|Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
FOR THE APPEARANCE DAY OF SRILA PRABHUPADA
(May 5, 1996)
First, I give my heartly expressions and devotion in the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, nitya lila pravista om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and also offering my so much sraddha, honor to the lotus feet of Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and also to Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
By the causeless mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura we are seeing so many devotees. Holland is a little country. I did not understand that I would meet so many devotees here. It is by the grace of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. He came to fulfil the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and especially the desire of his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura Prahupada. The entire world knows Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as Prabhupada. Any devotee can know his Gurudeva by the name Prabhupada, no harm. At that time, the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura were giving a special kind of honor to their Gurudeva. They did not like him to be called Prabhupada in India, but the disciples of Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja called him Prabhupada, no harm. Anyone can use this word. When we say, ‘Jaya Prabhupada’, we think of our entire guru-parampara, from top to bottom. If any Guru has some feeling that it used for our Gurudeva so I should not use it, this is another thing. Srila Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, Sripada – all are used for Gurudeva.
When I came here, especially today, I was overjoyed to see that when Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came, he came penniless on the Scindia Navigation ship, with old and torn cloth, a worn and torn Gita, and three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam. And he had one pair of karatalas and two mantras – Sri Krsna Caitayana Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadhadhara Srivasadi Gaura Bhakti Vrnda, and Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s order was that very soon a day would come that devotees will preach My name, Krsna, Rama, Hari, Gaura – this will go to each village in the entire world.
Svamiji had not come to this world, or any follower to gain something from them – not any rupees, guilders (Dutch money), or pounds. He came to give this real treasure of Sri Caitanaya Maharaprabhu to everyone. Not to just devotees, but to anyone whose ear the maha-mantra goes in whether a tree, grass, animals, man, gods, goddesses – anywhere it will go, it will go in the ear and will take them towards Krsna, towards God for which they have come. They have not come for any worldly gain.
Svamiji came and was penniless. There was no one to give svagatam (welcome) to him. He came alone. Only Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna were with him, and his Gurudeva and guru-parampara were with him, but it was not seen externally. All were seeing that he was alone, but actually he was not alone. Sometimes on the ship he may have felt like this, but at the same moment he knew that Srila Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the entire guru-parampara, Radha-Krsna and Their whole family, asta-sakhis, Lalita, Visakha, Rupa-manjari and all manjari, and the entire dhama were here helping him.
I am thinking that he made a platform in the entire world, in each country, that so many devotees, with so many mrdangas and karatalas and singing Hare Krsna and Haribol are receiving me. (Starts crying).
When I think that in these countries there was not a single devotee. There were people from India, but no ekantika-vaisnava (fixed in the worship of Radha-Krsna) in these countries. There may have been worshippers of Narayana, Dvarkadish, Ramacandra or Laksmi-Narayana. There may have been pure Vaisnavas. Ramanujacarya was a pure Vaisnava and his followers were pure Vaisnavas, but no pure worship of Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara was there. So many devotees were waiting for me with mrdanga and karatalas. I am overwhelmed by this. What a miracle he has done in a very few years. If he had more time, he would have done so many more miracles.
When he came there were so many obstacles. Everyone was eating not only eggs and fish, but also cows. Drinking and making merry. They didn’t know who Krsna is – who is the top personality of Godhead. Even there were so many persons who knew God and were only praying, “God, give me bread and butter.” That’s all. Svami Maharaja played such a good role that in a short time, devotees like you began to worship Radha-Krsna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu.
I knew him from the very beginning when he came to Mathura. He was a friend of my Gurudeva. He came to Mathura and one day he told me a story. He said, “When I took initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, he told me to preach in Western countries in the English language. Then, he read a verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
harisye tad-dhanam sanaih
tato ‘dhanam tyajanty asya
[“The Personality of Godhead said: If I especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. Then the relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man abandon him. In this way he suffers one distress after another.”]
