At Sri Surabhi Kunja

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
and Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj
Sri Nabadwip Dham Parikrama, Day One
17 March 2019

 

Today, as every year, we have come to Surabhi Kunja. We used to come here first, but this year we have taken another road.

Surabhi Kunja is located in Godrumdwip. Godrum Dham is a place of kirtan, and Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur started sankirtan movement and preaching about Sri Nabadwip Dham from this place. By the mercy of our Gurupadpadma, we have come here today. There is a river just behind the temple, this river's name is Saraswati. When you cross the Ganges you can see that the water looks different at opposite banks, that is because one side is Ganga and the other side (here) is Saraswati. So, this Godrumdwip lies on the bank of the Saraswati River, and within it are Gadigachha, Balichar, Maheshganj, Tiyorakali, Amghat, Shyamnagar, Virija, Harishpur, Suvarna Bihar, and Devapalli where our Nrisingha Palli temple is. Local people call Godrumdwip 'Gadigachha', but in Vaishnav language it is Godrumdwip.

At this place, by the mercy of Surabhi cow, Markandeya Muni attained the service of Gaura and took shelter of pure devotion. Markandeya Muni was Lord Indra in Krishna-lila (Indra who flooded Vrindavan once). 'Go' means 'a cow' and 'drum' [pronounced as 'droom'] means 'a tree'—because cow Surabhi lived here under an asvattha tree, this place is called 'Go-drum.' Try to remember this. Which practice out of the nine devotional practices is predominant here? Kirtan.

There are nine islands and nine practices—sravanam (Simantadwip), kirtanam (Godrumdwip), smaranam (Madhyadwip), pada-sevanam (Koladwip), archanam (Rtudwip), vandanam (Jahnudwip), dasyam (Modadrumdwip), sakhyam (Rudradwip), atma-nivedanam (Antardwip). Godrumdwip is an abode of kirtan, therefore it is necessary to chant kirtan here out loud.

Thakur Bhaktivinod lived in this Surabhi Kunja, and our Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj serves here single-handed—he maintains this place by begging and collection. When our Gurudev disappeared, there was nothing here, but Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj has since then arranged this grand place for you all. It is our great fortune to be here. He is also my very dear friend. I am asking Srila Avadhut Maharaj to please sing the Surabhu Kunja kirtan "Bara sukha khabara."

 

 


 

 

[Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj addresses the assembled Vaishnavs:]

ওঁ অজ্ঞানতিমিরান্ধস্য জ্ঞানাঞ্জনশলাকয়া ।
চক্ষুরুন্মিলিতং যেন তস্মৈ শ্রীগুরবে নমঃ ॥

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
chaksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

"I offer my obeisance unto Sri Gurudev, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the salve of divine knowledge."

বাঞ্ছাকল্পতরুভ্যশ্চ কৃপাসিন্ধুভ্য এব চ ।
পতিতানাং পাবনেভ্যো বৈষ্ণবেভ্যো নমো নমঃ ॥

vanchha-kalpatarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

"Again and again I offer my obeisance unto the Supreme Lord's devotees, who are saviours of the fallen, oceans of mercy, and wish-fulfilling trees."

শ্রীকৃষ্ণচৈতন্য প্রভু নিত্যানন্দ ।
শ্রীঅদ্বৈত গদাধর শ্রীবাসাদি গৌরভক্তবৃন্দ ॥

sri krishna chaitanya prabhu nityananda
sri advaita gadadhara srivasadi gaura bhakta-vrinda

হরে কৃষ্ণ হরে কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ হরে হরে ।
হরে রাম হরে রাম রাম রাম হরে হরে ॥

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

We are extremely happy today to have got the company of Pujyapad Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj. Although he comes here only once a year, I have not had such fortune to serve this place as much as Maharaj has done. I do not know when that day will come, but if he gives his mercy, then it can happen. I pay obeisances again and again to my Gurudev and pray that we may remain engaged in service. We are very happy to see him here today.

