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Surrendering to the Divine Professor

On my second trip to India in 1996, I came to Srila Gurudev Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj after becoming his first non-Indian full-time disciple initiated in 1995 at Sridham Vrindavan on Baladev Purnima at the end of the Radha-Govinda Jhulan Yatra Festival of Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. I approached him at this time with the idea to study Sanskrit. Gurudev replied, "You did not come to me, you came to learn something."

It meant I came with the desire not to serve the Guru but to learn something for myself. I clearly understood that Gurudev gave me a choice: to be an independent scholar in Sanskrit or to be his fully dedicated disciple.
I still insisted on studies anyway. Gurudev agreed with my desire and allowed me to live in Calcutta Math while I was attending Calcutta Sanskrit College, the same college where Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati studied 100 years before. A professor of Sanskrit there asked me, “What did you want to learn? We spent a lifetime in such studies, but have never reached the goal. You already dedicated yourself as a Sri Krishna devotee and lived in the Math, this means you knew something more than we.”

When I heard this, I came to Gurudev and told him that now that my worldly education was over, I would serve the Guru and Vaishnavas as they liked, and not the way I wanted. After that, I started accompanying Gurudev all over India as his first personal secretary, typing his letters and English articles and books in preparation for his first foreign preaching tours in 1997.

—Vrindavan Das, Ukraine




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