwhile, the whole body of proud pandits of the hostile community arrived at Kheturi with the intention of defeating Thakur-mahasaya in open controversy. After their arrival at Kheturi they went to the bazar and proceeded to the potter's shop for purchasing earthen pots in which to cook their food. The potter began to talk with them in the Sanskrit language. From there those pandits went to the betel-shop for purchasing betel. The betel-seller also talked with the pandits in pure Sanskrit. At this, those proud pandits thought within themselves that it was a most wonderful country where even potters and betel sellers could talk in the purest Sanskrit. Thakur Narottam was the greatest person of such a place. It was impossible to conceive how great a pandit he could be. Therefore instead of losing their reputation by approaching him, it was better to leave the place without delay. Thinking in this way those pandits hurriedly left the village. Thus we find that those who obtain the protection of Truth are always liable to be attacked."
2. From Search For Truth (The Sadhu):
"It is for this reason that the Bhagavata instructs us to turn over a new leaf, 'Persons of good sense must entirely give up all association with bad company and cultivate close association with the sadhus. There is no doubt that the words of the sadhu possess the power of destroying the evil propensities of one's mind. The sadhus in this way benefit every one who associates with them.' There are many things which we do not disclose to the sadhu. The real sadhu makes us speak out what we keep concealed in our hearts. He then applies the knife. The very word 'sadhu' has no other meaning than this. He stands in front of the block with the uplifted sacrificial knife in his hand. The sensuous desires of men are like the goats. The sadhu stands there to kill those desires by the merciful stroke of the keen edge of the sacrificial knife in the form of unpleasant language. If the sadhu turns into my flatterer then he does me harm, he becomes my enemy. If he gives us flattery then we are led to the road that brings enjoyment but no real well-being."
3. From Search For Truth (Ramanuja and Yadavaprakasha):
"Truth can never be served by the faculty that diverges from the Lord. The service of Truth is the function of the soul. It is incapable of being diverted from the Truth. It is causeless and uninterruptible. Truth is identical with the Teacher of the Truth. There can be no knowledge of the conclusions of the Vedas without undeviating service at the lotus-feet of Shri Guru-deva. No one can be the Teacher of the Truth except the devotee of God. This is not the dogma of irrational orthodoxy. It is the real Truth. One cannot be the Guru though he be descended from the highest lineage, be initiated in all sacrifices, has studied the thousand and one branches of the Veda, if he be not a true Vaishnava.
"In ancient times there was a city called Kanchi in the South of the country. In that city there lived a very famous professor whose name was Yadavaprakasha. There is a tradition that at that time there was no other professor in the whole of that part of the country who was his equal in learning. Laksmandesika (Ramanuja) went to him for the purpose of study. He resided with his teacher. He was devoted to his studies with his whole heart. He was perfectly sincere in his conduct towards his teacher. These excellent qualities soon attracted the attention and captured the heart of his teacher. One day Yadavaprakasha, following the interpretation of Shankaracharya, was explaining the well-known text of the Chandogya that the two eyes of God-head are red like the hind-part of a monkey. This caused intense pain to the heart of Ramanuja. Ramanuja was at the time engaged in tending the person of his teacher. He felt very much pained on hearing the blasphemy against the Holy Form of God-head. The warm tears from his eyes fell in drops on the back of Yadavaprakasha. This sudden fit of weeping surprised Yadavaprakasha who asked Ramanuja about the cause of his grief. Ramanuja then said that there was no necessity of explaining the word 'kapyasam' in such a filthy and blasphemous manner especially as the word possessed an excellent meaning. Was it not a most highly offensive act to compare the Eyes of God Himself, the most Revered Lord and Master of us all, with the worst part of the body of a monkey?
"Yadavaprakasha was very angry on hearing these words of Ramanuja. He reprimanded Ramanuja in most severe terms, 'How highly impertinent for a mere lad to find fault with the interpretation of Acharya Shankara! Was it possible that there could be any other explanation of the text than that of the Acharya?' Ramanuja replied in words that were expressive of modesty: 'Yes,' said Ramanuja, 'there is another meaning of the text which augments the happiness of the spiritually enlightened. Acharya's explanation is intended for deluding those persons who are endowed with an unspiritual aptitude. I am telling you the other meaning. Deign to listen to my words.'
"Thereupon Ramanuja offered this famous explanation of 'kapyasam' in the text. 'Kam' means water. That which drinks water is 'kapi'. 'Kapi' is thus no other than the stem of the lotus, that which is placed on the stem is 'kapyasam'. In other words, the two Eyes of that Supreme Person are tinged with red like the undimmed lustre of the unplucked lotus on its stem shining on the bosom of the blue waters.
"Yadavaprakasha was filled with the greatest astonishment on hearing this explanation of the scriptural text. He felt most keenly the disgrace of his defeat at the hands of his own disciple. Maddened with anger, he plotted to do away with Ramanuja in secret.
"No teacher of undifferentiated cognition, or of utilitarian works, or of any worldly state of union with the Supreme Soul (yoga) or of the performance of activities resolved upon by oneself (vrata) or of asceticism, or of magic, or of hypocrisy can really be designated as the superior or Guru. They are all of them only triflers and being really very light-headed indeed, are capable of being easily manipulated. They are never the benefactors of the conditioned soul. They are on the contrary the enemies of themselves as well as of all others."
4. From Search For Truth (The Boatman and the Thorns):
"There is a certain class of persons who are devoid of ordinary common sense who say, 'The function of the servant in this world is the worst of all. We have, therefore, no intention of practising any similar function in the next world. We intend to be masters, to be objects of worship.' As if the transcendental Realm is full of unwholesomeness and is tortured by the triple quality as is the case with this world! If one is ignorant of the true meaning of Vaikuntha one is liable to fall into this kind of poverty of judgement. He is apt to attribute and imagine the existence of the unwholesomeness of the perverted reflected image even in the undisturbed substantive entity itself. Into that Realm where there is no principle of limitation, no question of evil, where there is only unmixed good, it is not our duty to carry from here anything that is productive of evil. The sun is a luminous self-revealing entity. It is not necessary to carry any lamp to the sun.
"There is a popular tale to illustrate such misconceptions. A certain boatman was troubled by the idea that the operation of pulling at the cord for towing his boat was a miserable job involving great hardships, inasmuch as it required him to trudge painfully along most uneven ground over thorn and brambles which often stuck into the bare soles of his feet. Therefore, if he could manage to get rich somehow he would be in a position to tug at his cord by bestriding quilts and mattresses which he would take care to spread over either bank of the river. The boat-man of the story was so foolish that he intended to carry all the miserable pursuits of his poverty-stricken state into the condition of affluence. The consideration that if he could get rich, it might not be necessary for him to tug at the cord at all would not penetrate his foolish pate. Those persons who are bent on journeying to the transcendental realm laden with all the superstitions and material judgements of this world, who are anxious to transport their sense-ridden logic to the transcendental realm, who choose to imagine that in the realm that lies beyond this world there can be any scope for the unavoidable slave mentality of this world or any form of service which is any way characterised by the factors of the unwholesomeness of this world, are indeed as stupid as the foolish boat-man of the story. The function of the servant that prevails in the realm of the Absolute, the servitude of the soul in the state of freedom from the fetters of material bondage, is the natural condition of the soul i.e., perfect subordination to his own proper nature (swadhinata). By such servitude even unconquerable Godhead Himself is subdued-the Supreme Lord of all Lords becomes our own."
5. From Nomenclature of the Absolute (Mathura People):
"We all should aspire to be Mathura people. We should have a proper conception of spiritual Mathura instead of the mundane Mathura which is the place of enjoyment of people with very low aspirations. Our Sahajiya brothers think that they can have access to Mathura by paying the railway fare. It is by surrendering ourselves to the Preceptor's Feet that we can have an abode in Mathura. Otherwise, we cannot get an entrance into the transcendental region. We should approach the Guru who will confer on us the eight things, i.e., Name, Mantras, etc. The Name is the Transcendental Sound and Mantras are incantations. The Name is identical with the Named. The Mantra is required to reach that situation in which the Name can be properly chanted. The son of Shachi is the Supreme Lord Himself. Damodar Swarup is the head of the Gaudiyas who are the transcendental servitors of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Rupa and Sanatana were sent to Mathura by Shri Krishna Chaitanya to diffuse transcendental knowledge there. There are several puris which can give salvation and among them Mathura is the most supreme. Gosthavati signifies the place where Shri Krishna was feeding His cows. (The sound 'Go' has various meanings such as knowledge, the senses, the animal cow, etc.) Another holy spot is Radhakunda, a tank where Shri Krishna got rid of the sin He had incurred by killing a cow named Aristanemi. He killed Aristotelianism or the rationalistic process of reasoning of this imperfect world. When Krishna wanted to join hands with Radhika, Aristanemi came forward to disturb Him, because Radhika was thought by many people to be the wife of a milkman named Abhimanyu. This Aristanemi was the incarnation of mundane knowledge, and Krishna killed him. For that act He expiated by taking a dip in the Radhakunda. This kunda is the mental speculation of Radha. The eternal land of our abode should be Radhakunda. By the border of Radhakunda we should have our groves. There are millions of groves on the banks of Radhakunda."
