Appearance day lectures by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
– Gorakpur, Feb 15 1971
– Atlanta, March 2, 1975
– Mayapur, February 21, 1976
– Mayapur, February 8, 1977
Life and Disappearance
Article by H.H. Sivarama Swami – A Ray of Vishnu
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s
Appearance Day, Evening
Gorakhpur, February 15, 1971
Prabhupada:Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, my spiritual master, his advent day today. In 1922, I was at that time very much engaged in Congress activity. I was very much devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and at that time, I was manager also in a very big chemical concern in Calcutta. Perhaps you may know, Dr. Bose’s laboratory. One of my friends—he’s still living, Sri Narendranath Mullik—he informed me that “One saintly person has come. Let us go and see.” At that time I was young man, and I did not care for very much about so-called saintly persons. Because in our house, my father used to receive so many sannyasis, but some of them were not very to the standard, and due to my association with college friends, younger days, I lost my faith practically, although I was born in a Vaishnava family. My father was a pure Vaishnava. From my childhood, he gave me Radha-Krishna Deity for worshiping. A ratha… I was playing with my boyfriends, Ratha-yatra, Dola, like that. My father encouraged. So I was trained up in this line, but in my youthful age, when I was college student, gradually, by their bad association or something, gradually, I lost my activities. But when this friend, Mr. Mullik, took me to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, he immediately asked me that, “You are educated young boys. Why don’t you take up Lord Caitanya’s message and preach in the Western world?” In the very first sight, he told me. At that time, I argued with him that “We are dependent nation, and who is going to hear about our message?” So he defeated my argument. (aside:) There is no necessity of closing. Yes. He defeated my argument. He was learned scholar. What I was? I was still boy. So I agreed (chuckles) that I was defeated. So after finishing our visit with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, I got some impression that “Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya’s message very seriously. Now it will be preached.” My friend asked my opinion, that “What is your opinion?” So I gave this opinion, that “Here is a person who has taken Lord Caitanya’s movement very seriously, and now it will be preached.”
So that was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on business account, and I started my business at Allahabad. But I was always thinking of my Guru Maharaja, although I was that time not initiated. But the impression was there. I was thinking, “I met a very nice saintly person.” So in this way, I passed from 1923 to 1928, I think. Then during Kumbhamela… (child making noise) Stop that noise he’s making. In 1928 my Guru Maharaja, along with other disciples, came to Allahabad for starting their branch there. So some gentlemen known to me might have told them that “The proprietor of such and such business, Prayaga Pharmacy, he’s a very nice gentleman. He can help you in so many ways.” So they came to me, and I saw the same saintly persons whom I met 1922. I was very glad to receive. In this way, my connection was more intimate with my Guru Maharaja. And in 1936, or 1933, I was initiated officially, although I was initiated 1922. But officially, I was initiated in 1933, although from 1922 to 1933 I was always thinking of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. So in 1936, he was to pass away by 31st December. So I do not know… Out of my own accord, I wrote him one letter that “Guru Maharaja, you have got many disciples. Some of them are directly serving you. I could not do so. I am a householder. So if you give me some direct service to you, it will be very kind of you.” So he replied that letter, that “You try to preach in English language. Then the persons who will be instructed by you and both yourself will be benefited.” Again, he said the same thing which he ordered me in 1922 at the first sight. Then there… He passed away 1936, 31st December.
Then there were other Godbrothers. I consulted him that “Guru Maharaja said like this. What can I do?” So they also encouraged me. I was writing. There was a paper, Harmonist. Then, by their desires, I started this Back to Godhead in 1944. That was also started on his advent day, this advent day. Back to Godhead was started. Yes. There was a meeting, and many friends came, and we first started this Back to Godhead on his advent day, this advent day, 1944. So our paper, Back to Godhead, the advent day is also today. Yes.
Hamsaduta: Doubly auspicious.
Prabhupada: Yes. So at that time, there was no sale of Back to Godhead. I was publishing about one thousand copies and distributing. So there was no income. I was spending three hundred, four hundred rupees from my pocket. At that time, I had income. Then, gradually… I wanted to remain as a grihastha and preach, but Guru Maharaja did not like this idea. I could understand. Sometime I was dreaming that he was calling me, and I was horrified that “I’ll have to go away from home.” (laughter) So at last it happened so that I left my home in 1950 and became a vanaprastha. I was living sometimes here and there. In 1959 I took sannyasa. But that Back to Godhead was going on. Then there was some inner dictation that “This paper, Back to Godhead, I am publishing, people are taking.” Some friend advised me that “Why don’t you write some books? That will be nice.” So then I began to translate Srimad-Bhagavatam. And because I left home, so practically I had no income. With this Bhagavatam, er, Back to Godhead, I was selling and I was some way or other maintaining. And whatever little money I had, that was finished.
Then, when I wrote book, Srimad-Bhagavatam First Canto was finished. So I approached the Bhaiji of… Perhaps Mataji knows this. (chuckles) In 1962. So I asked him that “You take this publication.” So I am very much obliged to Bhaiji. He said that “Our English printing is not very efficient. You can get this book published from elsewhere. I shall partly help you.” So he helped me with some money from the Dalmia Trust, and I first of all published my first part of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Then I published second part also. There was sale. Then there was no necessity of money. I was getting money by selling Srimad-Bhagavatam. Everyone appreciated. Even the, your American Embassy here, they purchased eighteen copies, and they gave me open order that “Whenever this Bhagavata will be published next part, subsequent parts, this is open order, eighteen copies, each part.” That order is still there.
So after publishing three parts of readings(?), then automatically, Guru Maharaja gave me indication that “Now you can start for America.” So some way or other, in 1965 I went to America, with great difficulty. But I took about two hundred sets of books. The customs clearance was done, I told them that “Oh, I am taking these books for distribution. Not for sale.” Anyway, they passed, and with these books I reached America. And I was maintaining myself by selling these books for one year. There was no friend, and I was living in apartment with great difficulty. Still, the whole, I mean to say, stock, and my typewriter, my tape recorder—everything was stolen. In this way, I became very much depressed, and I was going to the shipping company, “When the next ship is going for, going to India?” So they gave me such and such date. Then I thought, “Let me wait for some time more. Then I shall return back.” I had return ticket, of course. There was no difficulty.
In this way, 1966, by selling these books, I had only $200, and I dared to take one apartment and storefront. Storefront one $125 per month, and apartment $75. So I had only $200 dollars. So I advanced him $200. I did not know how to pay next month’s rent. So I started in 1966, lecturing in a storefront and living in that apartment in 26 Second Avenue. Then gradually, these boys, American boys and girls, began to come. And then I started my kirtana in Tompkinson Square. More and more, these younger Americans, they came to me, and things were organized. Then I registered this Krishna Consciousness Society under religious act of New York in 1966, and gradually people took interest. People means the younger section. All the boys and girls, they were from sixteen… Not all sixteen, but there were sixteen. Krishna dasa was at that time sixteen years old. And… Between twenty to thirty. Only, I think, Keith—now Kirtanananda Maharaja—he was at that time twenty-nine. Hayagriva was, I think, twenty-nine. So in this way… This Hayagriva, I met him on the street. After renting the apartment and storefront, when I was returning, this Hayagriva, Professor Howard Wheeler, he was philosophically minded. So he asked me, “Swamiji, are you coming from India?” So I told, “Yes, I am coming from India.” So, “Are you interested in Indian philosophy?” “Yes, sir.” “So why don’t you come? I have taken one storefront and apartment.” So I came back. I showed him, “Here is my storefront and apartment. You come in the evening.” So… (Hindi)
So the Hayagriva and Kirtanananda, Keith, and some other boys, I think, Satsvarupa…
Pradyumna: Ravindra Svarupa?
Prabhupada: Ravindra, yes, yes, he was there.
Tamala Krishna: Mukunda.
Prabhupada: Mukunda. In this way, five or six students used to come. Gradually, it developed. Then we started next branch in San Francisco, next branch in Montreal, next branch in Buffalo, Boston. In this way… Now we have got forty-five branches. So practically, we began work from 1968. ’66 I started, but… And ’67 I became very much sick. So I came back to India, and again I went there in 1968. Practically, this propaganda work began vigorously from 1968. So from 1968, ’69, ’70, and this, ’71. So three, four years, all these branches have grown up, and now practically, throughout the whole continent, Europe and America, they know what is Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Due it to our propaganda. Just like these boys. You have seen they are chanting and dancing. We send street sankirtana even the most busiest quarter of New York, Fifth Avenue. And they go. The American boys, they are very daring. Sometimes police arrest them. And police is not harassing. The public and police, both, they are now sympathetic, that “Here is a movement which is actually genuine and very beneficial to our people.” They are sympathetic. And even some of the Christian priests, they are also very sympathetic. They say that “These boys, American boys, they are our boys. They’re so nice that they’re mad after God, but we could not give them. Swamiji has given them.” So they appreciate. Actually, these boys, they come from Christian family, Jewish family. There are many churches in America. I was surprised. When I first went to Butler, that’s a small county, but I saw there about dozen of churches. So I thought the American people are very religiously-minded. And actually so. The history of the American people, mostly they came from England for this religious purpose. So they migrated in America for being religiously advanced.
So American people, I very much appreciate them. They are religious. They have got very good potency for understanding God consciousness. That is my opinion. And I do not know why I was inclined to go to America. It was also Krishna’s desire. Because I thought that “If this movement, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement… ” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that
prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
That is His prediction, that “As many towns and villages are there on the surface of the globe, everywhere, this message of Hare Krishna mantra and Lord Caitanya’s name will be there.” So I thought that “I should go to America. If the American people take it seriously, then other people will take it.” So actually, that is happening. These boys are so enthusiastic in preaching that on my word, they are going any part of the world. Any part of the world. They are prepared to go any part of the world. And just now I received one letter from my disciple Sriman Upendra dasa. He does not know Hindi, and in the Fiji Island there are many Indians, but still, he is making propaganda. He’s simply chanting Hare Krishna mantra door to door. They are also husband and wife. And people are very much appreciating.
So my Guru Maharaja’s desire and Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction is now being fulfilled. At least, it has begun to be fulfilled. So it is a genuine movement, authorized movement, and India’s original culture. So our appeal to the Indian people, that “You should take seriously about this movement and try to cooperate with us.” That will be glorification for Indian culture. At the present moment, India is known as very poor, poverty-stricken country. People are under impression that “They are beggars. They have got nothing to give. They simply come here to beg.” Actually, our ministers go there and, for some begging purpose: “Give us rice, give us wheat, give us money, give us soldiers.” That is their business. But this movement, for the first time, India is giving something to them. It is not a begging propaganda; it is giving propaganda. Because they are hankering after this substance, Krishna consciousness. They have enjoyed enough of this material consciousness. The material consciousness means to enjoy sex life and drink and have sufficient money. These three items, they have got sufficient, immense. There are… So far material comforts, oh, there is no conception in India how they are materially comfortable. Their roads, their cars, their machines… You cannot imagine how American roads are there. There are freeways. In America, there are freeways: without any stoppage you can run your car in seventy mile speed, and four cars going up and four cars going down. And road just like velvet. (laughter) Our roads… So there is no comparison of their materially advancement. So I always… When I run in some freeway… These boys run our cars. And you’ll be very pleased that in each and every temple we have got at least four cars, nice. Especially one car for me and two cars for carrying them for sankirtana movement. Very good arrangement. Better than any temple in India. If you go sometimes… I request you to go. But one condition: that you have to become Life Member. (laughter) But if you go, will be very much pleased in our temples. And this Dr. Rao… Perhaps you know, he is a professor in your Gorakhpur University. He was a research scholar, atomic research scholar. His wife is sitting here. So he’s still. So he was very much captivated with the temple worship, and there he became my disciple.
So our temple is very nice. Just like this temple, you see practically how they are managing. Here, of course, we have no facility. But in other temples we have got very nice decorated. There is chandelier and… If you see, we have got pictures. It is very nice. So this movement is increasing, and our branches are increasing, practically, every month one branch. And these boys are doing very enthusiastically. So why not spread this movement in India? It is India’s culture. Why Indians are lacking? That is my… I have brought them to show you example. This is a genuine movement, Krishna. People are harassed, “Where is God?” Krishna, here is God. Why don’t you take Krishna? Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam. And Krishna’s order is there in the Bhagavad-gita: man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam… Why you are misusing this Bhagavad-gita? You take it very seriously, and let there be a successful world movement, Krishna consciousness movement. And people will be happy.
