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Remembering His Entrance Into Nitya Lila

Srila Gurudev was always intoxicated in Krishna-nama-sankirtan, whether or not externally conscious. He was lying on the bed and was seemingly unaware as he was not communicating with any one of us externally, but inwardly he was relishing Krishna-namasankirtan offered by the devotees and also inspired devotees from within to come and join sankirtan movement.

Those who performed the sankirtans those last days on earth are the true servants of Srila Gurudev. Even though the sevaks were attending to the immediate medical services of Srila Gurudev, one would think that the best service was done by those who performed kirtans. Of this, there is no doubt. 

Srila Gurudev could have concluded his pastimes much before but he chose this way to make us realize that the process of Krishna-nama-sankirtan is the only way by which everyone could stay united for a single purpose. Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur had mentioned in his antim-vani (final instructions) to offer oneself in the sacrificial fire of the seven-tongued Krishna-nama-sankritan, and to remain united in following the ashraya vigraha Sri Guru to satisfy the transcendental senses of the Supreme Lord.

With material ego and mundane vanity it is impossible to follow this instruction. Most merciful Srila Gurudev through these sickness pastimes had shown to all of us the proper way to perfectly follow the words of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad. This speaks of his unbound magnanimity and affection and that to shower such it does not require any physical medium.

Kirtans have suspended the material thoughts of all the devotees. They were only concentrating on kirtans. The only target was how they could please Śrīla Gurudev in these last moments. They were simultaneously expecting more miracles from Śrīla Gurudev. He did it on few occasions in the past and if need be he could do it again. Devotees were taking turns one after another, waiting in queue to read scriptures and lead kirtans. One could easily witness how devotees were reciprocating their love towards Śrīla Gurudev.

Actually, the love that he shared with everyone crossing all material barriers can never be paid back by doing any kind of service. Yet devotees were not ready to give up even a bit of the service opportunity. Some were ready to leave their jobs, some postponed their official foreign trips, mothers did not care for their children back at home, and nobody even cared for any of the basic bodily necessities. Devotees continuously performed sankirtans with no signs of tiredness on their face or body. One would wonder how that was possible.

There were complaints from neighbours not to play and sing loudly in the night as it disturbed their sleep. But who could stop anyone intoxicated in nama-sankirtan. Each and every single person was empowered by Śrīla Gurudev to be intoxicated in sankirtan. The entire atmosphere reminds one of Srivas Angan where there were maha-sankirtans whole night.





The courtyard of Śrīla Gurudev became Srivas Angan for a few days. The kirtans in raised voice dumbed all other material words. The ambience was completely surcharged. Even though devotees knew that very soon they will become orphans but still the entire focus was on sankirtan. Guru Maharaj made this plan, he made the situation very comfortable, soothing, and painless.

On Chaitra Krishna Navami (9th day during the dark fortnight of the month of Chaitra), at 10.15 PM on April 20, Thursday, amidst a 6-day long non-stop sankirtans and while his favorite kirtan ‘Radhakunda tata kunja kutira’ was being sung, His Divine Grace entered into the eternal pastimes of Sree Sree Radha Govinda at the fag end of the 7th period out of the eight periods in a day (astayama).

The time of his entrance in the nitya-lila is very significant as it marks the phasing out of the 7th period and at the doorway of the 8th period of the day. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad writes in his preface to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s Bhajan Rahasya that the eight verses of Sikshataka of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu are in conformity with the eight periods of the day. The time of Srila Guru Maharaj’s entrance into nitya-lila accordingly is the transition from the prema-viprambha (love in separation) – yugayitam nimeshena to prema-sambhog (love in union) – ashlishya va pada-ratam. After separation, union is imminent.

Srila Gurudev’s dear disciples and his loved ones were left in separation grief. Parampujyapad Acharya Maharaj offered his obeisances to the transcendental body of Srila Gurudev and made an announcement of Srila Gurudev’s departure to all the assembled devotees and worldwide.

One by one, the devotees entered into the room of Srila Gurudev with cries of agony in feelings of separation. The separation was unbearable; they wept, shouted, and were lifeless. Some devotees even fell to the ground. Some devotees offered their tears to wash his feet. Sankirtans continued for the entire night in a state of despair and deep pain.

