Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga, spoken in Hindi on 07 Sep 2014
Today is the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Yesterday, we endeavored to hear the glories of Srila Jiva Gosvami. Today, I will repeat what I have heard about the glories of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura from the Guruvarga. For the pleasure of Guru and Vaisnavas, we will endeavor to hear the kirtana of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. They have left this for us. A farmer plants seeds in a field and these seeds grow into trees and plants that bear fruits and vegetables respectively. A person who eats the seed eats poison. One should not harm the seed. The seed should be planted in the ground and then the plant should be nurtured. One can then obtain fruits, vegetables, and many grains from the plants. Those people who don’t follow the Avirbhava and Tirobhava tithis of the Guruvarga destroy themselves by the seed.
The farmer plants the seed. Even if the farmer is not there, the seed is still there. Whoever plants the seeds should be respected. This is the parampara of this world. Brahmaji said, “Even though I am Svayambhu, born from the navel of the Lord; with great respect I worship and glorify His associates.” This world is filled with demons, demigods, humans, and other species, but they only destroy things. When the great personalities or the associates of God appear, they help and give welfare to the entire Earth. The associates of God have all the potencies of God invested in them. Empowered, they bring these potencies to the world. Bhagavan comes by His own sakti. Bhaktas descend in this world by being empowered by the Lord and His devotees’ potencies. They come in this disciplic lineage. For example, fifty or a hundred kilos of a certain crop are produced. The seeds of the produce can create a thousand more kilos. In this way, we receive harikatha from Krishna, Caturmukha Brahma, and our spiritual master; the harikatha descending through this lineage is so powerful. The manifestation of harikatha increases with every generation. Bhakti and sakti is received through the Guru-parampara. Bhagavan’s sakti and His devotees’ sakti flows through this parampara. That person who bathes in the ambrosial flow of this parampara is very fortunate.
Today, we will endeavor to hear the glories of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The name of the personality who has appeared today is Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I don’t speak from my own speculation. All the Rsis-Maharsis and the great sadhus gave him this name, “Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura.” What does Saccidananda mean? Sat-svarupa, the embodiment of the existence potency is Baladeva Prabhu; Cit-svarupa is Krishna; and Hladini-svarupa is Kriya sakti-Srimati Radharani. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has these tattvas present in him. Parabrahma, the Absolute Truth has these three saktis. How can the conditioned soul follow sadhana and take this sakti in his heart and be able to serve Krishna? First, one must take shelter at the lotus feet of Sat-svarupa Baladeva Prabhu in the form of guru. Baladeva Prabhu arranged this Guru-parampara for the help of the jivas. After taking shelter of guru, one receives Cit-svarupa Krishna’s grace and he will have the essence of all the sastras revealed in his heart. Simply by speaking of knowledge, one cannot acquire it. It must come by the mercy of Guru and Guru-parampara.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought this Sandhini sakti, Cit sakti, and Hladini sakti to this world. Hladini sakti is represented by the service tendency. She is Kriya sakti or the active potency. Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought Her tendency to this world.
Therefore, all the Rsis, Maharsis, Brahmarsis, Tapasvis, Sadhus, and bhaktas gave the name, “Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura,” to this Mahapurusa. Not only did they confer this title on him, they also addressed him as, “Gaura karuna sakti.” This is not a small thing. He is a personal manifestation of Gauranga’s sakti. He is the manifestation of many of Mahaprabhu’s associates, some of whom are—Gadadhara Pandit, Ramananda Raya, Sikhi Mahiti, Madhavi-devi, Vakresvara Pandit, Gopala Guru Gosvami, Dhyanacandra Gosvami, and the Sad Gosvamis. These associates are all expansions of Mahaprabhu’s karuna sakti. Bhaktivinoda Thakura is the sum total of this karuna sakti headed by Gadadhara Pandit. We will endeavor now to hear some of the glories of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. By hearing his glories, we will duly water the creeper of loving devotion.
sravana kirtana jale karaye secana
prema phala paki pade mali asvadaya
If we don’t give water to the soul or food to the soul, the soul will be famished and will not have any strength to progress in spiritual life.
nayam atma balahina labhya
Cit-bala, or spiritual strength is obtained when we receive spiritual food or prasad. If you plant a mango seed and water it, then when the plant grows and gives us mangoes, we can taste the rasa, or the nectar in the mangoes. When we glorify or hear the glories of the Guruvarga, then sraddha will come in our hearts; we will have faith in sadhu-sanga.
