Book excerpts Acarya Kesari Preaching Sanatana-dharma in Vasirahata and the Reply to Sri Chattopadhyaya Mahasaya’s Protest

Preaching Sanatana-dharma in Vasirahata and the Reply to Sri Chattopadhyaya Mahasaya’s Protest

Throughout 1950, Srila Guru Maharaja extensively preached sri sanatana-dharma in Medinipura, Naraghata, Sitalapura, Haldiya, Tamaluk, Bajipura in Chaubisa Paragana, Vasirhata and other places. In the large religious assembly of Vasirhata, Acarya Kesari established with a lion-like voice the philosophical conclusions of sanatana-dharma and refuted the worthless, non-Vedic kevaladvaita-vada put forward by the hidden Buddhist, Acarya Sankara, as well as the modern conclusions opposed to the Veda.

Sri Gurudeva said that bhagavad-bhakti, devotion to the Supreme Lord, is sanatana-dharma. The constitutional position of the jiva is to be a servant of Bhagavan. Therefore, service of Bhagavan is sanatana-dharma in the past, present and future. It is also known as Vedic dharma, bhagavata-dharma and vaisnava-dharma. The jiva and the material world are never false. The jiva is eternally a part of Bhagavan, and the material world, which is manifested by Bhagavan’s inferior potency (apara-prakrti), is also true although changeable and perishable. The world is not false or illusory like a dream, or like a rope resembling a snake. The ideas of Sankara, which are illusory and contrary to logic, are only respected by extremely dull-witted people. [Sri Gurudeva concluded his talk by saying,] “This is what we are teaching the young men of the Vedanta Samiti.”

In Sri Gaudiya-patrika’s fourth issue, during its second year of publication, a synopsis of the above lecture given by Srila Guru Maharaja was published. After reading the article, Sri Satyabhusana Chattopadhyaya Mahodaya of Tatanagara wrote a letter of protest. Srila Guru Maharaja replied to his letter using scriptural logic and siddhanta. Srila Guru Maharaja’s letter is cited below.

“To summon the well-educated community of the world to attain real realization of the Absolute (tattva-darsana) is not to challenge anyone in any way. Careful consideration and comparison has established that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas’ philosophy of simultaneous oneness and difference (acintya-bhedabheda-siddhanta) is superior to Acarya Sankara’s advaita-vada or mayavada (impersonalism). Pure Vaisnavas do not have even the slightest trace of faith in Acarya Sri Sankara’s views, although we see that some proud, mixed Vaisnavas have faith in mayavada. We are Vaisnava sannyasis, and we consider the refinement of society to be part of the purification process of dharma. It is our right to present the truth of any subject to the educated community for their welfare. Some people may become disturbed when we preach truth, because they accept non-truth as the truth; but we do not want to agitate anyone. We only want to say that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings and practice are the foremost in the entire world. We do not blaspheme Acarya Sankara, but we are not about to praise his opinions and doctrines in any way.” Srila Gurudeva’s answers to Sri Chattopadhyaya Mahasaya’s many questions about mayavada were published in instalments in Sri Gaudiya-patrika.
Sri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, Sri Gaura-janmotsava and the deities’ entrance into their new residence.

In March 1951, the week-long Sri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Sri Gaura-janmotsava were performed with great pomp. Faithful pilgrims came, not only from Bengal but from all over India. Thanks to Srila Guru Maharaja’s excellent management, all the pilgrims engaged in harinama-sankirtana, listened to hari-katha, took darsana of the places of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, and had the good fortune to perform parikrama.

Until that time Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha, which is Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti’s original matha, was located in a small rented building. This served as a temple where the deities were worshipped and also as headquarters for the management of the entire Sri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama. The pilgrims would stay in tents erected in a nearby field. That year the Samiti enclosed the extensive area where the arrangements for the parikrama were made with a huge fence. A temple for the deities, quarters for the sevakas and a storage place for bhoga were constructed. In another part of the field, tents were set up for lodging the many pilgrims. Before the parikrama, the deities were brought in a grand procession accompanied by sankirtana to their new temple.

The elevated devotee Sriyuta Haripada dasa Adhikari of Sri Ramapura in the Hoogly district and his devout wife, Srimati Jnanada-sundari-devi, generously financed the construction of the high fences and the temple in the huge field. For their contribution, Srila Guru Maharaja showered them with profuse blessings. Their ideal service is an inspiration for other virtuous people.

[CC-by-ND GVP]

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