Below is an email I recently sent to Sriman Mahananda Das Bhakti Ranjan Prabhu along with his reply. It includes some candid thoughts and observations regarding Srila Govinda Maharaja’s visit to Veracruz, Mexico and Soquel/San Jose California. I had not intended it for public discussion but at the request of Mahananda Prabhu I acceded to it’s being posted on the Navadwipa Math website. He, in turn, agreed to allow me to post his response here.
Listening to his voice memo response to my email and hearing his very charitable words in my regard might cause one to wonder if I have not conceived this as a means of self aggrandizement. That may or may not be. Please, however, consider, as I have, the value of the tone and words of Mahananda Prabhu as an edifying dialogue that reveals the tendency of the devotees to always see beyond the faults of others, such as myself, to encourage our further progress.
In addition I was also pleased to hear his recognition of the seva of Srimati Lila Sundari Devi. I may recognize her steadfast service to our mission but it is even more satisfying to hear it expressed by others. For a long time I had hoped to develop a forum for discussion which reached beyond the doors of our Math in New Jersey. I could not envision myself as a blogger as I lack the necessary discipline required to make regular postings. However, I am almost always up to the task of responding to questions regarding our philosophy. My friends have noted that I tend to be argumentative and admittedly I am particularly enticed to respond to those points of view with which I disagree. Srila Govinda Maharaja has said referring to himself “I especially like the bad question”. I seem to have a similar affinity and welcome questions from all quarters which can be sent via our “Contact” page.
I have many other unfulfilled desires and ambitions to serve our devotees and friends. Now by the efforts of Sriman Gokulananda Prabhu we have a website by which we can offer some additional services to the devotee community near and far. I see the primary function of this site as a means for glorifying the devotees of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga as exemplified by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaja and pray that by His Grace and the grace of the Vaishnavas I may always be mindful of that goal. I am also eager to offer our services, according to our capacity, in the form of “relief work” as conceived by Srila Sridhar Maharaja. As such I welcome all sincere seekers of Krishna Consciousness to avail themselves of whatever facilities we may offer. News of our Math’s activities and projects, articles by our Acharyas and devotee community, photos, video and audio recordings and so forth are among the many items we hope will fill out this site during its future development.
In that line, I welcome your suggestions to make the site more enjoyable and useful for you. I also invite your help and patience, due to our very limited time and resources.
At your service,
Swami BK Giri
Sripad Giri Maharaja’s Email
Dear Sriman Mahananda prabhu,
My dandavat pranams.
Prabhu I just wanted you to know I bought 2 cans of compressed air which Manasa Krsna Prabhu said he would bring to you for me. He will bring at least one of them with him when he comes in the next day or so to India. Would you please keep one can for the exclusive use on the pilot lights of the gas heaters for Srila Govinda Maharaja? The other is for your own use as you see fit. I know it’s difficult to find canned air in your area. I hope this will be helpful for you.
I just arrived back at the NJ Math with Lila Sundari devi. By the grace of the devotees we were able to attend the programs in Veracruz and Soquel.
I have some photos to post on our new website scsmnj.com which is already up but very sparsely populated. When I get it filled in a little more I’ll ask you to announce the new site. In the meantime perhaps you could post something like “Coming soon, a new website for the New Jersey Math also serving Philadelphia and New York City. Photos will be included from Srila Gurudev’s visit to Veracruz and Soquel.”
I have contracted an injury to my right arm known as something like repetitive stress syndrome. It makes it very difficult for me to use the computer. As such, processing photos and so forth is very slow for me at this time.
I doubt I will be coming to India anytime before Gaura Purnima although it’s possible I may come afterwards with Gokulananda Prabhu. He’s trying to launch a new business so he’s extremely busy at present. I’m not launching a business but I’m still playing catch up on all the items that have been neglected for many years here in NJ. In addition, our finances are very low. We are so grateful to HDG for his visit for those of use who cannot get to India.
Just before leaving Soquel he mentioned he was “very happy” with his tour. Perhaps it was his happiest to date in spite of health problems. I was surprised to hear this remark. It’s a little difficult to understand but we were also made happy by hearing it.
He did mention he was very happy to know that we now have a preaching center in Bangkok and will also soon open something in Japan when Sruta Srava Prabhu goes there.
In addition I suspect he was pleased to see how well many functions were carried out by those who were helping him. In particular the Veracruz installation went exceedingly well with Spd. Janardan Maharaja and Sadhu Priya Prabhu making all the preparations very nicely and performing the entire function, sans fire sacrifice, in less than an hour doing the abhisheka while Srila Govinda Maharaja gave a marvelous talk about Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandhavika Nandanandana’s appearance. Sripad Janardan Maharaja also did a wonderful thing. Gurudeva told him to place the tulasi at the feet of Krishna and Mahaprabhu and in the hand of Sri Radha after Gurudev first peaked into the Deity room to see that everything was properly prepared.
Gurudeva then took his seat in the temple room. Spipad Janardan Maharaja. then brought the tulasi and chandan to Srila Gurudeva and asked him if he would like to prepare it. He did so very happily and then sent Sripadji to place them on the Deities. In this way, although Srila Govinda Maharaja did not personally place the tulasi on the Deity, he was drawn in closer to the function than he had expected and appeared very pleased with this.
There were also many initiations carried out by Sripads Ashram Maharaja and Janardan Maharaja in Veracruz with other sannyasis also chanting on the mala. When HDG wanted to speak to the devotees he did so but at other times it was truly his chance to simply meet with devotees and friends without any particular pressure to do so, all the while, important functions were being carried out by his delegates. In short, I think HDG perhaps gained some confidence that he could depend on many others including those like yourself and Sripad. Acharya Maharaja in India, Avadhuta Maharaja in Russia and so forth to carry out the functions of the mission while he offered advise and direction as needed without the need to step in and put out any fires himself.
During the segments of the tour I observed, Srila Govinda Maharaja appeared to be much more comfortable than on previous tours. His behavior was very much like when he is in Kolkata. For the most part everyone knows their job and only comes to him for darshans and from time to time some particular problem which requires his direction. In any event he is controlling everything from the comfort of his room which is his home. This is not to detract from the obvious tolerance he observes in the face of a plethora of problems, but to emphasize that he seemed much more “at home” in the different environments than previously and more comfortable delegating authority to others.
Well, these are one simple man’s observations. I hope I haven’t said anything offensive or intruded beyond my pay grade. I just thought to share my thoughts with you.
I pray this finds you well in all respects.
December 1, 2007
Prabhu Mahananda’s Audio Response
Dear Sripad Giri Maharaja,
If you have any problems being able to listen to it, pls let me know.
Mahananda das B.R.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
2 December 2007 7:40PM