Tatha’ sadhu-sanga, tatha anartha-nivrtti.
We should not think, “Oh so many Acaryas have come, so many have gone. What is the need to glorify them all?”
We should surrender to the lotus feet of the associates of Mahaprabhu and have faith in them. When we water the soul with sravan-kirtan jala, then the seed of the tendency to serve Krishna will sprout in our hearts. When Mahaprabhu appeared, He manifested Vraja-mandala Dhama through Rupa-Sanatana and the Gosvamis. He also manifested the temples, deities, and rasa-laden scriptures through His associates.
ei chaya gosai jabe vraje koila vasa
radha-krsna-nitya-lila korila prakasa
The six Gosvamis revealed the eternal pastimes of Sri Radha-Krsna to this world. They manifested Aprakrta Vrindavana, in this world. Hence, the Vrndavan in this world is the facsimile of Goloka Vrndavan. By their mercy, everyone became engaged in Krsna-nama, Krsna-gana, and Krsna-dhyana. Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought Sri-dhama and Sri-nama with Him. Through the Gosvamis, He manifested all the granthas, scriptures. When Mahaprabhu disappeared with His associates, Kali Maharaja gradually covered the dhama through the repeated invasions of the mleccas. Ganga-devi is very clever, whether it is Kali Yuga or Satya Yuga, she will not tolerate the mleccas acquiring the dhama. Therefore, she covered Mahaprabhu’s lila-sthalis that had been acquired by the mleccas. She covered these pastime-places of Mahaprabhu through the flow of her waters. Now, no one understood where Mahaprabhu’s birthplace was. They did not know where many of Mahaprabhu’s pastime-places were. Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja was the foremost of Vaisnavas in Gaura-mandala, Vraja-mandala, and Ksetra-mandala; he was Vaisnava-sarvabhauma. After Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja was considered Vaisnava-sarvabhauma. Sarvabhauma denotes that personality from whom all the Vaisnavas receive siksa from. They attained the qualification to accept him in his heart by following his instructions.
During the time of the British, Srila Jagannatha das Babaji went to Puri, Vraja, and Navadvipa many times. He often stayed in Surya-kunda to perform his sadhana-bhajana. Taking shelter of Radharani’s lotus feet, he would remember his Goddess here. His guru was Madhusudhana das Babaji; he was the dear kripa-patra, recipient of mercy of Srimati Radharani. He would daily bathe in Surya-kunda. He would often hear many enchanting sounds emanating beneath the water’s surface. One day, he called out, “Who is this? What sound is this?” He heard the sound of bangles, ankle-bells. He would meditate on the bank of Surya-kunda every day. Srimati Radharani would come to the Surya-mandira every day to meet Krsna and worship the sun-god, mitra-deva. When Madhusudhana das Babaji heard the sound again, he saw that a rock had manifested itself before him. He picked the rock and saw many divine impressions made on it. Radharani would place Her different ornaments and cloth on this rock and then would dress in another set of cloth and bathe. That rock had become very powerful by the touch of Radharani’s cloth and ornaments.
The rock said, “No one knows me. I received the darsana and touch of Radharani many times. The mercy of Radharani is with me. You should respect me and place me in a temple. Please take me with respect. Radharani comes every day to Surya-kunda for worship and She needs me.”
Madhusudhana das Babaji Maharaja then placed the rock in a temple with respect. Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja came to Surya-kunda and there, took the shelter of Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet and also took shelter of Madhusudhana das Babaji Maharaja. He was very sad that Mahaprabhu’s pastime-places had disappeared. During his time, there were very few people who really followed the conception of Mahaprabhu. Most spiritualists of that time were sakhi-bekhis, sahajiyas, smartas, vyabicaris, jati-gosais, and so forth.
Mahaprabhu’s thilak was kept, but most were not following Mahaprabhu’s pure conception.
He prayed very deeply to Radharani’s lotus feet.
He told Radharani, “I will not give up my body and devotional practices until You mercifully give me a Maha-purusa. If You don’t send a Maha-purusa, I will never leave this world and I will never leave Your lotus feet.”
Day and night, Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja fervently prayed to Radharani to send one of Her associates to this world. To this day, in the temple of Surya-kunda, the rock that Srimati Radharani placed Her ornaments and cloth on is worshiped there. Babaji Maharaja would weep and engage in sadhana there. Many who were disciples in name only would meet Babaji Maharaja, and he would become angry by their presence. But we will hear what transpired between Babaji Maharaja and the disciples later if we have time. Babaji Maharaja engaged in very powerful sadhana.
