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He is Here to Unite All

I am compelled [to reflect on] why Maharaj appeared on Sri Ramanavami Tithi. Sri Ramacandra is Maryada-Purushottam, giving respect to one and all. I saw this same nature of giving respect to all in Maharaj too.

But some of his god-brothers were not respectful towards him and I said once, "Why have you kept them all in the math? Send them away."
Then he said gravely, "I am not here in the math to chase them away, I am here to unite all."
Seeing his line of thoughts I was stunned. Our thinking is, one who is troublesome, send him off. But see his thoughts.

...Ganesh has a mouse near him, and Kartikeya has a peacock, Shiva has bull and snake with him and Durgaji has lion—all are enemies of the other. But how are they kept together? On the strength of the Holy Name. So also, if we chant Name with faith, our thinking also will become like this.

—Srila Bhakti Vibudha Bodhyan Maharaj

Transcribed by Vishakha Dasi and excerpted from a translation of Hindi katha: link herest…

He Walks Behind Guru Varga

I am speaking my heart. There were many instances like when going on Parikrama, he [Srila Gurudev Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj] would keep our Gurudeva Bhakti Pramod Puri Gosvami Thakur in the very front and follow him from behind. Not like [a mood of] "I am Acarya, I go in the front. "
I also saw him keep Trivikram Maharaj in the front and follow him in parikramas. He would give respect to one and all. This is the characteristic of a Vaishnava. 
When Maharaj left the world I felt a big void has been created in the vaishnavata of the vaishnava-dharma. Today it is very difficult to find personalities with such qualities. I have seen this in my life. These days the condition is very bad. Nobody respects each other.  But I have seen my Guru Maharaj and Tirtha Maharaj. 
Every day Tirtha Maharaj would visit Guru Maharaj in his room after Sandhya arati and Guruji would offer him dandavat pranams and Tirtha Maharaj would offer dandavat pranams to him. And every day I w…

His Demonstration of Vaishnavata

Sometime around 2004-2005 when I was in Sri Krsna Caitanya Mission Mandir in Vienna, Austria, he [Srila Gurudev] phoned me with the help of his sevak Tamal Prabhu and was asking, "Where are you? Why you have not come to meet me?" I was abroad and Maharaj was thinking I am in Kolkata. 

From Kolkata, he called to speak to me and my heart melted thinking nobody calls me from India and Maharaj personally called me and said, "Nothing in particular, just called to speak to you."  My heart was filled with emotions and my eyes, with tears with the thought that there are people in this world who still love me. 
And in 2001 when the New York twin towers, World Trade Centre disaster had occurred I was in Costa Rica. Then Tamal Prabhu sent me an e-mail saying Maharaj wants to speak to you, where are you? Then I was in the city of San Jose in Costa Rica. 
Then I called Maharaj over the phone and he said, You come back immediately. It is a very difficult situation. I thought if wor…

His Simplicity Helps Us Remember Vaishnava Dharma

One day Tirtha Maharaj got ready to leave for Chakdah math but it became afternoon, so Maharaj said we will go by train. Then I told him, Maharaj please wait. I have a friend who can send us his vehicle. I called him and we went by vehicle to Chakdah. When we were returning, I called the friend again to use his vehicle, but he could not send it. So, from Chakdah we came by truck—my Gurudev and I and, Tirtha Maharaj with his sevak Madan Gopal. 

On the way, the tire got punctured and the truck stopped. What to do? I saw Tirtha Maharaj's simple nature as he sat by the roadside and started chanting Harinama. 

I asked my Gurudev who was in his advanced age to sit in the vehicle itself and I remembered Prabhupad's words: 'One of the qualities of a Vaishnava is simplicity. Another name of Vaishanvata is Saralata, simplicity. If one is not simple natured, it will be very difficult for him to understand Vaishnav dharma.'
There is a saying in Bangla that till one become simple…

His Truthfulness Since Birth

One time Guru Maharaj's mother or father asked him, "Kokha," go and bring some things from the grocery shop.  He was given some coins and asked to go and bring some items. After he returned with those things to the house, they asked, did you give the coin?  "Yes," he said, but explained this coin was old and was not in circulation,  but the shop keeper had kept the coin with him. 

When he came to know this, he took a new coin from his father and went and gave it to the shopkeeper and took back the old coin saying it is not a valid coin.  

