Srila BS Govinda Maharaja “The Voice of Sri Chaitanyadev”

Srila Govinda Mahraja, Gaura Purnima 2006


anyera hṛdaya—mana, mora mana—vṛndāvana
‘mane’ ‘bane’ eka kari’ jāni
tāṅhā tomāra pada-dvaya, karāha yadi udaya,
tabe tomāra pūrṇa kṛpā māni

The illusory environment is always attacking and disturbing the jīva-souls in so many ways. But Prabhupād Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī started the cleansing process, like Guṇḍichā-mārjjan,the cleansing of the Lord’s Temple. This was his first work in this world.

The heart must be made like Vṛndāvan. It won’t do to keep a jungle in the heart. Many disturbing elements are in the jungle, but there is nothing like that in Vṛndāvan. Everything in Vṛndāvan is perfectly pure. So we must worship the Supreme Lord purely. To mix with māyā for our sense pleasure and invite God in our heart is gross hypocrisy. With great force, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur did everything in their power to smash such hypocrisy.

Their first work was to preach the Name. In Bengal so many would chant the Name, but in a hashish-smoking party. Some would chant for hours on end. There was no dearth of such Harināma in Bengal, but the qualification of real purity was absent. Because of this, Mahāprabhu’s Sampradāya or religious succession became completely adulterated. People uttered the name ‘Vaiṣṇava’ with hatred. The groups known as Neḍā, Darabeśa, Sāñi, Āul, Bāul, Karttābhajā, etc.—they all made such a hodgepodge of Mahāprabhu’s high and confidential teachings of divine perfection, that Mahāprabhu was no longer respected by the people. If anyone said, “AVaiṣṇava is at the door,” the head of the family would say, “Oh, give him a little rice and send him off.” Such was the conception the common people had of Vaiṣṇavas.

But the real Vaiṣṇava-dharmmais jaiva-dharmma, the nature of the soul, the divine life of the soul. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur wrote his book Jaiva-dharmma to bring genuine Vaiṣṇava religion out to the world.

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā śakti’, ‘bhedābheda prakāsa’

(Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 20.108)

Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu has taught, “The real identity of the soul is as an eternal servitor of Krishna. He is Krishna’s marginal potency, present simultaneously distinct yet non-distinct from Krishna.”

And it was this type of transcendental knowledge that Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī brought here. That was already present but hidden in the Scriptures or holy books, and he revealed it. Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī’s unique contribution was the daiva- varṇāśrama-dharmma, or Godly socio-religious society, according to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures: daiva-vaṇāśrama-dharmma, hari-bhakti yāra marmma, śāstra yukti karila niśchaya.The so-called ‘religion’ that goes on in the material world is demoniac or āsura-varṇāśrama, but the daiva-varṇāśrama-dharmma always strives to worship the Lord. There are many devotional duties, but their aim is exclusively the satisfaction of the Lord.

Śravanaṁ kīrttanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanaṁ,or hearing, chanting, remembering, etc., are all duties for no other purpose but worshipping the Lord. The execution of these functions is known, in its primary stage, as daiva- varṇāśrama.The bodily calculation of considering a brāhmaṇa’s son a brāhmaṇa, or a śūdra’śon a śūdra,etc., is false.

chātur-vvarṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ

(Bhagavad-gītā: 4.13)

“The four social divisions are created by Me, and divided according to man’s qualities and works.”

Prabhupād Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur showed us that genuine socio-religious organisation of varṇāśrama-dharmma must worship the Lord, and above varṇāśrama-dharmma is Vaiṣṇavism or jaiva-dharmma, the divine life or religion of the soul. This is the line by which Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī established real Vaiṣṇavism in the world. A Vaiṣṇava is never inferior to a brāhmaṇa. AVaiṣṇava is always superior to a brāhmaṇa. That is his real position. The position of a Vaiṣṇava is never merely ‘next’ to a brāhmaṇa. The Vaiṣṇava lives in the other world—the transcendental world of service, sevā-maya-bhūmikā,or nirguṇa-bhūmikā, the transcendental plane. And varṇāśrama-dharmma is in the saguṇa-bhūmikā, the plane of mundane qualities. But the attempt to rise above the māyikplane comes within the purview of varṇāśrama-dharmma.

varṇāśramāch āravatā
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
nānyat tat-tosa-kāraṇam

(Viṣṇu-purāṇa: 3.8.9)

“Almighty Viṣṇu is worshipped by the person whose practices conform to the social and religious duties (varṇa-dharmma, āśrama-dharmma). (In this world) there is no other way to propitiate Him.”