6. From The Pathway to Highest Blessedness (The Guru):
"God has said (S.B. 11.26.26): 'A truly intelligent person should shun evil company but seek association with holy saints who, with their instructions, gnaw the knot of the worldly attachments of our mind.' The meaning is that for our true well-being we should always accept the guidance of the true Guru (spiritual guide) and should not be misled by pseudo-gurus. The Guru never accepts the preyah-pantha (way to pleasure), but he is a shreyah-panthi (i.e., he follows the way to the true well-being). He gives others (i.e., his disciples) the same instruction to walk along the real path as he has received it from his own guru, of course a true one. If a disciple asks permission of the Guru for drinking, he is sure to disapprove of it and never to grant it. When the Guru does not indulge the disciple in his prayer for things after his mind, he may dismiss the Guru. Such disciples accept only the gurus that are ready to supply fuel for their sensualism. Acceptance of a guru has become a fashion now-a-days, not for the disciple's true well-being, but for getting one's sensual pleasures approved of. Such appointments satisfy only the social or family customs, like those of barbers and washers."
7. From Shrimad Bhagavatam and the Vaishnava Cult (Maya):
(From an interview with Pandit Shyamasundar Chakravarty, a leader of the Independence Movement and at that time the Chief Editor of Servant and Vasumati, an English magazine.)
Q: What is maya?
A: The derivative meaning of maya is what is measurable. Bhagavan is the Lord of maya; He cannot be measured. Where there is an attempt to measure God, there is maya and not God. 'Ma' means 'not' and 'ya' means 'what', i.e., 'what is not God' is maya. The maya as said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is not like the Satan in the Christian theology, a separate entity from God, altogether another entity. According to the Bhagavata school, maya is in Bhagavan in the condemned state (S.B. 1.7.4-5) in order to award condign punishment on the atomic sentience (i.e. jivas) controllable by maya. In the Gita (7.4-5) God has said: "Earth, water, fire, air, sky, the mind, intelligence and egotism-these constitute My separate inferior potency, whereas other than this is My superior potency constituting the jivas by which is supported the universe." This inferior potency is the maya-potency. This inferior potency has been stupefying the jivas that are apathetic towards God since before the beginning of time and causing misunderstanding in them, sometimes assuming the form of 'twenty-four items of entity' of Kapila, (the originator of the Sankhya System), sometimes as the 'atom' of Kanada (of the Vaiseshika System), sometimes also as Jaimini's principle of 'elevation' (in the Purva Mimamsa System), sometimes again as the 'sixteen objects' of Gautama (in the Nyaya System), sometimes as 'superhuman power and absolute oneness with God' of Patanjali (of the Yoga system), and sometimes as the pretence of search after Brahman (of the Shankar School).
Q: Why does such an event happen'?
A: Because the Jivas have free will of their own.
Q: Then how can this be reconciled with the teaching of the Gita which says: "God stays in the heart of all the creatures and makes them whirl round, in a machine, as it were, by the agency of maya"? (Bg. 18.61)
A: This instruction in the Gita rather supports the above statement. It is Shri Vishnu Who is God, the Controller of all beings. God gives the jivas the fruit according to their performance of karma. Jiva is the doer and God is the Giver. God's authority is seen in the giving of the fruits, and governance of the cause and effect. So God is the Giver of the fruit and the jivas, the enjoyers thereof.
Q: Why is there the independence of the jivas?
A: Jivas are the atomic parts of God, the vibhu-chit (Plenary Sentience). The property of the sea, viz. water, is present in an atomic degree in a drop too. Vibhu (or Over-Lord) God is totally independent, there is independence in anu-chit-jiva (i.e., atomic sentience) too proportionately.
Q: Is the proper use or abuse of the independence of jivas instigated by God'?
A: If it had been God-instigated, then that would have amounted to the service of God and not caused the jiva's forgetfulness about Him.
Q: Then how can the conclusion be arrived at, viz., 'everything depends upon God's Will'? I am putting these questions not for the sake of discussion. I am asking them, because you are a great scholar and a great devotee at the same time. In the Hindi Gita of Shri Tilaka I read an abhanga (panegyric to God) by Tuka-Rama, the sense of which runs thus: "Oh God, if my karma brings me liberation, then what should I have to do with You?"
A: The Shrimad-Bhagavatam has given a reply to this (SB 10.14.8): "He is an heir to liberation, O God, who, feeling Your Grace in everything and enduring the troubles caused by his own karma, bows down to You with mind, speech and body i.e., wholeheartedly." He who has acquired fitness for being freed from the world, understands that if the blame is laid at the door of God, then, on account of the want of the tendency towards doing service to God, liberation is never available, but only that person can easily become the possessor of the position of liberation, who is fortunate in having the tendency for the chit-service aroused in him, and he can be more attracted towards God, considering all the troubles and difficulties as His Grace.
Q: Then, are the sins that we commit due to God's Grace?
A: No, they are not. The predilection for sins has been given to test us, in the same manner as money, paddy, a copy of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, etc. are placed before an infant at the time of the first-rice ceremony to see what it takes according to its innate tendency. Before the thread ceremony, too, the Acharya tests the tendency of the boy to be initiated. God's cruelty is what the human intellect apprehends when it is apathetic towards God. If one takes it to be a punishment, it is to be understood that such a one is wanting in a serving temper and in attraction for God. God is the Shelter for all. He sends many obstacles and inconveniences to those who wish for shelter under Him, in order to test their ardour and steadiness. For example, when the Vaidya prescribes bitter and astringent medicines and distasteful diets, or the doctor opens the abscess with his lancet, if the patient is displeased with them, on the ground that they are cruel and not his well-wishers, his decision is wrong, as he has taken his real friends to be enemies. The divine potency, maya, has kept tempting objects as exhibits for alluring me, just as the fishing hook or the net or the rat-trap or the chain, is set to delude fish, rats, elephants, etc. The object is that I may thereby get more and more entangled in the worldly meshes. Misled by these deluding traps, sometimes I become a wanton performer of misdeeds, sometimes a philanthropist doing good deeds, sometimes again consider oneness with non-distinct Brahman as good for me, feeling a high regard for the doctrines of Buddha, Shankaracharya or Kapila. Mayadevi has placed, in order, alluring things according to the diverse temperaments of the persons who are deluded by the tenets of karma or jnana due to their having desires for things other than the Truth. Jiva will attain his true well-being, when he engages himself in the accounts relating to God; there is no other way thereto. God does not set up obstructions against anyone, and He is not the destroyer of chetana-dharma or sentience in him. It would have been an act of cruelty on His part, if He had placed obstacles against this sentience. He is only informing the sentient entities of what is the proper use of their sentience and what are its abuses."
8. From Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the Vaishnava Cult:
Q: What benefit has Vaishnavism done to the world?
A: Politics will not be able to do even one part of a crore parts, in thousands of eras, of the benefit that the Vaishnavas have done to the world. We are not advising others to be such narrow sectarians as the politicians are.
Q: How many people are there who know of Vaishnavism?
A: How many post-graduates are being turned out? How many Newtons have been born? Is it a wise principle to give up the culture of science because many Professor J. C. Boses are not being produced?
9. From Colloquies With Foreigners
(Interview with Mr. Willion Henri Jan Vandor Stock of Batavia, on December 26, 1935)
Q: Do you know the Absolute gradually or at once'?
A: The knowledge of the Absolute can be had all at once, there is no factor of time or space. If we are at all intent on knowing Him, we must have some sort of objective reference for His subjective activity. Now we are busy with worldly affairs: we think we are men and women. Instead of doing so, we should be serving Him, and when He participates with our pure selves, we will be set free from all the tempting influence of the different things of Nature. We want that we should go back. Like a shooting star, we have strayed out of the range of His attraction. Like a comet, we are journeying without cessation. Our eternal condition is that we are absolute infinitesimals, and as such, we should dove-tail with the Absolute Infinity. The function between Him and us is Love. He is the Lover. If He loves us, we will be taken back. If He has an apathetic tendency towards us it is because we are averse to Him; and we will be undergoing 84 lakhs of births and deaths, again and again. It would be judicious for us that we should go back to the Absolute Infinity, and all our engagement should be with Him, and not with anybody else.
10. From Colloquies With Foreigners
(An interview with Professor Johans, the Head of the Department of Philosophy of St. Xaviers College):
Q: What are these four Vadas?