Those who take the shelter of Krsna, Krsna takes away everything and he becomes a street beggar. If he doesn’t give up Krsna, then Krsna gives everything to him. He told me, “I was so afraid of this, that he would take everything from me and what would I do. I am living with my wife and children and am a manager of Bengal chemicals.”
He had been the manager of Bengal Chemicals and was so expert that he had arranged another company himself. But there were problems. He had come to Allahabad and managed a very big medical shop, but after some time that also had difficulty. He then engaged in a little more business, but Krsna would not allow it to continue. Then he came here.
He came to our Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura penniless. I had met him before in Calcutta. I gave him so much respect and honor. I used to prepare cappati with ghee and vegetables for him, and he was so pleased with me. Then we became bosom friends. At that time, I was Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja and he was Abhaya Caranaravinda. I told him, “You are so qualified you should take sannyasa, at once without delay.” At the same time, he was telling me that story, saying, “I was fearing that everything would be taken away from me and I will become a beggar. I am seeing I am becoming a beggar and at last if I take sannyasa, I will become a street beggar.”
At that time Gurudeva came from Navadvipa and they embraced each other. I told my Gurudeva he should take sannyasa. Guru Maharaja told him to take sannyasa and preach everywhere. An old man of about 99 years old, Sanatana prabhu a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura came and said, “You are fearing. I am 99 years old. If you take sannyasa, I will also take sannyasa.” Then he said, “Yes, I will take sannyasa.” On Purnima, a good occasion he took sannyasa. I made his danda myself, I wrapped the cloth around it. I made his utariya. He did not know how to wear these cloths so I showed him. Guru Maharaja came and performed the fire-yajna. Krsna dasa babaji Maharaja came and sang kirtana with so many brahmacaris.
Then he became Bhaktivedanta. I was Bhaktivedanta first but perhaps he was Bhaktivedanta first. His Guru Maharja gave him the nickname: Abhava Carana Bhaktivedanta. In bhakti he was senior to me, and in sannyasa he was junior to me.
When he used to meet me, he would request me to do kirtan, “Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krsna Jaya Vrndavana” and “Hari Haraye Nama Krsna Yadava Madhava”, and especially, “Sri rupa manjari pada sei mora sampada, sei mora bhajana-pujana.”
Some say he did not preach raganuga-bhakti, but what is more raganuga than this bhajana – Sri rupa manjari pada sei mora bhajana-pujana? This is the best kirtan of ragatmika, what to speak of raganuga. Ragatmika is not sadhana-bhakti. It is only in Goloka Vrndavana, not here in this world. Svamiji has only come for this. From vaidhi-bhakti we will grow up to sadhana-bhakti, to bhava-bhakti to prema-bhakti. He has not only come to clear the jungles and for harinama. They should realize what is harinama. Not without any rasa, attachment, but with so much attachment they cannot leave chanting Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, and it will only increase more and more with taste.
Now we are chanting and remembering, but it is a rare devotee who has taste in this. If any taste will come, he cannot leave Krsna-nama. Their devotion will go up and up and come to bhava-bhakti. Svamiji has not only come to clear jungles and thorns. He has come to give this. He had very little time, and when he was going to give it, Krsna called him, “Your task is finished. Come on, come on. You should serve Me here with Radhika.”
He called me and said, “Excuse me what I have done wrong.” I said, “You have not doing anything wrong.”
“To preach something in Western countries, I have said, ‘My godbrothers are only eating and sleeping living in Vrndavana.’ I told them this only to give inspiration to my devotees who did not know the abc’s of bhakti. I know my godbrothers are so qualified. If they are not qualified, why did I take sannyasa from Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I respected Srila Sridhara Svami. They are superior to me. I respected them so much. You should excuse me, and tell our godbrothers that they should excuse me.”
I told him that it was not an offense. You did this for preaching and to teach your disciples. It is not anything to be excused. You did a marvellous thing. All the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Radha-Krsna are pleased with you by this miracle that you have done in Western countries – a place of wine drinkers. They were like beasts and you have turned them into good devotees. We are so proud and indebted to you for this work.”
