On 29 January 1959, the president of the Samiti, acarya Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, imparted endless benefit to the world by installing the deities of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga Radha-Vinoda-bihariji in Sri Goloka-ganja Gaudiya Matha in Goloka-ganja, Assam. The daily seva began in a splendid way. Sri Bhagavan, the Supreme Absolute Truth who resides in the devotee’s heart, mercifully appears in the outside world in His deity form. The spiritual sentiments in Srila Acaryadeva’s heart have been expressed in the mood of the deity form of Sri Krsna, who is adorned with unprecedented sweetness because of embracing Radha and accepting Her lustre.
yasya kantir vilopita
Morning kirtana and nagara-sankirtana were performed from the early morning until 8 a.m.; from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. there was abhiseka of the deities, reading from sastras, vaisnava homa-yajna, installation activities, arcana-puja and the bhoga offering. Maha-prasada was served to invited and uninvited guests until eleven at night. The Samiti’s tridandi-sannyasis and learned members spoke at a religious assembly in the evening between 4 to 7 p.m.
Finally, Srila Acaryadeva gave a deep lecture filled with many emotional sentiments on sri vigraha-tattva, the principle of the deity. He quoted a verse from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 5.1):
padbhyam calan yah pratima-svarupo
brahmanya-devo hi sataha-gamyam
desam yayau vipra-krte ’dbhute ’ham
tam saksi-gopalam aham nato ’smi
I offer my pranama to Saksi-gopala, the performer of transcendental activities, who appeared as brahmanya-deva (the Supreme Lord of brahminical culture) in deity form and walked for one hundred days to reach a distant place, only for the benefit of a brahmana.
Citing this verse, Srila Gurudeva said that the deity is Svayam Bhagavan, directly the Lord Himself. “Pratima naha tumi,—saksat vrajendra-nandana – You are not an image; You are directly Vrajendra-nandana” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 5.96). Sriman Mahaprabhu also expressed the same sentiments when taking darsana of Jagannatha-deva.
According to Sri Sankaracarya’s doctrines, the imaginary form of nirvisesa-brahma is created for the benefit of sadhakas. There are five different imaginary forms of nirvisesa-brahma – Visnu, Siva, Sakti, Surya and Ganesa – and the worshipper of these forms is called panca-upasaka. Sankaracarya’s conception is opposed to sastra and is only a figment of his imagination. Imaginary images of stone, etc., can neither walk nor talk. The deity form of the Lord, however, is cinmaya (conscious) and purna-brahma-svarupa (the complete personification of brahma). Bhagavan is not formless (nirakara), without potency (nihsaktik) or without attributes (nirvisesa). Arupavadeva tat-pradhanatvat, na pratike na hi sah, anandamayo ’bhyasat and other aphorisms of Vedanta-sutra prove that Bhagavan has an eternal form, is the possessor of all potencies and is full of all transcendental qualities.
Srila Gurudeva refuted idol worship (pratikopasana) and nirakara-vada with irrefutable logic and sastric evidence. His wonderful lecture on sri vigraha-tattva, filled with fundamental truths and philosophical conclusions, left deep impressions in the hearts of the audience. He pointed out the difference between idols and deities, and announced very seriously that nirakara-vadis and nirvisesa-vadis, who are inimical to the eternal deity, have neither the right nor the qualification to install deities.
Vyasa-puja and inauguration of the deities in the newly constructed temple in Sri Gauravani-Vinoda Asrama in Khadagpura
From 27 February to 1 March 1959, there was a grand celebration of sri vyasa-puja and the inauguration of the deities in the newly constructed temple in Sri Gauravani-Vinoda Asrama, Khadagpura. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Jivana Janardana Maharaja, the president of the asrama, insisted that parivrajakacarya astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja attend the festival. Srila Acaryadeva stayed there for four days and performed the priestly duties for this grand occasion. Many sannyasis and brahmacaris under his shelter also participated in the function.
27 February, Maghi-trtiya, was the appearance day of Srila Acaryadeva. On that day he personally performed the puja of his gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. By the order of Srila Gurudeva, Sri Nityananda Brahmacari, who arrived from Ganjam (Orissa), performed the arati of Srila Prabhupada. During the arati, devotees sang the kirtana ‘Srila Prabhupada arati ’, which Srila Acaryadeva himself had composed.
Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [the author] read for two days from the part of Sri Caitanya-bhagavata that describes the vyasa-puja performed in the house of Srivasa. In addition to this, he performed kirtana during these days at the homes of respectable people in the town.
At the religious assembly in the evening of the next day, Srila Acaryadeva spoke about sri krsna-lila and gave a substantial lecture on the importance of religious life. He said, “ ‘Dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah – a life devoid of religion is the same as animal life’ (Hitopadesa 25). Eating, sleeping, fear and reproducing can be seen everywhere, even amongst the animals. If we are entrapped in these four activities, what is the advantage of gaining a human form of life, and how is human life superior to animal life? Therefore, it is written in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.9.29):
labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu sambhvante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anumrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
This rare human life is attained only after many, many births. Although temporary, it provides opportunity for achieving the highest benefit, which is available only through association of devotees (sadhu-sanga). And only in the human form can one easily attain association of devotees. Therefore, an intelligent person should immediately, without wasting even a moment, endeavour for his ultimate good fortune before death overtakes him.
And what is that ultimate good fortune? It is the cultivation of sri krsna-bhakti.
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
The topmost duty of human life is sri krsna-bhakti. And this bhakti should also be devoid of selfish motive, regular and uninterrupted. When one performs bhakti in this manner, the heart, perceiving the blissful form of Paramatma, is gratified.
“There are many limbs of bhagavad-bhakti. Amongst them harinama-sankirtana is the topmost for human beings in Kali-yuga:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
“In sri harinama-sankirtana, faith is the only consideration. Only a faithful person is competent to perform nama-sankirtana. By attaining faith, anyone can perform harinama-sankirtana in any situation. Even a person with no faith can get liberation without any difficulty by chanting Bhagavan’s name. Considering that harinama japa and sankirtana are so easy to practise, why are people indifferent towards them? This is answered by the Vedic injunction nayam atma bala-hinena labhyah and the verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37), bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat. We can clearly understand from these references that only a courageous and brave person can accept spiritual life and perform harinama. A cowardly person is only involved in material activities like eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. These scriptural references explain that those who are engrossed in statesmanship, financial policies, social welfare and so forth, are fearful and cowardly. Crushed by fear of maya and ignorance, they uselessly ruin their lives flattering maya. They do not have the courage to get free from maya’s prison and the agony of illusion.”
On Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day, the devotees performed his arcana-puja and offered puspanjali at his lotus feet. After that, the deities, auspiciously installed and worshipped by Sripada Janardana Maharaja, entered Their newly constructed palatial temple, graced with nine domes. This function was performed according to the pancaratrika method, and was accompanied by sri nama-sankirtana. On the same day, guru-pancaka, acarya-pancaka, krsna-pancaka, upasya-pancaka, etc., and vaisnava-homa were performed according to Vyasa-puja-paddhati. This vyasa-puja remained the topic of discussion for a long time afterwards, not only in Khadagpura, but also throughout the entire Medinipura district.