Actually, that is the peace formula.
jnatva mam santim ricchati
Santi means to understand Krishna, or God, as the supreme enjoyer. Here, in the material world, everyone wants to be enjoyer. That is not possible. Not everyone is enjoyer; everyone is servant. But his misconception is that “I am enjoyer.” That is called maya, illusion. He’s not enjoyer. He’s servant. So Krishna therefore says in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Sarva-dharman, we have created some dharma. Some dharma is for lording it over the material nature. Karmis. The karmis are trying to lord it over the material nature, all resources. Working hard, day and night, how to lord it over the material world. This is one dharma. Another dharma, when the karmi’s frustrated because he cannot enjoy… Because he is not enjoyer. Artificially, he is trying to enjoy. Then, when he’s frustrated, then he says, brahma satyam jagan mithya: “The brahma is satya, and this world is false.” Then he becomes a sannyasi, a renouncer. But he cannot live in that renouncement platform. And then he again comes back to this material world and engages himself in some philanthropic work: “Let us open hospital. Let us open schools and college…” If the brahma satyam jagan mithya… If the world is mithya, false, why you are again, a sannyasi, you are coming again back to this platform? That means he’s not satisfied in so-called brahma satyam. Practically, he has no realization of Brahman. Therefore he comes back again. And that is, I mean to say, indicated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that ye ’nye ’ravindaksha vimukta-maninah. Persons who are thinking that “I have become liberated. I have become Narayana. I have become God. I have become Brahman.” Brahman, everyone is Brahman, constitu… That’s a fact. But there is another Param Brahman. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan—Krishna.
So the Mayavadi philosophers, they mistake that “Param Brahman or myself—all the same.” No. That is not the fact. Therefore, without having shelter of the Param Brahman, he falls down again in this material world. Aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah patanty adho ’nadrita yushmad anghrayah. Because he has no information of the lotus feet of Krishna, he falls down again to the material platform. So just like pendulum, the clock pendulum, tock, tock, tock—sometimes he’s renouncer and sometimes he’s enjoyer. Sometimes he’s accepting… For example… Don’t take it otherwise. Just like our national father, he renounced everything. But renounced for what? Greater enjoyment, that his countrymen will be happy. “The Britishers will go away, and we shall get independence, and we shall be enjoyer.” You see? So this renouncement or that… Again, renouncement for enjoyment. The Mayavadi philosophers, they say “Renounce this whole…” Brahma satyam jagan mithya. Jagan mithya. “But I want to be one with that Supreme.” That is for greater enjoyment. “I have failed to enjoy this world even after becoming prime minister or big man. Now I’ll become God.”
So this kind of philosophy will not make you happy. Therefore Krishna says, sarva-dharman parityajya. We have created dharma in two categories: one for enjoyment and one for renouncement. Both these things have to be given up. Neither enjoyment, nor renouncement. Then what is this philosophy? The philosophy is that you cannot renounce anything. Because what is the value of your renouncement? You haven’t got anything. Everything belongs to God. So what you can renounce? Similarly, what you can enjoy if everything belongs to God? Isavasya. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Krishna says, “I am the enjoyer. I am the proprietor.” So if Krishna is proprietor, if Krishna is the enjoyer, then how you can renounce? The proprietor is somebody else, so what is the value of your renouncement? You are sitting in this room. While going away, if you say, “I renounce this room,” what is the meaning of this renouncement? When this room belonged to you? You have come here for some time and sitting here for one or two hours. That does not mean you possess it. Similarly, we come here empty-handed; we leave here, say, fifty years or hundred years. When I become proprietor? This is another maya, renouncement. As enjoyment is another maya, similarly, renouncement. So we have to give up this renouncement or enjoyment. We have to take the real position, that “Everything belongs to Krishna, or God. We have simply to serve Krishna.” That is bhakti-yoga. That will give you actual peace. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam. Krishna is the supreme enjoyer. You simply supply ingredients of His enjoyment; then you’ll be happy. Because He is enjoyer. And bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram. And He is the proprietor. So this attitude… Of course, they may criticize that “The bhaktas, the Vaishnavas, they have got slave mentality.” Some so-called philosopher remarked like that. But that is not slave mentality. That is the actual position. That we get information from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jivera svarupa haya nitya krishna-dasa. We are eternally servant of Krishna. And mukti means svarupenavasthitih. When you are situated as servant of Krishna, that is mukti. And so long you are falsely claiming that “I am enjoyer, I am proprietor,” that is maya. That is our philosophy. And Krishna consciousness movement is meant for that. We are… (break)
…that this movement is not new. It was long, long ago started. Even before five thousand years, when Krishna spoke this philosophy to Arjuna, He said, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam. Formerly, He spoke to Vivasvan, the sun-god. Manu. Manu understood this philosophy from Vivasvan. That means four hundred millions of years ago. So it is not a new movement. It is very old. Just like Krishna is very old. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusham. Purana means very old. Purana means very old. Nava-yauvanam ca: at the same time, very youthful. Similarly, this movement is very, very old, but it appears very fresh. Because it is spiritual, it is ever-fresh. So you take to this movement very seriously, and all of you will be very happy. That is our request. We are presenting this movement all over the world, and anyone who has taken, he is happy. But one must be sincere and serious. Then it will act.
Thank you very much.
Hamsaduta: The preceding lecture was recorded on February 15, the evening of the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada, at 3 Krishna Niketana, in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. (end)
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s
Appearance Day, Lecture
Atlanta, March 2, 1975
Prabhupada: …auspicious day, 101 years ago, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he appeared on this day. So Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is gaura-sakti. Gaura-sakti means empowered, empowered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He wanted His mission to be broadcast… (aside:) What is that sound? …all over the world. He desired:
prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
Prithivite, all over the world, as many town and villages are there, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that His mission will spread. This prediction was made by Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally five hundred years ago.
So perhaps my Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, attempted to fulfill the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And sometimes in the year 1918, he was brahmacari, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his material father, he wanted… Actually, he wanted, Bhaktivinoda Thakura… Of course, everyone wanted. But he wrote one small book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Teachings and Precepts of Lord Caitanya, in 1896. And he presented that book to the McGill University in Canada. And he very much desired that the foreigners, especially Americans, would join this movement. That was his desire in 1896. And then, in 1918, my Guru Maharaja started with this mission one institution known as Gaudiya Math. Perhaps some of you know the name, Gaudiya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and by chance or by prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that “You preach the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in English language. This is very much essential.” So on the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. So at that time I was in favor of Gandhi’s movement. So I said that “We are not independent—subjugated. Who will hear about our message?” So Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated, that “This so-called nationalism or any ism, they are all temporary. Real need is the self-realization.”
So I was convinced. But at that time, although he wanted me to immediately join him and spread this movement, so at that time I was a married man, young man. I was married in 1918. And I got a son also at that time, 1921. And in 1922 I met him. At that time I was manager in a big chemical factory. So I thought that “I am married man. I have got so many responsibilities. How I can join immediately? It is not my duty.” Of course, that was my mistake. I should have joined immediately. (laughter) I should have taken the opportunity immediately. But maya is there. So I thought like that. So that’s a long history. Then in 1954, no, not 1954, 1968, when I was fifty-four years old… Nineteen fifty-four, yes. Nineteen fifty-four, I was at that time fifty- eight years. So I left home, and I was living alone. Then, 1958, I took sannyasa, and then I decided to take up the responsibility of my Guru Maharaja. I thought that “My other Godbrothers are trying, so I am not capable to do it. They are better situated.” But somehow or other, they could not do very much, appreciative activities, in this connection.
So when I was seventy years old I decided, “Now I must do and execute the order of my Guru Maharaja. And thus this movement was started in 1965 from New York. And I was not very much hopeful because it is very difficult task, just opposite the European and Western culture. I came… When I first came, I had no money. So I got a free passage through some Indian steam navigation company. So I came by ship. So when I was on the ship at Boston port, Commonwealth port, I was thinking that “I have come here. I do not know what is the purpose because how the people will accept this movement? They are differently educated, and as soon as I will say, ’So, my dear sir, you have to give up meat-eating and illicit sex and no intoxication and gambling,’ they will say, ’Please go home.’ ” (laughter) Because that was the experience of one of my Godbrother. He went to London, and he had the opportunity to talk with one big man, Marquis of Zetland. Marquis of Zetland was formerly governor of Bengal. At that time I was student. He was Scotsman, and I was student of the Scottish Churches’ College. So he came to see our college, and he was standing in front of me in the second-year class. So he was very nice, good gentleman. So he proposed to my Godbrother, “Whether you can make me a brahmana?” So my Godbrother proposed, “Yes, we can make anyone brahmana provided you follow this principle: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling.” So that Lord Zetland immediately replied, “Impossible.” (laughter) So I was thinking that “I will propose something which is impossible. Anyway, let me try.”
Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!
Prabhupada: So now, by the grace of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Maharaja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahaprabhu you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Maharaja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits.
So he wanted this, and he is not… It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhanta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means… Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that “My Guru Maharaja is with me.” I never lost this faith, and that is fact. There are two words, vani and vapuh. Vani means words, and vapuh means this physical body. So vani is more important than the vapuh. Vapuh will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vani, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn’t matter. Just like Bhagavad-gita. It was spoken five thousand years ago. But if you keep to the words of Krishna, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Krishna about the instruction of Bhagavad-gita, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gita as it is, then you should know that Krishna is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gita. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences. If we keep…
imam rajarshayo viduh
sa kaleneha (mahata)
yogo nashtah parantapa
If you don’t keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Krishna. Similarly, Krishna and Krishna’s representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding. Na jayate na mriyate va kadacit nityah sasvato ’yam purano. Puranah means very old. Just like Krishna, the Supreme Being. He must be very old because He is the original person. But the Brahma-samhita says, advaita acyuta anadi ananta-rupam adyam purana-purusha nava-yauvanam ca. Purana-purusha, the oldest person, but you will find Him nava-yauvanam ca, always a fresh youth. That is God. God is not a material, that it gets old. The body gets old.
So you are hearing this philosophy daily. Try to understand more and more. We have got so many books. And this is the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and, by disciplic succession, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then my spiritual master. Then we are trying our level best. Similarly, you will also try your level best on the same principle. Then it will go on. Same principle. It doesn’t matter whether one is born in India or outside India. No. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, prithivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, “As many towns and cities and villages are there,” He did not say it to make a farce. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So sometimes I am very much criticized that I am making foreigners a brahmana. The caste brahmanas in India, they are very much against me. But this is not fact. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that all over the world His message will be broadcast, does it mean that it will be simply a cinema show? No. He wanted that everyone should become perfect Vaishnava. That is His purpose. It is not to make a farce, some lecturing and…, or some mutual praising society. No. It is Krishna Society. Everyone who will join this Krishna Society movement, he is more than a brahmana. Brahmana, what is brahmana? Brahmana is also material. A devotee is more than brahmana. The brahminical culture is included already. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: “Brahmana means one who knows the Absolute Truth, Brahman.” He is brahmana. But that is not very fixed up. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. Brahman is impersonal effulgence, and then further progress, realization of the localized aspect, Paramatma, Antaryami, and finally, understanding the Supreme Person, Krishna, Supreme Person, that is the final understanding.
So people cannot understand that how the Supreme, the origin of everything, can be a person. That is their difficulty. Because they are thinking, “A person, God? How it is possible. God is great, and He is the creator of everything. How a person can do that?” Yes. That is the Vedic version.
isvarah paramah krishnah
anadir adir govindah
He is the cause of Brahman. He is the cause of Supersoul. So ordinary man cannot understand. Avajananti mam mudha manushim tanum asritam. It requires Krishna’s grace to understand Him.
So try to receive Krishna’s grace through the disciplic succession, Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then you will understand everything. Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. This is the process, Vedic process. One should have unflinching faith in God and spiritual master. Don’t jump over God, crossing the spiritual master. Then it will be failure. You must go through. We are observing Vyasa-puja ceremony, the birth anniversary of our Guru Maharaja. Why? We cannot understand Krishna without spiritual master. That is bogus. If anyone wants to understand Krishna, jumping over the spiritual master, then immediately he becomes a bogus. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru- krishna-kripaya paya bhakti-lata-bija. That is Vedic injunction. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. Nobody can understand Krishna without going through His most confidential servant. This is the meaning of this Vyasa-puja. You cannot surpass. If you think that you have become very learned and very advanced, now you can avoid the spiritual master and you understand Krishna, that is the bogus. That is the meaning of this Vyasa-puja ceremony. We should always pray, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Yasya prasadad, only by the grace of spiritual master we can achieve the grace or mercy of Krishna. This is the meaning of this Vyasa- puja, offering obeisances by parampara system.
So you have taken a very nice line of activities, spiritual activities. Of course, as far as possible, we have tried to give you instruction, books. But remain always faithful to the spiritual master and try to understand Krishna. And if you simply understand Krishna, then your life is successful. Janma karma ca divyam me yo janati tattvatah. The human life is meant for understanding Krishna. That is the perfection of life. Any other so-called understanding, that is simply waste of time because we are under the grip of the material nature. You may be very learned scholar. You may be a fool. It doesn’t matter. You are under the laws of material nature. So before finishing this small span of life… We have got this human form of life. It will be finished, as the cats’ and dogs’ life also finished. But if we try through the guru and Vaishnava, then, we can achieve in this life the full success, not failure like cats’ and dogs’ life. That is the opportunity. So as far as possible, we are trying to lead you in this line, and you kindly follow. Then your life will be successful. That is the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He wanted to deliver these fallen souls, the conditioned souls rotting in this material world. So Krishna Himself… Krishna comes Himself, Krishna sends His devotees, Krishna comes as devotee—just to execute this mission to reclaim the fallen souls from the clutches of illusory energy, material world.