By their departure from the world, pure devotees give us a lesson that this world is not a place of permanent residence. They leave behind the instruction that we need to become less and less dependent on these material sense organs so that we can become eligible to see their form and grace through spiritual eyes, and listen to their instructions through the ears of the heart.

All of us are deprived of seeing Srila Gurudev’s appearance on this plane, his pastimes as a child, his spiritual urge and its calling. We only heard. But now, he very mercifully, out of his sishya-vatsalayata (compassion to the dear ones), gave them an opportunity to see the departure of a perfect Acharya. Srila Gurudev has shown to the entire world how to leave this planet. It was such a befitting farewell to an Acharya who held the flag of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana firmly raised high in the sky for several years.

The devotees spent the entire night of 20th singing kirtans in the separation of Śrīla Gurudev. The next day Śrīla Gurudev’s divine body was placed in the hall in front of Śrīla Gurudev’s room on the fifth floor. Devotees venerably offered flowers and respects. Thereafter circumambulation was performed. At about 9 AM Śrīla Gurudev came to the bhajan kutir of his Gurudev and was placed in the library which is the second floor of Kolkata Math.

Devotees and neighbors rushed to have his audience and offer their homage. Some devotees fanned him while several devotees performed circumambulation amidst sankirtan till 11.30 AM when he was brought in front of Sree Sree Guru Gauranga Radha Nayananath Jiu. Sri Srikant Prabhu performed Guru Puja and made various offerings and Parampujyapad āchārya Maharaj performed his Arati. The garland Prasad of the deities, Charanamrita and Tulsi were offered to him.

Even though Śrīla Gurudev prepared us for eight days for this gloomy day, one could clearly see devotees were feeling the pain inside their heart. Towards his final days, although he was not speaking and reciprocating externally, his presence was there. The very thought that they cannot see him in Kolkata any longer devastated many devotees. Tears came out of their eyes in the expression of love and separation.



After the arati, Śrīla Gurudev circumambulated the temple of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Radhanayanath Jiu. Śrīla Guru Maharaj was placed in a beautifully flower decorated spacious cart with a beautiful canopy and open from three directions to enable darsan for the devotees. The cart would head towards Mayapur dham for the final Samadhi ceremony. The devotees would not leave the vehicle in which Śrīla Gurudev was traveling. Ten buses and as many cars were arranged for devotees to join him on his tour to Mayapur but they were not willing to leave Śrīla Gurudev’s cart. They were running behind his vehicle madly. They did not want to leave even a sight of Śrīla Gurudev’s feet or any bodily parts. It is very hard to describe the state of the devotees in words. They were heartbroken. The sight was heart touching and at the same time very purifying.

Slowly Śrīla Gurudev’s cart picked up speed forcing the other devotees to sit in their respective buses and cars. Śrīla Gurudev was welcomed at several locations on the way to Mayapur viz. Barasat, Chakdaha, Rashberia, Ranaghat, and Krishna Nagar. They performed Arati and again no words can describe the pain and the feelings of the devotees who saw Śrīla Gurudev lying on the cart as it was an end of world for them. The buses and the cars that followed Śrīla Gurudev’s cart started to get crowded more and more at each of these locations.

Śrīla Gurudev entered Sridham Mayapur at 6.30 PM on 21st. The sun was set and the dham was illuminated with moonlight. When Śrīla Gurudev‘s cart approached Sri Chaitanya Math, the atmosphere has become very cool, very pleasant. Slowly a cool breeze started to blow. 

It was as if the wind god was waiting to welcome the pure devotee. The rain god did not miss this opportunity as well. The breeze was moist with tiny water drops as there was a pushpa-vristi. Śrīla Gurudev’s cart came in the hot sun from Kolkata and the rain god as well as the wind god drove away his tiredness due to travel in the hot sun. Whether animate or inanimate, everything and everyone were waiting to welcome him. The trees stooped down in respect to their venerable master.