People like us think OK, I got rid of it.  But he is so honest, right from his childhood, honest in whatever he was doing.  No cheating tendency ever in his life, from birth and on. All these things are the ornaments of the Sadhu.

—Prahlad Das

(As told by relatives who knew Srila Gurudev in early life. Transcribed from a recording made on Vyasa Puja, 2019)

His Sweet Simplicity

Our Guru Maharaj used to say that in Assam, in Bengal people are used to eat a lot of leafy vegetables. One day Guru Maharaj was eating one of these.

One of his sisters told us that they asked him, "Eh, Khoka!" (Khoka is addressing a small child with love, a nickname.) "What are you eating?"

Guru Maharaj did not know what it was called, but only knew that it was a leafy vegetable, so he told her, "I am eating grass."

 So simple. Then everyone started laughing at him calling him 'cow cow..'  Actually he was a cow.  A cow is so sweet, so simple.  Guru Maharaj said, "I did not know what to say, I just kept quiet."  This shows his simplicity, even from childhood.  

—Prahlad Das

transcribed from a recording taken on Vyasa puja, 2019 (Sri Dham Mayapur.) As told to Srila Gurudev's sevaks by those who knew him in childhood

He Respects Whatever is Given

Once in wintertime, Guru Maharaj's father gave him an overcoat.  He wore it and went to school. Without checking to see how it looked, he just wore it and went.  When he entered the school everyone started laughing at him, but he couldn't understand why.

Actually, the coat he was wearing went down to his knees because it was such a big coat that had belonged to some elder gentleman of the family.  The hands of the coat were drooping, and it was so long. Yet,  Guru Maharaj did not find any fault with that coat.  Everybody was teasing him, asking,  "Eh! What are you wearing?  What is this?"  He simply said, "My father gave me."

See how he respected whatever had father had given or anything that anyone has given. He thought, my father has given this, so how can I see any defect in it?  It is out of love that he has given, even though others are laughing.  So simple he was.

He had no hostility to anyone right from his childhood.  Other brothers, sisters used t…

He Always Listens to Elders

During Summer vacations, all the children in Guru Maharaj 's family came together. They had a big family.  His father had 3 or 4 brothers and their children played there too, with their own family including 8 or 10 children. With all of them together it was like a school in the house, about 30-35 kids representing all different age groups.  With so many children together, it usually means they are going to make some nuisance, some mischief.  During Summer vacations when all children are at home, it is very difficult for parents to control the children.

One day after lunch, Guru Maharaj's paternal uncle called all the children to come and sit before him. Then he said, "You should all count backward one by one, starting from a hundred and back to one. After you finish counting you can go to play."

Near Guru Maharaj's house there is a pond.  The elders feared that the children will fall in the pond and may hurt themselves.  So this plan was devised in order to sto…

His Spiritual Intelligence

Tamal Prabhu told us an incidence that illustrates the special way that Srila Gurudev applied his intelligence in service even when he was apparently displaying the pastimes of forgetfulness. During that time some observers may have thought that Srila Gurudev was forgetting things and that he is an old person.  Material intelligence is the wrong term, he has nothing material, but still in the material world what we call this intelligence.  For example, we do not want to accept the root cause, we want only symptomatic treatment; therefore, allopathy as more popular than any of the ancient medicines.

So he told us that once he reported to Srila Gurudev that there is a flood in some of the cities of Assam from Brahmaputra river. including Srila Gurudev's janmasthan village, Goalpara. After he reported this, he left Gurudev's room.  After some time, Gurudev rang the bell.  So Tamal Prabhu went inside and then Gurudev spoke to him.  He told, "See, if there is flood in Brahmap…

He Goes to the Heart of the Problem

I remember one senior god-brother of ours approached Guru Maharaj, long back and explained that he was not able to get along with his god-brothers, and asked what should be done.  He explained the reply Gurudev had given.  He repeated what Gurudev had said, that even he had this problem in the beginning.  But then, he continued," I completely surrendered myself to the lotus feet of my Gurudev and then all my problems were solved." And this god-brother of mine said that he still I hadn't understood what, how it is done; what it means.  It is a fact, complete surrender, probably till that happens, will not be understood by any of us.  