Thank you very much. (end)
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s
Appearance Day, Lecture
Mayapur, February 21, 1976
Prabhupada: Today, the auspicious day of our predecessor spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Ashtottara-sata Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s mission… Apart from his life, we are especially stressing on the mission of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This place, Mayapur, was formerly known as Miyapura. Mostly it is inhabited by the Muhammadans. Some way or other it converted into the name of Miyapura instead of Mayapur. Still, people are very much doubtful where is the birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura was researching to find out the actual place. So under the direction of Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, this present Yogapitha was ascertained to be the birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura in the beginning wanted to develop this place very gloriously, befitting the holy name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So he started this movement of developing Mayapur. He could not finish it, so it was handed down to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. So under his effort, assisted by his disciples, this place has gradually developed, and our attempt is also to develop this place. Therefore we have named this temple Mayapur Chandrodaya. We have got great ambition to develop this place nicely and gloriously, and fortunately we are now connected with foreign countries, especially with the Americans. Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s great desire was that the Americans would come here and develop this place and they would chant and dance along with the Indians.
So his dream as well as Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s foretelling,
prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu desired that all Indians to take part.
bharata bhumite manushya-janma haila yara
janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara.
This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, para-upakara. Para-upakara means to do good to others. Of course, in the human society there are many different branches of doing good to others—welfare societies—but more or less… Why more or less? Almost completely they think that this body is our self and to do some good to the body is welfare activities. But actually that is not welfare activities because in the Bhagavad-gita we understand very clearly, antavanta ime dehah nityasyoktah saririnah. This body is antavat. Anta means it will be finished. Everyone knows his body is not permanent; it will be finished. Anything material— bhutva bhutva praliyate—it has a date of birth, it stays for some time, and then it annihilates. So the spiritual education begins from the understanding that “I am not this body.” This is spiritual education. In the Bhagavad-gita the first instruction given by Krishna to Arjuna is this, that we are not this body. Because Arjuna was speaking from the bodily platform, so Krishna chastised him that asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhashase: “Arjuna, you are talking like a very learned man, but you are lamenting on the subject matter on which no learned man laments.” Asocyan anvasocas tvam.
So such kind of welfare activity concerning the body, like hospital and so many other things, they are good undoubtedly, but the ultimate goal is to see the interest of the soul. That is ultimate goal. That is the whole Vedic instruction. And Krishna begins from this point. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara. So when Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to do some para-upakara…
bharata bhumite manushya-janma haila yara
(manushya) janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara
These welfare activities did not mean that welfare to this body. It was meant for the soul, the same thing as Krishna wanted to impress upon Arjuna, that “You are not this body. You are soul.” Antavanta ime dehah nityasyoktah saririnah, na hanyate hanyamane sarire. So real welfare activity means to see to the interest of the soul. So what is the interest of the soul? The interest of the soul is that the soul is part and parcel of Krishna, God. Just like small spark of fire is part and parcel of the big fire, similarly, we living entities, we are very minute, small spark of the Supreme Brahman, Parabrahman, or Krishna. So as the spark within the fire looks very beautiful, the fire also looks beautiful, and the spark also looks beautiful, but as soon as the sparks fall down from the fire, it becomes extinguished.
So our condition is that the… Our present position is that we are fallen down from the whole fire, Krishna. This is explained in a simple Bengali language:
krishna bhuliya jiva bhoga vancha kare
pasate maya tare japatiya dhare
Maya means darkness, ignorance. So this example is very nice. The sparks of the fire dancing very nicely with fire, it is also illuminating. But as soon as it fall down on the ground, it becomes cinder, black cinder, no more fiery quality. Similarly, we are meant for dancing and playing and walking and living with Krishna. That is our real position. That is the Vrindavana. Everyone… Everyone is connected with Krishna. There the trees, there the flowers, water, the cows, the calves, the cowherd boys, or elderly cowherd men, Nanda Maharaja, other persons of his age, then Yasodamayi, mother, then gopis—in this way Vrindavana life, Vrindavana picture. Krishna comes with full Vrindavana picture, and He demonstrates His Vrindavana life, cintamani-prakara-sadmasu, just to attract us, that “You are trying to enjoy in this material world, but here you cannot enjoy because you are eternal. You cannot get eternal life here. So you come to Me. You come to Me.” Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya. This is Krishna consciousness movement. (aside:) Please ask them to wait for prasadam. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti. This is the invitation. Mam eti: “He comes back to home, back to Godhead.” This is the whole instruction of Bhagavad-gita. And at the end He said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Why you are bothering yourself, manufacturing so many plans to adjust material life? That is not possible. Here it is not possible. Here so long you are in material association, then you have to change the body. Prakriteh kriyamanani… Prakriti-stho. What is that verse? Purushah prakriti-stho ’pi…
Hridayananda: Bhunjate prakriti-jan gunan.
Prabhupada: Ha. Bhunjate prakriti-jan gunan. So long the living entity is in this material world, he has to associate with the different modes of material nature. The same example. Just like the fire spark falls down on the ground. So ground, they have got different situation. One situation is dry grass, one situation is wet grass, and one situation is simply ground. So similarly, there are three position: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna. So sattva-guna means if the spark falls down on the dry grass, then it ignites the grasses. So in the sattva-guna, prakasa, this fiery quality is demonstrated. But if it falls down on the water, wet ground, then it is completely extinguished. Three stages. Similarly, when we come down to this material world, if we associate with the sattva-guna, then there is some hope of spiritual life. And if we are rajo-guna there is no hope, and tamo-guna, there is no hope. Rajas-tamah. Rajas-tamo-bhava kama- lobhadayas ca ye. Rajas-tamah. If we associate with rajo-guna and tamo-guna, then our desires will be lusty and greediness. Kama- lobhadayas ca. Tato rajas-tamo-bhava kama-lobhadayas ca. And if we increase our sattva-guna quality, then this kama-lobhadaya, these two things, will not touch us. We may be little aloof from kama-lobha. So if in the sattva-guna… This is stated in the Srimad- Bhagavatam:
srinvatam sva-kathah krishnah
hridy antah-stho hy abhadrani
So we have to transcend all these three qualities, sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna, especially rajo-guna, tamo-guna. If we do not try to do that, then there is no hope of spiritual salvation or liberation from the material entanglement. But in the Kali- yuga there is no practically sattva-guna, simply rajas, rajo-guna, tamo-guna, especially tamo-guna. Jaghanya-guna-vritti-sthah. Kalau sudra-sambhavah. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spread this Krishna consciousness movement, chanting Hare Krishna mantra.
So from this place Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu started this movement, Krishna consciousness movement, throughout whole India, and He desired that prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama: “So as many towns and villages are there, this Krishna consciousness movement should be spread.” So this Krishna consciousness movement is now in your hand. Of course, in (sic:) 1965 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he wanted me to do something in this connection. He wanted from his, all his disciples. Especially he stressed many times that “You do this. Whatever you have learned, you try to expand in English language.” And in 1933, when he was in Radha-kunda, I was at that time Bombay in connection with my business life. So I came to see him, and one friend wanted to give some land in Bombay for starting Bombay Gaudiya Matha. He’s my friend. So that’s a long story, but I wish to narrate this, the Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami’s mission. So at that time one of my Godbrother was also present. He reminded me about my friend’s donation, and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada immediately took up the land. He continued that “There is no need of establishing many temples. Better we publish some books.” He said like that. He said that “We started our, this Gaudiya Matha in Ultadanga. The rent was very small, and if we could gather 2 to 250 rupees, it was very nice, going on. But since this J.V. Datta(?) has given us this stone, marble stone Thakurabari, our competition between the disciples have increased, so I don’t like anymore. Rather, I would prefer to take out the marble stone and sell it and publish some books.” So I took that point, and he also especially advised me that “If you get money, you try to publish books.” So by his blessing it has become very successful by your cooperation. Now our books are being sold all over the world, and it is very satisfactory sale. So on this particular day of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s advent, try to remember his words, that he wanted that many books should be published about our philosophy and it should be given to the English-knowing public especially, because English language is now world language. We are touring all over the world. So anywhere we speak English, it is understood, except in some places. So on this day, particular on the advent of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, I’d especially request my disciples who are cooperating with me that try to publish books as many as possible and distribute throughout the whole world. That will satisfy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya Srila Prabhupada. (end)
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s
Appearance Day, Lecture
Mayapur, February 8, 1977
Pradyumna: The lecture is now, then we’ll have arati.
Prabhupada: So this is the one-hundred-third birth anniversary. You may remember? One-hundred-third this is? One-hundred-third anniversary?
Pradyumna: 1972, 1977 it is. One-hundred-fourth. One-hundred-fifth.
Prabhupada: Anyway, this is the auspicious day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, one-hundred-fourth?
Prabhupada: One-hundred-third birth anniversary. So this is formal, one-hundred-third or, or, or -second. It is eternal. It is eternal. Just like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has described, nitya-lila. Nitya-lila means it is going on. Just like just now it is eleven o’clock. This eleven o’clock, and when it becomes twelve o’clock noon, it does not mean that eleven o’clock is passed. Eleven o’clock is existing somewhere. In India it is eleven o’clock, somewhere else it is ten o’clock, and when in India it will be twelve o’clock that eleven o’clock will be somewhere else. Therefore one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, you take, that is going on. It is not that one is finished. That is material calculation. Material calculation, this body we have got. When this body will be finished it is finished forever. It will never come. Tatha dehantara-praptir. In the spiritual world there is no such thing as finished. Nitya-lila. Nitya-mukta. We have to understand that. In the material world, one minute’s lost, it is lost forever. Canakya Pandita has given us instruction from the material point of view,
ayushah kshana eko ’pi
na labhyah svarna-kotibhih
sacen nirarthakam nitah
ka ca hanis tato ’dhikah
Ayushah kshana eko ’pi. Suppose I shall live fifty years or hundred years maximum. So out of them, one moment lost, it will be never returned. From our birth, when a child is born we ask the parents when the child is born. The parents say, “This child was born in the morning, ten o’clock.” So if the child is born at ten o’clock and I am asking at eleven o’clock, the one hour life of the child lost. Eleven o’clock means child has already died one hour out of his one hundred years.
So for Vaishnava it is not like that. It is not like that. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. This is material calculation: one hour lost, two hours lost, body’s life is transient…, it is losing one moment, one hour. But spiritual life is different. Nityah sasvato yam, na hanyate hanyamane sarire. So, as Krishna comes, yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata tadatmanam srijamy aham. Krishna is eternal, but still, He appears. The same example. Just like the sun is in the sky but we see in the morning it appears; in the evening it retires. That is defectness of our eyes. Actually the sun is always there. So similarly Vaishnava, as Krishna comes, yada yada hi dharmasya glanir. Similarly, a Vaishnava means the confidential servant of Krishna, he also comes for some purpose by the order of the master. So their life and Krishna’s life, it is same. There is no question of past, present, future. Nityah. Nityah sasvato ’yam, na hanyate hanyamane sarire. So they are the same thing as the appearance and disappearance of sun. And Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, our master, spiritual master, he also came in this world to execute some mission of life or mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So he executed it, and when it was required, he left this place and went to another place to do the same business. Just like the sun rises at six o’clock and seven o’clock there is six o’clock in another place, and it is eight o’clock another place. It is going on. Nitya-lila.
So we have nothing to lament for disappearance. We should simply remember his activities. That is Vaishnava—you cannot understand the activities of the Vaishnava, but they come, any Vaishnava comes, for some particular mission. Prahlada Maharaja,
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa (indriyartha-)
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan
Prahlada Maharaja said to Nrisimhadeva, “My Lord, I have nothing to grieve, because wherever I shall sit down, glorifying Your activities, I immediately become merged into the ocean of nectarine. So I have nothing to grieve. But one thing I am sorry, I am in grief for these vimudhas.” Vimudhan. Mudha means rascal, and vimudhai, particularly rascals. Every living being within this material world, they are mudhas because they are forgetting their relationship with Krishna. Mudho nabhijanati mam param avyayam. This is mudha. All living entities more or less, we are all mudhas, particularly vimudhan, because there are different types of living entities. Jalaja nava-lakshani sthavara laksha vimsati krimayo, species of life.