All residents of Mayapur were waiting on the roads for their dear associate to come. They also knew that they are not going to get his glimpse again after this. It was also seen that several shop keepers had shut down their shops to welcome him. Śrīla Gurudev had made such a place in the heart of all the living entities, all the dhama vasis, all the disciples, and the vaishnavas at large; the entire ambience spoke it all. The dhamvasis were ready to offer whatever love, whatever service they could stopping all their material activities. That was the impression that Śrīla Gurudev had in the hearts of each and every single living being. What was following Śrīla Gurudev was a flood of devotees. As far as the eye sight could go, one noticed only devotees and nothing else.



Amidst all these the sankirtans did not stop but took a very high pitch. Mayapur dham was echoing the sounds of ‘ha gurudev, ha gurudev, ha gurudev, kothai go premamayi ha gurudev, kothai go premamayi ha gurudev. Where are you my dear Gurudev, where can I get you?’ Sanandan Prabhu, who was leading the kirtans, intoxicated the devotees further with separation grief. Everyone’s eyes were swollen due to constant weeping all day. Nobody could sleep properly in the previous night, the entire day was gone in travel in hot summer sun without proper food and water. But none of these concerned them anyway.

Many Sannyasis and Brahmacharis swept the roads and spread flowers as Śrīla Gurudev’s cart was moving on Mayapur’s roads. The sight was indicative of the impact Śrīla Gurudev had in the hearts of each and every single devotee. The physical barriers, organizational barriers or any other barriers that might have existed were completely broken down to dust and they were welcoming Śrīla Gurudev in their heart.

By his presence in the heart of each and every single person one could very easily accept him as Jagad-guru. Mayapur has declared this on this very day by the kind of welcome he was offered. Such a sight was never seen before for any āchārya of any organization. It was not the grandeur that was at display but it was rather a united effort to please their dear master transcending all material barriers, nothing other than a mere exchange of love.

At Sri Chaitanya Math Śrīla Gurudev’s arati was performed. Śrīla Gurudev took darśan and offered his obeisance to Sree Sree Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari Jiu and to the Samadhi temples of Śrīla Gaura Kishore Das Babaji Maharaj and Śrīla Bhakti Sidhhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad. Before reaching Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Ishodyan at 10 PM, Śrīla Gurudev’s cart was halted at each and every single Math out of which the principal places are Yogapitha, Srivas Angan, ISKCON, and Nandan āchārya Bhavan. At each of these places ghee lamps, incense, flower garlands were offered. The Gurukula students of ISKCON chanted Sannyasa-sukta mantras loudly and rained flowers.

After the cart arrived at Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the bed in which he was lying was carried very carefully. He took darśan of his Gurudev’s Samadhi and circumambulated the temple. Later, he took darśan of Sree Sree Guru Gauranga Radha Madan Mohan Jiu and performed circumambulation. A beautiful flower decorated stage was prepared in front of his Gurudev’s bhajan kutir on which he was placed. Śrīla Gurudev’s transcendental body graced the stage when all the devotees got an opportunity to take a very close darśan and offer any service.



The institutions which had got the opportunity to welcome and perform Arati of Śrīla Gurudev on the way to our Math previous day were greatly delighted. Śrīla Gurudev had to be rested after his arrival at our Math as it was already close to 11 PM. So the institutions on the way to Hulur Ghat felt deprived of this opportunity and were sorrowful. So the following day, April 22, they requested if they can also be given that opportunity. It was actually Śrīla Gurudev who expressed his desire to go to other maths, through various devotees’ mouths.

The next day Śrīla Gurudev once again ascended the cart and visited all the Maths on the way to Hulur Ghat. At Sree Gopinath Gaudiya Math he offered his obeisance to Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj’s Samadhi. Once again there was a warm welcome offered at each of the institutions. After paying obeisance at Kshetrapal Shiva, Śrīla Gurudev once again went to ISKCON at their behest. Even though they offered their homages a day before they were not satisfied completely.