A: Achid-vada is materialism of the following nature as when one says, "I shall be Indra, the king of heaven" or "I shall enjoy worldly pleasures" in the vein of Charvaka, the Indian Epicurus, whose philosophy was that pleasure was the highest good or again, "I shall borrow and drink and not think of discharging the debt; I shall have convenient arrangements for leading a comfortable life in this world and to be a greater enjoyer. I shall acquire and preserve health; I shall make a proper use of the canine teeth by eating fish and meat and vigorously manage the function of youth" and so on. Achin-matra-vada is the name of the attempt to annihilate the sentient existence, on the ground that achid-vada is only temporal and the sentient existence is the unavoidable root of all troubles and miseries. According to them the extinction of the sentient existence is the most laudable and valuable thing, inasmuch as existence is the root of all evils. Sakyasimha, Kapila, etc. were the propounders of this doctrine. Chinmatra-vada is the name of the attempt to merge in Brahman and thus destroy the anuchit property of the jivas. Shankaracharya and, before him, Dattatreya, were the propounders of this doctrine. The different anuchetanamsas (jivas) of the Entire Chit (God) remaining ever attracted by the Vibhu-Chetana (God) show love towards Him. This is known as chit-vilasa-vaichitrya. Here the atma (soul) is ever entirely engaged in the sportive activities with God. In it there are no sins and no spiritual offences more heinous than sins, like the covered state of the soul in achid-vada, the attempt to annihilate atma and Paramatma as in achinmatra-vada, or spiritual suicide as in chinmatra-vada. There are here the full unfolding, the full beauty and the full coalescence of Paramatma and atma.
Q: You have just expounded very high philosophical truths which I shall take a long time to digest.
A: Only time will not do. These truths should be listened to again and again verbally from the mouths of true Acharyas. Some time ago Mr. Chapman (of the Imperial Library) listened for two or three hours to the philosophy of Shri Chaitanya Deva and at the end he admitted that even for a scholar like him, the philosophy was extremely difficult to enter into. So it cannot be understood without repeated hearings and devout submission.
11. From Immanent and Transcendent (The Scorpion and the Fire):
"What relish can there be in this decaying body, made up of the five decomposable elements and full of putrescence and impurity? Shall we not mind for a moment that this perishable and ever-changing body is liable to wrath, ambition, illusion, fear, grief, envy, hatred, separation from those we hold most dear, and association with those we hate? What relish can there be for material enjoyments when we are exposed to hunger, thirst, disease, decrepitude, emaciation, growth, decline and death? The universe is tending to decay-grass, trees, animals spring up and die. Mighty men are gone leaving their joys and glories. Beings still greater than these have passed away; vast oceans have dried-mountains have been thrown down, the polar star displaced, the cords that bind the planets rent asunder; the whole earth deluged with flood-in such a world what relish can there be for fleeting enjoyments? Living in such a world are we not like frogs jumping in a dried-up well?
"To get rid of the deception of this false and treacherous seeming friend, we should be sincerely suppliant before the Supreme Lord and water our couch with tears; He will receive our prayers, have mercy on us and out of His naturally loving-kindness, appear before us as the preceptor, with all the proficiency in the scriptures and fully free from the hankerings of the senses, to rid us from the clutch of the wicked mind, which has flame all around and death within, to cut asunder all its knots and hitches and to dispel all our darkness of the heart as an elephant runs away from the darkest recesses of the jungle at the approach of the lion and the veil of darkness is withdrawn from the surface of the earth at the advent of Aurora. Then the mind will brood over its guilty woes like a scorpion girt by fire." (Editor's note: When a scorpion is encircled by fire, he stings himself and dies. So the wicked nature of the mind is destroyed by the presence of the fire-like acharya.)
12. From the Real and Apparent (Divine Form):
"True, the light emitted by the Divine drives away all worldly ignorance and misery and draws the purified soul unto itself. It is as if a great light draws to itself one of its own rays gone astray. What happens to the individual ray after it is merged in the great light, is left undescribed. No vocabulary, it is urged, can carry us into the mystic depths of existence inside the great light. This is the semitic psychology represented by the idea of the undefiinable personality of Godhead.
"Persons under the influence of such mentality are apt to be disinclined to accept any concrete description of the form and doings of Godhead. They prefer to make their obeisances to the zone of light and do not consider it their duty to be over-curious or to peep into its hidden secrets. But the realm of light, according to both the Koran and the Bible, is inhabited by an infinite host of angels with bodies of light who eternally serve Godhead and have an uninterrupted view of Him in His Divine Realm. But beyond this admission no clue is supplied to the details of the actual Divine Form or to describe or represent Him or His angels to mortal ear or mortal eyes is condemned as an idolatrous activity. It is also considered an offence to describe the Form and Activities of Godhead even analogously in terms of mortal experience.
"This caution is salutory only within its proper limits. If it tantamounts to end in denial of the Divine Form or to the assertion that Godhead is formless, it strikes at the very root of all real spiritual activity. The worship practised by avowed or covert impersonalists and abstractionists is in principle indistinguishable from opposition to worship itself under a hypothetical concern for the preservation of its purity. The fury against idolatry often masks this sentiment of inveterate hostility to the very principle of worship.
"An offence that is attempted against Godhead recoils on the offender with ten-fold severity. If Godhead is denied His Form, the offender is punished by addiction to the gross conception that the physical body and mind are his own real form, and this conception leads its victim to the vicious round of his worldly activities. Every item of such worldly activity is the punishment for the denial of the corresponding activity of the Lord. This is verily the hypocrites' 'Hell'. The prayers of impersonalists offend the Lord more than the denunciation of His avowed enemies."
13. From Real and Apparent (Free Existence):
"The subjection of the soul to the laws of a foreign mistress is the result of his own deliberate choice. He can easily revert to the state of free existence by the exercise of the same freedom of choice. But free existence does not mean mastery over others. Free existence does and can mean only constitutional existence in the transcendent region. The soul is a tiny particle of Universal-Soul. By his constitution he is subject to the spiritual power of the Divinity of which he is a constituent part. When he chooses to function in his own position in the spiritual system and in subordination to the laws of the spiritual realm he is constitutionally free. Whenever he chooses deliberately not to serve the Absolute he thereby ipso-facto loses this natural or free state and is compelled to submit to the Divine Will under pressure. This thraldom he learns to prefer to real freedom by the tricks of the illusory Energy of Godhead maya which creates a world by the Will of Godhead in which Godhead makes Himself invisible for the benefit of the jiva. In this world the jiva finds ample scope for his atheistic activities which only result in ever increasing misery and disappointment."
14. From Real and Apparent (The Voice of the Soul):
"The awakened soul says in effect to the mind and body, 'I am not identical with you. I do not want what you require. I have so long believed that I was identical with yourselves and that our interests were the same. But I now find that I am really and categorically different from you. I am made wholly of the principle of self-consciousness while both of you are made of dead matter. Being matter you can act and be acted upon by matter under the Laws of Nature. Nature makes and unmakes you, but she has no power over me. I am not benefitted by your growth or harmed by your decay. You grow and decay by the laws that govern your relationships with this physical universe. Falsely identifying myself with you, I find myself compelled to suffer pain and pleasure due to physical vicissitudes that overtake you. I find myself unnaturally yoked to your functions such as eating, drinking, producing thought etc. etc. and am forced to believe them to be my own functions by which I am benefitted. I shall of course have to stay with you as long as it is intended by Providence that I should suffer the consequences of this unnatural alliance with you. I shall permit you to do only what I consider to be necessary for my well-being viz. getting back into my natural position of free conscious existence unhampered by the unnatural domination by longing for material enjoyment. I refuse to be any more a slave of the sensuous inclinations of the mind and body.'"
15. From Spiritual Morality and Aesthetic Culture (Anecdotes andAtheism):
"In my college career in the Calcutta Sanskrit College, I had an occasion to discuss with the then Principal of the College, the utility of theistic culture. He appeared to cherish the view that a man can lead a moral life independently of theistic culture. I took exception to the proposition and asserted that morality divorced from theistic culture is only another name for the doctrine of convenience and enjoyment, by which neither individual nor social good can be attained.
"On another occasion, when I had been to the place of late Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, he said to us, 'You see my friends, when I have no actual experience about Godhead or about His Real Self then, even taking it for granted that He exists, if I make any statements about Him and if He proves to be unlike what I say in all sincerity, I should certainly run the risk of being taken to task by Him after my death. For that reason, I do not like to enter into any discussions about God with anybody, but only give ordinary moral instructions which I understand and act up to myself.' A great theist who was present said to the Pandit, 'Why then have you written in your book, Bodhodaya that God is without a form and of the nature of the principle of awareness? Have you written this after you have actually seen Him? Or have you made those statements by merely relying on some conventional doctrines?'