Different devotees recollect how his answers are so unique and something which is irrefutable.  It is complete in itself and which is direct.  And sometimes this also happened to us.  In fact, I remember there was a sort of a complaint against Guru Maharaj that people would ask him some question and the reply would be something else.  But whe…

His Sound Vibration Emanates Directly From Transcendental Reality

The effect of Srila Gurudev’s sound is unlike anything I have ever heard. Even today when a recording of the same mangalacharan prayers is being played, there is a deep kind of seriousness that is conveyed. That sound is out of the world.
In fact, I remember there was one senior sanyassi, a disciple of Srila Bhakti Pramod Puri Goswami Maharaj told us about when Srila Gurudev was going on Kshetra mandal and Vraj mandal parikrama. He said when our Guru Maharaj describes anything in Vraj mandal—about the place, about the pastimes; it appears as if he is giving live commentary.He is seeing it and he is telling us what he sees in reality. I have practically experienced the difference in the speech of Gurudev and how it affects me—completely different than when I hear from others.
If I am calling out the holy names or repeating pastimes that we have heard, or singing mangalacharan, it is not at all the same feeling than when we hear from Guru Maharaj.He is a person who has all the faith com…

He Is the One We Have Always Been Searching For

One thing I witnessed that is very touching to my heart is an event  I recall that took place in Mayapur. There was an acarya from Sri Vaisnava mission that came with his disciples. He was much younger to Srila Gurudev. When Srila Gurudev came from his bhajan kutir to see him, he walked all the way. I remember Srila Gurudev paid prostrated obeisances to someone that could be the age of his son. He was shaken and could not reciprocate.

I was not feeling good to see that, thinking it should be the other way around. But we saw that Srila Gurudev was so blissful. The reciprocation was not sufficient, but he was happy anyway. Maybe even happier than if those respects had been paid to him. Even when he was sitting in car to leave, Gurudev paid obeisances again outside the car. The humility he was expressing and the bliss on his face is the opposite of an ordinary person. At an advanced age and having so many big positions in World Vaishnava Association and GOKUL, he taught this by his own ex…

Does He Take Our Karma at the Time of Initiation?

Sometimes I have heard that Gurudev takes karma at the time of initiation. I was in doubt about that, so I asked him about it.

Guru Maharaj said, "In a few rare occasions, the guru can do so like with Jagai and Madai. But what you can get from guru is faith. You can get faith from guru. If you chant with faith, all that karma will go."

I felt so happy to know that definitely, I can get faith from Guru Maharaj. He was also instructing me that deep from within by one's own endeavor, this will go. So casually it will disappear just because of Harinam. No. It needs my sincere endeavor, to keep trying. I prayed to Guru Maharaj to give me faith in the holy name. If I chant with faith, everything will fall into place. If you chant with faith, all that karma will go.

—Urmila Dasi

He is Uttam Bhagavat Acarya

Other acaryas seemed to have demonstrated themselves as acaryas according to the demand of time, place, and circumstances. They sometimes had to be assertive and come down to the platform of madhyam adikari to discriminate. 

Trivikram Maharaj once said Srila Gurudev is uttam bhagavat in comparison to another godbrother of Gurudev who he called him a jitendria-purush, one who won control over his senses. Regarding Srila Gurudev he said uttam bhagavat—and till now he has never come down from that position. Uttam bhagavat sees supreme lord in everyone and pays prostated obesiences to all—dog and dog-eater, brahmana and shudra—to all, indiscriminately he has seen Supreme Lord in their hearts. He has that vision and pays prostrated obeisances to all living entities. That is a symptom of uttam adikari. He will never come down from there. 

When the sole purpose is to serve Supreme Lord, all varieties are possible. Trivikram Maharaj, a disciple of Prabhupada is not an ordinary person, not of th…

The Ever-Steady Example of His Devotional Enthusiasm

Regardless of how many people were there in Harikatha, Srila Gurudev's enthusiasm to speak did not waver. In usual cases, we see that the number of people hearing affects the speaker—excited, disappointed, whatever. We observed with Srila Gurudev that he was always the same with 1000 persons, no persons, or only one person who was sleeping. 

An example of this was during Vraj mandal parikrama. From 4am to 11pm, he led the program for the entire day. Devotees performed kirtans while going from place to place and he would watch for when they would get tired and slow and then he would lead the kirtan and surcharge everyone. His energy was not like ours. It never diminished—always on top, every moment.  

At the end of the day, the final sabha and kirtans were to be performed, the last yam kirtans. Devotees were so tired. Sometimes only about 4 devotees would show. They were sitting in kirtan and all were sleeping. Even at that time, Srila Gurudev was speaking Harikatha with the same vig…

His Divine Fragrance Spreads Everywhere

Whatever prayers generally were taken to Srila Gurudev, by the power of his omniscience, he would take care of those prayers. Externally he may not have promised as much, but he took care. Gurudev said when flower blossoms, it's fragrance spreads all around. No need to advertise. 