So the evolution is going on. When we come to this stage of human form of life, here is a chance to get out of this evolutionary process. This is the chance. Asatim, caturam caiva brahma jiva-jatesu. In the Padma Purana the evolutionary theory…Not theory. It is fact. Darwin’s evolutionary theory it may be, but in the Vedic literature the evolutionary theory it is existing since very, very, millions of… It is not crazy fellow’s evolutionary theory. It is fact. So in this evolutionary theory, fact, we see that the, bahunam janmanam ante, bahunam sambhavan. After many, many evolution, millions of years, we get this chance of human being, to become human being. In this human form of life, if we still remain a mudha, then we are vimudhan. Vimudhan means, vi means visesha. Here is chance. And Krishna personally is giving his instruction to the human being. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. This is the chance. But still, we are not accepting. Therefore vimudhan. Mudha, the cats and dogs, they cannot understand. If we give instruction to the dog, “My dear dog, chant Hare Krishna…” But a human being, either he may be known to Krishna or not known to Krishna, he can be trained up. Just like in your country, in Europe and America, they did not know even what Krishna. But since we have started this movement, Krishna consciousness movement, you have become so many devotees of Krishna. That is possible because human being. They can be trained up. So in spite of all these facilities for the human being, if he’s not trained up to Krishna consciousness, then he is vimudha. He does not take the advantage. Na mam… This human form of life, he is classified as dushkritina, mudha, naradhama, mayayapahrita-jnanah. He’s described. He must be either of these categories. So things have degraded so low that India they’re asking what is God. This is Kali-yuga. In India, where Krishna comes personally, where Lord Ramacandra comes, where Lord Buddha comes, where Caitanya Mahaprabhu comes, in that country now young men are asking, “What is God?” This is Kali-yuga.
So we should not remain vimudha. We should become intelligent. And to make us intelligent, Krishna comes, Krishna’s devotees come, some messenger comes. And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is one of the messengers of Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu to preach Krishna consciousness. And not only he preached, but he trained up many disciples to preach this Krishna consciousness all over the world. So by his grace we are also endeavoring to do something. This is called parampara system. So we should take advantage of this Vaishnava mission. As Caitanya… Prahlada Maharaja said, they are very anxious. Vaishnava means para-duhkha-duhkhi. Kripambudhir yas tam, aham prapadye. Para-duhkha-duhkhi. Vaishnava… Our Guru Maharaja Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he is Vaishnava, cent percent Vaishnava. And he was para-duhkha-duhkhi. This is Vaishnava. He criticized nirjana bhajana. He has personally written one song, mana tumi kisera vaishnava. Nirjanera ghare pratishthara tare, tava hari-nama kevala kaitava. Mana tumi kisera vaishnava. He has in long song… Pratishtha… Vaishnava means he doesn’t want any material profit or material opulence or material reputation. He doesn’t want. This is… But in the material world everyone is busy for three things—material profit, material reputation, and material adoration. This is not Vaishnava’s business. Vaishnava never cares for all these things. Vaishnava is always thinking how to do good to the suffering humanity. Lokanam-hita-karinau. About Six Gosvamis it is said, nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma-samsthapakau lokanam hita-karinau tri-bhuvane manyau saranyakarau. This is Vaishnava. Nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau. In the sastra everything is there. Just like Srila Rupa Gosvami has given us Bhakti-rasamrita- sindhu to understand what is bhakti. We have tried to translate it into English, the Nectar of Devotion. So, why? Rupa Gosvami was the minister in the government of Hussain Shah. Very opulent position. Tyaktva turnam asesha-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina- kanthasritau. They resigned the high post of ministership and joined Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for pushing on and on this Krishna consciousness movement. Tyaktva turnam asesha- mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina-kanthasritau.
So Vaishnava means para-duhkha-duhkhi. They are simple thinking…There are so many politicians and humanitarians and so many. But nobody knows how to do good to others. Nobody knows. They do not know. The real fact is, as Krishna explains Himself, that
mam aprapya nivartante
This is the real suffering of the humanity. I especially speak humanity because in the human form of life one can actually understand what is the position, what is the value of life. The value of life one should understand that we are in the cycle of birth and death. Bhutva bhutva praliyate. Once we take birth and again we die. Janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi duhkha-doshanu-darsanam. So one should be intelligent to understand that I am eternal. I learn from Bhagavad-gita and Vedic literature that aham brahmasmi: “I am eternal.” Why I am dying? This is intelligence. This is intelligence. Otherwise cats and dogs. A dog, a cat, does not know why he is dying. Neither he knows that he is eternal. But a human being can take information from the sastra that he is eternal and he does not die on the destruction of the body. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. Krishna is giving this information. Tatha dehantara. This is our real unhappiness. Janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi. But if we are kept in darkness about this and simply we become busy with some superficial things, bahir-artha-maninah. Na te viduh svartha- gatim hi vishnu, durasaya. It is durasaya. So all these leaders, the political leaders, they do not know what is the value of life. The durasaya, with some hope which will never be fulfilled, they are busy with that. Therefore a Vaishnava is para-duhkha-duhkhi. He knows what is the real suffering of humanity and he tries to estab…Sad-dharma-samsthapakau.
Nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau. Real dharma means occupation. Dharma does not mean that you believe in something. That is the description in the…, “a faith.” Faith is different thing. But real dharma means the occupational duty. Just like government law. Government law. If you go on the street, you’ll find “Keep to the left.” There is no question of faith. You must keep on the left; otherwise you are criminal, you’ll be punished. That is dharma. The real meaning is this, that dharmam tu sakshad bhagavat- pranitam, The laws given by God. That is the simple definition of dharma.
So if we don’t accept the dharma, then we’ll be punished. That is stated in the Bhagavata. Dharmasya asya. Asraddadhanah. “If I have no faith in the words of God…” Man-mana bhava mad- bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Krishna is saying, “If you do not become devotee, if you do not think of Krishna, then you will not get Krishna.” Remain continuously, birth after birth, forgetful of Krishna, that is very dangerous. What is that danger? Nivartante mrityu-samsara-vartmani: again you’ll be in the cycle of birth and death, birth and death, birth and death. Not that today you are Indian; you shall get the birth again as Indian. No. Today you may be Indian, prime minister; tomorrow you may be a dog in some other country. They do not know these laws.
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
You are not independent. Nobody is independent. Today you maybe something; tomorrow you may be something. But you must search out your real life. That is intelligence. That is intelligence. That intelligence is given by the Vaishnava. Therefore Vaishnava has got a very great responsibility. My Guru Maharaja pointed out, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura,
mana tumi kisera vaishnava?
pratishthara tare, nirjanera ghare,
tava hari-nama kevala (kaitava)
Formerly people used to know that “If I take a mala and sit down in a secluded place…” Of course, that is good; that is not bad. But the real business of Vaishnava is not for himself, but for others. Just like the example given by Rupa Gosvami: nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma samsthapakau lokanam hita-karinau. Lokanam-hita-karinau, not personal hita-karinau. Personal hita-karinau is not high-class Vaishnava. “I shall become liberated. Let me give up everything and sit down.” Sometimes that is also good, but sometimes we take it to get cheap adoration from innocent public that “Here is a Vaishnava. He sits down.” No. My Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he was not that type of Vaishnava. That is his special gift. He wanted every one of his disciples to go and preach the cult of Krishna consciousness. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted. Here we are in the Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s country, birthplace. We should remember. Caitanya Mahaprabhu of course asked every Indian to take His mission. At least Bengalis should take Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission.
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu…What is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission?
amara ajnaya guru hana, tara ei desa
yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa
Even if you cannot go outside, it doesn’t matter. Wherever you are, either you are here in Nabadwip or in Calcutta, anywhere, so you become a guru. Don’t remain a rascal. You become a guru. “Now, how can I become a guru? I am not very educated.” No! You don’t require to be very highly educated rascal. Simply repeat Krishna consciousness as Krishna said. You become guru. Unfortunately we don’t care for Krishna’s instruction. We are busy with this ism, that ism, that ism. So we should remember—I don’t wish to take much time—Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he took Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instruction very seriously, and he wanted his disciple to do. Bhaktivinoda Thakura also wanted that, and Bhaktisiddhanta… This Mayapur is meant for this purpose, to spread Krishna consciousness movement all over the world as it was desired by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara. So the beginning is there. We are preaching all over the world and you, my dear friends from Europe and America, you have taken this Krishna consciousness movement. Again I shall repeat the same logic. Andha-pangu-nyaya. Andha means blind and pangu means lame. Both of them are useless. Andha cannot see, he cannot walk, and the lame man cannot walk. Andha can walk but cannot see. And the lame man can see but cannot walk. Now let them both combine together. So the whole world is suffering for want of Krishna consciousness or spiritual life. If American money and Indian culture mix together, the whole world will be benefited. That is my ambition. Take Indian culture and help with American money. The whole world will be happy. Andha-pangu-nyaya. If the andha is taken on the shoulder… If the pangu is taken on the shoulder of the andha, then the lame man can give direction.
So actually this logic is coming to be true, there is now agitation. People are feeling the pressure of this movement, and in Europe and America there is opposing party. But don’t be afraid. Take this Krishna consciousness movement very seriously. It is not a national movement or some social movement. It is the movement to uplift the position of the whole human society. So that was the mission of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Somehow or other we are taking it little seriously. Let all the Americans, Indians, especially young men… Don’t misunderstand these Europeans and Americans C.I.A. Don’t be mad, crazy fellow. They have taken Krishna consciousness. They have nothing to do with politics. And you also, young men, you also join on the basis of Krishna consciousness and do something philanthropic for the whole human society. (end)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada was known as ‘simha’ (lion) ‘guru’ due to his fearless and ferocious preaching. If an impersonalist saw him on the street, the impersonalist would cross the road in fear, or turn off onto another street. Those who didn’t, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta would go up to and shake them violently, his huge body towering over them, and say, “Why do you say the Lord has no form? Nonsense offender!”
We have already mentioned his birth and some of his early pastimes in conection with his father Srila Bhaktivindoda Thakura, and his ‘Guru’ Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja.
He appeared on February 6th 1874. Father was deputy magistrate of Puri, had been for three years. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur had been concerned that the pure teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would be usurped by unauthorized persons, who were members of 13 apasampradayas and so he prayed for a Ray of Vishnu. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura had started his mission for Lord Caitanya late in life. He was also very busy with his profession. But he wrote profusely, and wanted someone to preach boldly to establish these pure teachings.
The Padma Purana predicted Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati: a very elevated, pure and learned personality would appear in Purushottama-ksetra to spread the glories of Lord Jagannatha all over the world. His activities would be very unique.
When he was 6 months old, the Rathayatra was held. The cart stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda’s house (which was on the main road between the temple and the Gundica mandira. The cart stayed there for 3 days. On the 3rd day, Bhagavati devi (mother of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) brought out the child and the ‘pujaris’ picked him up and put him on the cart. He crawled to the base of Lord Jagannatha, and touched His lotus feet. Simultaneously a garland fell from the neck of the Lord and landed around the child. The pujaris exclaimed that this boy is particularly blessed by Lord Jagannatha.
The ‘Annaprasha’ festival (first grains ceremony), first grain taken by children which is usually given when the first sign of teeth are there something like six-months old, so for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati the first grain was Jagannatha Prasada. Vimala devi is offered the ‘prasada’ after Jagannatha takes; hence his name Bimala Prasada. When during the ‘Anna-prasna’ ceremony the child is shown the ‘shastra’ and coins to give some indication as to his nature by what he goes for baby Bimal chose the Srimad Bhagavatam as opposed to the gold coins.
When he was five family had become senior deputy magistrate: only three of these in all of India under British Raja. Mango incident happened at this time. Never again took ripe mangos. But he took green mango chutney offered by his disciples; this was a favourite of his.
When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was 7 years old, his father Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura moved to Calcutta, to the “Bhakti-Bhavan” house was building. While digging foundation they found Deity of Lord Kurma. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave him his first initiation and the name Siddhanta Saraswati; and initiated his son into the worship of Lord Kurma. He was doing this every single day without missing. Even when he was admitted into school.
He was a very expert student. However his preference was to study the Vaishnava books of his father. He did just that and studied books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but never fell behind in school – he remembered everything after hearing it once. His teachers were astonished, and his father was very pleased.
As a boy, Bimala Prasada delivered his oldest brother Acyutananda from an offense he’d made in his last life. Acyutananda had a nervous disease, and once became very sick. Bimala Prasada took ‘karatals’ and chanted the ‘Hare Krishna mantra’ constantly for 6 days without eating. Then Ramanuja-sampradaya ’tilaka’ appeared on Acyutananda’s forehead. He said, “I am a Ramanuja Vaishnava. I committed an offense to a Gaudiya Vaishnava in my last life and therefore had to take this birth. Now I am relieved.” Then he left his body for dead.
In 1892, after passing his entrance examination, Bimala was admitted into the Sanskrit College of Calcutta. There he spent considerable time in the library studying various books on philosophy. He also studied the Vedas under the guidance of Prithvidhara Sharma. As a student he contributed many thoughtful articles to various religious journals. However he did not continue with his college studies for long.