"Views like the above have passed current among the empiricists of all times and to this day. While on the one hand they aver that as they happen to know nothing about God, they should not hear nor discourse about Him; on the other hand, in spite of this utter ignorance they are always busy to declare Him to be an Impersonal Entity. To this I contend that as they do not know anything at all about God, does it not become them and all those who are equally ignorant to hear and discuss about God with those who are well-versed in the line? It is indeed strange that without giving a patient hearing to the adepts and without systematic culture, under the pretexts of not being prepared to pass any judgement thereon, we should run to do so according to our passing mental predilections. Hidden atheism of this type has eaten into the vitals of most persons. Mankind has a natural tendency towards this impersonal idea of Godhead and it has spread among them like a contagious disease. The idea may be traced to the innate desire of mankind to be freed from all subjection to their Sole Governor, which can be effected if He can be proved to an Entity without a Form. The attempt to make Him Impersonal is an attempt to deny His eternal Rulership. The argument is this, that we ourselves should possess eyes, ears, mouth, form, senses and so forth, but Godhead must not have any of these; lest if He be furnished with these He might be brought down to our level. Those who maintain that when Godhead comes into this world He does so by putting on a form of flesh but that His real self is Impersonal or in other words devoid of transcendental Name, Form, Attributes and Pastimes, also throw off the yoke of His Rule in a form that may pass undetected.
"Anarchy flows directly from the idea of there being no real Ruler over the affairs of man. Moral order divorced from the idea of government has no root. Sannyas, renunciation, self-restraint and any other activities of a person which are not of the nature of acts of submission to the Supreme Governor, though they may dazzle the eyes of the world by their so-called excellence are nothing but sterile atheism. To pretend to obey only moral rules irrespective of regard for Godhead, is like living in a kingdom without acknowledging the authority of the king. Those who are naturally inclined towards Godhead, even though they may appear to the superficial observer to be vitiated are in reality most fully established in moral living.
"All moral principles and those who enforce the moral order have their seat in the devotees of God. So, if instead of making futile, dissociated attempts for the cultivation of conventional morality, the attention of a person be directed to the service of Godhead, all real morality and good qualities will be found concomitant there-to. The order is not morality first and devotion to God next. Devotion has always the first place, in as much as every good is concomitant to it. Devotion is the meaning of all morality, and real devotees of God are never immoral, not even in their dreams."
16. From Spiritual Morality and Aesthetic Culture (Decorating Dead Bodies):
"There cannot be a well imagined greater shock to the sense of beauty than the attempt to deck a corpse. The endeavour to decorate the things of this world by means of our mundane resources, is very similar to the attempt to beautify a dead body. The result is a foregone conclusion. Our aesthetic favourite of this moment is discarded at the next in favour of others who also are replaced by others in their turn. The king who lives in the most costly style has no more liking for the showy splendours of his royal state, when they are not renewed, than the pauper has for his old tattered rags. Familiarity breeds contempt for all things of this world on account of their inherent ugliness which is found out on actual contact.
"Poets and painters rely upon the equally futile resources of their limited imagination for masking the inherent ugliness of the conditions of mundane existence. Such imagining is not intended to lead us to the reality. Goldsmith truly hit the function of the worldly poet and artist when he declared that their wisdom consisted in innocently amusing the imagination in this dream of life. The imagination does not want anything that is not new and also not its liking, and its liking is ever directed downward to its kindred point of the flesh, or the corpse. It is not possible even for the imagination to deceive itself regarding the naturally loathsome character of the dead body, the ultimate source of its inspiration. The imagination of man is no more competent judge of his real aesthetic needs than his scientific acumen. Both are directed to mundane objectives which are essentially ugly and unwholesome.
"There can be no abiding value in poetry unless both the poet and his surroundings are radically changed into entities that do not irresistibly and unaesthetically drag us down to the most rotten things of this world. It is no true poetry that seeks to disguise this fact by the external embellishments of rhythm and vocabulary. Such ingenuity can only amuse those to whom it is a novelty, and can do so only till the trick does not grow stale. It is the logical nemesis of this state of things that commerce is rapidly getting hold of every department of this make-believe aesthetics. The tailor is making the man, because strangely enough man wants to be made by him in seeming despair of any better alternative."
17. From Brahma Samhita and the beginning of Transcendental Plane of Amorous Love:
"The materialistic demeanour cannot possibly stretch to the Transcendental Autocrat Who is ever inviting the fallen conditioned souls to associate with Him through devotion or eternal serving mood. The phenomenal attractions are often found to tempt sentient beings to enjoy the variegated position which is opposed to undifferentiated monism. People are so much apt to indulge in transitory speculations even when they are to educate themselves on a situation beyond their empiric area or experiencing jurisdiction. The esoteric aspect often knocks them to trace out immanence in their outward inspection of transitory and transformable things. This impulse moves them to fix the position of the Immanent to an Indeterminate Impersonal Entity, no clue of which could be discerned by moving earth and heaven through their organic senses."
Rov: Appendix VII
Excerpts from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpts From The Books Of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
1. From the Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita
"These calculations are given in the authentic astronomy book known as Surya-siddhanta. This book was compiled by the great professor of astronomy and mathematics Bimal Prasad Datta, later known as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, who was our merciful spiritual master. He was honored with the title Siddhanta Sarasvati for writing the Surya-siddhanta, and the title Gosvami Maharaja was added when he accepted sannyasa, the renounced order of life." [Adi, Ch. 3, page 169]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura always used to say, 'Even at the expense of all the properties, temples and mathas that I have, if I could convert even one person into a pure devotee, my mission would be fulfilled! [Adi, Ch. 7, page 73]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains in his Anubhashya, 'A person who has attracted the attention of the spiritual master by his sincere service likes to dance and chant with similarly developed Krishna conscious devotees. The spiritual master authorizes such a devotee to deliver fallen souls in all parts of the world. Those who are not advanced prefer to chant the Hare Krishna mantra in a solitary place.' Such activities constitute in the language of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a type of cheating process in the sense that they imitate the activities of exalted persons like Haridasa Thakura. One should not attempt to imitate such exalted devotees. Rather, everyone should endeavor to preach the cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in all parts of the world and thus become successful in spiritual life. One who is not very expert in preaching may chant in a secluded place, avoiding bad association, but for one who is actually advanced, preaching and meeting people who are not engaged in devotional service are not disadvantages. A devotee gives the nondevotees his association but is not affected bv their misbehavior. Thus by the activities of a pure devotee even those who are bereft of love of Godhead get a chance to become devotees of the Lord one day. In this connection Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advises that one discuss the verse in Shrimad-Bhagavatam: naitat samacarej jatu manasapi hy anisvarah [10.33.31], and the following verse in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
One should not imitate the activities of great personalities. One should be detached from material enjoyment and should accept everything in connection with Krishna's service." [Adi Ch. 7, pages 74, 75]
"Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, at the time of his passing away ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one of them wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the order of the spiritual master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this; however, the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our spiritual master and started in a humble way-in a helpless way-but due to the spiritual force of the order of the supreme authority, this movement has become successful." [Adi Ch. 7, page 77]
"The Vaishnavas are by far the greatest philosophers in the world, and the greatest among them was Shrila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu, whose philosophy was again presented less than four hundred years later by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Maharaja." [Adi Ch. 7, page 83]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has explained the term 'Mayavadi' as follows: 'The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the material conception of life. A Mayavadi is one who considers the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna to be made of maya and who also considers the abode of the Lord and the process for approaching Him, devotional service, to be maya. The Mayavadi considers all the paraphernalia of devotional service to be maya." [Adi, Ch. 7, page 25]
"Professional players and dramatic actors have no sense of devotional service, and therefore although they can perform very artistically, there is no life in such performances. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to refer to such an actor as yatra-dale narada, which means 'farcical Narada.' Sometimes an actor in a drama plays the part of Narada Muni, although in his private life he is not at all like Narada Muni because he is not a devotee. Such actors are not needed in dramatic performances about the lives of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Krishna. [Adi Ch. 10, page 258]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who was previously also a great astrologer, says that in the book named Brhaj-jataka and other books there are directions for knowing the movements of the stars and planets. One who knows the process of drawing a straight line and thus understands the area of ashta-varga can explain the auspicious constellations." [Adi Ch. 13, page 103]
Having shown the verse to Svarupa Damodara with great wonder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked him how Rupa Gosvami could understand the intentions of His mind.
