Our Great Fortune

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
8 January 2019, part 4

 

Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, was selected as the acharya, or preacher, by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

I have told before also that when Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was going to leave his body, he wanted to hear Srila Sridhar Maharaj sing "Sri Rupa Manjari-pada sei mora sampada sei mora bhajana pujana." Why did he want to hear him sing it? Srila Sridhar Maharaj was not a good singer—he could speak Hari-katha, do some sankirtan, but his tune was not very good when he sang. Still, Srila Saraswati Thakur wanted to hear him sing that song. At that time, Srila Sridhar Maharaj was not present there and one of the devotees said to another devotee, "Prabhu, Srila Sridhar Maharaj is coming a bit later, but you are a good singer, you can start singing." When that devotee started the song, Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur stopped him—he was very angry, "I do not want to listen to the tune! I want to listen to the song."

Then it was 1941. Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj was in Vrindavan and one day got a message from Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. After that, he left Vrindavan and started Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, in 1941. Our Gurudev, Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math under the guidance of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in 1947. Gurudev told that he had got an opportunity to serve all the great Vaishnavs such as Sripad Kunja Babu (Srila Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj), Sripad Bhakti Vinod Babu (Srila Bhakti Prajnan Keshav Goswami Maharaj), Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad and others. Actually, many of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's godbrothers eventually took sannyas from him and all of his godbrothers would come to him to hear some Hari-katha. At that time our Gurudev got the opportunity to serve them all; and when they would come, they would say that when Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj was giving a lecture, they thought that it was as if Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur himself was speaking.

Also, when Gurudev came and joined the temple, he started to preach outside little by little. In the early years, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and Gurudev stayed at the house of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj (Abhay Babu at that time) in Kolkata. Gurudev told me that when they were staying at Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's house, Srila Swami Maharaj would teach him Srimad Bhagavad-gita and because Srila Swami Maharaj was expert at Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Gurudev said he had been able to remember the slokas from Srimad Bhagavad-gita perfectly. Also, Gurudev said that when his Guru Maharaj, Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, and Om Vishnupad Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad were talking, he thought it was like Srimati Radharani was talking to Srimati Lalita and Visakha—they would laugh and joke, etc.

Once, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj told A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad, "You cannot stay in your family life. You must come out and go preaching abroad, to the foreign countries. It will be good for you. You can be a perfect preacher of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur." Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad told Srila Sridhar Maharaj, "If you give me sannyas, then I can come out." Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explained, "Prabhu, you are my great friend, you are like a brother to me. How can I give you sannyas? It is not possible. It will be better if you take sannyas from Bhakti Prajnan Keshav Goswami Maharaj—I have given the sannyas mantra to him, so if you take sannyas from him, the connection will be there and everything will be perfect."

Later, in 1973, when ISKCON was establishing Mayapur Chandradaya Mandir, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad invited Srila Sridhar Maharaj to the inauguration ceremony. Srila Sridhar Maharaj went there with Srila Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj and my Gurudev (at that time, his name was Gaurendu Brahmachari). When they came, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj asked Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad, "Maharaj, you have invited me for the inauguration, but where is all the paraphernalia? Where is the yajna?" Srila Prabhupad replied, "Maharaj, what is the necessity for the inauguration ceremony? You have come, then my temple inauguration has already finished." That day, when Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad requested Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj to speak, Srila Sridhar Maharaj said to my Gurudev, "My health is not good today, you can give the lecture today." Gurudev gave the lecture and everybody was very surprised to hear the sloka that he spoke—hearing it, Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj exclaimed, "Jay! Hari bol! Hari bol!" And Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj said about Gurudev, "He is my perfect son."

So, both you and I are very fortunate that we have got such a Guru who is recognised by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad and recognised by our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. I am also fortunate that I have got an opportunity to serve my Gurudev, to serve his mission and that he has accepted me, he has been tolerating me, and that he has been accepting my service. This is my fortune.

 

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Path To Bhakti-Rasa
'Guru is always merciful. I do not want to drink the bhakti-rasa, I do not want to do Hari-bhajan, but he forcefully keeps me, at his lotus feet, at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, this is his power.' What is the path to such mercy and how to walk it?.

 

Sri Sri Damodarastakam
'[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother's hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.'
শ্রীশ্রীদামোদরাষ্টকম্

You are devotees of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and Gurudev says that you are all in the ship of Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and everybody has to come under one umbrella.

"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"