Radharani said, “Look I will send such a person who will fulfill not only your heart’s desire, but who will also fulfill the heart’s desire of Mahaprabhu. He will distribute bhakti-rasa throughout the world. He will flood the world with the practice of bhakti just like how Bhagiratha Maharaja brought the Ganga to the world. He will inundate the entire world with the flow of bhakti.”
Babaji Maharaja was very happy to hear his worshipable Goddess speak. Some years later, Bhaktivinoda Thakura came to Vraja-mandala, as a British magistrate. Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote the Prema-Pradipa book and therein, he described how the situation was in Vraja-mandala. People who went on Govardhana parikrama during those days would be accosted by dacoits. They would throw stones at the pilgrims, beat them and steal all their wealth. Therefore, out of fear, sadhus had a hard time going to Govardhana or Vraja because of the presence of many dacoits. On his arrival in Vraja, Bhaktivinoda Thakura noticed how the Babajis were distressed by the incessant attacks of the dacoits. He began bhajan there and contemplated on how to rectify the situation. He was very respectful towards all the Vrajavasis, Brahmins, and sadhus. He came to Siddha-pitha, the place of Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja and Madhusudhana das Babaji Maharaja. When Bhaktivinoda Thakura met Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja for the first time, Babaji Maharaja was already very aged. He was over one hundred years old. Perhaps he was 120 years old at that time. Babaji Maharaja would accept alms from the Vrajavasis like rotis and other eatables. His eyelids would droop over his eyes. He would also feed the puppies as he ate from his plate.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura noticed how the siddha-mahatma, Babaji Maharaja, would eat and make the puppies eat from his same plate. He would give milk and sweets to the puppies also. All the Babajis would fight for his prasad afterwards; therefore, he would give his prasad to the puppies. The Babajis would normally say, “I want Babaji Maharaja’s prasad! I want!” But if they would see the puppies eating off of the same plate as Babaji Maharaja’s, then no one would take his remnants. Some of the Babajis would say, “Jagannatha das Babaji is our Gurudeva. But, he is old and his mind is lost.”
Babaji Maharaja would tell his disciples, “What are you chanting on your beads? What will happen by this? Instead, go and plant vegetables in the field. Plant egg plants and other vegetables and use them in the service of Radharani and Krishna. You only sit lazily and use the wealth of others for your maintenance. You should do some service.”
People would come and give pranami to Babaji Maharaja and he would put it in a clay pot. He would call his servant Bihari dasa when the pot filled and he would say, “Bring rasagullas.” Bihari dasa would bring rasagullas from Mathura or Vrindavana. On seeing the rasagullas, all the Babajis became very happy thinking that there was a feast that day. But, Babaji Maharaja told his sevaka, Bihari dasa, “Go and feed all the rasagullas to the cows. Don’t give even one to a Babaji. They came here for enjoyment and not for bhakti, bhajan, and seva. If there is no sukriti and the tendency to engage in seva, then how will they do bhajan? Who will they remember? By engaging in service, one establishes a relationship based on love and affection.”
seva sadhaka rupena siddha rupena catra hi
tad bhava lipsuna karya vrajalokanusaratah
sevonmukhe hi jivadau svayam eva spruratyadah
By engaging in service, the mercy of God enters one’s heart. But the Babaji followers of Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja complained to Bhaktivinoda Thakura who was a very powerful magistrate of that time. Bhaktivinoda Thakura chastised the Babajis for not following their Gurudeva. Just as Yamunacarya felt intense pangs of separation from Ramanujacarya, Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja also intently waited for the arrival of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
One day, Bhaktivinoda Thakura came to meet Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja. Seeing Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja was so happy and he lifted up his eyelids, which had fallen over his eyes. He looked at Bhaktivinoda Thakura with much love and affection. Just as Gandhari opened her eyes and gave a divya darsana to Duryodhana; similarly, Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja looked at Bhaktivinoda Thakura and was ecstatic. At that time, Bhaktivinoda Thakura didn’t have a sikha or neck-beads. He was a British magistrate who served the government in Balesvara, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Jagannatha Puri. Sometimes he would also serve in Kolkata. The government had given him much responsibility. From Kolkata, he would go to Ram-bhavana and Bhakti-bhavana. The Thakura finally arrived in Vraja-mandala.
Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja gave all sakti to Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After sat-sanga, Bhaktivinoda Thakura told the erring disciples of Babaji Maharaja, “Follow whatever your Guru tells you to do. You should not question the order of your guru. If you don’t follow the instructions of your guru, then there is no question that Krishna will give His mercy to you.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura arranged police protection and security in Vrndavan, so that the sadhus could easily go on parikrama of Vraja-mandala. The dacoits and thieves would now not attack the pilgrims while they went on parikrama. He made the entire area of Vraja-mandala secure for the pilgrims. Under Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the British government was very powerful. They respected him so much; they were like laddus in his hands.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a very powerful personality who was revered by everyone.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s previous name was Kedarnatha Datta. Srila Babaji Maharaja gave him the name, “Thakura.” Srila Jagannatha das Babaji told Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “Thakura, Mahaprabhu’s dhama has been taken over by the mleccas and Ganga-devi covered the dhama. I desire that Mahaprabhu’s dhama is again manifested in the world. Gaura-nama and Gaura-dhama should again be manifested in this world. The Gosvamis’ granthas should also be published. It is your responsibility to also open asramas where people can practice bhakti. The asramas should not be places for vyabhicaris or debauchees. They should be places for real sadhus.”
Thakura Bhaktivinoda said, “Yes. You have brought me here to fulfill your heart’s desire.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s kula-guru was Vipina-bihari Gosvami. The Thakura would respect him so much. When he came to his house, the Thakura would worship and wash his feet. The jati-gosai, grhasti householder would put his two feet on the chest and head of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. When Srila Prabhupada was just a small boy, when his name was Bimala-prasada, he would often see how Vipina-bihari Gosvami would come to Bhaktivinoda Thakura to be offered worship and money. Bhaktivinoda Thakura would receive much money from the British government, which the Thakura used in the service of the sadhus; hence, Vipina-bihari Gosvami would come regularly to receive this money from the Thakura. When he would come for the donation, Bhaktivinoda Thakura would also reverentially worship him. One day, when Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to his office, his guru arrived at his house. At that time, little Bimala-prasada was at home.
He asked Vipina-bihari Gosvami, “Oh you are a guru. But, do you know who Bhaktivinoda Thakura is? Do you know his siddha-svarupa? Do you know who he really is?”
He began to ask many questions. On being questioned, Vipina-bihari Gosvami began to shiver and perspire. When Bhaktivinoda Thakura returned home, he saw that his kula-guru had left. He asked, “Oh Bimala! What happened? Where is Guru Maharaja?”
Srila Prabhupada, Bimala-prasada, said, “What can I do? You offer him your dandavat-pranama and he puts his feet on your head. Is this proper etiquette? What is special about his feet? Why is he so proud and arrogant?”
Prabhupada was very strong when he spoke, but Bhaktivinoda Thakura was very soft. Later, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took his son Bimala-prasada and came near Babaji Maharaja. On meeting Babaji Maharaja, along with his son, he took shelter of the lotus feet of Babaji Maharaja. The Thakura received many instructions from Babaji Maharaja. When he returned to Jagannatha Puri, he received the service of Jagannatha. In the Jagannatha temple, he would give Bhagavat-katha at the mukti-mandapa, near Laksmiji’s temple. He would give classes on the Bhagavat near Laksmi-devi’s abode of worship even before Prabhupada was born.
He also started the Nama-hatta programs, where the Thakura would preach house to house. He would also pray to Bimala-devi for her help in spreading Mahaprabhu’s mission. Hence, Sarasvati Prabhupada was born, the Thakura named him, “Bimala-prasada,” the mercy of Bimala-devi. He would ride on horses and go to many towns and villages, where he would start the Nama-hatta programs. After his work during the day had finished, he would ride on a horse to many different villages, where he would give bicycles, karatalas, mridangas, torchlights, and many items to the villagers. He would request them to propagate hari-sankirtana with the help of these instruments. This way preaching was organized in towns and villages all over Bengal. One day, from Bentapur, the appearance place of Sri Ramananda Raya, he was returning to Puri at 11:30 after finishing a preaching program. He would work all day, so he would organize these programs in the evening after the farmers had returned from their fields. He would have all the villagers follow Ekadasi and Nama-hatta programs.
