Sri Gaurahari Bhakti Sampad Prabhu
(Complied from lectures of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)
ওঁ অজ্ঞানতিমিরান্ধস্য জ্ঞানাঞ্জনশলাকয়া ।
om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
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.
গৌর-শ্রীরূপ-সিদ্ধান্ত-দিব্য-ধারাধরং গুরুং ।
Eternally, I offer my obeisance to the holy lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the carrier of the divine current of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati in the line of Sri Rupa, the dearmost and favourite of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
(Pranati Dasakam, 10)
কনকসুরুচিরাঙ্গং সুন্দরং সৌম্যমূর্ত্তিং
kanaka-suruchirangam sundaram saumya-murtih
I am always worshipping with great joy within my heart Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, whose limbs are of the radiant golden colour and form is beautiful and moon-like gentle; Sri Guru who excels among the most learned and who is filled with all perfections; who is adorned by the garments the colour of the rising sun and who is engaged in the joyful Pastimes of bestowing bhakti, devotion.
"With his first step, he vigorously cut asunder the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he put a stop to all the calculations of the different scholars with their different conceptions of liberation. With his third step, he eased the hard rules and regulations by a touch of the Divine Love: he gave us the worship of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda. The real existence of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad is in his divine teachings. May those teachings dance eternally within the core of your heart."
বাঞ্ছাকল্পতরুভ্যশ্চ কৃপাসিন্ধুভ্য এব চ ।
vanchha-kalpatarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
"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."
নমো মহাবদান্যায় কৃষ্ণপ্রেম-প্রদায় তে ।
namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te
"Again and again I offer my obeisance unto You, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the supremely merciful, golden form of Sri Krishna, the giver of Krishna-prema."
I was born today on this day, by the mercy of Sri Gurupadpadma, and you have all mercifully gathered here to give me your blessings. It gives me much joy. Birth, death, old age, disease (janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi, জন্মমৃত্যুজরাব্যাধি) is a law of this world.
বহূনাং জন্মনামন্তে জ্ঞানবান্ মাং প্রপদ্যতে ।
bahunam janmanam ante, jnanavan mam prapadyate
"After many births, the enlightened soul (blessed with devotional association) realizes that everything is of the nature of (subordinate to) Vasudeva, and thus he surrenders unto Me. Such a great soul is very rare."
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)
We do not know who we were in our last birth, and we do not know who we will be in our next life, but we have now got this life in our hands.
One time, I remember one Vaishnav came to Srila Guru Maharaj. He was very old and a very good singer. At that time, there was no temple in Nabadwip, there were not so many buildings—it happened two-three years after Srila Guru Maharaj started Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. When he came, Srila Guru Maharaj was sitting on the ground, wearing only one simple gumcha, and making a fence; one-two devotees and myself were helping him, bringing some things he needed.
That Vaishnav came and asked, "Where is the great Maharaj of your Math?"
Srila Guru Maharaj asked him, "Who are you talking about?"
The man replied, "I have heard there is a great Maharaj here—Sridhar Maharaj. Where is he?"
Srila Guru Maharaj told him to come inside the house and take a seat. Then, Srila Sridhar Maharaj washed his hands, put on his sannyas clothes and came out to him. The Vaishnavs was surprised, "Oh, you are Sridhar Maharaj?!" He immediately fell at his feet and offered him his obeisance.
Then, that man explained, "My son-in-law is a very arrogant man, he does not want to hear anything. I have heard your glories, that you are a great sadhu, so if you can mercifully explain to him the nature of the soul (atma-jnana), perhaps he will listen to you... He has a good heart, but he enjoys too much—every day, he squanders one thousand rupees and brings home many girls from Kolkata and other places. If you talk sense into him, then my daughter will get some peace."
Srila Guru Maharaj replied, "If Mahaprabhu gives him His mercy, then it can be. I do not go anywhere, but bring him here, I shall meet with him and try."
So, then somehow that man managed to bring his asura (demon) son-in-law to Guru Maharaj. That son-in-law was a very big rich zamindar (landlord). Despite his bad nature, he was a good man, but an asura (demon). You know, asuras also have many good qualities, they have much wealth. He was that type of man.
One day, the old man, his daughter and that son-in-law were walking along the bank of the Ganges. Suddenly, the old man said, "I have heard one sadhu lives here. Will you go to see him?" The son-in-law said, "What sadhu will I go to see?" Then, his wife insisted, "Let us go at least once. I want to see that sadhu. Please, come, I want to see that sadhu." The man was actually soft-hearted, so he agreed, "OK, OK, if you want to go there, then let us go. It is not that far from here anyway..." (The Ganges used to be very near the temple at that time.)
So, they came, met with Srila Guru Maharaj. They actually had much faith in Srila Guru Maharaj because they had heard his name before, they knew he was a big sadhu. When they came, the wife sat down and told her husband, "Please sit for five minutes at the sadhu's lotus feet." As soon as Srila Guru Maharaj saw the man, he immediately understood, "That is the man."