"We had the opportunity to receive a similar blessing from Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami when we presented an essay at his birthday ceremony. He was so pleased with that essay that he used to call some of his confidential devotees and show it to them. How could we have understood the intentions of Shrila Prabhupada?" [Madhya Ch. 1, page 48]
"In connection with this verse, which is a quotation from Shrimad-Bhagavatam [11.23.58], Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that of the sixty-four items required for rendering devotional service, acceptance of the symbolic marks of sannyasa is a regulative principle." [Madhya Ch. 3, page 243]
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that a mundane person, being enriched by mundane opulences, must always know that the transcendental opulences of the advanced devotees are far more important than the materialistic opulences of a person like himself. A materialistic person with material opulences should not be very proud or puffed up before a transcendental devotee. If one approaches a transcendental devotee on the strength of his material heritage, opulence, education and beauty and does not offer respect to the advanced devotee of the Lord, the Vaishnava devotee may offer formal respects to such a materially puffed-up person, but he may not deliver transcendental knowledge to him." [Madhya Ch. 8, page 161]
"Thus Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave different persons different orders, and consequently one should not try to imitate the behavior of Haridasa Thakura without being ordered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or His representative. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura condemns such imitations in this way:
dushta mana! tumi kisera vaishnava?
pratishthara tare, nirjanera ghare,
tava hari-nama kevala kaitava
'My dear mind, you are trying to imitate Haridasa Thakura and chant the Hare Krishna mantra in a secluded place, but you are not worth being called a Vaishnava because what you want is cheap popularity and not the actual qualifications of Haridasa Thakura. If you try to imitate him you will fall down, for your neophyte position will cause you to think of women and money. Thus you will fall into the clutches of maya, and your so-called chanting in a secluded place will bring about your downfall.'" [Madhya Ch. 11, page 312]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura points out that because there are many permanent residents in holy places who do not precisely follow the rules and regulations governing living in a sacred place, exalted devotees have to go to these places to reclaim them." [Madhya Ch. 10, page 115 ]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura remarks, 'The impersonalists imagine some forms of the Absolute Truth through the direct peception of their senses. The impersonalists worship such imaginary forms, but neither Shrimad-Bhagavatam nor Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita accepts this sense gratificatory worship to be of any spiritual significance.'" [Madhya Ch. 9, pages 102, 103]
[For Shrila Sarasvati Thakura's explanation of the mystery of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's cleansing of the Gundica Temple, please see Madhya Ch. 12, pages 64-68-Ed.]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that any Vaishnava who is constantly chanting the holy name of the Lord should be considered to have attained the second platform of Vaishnavism. Such a devotee is superior to a neophyte Vaishnava who has just learned to chant the holy name of the Lord. A neophyte devotee simply tries to chant the holy name, whereas the advanced devotee is accustomed to chanting and takes pleasure in it. Such an advanced devotee is called madhyama-bhagavata, which indicates that he has attained the intermediate stage between the neophyte and the perfect devotee. Generally a devotee in the intermediate stage becomes a preacher. A neophyte devotee or an ordinary person should worship the madhyama-bhagavata, who is a via medium." [Madhya Ch. 16 page 194]
"The unwanted creepers have been described by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He states that if one hears and chants without trying to give up offenses, one becomes materially attached to sense gratification. One may also desire freedom from material bondage like the Mayavadis, or one may become attached to the yoga-siddhis and desire wonderful yogic powers. If one is attached to wonderful material activities, one is called siddhi-lobhi, greedy for material perfection. One may also be victimized by diplomatic or crooked behavior, or one may associate with women for illicit sex. Others may make a show of devotional service like the prakrita-sahajiyas, or one may try to support his philosophy by joining some caste or identifying himself with a certain dynasty, claiming a monopoly on spiritual advancement. Thus with the support of family tradition, one may become a pseudo guru or so-called spiritual master. One may become attached to the four sinful activities-illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating, or one may consider a Vaishnava to belong to a mundane caste or creed ... one may consider Vaishnavas in terms of birth, thinking one a brahmana Vaishnava, a shudra Vaishnava, a mleccha Vaishnava and so on. One may also try to carry out a professional business while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra or reading Shrimad-Bhagavatam, or one may try to increase his monetary strength by illegal means. One may also try to be a cheap Vaishnava by chanting in a secluded place for material adoration, or one may desire mundane reputation by making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one's philosophy or spiritual life, or one may become a supporter of a hereditary caste system. All these are pitfalls of personal sense gratification. Just to cheat some innocent people, one makes a show of advanced spiritual life and becomes known as a sadhu, mahatma or religious person. All this means that the so-called devotee has become victimized by all these unwanted creepers and that the real creeper of bhakti-lata-bija has been stunted." [Madhya Ch. 19, page 344]
"It is certainly not good to write literature for money or reputation, but to write books and publish them for the enlightenment of the general populace is real service to the Lord. That was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's opinion, and he specifically told his disciples to write books. He actually preferred to publish books rather than establish temples. Temple construction is meant for the general populace and neophyte devotees, but the business of advanced and empowered devotees is to write books, publish them and distribute them widely. According to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, distributing literature is like playing on a great mridanga. Consequently, we always request members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to publish as many books as possible and distribute them widely throughout the world. By thus following in the footsteps of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, one can become a rupanuga devotee." [Madhya Ch. 19, page 314]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta comments that saralata, or simplicity, is the first qualification of a Vaishnava, whereas duplicity or cunning behavior is a great offense against the principle of devotional service. As one advances in Krishna consciousness, one must gradually become disgusted with material attachment and thus become more and more attached to the service of the Lord. If one is not factually detached from material activities but still proclaims himself advanced in devotional service, he is cheating. No one will be happy to see such behavior." [Antya Ch.2, page 179]
[From the chapter "The Chastisement of Junior Haridasa":]
Instructions from this Chapter
"Summarizing this chapter, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that one should derive from it the following lessons. (1) Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is an incarnation of mercy, He nevertheless gave up the company of one of His personal associates, namely Junior Haridasa, for if He had not done so, pseudo-devotees would have taken advantage of Junior Haridasa's fault by using it as an excuse to live as devotees and at the same time have illicit sexual connections. Such activities would have demoralized the cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and as a result, devotees would have surely gone to a hellish life in the name of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. (2) By chastising Junior Haridasa, the Lord set the standard for acaryas, or the heads of institutions propagating the Chaitanya cult, and for all actual devotees. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to maintain the highest standard. (3) Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed that a pure devotee should be simple and free from sinful activities, for thus one can be His bona fide servant. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught His followers how to observe the renounced order strictly. (4) Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to prove that His devotees are exalted and that their character is ideal. He kindly accepts His faithful devotees and teaches them how much tribulation and disturbance can be produced by even a slight deviation from the strict principles of devotional life. (5) By chastising Junior Haridasa, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His mercy toward him, thus showing how elevated was Junior Haridasa's devotion for Him. Because of this transcendental relationship, the Lord corrected even a slight offense committed by his pure devotee. Therefore one who wants to be a pure devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu should give up all material sense gratification; otherwise, the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are very difficult to attain. (6) If one dies in such a celebrated holy place as Prayaga, Mathura or Vrindavana, one can be relieved of the reactions to sinful life and then attain the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (7) Although a pure or faithful devotee may fall down, he nevertheless ultimately gets the chance to go back home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord." [Antya Ch. 2, pages 205, 206]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments on this incident as follows: Vaishnavas are all liberated persons, unattached to anything material. Therefore a Vaishnava need not accept the dress of a sannyasi to prove his exalted position. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the renounced order from a sannyasi of the Mayavada school. Present-day Vaishnava sannyasis, however, never think that by accepting the dress of the sannyasa order they have become equal to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, a Vaishnava accepts the sannyasa order to remain an eternal servant of his spiritual master. He accepts the sannyasa order knowing that he is unequal to his spiritual master, who is a paramahamsa, and he thinks that he is unfit to dress like a paramahamsa. Therefore a Vaishnava accepts sannyasa out of humility not out of pride.
"Sanatana Gosvami had adopted the dress of a paramahamsa; therefore it was inappropriate for him to wear the saffron cloth on his head. However, a Vaishnava sannyasi does not think himself fit to imitate the dress of a paramahamsa Vaishnava. According to the principles set down by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (trinad api sunicena), one should always think himself in the lowest stage, not on the level of a paramahamsa Vaishnava. Thus a Vaishnava will sometimes accept the sannyasa order just to keep himself below the level of a paramahamsa Vaishnava. This is the instruction of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura." [Antya Ch. 13, pages 146, 147]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that all writers after Vrindavana dasa Thakura who are pure devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and who have tried to describe the Lord's activities are to be considered like Vyasa. Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura is the original Vyasadeva in describing Chaitanya-lila. and all others who follow in his footsteps by describing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes are also to be called Vyasadeva. The bona fide spiritual master is called Vyasa, because he is a representative of Vyasa. Worshiping the birthday of such a spiritual master is called Vyasa-puja.