When he was returning from the program late in the night, he heard a lady weeping heavily. He thought, “Where is this lady coming from? Why is she here, in the middle of nowhere?” It is a dense forest. Bhaktivinoda Thakura got off of his horse and searched for the lady in the dense darkness. He was not an ordinary person; he was a magistrate in the government and moreover he was an associate of Sri Radha and Krishna. Then he went and found the lady who was weeping.
The lady told the Thakura, “You are opening these Nama-hattas everywhere and you are giving harinama to everyone, but you have not given harinama to me.”
“Who are you?”
“You would give class in the Jagannatha temple and you also do kirtana there. I was so happy. But, you left that place and are now going to all the villages and towns. I don’t have the opportunity to listen to harikatha and hari-kirtana anymore. Therefore, I am sad.”
“Who are you? Are you Bimala-devi? Are you Maya-devi?”
The lady said, “I am the bahiranga sakti of Jagannatha. I was very happy to listen to your harikatha at the mukti-mandapa in the Jagannatha temple.”
The Thakura replied, “But, if I speak only there, who will go to all the towns and villages of India and speak harikatha?”
“Okay. From now on, anywhere you go, I will also go with you.”
How glorious is this! Bimala-devi herself said, “I will also go with you to hear your harikatha and I will protect you from all obstacles that may appear.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura thus continued his preaching mission with the blessings of Bimala-devi. From the time he first met Babaji Maharaja, he had the audience of many divine beings.
The Maha-purusas have much mercy to give. This is Guru-karana or Guru-sakti.
Ramanajucarya was Yamunacarya’s most beloved disciple, despite Ramanujacarya not receiving any formal initiation from him. However, he accepted him as his disciple. This is parakiya-diksa. Although Vipina-bihari Gosvami was the Thakura’s family guru, the Thakura accepted Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja as his all in all. Babaji Maharaja also accepted Bhaktivinoda Thakura as his own and Bhaktivinoda Thakura accepted Babaji Maharaja as his very own. This is the Bhagavat-parampara established by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada. Where does bhakti come from? Bhakti descends from the heart of a pure devotee. If no one has bhakti, then despite being the disciple of a guru, one does not receive bhakti. If the disciple doesn’t follow bhakti or if the guru himself doesn’t have bhakti, then how it can be given? After meeting Babaji Maharaja, Bhaktivinoda Thakura returned to Orissa.
When he returned, he was confronted with a major problem. There were many yogis, bhogis, and rogis in Orissa. During that time in Orissa, their numbers were in the majority. There is one yogi now in Kendrapada whose name I don’t wish to mention. This yogi says, “I am Bhagavan!” There are many yogis and bhogis here in Puri. They pray to Jagannatha, who gives them siddhi. They then audaciously think, “I am God!” In the time of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, there was one such yogi named Biskisana.
This yogi said, “Krishna came in Dvapara Yuga. But, I am the combined manifestation of twenty Krsna’s. I have unconquerable strength!”
What did he do? He announced in Orissa that he was going to perform the rasa-lila in many villages and towns. He announced, “On rasa purnima, all the young ladies should gather in the forest.” On hearing this announcement made, the wives and daughters of officers, ministers, and ordinary people were intimidated and some were attracted and eager to go. Biskisana told them, “You must come to my rasa. If you don’t, I will destroy your families, sons, husbands, homes, and your everything!”
He had long dreadlocks. When he shook and twirled his dreadlocks, fire would come from them like the Cakra Sudarsana. He was very powerful. The British government didn’t know what to do to stop him. They sent Bhaktivinoda Thakura to take care of the situation. This yogi stayed in the forest and announced that he was going to perform rasa lila on Purnima. Many of the wives were attracted to go. BhaktivinodaThakura knew that except for Mahaprabhu’s appearance, there was no second coming of Krishna in Kali-yuga. He knew that this yogi with long dreadlocks could never be Krishna. He wasn’t naïve like the general populace. Biskisana’s claims of being Krishna increased every passing day. He now announced, “I am the combined manifestation of all the twenty-four avataras.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to catch him with the police. Seeing the Thakura, Biskisana said, “Oh you have been my devotee since many lives. Come! Come! You are my dear bhakta.” He called him close and tried to embrace him.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, “Maintain your distance. Be silent!”
He told the police, “Arrest him! Handcuff him! Take him away to prison.”