Then, Srila Guru Maharaj started to explain the jiva soul's position. First, he started from this sloka,
“লব্ধ্বা সুদুর্ল্লভমিদং বহুসম্ভবান্তে
labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
"The human form of life is very rarely attained, and although temporary, gives us a chance to achieve the supreme goal of life. Therefore, those who are grave and intelligent should immediately strive for perfection before another death occurs. There are so many forms of life: the aquatics, the vegetable kingdom, the animals, the birds, ghosts and other living beings, but only in this human position do we hold the key to the complete solution of the problems of life."
Labdhva su-durlabham idam. You have got this human body which is very rare to get.
জলজা নবলক্ষাণি স্থাবরা লক্ষবিংশতি
jalaja nava-laksani sthavara laksa-vimsati
"There are 900,000 species living in the water. There are also 2,000,000 nonmoving living entities, such as trees and plants. There are also 1,100,000 species of insects and reptiles, and there are 1,000,000 species of birds. As far as quadrupeds are concerned, there are 3,000,000 varieties, and there are 400,000 human species."
You do not know where you were before this birth, you do not know where you will be in your next life, but you have got this human life now, this human birth is now in your hands—why are you wasting time?
Bahu-sambhavante. Even demigods practise penance aspiring to get this human body.
Manusyam artha-dam. This human birth has a great potential. This body can give us the supreme benefit of our life—we can get devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, we can reach as far as Goloka Vrindavan, in this very birth. You have got this birth by a great fortune, and you cannot get the spiritual wealth that you can get in this very brith, in any other form of life.
Anityam. Yet, you do not know when you have to leave. This life is uncertain. How many days will you stay here? How many moments more do you have in this body? You do not know this. Death can come suddenly to anyone. You are walking along the Ganges bank, there are many snakes, one can bite you and you are dead. You must not lose a moment. What you have done in your life, that is the past—now, from today itself, enter a new life.
Srila Guru Maharaj explained many things to him, in many ways, trying whole-heartedly to make him perfect, and the man listened to what Srila Guru Maharaj was saying very attentively. In the end, Srila Guru Maharaj was successful. The man started crying, "What am I doing? I am losing my life! I am wasting my wealth!" He fell at Srila Guru Maharaj's feet and cried, "Please save my life!" After that, his whole outer character had changed—he eventually left everything, threw away all his whisky bottles, left all bad nature, and took shelter of Srila Guru Maharaj—he took Harinam from Srila Guru Maharaj. Now he would sit with tilak, kanthi-mala, etc. and chant the Holy Name.
After that, the old man (the father of the girl, his name was Nityananda Chaudhuri) was very happy, and the girl was also very happy. And not only that. The barber of that son-in-law was also the barber of Srila Guru Maharaj. He would come once a month to shave Srila Guru Maharaj. So, when that man took initiation from Srila Guru Maharaj that day, the next day the barber, who shaved Gaurahari Prabhu every day, came running to Srila Guru Maharaj—he fell down in a sastanga pranam at Srila Guru Maharaj's feet and said,
"Maharaj, we have heard that Mahaprabhu rescued Jagai and Madhai, that He rescued Kazi, many Muslims, Mahaprabhu rescued Devananda Pandit—there were so many who were rescued! Among them, Jagai and Madhai were the worst case, they committed so many sins. I have seen in my life, with my own eyes, what that man was doing. I go to shave him every day, and every day he would offer me a bottle of wine! I never took it, instead I told him to give me five rupees." [At that time, a barber's charge was, perhaps, one or two annas, or ten paise, but he would give him five rupees every day. He was a good-hearted man, no doubt.] "I have seen with my own eyes that this man was worse than even Jagai and Madhai! He did worse things. I have been praying to Mahaprabhu every day, 'Please give him some good intelligence (sumati, সুমতি)! But what do I see now? Maharaj, you are more merciful than Nityananda Prabhu! You have rescued him! When I came today to shave him, he was sitting with japa-mala and he spoke about such nice things to me. He told me he had got your darshan..."
In this way, that man became known among Vaishnavs as Gaurahari Bhakti Sampad Prabhu, Srila Guru Maharaj gave him this name. He is a well-known, great zamindar, many know him affectionately as 'Gaura Babu'. Before I saw how he changed having met with Srila Guru Maharaj, I did not understand that it was possible—within one moment, we can come in touch with such a supreme wealth, such a spiritual wealth that we shall feel extremely fortunate. After that, Gaurahari Bhakti Sampad Prabhu did much service for our mission, and he was my very good friend. He loved me a lot. When I first started expanding Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, that service manifested through him.
Actually, Srila Guru Maharaj never asked for anything, and I never asked Gaurahari Prabhu for anything. Only I told him, "Prabhu, you are a great man, you have many friends. Can you introduce me to some of them?" He agreed, "Yes, sure. Come to our village, I will introduce you to them." Then, I came to his village, he introduced me to many gentlemen there, and I tried to preach to them. In this way, some help automatically started coming to me; I did not ask for anything. Also, in that village I got one good certificate—they would say about me, "Do not touch him. He is a baby cobra! If you try to debate with him, he can smash you—you will change your body formation." It is a good certificate. [His Divine Grace laughs.] I was very fearless. They were all his big, great men, but I did not care—I am a disciple of Srila Guru Maharaj, then why will I have any fear? I have no fear of anything. That is what happened...
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