বৈষ্ণব সঙ্গেতে মন আনন্দিত অনুক্ষণ
সদা হয় কৃষ্ণ পরসঙ্গ ।

vaisnava sangete mana anandita anuksana
sada haya krsna para-sanga

"In the association of Vaishnavs, my mind is always joyful—in their association I always get the association of Krishna."

('Thakura Vaishnava pada' by Srila Narottam Das Thakur)

Pujyapad Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj's contribution is incomparable. I have heard that he has established a temple at the birthplace of Sriman Nityananda Prabhu in Ekachakra-gram, he is also making a beautiful temple near the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur Dham, and he has also made a beautiful temple near the Lord Nrisinghadev in Nrisingha Palli, at the place of "suddha-bhaktir vighna vinaskari Bhagavan Nrisinghadev who grants protection to all devotees. He is also very affectionate to us and he is our dearest friend. Many may become scared to hear this, but when the Lord blesses someone, and his Gurudev has kept so much blessing with him, despite all the perils he emerges unharmed. Prahlad Maharaj was harassed by his father because of his devotion, and you can see that just like Prahlad Maharaj, despite all trials, Pujyapad Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj withstands everything and the Guru and Vaishnavs always protect him. "My devotee is never vanquished." Krishna also says it in the Gita.

Anyhow, you have all come to this pure place. Sriman Nityananda Prabhu started the marketplace of the Holy Name here, and His associate Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur started preaching kirtan from here. We shall now sing a kirtan about that.

[Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj sings with all the devotees:]

বড় সুখের খবর গাই
সুরভি-কুঞ্জেতে নামের হাট খুলে’ছে / খোদ নিতাই

bara sukhera khabara gai
surabhi-kunjete namera hatta khule'chhe / khoda nitai

I am singing about the greatest news! A marketplace of the Holy Name has opened at Surabhi Kunja, and its proprietor is Nitai!

বড় মোজার কথা তায়
শ্রদ্ধা-মূল্যে শুদ্ধ-নাম সেই হাটেতে বিকায়

bara mojara katha taya
sraddha-mulye suddha-nama sei hattete bikaya

This is such great news! You can buy the pure Name at this market place at the cost of faith.

যত ভক্ত-বৃন্দ বসি’
অধিকারী দেখে’ নাম বেচ্ছে দর কসি’

yata bhakta-vrnda basi'
adhikari dekhe' nama vechchhe dara kasi'

Whoever comes, He looks at the qualification of the devotee and then sells the Name at a bargain price.

যদি নাম কিন্বে, ভাই
আমার সঙ্গে চল, মহাজনের কাছে য়াই

yadi nama kinbe, bhai
amara sange chala, mahajanera kachhe yai

Brother, if you want to buy this Name, come with me—I am going to this great soul now.

তুমি কিন্বে কৃষ্ণ-নাম
দস্তুরি লৈব আমি, পূর্ণ্ণ হ’বে কাম

tumi kinbe krsna-nama
dasturi laiba ami, purna ha'be kama

You will buy the Holy Name and I will get a discount and my desire will be fulfilled.

বড় দয়াল নিত্যানন্দ
শ্রদ্ধা-মাত্র ল’য়ে দেন পরম-আনন্দ

bara dayal nityananda
sraddha-matra la'ye dena parama-ananda

Nityananda is very merciful—at the cost of mere faith He bestows greatest joy.

এক-বার দেখলে চক্ষে জল
’গৌর’ বলে’ নিতাই দেন সকল সম্বল

ek-bara dekhle chakse jala
'gaura' bole' nitai dena sakala sambala

If Nitai sees just once someone says, 'Gaura,' with tears in their eyes, He gives them all His wealth.

দেন শুদ্ধ কৃষ্ণ-শিক্ষা
জাতি, ধন, বিদ্যা, বল না করে অপেক্ষা

dena suddha krsna-siksa
jati, dhana, vidya, bala na kare apeksa

He gives pure teachings of Lord Krishna without expecting a high caste, wealth, knowledge or physical strength from anyone.

