On hearing of Sripada Bhakti Prasun Aranya Maharaja’s disappearance I sent the following message to Sriman Uddharan dasa Adhikari. I believe it is also appropriate with respect to today’s celebration of Sri Lalita Devi’s avirbhava maha mahotsava.
Anyone who knows him (Sripada B.P. Aranya Maharaja) will remember him as a gentle Vaishnava who had no malice in his heart and who was very kind and gracious to everyone who had the good fortune to enter his orb of influence.
As an example; once while I was doing some seva in Govardhana we went on a pilgrimage of Vrndavana. I always kept close to Sripada Aranya Maharaja, who often took my hand to help him up some steps, onto a rickshaw, etc. After visiting Varshana, where I helped his Holiness up each of what might be hundreds of steps, we went to Srimati Lalita Devi’s birth place. It was Srila Prabhupada’s (Swami Maharaja’s) avirbhava and I planned to fast until noon. But here prasadam was being served at the place Srila Govinda Maharaja once told Srila Sridhara Maharaja was his favorite place in Vrndavana. We had been walking around the temple grounds with Sripada Aranya Maharaja holding my hand or arm the whole time. Then we were called to take morning prasadam and I had to sit down with him. But when the serving began, I made it known I would not be taking prasadam. Aranya Maharaja asked why and I told him my reason. I could sense what was coming and was resolute in my determination to fast until noon. But my determination was no match for His Holiness who very gently told me “Prabhupada would want you to take (prasadam).” And, with that, I was convinced. I thought “Who knows Srila Prabhupada better, me or Aranya Maharaja?” The answer was an obvious one and I “received the blessings of prasadam” in that holiest of places in the company of Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Srila Bhakti Prasun Aranya Maharaja.
Here are some photos of Sripada Aranya Maharaja, accompanied by Sripada Damodara Maharaja, on the day of Lalita Saptami, 2008—Sri Lalita Saptami, September 7, 2008, Navadwipa Dham
Click Play Above to hear Srila Sridhara Maharaja speak on the glories of Sri Lalita Devi.
The following transcription is an excerpt from the above recording. Unfortunately, the diacritics did not translate into this blog format. However, you can read the entire transcript with proper diacritics by clicking HERE:
His Divine Grace Çréla Bhakti Rakñaka Çrédhara Deva Goswämé Mahäräja81.09.05.ASri Lalita Saptami[Transcribed by Sriman Paramananda dasa (UK), proofreading by Srimati Kundalata devi (UK)]Srila B R Sridhar Swami :Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharmmabindu-nirmmaïcanopakaraëe kåta-deha-lakñyamIf a drop of sweat is found in the holy feet of Radharani and Govinda, she can’t tolerate that. And with the earnestness of million times intensity she comes to remove that drop of sweat at the feet of Radha-Govinda. That has been shown to be the direction where and in what intense degree of service and love she is living, her abode. Her abode is located where? It is the domain of love. And according to the intensity the gradation is there, and her quarter located in such a place. Rupa Goswami Prabhu gives a glimpse of that. That so earnest, so eager in her rendering service to the Divine Jewel, that a slight necessity makes her a million times expansion, expanded, to do the service to attend the service, small service, and so much eagerness for a small service, such a magnitude of eagerness. That is Lalita Devi.Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharmmabindu-nirmmaïcanopakaraëe kåta-deha-lakñyamShe’s a little aggressive in her nature but that is due to her too much intensity of love towards Them. A little forward, more forward, as if she’s less modest, a little haughty it may seem. But what is the reason? She can’t tolerate any drawback or any mistake in rendering the service. So sometimes her humility seems to be crossed but that is due to the infinite intensity of the love towards Them.devim gunaisva lalitam?But Rupa Goswami says, gunaisva lalitam? “We do not see the roughness but that seems to us very mild and soft. Her little haughtiness seems to us to be softness. So humility, such is her internal wealth.” Let us show our obeisance to her. Today is her birthday we are told from the scriptures.
yam kama api braja bane?
When she’s roaming about the streets of Vrndavana, so many are coming with petition in hand, “Please enlist my name in the service of your group. I want to have admission in your group.” Not only that, s/he’s taken immediately and also canvassing wherever she goes, canvassing, “Come, join our group to do service to my Lord and Lady.” So everywhere, she’s also requested, she’s also requested, and she’s also requested for the service of the Divine Pair. That is the nature of Lalita Devi.More we are told about her that she’s a little more inclined towards Radharani than Krishna. Radharani She sometimes cannot represent Her side out of Her humility, but before that, Lalita Devi, she goes ahead to get the superior understanding for Radharani’s party, from Krishna. Of course, that is the very deeper layer, deeper plane, of the Divine love affairs between Radha-Krishna. It is too high for us. Still, we are told like that.pujala ragapaöha gaurava baìgemattala sadhu-jana viñaya range
[“The path of divine love is worshippable to us and should be held overhead as our highest aspiration.”]
Our direction from Guru Maharaj, “Don’t tackle all those fine things of the domain of love roughly. Stand a respectable distance and try to view them with greatest, with utmost respectful reverence.” Very fine, very subtle, very soft and susceptible is the plane of the divine love of such high degree. So fools rush in where angels fear to tread, keep always in your mind. Otherwise in the name of real love you will acquire something else.
guru-gaëa-shire punaù shobha paya shata-guëa[“All desirable objects, when offered to our Gurus, become glorified one hundred-fold, as Their crown-jewels.”]
The very key to have entrance into that plane, to try to see, to look at them on the head of one’s Guru Maharaj. Then it will see that thing very brightly, “It is on the head of my Gurudeva.” This is the secret that has been given to us by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Try to see it at the head, over the head of your Guru Maharaj, then it will shine very brightly to you, guru-gaëa-shire punaù shobha paya shata-guëa. So don’t be very aggressive in nature, there in that spirit you will be loser. Pujala ragapaöha gaurava baìge.Lalita Devi is a very beloved of both of Them, the Divine Couple, but she’s a little more tending towards Radharani, Radha- dasya . And our line of devotion goes through that. Different lines to approach Krishna, even in madhurya-rasa also, different. But through Radharani, if we want to go to Krishna we approach Krishna in the side of the service of Radharani, then our desired leader we can try to have Sri Lalita Devi. And then next position, Rupa Goswami, from Rupa through Lalita towards Radharani, that should be our, that way has been demarcated for us by our well-wishers. And we must consider it very soberly and sincerely and we shall try to learn how we should deal with them. They are all our Guru or guide, they’re all our guide. If we have aspiration for a drop of that divine nectar of that intensity then we are to follow such course in our life.
Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna. Gaura Hari bol! Then any questions? Gaura Hari bol!
Devotee : What is Vishakha Devi’s position in our line of…
Srila B.R. Sridhara Swami : Vishakha Devi’s a little inclined, she’s impartial mostly, more sober and sometimes a little inclined towards Krsna. That is her position. And she’s very expert in playing music with musical instruments and also singing, all these things. Vishakha Devi.
Devotee : ……………………………………….?
Srila B.R. Sridhara Swami : Rupa Manjari, Lalita’s line is.
Devotee : Mahaprabhu lila Svarupa Damodara Prabhu
Srila B.R. Sridhara Swami : Ah, Lalita Devi, Svarupa Damodara. Lalita Devi’s avatara is Svarupa Damodara.
And, to hear Srila Govinda Maharaja speak on the glories of Sri Lalita Devi…here is the audio file
SGM Lalita Saptami.
Srimati Lalita Devi avirbhava maha-mahotsava ki jaya!