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Showing posts from October, 2016

We Must Pray to Him for Shelter

I remember the Vraja-mandala parikrama that was performed in 1987. During the last days of the parikrama in Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Gokul-Mahavan, our most revered Srila Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj, raised a question to himself in order to instruct us: “As we increase our endeavor for devotion, our attachment to this world increases rather than our attachment to the Supreme Lord. Why is this so?”
While Srila Guru Maharaja was delivering a transcendental discourse from his lotus mouth, I recorded the divine and sublime words of Guru Maharaja.To purify my heart and to please the devotees who have affection for Sri Guru, I am making a small attempt to present the same transcendental words as they are:

"Here I have done my self-examination. So many days have been spent doing parikrama, following Vaishnavas and chanting the Lord’s name loudly. You might be thinking that I am doing a lot of kirtana and dancing. But what is the result? The hear…

Forgoing His Personal Comforts for the Pleasure of Supreme Lord

It was Kartik in Vrindavan. We had all gone for Kamyavan parikrama. We started in the morning with Guruji leading the kirtan for 3 kilometers, singing and dancing. We reached there and after the sabha khichari prasad and returned. While returning, all were feeling tired–doing kirtan in a sluggish way. 

Guruji saw this for half an hour, and then he himself came forward to lead the kirtan singing.
When he started to sing Nitai Gauranga, Nitai Gauranga, we all became enthusiastic and started playing mridanga. Guruji lead the kirtan for the whole of 2.5 km. By the time we reached back, it was 10:30pm and the assembly was started. 

During Kartik, Guruji was always present in all the sabhas. There were only five devotees attending the sabha that night. Guruji was alone on the stage. His eyes were red due to tiredness.

We have seen that when Guruji is extremely tired, he starts massaging his knees with his hands while sitting. We saw him attending four assemblies in a day ending at 12.30 am, but…

His Transcendental Love Enlivens Devotees During Parikram

Almost every component of the Braj-Parikrama administration was looked after by Gurudev.
This continued through the whole of the yatra during Kartik. Aside from single-handedly performing so many organizational duties, Srila Gurudev drenched us in the ambrosia of Krishna-Prem while leading the group on sankirtan through the paths of Braj-Dham. Gurudev used to raise both hands and jump in ecstasy while dancing in the Nagar-kirtans.

It was a big challenge for me to keep on holding the microphone for Him, following Him, and hastily chasing Him while His Nritya-Sankirtan was on. Gurudev never used to give any attention towards the microphone, as if there was no microphone at  all. That made my task very difficult. It brought me physically in His close proximity and I felt surcharged, sometimes electrified, sometimes got shocks! I have no words to describe what I actually felt, a kind of bliss.  

Gurudev was always taking care that I do not get exhausted. He will ask me if I had taken prasad,…

His Sweet Surprises During Kartik at Ludhiana, 2010

By causeless mercy of Our Most Revered Srila Gurudev, the Kartik-Vrat at Ludhiana started yesterday. To our surprise, only shortly after our arrival, Srila Gurudev suddenly joined evening Harikatha and spoke for more than an hour, during which He gave an introduction to Gajendra-Moksha dialogue in the 8th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srila Gurudev expressed His desire to participate in the Nagar sankirtan this morning. He woke up and got ready when we entered His room and said that He wants to join the Nagar sankirtan for a very small distance. Devotees could not control their emotions when they heard this and became blissful. Pujyapad Madhusudan Maharaj lead the kirtan with "Jai dau Jai dau" while Srila Gurudev lead the devotees for about 50 m distance. Later, devotees danced in front of Srila Gurudev and proceeded further, while Srila Gurudev went back to His room.

Another surprise came with Srila Gurudev's arrival at the house of Sri Anil Dave Prabhu, where Nagar kirta…

The Importance of Sadhu Sanga During Parikrama

The 1979 Braj Mandal Parikrama was led by our most revered Gurudeva and I was part of that Parikrama. While we were in Goverdhan, my health was not well. Gurudev sent me to Vrindavan Math for rest. After resting for 2-3 days, I rejoined them in Barsana. I had missed few darsans and I contacted one pandaji who told me that he can show all of them in one day.

I asked Pujyapad Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, “Maharaj! Due to my bad health I missed few darsans and Pandaji will help me visit those places in a day. Shall I go?”

Then Maharaj told me the importance of sadhu sanga. “You see! The benefit of listening and singing the glories of the Lord in the association of devotees is more. There are many saints here, there is harikatha and kirtan, leaving all these you want to go alone to visit those places? Which one is better?” 