অমনি ছাডে মায়া-জাল
গৃহে থাক, বনে থাক, না থাকে জঞ্জাল

amani chhade maya-jala
grhe thaka, vane thaka, na thake janjal

Now hurry and give up the net of illusion, then wherever you are—whether you live in a house or in a forest—there will be no more refuse left.

আর নাইক কলির ভয়
আচণ্ডালে দেন নাম নিতাই দয়াময়

ara naika kalira bhaya
achandale dena nama nitai dayamaya

There is no fear of Kali any more—merciful Nitai gives the Name even to the lowest among men.

ভক্তিবিনোদ ডাকি’ কয়
নিতাই-চরণ বিনা আর নাহি আশ্রয়

bhaktivinoda daki' kaya
nitai-charana vina ara nahi asraya

Bhaktivinod calls out, "There is no other shelter except for the feet of Nitai!"

[Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj continues his speech:]

You are doing this parikrama of Nabadwip and have come here. This is Godrumdwip. 'Go' means 'surabhi' (cow) and 'drum' means 'an asvattha tree'.

In Dvapar-yuga, not being able to recognise Lord Krishna, Indradev committed an offence at the feet of Lord Krishna. What offence was it?

Every year, Vraja-basis made an offering to Lord Indra to get regular rains—if the rain is regular, then the grass grows well, the cows eat well, the crops are good, etc. One year, however, Lord Krishna said, "We must worship Govardhan now! We must not worship Indra! If we worship Govardhan, we will get everything!" Then, all Vraja-basis, including Nanda Maharaj, started worshipping Govardhan. Seeing his offerings diverted to Govardhan, Indradev became hurt and sent torrential rains on Vrindavan that lasted during seven days. All the Vraja-basis became scared and prayed to Krishna, "Please save us!" But Krishna said, "Do not fear! Giriraj Govardhan will protect us." Then, Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill and during all the seven days sheltered all the Vraja-basis underneath it. By Krishna's illusory potency, everybody forgot that Krishna was the Lord and thought He was a great hero.

Then, seven days later the rain stopped. Indradev thought that all the Vraja-basis had got scared and would resume his worship, but when the rain had stopped and the water had dried up, all the Vraja-basis came home and saw that all their houses, all their property was intact, there was no damage at all. All the Vraja-basis were very happy and said, "Now we will worship Govardhan every year, we will not worship Indradev anymore!"

Indradev saw that the Vraja-basis were not scared, that all their houses were intact, that nothing had happened at all, and he came to Surabhi. Indra asked Surabhi, "Mother, what is this? Who is this Krishna? He is an ordinary cowherd human boy, but He told them to worship Govardhan instead of me—I tried to stop them but they are only happy now!" Then Surabhi said, "Krishna is the Lord Himself, and He has saved everyone. You have made a mistake and could not recognise Him taking Him for an ordinary human. Go and apologise to Him." Indra said, "I am afraid to go to Him now! Come with me."

Then, Indradev and Surabhi came to Krishna at Govardhan Hill. Indra praised Krishna and offered Him abhisekh, pleasing thus the Lord. Pleased, Lord Krishna forgave Indra's offence, and after that Indradev returned to heaven.

Some time later, Indra again came to Surabhi and said, "O Mother, I again feel fearful because of my offence." Surabhi instructed him, "Listen to what I have to say. I have heard that Lord Chaitanya will appear in Nabadwip Dham in Kali-yuga, and He will liberate everyone through the Holy Name bestowing Krishna-bhakti, Krishna-prema to everyone." Indradev replied, "But I cannot recognise Krishna—if I cannot recognise Gaura-lila, I will again make an offence! You please take me to Nabadwip Dham, I will worship Gaura there and get His darshan."

In this way, Indradev came here with Surabhi in Dvapar-yuga. The place where the Deities stand now is the place where there used to be an asvattha tree. Sitting under that tree, Indradev and Surabhi started worshiping Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some time later, Lord Chaitanyadev appeared before them. Indradev was very happy and returned to heaven, but Surabhi stayed here. This is how this place got its name "Surabhi Kunja." As I have said earlier, Godrum means 'go' ('a cow') and 'drum' ('a tree').

