Speech at Sri Surabhi Kunja
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
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.
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 to Sri Saranagati, 1.8)
First of all, I am offering my prostrated obeisance at the lotus feet of my Gurupadpadma Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj begging him for his causeless mercy. Then, I offer my obeisance to the lotus feet of the great personality whose holy appearance day we have assembled to observe—Sachchidananda Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur; I am begging him for his mercy. I offer my obeisance also to the chairman Maharaj who presides over this assembly, to all of the sannyasis seated on the stage, to the dham-bhusana sannyasi-vrinda (sannyasis who adorn and enhance the glory of the Dham), to all the brahmacharis, Vaishnavs, gentleman and lady devotees. This fallen soul bows in obeisance at your feet and prays that you may be merciful to his fallen self.
Today is a very good day—the holy appearance day of Sachchidananda Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. We have assembled here at this festival hosted by the Saraswata Gaudiya Vaishnav Sangha on this lunar day at Surabhi Kunja every year since 1996. This year too we have all assembled here on this very occasion. Another occasion we all gather on is the festival of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's appearance day, held centralised as well as in many temples throughout Mayapur and Nabadwip. Continuing this tradition, we have assembled here on this occasion, in your association. We feel very grateful to the Vaishnavs who have arranged this festival. I am offering my sincere obeisance to them as well as my innumerable prayers that they may obtain the mercy of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur—I pray to Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, Srila Prabhupad and the Lord that they may obtain this kind of blessing.
You all know that there are many beautiful works written by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, you have heard many kirtans based on his poetry. It is very difficult for a low fallen soul, especially for one like myself, to chant his glories. However, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur wrote one thing which I humbly request you to remember: there are no Vaishnav qualities where there is no anugatya [adherence, following the order of Sri Guru]; the Vaishnav qualities are present where there is anugatya. Vaishnav qualities are where there is "humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others"; if there is no "humility, tolerance and giving honour to others," there are no Vaishnav qualities there. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur never accepts ahankar, abhiman [ego, pride], neither does the Lord. Therefore, we must always remember that Vaishnav qualities are present where there is humility, tolerance and giving honour.
Talking about the gift of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur to this world, there is a verse that Vaishnavs, as well as our Param Guru Mahraj, often recite: "Guru-dam, grantha-dam..." (I recited it at the beginning). In this verse, it is said that he has given a Guru to us: but for him, where would we have got Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, tell me? If he had not come, we would not have got Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. He gave us Gaura, he gave us Gaura's abode. Many of you have heard that when he was going to Vrindavan he stopped at Tarakeshwar and upon hearing the order of Vaishnav Thakur (Lord Siva) he turned back and came here; after that, he discovered Mayapur. Many of the opposing sampradayas said many things—they denied that Mayapur was the place where Mahaprabhu appeared, but Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur proved it to the whole world that Mayapur is the actual birthplace of Mahaprabhu. He challenged all apa-samparadayas that exist in this world—aul, baul, kartabhaja, neda, darvesh, sani, sahajiya, sakhibekhi, smarta, jata gosai, ativadi, churadhari, gauranga-nagari—and fearlessly, with the help of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur also, proved to the whole world that it was true.
এমন দুর্ম্মতি সংসার-ভিতরে
emana durmati samsara bhitare
O Lord! I am very wicked-minded and have fallen into this material world, but You have sent a great soul, Your associate (to rescue me).
'Emona Durmati' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur
এক বর দয়া করি' মোরে পতিত দেখিয়া
(ek bar) daya kari' more patita dekhiya
Seeing me so fallen and being merciful, he came to me and said, “O humble soul, listen to this wonderful message and your heart will rejoice.
('Emona Durmati' by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
Who said these words? Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said these words to us.
We therefore pray to you: do not listen to all sorts of gramya-katha, gramya-varta ['village talk, village news'], do not listen to all sort of nonsense, inauspicious talks. We pray that we may all assemble here at the bhajan-kutir of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur at Surabhi Kunja every year, next year itself, and observe the holy appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur here.
