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Meaning of Guru Puja

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Adhivas of Sri Vyasa Puja of His Divine Grace
9 October 2018, Kolkata, part 1


You have all come here for tomorrow's festival—you have come to give your mercy to this low soul...

We must understand the meaning of 'guru-puja.' If you only offer some arati to Gurudev, this is not guru-puja (worship of Gurudev). Guru-puja means it is necessary to do guru-seva. Guru-seva consists of many parts—somebody cooks for Gurudev, somebody washes Gurudev's dishes, etc. this is also guru-seva, but what other services are there that are very dear to the Guru? How can one please Gurudev? How can one make Gurudev happy? When you understand this and serve accordingly, this is called service, or guru-seva. We must always think, "How can I please my Guru? What does Gurudev want? What does he like?" We must understand this and do what pleases the heart of Gurudev—this is what service is. Guru-seva means fulfilling Gurudev's most cherished desires.

When I first came to the Math, I did not take the responsibility for arranging the guru-puja. Srila Gurudev's appearance day was observed for the first time in Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's time. Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj himself made an appearance festival of our beloved Gurudev Om Vishnupad Jagad-guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. The Guru was observing the appearance day of his disciple! He himself taught how one must do guru-puja.

Guru-puja means guru-seva, and guru-seva means you must live following the instruction of your Guru. The first time when I took part in guru-puja was in 1993, and next year, in 1994, I took over the service of arranging guru-puja. What did I do? Now is the age of computers, but in those days we had to write invitation letters by hand. Aranya Maharaj would write the letter himself by hand, then it would be printed, copied, and sent to some big devotees at the post office. My first responsibility was to print those letters. We always got some invitation letters from other temples, and they would write 'Guru Puja (or Vyasa Puja) Mahotsav', but I saw that we wrote in our letter 'Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayatah. Sri Sri Acharya Abhinandan Maha-Mahotsav.' So, the year when I was printing the letter, I showed it first to Gurudev. Gurudev asked me, "Who printed this letter?" I said I did. Then Gurudev said, "You are my disciple. When my godbrothers printed the letter, I did not say anything, but when a disciple prints an invitation letter to his Gurudev's festival, it has to be printed properly. My godbrothers can call me 'Govinda', but if one wants to become a disciple, they must give some minimal honour." This is what Gurudev explained to me at that time. I asked Gurudev what was wrong with the letter, and Gurudev told me, "You did not write 'Om Vishnupad'." I was new at that time and was mostly doing land cultivation for the temple, looking after the cows, workers, etc. so I did not know these things, neither had I ever printed such letters before, but after that I understood how it must be done.


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Appearance of Sri Giriraj
'..When I was doing Govardhan parikrama, I was looking both sides, thinking (Gurudev was also thinking), 'You have made the temple in Govinda Kunda, but how you will bring Govardhan? How will you get Him?''


Gurudev! krpa-bindu diya
'When I examine myself for qualifications, I find none. Your mercy is everything.'
গুরুদেব! কৃপাবিন্দু দিয়া

We are so proud of our service, we have so much ego, 'We are doing this and that, and that,' but Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead—we cannot do anything for Him!