Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
The Disappearance Day of
Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
The First Day of Kartika
Mathura, India, [date unknown]
This very day, saradiya- rasa-purnima (the full-moon day on which Krsna’s Autumn rasa-lila began), is important in so many ways. On this day my Gurudeva entered nitya-lila, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna’s eternal pastimes; and it is because he has entered nitya-lila that we address him as “nitya-lila pravista om visnupada astotara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja.” He is one of the dearest associates of jagad-guru Srila Prabhupada Bhakisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. He served Srila Prabhupada throughout his life.
He left on this day, during saradiya-rasa, when the moon was rising in Navadvipa-dhama. Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vrndavana-dhama, and in some ways it is superior. Though both are the same, in some respects it is superior. Navadvipa-dhama (Gaura-dhama), and Gaura-nama (the holy name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) do not take any offense. By Their mercy we can enter Vrndavana. By their mercy we can attain the mercy of Vrndavana and the mercy of the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Without the mercy of Gaura-Nityananda, we cannot enter the realm of bhakti.
We are told to observe the appearance and disappearance days of Vaisnavas and Guru – both days – but we never observe the disappearance days of Krsna and Mahaprabhu and Their manifestations. We can celebrate the appearance day of Krsna, as well as that of His incarnations like Rama, Nrsimadeva, Kalki, Vamanadeva, and so on, but nowhere is the celebration of His disappearance day described in sastra. There are many reasons for this.
On the appearance day of Gurudeva we perform Vyasa-puja, because Gurudeva is a manifestation of Srila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of Krsna. We also observe the birthday of Vyasadeva. We observe the appearance and disappearance days of Srila Rupa Gosvami and the acaryas in his disciplic succession, but never the disappearance days of Krsna and His manifestations.
When a Vaisnava takes birth, his glory is not manifested. At that time no one knows his glory, whereas from the first day of the birth of Krsna and Mahaprabhu, or any manifestation of Krsna, their glory is known. Regarding Vaisnavas, for example, when Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was born, his glory was not seen. When he took sannyasa, very little was seen. After his taking sannyasa, he preached throughout the world, and at that time his glory was somewhat seen. Then, after his disappearance it became known – Oh, how glorious he was – and we can remember his glory. In this way, a Vaisnava’s and guru’s disappearance day is more essential and glorious than his appearance day. This day is more important because we can consider so many aspects of his glory, and we can remember all his pastimes.
As today is the disappearance day of our Guru Maharaja, I am remembering the entirety of his pastimes, from the beginning – how he preached to the entire world, how he was most dear to his Gurudeva, and how he gave his everything, never keeping anything for himself.
Out of love, his Gurudeva used to call him dokla. Dokla means ‘very foolish,’ meaning that he was never thinking of himself but always thinking of his Gurudeva. Spiritually, it does not really mean ‘foolish;’ it really means ‘not thinking of oneself.’ He never kept even one paisa for himself.
In turn, Guru Maharaja used to call his Gurudeva bokar-jahaj. [Jahaj means ‘ship,’ and bokar means ‘foolish.’ As a ship is full of varied cargo, bokar-jahaj means ‘a brain full of foolishness.’] Why did he call Srila Prabhupada bokar-jahaj? It was because Prabhupada had so much love and affection. He never did anything for himself. He gave his whole self to his own Gurudeva and to his disciples. With this quality of his being bokar-jahaj, he showered his full mercy upon my Guru Maharaja, who is now worshipped throughout the world.
Whereas my Gurudeva never kept a paisa for himself, nowadays disciples are very ‘wise.’ It is rare that someone will have nothing in their pocket, for nowadays all are very intelligent – with one, two, three, or four pockets. Actually, this is real foolishness; it is most bokar. Those who keep things for themselves cannot understand the significance of guru-seva.
One of my Gurudeva’s friends, Parama-pujyapada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, made a very good platform for him, and told him, “Now you can come, and throughout the world you will be worshipped by sincere devotees.” When Gurudeva established Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti in Calcutta, his most intimate friend, Abhaya Caranaravinda prabhu [Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja’s name in his previous asrama] was there as the other establisher. Thus, this Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti is also of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. He established it.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja took sannyasa here – sitting right here – in Mathura. I was the priest. Krsnadasa Babaji was the kirtaneer, and Sesayai prabhu and others were also singing kirtana. They were witnesses of this ceremony, along with Ranganatha Baba, Kunjabihari prabhu, Padmanabha Maharaja, Muni Maharaja, and many other sannyasis.
What is the meaning of the word viraha (generally understood as ‘separation’)? Our Gurudeva used to explain its significance. ‘Vi’ means ‘in a special way,’ and ‘raha’ means ‘meeting.’ Thus, viraha means ‘meeting internally, in a special way, by prema. For example, Srimati Radhika and the gopis used to meet with Krsna in Vrndavana when He was in Mathura. They were always thinking, and thinking, and thinking of Him, totally absorbed. Krsna used to directly manifest in Vrndavana and meet with them. They would think that they were seeing Him in a dream or a spurti (vision), but actually He had come to them.