"The statement age vyasa kariba varnane is similar to a text in the Chaitanya-bhagavata [First Chapter, text 180] in which Vrindavana dasa Thakura says:
sesha-khande caitanyera ananta vilasa
vistariya varnite achena veda-vyasa
'The unlimited pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will be described by Vyasadeva in the future.' Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that these statements indicate that in the future, other representatives of Vyasadeva will elaborately describe Lord Chaitanya's pastimes. The purport is that any pure devotee in the disciplic succession who describes the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is confirmed to be a representative of Vyasadeva." [Antya Ch. 20, pages 285, 287-288]
"...we have now finished the English translation of Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita in accordance with the authorized order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Gosvami Maharaja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend. Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vani, his words ...
"In this connection we may call to memory the time when I was fortunate enough to meet His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada, sometime in the year 1922. Shrila Prabhupada had come to Calcutta from Shridhama Mayapur to start the missionary activities of the Gaudiya Math. He was sitting in a house at Ultadanga when through the inducement of an intimate friend, the late Shriman Narendranath Mallik, I had the opportunity to meet His Divine Grace for the first time. I do not remember the actual date of the meeting, but at that time I was one of the managers of Dr. Bose's laboratory in Calcutta. I was a newly married young man, addicted to Gandhi's movement and dressed in khadi. Fortunately, even at our first meeting, His Divine Grace advised me to preach the Cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in English in the Western countries. Because at that time I was a complete nationalist, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi's, I submitted to His Divine Grace that unless our country were freed from foreign subjugation, no one would hear our message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu seriously. Of course, we had some argument on this subject, but at last I was defeated and convinced that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely the message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would spread all over the world. I could not, however, immediately take up his instructions to preach, but I took his words very seriously and was always thinking of how to execute his order, although I was quite unfit to do so ... in 1936, just before His Divine Grace passed away at Jagannatha Puri, I wrote him a letter asking what I could do to serve him. In reply, he wrote me a letter, dated 13 December 1936, ordering me, in the same way, to preach in English the cult of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as I had heard it from him ... In any case, when I had published Shrimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, in three volumes in India, I thought of going to the U.S.A. By the mercy of His Divine Grace, I was able to come to New York on September 17, 1965. Since then, I have translated many books, including Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Chaitanya (a summary) and many others.
"In the meantime, I was induced to translate Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita and publish it in an elaborate version. In his leisure time in later life, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would simply read Chaitanya-caritamrita. It was his favorite book. He used to say that there would be a time when foreigners would learn the Bengali language to read Chaitanya-caritamrita ... Now by the grace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, it is finished ...
"I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramatma feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. It is to be admitted that whatever translation work I have done is through the inspiration of my spiritual master because personally I am most insignificant and incompetent to do this materially impossible work. I do not think myself a very learned scholar, but I have full faith in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. If there is any credit to my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace. Certainly if His Divine Grace were physically present at this time, it would have been a great occasion for jubilation, but even though he is not physically present, I am confident that he is very pleased by this work of translation. He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. Therefore our society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has formed to execute the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura." [Antya Concluding Words, pages 319-321]
2. From the Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
"Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great preacher of the principles of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, has stressed the importance of association with sadhus, pure devotees of the Lord. He said that even by a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can achieve all perfection. We are not ashamed to admit that this fact was experienced in our practical life. Were we not favored by His Divine Grace Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, by our first meeting for a few minutes only, it would have been impossible for us to accept this mighty task of describing Shrimad-Bhagavatam in English. Without seeing him at that opportune moment, we could have become a very great business magnate, but never would we have been able to walk the path of liberation and be engaged in the factual service of the Lord under instructions of His Divine Grace." [Canto 1, Ch. 13, pages 39-40]
"We had the opportunity to meet an avowed brahmacari in the personality of our spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Gosvami Maharaja. Such a great soul is called a naishthika-brahmacari." [Canto 3, Ch. 12, pages 157-158]
"Kardama Muni desired to beget a child who would be a ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should beget a child who can perform the duties of Vishnu, otherwise there is no need to produce children. There are two kinds of children born of good fathers: one is educated in Krishna consciousness so that he can be delivered from the clutches of maya in that very life, and the other is a ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and teaches the world the ultimate goal of life ... After fulfilling his responsibility to produce a nice child, one should take sannyasa and engage in the perfectional paramahamsa stage ... In the same order as Kardama Muni, about one hundred years ago, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also wanted to beget a child who could preach the philosophy and teachings of Lord Chaitanya to the fullest extent. By his prayers to the Lord he had as his child Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bonafide disciples." [Canto 3, Ch. 22, pages 226, 227]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say, 'If I could perfectly deliver even one soul back home, back to Godhead, I would think my mission-propagating Krishna consciousness-to be successful.'" [Canto 4, Ch. 12, page 189]
"We can definitely see that to advance in Krishna consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples." [Canto 4, Ch. 28, page 214]
"This [marrying disciples] may be astonishing to persons who are not very interested in establishing daiva-varnasrama, the transcendental system of four social orders and four spiritual orders. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, however, wanted to reestablish daiva-varnasrama. [Canto 5, Ch. 1, page 47]
"There is one easy weapon with which the mind can be conquered-neglect. The mind is always telling us to do this or that; therefore we should be very expert in disobeying the mind's orders. Gradually the mind should be trained to obey the orders of the soul. It is not that one should obey the orders of the mind. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that to control the mind one should beat it with shoes many times just after awakening and again before going to sleep. In this way one can control the mind." [Canto 5, Ch. 11. page 398]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that in the morning our first business should be to beat the mind with shoes a hundred times, and, before going to bed, to beat the mind a hundred times with a broomstick. In this way one's mind can be kept under control." [Canto 5, Ch. 6, page 225]
"Shrila Rupa Gosvami has stated:
vairagyam phalgu kathyate
Everything, even that which is material, is connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore everything should be engaged in the service of the Lord. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura translates this verse as follows:
hari-sevaya yaha haya anukula
vishaya baliya tahara tyage haya bhula
'One should not give up anything connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking it material or enjoyable for the material senses.'" [Canto 5, Ch. 16, page 93]
"Shrila Jiva Gosvami says that although sankirtana is sufficient for the perfection of life, the arcana, or worship of the Deity in the temple, must continue in order that the devotees may stay clean and pure. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore recommended that one follow both processes simultaneously. We strictly follow his principle of performing Deity worship and sankirtana along parallel lines. This we should continue." [Canto 4, Ch.3, page 174]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura did not like his disciples to become very fat in the course of time. He would become very anxious upon seeing his fat disciples become bhogis, or enjoyers of the senses." [Canto 7, Ch. 13, page 100]
"Learned authorities in devotional life consequently advise that one not endeavor to increase the number of temples and mathas. Such activities can he undertaken only by devotees experienced in propagating the Krishna consciousness movement. All the acaryas in South India, especially Shrila Ramanujacarya, constructed many big temples, and in North India all the Gosvamis of Vrindavana constructed large temples. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also constructed large centers, known as Gaudiya Maths. Therefore temple construction is not bad, provided proper care is taken for the propagation of Krishna consciousness." [Canto 7, Ch. 15, page 218]
"In this age, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced the sacred thread ceremony for his Vaishnava disciples, with the idea that people should understand that when one becomes a Vaishnava he has already acquired the qualifications of a brahmana." [Canto 10, Ch. 7, page 57]
"... The tendency of the mind is to accept and reject various activities based on sense gratification. Therefore an intelligent person should control the mind, restricting it from the illusion of seeing things separate from Krishna, and when the mind is thus controlled he will experience actual fearlessness." [Canto 11, Ch.2. text 38]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has made the following comments on this verse. 'Control of the mind is a result of living a life of devotional service to the Lord. By the influence of fixed devotional service, the accepting and rejecting mind can stop its thirst for sensory enjoyment apart from Krishna. In transcendental Krishna consciousness there is no contradiction, pettiness or lack of ecstasy. In other words, it is not like a material object, which always proves temporary and constantly miserable. Having forgotten Krishna, the conditioned living entity is suffering the misdirection and perversion of his own so-called intelligence. The living entities are fragmental parts of the supreme shelter, Krishna, but have fallen from Krishna's kingdom of spiritual pastimes. Because of forgetting the Supreme Lord, they become prone to sinful life and turn their attention to dangerous material objects, which fill them with constant fear. If one desires to subdue the mind, which is constantly engaged in the duality of mental concoction, one must take to the devotional service of Lord Krishna."' [Canto 11, Ch.2, pgs. 118, 120-121]
"According to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, 'One who has experienced his own true identity understands that all things exist as paraphernalia for giving ecstatic pleasure to the Supreme Lord. Thus one becomes free from the separatist vision in which he sees the world as existing for one's own enjoyment. In the transcendental state, whatever a devotee sees reminds him of Krishna, and thus his transcendental knowledge and bliss increase.'" [Canto 11, Ch.2, page 133]
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta has stated, 'When childish people think themselves maha-bhagavatas and act in defiance of the Vaishnava spiritual master, such behavior simply holds them back from receiving the mercy of the Vaishnava guru. Bewildered by false ego, these self-proclaimed devotees gradually become fit to be ignored by pure devotees on the intermediate platform and are cheated of the mercy that comes from the devotees' satisfaction. Thus they become asadhu by constantly committing offenses against the devotees who preach the holy name of Krishna. Pure devotees, therefore, in all circumstances display indifference to those who falsely imagine themselves to be visuddha-bhaktas, or pure devotees of the Lord. This indifference is an excellent manifestation of their mercy.'" [Canto 11, Ch.2, page 152]
3. From Nectar of Devotion:
"In the Middle Ages, after the disappearance of Lord Chaitanya's great associate Lord Nityananda, a class of priestly persons claimed to be the descendants of Nityananda, calling themselves the gosvami caste. They further claimed that the practice and spreading of devotional service belonged only to their particular class, which was known as Nityananda-vamsa. In this way, they exercised their artificial power for some time, until Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the powerful acarya of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, completely smashed their idea. There was a hard struggle for some time, but it has turned out successfully, and it is now correctly and practically established that devotional service is not restricted to a particular class of men. Besides that, anyone who is engaged in devotional service is already at the status of being a high-class brahmana. So Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's struggle for this movement has come out successful.