We told this story before, but from another angle; Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had taken initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami, who came in the line of Gadadhara Pandit, through Janavi Devi. However once when Bipin Bihari Goswami was visiting Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the Thakura paid obeisances and Bipin Bihari Goswami placed his foot on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s head. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati saw this and was surprised. He thought this was a dangerous thing for Bipin Bihari Goswami to do. When Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura left the room, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura asked him a question: “You are my father’s ‘guru’. But do you know who he is?” Bipin Bihari Goswami was taken aback at this 7-year-old’s question. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati continued, “My father is a ‘nityasiddha’, an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. Do you have sufficient spiritual potency to place your foot on his head?” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura returned at this time, so the conversation was interrupted. Bipin Bihari Goswami said, “Your son is bold to the point of being rude.” Later on, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura found this out and used to tell this story to his disciples.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Krsna-lila is Kamalaman-manjari, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati is his eternal assistant, Nayana-manjari. At age 13 he started higher education. Once Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura returned from Puri with Tulasi and initiated his son into chanting Hare Krsna Mahamantra and he also took ‘Nrsingha mantra’ initiation, ‘ugram bhiram maha-vishnum’…….etc.
During this time he invented, and developed a shorthand script called ‘Vikanta’, so much was his genius.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, after seeing the wonderful vision of a golden ‘mandira’, began begging door to door for funds to establish the Yoga Pitha. At 18, Srila (Bhakti) Siddhanta Saraswati entered Capital Sanskrit College affiliated with Calcutta University. Within a short time mastered the 6 limbs of Sanskrit studies: ‘shiksha’, ‘jyotish’, ‘chanda’, ‘alankara’, etc.
When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was 22 he left college to avoid taking householder life. He took up work under the king of Tripura. Tripura had been turned to a Vaishnava state by the king of Manipur, who was a disciple of Narottama dasa Thakur.
So Srila Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati became Raja Pandit there for 3 years. He retired with full pension, which Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati accepted for a few years and then voluntarily stopped.
Around this time he took initiation from Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji. Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji had been a grain merchant before taking ‘babaji’. He’d gone to Vrindavana and did ‘bhajana’ for a long time. Then he came to Navadwipa. By this time Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had retired and had built a ‘bhajana kutir’ in Navadwipa (Godruma). He gave Srimad Bhagavatam class there every day. Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji used to come to these classes. Srila Bhaktivinoda told Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati to accept Srila Gaura Kishora as initiating ‘guru’. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati approached Gaura Kishora, asking “Please give me your mercy.” Gaura Kishora answered, “Mercy is not mine to give. It is the property of Lord Chaitanya Himself. I’ll ask Him, and if He agrees, I can give you.”
Second time they met, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati inquired, “Did you ask Him?” “No, I forgot.” Third time same thing happened. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said, “You worship that great cheat, Krishna, Who is cheating everyone. And so you are also cheating me. But if you continue in this way, I will simply give up my life, because my life is useless without receiving you mercy.” Then Gaura Kishora das Babaji gave initiation to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati as Varshabhanavi-devi dasa. Then Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati gave up all other activities to chant 194 rounds daily for 7 years. He had a ‘kutir’ but did not spend the time to repair the roof; he just used an umbrella if it rained.
In 1897 he started an autonomous Catuspathi (‘Sanskrit’ school) wherefrom monthly journals entitled “Jyotirvid”, “Vrihaspati”, and many old treatises on astrology were published. In 1898, while teaching at Sarasvata Catuspathi, he studied Siddhanta Kaumudi under Prthvidhara Sarma, at Bhaktibhavana. By the time he was twenty five he had become well versed in Sanskrit, mathematics, and astronomy, and he had established himself as the author and publisher of many magazine articles and one book, Suryasiddhanta, for which he received the epithet Siddhanta Sarasvati in recognition of his erudition.
In 1895 Sarasvati Gosvami accepted service under the Tripura Royal Government as an editor for the biography entitled Rajaratnakara, the life histories of the royal line of the independent Tripura Kingdom. Later he was entrusted with the responsibility of educating the Yuvaraja Bahadur and Rajkumar Vrajendra Kisore, in Bengali and Sanskrit. After a short period of time, Siddhanta Saraswati took up the responsibilities for inspecting various ongoing activities in the royal palace for the state of Tripura. However, after finding enviousness, malice and corruption surfacing in every corner of his inspection, Siddhanta Saraswati very quickly developed an aversion to state affairs and gave notice of his intention to retire to Maharaja Radhakisore Manikya Bahadur. The Maharaja approved of Siddhanta Sarasvati’s plans for renunciation and awarded him full pay pension. However, after three years Siddhanta Sarasvati also renounced his pension. With his father, he visited many Tirthas and heard discourses from the learned pandits. In October 1898 Siddhanta Sarasvati accompanied Bhaktivinoda on a pilgrimage of Kasi, Prayag, Gaya and other holy places. At Kasi a discussion was held with Ramamisra Shastri regarding the Ramanuja Sampradaya. After this talk Siddhanta Sarasvati’s life seemed to take a turn, his inclination towards renunciation increased, and he quietly continued to search for a ‘sadguru’.
When Siddhanta Sarasvati was twenty six his father, understanding the mind of his son, guided him to take initiation from a renounced Vaisnava saint, Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji, who we will now bring into the picture. actually it is inpossible to separate these three especially, anyway we will do our best to shed some light on their all effulent forms. Although it is like shining a candle to illumine the Sun globe.
One disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who wanted to continue the mission came looking for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati in Navadwipa at this time, knowing him to be as powerful a personality as his father. He went around asking the locals if they knew of a sadhu matching Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s desciption, but they all answered, “We don’t know of a sadhu, we only know of one madman. We see him moving here and there, crying aloud and sometimes rolling on the ground.” So he went searching for him in the jungle next to the Ganga, where they said he sometimes could be seen. Suddenly he heard Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati crying “Krishna Krishna Haribol! Nitai Gaura Hari Bol!” He saw him burst out from the forest and plunge, fully dressed, into the Ganga. He kept on shouting in the water, splashing about. Then he came out. The disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then approached him, requesting him to come to Calcutta to head up the sankirtana mission there. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati answered, “Sankirtana? Can you not see the wonderful ‘sankirtana’ mission of Sri Caitanya right here in the holy ‘dham’ of Navadwipa? Is it not wonderful? Sri Pancha-tattwa are chanting and dancing in ecstacy, surrounded by all their associates. Can you not see this?” Then Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati ran off, again shouting “Haribol” in great ecstacy. As it was sunset by this time, that man took his bath in the Ganga, and mentally renounced the idea of organizing the ‘sankirtana’ mission.
But later on, in 1918, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared at his door in Calcutta, in ‘sannyasi’ robes with ‘danda’, freshly shaven, and ordered, “Now we are founding a Society, the Sri Gaudiya Matha. Draw up the papers immediately and have it registered. Though he’d arrived at 4 p.m., the work was done before that same afternoon was ended.
Even before 1918 he decried the ‘Jatigosai’/’brahmana’ monopoly of giving initiation only to born ‘brahmins’. He preached very boldly against them. The ‘brahmins’ challenged him, “where does the ‘Gaura mantra’ appear in any authorized scripture as a Gayatri?” (Because the Gaudiya Vaishnavas would take this ‘mantra’ as a ‘pancharatriki mantra’ for ‘brahminical’ initiation.) They said, “Sri Chaitanya claimed only to be a devotee. Why do you say he is the Supreme Personality Of Godhead and use His name in place of authorized scriptural names and ‘mantras’?”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati cited Chaitanyopanishad from the Atharva-veda, discoverd by Srila Bhaktivinode, 19 verses glorifying Lord Chaitanya. In another assembly he directly attacked the ‘brahmins’ and ‘Jati Gosais’. He initiated the movement to take back the teachings of Lord Caitanya from the hands of such unauthorized persons. Srila Vishvanatha, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, his disciple Uddhava dasa Babaji, his disciple Madhusudana dasa Babaji, were all saintly renounced souls: after Baladeva there was no-one to strongly represent the pure teaching of Lord Caitanya and preach them boldly. During Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s time, Gaudiya Vaishnava meant Baul, Aula, Sakhi-Beki, Jati Gosai, etc. who were all degraded. The Vaishnavas got no respect. At this time the shaktas became strong from Rama-Krishna-Vivekananda, and this put further obstructions for the establishment of pure Vaishnava dharma. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati preached against all of this nonsense.
When Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji Maharaj left the planet, the ‘babajis’ wanted to do the ‘samadhi’ rites. He’d said he wanted to have his body dragged through the streets by his “disciples”. The ‘babajis’ had gathered to do that, they’d tied a rope around the neck.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati crossed over to Navadwipa from Mayapura and stopped them, saying “None of you are his disciples.” Babaji Maharaja had one disciple, that one was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, (in other records it says he only had two disciples, the other was Vamsivata dasa Babaji Maharaja, who was an ‘avadhuta’). “I am the right claimant to perform these last rites.” They said, “But he was a ‘babaji’, and you are not.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati answered, “Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji does not come in ‘babaji’ line. He was initiated by Nimai Chand Goswami, who was a Nityananda Parivat, coming in the line of Lord Nityananda. He received his ‘Vesha’ (‘babaji’ dress) from Bhagavata dasa Babaji Maharaja, who is an initiated disciple of Jagannatha dasa Babaji.”
Before Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, from time of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, param-bhakta Vaishnavas would get ‘Vesha’ (white knee length cloth, ‘koupin’, waterpot and bead-bag) initiation, not ‘tridandi sannyasa’. “Bhaktivinode Thakur also took ‘Vesha’ from Jagannatha dasa Babaji. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, though ‘diksha’ initiated of Bipin Bihari Goswami, received ‘siksha’ and ‘vesha’ from Jagannatha dasa Babaji. And Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji received ‘siksha’ from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s line is Bhagavata Parampara, not seminal line.” So he challenged them to show that any such line came from Rupa or Sanatana Goswami. As to be a Rupanuga means coming in Bhagavata Sampradaya. Rupa told of Advaita’s rejecting His own son Madhusudana because he accepted Lord Caitanya only, but not Lord Nityanananda.
“If you are Babajis, then you are fully sense controlled. So the one of you who has not engaged in any illicit activities in the past 1 year, come and do the last rites.” No one stood up. “One month? One week? 24 hours?” No one stood up. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati then placed Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji Magharaj’s body in ‘samadhi’. So after finishing with the ‘smartas’, ‘jati gosais’, he took on ‘Babas’. He would take on and defeat anyone solely to establish pure unalloyed, undeviated Krsna consciousness.
Then in 1918 he opened his first center in Ultadanga Road in Calcutta. He was then 44. Kunjabihari Vidyabhusana (Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaja) was his main manager and a prominent devotee in the Matha. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had made a vow after taking ‘sannyasa’ that he would never touch money. Everything was arranged by his disciples. Many of them wishing to assist his mission took up responsible jobs, e.g. Kunja Babu became a post-master.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati did ‘nagara kirtana’ with disciples and was invited to programs by the King of Burdwan or the King of Kooch Bihar; everywhere he established Lord Caitanya’s teachings as the most excellent spiritual philosophy.
He knew all Vaishnava philosophies most expertly. He brought out books on their ‘darshans’, e.g. Madhwacharya’s arguments against Mayavadis.
As well as other Vaishnavacaryas like Ramanuja. In the temple he established in Mayapur he built 4 small temples in honor of the 4 Vaishnava sampradayas. He put the deities of the 4 founder acaryas there; Madhwacarya; Ramanujacarya; Nimbarkacarya; and Visnu Swami.
He started the Gaudiya Mission in the midst of war and national liberation agitation. He was uncompromising in his disregard of such mundane concerns. “The most important thing is to invoke the spirit of devotion to the Supreme Lord; this concern lies far above any material consideration.” Many leaders objected, but he continued. In this period the aristocratic young Abhay Charan De (latter known as Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) visited Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati on the rooftop at Ultadanga Road; At this time Abhay charan De was adherent of the national liberation movement, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati convinced him in one sitting of the vital necessity of Lord Caitanya’s mission over everything else.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s ‘sannyasa’: happened in 1918. He could have taken ‘babaji’ but didn’t. Many ‘babajis’ wanted to initiate him, as he’d shown himself to be such a powerful exponent of Vaishnavism (e.g. his 3-day debate with caste ‘brahmins’ attended by Vaishnava scholars, in which he resoundingly defeated caste pretensions and established the Vaishnava view of ‘brahminical’ status by quality of work, not birth).
When he gave himself ‘tridandi sannyasa’ (or more correctly, had taken ‘sannyasa’ from a picture of Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji Maharaj), this was a shock to even his supporters, including disciples of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The controversy was not over the method of initiation in this instant as some criticise him for. But over ‘varnashrama’; they thought he was returning to the ‘Varnashram-dharma’ that Lord Caitanya had rejected in his talks with Srila Ramananda Raya. But the concern was for nothing, as he was not continuing the bodily ‘varna’-and-‘ashram’ system, but was establishing ‘Daivi-varnashrama’.
