Srila Govinda Maharajaa “Baby Cobra”

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Srila Govinda Mahraja, Gaura Purnima 2006

Delivered in Berlin August 1994

This time in Venezuela the devotees arranged many nice programs for preaching, in Caracas they organized a TV interview for me as well as a newspaper article. The television program was very nice and was broadcast live to the whole country on a breakfast time channel for one and a half hours. The translating and interpreting was done in a very quick way and it was a question and answer format and that is very good for me because I cannot speak Spanish , or English perfectly.I also do not speak German, but you can ask some questions if you like and I shall try to give a sufficient answer. Actually the questions are never short and the answer can also be very long. We are giving short answers in a few minutes but that is not actually satisfying me. I heard from Srila Guru Maharaja that Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur would spend one month on the slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam. I had just taken shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaja and at that time I could not imagine, one month per sloka, but now I think that even one month is not sufficient time. We can even consider to spend one year discussing a sloka, now I can believe it because there are so many channels to discuss.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains the sloka “api cet sudaracaro, bha ate mam ananya-bhak sadhur eva sa mantavyah, samyag vyavasito hi sah”, The twelve great Mahajana’s were discussing this verse. Krsna Himself said that “if you see an exclusive dedicated devotee of mine, an ananya bhak, and he does something terribly wrong or you see some very bad activity in him, still you must never think that he is not my devotee. Not only that but it is my declaration that he is a sadhu and what he is doing that is right because he is my exclusive devotee. Through your vision of Vedic knowledge and what you think to be good or bad, even if you see in him some extremely bad activity you must never think that he is not perfect and that what he does that is also perfect.” This is very difficult to understand.

Bad is bad and good is good, this definition we are all getting from the scriptures, so how can we digest that he is perfect, the twelve Mahajanas were discussing this point over and over. They accepted the declaration of Krsna. Krsna Himself said that this was the final conclusion and meaning of this sloka but how can we harmonize this with our relative vision? Then after much discussion another question came to them, if Krsna says that this man is his exclusive devotee then we must believe it, but the next sloka confused them even more.

“ksipram bhavati dharmmatma, sasvac-chantim nigacchati kaunteya pratijanihi, na me bhaktah pranasyati”

Krsna declares that yes he is my exclusively dedicated devotee and that what he does is also perfect but he will become even more perfect and his defects will rapidly be dispelled through the purification of his remembrance and service to me. He will be dharmmatma and he will get eternal peace and he will not have any more trouble in the future’,’ this is Krishna’s promise to his unalloyed devotees. If Krsna said to me pointing to a bullock cart, “Oh look at that motorcar”, I would believe it because everything is possible by His word.

I can see that any type of question , even if someone asks is that vegetable sweet or sour, that question is also infinite. Actually all inquiry can expand to the infinite, it is possible, then time is no factor. But your questions must be for my benefit and for your own benefit and that will be good for us both. Yes Prabhu, you are the master of questions .

If we hear some good things about someone then we will get a good impression and good feelings will come to us and we will be attracted to them. If you hear some good things about Rsabdhi Prabhu, then your heart will be melted and you will think, yes look at Rsabdhi Prabhu, he can do this and that and so on. If someone hears something good about someone but no affection comes then you must think that, the goodness has not entered his heart. The reason the goodness has not entered his heart is because his heart is like a stone. That means there is no fertile land in his heart, and if you put the seed of Harinama there it cannot grow nicely.

Devotee: Maharaja, Prithi means love, and the goal of our sadhana is to cultivate love for Krsna, but can we have love for Krsna if we are making Nama aparadha?

Srila Govinda Maharaja: He who hears the glories of Krsna’s name, but does not develop love for Krsna, that explanation is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur gave much emphasis to this sloka: “He who hears the glories of the Harinama, but no affection for that holy name develops in his heart, you must consider that person to be a great offender, otherwise why is he not getting any love for Krishna’s Name. He has made some offense, but that offense will also go if he continues steadily in his chanting. That stone-like heart may be very strong but if he continues with sincerity one day he will get love for Krishna’s name. The explanation given by Bhaktivinoda Thakur for “atma saram” means that there are different varieties of stone, and some types are much harder than others. It will take more time to melt the harder stones, so much later they will get love for the Harinama. The association of a great sadhu can also melt that type of hard heart, by his mercy it is possible. That stone like heart is coming from the strong material mentality, that I am this body and what belongs to me is mine, he will make offense to the Harinama.

Firstly, I thought that we must try to avoid the ten offenses to the holy Name, at first I did not think that this would be too difficult, but after some time we are thinking that it is very difficult. Later on we will get the result no doubt. We have seen many and they have got the result, that is our great fortune actually, it is necessary to see that result in others otherwise we will not know how to see that Harinama playing in the hearts of others.

A very old man and very good friend of mine told me a very good explanation how to understand this principle. Before I joined the mission of Srila Guru Maharaja I was a professional singer of kirtan for about two years. When I was very young I learned all the meters and songs automatically, because my father was a famous-professional singer and many people were coming to learn from him and any time other singers were going through our village they would come to our house. I had a very good memory so I could keep all those songs and melodies in my mind. Then my father died and everyone was crying and nobody knew what to do next. They did not know who could sing the songs. My family and uncles were discussing what to do and I said to them that I could sing all the songs, they all looked at me very surprised but my uncle asked me to sing this particular song and I said all right. It was a very difficult song, but I sang it perfectly, while my uncle played the mrdanga. When the song was finished my uncle embraced me and declared to everyone that I shall be their new leader, at that time I was fourteen years old.

There was one old man who was a very good singer and he was always going to the kirtans, wherever there was an expert singer. I asked him what he was getting from all these different kirtan leaders. He told me “Gan shunto sikha hoy.” This means that you must learn how to hear the songs properly. This is my point, we have to learn how to see the Harinama dancing inside of others, this is necessary for us to learn.