Maharaj spoke the supremacy of sadhu sanga over Dham (holy abode), “Sadhu sange Krishna nam ei matra chai, samsar jinite aar kono vastu nai – Nothing is as powerful as chant…

He is Actually Seeing

In 2005, I was serving in the maṭh itself. In the Vraj-maṇḍal parikrama, I was given the service of translating for the Western devotees. When we hear, we may not be attentive, but when we translate, we must be very attentive. That year there were so many Westerners that they filled an entire bus.

This was the first year that Srila Gurudev was not there in Vraj the entire time as he was performing the pastimes of sickness. When he arrived, he explained what he was seeing directly – how Suk and Sari called out, and how Kakkhati was given the service. I was finding it difficult to translate, not because of words, but because I was so ecstatic. I could see that Gurudev was speaking not because of the books or something, but he was actually seeing.

—Hari Prasad Das, Delhi

Offering His Heart Completely in Service

I understand that Guru Maharaj started to write the Kartik Handbook in 2002 out of compassion for foreign devotees who were coming to observe Kartik Vrata, as they had no guide to understand what was being spoken. For the benefit of all those devotees who could not understand Bengali or Hindi, Guru Maharaj took a very special effort to translate specially selected portions from Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's Bhajan Rahasya.

During the time when he was compiling the Kartik Handbook, Guru Maharaj's extreme amount of care and affection was astounding. As I was listening to these pastimes being recounted, I could feel what genuine compassion Guru Maharaj had for all those persons requiring translation. Day in and day out, he was contemplating the very best words to use. While eating, sleeping, and taking bath, while doing any activity - he was only concentrating on that service. 

I have experienced personally also that we would sometimes feel the need to interrupt Guru Maharaj's se…

His Loving Mercy Extends Everywhere and To Everyone

I had the mercy of Srila Prabhupada to connect with a civic group here in Hilo called the Japanese Cultural Association. Every year they put on a big parade through the streets of Hilo. So I thought hey we should do a Rathayatra!  The devotees made a real miniature version of the Rath carts in Puri. About 15 feet long and 10 feet wide and 15 -20 feet high counting the canopy.  By Krishna's arrangement, Maharaja just happened to be in Hawaii and when I found out I invited him to take part. 
He stayed at my house for 2 or 3 nights. He had his servant with him who prepared his meals, and my over riding memory is of him sitting in the floor in the living room, looking up at a beautiful painting my artist friend Khandita didi had painted of the Sadbhuja form of the Lord. He was looking so intently at it and I could feel he was there with Sadbhuja.  
He has such a kind heart. When he first arrived, I brought him into my simple “temple room” which is my side porch. I had carefully cleaned …

His Soothing Effulgence

One time I came to Chandigarh to meet Guru Maharaja right after Kartik. His sevaks said, “No, actually, Guru Maharaja is tired now. Kartika is finished, so there is no more darshan.”

But then they said, “No, no, okay, come. Guru Maharaja’s darshan is open.” 
When they opened the door, the whole room was so bright and effulgent and Guru Maharaja was sitting there with a smile on his face. And I was so happy, so relieved to see him; it was like a shower of relief after burning in the sun of the West. 
I sat at his lotus feet and I said, “Guru Maharaja, I feel so lonely, you’re so far away, I don’t have your association.” 
Guru Maharaja looked a little confused. He looked at me and said, “You are never alone. Krishna is always in your heart.” 
I said, “But Guru Maharaja, I feel so far away, please give me your blessings.” 
And Guru Maharaja said, so humble, he said, “Okay, I will pray to Guru Varga for you.” 
He is never taking the position as guru, always the position of a servant. His whol…

His Preaching is Non-different from His Conduct

The founder acharya of Gopinath Gaudiya Math, Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj, who is considered an outstanding personality of this world once commented, “All the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, sannyasis, and saints are parts of my body, but Srimad Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj is the core of my heart.”

We are compelled to think how he has won the heart of this ideal. It is only due to his dedicated service attitude since his early life till date. 
Guruji gives emphasis to practise the instructions of the scriptures before preaching to others. He says, ‘Don’t follow me, follow my lecture only’ is applicable in politics.

Regarding preaching of dharma, he would say that our words will became impactful only to the extent we follow them in our own lives. Preaching without conduct is lifeless. It will only be an entertainment, and no one will be benefitted from it.
—Sri Bhakti Bibudh Muni Maharaj (2015)