Many devotees would approach Gurudev to say, Gurudev bless me to go on preaching (prachar). Yet, Gurudev said never have this mood of preaching. Perform kirtan bhakti. If you take up a mood of superiority to someone—that you can rescue them, help them, it may lead to your own fall. Repeat what you have heard from Guru varga for your own benefit, not with the mood to rescue anyone. Prachar is to be done in this mood. 

We know that Srila Gurudev always imbibes and practices this. Example is better than precept. He never stopped practicing this, very unique. Until the end, he considered himself like this. Srila Gurudev presents himself and actually believes he's a conditioned soul. Therefore you can't…

His Big Appreciation for Our Small Efforts

Within the first few weeks after I came to Gurudeva, he granted me shelter and I knew from the core of my heart if I follow this sadhu and his instructions, I will be taken care of and get everything eventually. I don't know how many lifetimes it will take, but if I just follow this sadhu, I will be saved. I had met other spiritual personalities, but these were the lotus feet in which I could fully give myself. There are no doubts. I thought I am alright here. I can let go, I don't have to hold back. I might hold back from conditioning, but actually, there is no need anymore.  This sadhu will let me hold on.

Once in Guwahati, I remember one of Guru Maharaj's gestures. I was there with my sister. When Guru Maharaj came out of the room, I was alone in the crowd of Indians. He saw me from far. I am always amazed he remembered me. He smiled and he gestured, "Are you staying?" It was like a casual thing friends ask each other. It blew me away.

I would come and stay in K…

He Wants Us to Just Try

Guru Maharaj made everything so easy. Everything was beginning from the heart, centered on the heart. During the first two years I had darshans of Guru Maharaj, he said the same thing to me: "It's so easy to please Krishna." My background made me so complicated but Guru Maharaj made it so easy. He said, "It's so easy to please Krishna. Why? Because he's the nearest and dearest. Nobody is nearer to us than Krishna.

So I was thinking even when I feel close to someone, that is nothing compared to how close the Lord is. Naturally, it's easy. If you try to please the Lord from the heart, he is pleased. It's so easy. He kept telling me this again and again, probably because I have a complicated mind.

Looking back and even now what he was trying to teach me is there: it's all very simple.

Many times I heard him say the panacea for all problems is sharanagati. If we surrender, things will fall into place. That was the impression I got from Guru Maharaj—…

He Reveals His Presence in Unlimited Ways

In 2004,  I was very sick for months. Very sick. I was in Udupi with an Ayurvedic doctor. There were 2 didis from another sangha there. We sat in the waiting room together sometimes. One of those didis was a secretary of an ISKCON guru and she read Srimad Bhagavatam every morning. I have to admit my spirits were so low at that time, I was just sitting there reading the newspaper. I was chanting but I couldn't get myself to open a book. I was depressed and in a ton of physical and emotional pain. Somehow I finished my rounds but other than that, I couldn't do much.

Some newspapers in India print  a spiritually related column called the "Speaking Tree."  I read that although it was usually Mayavad philosophy. One day I opened it and I was astounded. I cried out, "My Gurudev is in the newspaper! My Gurudeva!" I told everyone, "My Gurudev is in the newspaper!" I had tears in my eyes.

The didi who had been reading Bhagavatam next to me suddenly said, …

His Desire for Us to Honor Prasad Deeply

Guru Maharaj would instruct me in such a gentle way. He knew I couldn't handle much criticism. I'm really quite a fragile person, so Guru Maharaj was so gentle communicating things I could have done better. Sometimes it was so subtle, he would just look at me for 2 seconds and I would understand what I did wrong. So gentle.

Bindu Madhava Prabhu would also say, "Guru Maharaj gives exactly the right dosage for each person. Whatever they could take, he would give just the right amount."

One time Guru Maharaj corrected me in front of everybody. It was during tulasi worship when he used to come out into the library in Kolkata math.