Actually that old man brought one big asura man to Srila Guru Maharaja. His son in law was a very rich landlord, but his daughter was unhappy because her husband was spending so much time and money on his material sense enjoyment. At that time he was spending one thousand rupees per day on his sense pleasures, he was not a bad man but a big asura without doubt, and his wife who was the daughter of the old man was unhappy. Guru Maharaja had only started his mission about two or three years before and he was the only sannyasi in the Math.

One day we were helping Guru Maharaja to make a fence and he was doing the binding work himself. Anyway this old man came to the Math and asking to Guru Maharaja, “Where is Sridhar Maharaja, where is Sridhar Maharaja?” Guru Maharaja asked the man where he has come from and for what reason. That man said that he had heard that a great sadhu sannyasi called Sridhar Maharaja is living in this place. Guru Maharaja told the man to go inside and then Guru Maharaja went and washed his hands and feet and dressed only in a kumsha went to that man and said “I am Sridhar Maharaja, how can I help you”.

That man was very surprised that this was Sridhar Maharaja and that he was making the fence with his own hands. Then he told Guru Maharaja his problem about his son in law wasting so much money on his sense gratification and that his daughter was very unhappy, and that if Guru Maharaja could give that asura man some spiritual consciousness then everybody would be very happy. Guru Maharaja told the man that he does not go outside the Math but if he brought his son in law to the Math he would try and help him.

One day that asura man was walking with his wife and father-in-law and some family members by the banks of the Ganga. The father in law said that there is a sadhu living nearby let us go and see him, the wife also insisted so they all came to see Guru Maharaja. When they saw Srila Guru Maharaja they knew that he was genuine and the wife asked could they sit for a few minutes by his lotus feet. At that time the Ganges was very close by from the road you could jump in, even at that time Guru Maharaja was renowned as a big sadhu sannyasi, and they had heard mention of Sridhar Maharaja. Then Guru Maharaja started preaching to that man in a very enthusiastic and penetrating way, explaining to him the actual position of the jiva soul.

Guru Maharaja told him, “You have got this great opportunity now that you have this human body to do some good, even the demigods are doing tapasya hoping to get a human body. This human body can help us achieve the supreme benefit of life, but death may come at any moment and you do not know when or where you will die. You are walking by the Ganga and there are many poisonous snakes and one may bite you and you may die, death is certain for us all and you do not know where or when you will again take birth you do not know what awaits you.” That man listened very attentively to Guru Maharaja and when Guru Maharaja finished that man cried, “Oh! I am losing everything, my wealth and happiness, everything, please save my life!,” he begged to Guru Maharaja. To such a degree he wholehearted surrendered to Srila Guru Maharaja. Guru Maharaja was trying wholeheartedly to make that man perfect and he was successful, that man fell to the feet of Guru Maharaja begging him to save his very life.

After this happened that old man whose name was Nityananda Chowdhri, and his daughter were very happy. When that man went back to his house he threw out all the whisky and wine bottles, and he took Harinama from Guru Maharaja and he left all the bad things in his nature.

His barber was also the barber of Srila Guru Maharaja and would come to the Math once a month and shave Guru Maharaja. He would go to that mans house every day and shave him, although the charge was only a few paisa he would pay the barber five rupees. Although he was an asura he was a generous kind hearted man also. The next day the barber came running into the Math and giving full satsanga dandavats to Guru Maharaja said “O Sridhar Maharaja, Mahaprabhu rescued Jagai and Madhai, Devananda Pandit and many Muslims, and we heard that Jagai and Madhai were the most sinful, but we only heard these things, but I have seen in my life with my own eyes what that man was doing. He was spending so much money on women and wine doing more wrong then Jagai and Madhai. Every day I am praying to Mahaprabhu to please give him some sumati, good mentality, but you Maharaja are more merciful than Nityananda Prabhu, you have rescued this man! Today I went to his house to shave him but he was dressed in dhoti and wearing tilaka he was chanting Hare Krsna with Tulasi mala and his mind and heart were peaceful, it is a great miracle. He told me that this transformation was brought about by the mercy of Sridhar Maharaja of Kolerganj!”

That old man, the father-in-law of the asura man, told me that we have to learn how to hear the song properly, so we must learn how to see the Harinama play within others. That old man also became a Prabhu and Guru Maharaja gave him the name Gaurahari Bhakti Sampada, he was my very good friend and he has done much service for the Math.. Actually it was through him that the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math began to grow.

Srila Guru Maharaja would never ask anyone for anything and I never asked that man for anything, but I asked him if he could introduce me to his friends that would be very good. I told him that he was a great man and his recommendation would be sufficient, if he would introduce me to the people of his village. So he invited me to come to his village and I met many good gentlemen there and automatically after some preaching some help for the Math came from them. They also gave me the nickname “kyuto daka”, baby cobra. They would say to others, don’t try to debate with him he is like a baby cobra and will smash you. Those men were also big men and that name was a good certificate from them. I was fearless because I was a disciple of Srila Guru Maharaja so how could I be afraid of anything, and through them the Math began to grow.

Generally Guru Maharaja would wait six months before giving initiation to the brahmacharis who wanted to live in the Math, but he broke that rule with me and gave me Harinama after three months. Usually he would wait and see how they were serving, if they were humble and steady in their service, then he would give them japa mala. I heard that Swami Maharaja was also following like that but he gave another instruction and that was that they could begin chanting before formal initiation. Maybe that was necessary for the western devotees to see how they were doing.

Please excuse me, now I shall go to my camp. Jaya Srila Guru Maharaja all glories to the assembled devotees, Hare Krsna!.