He ordered me, “You should do the rest of my work. You should perform my samadhi ceremony. You should also teach my devotees to grow up in bhakti so that they may not stay at the same level where they are. I told him, “I have to say something to your disciples” At once, he called his senior devotees, Tamal Krsna, Bhavananda, Jayapataka, Bhagavan, Hamsadutta, Brahmananda – about 100 disciples came. I told them, “You should not think that he will die. He will be in our guru-parampara forever. When he leaves, you will see that he is not in this world, so then you will quarrel with each other, and not give any respect to any Vaisnava. I am telling you all, he has told you to patiently hear and not quarrel among you. You should come in the line of Svamiji, to fulfil the tasks for which he has come to give.”
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has told:
gurau gosthe gosthalayisu sujane bhusura-gane
sva-mantre sri-namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-sarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitaram
aye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrta-padah
[“O my dear brother, my foolish mind, taking hold of your feet, I humbly pray to you with sweet words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop deep, loving attachment for the spiritual master, Sri Vraja-dhama, the residents of Vraja, the Vaisnavas, the brahmanas, your diksa-mantras, the holy names of the Supreme Lord, and the shelter of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, the eternally youthful Divine Couple of Vraja.” (Sri Manah-siksa, verse 1)]
If we want to do bhakti, respect all Vaisnavas, gurus, those who live in Vrndavana-dhama, and brahmanas. We should obey these principles. These principles are of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, of our guru-parampara, and of Svamiji. He has never told to disrespect any Vaisnava. If we want bhakti, we should give respect to Vaisnavas. Gurudeva is also Vaisnava. Srila Krsnadasa Gosvami Maharaja has told this. Srila Rupa Gosvami is our siksa-guru, Krsna is our siksa-guru, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is a siksa-guru, Nityananda Prabhu is our siksa-guru. Siksa-guru is not less than diksa-guru. You should try to understand all these facts. Diksa-guru is not less than siksa-guru and siksa-guru is not less than diksa-guru. Both are equal if they are qualified. If they are not qualified, then they are not guru. If diksa-guru is not giving proper honor to Vaisnavas, then he is not even a devotee. We should try to give honor to Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers, and even to the followers of Ramanujacarya, and those who are serving Laksmi-Narayana and Dvarakaidsh, but not the same as ekatika-vaisnavas of Krsna. We should give honor to the devotees of Krsna. We should try to know the gradations of devotees. If anyone is only serving Krsna, and if anyone is serving Radha-Krsna conjugal, who will be given more honor? Or, if anyone is very near and dear to Srimati Radhika, who is superior?
They should try to understand these gradations, otherwise they will see that Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Haridasa Thakura, Ramanujaya, a Dhruva-bhakta are all the same. We should differentiate. A kanistha-Vaisnava cannot differentiate. Our gurus have not come only to tell us, “You should always be third-class kanistha-Vaisnavas.” We should hear all these things and develop in our bhakti so we can clearly understand who is kanistha-Vaisnava, who is madhyama-Vaisnava and who are uttama-vaisnaavs, and who are conditioned souls and who are above this. Srivasa Pandit and Gadhadhara Pandit came to this world, but they are not sadhana-siddha. They are parikaras of Krsna. Haridasa Thakrua was Brahma and Prahlada Maharaja both. Who was Rupa Gosvami? He was Rupa-manjari. In this lila, Rupa Gosvamipada used to take the feetdust of Haridasa Thakura. Srivas Pandit also, but Rupa Gosvami is far superior to them. We should know all these truths.
Who preached more? Rupa Gosvami or Haridasa Thakura? Haridasa Thakura was namacarya, but Rupa Gosvami was the soul of Mahaprabhu’s life. He gave us all the books which were the heart of Caitanya Mahaprabhu such as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani. How can we know all these truths without good association? If anyone stops anyone from going to qualified Vaisnavas, no one can go up. Only chanting will not do. Chanting in the guidance of any good Vaisnava can take us there. Mayavadis chant, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare. What is the difference between them and pure devotees?