Srila Prabhodananda, Lokanatha Goswami were great Gaudiya ‘sannyassis’ of the past. Prabhodananda Saraswati converted a great ‘smriti acharya’, Gopal Bhatta Ghosh, and gave him ‘tridandi sannyasa’. Srila Gadadhara Pandita was also ‘tridandi sannyasi’. Without establishment of ‘Daivi-Varnashram-Dharma’, ‘babaji’ (supposedly, or with the concept of ‘paramhamsa’ initiation) will, as it had become a farce.
In this way Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati travelled and preached initially from Mayapura to Vrndavana and challenged the authority of the ‘babajis’, and others.
Some ritualistic and narrow minded persons found fault, as one can even do with the moon in the sky. “They protested that this was unauthorized.” He said, “Everything I am doing can be supported by scriptural reference, but nothing you do can be. You take young boys who don’t even know how to clean themselves after passing stool and giving them ‘sakhi rupa.’ I am giving ‘samskara’ to reform the fallen souls, and this ‘samskar’ is the ‘Hari Nama’, which Lord Chaitanya gave as the ‘siddha pranali’. No rules of caste or creed bind this ‘Harer Nama diksha.”
Then they tried to say that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was not properly initiated in an established line. He disproved this. Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja was initiated in line of Nityananda, but he (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) did not accept that line. In fact Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati rejected that line from Nimai Jatgoswami (line of Nityananda, Jahnavi, Bir Chandra Prabhu. Rather Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura stressed Bhagavata Sampradaya, and didn’t care for material or seminal lines.
Therefore in his pranams the term, ‘Rupanuga virrudhapa siddhanta’, ‘any conclusion against the precepts of Rupa Goswami is to be rejected immediately’ is to be found.
In his life he founded 64 Gaudiya Math temples throughout India. For his further preaching and attempts to spread Krsna consciousness beyond the bounds of India, as his father had desired too, he sent three disciples to west, and he gave ten westerners initiation, mostly from young intelligent men from Germany and a couple of elderly women in St John’s Wood in London, by sending sannyasis to Germany and England(Rupa Vilasa dasa. 1988. “Raya of Visnu”.).
During this time Abhay Caran De (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. He was a young man – a ‘khadi’ clad follower of Gandhi’s national movement. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada, seeing this bright faced young man before him, convinced him of a necessity to preach Krsna consciousness. “In this world there is no shortage of anything, only Krsna consciousness.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta also requested young Abhay Caran De, “You are an intelligent young man. If you ever get money, print books in the English language.” Our Srila Prabhupada was so impressed that he took this as his life’s mission. Some eleven years later he took diksa initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who told his other disciples who printed the Sajjana Tosani newspaper on his order, “Whatever Abhay Caran writes, print it.” He obviously knew his worth.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada was always eager to reveal transcendental knowledge. Whenever he found an eager listener he would go on speaking, not knowing bounds of time and space. Disregarding requests of his medical advisers, up to the last moment, he continued to deliver the message of the Supreme Lord to all people. This was his only purpose for his appearance in this world. All his tours were highly successful, though not without events because many of his disciples were not from orthodox ‘Brahmin’ families. Though they wore the sacred ‘yajnopavitra’, ‘brahmin’ thread of the twice-born, many so-called ‘Brahmins’ objected. Shops would refuse to sell their goods to Bhaktisiddhanta’s ‘brahmana’ and ‘sannyasi’ disciples, even though according to the ‘Pancaratrika’ system of ‘Vaisnava agamas’, they were all properly initiated as ‘brahmanas’ and ‘sannyasis’.
His whole life was spent in a mood of loving devotion to the Lord. He was fully devoted to spreading the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The numerous publications and commentaries on the works of the previous ‘acaryas’ establishing the Lord to be ‘saccidananda vigraha’ is quite evident of this fact.
In 1936, whilst residing in the holy dhama of Jagannatha Puri at the age of 62, he left this mortal world to again return to the loving pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krsna in Brajaloka the topmost planet in the spiritual sky.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati used to “install” the printing presses that were acquired by the Gaudiya Matha for literature publication.
He gave many a heavy class on detachment from material life. Later, while writing, he observed a monkey stealing bananas from the godown, which was just next to his study. He ran out with a stick to chase the monkey away, overturning his writing table and spilling ink on the pages of his manuscript. When the cook saw this, he inquired, “Today you told that one must be detached. How to understand your behaviour just now – for two bananas you jumped from your writing to chase a monkey, and even ruined your work in the process?” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati answered, “These bananas belong to Srimati Radharani, because they are to be used in Krishna’s service.”
He went to take a bath in a ‘pukkur’, and when he was seven steps above the surface of the water, the water rose seven steps and touched his lotus feet. Then all the ‘brahmacaries’ jumped in, to bath in the ‘caranamrta’.
At the Yoga Pith temple was a cook who was very passionate. He fought with every devotee there except for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta himself. Then he died. After the funeral ceremony was completed, the Gaudiya Matha ‘brahmacharies’ were sitting together and talking about how much trouble they’d had with the cook – each was telling stories about the fights he’d had with him. Suddenly Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared at the doorway and said, “He always washed his ‘dhoti’ nicely and was very clean.” From then on nobody dared say anything negative about that cook. Although Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was renoun for his aggressive, and even ‘chopping’ attacks on the ‘mayavadins’ and other such offenders, he always showed true Vaishnava respect and appreciation for all of the devotees.
When one ‘mayavadi sadhu’ was preaching his oneness philosophy in the presence of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and his disciples while they were riding on a train from Calcutta to Puri, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta ordered his ‘brahmacaries’ to feed the ‘sadhu’ some rotten mangos which had been donated to his party earlier (they were ripe when donated, but got rotten because Srila Bhaktisiddhanta would not take them due to his vow, and therefore no disciple would take either). After being obliged to eat four mangos, that sadhu fell at Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s feet and swore he’d never preach the philosophy of exclusive undifferentiated oneness again.
His ‘kirtana’ procession (with him personally at the head) would stop all traffic wherever it went in Calcutta; in Puri even the brahmins accepted his ‘nam-sankirtana’ as fully authorized.
He stayed in Puri in his last days. He lectured for some days at the place known as “Goverdhana” in Puri, and before and after his talk he would recite prayers praising Goverdhana Hill and requesting shelter in some corner there. He would sometimes comment to his disciples, there’s not much time left. They could see something was going to happen soon, but weren’t sure what.
He got very sick ten days before he left his body. Two days later he wrote his last instruction: “Somehow we must become qualified to attain the shelter of Rupa and Raghunatha. Always chant Hare Krishna, always preach Krishna consciousness, and stay away from Vaishnava-aparadha. In this way become qualified to get the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Raghunatha.” Two days after that he wrote his letter to Srila Prabhupada (Abhaya Charan De).
All the big intellectuals of Calcutta had a memorial gathering upon hearning word of his death. One (an atheist), in eulogy, said: “Who will we argue with now?”
The full life story of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada can be found in one very nice book which is a compilation and summary study of many books of the time on the life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and is entitled “A Ray of Visnu,” as was prayed for by his father before his taking birth. This book is available through ISKCON, and was published by Rupa Vilasa prabhu, a disciple of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s father, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, had a vision one night on the other side of the River Jalanghi, opposite his house. In the open fields he saw a huge city made up of all Vaisnavas from all over the world. There would be Americans, Australians, Canadians, Africans, Chinese, Russian, English, every nation’s devotees dancing together in transcendental kirtan and chanting “Jaya saci-nandana gaura hari.” Astrologers predicted that a person of great saintly character, full in all Vaisnava qualities, who could build a house in which the whole world could live peacefully, would appear to set back the flow of Kali Yuga.
We have seen after the passing of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, the Gaudiya Math underwent some difficulties. Although Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura had requested his disciples to come together as a ‘Governing Body’ to push on the mission after his demise, a couple of prominant disciple instead took the helm against his wishes which changed some of the intrinsic foundation of the Gaudiya Matha at that time. In relation to ‘siksha’ (instuctions) having precedence over ‘diksha’ (initiation) as a means of proper succession there came a splintering of the Gaudiya Matha because of neglecting the ‘gurus’ instructions. Since this time major valuation set-backs have been observed (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi Lila Chapter 12 text 8., The Asara son’s of Advaita Acarya…….!)
Following the instructions therefore provides a strength in continuity of the overall success and chastity of the followers in the line’s mission or purpose. On examination we find some intrinsic differences in the rhythm, movement and systems tha eventuated after this point in time despite ‘all being disciples’. In many instances the disputes have to date remained unresolved. ‘The Gaudiya Matha and Its Missions’, today has many lines and sub-lbranches coming from the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
At this time (the end of the 1930’s) the saintly figure emerged, who was to become notably one of the great ‘acaryas’ in Vaisnava history, although he remained in humble circumstances, preparing himself for the mission that would not only fulfil his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada’s order, but would fulfil the desire of all the great Vaisnavas in the Brahma-Madhwa-Gaudiya Sampradaya and gain the praise and amazement of other ‘sampradayas’, religionists and scholars alike. That person is Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, known by his loving followers as Srila Prabhupada.
We are presently awaiting a wonderful book by H.H. Bhaktivikash Maharaj which he has researched for the last ten years by speaking to the last of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswatis’ disciples who are remaining in their old age on the planet, on the life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.
A Ray of Vishnu
On the fifth day of the dark lunar fortnight of the month of Govinda [corresponding to February 6th, 1874 A.D. by the western calendar], at 3:30 in the afternoon, Bimala Prasad Datta, later to be known as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, made his appearance in Purusottama Ksetra [Jagannatha Puri] in the state of Orissa, not far from the temple of Lord Jagannatha. He was the fourth son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Sriyukta Bhagavati Devi, and at the time of his birth all thirty-two bodily symptoms of a maha-purusa, a great personality, were pointed out by an experienced astrologer. Furthermore, the boy was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck like a Brahmin’s thread. The astrologer commented at his birth, “I have done many horoscopes in my life, but I have never before seen such a horoscope filled with all the signs of a great personality. This child will become world famous as a brilliant teacher of life’s ultimate goal.”
When the child was six months old, Lord Jagannatha’s Rathayatra Festival was in procession, and the cart stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house for three days. Following the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Bhagavati Devi brought the child before the cart and an offered garland fell from the neck of the Lord, encircling the boy. This was taken as a sign of special favor by all present. The grain ceremony was observed on the cart at this time and was done with Jagannatha prasada. When the boy’s vocational inclination was tested, he immediately embraced the Srimad-Bhagavatam, indicating his future as a preacher. Therefore, from the very beginning of his appearance, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura exhibited all the signs of an exalted, eternal associate of the Lord, who had descended in answer to Srila Bhaktivinoda’s prayer for a “ray of Visnu” to help him spread the Krsna Consciousness Movement.
Although family lineage may be ultimately irrelevant when considering the appearance of an eternally liberated associate of the Lord, still it is interesting to see what sort of family is blessed with such a transcendental personality. As history shows us, Lord Brahma himself appeared in the family of Muslims as Srila Haridasa Thakura, and there are other instances of exalted persons taking birth in humble families. Still, as a point of interest, we may hear something of the lineage of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
His family line traces back to Lord Brahma from the descendants of Chitragupta, and they are known as the Brahma kayasthas. Bharata is in the 87th generation from Chitragupta, Bharadvaja is the 88th. After him came Angira, and after him appeared Brhaspati. In the 149th generation of descendants, Purusottama, son of Sivadatta, went to Bengal upon the summons of the King of Bengal, Adisura. Purusottama’s youngest son took sannyasa and became famous as Kanaka Dandi. In the 7th and 8th generations of Purusottama’s family Binayaka and his son Narayana Datta both did ministerial work for the king of Bengal. In the 15th generation from Purusottama, Raja Krsnananda, the king of Kheturi (in Bengal), and the father of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, the great Vaisnava acarya, appeared. Raja Krsnananda was also a great devotee and was personally favored by Lord Nityananda Prabhu. The 7th generation from Raja Krsnananda saw the appearance of Madanamohana Datta, who was very famous in Bengal and Calcutta for his spiritual qualities. His great-grandson was Anandachandra Datta, and his son was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose 4th son was Bimala Prasad. The name Bimala or Shri Bimala Devi refers to the para sakti (internal potency) of Lord Jagannatha, so his name literally means the mercy of the internal potency of the Lord.
Bimala Prasad stayed in Jagannatha Puri for ten months after his appearance and then journeyed to Bengal by palanquin on his mother’s lap. He grew up in his early years in Ranaghata in the District of Nadia, hearing about Krsna from his mother. When he was a small boy, perhaps two or three years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought some ripe mangoes from the market. Bimala Prasad took one to eat, saying, “This is mine.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura got up and said in a grave voice, “What is this? New fruit has come into the house. It has not been offered to Giridhari and you have taken it first? Remember, new fruit is to be given first to the Lord. Without giving the first share to the Lord, nothing is to be taken.”