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says that this Godrumdwip is non-different from Nanda-gram. Godrumdwip stretches from here up to Nrisingha Palli, and the asvattha tree that was here before spread over one yojan, or eight kilometres.

So, as I was saying, Indradev returned to heaven, and Surabhi stayed here. There was once a rishi named Markandeya who had got a boon from Lord Siva that he would live for seven kalpas (cycles of creation and destruction of the universe). So, during the time of pralaya (universal destruction) Markandeya did not die—he was carried away by the water flooding the universe, and he floated here to Nabadwip Dham. Here, he met Surabhi and prayed to her, "O Mother Surabhi, I have been starving for so long, please let me drink your milk to regain my health." Surabhi gave her milk to Markandeya, and Markandeya felt better. Then, he told Surabhi his story and said, "I do not know why I have got this boon of a seven-kalpa lifetime, what am I to do now?" Surabhi told him, "Stay here and worship Gaura! If you worship Gaura and get His darshan, you will get Krishna-bhakti. If you get that divya-sakti, you will not have to suffer anymore." So, Markandeya started worshipping Gaura here.

Then, Mahaprabhu appeared here. When He took sannyas, He sent Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Bengal. Nityananda Prabhu stayed here for three months and inaugurated the marketplace of the Holy Name here. After Nityananda Prabhu left, the preaching gradually became extinct, and then Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur came and again started preaching about the Nama-hatta. He wrote about Godrumdwip, "Gaura has given me a place in Surabhi Kunja, on the outskirts of Godrumdwip, and, taking shelter of the rasika devotees of Vraja, this Bhaktivinod hankers for the service to the lotus feet of the Divine Couple." Staying here, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur wrote many books—Jaiva-dharma, Amrita-pravaha-bhasya commentary to Chaitanya-charitamrita and many others. He started preaching from this very place—Surabhi Kunja. By the mercy of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur we now can go on this parikrama of Sri Nabadwip Dham.

গৌর আমার যে সব স্থানে
করল ভ্রমণ রঙ্গে ।
সে সব স্থান হেরিব আমি
প্রণয়ি-ভকত-সঙ্গে ॥

gaura amara ye-saba sthane
karala bhramana range
se-saba sthana heriba ami
pranayi-bhakata-sange

"In the company of loving devotees, I behold all the places my Gaurasundar roamed during His ecstatic Pastimes."

Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj is a pure, genuine Vaishnav. There is no parallel to his service. He also serves this place here—he has helped to build this very temple here, and we have kept his name engraved in one of the marble plates. He has done so much for the service of his Guru and for the service to the holy dham.

বাঞ্ছাকল্পতরুভ্যশ্চ কৃপাসিন্ধুভ্য এব চ ।
পতিতানাং পাবনেভ্যো বৈষ্ণবেভ্যো নমো নমঃ ॥

vanchha-kalpatarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

"Again and again I offer my obeisance unto the Supreme Lord's devotees, who are saviours of the fallen, oceans of mercy, and wish-fulfilling trees."

Glory be to Pujyapad Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj.

 


Sri Surabhi Kunja in 2008 (In the center: Srila B.V. Avadhut Maharaj speaking).


Sri Surabhi Kunja in 2008.


Sri Surabhi Kunja in 2010.


Sri Surabhi Kunja in 2010 (the construction had just started from the altar podium).


Sri Surabhi Kunja Temple today (2019).


Srila Bhakti Vedanta Avadhut Maharaj speaking.

 

 

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The kirtan, extracted from the recording above:

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''Time has passed as I have been busy in my material life, and I have got nothing, only became burdened. What sort of world is this?' In this world there is no want of food, no want of money, no want of anything except only one thing...'

 

Yadi gaura na ha'ta
'If Sri Gaura had not come, what would have happened? How would we have maintained our lives? Who would have revealed to the world Sri Radha's glory and the extremes of Her ecstatic divine love?'
যদি, গৌর না হ'ত

One day, you will leave this material body, and you do not know where you will be posted—as you sow so you reap.

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