If anyone chants Hare Krsna Hare Krsna with no association of rasik-tattva Vaisnavas, they will only go to Vaikuntha. If we chant harinama under the guidance of Rupa Gosvami’s line, in no time we will realize something and the heart will taste that name.
They are saying, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. They are telling that Hare is Hari, Krsna is Krsna who took birth in Mathura (Vasudeva Krsna) and Rama is Ayodha Rama and some are telling Krsna and Balarama.
Our guru-parampara has not given this idea. Our guru-parampara has given the idea that three are one. Krsna is Hari, Krsna is Rama. Any devotees cannot worship two Gods or two manifestations of Krsna. When Krsna takes our sins and offenses, He becomes Hari. After that, he gives slight darsan like he gave to Narada. Then, he disappeared and Narada began to weep. He told him, “By this body, you cannot have darsan. This body cannot bear the meeting of Krsna. After leaving this body, when you have your siddha-deha, you will realize Me and you will never die again and come as a conditioned soul.”
When all sins go away, Krsna gives his sweet darsan and takes our mind and hearts. He is Hari. He lives everywhere, in all hearts, so He is Rama. Without Krsna, we cannot live a moment.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has told that Hare is not Hari. Hare is Hara. Radhika is Hara. She steals the heart of Krsna, so She is Hara. When calling anyone, it becomes, “Hare.” Hare Krsna is Radha-Krsna. Rama – playing with Radhika. In rasa He becomes Rama. Here Rama is Krsna, Radha-ramana. Each letter has so many good words. There are 32 syllables and 16 names, and 8 pairs and one in a group. Separation and meeting both are there. Hare Krsna and Hare Rama is meeting. Krsna Krsna Hare Hare is separation.
With this taste, if we will chant and take association from our superiors, we can never give up harinama.
There are so many things that Svamiji wanted to give you all, but he went away. After he left, no one could give you this. Perhaps, he called me to give some things to you all so that you will become qualified and never give this up and always hear hari-katha. He has written so many things in his explanation. At that time, there were very rare devotees who could understand. Try to develop your bhakti so you can take everything from Svamiji. He has written so many things in his books. It is rare to understand and to give to all. Our guru-parampara, Krsna and Srimati Radhika, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Nityananda Prabhu have perhaps called me here, and if I will give something to you and help you, then I will see that I am successful in this tour. I pray to Them all that they will bestow their mercy on me so that I may express all these things to you. At first, I was so much fearing that I have no proper English language to give anything. My language is so poor. I cannot express these things to you, but you are so qualified that if I tell in worn and torn English language, you will still understand. You should always help me as you are helping me.
I want to help you all without any gain.
I never had a dream that I would go to the West, and I never wanted that I would give up Vrndavana and come here. I think I have come to Vrndavana in Vrnda, and Brajanath is in Vrndavana also. Tunga-vidya is two Tunga-vidyas. Vrndavana-vilasini is so marvellous. So many devotees are here. I am so happy to come here. I am still thinking I am in Vrndavana. I pray to you all that you should give your company and give your impression to those who have left Iskcon and who are still chanting the holy name. We should call all devotees – those who are kanistha, madhyama – all should be called and we should embrace them and give them respects. If a man is superior, he has so much mercy for those who are juniors. Have no envy at all. If anyone is doing anything to us we should be like Haridasa Thakura and Prahlada Maharaja, thus we can preach the mission everywhere.
Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!
Guru-parampara ki jaya!
Sacinandana Gaurahari ki jaya!
Radha-Krsna ki jaya!
Gaur-premanande! Hari, haribol.
If you have no obstacles, then you should all meet me everywhere I go to preach. With four mrdangas, and like Svamiji with kirtan with the same inspiration and enthusiasm. Svamiji and my Gurudeva used to call me to sing sweet kirtans, but now I am invalid, but when I am seeing you, I have inspiration to sing Hare Krsna.