In the Gambira, Mahaprabhu was full with the intrinsic mood of Radha and, in viraha, was always totally absorbed in the pastimes of Krsna.
Whatever ideas I am now expressing have all come from my Gurudeva. He used to explain so much about viraha. I want to publish a Vaisnava literature describing the glory of the Vaisnava viraha (the real mood of separation from exalted Vaisnavas).
The glory of viraha, separation, is that meeting is present within it. Such separation is not a bad thing. There is no unhappiness in such separation, as revealed in the separation pastimes of Sita-devi and Sri Ramacandra. Their pastimes are full of hardships, wherein Rama was always immersed in feelings of separation from Sita.
Rama sent Sita out of His kingdom, and Laksmana took Her to Valmiki’s asrama. Just before Rama’s pastimes in this world were to come to an end, He called for her. Valmiki then brought her and her two sons to Rama’s assembly. Hundreds of thousands of Ayodhya residents were assembled there, including Rama’s mothers, Kausalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi.
Valmiki was walking in front. Sita’s head was lowered as she held the hands of her sons Lava and Kusa in her own hands and walked into the silent, awe-filled assembly. Rama gave a signal for a place to be given for Sita to sit, after which she and Lava and Kusa sat down along with Valmiki.
Lord Rama announced, “I know that Sitaji is pure. I know that there is not a black spot on her. I have no doubt. I am a King and I must maintain My dharma, so I had to send the Queen out of the kingdom – but I always kept Sita in my heart. My desire is that in front of everybody, let her purity be established.”
When Sita heard this, she stood up, folded her palms, and declared, “Is proof still needed? All right, I will give You proof.” Then, she said three times, “O Prthvi-devi (Mother Earth), if I am pure, please open yourself and take me in your lap. If I have never touched any other man but Rama – even in my mind or heart, then open yourself and take me into your lap. If in my helpless condition someone touched my body, I cannot say anything about that; but if in my mind I have not given any place to anyone but Rama, O, Prthvi-devi, please open up.” In this way, Sita-devi prayed three times to Mother Earth. At that moment Mother Earth, Prthvi-devi, rose from the now-opened earth on a golden chariot and took Sita in her lap – and then they both disappeared into the earth.
Lava and Kusa began to weep for their mother, all the queens wept, all the people wept, and Rama also wept. Rama took his bow and arrow and exclaimed, “O Prthvi-devi, O Mother, remember that I punished the ocean. Return my Sita, otherwise I will punish you as well, by breaking you in pieces.” Valmiki then approached Rama and said, “The time has come. I have not written [my Ramayana] beyond this point. Please be peaceful. It is Your time to go. Sita went first [Rama’s potency, Sita devi, set the platform for Him to leave His Earthly pastimes], and now You must also go.”
When people come to a theatre and watch a drama of these pastimes, they bitterly weep. On the next day the same drama takes place again, and still more people come than on the first day. If crying is so painful, why do more people come on the following day? And why do the same people come back to cry? It is because in this crying, there is a special kind of pleasure.
If a person does not have this kind of separation mood for guru in his heart, that person’s heart is like a thunderbolt. He does not even have a trace of bhakti in his heart. Guru-nistha is the backbone of all bhakti, and without guru-nistha, a person is devoid of any kind of bhakti. His heart is zero.
Guru Maharaja always served his Gurudeva with his life and soul. For the pleasure of his Gurudeva, he was willing to jump in the ocean or the fire.
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was once doing Navadvipa parikrama along with thousands of pilgrims. On the third day he came to Navadvipa town, in front of the Praudha Maya temple, which was surrounded by a big population. All the so-called brahmanas and caste Gosvamis there were in opposition to Srila Prabhupada, because they felt he thought himself superior to brahmanas. They made a conspiracy saying, "We will punish and kill him. About a thousand of these brahmanas took sticks, bricks, stones, soda water and hot water; and they threw these from all the houses. This was reported to the police, but the police were silent; they were favoring the caste brahmanas.
There was no way to escape. Srila Prabhupada was alone; all his senior disciples had fled. One brahmacari was with him – in white cloth, not saffron. He at once signalled to Srila Prabhupada and they both approached a house. He begged the householders, "O, please open the door. We want to stay for a moment. He immediately gave Srila Prabhupada his own white clothes, and took his sannyasi clothes and danda. In this way he actually took sannyasa there, and then he somehow sent Srila Prabhupada, in white cloth, to Mayapura.
My Gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, was beautiful like Prabhupada, and therefore he was able to take Prabhupada’s sannyasa danda, sannyasa cloths, and chaddar. He gave his life to save his own Gurudeva. Prabhupada loved him so much, and made him most dear.