Such a teaching guides the world towardthe worship of Lord Krishna. But the Vaiṣṇavas live in the transcendental world. For example, if you take Prasādam,you are not taking mere rice, vegetables, water, etc. You are taking what was offered to Krishna. You cannot be responsible for any sin. The devotee offers everything for Krishna’s pleasure.

vāso ’laṅkāra-charchitāḥ
uchchhiṣṭa-bhojino dāsās
tava māyāṁ jayema hi

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: 11.6.46)

“Adorned with the garlands, scents and clothing enjoyed by You, and partaking of Your remnants, O Lord—we, Your servitors, can conquer Your māyā.”

In this way, the eternally living and ecstatic (sach-chid-ānandamaya) element that is present within is again fully manifest. Similarly, Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī once again revealed to the world that which is eternal and ever-fresh. Before his appearance, people might have been chanting the Name of God, but how did they chant it? In his time, he was the inaugurator of the genuine chanting of Harināma. pṛthivīte yata kathā dharmma-nāme chale bhāgavata kahe saga paripūṇa chhale.

Totalitarian war against māyā.What passes in this world in the name of religion—everything is false. You are jīva- soul. Krishnais like the great sun, and you are like a sun-ray. The sun-ray must always be ‘attached’ to the great sun. That is his nature. Krishna is like a big exalted magnet, and you are like iron. Therefore, He is called Krishna, mean- ing Kṛṣ-: to attract, and ṇa:to give joy. He attracts us, and gives us ecstasy (karṣan veṇu-svanair Gopīr Gopīnātha-śriye ’stu naḥ)

This is Prabhupād Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s gift. Many Āchāryyas such as Śaṅkarāchāryya, Buddha, Rāmānuja,Nimbāditya, Madhvāchāryya, came and distributed the mercy of the Lord, but the supreme position was given by Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. That was suppressed by the illusory environment, and Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī came, cleansed and revealed that divine gem. He clarified to the world the real position of Vaiṣṇava-dharmma. Now nobody can accuse Vaiṣṇava-dharmma of being a lower-class religion or conception. It can only be admitted to be greater than the greatest.

He established, especially in Bengal, the renounced order of the Vaiṣṇavas, tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa. Previously the custom was eka-daṇḍa-sannyāsaof the māyāvādīs. He established many things in a new light, in the pure line.

The chanting process, the preaching process—he renovated everything and established the proper line, according to the Vedic culture, to take us to our supramental destination.

Once, along with Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, we visited his Godbrother Sauren Bābu. Abig paṇḍit who was very much opposed to Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī also came to that meeting. Guru Mahārāj gave his lecture, and after that, on the invitation of Sauren Bābu, that paṇḍit gave his lecture. He admitted, “We can now understand that we were wrong, and Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Prabhupād was right. In my youth, I heavily opposed his preaching, but that was my great wrong. I now can say that he was upholding genuine righteousness, and all of us who opposed him were wrong. The gosāñi, paṇḍits, sahajiyā—all were wrong.” At that time so-called Vaiṣṇavism was very ‘low-classism.’ But after Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Prabhupād it again rose to its high, glorious position. You will see two lines of a special song at the front of our nāṭ-mandir:

mātala harijana kīrttanan-raṅge
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge

This verse is the personification of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī. What is the worship he showed us?

And how is it executed? Both are shown here. Before, if a Vaiṣṇava came to the door, everybody would think he was naked but for a kaupīn; or at least his cloth must be dirty. And he wore beads and tilak. Māthā neḍā kopanī paḍā, nāke tilak galāy mālā. This was how Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur described the pseudo-Vaiṣṇava. Eho ta’ek kalīra chelā:like a servant of Kali, a devil. This whole anomaly was smashed by Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī.

He established big maṭhs(monasteries) and mandirs (temples). He engaged all the fruits of technology and materialism—motor cars, printing presses and so many things—for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world.

His preaching began at Ulta DingiJunction Road, in Calcutta. There was a two-storied building, with only one room upstairs. Downstairs there were four rooms where four Vaiṣṇava families lived—all his disciples—and with their donations they kept him in the single room upstairs. I have seen that room personally. His preaching began from there. Later, he rented another house for preaching.

Despite that humble beginning, the world can now see the result of the preaching of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī.

As described by Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur, Mahāprabhu has said,

pṛthivīte āchhe yata nagarādi grāma
sarvvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma

(Chaitanya Bhāgavat)

“My Name shall be preached in as many towns and villages that be in the world.”

As predicted by Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, we can now see devotees chanting and dancing all over the world in the Name of Nitāi-Gaurāṅga. The Hare Krishna Mahāmantra has spread all over the world. No doubt, this knowledge is transcendental, but it is necessary to properly follow the lineof Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur.

