AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR
A Day at Hapaniya
I offer my obeisances to my respected Godbrothers, Godsisters, and the villagers of Sri Hapaniya. Today we have very happily come to Sripat Hapaniya Dham. Our destination is Goloka, even if we may not know where Goloka is. However, we must know that the abode of Goloka has personally become manifest in this world as the abode of the Divine Master, the residence of the devotees and the Temple where the Deities are worshipped. Today, whether we can perceive it or not, we have arrived in this holy place which is non-different from Goloka Dham.
Many years ago we brought our Divine Master back here to Hapaniya, the place of his advent. We had a purpose, as also did the residents of this village; and all wanted to have Guru Maharaj's company once again, since so many long years had passed since Guru Maharaj left his family to accept the renounced order of life, sannyas, and went out to preach throughout the whole of India, after which Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur departed from this mortal world, and Guru Maharaj remained in Vrindavan, Gokula, and Sri Nabadwip Dham. His family members, especially his brothers Sriyukta Mani Babu and Sriyukta Amar Babu, tried their level best to bring Guru Maharaj back to his 'home town' Hapaniya, but he had no desire to come here and never agreed to their proposal.
Afterwards, on the request of Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers, Parama-pujyadpada Srila Jajavar Maharaj, Paramahamsa Maharaj, Madhusudan Maharaj, etc.—all the Vaisnavas who had much regard and affection for him—Guru Maharaj finally agreed to come here for a day or two.
My underlying intention through all this was to locate the exact spot where Guru Maharaj took his birth. I thought that could be indicated only by him personally. No one else could do that because all were younger than him. He was the eldest remaining of all his family members of the village, and furthermore, his memory was the sharpest of all. Therefore I considered that only he could accurately point out the place of his birth.
When Jajavar Maharaj and other Godbrothers of Guru Maharaj, and myself, petitioned Guru Maharaj to come back here once, Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj also supported our proposal with great enthusiasm. He personally became most eager that Guru Maharaj should come. Our most revered Sriyukta Mani Babu and Sriyukta Amar Babu were most enthusiastic. Also Sriyukta Satyen Babu, Sriyukta Bon Babu, and many other distinguished brahmanas and pious souls of the village and their families —all showed great eagerness. Young and old—everyone, even one elderly Muslim gentleman who lived nearby also expressed his heartfelt wish that Guru Maharaj might be brought back here once again. In this way, everyone propitiated Guru Maharaj, and at last he agreed.
When Guru Maharaj reached here, I requested him to indicate the place of his birth. Guru Maharaj happily agreed to do so, and the very spot directly before us where Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Gopinathjiu now graciously preside, was indicated by him to be the exact place of his birth.
On that day we collected 6000 rupees for making a small place of worship here, to mark the spot. All the venerable Godbrothers of Srila Guru Maharaj who were present also graciously gave me contributions. Then at the request of Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj, Jajavar Maharaj and others, Mani Babu registered a deed and gave it to me for this place. Although it was a very small beginning, I was encouraged very much by the blessings and association of Guru Maharaj's brothers and my Godbrothers. Sriyukta Amar Babu took full charge of the project, and in a very humble way we tried to make a small temple only for the worship of Guru Maharaj's photograph. Originally there was no temple for the Deity, or any nat-mandir. Gradually, the devotees became more and more enthused to give contributions, and so after about eight years I thought that with our Guru Maharaj's permission it would now be possible to build a temple here and install Deities.
Guru Maharaj was also very happy to hear that I wanted to install Deities here. He said, "I am sure you will have no problem to engage a good priest, invite the Vaisnavas and hold a grand festival for the installation of the Deities. But after that, how will you feed your Deities? It is not a matter of one or two years—it is an eternal service. So first you will have to try to manage for a permanent arrangement for the worship of the Deities."
By the blessings of Guru Maharaj and through the affection of my Godbrothers, sufficient facility came to enable me to arrange regular offerings and worship for the Deities. So, taking Guru Maharaj's instruction, with the guidance of his honourable Godbrothers we installed the Deities of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Gopinathjiu. Since then we have held four grand festivals every year, and we continue the daily worship of the Deities according to the scriptural regulations.
Guru Maharaj named the Deities 'Radha-Gopinathjiu.' This name causes us to always remember Madhavendra Puripad. Madhavendra Puri received the profuse blessings, and sweet rice Prasadam, from Gopinathjiu of Remuna. So Guru Maharaj said that since the Deity had manifest Himself here as Gopinathjiu, we must arrange very nice paramanna or sweet rice to offer to Him every day.
Gradually, the Temple and nat-mandir has manifested by the blessings of Guru Maharaj and the affection of the devotees. Along with his family, Guru Maharaj's brother, Sripad Amar Babu, constantly serves this Math. Guru Maharaj named this math 'Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Asram,' and up to the present it is running very happily and perfectly under the guidance of Amar Babu. As at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, all the spiritual functions are carried out every day, and devotees and villagers from far and wide come to see Gopinathjiu. Hundreds of villagers come for the festivals like Radhastami and Krishna- Janmastami. On Janmastami they come for the worship of Gopinathjiu, and they observe fasting the whole day. The next day, for the great festival known as Nandotsava, five to six thousand people attend this math and happily take Prasadam. They all cooperate with us very nicely. In this way, the service of Gopinathjiu has become very glorious. We are also very happy because Guru Maharaj's orders to make these service programmes have become fulfilled. Today, you have also seen the new land we have acquired, and the pond which we have named 'Santi Sarovara.' There, we are now cultivating our own crops. Devotees of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math now visit here regularly, especially for the festivals of Gaura-Purnima, Guru-Puja, and Janmastami, and they are very happy to see the service of Gopinathjiu and take His Prasadam, and they feel transcendental ecstasy. Thus our service is always progressing with the kind assistance of the devotees.