"It is on the basis of his position that anyone can now become a Gaudiya Vaishnava, from any part of the world or any part of the universe. Anyone who is a pure Vaishnava is situated transcendentally, and therefore the highest qualification in the material world, namely to be in the mode of goodness, has already been achieved by such a person. Our Krishna consciousness movement in the Western world is based on the above mentioned proposition of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, our spiritual master. On his authority, we are claiming members from all sections of the Western countries. The so-called brahmanas claim that one who is not born into a brahmana family cannot receive the sacred thread and cannot become a high-grade Vaishnava. But we do not accept such a theory, because it is not supported by Rupa Gosvami nor by the strength of the various scriptures." [pages 47-48]
4. From Shri Upadesamrita (The Nectar of Instruction):
"... Shrila Rupa Gosvami states in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu [1.2.295]:
siddha-rupena catra hi
"In the transcendental realm of Vraja [Vraja-dhama] one should serve the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna, with a feeling similar to that of His associates, and one should place himself under the direct guidance of a particular associate of Krishna and should follow in his footsteps. This method is applicable both in the stage of sadhana (spiritual practices executed while in the stage of bondage) and in the stage of sadhya (God realization), when one is a siddha-purusha, or a spiritually perfect soul."
"Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has commented as follows upon this verse: 'One who has not yet developed interest in Krishna consciousness should give up all material motives and train his mind by following the progressive regulative principles, namely chanting and remembering Krishna and His name, form, quality, pastimes and so forth. In this way, after developing a taste for such things, one should try to live in Vrindavana and pass his time constantly remembering Krishna's name, fame, pastimes and qualities under the direction and protection of an expert devotee. This is the sum and substance of all instruction regarding the cultivation of devotional service.
'In the neophyte stage one should always engage in hearing krishna-katha. This is called sravana-dasa, the stage of hearing. By constantly hearing the transcendental holy name of Krishna and hearing of His transcendental form, qualities and pastimes, one can attain to the stage of acceptance called sravana-dasa. When one attains this stage, he becomes attached to the hearing of krishna-katha. When one is able to chant in ecstasy, he attains the stage of smaranavastha, the stage of remembering. Recollection, absorption, meditation, constant remembrance and trance are the five items of progressive krishna-smarana. At first, remembrance of Krishna may be interrupted at intervals, but later remembrance proceeds uninterrupted. When remembrance is uninterrupted, it becomes concentrated and is called meditation. When meditation expands and becomes constant, it is called anusmriti. By uninterrupted and unceasing anusmriti one enters the stage of samadhi, or spiritual trance. After smarana-dasa or samadhi has fully developed, the soul comes to understand his original constitutional position. At that time he can perfectly understand his eternal relationship with Krishna. That is called sampatti-dasa, the perfection of life.
'Chaitanya-caritamrita advises those who are neophytes to give up all kinds of motivated desires and simply engage in the regulative devotional service of the Lord according to the directions of scripture. In this way a neophyte can gradually develop attachment for Krishna's name, fame, form, qualities and so forth. When one has developed such attachment, he can spontaneously serve the lotus feet of Krishna even without following the regulative principles. The stage is called raga-bhakti, or devotional service in spontaneous love. At that stage the devotee can follow in the footsteps of one of the eternal associates of Krishna in Vrindavana. This is called raganuga-bhakti. Raganuga-bhakti, or spontaneous devotional service, can be executed in the santa-rasa when one aspires to be like Krishna's cows or the stick or flute in the hand of Krishna, or the flowers around Krishna's neck. In the dasya-rasa one follows in the footsteps of servants like Citraka, Patraka or Raktaka. In the friendly sakhya-rasa one can become a friend like Baladeva, Shridama or Sudama. In the vatsalya-rasa, characterized by parental affection, one can become like Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda, and in the madhurya-rasa, characterized by conjugal love, one can become like Shrimati Radharani or Her lady friends such as Lalita and Her serving maids (manjaris) like Rupa and Rati. This is the essence of all instruction in the matter of devotional service." [pages 75-77]
SOME NOTES ON THE GAUDIYA SAMPRADAYA
What follow are some notes describing the chain of succession of our Gaudiya sampradaya since the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disappearance in 1534, Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami disappeared almost immediately afterwards, and the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavana remained as the leaders of the Gaudiya sampradaya in Northern India. They wrote many important books establishing the philosophy taught by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on an unshakable Vedic theological basis. They elaborately researched all the scriptures, established many holy places and temples and initiated disciples.
Lord Nityananda was naturally the leader of the Vaishnavas in Bengal, but after His disappearance, Mother Jahnavi, His eternal consort and Virabhadra, His son, became the leaders of the Vaishnavas there. They had many followers and disciples, as did the gopalas, the followers of Lord Nityananda. There were also many followers of Shrila Advaita Acarya.
The following dates on the advent and ascension of the Six Gosvamis of Vrindavana were given in the Sajjanatoshani Vol. II, edited by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1882:
Shrila Sanatana Gosvami appeared in the year 1410 Sakabda or 1488 A.D. and disappeared in 1480 Sakabda or 1558 A.D. Shrila Rupa Gosvami appeared in 1411 Sakabda or 1489 A.D. and disappeared on 1486 Sakabda or 1564 A.D. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami appeared in 1417 Sakabda or 1495 A.D. and disappeared on 1493 Sakabda or 1571 A.D. Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami appeared in 1425 Sakabda or 1503 A.D. and disappeared in 1500 Sakabda or 1578 A.D. Shrila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami appeared in 1427 Sakabda or 1505 A.D. and disappeared in 1501 Sakabda or 1579 A.D. Shrila Jiva Gosvami appeared in 1435 Sakabda or 1513 A.D. and disappeared in 1520 Sakabda or 1598 A.D.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advented Himself on February 18, 1486 A.D. and remained on the earth for 48 years, which would mean He disappeared approximately in 1534. All of the Gosvamis remained for some time after that. Sanatana was the first to ascend twenty-four years later in 1558, followed six years later by Rupa Gosvami, followed seven years after that by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, followed seven years after that by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, followed one year after that by Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami. It is mentioned that the brother of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, Anupama, the father of Shrila Jiva Gosvami disappeared in 1436 Sakabda, which means that Shrila Jiva Gosvami was only several years old at the most when he became orphaned. This date of Anupama's ascension is coming from the Chaitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila, Ch. 10 from the Anubhashya.
In any case, with the disappearance of his two uncles, Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, Jiva Gosvami became the most prominent acarya in the Gaudiya sampradaya, and he remained prominent almost to the very end of the 16th Century. He was the greatest scholar of his day and had been intimately involved, initially as an assistant to Rupa and Sanatana and later as the greatest theologian in the history of the Gaudiya sampradaya, in the composition of the Vaishnava literatures which elucidated the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Shrila Prabhupada states in Chaitanya-caritamrita Adi-lila, Ch. 10, page 307, "After the disappearance of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami in Vrindavana, Shrila Jiva Gosvami became the acarya of all the Vaishnavas in Bengal, Orissa and the rest of the world, and it is he who used to guide them in their devotional service." He also mentions, "When Jiva Gosvami was still present, Shrila Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami compiled his famous Chaitanya-caritamrita. Later, Shrila Jiva Gosvami inspired Shrinivasa Acarya, Narottama dasa Thakura and Duhkhi Krishnadasa (Syamananda) to preach Krishna consciousness in Bengal. Jiva Gosvami was informed that all the manuscripts that were collected from Vrindavana and sent to Bengal for preaching purposes were plundered near Vishnupura in Bengal, but later he received information that the books had been recovered." This section of the Chaitanya-caritamrita also mentions Jiva Gosvami's dealings with the exalted disciple of Shrinivasa named Ramacandra, who he gave the name Ramacandra Kaviraja, and his touring of Vrindavana with Mother Jahnavi devi, the eternal consort of Lord Nityananda.