We have heard many things about Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur today, Param Pujyapad Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaj from our Math has already spoken also. In Bhakti-Vinod-Viraha Dasakam it is written about Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur:
srigauranumatam svarupaviditam rupagrajenadrtam
"What was sanctioned by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by His descent was intimately known only to Sri Svarupa Damodara Goswami. It was adored by Sanatan Goswami and served by Rupa Goswami and his followers. Raghunatha Das Goswami tasted that wonderful thing fully and enhanced it with his own realization. And Jiva Goswami supported and protected it by quoting the scriptures from different places. The taste of that divine truth is aspired for by Brahma, Siva, and Uddhava, who respect it as the supreme goal of life. What is this wonderful truth? Sri radhapadasevana: that the highest nectar of our life is the service of Srimati Radharani. This is most wonderful. O Bhakti Vinoda Thakur, you are our master. It is within your power to allow them to bestow their grace upon us. You are in a position to bestow the highest gift ever known to the world upon us all. It is at your disposal. O Bhakti Vinoda Thakur, please be kind to us and grant us your mercy."
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur gave the eternal supreme abode of Lord Krishna, the supreme destination. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur heard this poem, he said, "Happy style." He was very pleased to see it. He said that Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj did not write it himself. Who wrote it? Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur himself came and revealed this. That is our treasure.
Today is the festival of this Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. Who can bring him the highest pleasure and satisfaction? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. ...I have come across some very beautiful words of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, I have written them in my book also [Sri Upadesh, Part Two], I will read it here in conclusion:
মন, তুমি তীর্থে সদা রত ।
mana, tumi tirthe sada rata
O mind! You are always attached to places of pilgrimage—Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi (Varanasi), Kanchipuram, Avantiya, Dvaraka, and so many other places.
তুমি চাহ ভ্রমিবারে, এ সকল বারে বারে,
tumi chaha bhramivare, e sakala bare bare,
You want to travel all these places again and again for the sake of some liberation. These places will never help you fix your mind, so all this is just your illusion, a meaningless labour.
তীর্থফল সাধুসঙ্গ, সাধুসঙ্গে অন্তরঙ্গ,
tirtha-phala sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sange antaranga,
The result of visiting a place of pilgrimage is sadhu-sanga (pure devotees' association) and being drawn to the exclusive service of Sri Krishna. A place of pilgrimage is where a sadhu (pure devotee) is. Always keep the association of pure devotees and firmly fix your mind by such association.
যে তী থে বৈষ্ণব নাই, সে তীর্থেতে নাহি যাই
ye tirthe vaisnava nai, se tirthete nahi yai
I never go to a place of pilgrimage if there are no Vaishnavs in that place (what is the use walking so far?). Vrindavan is where Vaishnavs are, in such a place there is no end of joy.
কৃষ্ণভক্তি যেই স্থানে, মুক্তিদাসী সেইখানে,
krsna-bhakti yei sthane, mukti-dasi sei-khane,
Liberation is a maidservant, all water is Mandakini, all mountains are Govardhan, all land is Vrindavan, and the internal energy of the Lord automatically appears at the place where there is devotion to Krishna.
বিনোদ কহিছে ভাই, ভ্রমিয়া কি ফল পাই,
vinoda kahichhe bhai, bhramiya ki phala pai,
Vinod says, "O brother! What will I get by all this pilgrimage? My sole vow is service to Vaishnavs."
Today, on his holy appearance day, we pray to him, especially I myself pray to him that he may engage me in his service as a servant of a servant of his lotus feet to preach his message, his words in this world.
A Maharaj who has spoken before me mentioned a very good point—"baba badha Radha." You know that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur appeared in Birnagar (this place is now within the bondage of sahajiya). Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's name was Bimala Prasad, and Lalita Prasad was his brother. Bimala Prasad received the mercy of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, but Lalita Prasad thought, "So many people go everywhere behind Bimala Prasad, but I am also my father's son, I must also get a part of his wealth!" He thought of material wealth, but Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur (Bimala Prasad) did not see him as his father—he saw Radharani's own associate, the Lord's own associate in him.
শ্রীগৌরাঙ্গ-পারিষদ ঠাকুর ভক্তিবিনোদ
sri-gauranga-parisada thakura bhakti-vinoda
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur is an associate of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and a friend of all low and fallen souls—to dispel all darkness of this dark age, he brought to this earth you, a spotless full moon.
Lalita Prasad thought, "Bhaktivinod Thakur is my father," and Bimala Prasad thought, "Bhaktivinod Thakur is my Prabhu [Master], he is the Lord's own associate." That is why he got Radharani (Radha) and his brother Lalita Prasad got a father (baba). Baba badha Radha [seeing Bhaktivinod Thakur as father is an obstacle to seeing him as Radharani].
Jay Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur ki jay!
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