The previous day they prepared for a very grand welcome inside the temple and arati. However, Śrīla Gurudev had to come back from the main gate as it was already late. The disciples of Pujyapad Jayapatak Swami Maharaj expressed their strong desire repeatedly, which once again looked like Śrīla Gurudev’s own plan. Śrīla Gurudev knows the heart of each and every single living being. His activities are to please every single living being and at this stage even though he himself was not directly communicating anything, he seemed to be wanting to not deprive any single person from his blessings. The prayers of all those who have offered sincerely from the bottom of the heart were not left unanswered. Many devotees experienced this. It seemed that only his divine body was present but he was actually fulfilling the devotional desires of everyone, if prayed for sincerely. 

After coming back to Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math at around 11.30 AM Śrīla Gurudev ascended the stage and he was prepared for a grand abhishek ceremony. The curtains were closed and Śrīla Gurudev was made to sit in padmasana. Śrīla Gurudev’s body showed no signs of stiffness even after 36 hours of his departure. It was as soft as a freshly blossomed lotus flower. It appeared as if he sat by himself, very nicely postured and that was a very beautiful sight. Sounds of ‘Haribol! Jai Gurudev!’ covered the sky as soon as the curtain was opened and devotees saw him in padmasana.

The Maha-abhishek with panchamrita was performed under the guidance of Parampujyapad āchārya Maharaj, new garments were offered to him. Later Śrīla āchārya Maharaj performed Maha-arati. Sri Srikanta Prabhu, who was leading the kirtans, broke in to tears instantly and the devotees, with tears drenching their cheeks, followed him. The entire space in the Math was filled with devotees. There were many devotees looking for a place to get his audience but could only find some distant corner places. The flood of devotees inundated Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. The atmosphere was so purifying. Śrīla Gurudev took a very beautifully decorated palanquin and went to take darśan of Sree Sree Guru Gauranga Radha Madanmohan Jiu and his Gurudev’s Samadhi. He circumambulated both the temples and arrived at the place where a very nice asan was prepared for his Samadhi. This is located on the Northern side of his Gurudev’s Samadhi temple.

The previous night devotees, immaterial of their age, gender and nationality, stayed awake to prepare a place for his samadhi —a place where he would sit to fully be absorbed in the service of his dearmost object withdrawing all of his external activities completely. The devotees decorated all the four corners and sides with banana trees and flower garlands. Some devotees dug the ground, some carried the mud and disposed at another location, some offered bricks, some swept the floor, and some brought flowers while some others decorated. Everybody was engaged in some service or the other.

Śrīla Gurudev seated on a palanquin arrived at the place of Samadhi. Stairs were prepared to go down the ground where an elevated asan was decorated with flowers. Śrīla Gurudev was brought out of the palanquin and needed to be taken down through the stairs without breaking his deep inner absorption.

Out of devotional spontaneity one devotee sat on his knees and placed his hands on the ground offering his back as a seat for Śrīla Gurudev. He crawled down the stairs slowly until Śrīla Gurudev’s seat arrived. Such was the love devotees offered to him risking their own life.

Actually, it could be nothing but Śrīla Gurudev reciprocating to the sincere prayers of the devotees for service.



At around 2.00 PM on the 22nd April, Saturday, on the holy occasion of Varuthini Ekadasi Śrīla Gurudev was seated on the Samadhi asan facing towards East. Sri Bhakti Kushal Padmanabh Maharaj performed Guru Puja, and offered new clothes and fruits. Remnants of Lord Jagannath such as silk clothes, ropes and clothes were wrapped over him and Lord Jagannath’s maha-prasad was offered to him. The dust of Vrindavan, Govardhan, and Radha-kunda was placed on his head.

Sri Bhakti Nilay Brihadvrati Maharaj performed Arati. Sri Bhakti Sambandh Suddhadvaiti Maharaj wrote Samadhi mantras on the chest of Śrīla Gurudev with sandalwood paste. Slowly the Samadhi ground was filled with salt and sand. Many devotees offered flowers. Devotees prepared a raised platform and they decorated it with flowers and garlands. Arati and parikrama were performed while kirtans were being sung. The entire event got over by 3.30 PM. Kirtans continued the entire night.

The devotees who had prepared the samadhi for Śrīla Gurudev, those who gave samadhi, those who participated in it, those who have taken the darsan or seen it broadcasted online, are all very fortunate. Such a highly purifying and auspicious event as this is beyond compare.

—Prahlad Das

excerpted from bbtirtha.org











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