In the evening of the full moon in this very month, we were performing kirtana – all varieties of kirtana. Especially, I was singing, “Ohe Vaisnava Thakura,” Gauranga Bolite Habe,” “Hari Haraya Nama Krsna Yadavaya Namah,” “Jaya Radhe Jaya Krsna, Jaya Vrndavana,” and all kinds of prayers. We performed guru-vandana and Vaisnava-vandana, and Gurudeva was hearing.
When we saw that he was about to leave this world, we began to chant, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” While we were singing kirtana, we kept his photo of his Gurudeva and Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu in front of him, and he was uttering, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare…”
All began to weep.
In the meantime, as the pujari was performing sandhya-arati, the garland of Radhika or Krsna fell down, and, weeping, he ran to us and we gave the garland to Gurudeva. Pujyapada Sri Rupa Siddhanti Maharaja and others were called, and together we gave samadhi to Gurudeva throughout the night. Then, throughout the morning, we remembered and discussed his pastimes – in what way he served Radha-Krsna, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and his Gurudeva.
Gurudeva’s disappearance day in Kartik month took place on Saradiya-rasa. What can I say of the glories of this month; you should know its glories.
Srimati Radhika is called Urjesvari, and this entire month is called Urja month. Urja means power, or sakti. Krsna can only wish, but He cannot do anything to fulfil His wish. He depends on Srimati Radhika for everything. He can wish, and She can fulfil.
Do not think Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill. Srimati Radhika lifted it. Krsna can only wish to do whatever He wants to do; that is why She is Urjesvari. It is stated in the brahma-gayatri mantra, “savitur varenyam.” Urja-sakti is the source of the light of the sun. The sun’s light comes from Radhaji. Radhika is varanyam. She is worshipful by the Sun, who gives heat and light. The brahma-gayatri mantra concludes with the words “Diyo yo na pracodayat.” We meditate on Srimati Radhika and pray that She will come in our heart. We pray that She will manifest her beauty, so that we can see how beautiful She is.
What is Urja? It is bhakti, or prema. Prema, the purest love for Sri Krsna, comes from the heart of Radhika, not from Krsna. He is the taster. He is the relisher of love and affection, but that love and affection comes from Radhika’s heart. She gives urja, or prema, love and affection, even to Krsna. Krsna would not exist, or remain alive, without Her – He would be nirvisesa-brahma (the formless and quality-less spirit whole). This is why Radhaji is Urjesvari. Without worshipping Her, we cannot achieve Krsna.
Because Radhika is the predominating Deity of Kartika month, She is also called Damodari. Krsna is Damodara, and Radhika is Damodari. Without Radhika, no one can bind Krsna permanently. Mother Yasdoa can bind Him for a day, and Radhika can bind Him forever.
During this Kartika month, Krsna lifted Govardhana on the very day of Govardhana puja just before the full moon day of this month, and Dipavali, the day on which Mother Yasoda bound Her son Krsna, also took place in this month. Dipa means ‘light, and real light manifests in the form of bhakti-tattva, krsna-tattva, maya-tattva, jiva-tattva – all this knowledge is light. All these tattvas are coming from Krsna.
In this month Saradiya-rasa took place, not only for one month. Even Krsna couldn’t conceive of how long it lasted or even the gopis. Only Yogamaya knew. The moon stopped and the sun stayed on the opposite side of rasa because if it would have been there, there would be no rasa. So he was stopped there.
Krsna disappeared from rasa-lila in this month, and therefore Gopi-gita was sung in this month. Venu-gita was also sung in this months, especially the verses (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.1,5,9):
nyavisad vayuna vatah
sa -go-gopalako 'cyutah
[“Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus the Vrndavana forest was filled with transparent autumnal waters and cooled by breezes perfumed with the fragrance of lotus flowers growing in the clear lakes. The infallible Lord, accompanied by His cows and cowherd boyfriends, entered that Vrndavana forest.”]
barhapidah nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasam kanaka-kapisah vaijayantih ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyah sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
[“Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories.”]
gopyah kim acarad ayam kusalam sma venur
damodaradhara-sudham api gopikanam
bhunkte svayam yad avasista-rasam hradinyo
hrsyat-tvaco 'sru mumucus taravo yatharyah
[“My dear gopis, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed to enjoy the nectar of Krsna's lips independently and leave only a taste for us gopis, for whom that nectar is actually meant! The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure. His mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, feels jubilation, and therefore her blooming lotus flowers are standing like hair on her body.”]
This pastime was performed in the month of Kartika. In this way, this month is very high.
In the evening, at 4pm, we will all sit here again, and we will glorify my Gurudeva’s contribution to the world. Now we will go to the Yamuna to make our vows, sankalpa. There we will pray that our parikrama will be successful and our desires will be fulfilled. Yamuna is Krsna’s associate, Visakha-devi. You should all be ready and come. Later, when we reach Vrndavana, we will take our vow again, at Kesi-ghat.