Seeing the police approach him, Biskisana began to vigorously shake his dreadlocks. Fire started coming from those dreadlocks and the police ran in fear. He told Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “You are my devotee, my bhakta. But now you are against me. Therefore, your family will be destroyed.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, “I am fearless!” Then he sent the police again but they were fearful to arrest the yogi. So, Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself handcuffed Biskisana and sat him in the truck. The military wagon brought him to Puri and put him in jail. In his house, Bhaktivinoda Thakura saw that his family members were very ill. His wife’s stomach had bloated and all his children were on the brink of death. He brought the caranamrita of Jagannatha and Bimala-devi and had the entire family honor it. Then they were saved. There is a limit to the sakti of the tantriks; after that limit is crossed, their yogic prowess is nullified. BhaktivinodaThakura also chanted the Nrsimha kavaca, and after feeding his family Jagannatha prasad, peace and normalcy was restored in the family. Bhaktivinoda Thakura cut the dreadlocks of this yogi and all his strength and potency was lost. After some days, this dreadful yogi died.
The government was very happy with Bhaktivinoda Thakura; indeed, everyone was very happy with him. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was not intimidated by the provocations of any of the karmis, jnanis, and yogis. He wasn’t enamored by the self-proclaimed ‘gods.’ He would chastise them for their audacious claims.
In Kali Yuga, how can the jivas attain the shelter of Bhagavan? BhaktivinodaThakura opened many Nama-hatta centers and he led kirtana. He sang:
Nadiya godrume Nityananda Mahajana
Patiyache nama-hatta jivera karana
(shraddavan jana he, shraddhava jane he)
Prabhura ajnaya, bhai, magi ei bhiksa
Bolo Krsna, bhajo Krsna, karo Krsna siksa.
Radha-Krsna bol bol bolo re sabai
(Ei) siksa diya, sab nadiya, phirche nece gaura-nitai
He sang many kirtanas. He sang, “Kabe Gaura-vane suradhuni tate.” He also sang, “Kabe habe heno dasa mora.” Through the medium of his kirtanas and instructions, he melted the hearts of everyone. Men, women, children, the elderly; indeed, everyone began to engage themselves in kirtana. He taught them how to pray to the Lord. As the recipients of his mercy began to Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, their hearts began to melt.
Under his guidance, everyone would sing, “Akrodha paramananda Nityananda Raya, abhimana-sunya nitai nagare bedaya.” Bhaktivinoda Thakura would also teach them the songs of the previous Acaryas like the songs written by Srila Locana das Thakura and Srila Narottama das Thakura. He also wrote his own books of prayers and bhajans. Some of them are Kalyana-kalpataru, Saranagati, and Gitavali. Through kirtana-rasa, he showered everyone with nectar. He spent so much time propagating hari-kirtana and harikatha, that there were sat-asanas opened. He laid the asanas for Sri Haridasa Thakura, the Sad Gosvamis, and all of Mahaprabhu’s associates in the Nama-hattas. He would go all over Orissa and Bengal and distribute kirtana-rasa. Bhaktivinoda Thakura would come at this time in the evening, after he finished his work. He would then go all over Puri and the neighboring areas preaching hari-bhakti and harinama.
There was a siddha-babaji in Puri who assumed he was a perfected soul after repeatedly chanting nama-aparadha. After chanting nama-aparadha, or even a slight semblance of nama-abhasa, one will achieve many material benedictions like wealth and mystic prowess. One such puffed up person told his followers, “Never go and listen from Kedarnatha. No one should go!”
But how could his disciples be stopped? All of the Babaji’s disciple would feel that the day they didn’t listen to harikatha from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a day entirely wasted. They would feel that their lives were empty without listening from the lotus mouth of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Therefore, they would secretly go to listen from the Thakura. Some of the Babaji’s disciples would massage the Babaji and tell him to rest. They would tell him, “We are going to see Jagannatha.” But, they were really going to see Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
The Babaji was very angry at Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He told his disciples, “Oh he is making sat-asana? He is speaking harikatha?”
He would go to the place where Bhaktivinoda Thakura spoke harikatha and with the aid of his followers, he would have the entire place dug up and he would fill the place with cow dung. He would malevolently accuse the Thakura of evil practices. He would say, “Oh! He is a dusta danava! He is doing tantra-mantra and acquiring everyone. He is a stain on the spotless white cloth of the heritage of Orissa.”
But, despite the Babaji’s criticism, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura never said anything. He never argued. He was trinad api sunica; he was more humble than a blade of grass. He was very tolerant like Prahlada Maharaja. He had the British government in his hands, but he didn’t try to punish or argue with the Babaji.
