Our Grand Heritage
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
মূকং করোতি বাচালং পঙ্গুং লঙ্ঘয়তে গিরিম্ ।
mukam karoti vachalam pangum langhayate girim
"The dumb can speak, the lame can climb a hill—all it takes is mercy from Gurudev."
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.
gurvvabhista-supurakam guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam
I offer my obeisance unto he who perfectly fulfils his Gurudev's most cherished desires; who is fully adorned with the blessings of his Gurudev’s associates; who is expert in all aspects of Vedic knowledge, both conceivable and inconceivable; who is the pre-eminent follower of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu's line; who is known as 'Govinda'—Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj; whose beautiful, effulgent, exalted form is infused with pure devotion; who is the Guru of the entire universe; and who is the giver of the seed of divine love for the Supreme Lord.
Do you know who wrote this pranam mantra sloka of our Guru? It was written by Param Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj—he wrote this sloka about his disciple:
Gurvvabhista-supurakam: Param Guru Maharaj says that Gurudev fulfilled all desires of his Gurudev. Guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam: he got all mercy from his Guru. Chintyachintya-samasta-veda: he is expect of all Vedas, even those that are unthinkable, beyond the reach of knowledge. He is a follower of the line of Sri Rupanuga-sampradaya. This is what Srila Sridhar Maharaj wrote about his disciple, that is our Gurudev, and he also gave him this name—Bhakti Sundara Govinda (govindabhidham ujjvalam...).
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave our Param Guru Maharaj the name Bhakti Raksak Sridhar, "one who can protect this line." You know there was Sridhar Swami who wrote Srimad Bhagavatam tika (commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam) that became known as "Sridhar Swami's tika." Some devotee did not want to respect his explanation of Srimad Bhagavatam and wrote some slokas with another explanation, but Mahaprabhu told about them, "One who does not obey their husband, is like a vesya, prostitute." This is what Mahaprabhu said. It is written in Chaitanya-charitamrita.
This is the kind of name Srila Prabhupad gave to Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, he indicated that he could give an explanation like that Bhagavatam tika of Sridhar Swami and who could also protect that kind of Sridhar Swami's tika.
Also, when Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur saw Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dasakam and read the sloka "Sri-gauranumatam svarupa-viditam...," he said, "It is a happy style." There are many expressions of Srila Prabhupad about Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj...
Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj also wrote Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur's pranam mantra.
গুরুদং গ্রন্থদং গৈরধামদং নামদং মুদা
guru-dam grantha-dam gaura-dhama-dam nama-dam muda
"I perpetually offer my obeisance unto Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Guru-dam: he is the bestower of Sri Guru (Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur). Grantha-dam: he is the author of numerous commentaries, treatises, articles, novels and songbooks. Gaura-dhama-dam: he is the revealer of the abode of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Nama-dam: he is the giver of the Name. Bhakti-dam: he is the granter of pure devotion. Bhuri-dam: he is the bestower of an abundance of divine fortune."
(Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya, 1.8)
Guru-dam means he gave us a Guru. Who did Bhakti Vinod Thakur give? He gave us our Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Grantha-dam: he gave us so many books, so many scriptures—we sing so many songs, but 90% of these songs are written by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Bhuri-dam, bhakti-dam: he gave devotion. Nama-dam: he gave the Holy Name. Gaura-dam: he gave Gaura.
যদি গৌর না হ'ত তবে কি হইত
yadi gaura na ha'ta tabe ki ha-ita
"If Gaura had not come, then what would have happened? How would we have maintained our lives? Who would have revealed to the world Radha's glory and the extremes of Her ecstatic divine love?"
(Srila Vasudev Ghosh Thakur)
Even in Srimad Bhagavatam it is not written anywhere about Srimati Radharani, but who gave Her to us? Gaura. In the same way, before hardly anyone knew about Gaura in Nabadwip Dham, but Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave that Gaura to us.
Dhama-dam: "dham" means Nabadwip Dham. Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave us the Dham. Everybody said that Nabadwip Dham, Mahaprabhu's birthplace, was under the Ganges, but he discovered where Nabadwip Dham was.
Nama-dam: how is it that he gave the Name? Before, everybody knew the Holy Name, knew it was Gauranga Mahaprabhu's conception, but they thought that Hare Krishna maha-mantra was just like any other name—everybody chanted something and they thought the result was the same. People would wear tulasi beads, eat fish, meat, etc. and also chant the Name. Bhakti Vinod Thakur said that those who want to chant the Holy Name had to avoid the ten offences—with a broom, he swept away every misconception. That is why he is the giver of the pure Name.
In every of our temple we sing this song.
জয়রে জয়রে জয় গৌর-সরস্বতী ।
jayare jayare jaya gaura-saraswati
"All Glory, all Glory to Sri Gaura-Saraswati, Of the Line of Bhakti Vinod—Pure incarnate Mercy."
প্রকাশিলে গৌরসেবা ভূবনমঙ্গল ।
prakasile gaura-seva bhuvana mangala
"You revealed Sri Gaura's Service—the world's greatest fortune, Brilliant as the Perfect Teaching, Perfect Truth—Devotion."
You can see it in the song book. Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj wrote these lines about Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, it is very nice.
Our Gurupadpadma always says Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Once, all Gaudiya Math, along with even Iskcon, gathered together and declared that it was wrong, it was a misconception. When I heard that, I told about it to Gurudev, and Gurudev gave me a long explanation about this song "Jayare jayare jaya Gaura-Saraswati." After that, he sent me to their assembly and told me to explain to them what he had said. I went there, and in front of all Gaudiya Math acharyas, all Iskcon GBCs, I explained that song. They understood the meaning and all the sannyasis who were present there finally said, "If Srila Sridhar Maharaj says so, then we will respect and obey it."
Also, Srila Sridhar Maharaj said about A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj that he was a saktya-vesa avatar of Nityananda Prabhu. Who knew about it before? Who knew before Srila Sridhar Maharaj said it that Srila Swami Maharaj was like that? Nobody knew it.
Actually, before, Gaudiya Math neglected Swami Maharaj. Now they think Iskcon is a big temple and they respect them, but when A.C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Maharaj was first going to inaugurate the temple of Iskcon, Mayapur Chandrodaya mandir, he invited everybody, all his godbrothers, but everybody said, "Oh, Swami Maharaj is bringing some mlechas, some American foreign devotees..." and they disregarded it. When Srila Sridhar Maharaj received the invitation, he took Gurudev and one more devotee and went there. He was the only one who came, but as soon as he came there, the inauguration started. Many did not go to Iskcon at first, they did not recognise it, but now all Gaudiya Math goes there and all Gaudiya Math sannyasis go to preach in the Western countries. We must respect Srila Swami Maharaj because he was the one who made the channel—through that channel we can now enter the West. Gurudev also said this about Srila Swami Maharaj, and he said that Srila Swami Maharaj gave so much respect to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and Srila Sridhar Maharaj also gave so much respect to Swami Maharaj.
This is how it all happened...
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