The child was very repentant and exclaimed, “Oh, what evil thoughts I have had! Throughout my whole life I shall not eat these again. This is the right punishment for one ruled by greed.” He made the promise and observed it throughout his whole life. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada comments on this incident: “Whenever we offered him mango he said, ‘No, I am an offender. I cannot take mango.’ He was thinking that I have offended [Krsna] in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity. So this is the characteristic of the acarya. They teach by their life’s action-one should be so much determined. A child took the mango, there is no offense, but he took that vow.”
When Bimala Prasad was seven years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was constructing the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta at Ramabagana. During that construction, a Deity of Lord Kurma was unearthed. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered his son to begin regulated worship of that Deity.
From the very beginning the boy used to hear the preaching of his father with rapt attention. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as well as his audience, were amazed to see how a small boy could hear the topics of Krsna consciousness with such total absorption. By the age of seven he had committed the entire Bhagavad-gita to memory and could wonderfully explain the verses as well. Later on he was trained in publishing and proof-reading at Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s printing press in connection with the Thakura’s well-known spiritual journal the Sajjana-Tosani. At the age of eleven, Bimala Prasad toured the various places of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lilas with his father.
Bimala Prasad had an eidetic memory. Whatever he would read once he could later recall with perfect clarity. He was trained in mathematics and astrology at the Sri Ramapura School, and he achieved such astounding scholarship that he was eventually awarded the title Siddhanta Sarasvati by his tutors, Pandit Mahesh Chandra Chauramani and Pandit Sundar Lal.
During this period he used to attend the Sunday weekly meetings of Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha and hear the Thakura lecture on the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu of Srila Rupa Gosvami. He was never known to study his school assignments, and while sitting at home, would replace those assignments with studies of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura’s Prarthana, Premabhakti-candrika and other devotional literatures. However, whatever questions he was asked by his teachers, he would
immediately answer, and he got excellent results on all of his examinations.
He used to debate everyone he met on all sorts of subjects. No one who argued with him was ever able to defeat him. Just as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had defeated a great scholar, Kesava Kasmiri at a young age, so similarly Bimala Prasad once, during his later college days, debated a scholar named Panchanana Sahityacharya, the disciple of Vasudeva Sastri, a very famous professor of that time on topics of astrological calculation. The debate was held in the home of Sri Rajendra Chandra Sastri and judged by him as well. After some discussion that scholar had to accept defeat. In fact, the scholar became so mortified that he could not check the calls of nature. After that, everyone was reluctant to debate him for fear of being defeated.
At the age of eleven, while in the fifth class, Bimala Prasad invented a type of short-hand writing called Bicanto, and it was during this period that he took a tour of the holy places with his father.
When the boy was in 7th class (equivalent to today’s eighth class), and about 13 years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought tulasi beads for his son from Jagannatha Puri and gave him the name of Hari and a Nrsimha mantra to chant which he executed very faithfully, along with the worship of his Kurma Deity, according to the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
At the age of sixteen, while his schooling continued, the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura formed the serious content of his studies. He also began writing books on astrology, and during this time he formed the Cirakumara Sabha or the August Assembly amongst his friends with whom he met regularly at Calcutta’s Beadon Square. There they used to discuss topics related to religion, and the members were required to take a vow of celibacy. The Society was formed with the purpose of giving people a chance to remain seriously engaged in worship of the Lord and detached from family life. But Bimala Prasad was the only one who observed his vows immaculately.
In 1892, at the age of eighteen, he took an entrance examination and entered Calcutta’s Sanskrit College. As before, he paid scant attention to the prescribed books, but he found the time to read all of the philosophical books contained in the library.
During his college holidays he would discuss the Vedas with the scholar Sriyukta Prithvidhara Sharma. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati had become learned in all six branches of Vedic knowledge: siksa (pronunciation), kalpa (sequences of Vedic sacrifice), vyakarana (grammar, especially the use of word roots, inflected words and sentences), nirukta (meanings of inflected words and word roots), chandah (recitation of Vedic mantras) and jyotisa (astrological and astronomical calculation), still to study the vyakarana, the grammatical branch of the Vedas, he approached the Pandit Prithvidhara Sharma. The Pandit praised him for his achievements and encouraged him to study the Siddhanta Kaumudi throughout his life. Siddhanta Sarasvati replied, “My life is for the single-minded cultivation of the teachings of Sri Caitanya, not for the cultivation of grammar. I have only studied the Vedas, the branches of the Vedas and their related parts in a secondary manner.”
In 1895 he left the college, as he was very eager to execute his worship of the Lord and to remain free from the pressure to enter family life. He stated in his autobiography:
“If I remain studying with careful attention at the College, then extreme pressure will be brought upon me to enter family life, but if I am considered to be foolish and inefficient, then no one will put such an inducement upon me for becoming so engaged. By this consideration, I left the Sanskrit College, and, in order to maintain my life for the service of Hari, I was desirous of getting an honest occupation which I could perform with the intention of earning a humble income.”
During his student days he also wrote essays on spiritual topics for various magazines and strongly condemned various religious malpractices which had become prominent in society. At the Bhakti Bhavan in 1897 he established a catuspathi (a small academy) called Saraswati Chatuspati where many learned persons from Calcutta attended his lectures and discourses on astronomy. He also published the magazines Jyotirvid and Brihaspati and other old astrological texts like the Surya-siddhanta, a famous and highly regarded Sanskrit astronomical treatise. Here he also established and edited the Bhakti Panjika, an almanac. He was well-acquainted with both the Eastern and Western branches of astrology, but naturally favoredthe Vedic one. He was offered a chair in astronomy at the University of Calcutta by Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, but Siddhanta
Sarasvati declined it, thinking it an impediment to his spiritual life. At the request of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji he composed the Sri Navadvipa Panjika, a Krsna-ized almanac in which the months, lunar fortnights, days, lunar days, stars, etc.were all given names of Visnu. He did not spend very long in his astronomical pursuits, however, and soon dedicated himself fully to the worship and distribution of the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
He was also employed by the royal kings of Tripura from 1895 to 1905 in various services. Initially he accepted the post of editor, under Panchasrika Maharaja Virachandra Manikya Bahadur, and he edited a history of their family entitled Raj Ratnakar. During this time he studied all of the principal books in the Royal Library. A year later, however, the Maharaja departed from this world. The succeeding king, Maharaja Radhakisore Manikya Bahadur entrusted Siddhanta Sarasvati with the instruction of the sons of the king in Bengali and Sanskrit. The king also requested him to put an end to various cheating activities of persons who were misappropriating royal wealth. Siddhanta Sarasvati quickly stopped this nonsense much to the delight of the king. He assisted the royal family in different ways until 1905. At that time he requested to be given leave, and this was granted along with a full pension, which he accepted for some time and then later discarded.
During this ten year period many other significant events took place as well. In 1897 he began to strictly observe the vows of Caturmasya, including the practice of cooking for himself one preparation daily, taking the food from the ground and lying on the earth without any bedding or pillow. In 1898 he toured Benares, Prayaga, and Gaya with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and discussed philosophy with persons in the line of Sri Ramanujacarya. In 1899, Siddhanta Sarasvati published a number of articles on spiritual topics in the magazine called Nivedana, a Calcutta weekly.
Siddhanta Sarasvati had been engaged in regularly chanting the maha-mantra and a Nrsimha mantra given to him by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura when he was in the Seventh Class, and he had been worshiping the Kurma Deity (discovered in laying the foundation of the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta) since the age of seven. Without fail, he had been executing that worship and chanting since his boyhood, and from 1885 onward he had received special training in printing, editing, etc. at the press at the Bhakti Bhavan.
Thus, the young man was a very qualified candidate for becoming the disciple of a guru. Many pseudo-gurus (mantra-peddlers) of the sahajiya category wanted to have him as their disciple to increase their false prestige. After all, Siddhanta Sarasvati was a magistrate’s son, he was a strict renunciate from birth, he was learned and deeply attached to the scriptures. But Siddhanta Sarasvati was not interested in such pretenders.
In 1898, after Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had constructed his residence in Navadvipa Dhama at Godruma Dvipa and called it Svananda-sukhada-kunja, and sometime after the discovery of Lord Caitanya’s birth site by the Thakura and Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja arrived in Navadvipa Dhama to see the site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birth and to hear the discourses of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. When he arrived, he was singing in ecstasy. His only possessions were the tulasi mala which he wore around his neck and another set he kept in his hand for counting. He kept a
few books, such as Narottama dasa Thakura’s works: Prarthana and Prema-bhakti-candrika.
Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji had been performing bhajana for many years in Vrndavana. He was extremely renounced and was the disciple of Bhagavata dasa Babaji, the disciple of Jagannatha dasa Babaji. He was not well-educated and had been a grain-merchant in his previous existence, but it was widely known that he was a liberated paramahamsa of the highest caliber in the area of Vraja-mandala.
At the time of his arrival, he was wearing a cap made of tiger skin and was carrying a basket of various items and materials for his service. He spotted Siddhanta Sarasvati and offered him four or five pieces of knotted rope for chanting rounds, a tilaka stamp with the initials for Hare Krsna, the tiger skin cap and paraphernalia for worship. Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja had received the basket and cap from his spiritual master, Bhagavata dasa Babaji. Siddhanta Sarasvati was very attracted to Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji’s lotus feet at first sight. He was later to comment with great humility:
“I have been busy within this material world trying to bring sense gratification within the grasp of my hand. I have often thought that by obtaining the objects of sense gratification, all my short-comings will be fulfilled. I often attained different facets that were indeed very rare, but my own personal short-comings were never mitigated. In this material world I have had the association of very high-class, aristocratic persons. However, seeing their various deficiencies, I could not offer them praise. The most merciful Supreme Lord Sri Gaurasundara, seeing me in such a lamentable condition at such a time of adversity, gave permission to His two dearmost devotees Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji to grant their blessings to me. Because I was always intoxicated with a worldly false ego, wanting again and again self-appraisal, I deprived myself of my own real benefit. But because of the influence of my previous births’ activities in devotional service, I came into the association of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was the form of my spiritual well-wisher.
“My spiritual master [Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji] would go and visit Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and many times would reside with him. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, out of his compassion for other living entities, pointed out my spiritual master, Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Upon seeing my spiritual master, the extent of my worldly false ego diminished. I knew that all the other living entities who have taken the human form of life were also fallen and low like myself. But by gradually observing the spiritual character of my master, I realized that only a Vaisnava could reside in this material world and be of exemplary character.”
At Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s urging, the young man approached Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji for initiation in the month of Magh of the year 1900. Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji expressed reluctance to accept him, knowing Siddhanta Sarasvati to be a great scholar. Finally, when Siddhanta Sarasvati pleaded with him for initiation, Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji replied, “Mahaprabhu will be asked. If He gives permission, your desire will be fulfilled.” On another day Siddhanta Sarasvati approached him again and asked, “What was Mahaprabhu’s order?” Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji replied, “I forgot to ask.” The third time Babaji Maharaja was requested, he replied, “I asked. I did not receive the command of Mahaprabhu.” Siddhanta Sarasvati then stood up, his heart breaking, and said, “You [Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Gaura Kisora] are both worshippers of Krsna, the Crest Jewel of Debauchees, therefore why will you take mercy on someone dedicated to ordinary morality like me? In His pastimes as the exemplary teacher, Mahaprabhu has given instructions on the worship of Krsna, the Crest Jewel of Debauchees. Therefore, why will He give the command to take mercy on me? But, karuna na haile kandiya kandiya prana na
rakhibe ara-If there is no mercy, weeping and weeping, I can sustain my life no more. If I do not receive your mercy I do not see any need in holding onto life.”
After thus indicating his readiness to take his life, Siddhanta Sarasvati began to cry. Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji’s heart was melted to see this, so he told him to take bath in the Sarasvati and then come back to him. At the time of initiation, he gave Siddhanta Sarasvati the name: Sri Varsabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa.
This pastime bears a striking resemblance to the relationship between Narottama dasa Thakura and Lokanatha Gosvami-[Lokanatha Gosvami was also an extremely humble and renounced paramahamsa who was reluctant to take any disciples, considering himself unqualified, but finally accepted Narottama dasa Thakura as his only disciple.] It shows how eager and determined one must be for the mercy of a pure devotee of Krsna.
In 1898 Siddhanta Sarasvati had accompanied his father to Kasi, Prayaga and Gaya and had gathered many facts about all these holy places, which were later incorporated into his commentary on the Caitanya-caritamrta called Anubhasya. In 1900 he published a book called Bange Samajikata, which described the origin, location and philosophy of various societies, castes and religions, and he expounded the clear superiority of Lord Caitanya’s doctrine of inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference. In March he accompanied Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Orissa where they visited the temple of Ksira-cora-gopinatha at Remuna, and also saw Bhubaneswar and Puri. While in Puri, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura decided to build a place for bhajana just near the samadhi of Srila Haridasa Thakura, and so Siddhanta Sarasvati stayed and served his father in various ways, assisting him in establishing his Bhakti Kuti by the sea.
