Gaudiya Panjika “A calendar is a calendar”

Srila Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaja sent the below email to Uddharan dasa on the 2nd April 2019

Dear Sriman Uddharan dasa,

My dandavat pranamas to you.

As I mentioned when we spoke on Sunday, I had already begun a reply to your email. It is included below, even though we have already discussed most of the points.

I have at least updated the math calendar for April 2019 in the NM style

Very good.

whilst I figure out how to change that to some other style.

If you can improve the style that will be nice, but I don’t see how that will be much improved. A calendar is a calendar, a list of dates and times of notable events. But then I’m not very imaginative when it comes to artistic flourishes.

Maybe there is some other Gaudia Vaishnava sampradaya who have not offended our Gurus, who’s calendar I could adapt. I will investigate.

The Navadwipa Math calendar dates are the ones we should use except for Ekadashi. During Srila Guru Maharaja’s time he selected the astrologer whose calculations he would depend on. Srila Govinda Maharaja continued that practice. This is from the website:

The calendars are compiled by Sripad Bhakti Kamal Tyagi Maharaj following the method used by Srila Gurudev, Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

I expect Tyagi Maharaja learned to follow the same method of calculation as the one used by Srila Gurudeva. Calculation means it is mostly a mechanistic process. One who knows that method and employs it need not even be a devotee for the calculations to be accurate. Just as non-devotees can add, subtract and multiply with reliable results.

That said, there is a spiritual element. Srila Saraswati Thakura [highly qualified and widely respected for his astrological knowledge] followed the calendar of Srila Bhaktivinoda even though it differed with his own calculations. He believed it was more important to follow the spiritual line of Bhaktivinoda than the “material” methods of calculation, even if they were supposedly more accurate. We are bound to follow the same line of thinking.

Most astrologers are probably offenders on some level because they tend to believe in their methods which are mechanistic and mundane. Devotees believe the movement of the firmaments is in all ways and forever subject to the Divine Dispensation of Sri Krishna who bewilders even the greatest pandits, mahatmas, etc., even Lord Brahma.

Unless there is a solid reason to believe the method of calculation for the Navadwipa Math calendar has been changed from that accepted by Srila Govinda Maharaja we should continue to rely on it with the exception of the Ekadashis & paran times. That was Srila Govinda Maharaja’s direction.

Events particular to the Navadwipa Math such as visits to Hapania or Bhamanpura can be eliminated from our calendar. The same is true of appearance/disappearance days of devotees/acharyas of other Missions (Gaudiya Maths, etc.) except those included during the time of Srila Sridhara Maharaja and important disciples of Srila Saraswati Thakura who disappeared during the time of Srila Govinda Maharaja, or later, for whom we would have good reason to believe Srila Govinda Maharaja would have included them. These would be disciples of Saraswati Thakura which were recognized as bonafide acharyas by Srila Govinda Maharaja, such as Sripadas Puri Maharaja, Madhusudana Maharaja, Madhava Maharaja, etc.

The Navadwipa Math calendar now includes the disappearance days of many important devotees of other missions. This is done at their request because they also rely upon the Navadwipa Math’s calendar. Srila Govinda Maharaja accepted such requests. But I think those were mainly related to the acharyas of other missions. Now it seems to me many non-acharya devotees of outside missions have been added to the NM calendar. I see no need to include them in ours. The difficulty will be separating them out from those who may be prominent outside our mission, but are unknown to us. We can discuss any particular case and take a decision.

As to devotees within SCSM, Srila Govinda Maharaja placed service, dedication, seniority, etc. above considerations of ideal character, discipline and so forth. The disappearance of Sriman Rshabhadeva is one such example. We can consider each case but I am inclined to accept the placement on our calendar the disappearance days of Sriman Yudhamanyu Seva Vikrama, Vaishnava Maharaja (Sruta Srava dasa) and others along with such distinguished devotees of ideal character such as Sripada Siddhanti Maharaja, Sriman Ramai dasa brahmachari, etc. As Srila Govinda Maharaja once wrote to me “Sometimes many words manifest themselves before me, like surrender, sacrifice, dedication, bonafide, devotion, and disciples. Finally when seeing the appearance of Service then everything goes hazy in front of me. Only I can see at that time, the benedictine tree of divine aspiration.”:

“I am initiating the persons on the recommendation of my affectionate friends like Your Holiness, but I know why I am giving and why you are recommending them. Also you can believe I know the meaning of disciple. You know, my whole life I am suffering, day and night for the service of Guru Maharaj, without hesitation. When I am seeing that in another person, how much I am sympathetic towards them- I cannot express that by language. Sometimes many words manifest themselves before me, like surrender, sacrifice, dedication, bonafide, devotion, and disciples. Finally when seeing the appearance of Service then everything goes hazy in front of me. Only I can see at that time, the benedictine tree of divine aspiration. We are, no doubt, so insignificant and unqualified but our Gracious Masters are Divine. That is our only hope.”

—Srila Govinda Maharaja, Letter to Sripada Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaja, 12/17/94

I pray you are returning to good health.

I’m most of the way there. My jaw is still tender and sore as a result of the molar that was extracted a week ago. There are almost no symptoms remaining from what must have been a severe case of influenza I contracted two weeks ago, although I woke up a couple nights ago in a cold sweat which has only happened a few times in my life.

Time will tell how brave I really am, but when I felt I could hardly tolerate any more bodily pain my thoughts went to my devotee friends, the Deities and our Mission. I did not want to leave them and I prayed in supplication to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari-jiu that I could remain at least long enough to feel assured that They and Their Mission were sufficiently stable that Their care and Its maintenance would continue undisturbed in my absence. I am still here so perhaps I will live to see that day. Or maybe not and They will demonstrate Their full independence from this dispensable servant of Theirs.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits. Please convey the same to Srimati Lilavati Devi.

Your humble servant,

Swami B.K. Giri
PS I saw you posted “Sahajiyas and swooning.” It is gratifying in more ways than one.