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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 service in order to help him attend to his practical needs. Sometimes we would push Guru Maharaj to the bathroom and say, ''Guru Maharaj, take bath, take bath,'' and we would forcefully give him gamsha in his hand and say,  ''Just wear this." He would then often go all the way to the bathroom door and then not enter and come back and start writing again. Why? Because he just cannot stop. He had something that he wants to finish and then he will do it with full dedication. Whatever service he performed, he gave his heart completely.

Sometimes when Guru Maharaj was exhibiting the pastime of forgetfulness, he might seem stuck at one place without finding the appropriate word to write. I would prompt him with one word and he didn't accept, and then another, and another - and still he was not satisfied. When I could not give any more synonyms, Guru Maharaj asked me to take that book, take this book, refer to this book.. refer to that book - and ultimately he would come up with such a word that we have not even thought about, so accurate and perfect! I would think, oh wow! how did I miss this word? so simple! It is our mentality, whatever we do we want to just quickly finish it off. Guru Maharaj never like that. 

He told me several times on different occasions, ''You should write in such a way that there is no misunderstanding possible there, because every word can carry different meanings. Now you have to understand from the perspective of a reader and try to give the meaning properly so there is no ambiguity left.'' 

I have heard that among the glories of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur's writing, one of the greatest aspects was that his words could not be interpreted this way or that way - there is only one single meaning that will come out of Prabhupad's words. Srila Prabhupad's writing is so crystal clear and perfect. Our Gurudev was also like that. 

—Prahlad Das

Honor this amazing gift that Gurudeva has given to us by referring to this devotional guide during Kartik Mas.

You may download the Kartik Handbook, Siksatakam and lila kirtans, and see videos for Gurudeva's Harikatha on each of the 8 periods of devotional service by visiting Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math website and following the links under "Kartik Month" on the right side.

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