At that time the Maharaja of Kasimbazar was camped nearby, and he came regularly to hear from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Siddhanta Sarasvati. Siddhanta Sarasvati was giving regular classes from the Caitanya-caritamrta in the presence of his father, and many listeners were assembling just to hear it. The famous Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji used to come at that time to hear the discourses.
Later relations with the Babaji were broken because of two deviations by him:
1. He introduced the chanting of Bhaja Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama Japa Hare Krsna Hare Rama. This was introduced with the idea of stopping the audible chanting of the maha-mantra. The first problem with this was that the concocted mantra had the faults of siddhanta-virodha-an opposing conclusion and rasabhasa-conflicting rasas. The second problem was that trying to suppress the audible vibration of the maha-mantra was against the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as established by His activities and teaching, as well as by the teachings of the Gosvamis. Rupa Gosvami had written in the Prathama Caitanyastaka, text five: hare krsnty ucchaih-”Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chants the Hare Krsna mantra in a loud voice …” Therefore, Rupa Gosvami, an eyewitness to the activities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and recipient of His full blessings and empowerment for establishing His mission, personally testifies here that Lord Caitanya did not confine the maha-mantra to inaudible muttering, but loudly proclaimed it to all.
2. Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji also introduced the Sakhibheki doctrine by dressing his follower Sri Jayagopala Bhattacarya as Lalita Sakhi. This was against Mahaprabhu’s teaching as well, as an ordinary jiva was being worshipped as though he were an expansion of Srimati Radharani. Both Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Siddhanta Sarasvati instructed the Babaji to give up these fallacious practices, but he refused. Siddhanta Sarasvati began to preach publicly and strongly against these misconceived teachings, proclaiming that the maha-mantra is for both japa and kirtana, and that kirtana is ultimately superior to japa. This created quite a controversy in Puri with many taking the side of the Babaji out of misplaced sentiment and others siding with Siddhanta Sarasvati.
During this period Siddhanta Sarasvati was engaged in the compilation of a Vaisnava encyclopedia which contained an explanation of Vaisnava terminology, brief biographies of great Vaisnavas, an introduction to the books of the Vaisnava acaryas, a description of the Vaisnava tirthas, the various conclusions of Vaisnava sects. etc. He called it Vaisnava-Manjusa-Samahriti, and it was later published in four volumes. A Vaisnava scholar commented on it by saying, “This work is only possible for a supra-mortal, a great personality like Prabhupada Srila Sarasvati Thakura. Even if 25 to 30 scholars and 10 to 15 men taking the treasury of a king began the work, they would be unable to edit it.” The work of compilation was begun in Puri and continued as Siddhanta Sarasvati made his preaching rounds of Sri Mayapur-dhama, Sri Jagannatha Puri-dhama and Sri Vraja-dhama. He also studied the books of Srila Madhvacarya and Srila Ramanujacarya and published some of them in Bengali. He also published biographies of these and other Vaisnava saints in the Sajjana-Tosani magazine of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
He toured South India in 1904 and again in 1905-places like Tirupati, Srirangam, Singhachal, Raj Mahendry, Madras, Perambadur, Conjeveram, Kumbhakonam and Madurai. While on tour he collected all the information about the rites and rules of Vedic tridanda Vaisnava sannyasa from a Ramanuja tridandi swami at Perambadur. Wherever he would go in his travels he would lecture, write and debate the learned panditas of the day. He soon acquired such a reputation that his name would strike fear in the hearts of his philosophical adversaries. All bogus cults and sects were doomed in his presence.
However, in Puri, Siddhanta Sarasvati experienced such severe oppression and censure due to his preaching against the rhyming kirtana and sakhibheki doctrine of the popular Radharamanacarana Dasa Babaji that finally Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura instructed him to go and perform bhajana near the Yogapitha, the birthsite of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
In 1905, at the age of 31, he began his great vow, following the example of Namacarya Haridasa Thakura, of chanting three lakhs of names (192 rounds) per day. He determined that at the rate of 300,000 names daily, it would take about 9 years to complete one billion names. He resided in a grass hut at the Yogapitha for four years, and in February of 1909 he built a cottage near the Yogapitha at Vrajapattana (town of Vraja) on the site of the house of Sri Candrasekhara Acarya, the uncle of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This place is considered to be non-different from the banks of Radhakunda. There he remained,
uninterruptedly executing his chanting. He strictly followed his vow and observed Caturmasya, cooking rice (which had been dried in the sun) in ghee and eating it from the floor in the manner of a cow. He would take rest lying on the ground, never using any pillows and constantly chant and study the scriptures. Seeing his renunciation, his Gurudeva, Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja said, “I observe that the renunciation of Sri Rupa-Raghunatha is manifest in my Prabhu.” He used to address his disciple as “my Prabhu.”
In commenting on this period Srila Prabhupada states, “From childhood he was a strict brahmacari, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. And he underwent very severe penances for starting this movement: world-wide movement. That was his mission.”
When the roof of his kutir became broken, rather than take time away from his chanting, he would simply use an umbrella when it rained and go on chanting. Sometimes, he had to go to different places, but he continued very strictly and completed his vows always.
In 1906 Sri Rohinikumara Ghosh, (the nephew of Chandramadhava Ghosh Mahasaya, a former justice of the Calcutta High Court), had a wonderful dream, and as a result approached Siddhanta Sarasvati for initiation. The boy had gone to stay with some Bauls, a so-called guru and his consort who he was instructed to address as “Mother” and “Father”. These persons were actually sinful rascals in the guise of devotees, but while he was in Mayapur, he had the good fortune to hear from Siddhanta Sarasvati for a long time. He returned to the place of the Baul, and feeling ill, he lay down to rest. In a dream, the Baul took the form of a tiger and the consort, the form of a tigress. They were about to devour the unfortunate lad who was trying his best to take shelter of Lord Gaurasundara. At that moment Siddhanta Sarasvati arrived on the scene, chased the tigers away, and began to lead him to Mayapur. The boy awoke at daybreak and proceeded to Mayapur where he heard discourses from Siddhanta Sarasvati for several days. Finally, he begged for initiation from his savior so feelingly that Siddhanta Sarasvati took mercy on him.
Prior to this, Siddhanta Sarasvati had never given initiation to anyone. His character was such that he never regarded his disciples as his disciples, but he used to see them as being that which was received from the lotus feet of his guru. He used to address them as “Prabhu.” In his address to the Gaudiya Math’s first Vyasa-puja, he has addressed his disciples as, “My friends, rescuers from danger.” He also wrote, “If a Vaisnava does not do the work of a guru, then the spiritual Vaisnava lineage will stop. Again, if he does the work of a guru, then he becomes a non-Vaisnava. For if a guru thinks, ‘I am a guru.’ then the first ‘u’ letter in the word guru disappears (the word becomes ‘garu’ or cow). A real guru does not make disciples and thus remains a guru. Here we see Siddhanta Sarasvati giving a very strong warning about entertaining the conception of overlordship or being the master of anyone. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada observed that when he offered obeisances to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he used to return, “Daso ’smi”: “I am your servant.” And in a lecture in 1973 on the occasion of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Disappearance Day observance, Srila Prabhupada in the same ecstatic mood spoke, ‘Anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life, and he brought me some way orother in preaching his gospel. So, this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying a little bit and you are all helping me, so I have to thank you more. You are actually representatives of my Guru Maharaja, because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja. Thank you very much.”
In the course of Siddhanta Sarasvati’s travels throughout India he became much pained at the erroneous teachings of many pseudo sects and sahajiya groups. There arose in his heart a burning desire to widely preach the true siddhanta according to the desire of the Six Gosvamis and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji ordinarily never allowed anyone to touch his feet, he had voluntarily placed his feet on the head of Siddhanta Sarasvati and ordered him to preach extensively and advised him, “… to preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other works.” Siddhanta Sarasvati said of
this occasion: “On receiving just a touch of the lotus feet of my Sri Gurudeva, I lost all sense of this external world. I do not know whether any transcendental agent equal to him in greatness has ever appeared in this world. How may those, who are busy with the lust, anger, etc. of the world ever know him?”
The Gaura Mantra
Later in 1911 a controversy surfaced, challenging that the name Gaura in the Gayatri mantra chanted by Gaudiya Vaisnavas was not an eternal name of Godhead, was not found in the original Vedas, and that Lord Caitanya was not an incarnation of Godhead, but rather, by His own admission, a devotee of God.
Although it is clearly established in the pages of Caitanya-bhagavata and Caitanya-caritamrta that Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, there were some persons who did not believe that His position as an avatara was revealed in the original Vedas. Of course one actual proof of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s divinity was the darsanas He provided to a number of exalted devotees during the maha-prakasa manifestations in the home of Srivasa Thakura, to Lord Nityananda as a six-armed Visnu form, as Sad-Bhuja to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, as Radha-Krsna to Srila Ramananda Raya, and so on. These proofs along with many convincing verses supplied by Krsna dasa Kaviraja and Vrndavana dasa Thakura in their Caitanya-caritamrta and Caitanya-bhagavata, repectively, were sufficient for reasonable men. But the more stubborn worldly scholars and critics wanted proof from the original Vedas. The smartas objected to the worship of the Deity form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and claimed that the Gaura-mantra was not an eternal Vedic mantra.
Siddhanta Sarasvati cited proof from the Sruti, particularly from the Caitanyopanisad from the Atharva Veda:
sa hovaca: rahasyam te vadisyami, jahnavi-tire navadvipe
golokakhye dhamni govindo dvibhujo gaurah sarvatma
maha-puruso mahatma maha-yogi trigunatitah sattva-rupo
bhaktim loke kasyatiti. Tad ete sloka bhavanti
Brahma said: “I shall tell thee a secret! On the bank of the Jahnavi, at Navadvipa, which is called Goloka Dhama, shall Govinda, in a two armed form, as Gaura, the Great One, the Great Mystic, Who is transcendental to the three modes of material nature, and Whose form is eternal, reveal Bhakti to the world! There are a number of verses in that regard.” [Text 5].
Other evidence was cited from the Svetasvatara Upanisad, as well as the Smrti, Tantras, Puranas, and especially the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Siddhanta Sarasvati addressed a large assembly at Navadvipa’s Bada Akhada Hall, where many erudite scholars had gathered, headed by Sri Madhusudana Gosvami Sarvabhauma. He forcefully and brilliantly proved the eternality and glory of the Name, Form, Attributes, etc. of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Siddhanta Sarasvati was unaware of it, Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was there in one corner of the meeting, and when he heard Siddhanta Sarasvati’s lecture he was
extremely pleased with him. All of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas who heard the discourse were filled with bliss and began to chant Siddhanta Sarasvati’s glories again and again. Due, in large measure, to Siddhanta Sarasvati’s strong preaching on this point throughout his life, the Deity form of Sri Caitanya. Mahaprabhu is now worshipped and accepted all over India as the eternal form of the Lord, and many thousands have received the Gaura mantra with great faith and for eternal benefit.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada commented on Siddhanta Sarasvati’s strong preaching against the caste gosvamis and smartas:
“My Guru Maharaja’s contribution is that he defeated the caste gosvamis. He defeated this brahmanism. He did it the same way as Caitanya Mahaprabhu did. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya, yei krsna tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya: ‘There is no consideration whether one is a sannyasi, a brahmana, a sudra, or a grhastha. No. Anyone who knows the science of Krsna, he is all right, he is gosvami and he is brahmana.’
“This was my Guru Maharaja’s contribution. And for this reason, he had to face so many vehement protests from these brahmanas of the caste gosvamis.
“Once they conspired to kill him-my Guru Maharaja told me personally. By his grace, when we used to meet alone he used to talk about so many things. He was so kind that he used to talk with me, and he personally told me that these people, ‘They wanted to kill me.’
“They collected twenty-five thousand rupees and went to bribe the police officer in charge of the area, saying, ‘You take these twenty-five thousand rupees. We shall do something against Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and you don’t take any steps.’ He could understand that they wanted to kill him. So the police officer frankly came to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: ‘Of course, we accept bribes, and we indulge in such things, but not for a sadhu, not for a saintly person. I cannot dare.’ So, the police officer refused and said to my Guru Maharaja, ‘You take care. This is the position.’ This was because he so vehemently protested.
“When my Guru Maharaja was present, even big, big scholars were afraid to talk with even his beginning students. My Guru Maharaja was called ‘living encyclopedia’. He could talk with anyone on any subject, he was so learned. And no compromise. So-called saints, avataras, yogis-everyone who was false was an enemy to my Guru Maharaja. He never compromised. Some Godbrothers complained that this preaching was a ‘chopping technique’ and it would not be successful. But those who criticized him fell down.”