“When Radharani, Jagannatha are present as my guardians, what need is there for me to argue with such persons?” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura thought.
One night, when the Babaji had eaten and slept, he had a dream where he saw Jagannatha on one side and Baladeva on another. Subhadra was also present. They began to beat the Babaji. They pushed him from side to side and took turns slapping him. His disciples thought that he was possessed by a ghost. The Babaji began to vomit and he passed urine and stool on his bed. The whole room became filled with the foul smell of his vomit and stool. Mosquitoes, flies, and insects entered his room and the Babaji was left speechless by what he experienced. His followers were greatly alarmed by his condition. They cleaned the room and immediately requested Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to come. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house was located where Caitanya Gaudiya Math is. This Babaji was suffering in the same way that Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s son-in-law Amogha suffered when he criticized Mahaprabhu.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura always had homeopathic medicine and the caranamrita of Jagannatha with him. He came and made the Babaji drink this caranamrita. We are very unfortunate because we never take caranamrita. What to speak of the caranamrita at the Jagannatha Temple, we don’t even take the caranamrita present in our temple. How will we make a relationship with Thakuraji without honoring His caranamrita?
Bhaktivinoda Thakura cleaned the Babaji and gave him the caranamrita. The Babaji became rejuvenated with the Thakura’s touch and Jagannatha’s caranamrita. The homeopathic medicine also helped in his speedy recovery. Bhaktivinoda Thakura also recited the Bimala-stotra and Nrsimha-stotra. The Babaji awoke and caught hold of the lotus feet of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Repenting, he said, “Oh I have committed many offenses to your lotus feet! Bimala-devi told me, ‘Who do you think you went to fight with? Don’t you know who this Kedarnatha is? Despite your ill-behavior to him, out of his causeless mercy, Jagannatha was obliged to give you His darsana. He is so great! You offended him, but still, Jagannatha gave you His audience. This is the glory of the causeless mercy of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and not yours.’”
All the sadhus requested Bhaktivinoda Thakura to be present in their midst. They then performed his abhiseka. After the abhiseka, they conferred on him the title, “Saccidananda.” Why was he conferred this title? Because they had seen him as the recipient of mercy of the predominating deities of Sat, Cit, and Ananda who are Baladeva Prabhu, Jagannatha, and Srimati Radharani respectively. He had also seen Yogamaya, Subhadra-devi. Therefore, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was henceforth called, “Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura,” by all the devotees. All the sadhus came together and gave him this name.
They said, “You have bhakti; through this bhakti, you can maintain the entire world. All the Vaisnavas pray to you; please give us your mercy.”
The news of the conferral of the title, “Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura” reached the ears of all the devotees. Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja in particular was very happy when he heard this news. From their hearts all the devotees honored Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura with the highest respect. They didn’t give a name to him like how we give names to each other. People give each other names like, “Sastri, Sarasvati, Maha-mandalesvara, 1008-brahmalin,” and many different titles. The title given to Bhaktivinoda Thakura spontaneously manifested by the desire of Jagannatha. We are like thieves when we take titles for ourselves and try to glorify ourselves. People try to glorify themselves by embellishing themselves with larger than life nicknames and surnames. But Bhaktivinoda Thakura was not like the common man. The entire Gaudiya samaja, Gauranga samaja, and all the devotees of Vraja-mandala, Ksetra-mandala, and Navadvipa-dhama adopted the title given the Thakura “Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then immersed himself in writing books. Before, he had written many books and periodicals. He wrote in the Marati language and in Oriya, Hindi, English, Urdu, and many different languages.
When Bhaktivinoda Thakura penned Jaiva-dharma, he related the history of a Vaisnava:
In Varanasi, there was a Sajjan; a Vaisnava. He chanted, “Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi, Gaura-bhakta Vrinda.” He was chanting these names and rolling on the ground incessantly weeping. One particular Sannyasi from the Mayavadi sampradaya, who was a Paramahamsa, saw this Vaisnava. Seeing him crying and rolling on the dust, and walking along the pathway, he thought, “Oh I have never had such love in my heart! How can I also obtain this love? Who will give me this love? I am only dry. Although I am a Paramahamsa, my consciousness is like a dry straw. My heart never melts on chanting the names of the Lord. I don’t accept the Lord’s personal form; I think of him as impersonal.”