This happened because at that time I was cooking my own prasadam. Because of health problems, I needed to control my diet and not take prasad from the temple. He would always ask everyone, "Have you taken prasadam?" And when he asked me directly one day, I said, "No, Guru Maharaj, I have not taken from the temple. I make my own.…

He Does Not Accept Ill Words From Anyone

Srila Gurudev told us about when he was in a college either in Cooch Behar or in Cotton College, Guwahati. While he was there, his roommate spoke roughly to him every day. He was not very senior to Gurudev, only about one year. But Gurudev was such a sadhu that he said nothing. He never spoke ill words towards anyone.

Persons who have a tendency to lord over others often speak continuously. When they find a simple person who doesn’t argue, they just keep speaking abusive words and don’t stop. Only if someone argues back, they may shut the mouth. Yet Guru Maharaj never reacted or said a word. Every day, that person continued going on like that.

Srila Gurudev told us that one day when his roommate started with this, he extended his cloth forward and told that person, “I am collecting all your abusive words and giving them back to you. I give these back.”

On several occasions, Srila Gurudev offered to shift to another room but the roommate would not allow him to do so, probably for a …

Circumstances Adjust According to His Saintly Nature

Once when we were going out for Nagar Sankirtan I witnessed that  it started to rain very heavily—there was a huge downpour. Guruji said maybe Indra does not want us to go outside today. He called Srikant Prabhu and asked him to sing “Kripa karo ham par Shyama sundar hey bhakta vatsal kahalane vale….”

As soon as prabhuji finished singing that kirtan the rain stopped and devotees went out on Sankirtan and came back to the math after some time. Then it started raining once again.

Devotees have seen another incident like this in Simla. We saw that when Guruji was singing in Nagar sankirtan, there was no rain but rain would follow him from behind. The residents of Simla were surprised to see this and were attracted to him and his kirtans. Later many took Harinam and Diksha from him.

Guru Maharaj would give me some money for arrangements of katha and kirtan programs. I  would reply, "No Guruji, all arrangements are made, everything is taken care off",  but Guru Maharaj perso…

He Never Actually Disappears

Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance pastime has shown me how the transcendental sound of mantra can connect us with Srila Gurudev and how happy he is when we singing Maha Mantra and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's songs for his satisfaction.

Since last January I felt so much pain in my body and strong desire to move to Kolkata and spend more time with Srila Gurudev. This pain was only increasing, I was crying and one week before his health problems began, I had just wanted to leave my job. Already I had talked with my boss and coworkers that I am wasting my time in the job and will go to India where can do the eternal job.

I was surprised what is going on with me and could not control my mind, my speech. I had no fear but complete trust that I am doing right. That time I did not know what is Krishna's desire for Srila Gurudev regarding his apparent health problems. Then I got information about Gurudeva's heart condition and I prayed for his darsan. By his mercy, everything was ar…

It is Only By His Blessing That We Receive Darshan

2017 was the first year I attended Vyasa Puja without having any idea that this would be the last opportunity while Srila Gurudeva was still physically present with us here. On 93rd Vyasa Puja of Srila Gurudev, we stayed in Kolkata Math for one full week from 3rd April 2017 to 10th April. It was a very happy and joyous time with math buzzing with devotees. The Days filled with soulful kirtans by devotees and Harikathas from Guruvarga and was very memorable in the association of hundreds of godbrothers and godsisters.
It was all by His blessings only that we had darsan of Gurudev's Vyasa Puja, got a chance to offers flowers and pranams at His Divine Lotus Feet, got charanamrta, and participated in the grand celebrations that was observed in the Math and Uttama Manch auditorium, heard glories of Gurudev to heart's content, also advice from guru-varga on sadhan-bhajan. Staying for 4-5 days after Vyasa Puja and taking Gurudev's darsan daily morning and evening, returned home ho…

Realisation of His Divine Qualities Increases in Separation

I offer my unlimited humble obeisances at Srila Gurudeva’s lotus feet and pray for his mercy so that I can continue to serve him with love and devotion for the rest of my life and forever after. My experience of Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance from this world taught me many valuable lessons in life and in Krsna consciousness, and I hope that by sharing these experiences others will be inspired in their service to Guru and Krsna.

I was supervising the men’s asrama at the Krishna House, the preaching center I stay at when I heard of Srila Gurudeva's heart attack. I was hoping that  Srila Gurudeva would miraculously recover like he did over three years ago at the Guwahati hospital, but as the days went on, Gurudeva’s health updates made it clear that he was planning on disappearing from our vision this time. I was amazed to find out that the doctor’s declared that no one could live in a body with such a low heart rate and multi-organ failure, and I understood from this that  Srila …