Today so many of you have again attended, and this year my programme is a little different. Guru Maharaj's form is transcendental, never mundane, and on the Holy Day of his Advent we worship him in the same way as Lord Krishna or Mahaprabhu. Therefore, I thought that after his Appearance Day Festival, which we observed yesterday in Nabadwip, we should hold a festival here today for Guru Maharaj in the same way as Nandotsava, the festival held by Nanda Maharaj the day after Krishna's birth. Everything here is transcendental, and if we can have the vision to see this we must be spiritually benefitted. In this way we are trying to fulfil the desire of the exalted Vaisnavas.
The name of this village is 'Hapaniya,' which means 'sweet water.' A place that produces sweet water is called 'Hapaniya.' Paniya means 'that which is drinkable.' Today we have drunk the water from the green coconuts here and experienced their sweetness. Because of these coconuts full of sweet water, this place has been called 'Hapaniya.'
Another feeling also comes to me when I am in Hapaniya, as a child of this village. Perhaps in the past I was a resident of this village. I do not know why, but whenever I come here I feel myself to be a part of this village. Perhaps it is because of the affection of Guru Maharaj's family members. I first came here when I was seventeen years old. At that time, Mani Babu, Amar Babu and their families were very affectionate to me and bestowed their blessings upon me; and Guru Maharaj's sister, who now lives at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip—she accepted me as her son. With so many such things combined, I feel myself to be a boy of this village. Now I have been coming and going, to and from this village for about forty-two years.
Guru Maharaj himself was so very affectionate to me, he did not like me to be away from him for even a few hours. Sometimes when I would go to Calcutta, Guru Maharaj would send a Godbrother by a shortcut on the cycle to the bridge to intercept me and call me back. "Call Govinda Maharaj back, I am not feeling well." This happened many times. Sometimes, even if there was very important work in Calcutta, he would send someone by cycle with the order, "Bring him back immediately." But whenever I had to come here to Hapaniya, Guru Maharaj would always very happily grant me permission. Even if he was not in very good health, his mood would change and he would become very pleased. He always encouraged me to come to Hapaniya. But so many times when I had to go to Calcutta, he would call me back. Therefore, I am very attached to Hapaniya Dham.
After the manifestation of the Deity, when I was about to go to Hapaniya, sometimes Guru Maharaj would ask, "Where are you going?" And I would reply, "I am going to my math." Guru Maharaj would enjoy, and laughing he would say, "Oh, Hapaniya is your math? Alright. You may go." Guru Maharaj's mood was very happy if I served the Deity of Radha-Gopinathjiu. This is why I have become more and more enthusiastic to serve the Deity. Also, many of my Godbrothers, especially I can mention that Sripad Yudhamanyu Seva Vikram Prabhu and Sripad Aravinda Lochan Seva Sundar Prabhu, are assisting me very much for the Hapaniya seva. Many other Godbrothers are also helping. Whenever the devotees hear that their contribution is utilised for Hapaniya, their hearts feel peaceful and happy.
We enjoy here very feely. When I am in Calcutta I have heavy responsibilities, and in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math also I am not worry-free. But in Hapaniya, I feel much peace at heart. I come here weekly or fortnightly. Although I don't stay very long, I appreciate being here.
So now you have come to this very place, Hapaniya, where Guru Maharaj manifested himself to the world, where all the trees, all the animals, all the men and women —everything is transcendental. Even all the vegetables are transcendental. But it is necessary to eat with a transcendental body. Otherwise, how can we digest?
That day we came here with Guru Maharaj, a humble meeting was held here in this very place. As shelter, only a tarpaulin was erected above our heads. We sat on the ground, and Guru Maharaj sat on a chair. He discussed various slokas. At that time it was my greatest fortune to hear a special sloka from my Guru Maharaj for the first time. Guru Maharaj wanted to inject our hearts with the feeling that we had come to the Holy Abode.
yat kincha trnagulma-kikatamukham
He told us, "Everything here is transcendental and very auspicious. If you can see in this way, you will be benefitted. You will retrieve your transcendental life, and attain the service of Srimati Radharani." In this way, Guru Maharaj gave his blessings to us here on that day, and we always remember that. I have tried to speak a little of the glories of Guru Maharaj, for his satisfaction, and I know that if I can see the meaning of his sloka, my prayer must reach its destination very easily.
Now the offering is being made to the Deities. After the bhogarati we shall happily take the Prasadam of Radha- Gopinathjiu, Giridharijiu and our Guru Maharaj. This is my desire and prayer. My obesiances to you all—the villagers, the sannyasis, brahmacaris, etc.
Jaya Om Visnupada Paramahamsa-parivracaryya-varyya Astottara-sata-sri Srimad Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, ki jaya! Tadiya Avirbhava-bhumi Sripat Hapaniya, ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Gopinathjiu, ki jaya! Tadiya Bhogarati, ki jaya! Jaya Sripad Ananga Mohan Prabhu, ki jaya! Jaya Gauri Matadevi, ki jaya! Jaya Sri Upendrachandra Vidyaratna ki jaya! Jaya samaveta Vaisnava-mandala, ki jaya! Samaveta Bhaktavrnda, ki jaya! Harinama-sankirttana, ki jaya! Gaura-premanande, Hari bol!
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
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