Otherwise, after a few years, or fifty or a hundred years, all will fall into the pit of ‘sahajiyāism’(imitation). We must be ever cautious to follow the principle of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur Prabhupād.

We have also seen that our Guru Mahārāj could never accept anything but pure Vaiṣṇavism. Many compromises have been seen in so-called Vaiṣṇavism, but Guru Mahārāj would never mix such ‘alloys.’ His talks were always completely straightforward, in the line of the pure, unalloyed devotion that was distributed in the world by Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus, it is clear that Guru Mahārāj purely distributed unalloyed devotion all over the world.

We have all seen that when Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swāmī Prabhupād toured all over the world for preaching, he would regularly return to India and meet with Guru Mahārāj. Guru Mahārāj was his very intimate friend, and he also took Guru Mahārāj as his Śikṣā-guru. He would come to see how Guru Mahārāj was keeping, and give him a report about the progreś of his preaching work. And Swāmī Mahārāj said to Guru Mahārāj, “I am bringing raw materials from the West—you please purify and use these materials for the service of Mahāprabhu and Lord Krishna.”

For the general preaching, Swāmī Mahārāj distributed the Hare Krishna Mahāmantra all over the world. That is general preaching. But it is not that he did not know what good preaching is—he well knew. But he had to check himself, like Mahāprabhu. When many people came to see Mahāprabhu’s dancing in His intoxication of Divine Love, He would come to bāhya-daśā, that is, He would check Himself.

So we see that Swāmī Mahārāj brought many fortunate souls, from many countries, to Krishna consciousness. He thought that a special group would necessarily require higher spiritual education. He mentioned this to Guru Mahārāj. “I am bringing raw materials—you please rectify them and use them for Mahāprabhu’s Service.”

Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī came into this world and distributed real Vaiṣṇavism. And by his grace, we have our Guru Mahārāj. He is the Guru of both Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāj and Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. We can never come to the end of singing the glories of such great souls. How can we fully glorify the character of the supreme Vaiṣṇavas? It is impośible to do them justice.

We try, but time checks us. Anyway, today, this day of Śrī-Krishna-pañchamī is most auspicious. We can only pray at the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupād Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur that he may be pleased with us—and no doubt he is always pleased with us, otherwise how could we have a place in his sampradāya? Especially in the line of his very dearmost Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj.

We have come under the guidance of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, so we have no doubt that we are very, very fortunate. But that is not the end of our work. We must proceed towards our destination. The blessings of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur and the Vaiṣṇavas are always necessary. Everybody’s well-wishes are necessary for our practising spiritual life.

Śrīman Mahāprabhu has said,

tṛṇād api sunīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrttanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ‘

Mahāprabhu has very kindly given us three rules. “Tṛṇād api sunīcena; do not disturb anyone—consider yourself lower than a blade of grass; taror iva sahiṣṇunā:like a tree, tolerate everything in his mundane world; amāninā mānadena: the life of service is the eternal property of the exalted jīva-soul, or the liberated soul, and that is also the property of everyone—so you must respect everyone, without expecting respect in return. By following these principles, always sing the glories of the Supreme Lord Hari.” We have received these instructions by the grace of Śrīman Mahāprabhu Chaitanyadev and Prabhupād Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur.

The purport of such teachings has its own subtle connotation, which must be in the proper line. We cannot follow the proper line of thought without taking shelter in the lotus feet of a genuine Guru. Such are the teachings of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī. Previously, many śāstras, many types of Vaiṣṇavas and religions were to be seen in the world, but only after the appearance of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī was it openly clarified that the only necessity is a life of service to Krishna, under the guidance of the genuine Guru and Vaiṣṇava.

May Śrīla Prabhupād Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur be gracious upon us. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj wrote many Sanskrit verses about him. They are so exalted that if we enter into the purport of only one of them, hours can pass unnoticed. After the departure of Śrīla Prabhupād, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj wrote this śloka about him:

vilasatu hṛdi nityaṁ bhakti-siddhānta-vāṇī

Guru Mahārāj himself said that if Śrīla Prabhupād were present to hear this śloka,he would have said that his entire personality had been embraced in only four lines. Revealing his own identity, Guru Mahārāj wrote:

charaṇāśrita-reṇu-dharas-tam aham
mahad adbhuta-pāvana-śakti-padaṁ
praṇamāmi sadā prabhupāda-padam

“I eternally bow unto the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupād, who is the dearmost attendant of Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī. By taking the dust of his lotus feet (charaṇāśrita-reṇu-dharaḥ) I have now become Śrīdhar Mahārāj. The dust of his lotus feet is so glorious—it purifies everything in an astonish- ing and miraculous way: mahad adbhuta-pāvana-śakti-padaṁ—glorious, wonderfully purifying lotus feet.”

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