In the Bhakti-ratnakara it is mentioned that Shrinivasa Acarya became the greatest preacher of that time. It was he who recovered the stolen literatures of the Gosvamis from the king of Vishnupura, Bir Hambhir, who was the thief of that splendid treasure. Shrinivasa softened the king's heart by his preaching and made him a disciple. After the books had been stolen, Syamananda had left to preach in Orissa, and Narottama had gone to Bengal. Ultimately, Shrinivasa preached very widely in Bengal and Orissa, having secured the assistance of many prominent persons. The literatures of the Gosvamis were copied by great devotees in Bengal and Orissa and Shrinivasa Acarya held mass sankirtana rallies amongst the common people. This preaching and distribution of the writings of the Gosvamis and Krishnadasa Kaviraja's Chaitanya-caritamrita did much to unify the Vaishnava community which had heretofore not seen the writings of the Six Gosvamis and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had specifically blessed Shrinivasa Acarya even before his birth to be a great preacher of God consciousness. Shrinivasa often preached with Syamananda, and his most famous disciple was Ramacandra Kaviraja, the intimate friend of Narottama. Whole kingdoms in Bengal and Orissa became Krishna conscious by the combined efforts of these great devotees. Narottama also preached widely in Bengal, composed many devotional songs, and Narottama's famous disciples named Ganganarayana and Ramakrishna and others also preached in Manipur, which became a Vaishnava kingdom. Shrimati Jahnavi Devi was the prominent personality in Bengal, and She and Her son, Virabhadra preached widely there. Narottama also preached in Orissa with Syamananda. There was little party spirit amongst their disciples and the preaching was very successful.
Narottama's father, Raja Krishnananda, was the powerful king of Kheturi in Bengal. After his death, as well as the death of the king's brother, Purushottama, Narottama's cousin named Santosh Datta, took up the management of the kingdom. He took diksha from Narottama and wanted to build a beautiful temple for Narottama and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pleasure. The temple was to have a large prasadam hall, individual residences for devotees, a kirtana hall, a guest house and flowering gardens. He wanted to have a Deity installation as grand as a rajasuya yajna and invite all the devotees for that occasion. Invitations went out all over India to all of the surviving associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as well as all kings, zamindars, poets, panditas and devotees.
Immense kirtana, incredible feasting and the installation were held. Six Deities were installed. Mother Jahnavi was the principal guest of honor. Narottama began to lead kirtana and at that time Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all of His associates manifested, and the whole place was a scene of indescribable ecstasy from the spiritual world. Here was the practical exhibition of a unified, organized preaching movement with disciples of many gurus, holding big festivals, Deity installations, cooperative preaching activities and temple compounds laid out in the same way that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Shrila Prabhupada later desired (i.e. guest houses, prasadam halls, etc.) In this way, preaching went on from the disciples of Narottama dasa well into the 17th Century.
One of the followers of Narottama was Shri Yuta Krishna Carana Cakravarti, and his disciple was Shri Radha Ramana Cakravarti, who was the diksha guru of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, who lived in the late 17th Century. He lived in the bhajana kutir of Krishnadasa Kaviraja at Radha-kunda and wrote many wonderful books. He became the prominent acarya after the time of Narottama and is listed next in our disciplic succession and is considered to be directly the disciple of Narottama dasa Thakura. His disciple was Baladeva Vidyabhushana, who originally came in the line of Madhvacarya, but was converted to Gaudiya Vaishnavism by Radha Damodara Deva Gosvami, a Gaudiya Vaishnava. Baladeva Vidyabhushana became Radha Damodara Deva Gosvami's disciple and studied Jiva Gosvami's Sat-sandarbha under his direction. But later Baladeva Vidyabhushana met Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the head of the Gaudiya Vaishnava community, and he became Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's ardent follower. Baladeva Vidyabhushana became a babaji, established the Syamasundara Deity and initiated disciples.
In Jaipur, during this time, members of the Ramanuja sampradaya challenged the legitimacy of the Gaudiya sampradaya on various grounds, including a charge that they had no proper commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. The king of Jaipur sent the news of this challenge to Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, but he was by this time too old to travel, and so he sent Baladeva Vidyabhushana. Baladeva Vidyabhushana was able to successfully debate the scholars of the Shri-sampradaya, but on the point of the commentary they wanted to see a direct one and would not accept the proposal that Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the natural commentary according to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was sufficient. Actually it is mentioned by Nityananda Prabhu in Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya that Gopinatha Acarya, who had heard Lord Chaitanya instruct Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in the correct understanding of Vedanta, would take birth as Baladeva Vidyabhushana to compose the Govinda-bhashya under the dictation of Govindaji.
Govindaji appeared in a dream to Baladeva Vidyabhushana and told him not to worry, that He would dictate the proper commentary to him. So Govinda-bhashya was written in a short time and presented in the assembly of the king and representatives of the Shri sampradaya in Jaipur. They were dumbstruck by this exposition and offered to become Baladeva Vidyabhushana's disciples. He refused, however out of his sincere humility. In the pages of the Govinda-bhashya he authenticated the Gaudiya sampradaya's connection with the line of Madhvacarya, coming through Lakshmipati Tirtha, Madhavendra Puri and Isvara Puri. Soon after this victorious presentation by Baladeva Vidyabhushana, on behalf of Govindaji, the life and soul of Rupa Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura disappeared after amply blessing Baladeva Vidyabhushana, who then became the head of the Gaudiya sampradaya.
The Gaudiya Vedanta acarya Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana's disciple was Shrila Uddhava dasa Babaj!. His disciple was Shrila Madhusudana dasa Babaji and his disciple was Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the siksha-guru of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who Shrila Bhaktivinoda referred to as the Commander-in-Chief of the Vaishnavas. Shrila Gaura Kisora took babaji initiation from Shrila Bhagavat dasa Babaji who was the initiated disciple of Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, but Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji treated Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as his siksha-guru. Bhaktivinoda Thakura led the revival of the Gaudiya sampradaya in India in the 19th Century and even attempted to spread the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu abroad by literary contributions. His efforts were greatly expanded by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in the early 20th Century, who established an institution called Gaudiya Math, which spread Krishna consciousness all over India, as well as in Burma, and an attempt was made to introduce it in Europe as well. Actually his preachers also preached in what is now known as Pakistan and Bangladesh. During Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's time there continued to be challenges to the authenticity of our line, as it was not strictly a diksha-sampradaya. But Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in relating the history of the Visva-vaishnava-raja-sabha, the Society of the foremost devotees established by Shrila Jiva Gosvami, explained that the sabha was sometimes manifested by the presence of a maha-bhagavata and sometimes unmanifest in unfortunate times, but was always present in the siksha of the mahajanas like Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who revitalized it in the late 19th Century. This sabha then became a revolutionary world movement in the latter 20th Century by the heroic efforts of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder/Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
As Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura stated in his last days, "We are nurturing a desire to dedicate this good-for-nothing body in the sankirtana-sacrifice of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His associates. We are not at all desirous of any heroism in fruitive actions or religion, but our real condition is to be the dust at the lotus feet of Shri Rupa Prabhu birth after birth-this is our all and all. The line of Bhaktivinoda will never be closed. With even more enthusiasm you should be engaged in preaching the desire of Bhaktivinoda's heart ... May the flow of thought of Shri Rupa's followers stream all over the world. May we never, in any condition whatsoever, show aversion to the sacrifice of chanting the seven-tongued sankirtana of Shri Krishna. If there is ever-increasing attachment for this, perfection on all sides will be achieved. May all of you, by the earnest pursuance of Shri Rupa's followers, preach the words of Shri Rupa-Raghunatha in a fearless voice and with supreme enthusiasm."
Therefore, the conclusion is simple. If the current of enthusiasm for preaching the sankirtana movement in harmony with the instructions of the mahajanas of our line is strong, then the sampradaya is living and substantial. The proof of life and purity will be that if the current of enthusiastic chanting of the glories of the Lord continues, then purified devotees full of the ecstasy of spiritual consciousness will be produced. The tree will surely be known by its fruits.
The approximate time frames are as follows:
Shrila Jiva Gosvami-late 16th Century
Shrila Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami-late 16th Century
Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura late 16th early 17th Century
Shri Yuta Krishna Carana Cakravarti
Shrila Radha Raman Cakravarti
Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura-latter 17th Century
Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana-latter 17th and early 18th Century
Shri Uddhava dasa Babaji
Shri Madhusudana dasa Babaji-latter 18th
Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja-beginning of 19th Century
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura-middle of 19th to beginning of 20th
Shrila Gaura Kishor dasa Babaji Maharaja
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura-early 20th
Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada-20th Century