Contemplating his plight, he began to fervently search for that devotee who was experiencing rapturous ecstasy when he was glorifying Mahaprabhu and His associates. But his search for the Sadhu was fruitless. By Mahaprabhu’s grace, the Sannyasi’s search led him to Sri Navadvipa-dhama. There, he met Paramahamsa Babaji. Under his guidance, he began harinama-kirtana. By Paramahamsa Babaji’s causeless mercy, Sannyasi Thakura had the darsana of Navadvipa-dhama, and Mahaprabhu and His associates. His own spiritual form was also realized in his heart.
How can one receive Bhakti? Bhakti is with the bhaktas. Imbued with faith, if we associate with them, we will also receive Bhakti. If there is no shraddha, faith, we will not obtain Bhakti. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes in this marvelous literature, Jaiva-dharma of how Sannyasi Thakura received inspiration from Mahaprabhu and His associates.
Paramahamsa Babaji certainly didn’t tell Sannyasi Thakura to abandon his Sannyasa vesa. But on receiving Bhakti-rasa from Paramahamsa Babaji, he forgot that he was a Sannyasi. He understood, “I am Gopi-bhartu-padakamalayor-dasadasunadasa.” In Nisanta-lila, he had seen how Babaji Maharaja was engaged in the seva of Sri Radha-Krsna. By the mercy of his Guru, he had also attained the service of Sri Radha-Krsna. This is the real mercy of Guru. When one has faith in Guru, then the desire of the Guru manifests in the heart of the disciple. From the womb of a cow, a calf is born; no other animal is born. Similarly, except for mango fruits, no other fruits are obtained from a mango tree. We can understand who a Mahabhagavat is just by being in his presence.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung in his celebrated song, “Suno He Rasika Jana,” as follows:
hrdaya-pidita ja’ra, Krsna-cikitsaka ta’ra,
Bhava-roga nasite catura
Krishna and His associates save their dependents from samsara, or the endless ocean of suffering. His associates save us from lamentation and distress. They deliver us from material existence and make us understand our eternal spiritual form as an ever-youthful maidservant of Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja-dhama. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote of this in his Jaiva-dharma. He taught us where we can find Bhakti, and who a bhakta is.
In the Jaiva-dharma, it is stated how Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha obtained the shelter of Sri Raghunatha das Babaji Maharaja and Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami. Vrajanatha heard that Nimai Pandit was the greatest scholar of grammar in His time. He thought, “Did Nimai Pandit write any nyaya-sastra? Is there anyone in the Nimai sampradaya who I can take shelter of?” Then Vrajanatha met Raghunatha das Babaji Maharaja. Babaji Maharaja taught Vrajanatha sastra, nyaya, sad-darsana, sankhya, and so forth. He established the supremacy of Bhagavat-rasa in comparison to nyaya and sankhya. Relatives of Vrajanatha tried to break his relationship with his Gurudeva through duplicitous means. Vrajanatha’s uncle Veni-madhava tried to break this relationship, but he was duly punished by the Lord.
It is shown in Jaiva-dharma how it is impossible to break a relationship between a genuine disciple and a bona fide Guru. All obstacles will be removed for the genuine practitioners. Cakra Sudarsana Himself protects the devotees. If you start to tread the realm of Bhakti, obstacles will present themselves; but they will be destroyed in due course of time. A secondary effect of practicing bhakti is that one receives mukti. If someone tries to stop the bhaktas from following bhakti, then that person will have to taste the fruits of his actions.
Where are the bhaktas? Wherever there is Bhakti, the bhaktas are present. Dhyanacandra Gosvami taught Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha the essence of the mellows of Bhakti when they came to seek the shelter of Gopala Guru Gosvami in Jagannatha Puri. He inculcated Bhakti-rasa in them in such a powerful manner that Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha realized their eternal spiritual forms. They received their siddha-svarupas—Vrajanatha was of Sakhya-rasa and Vijaya Kumara was of Madhurya-rasa. Therefore, both of them attained their eternal services in Krsna-lila. This is the real nature of the mercy of the Sadhus. By really following Sri Guru and by receiving Sat-siksa from him, the disciple is showered with Bhakti-rasa. The statement of Mahaprabhu in Siksastaka—Sarvatra Snapanam Param Vijayate Sri Krsna Sankirtanam, will be realized in the heart of the sadhaka. To engage in atma-samarpanam, to completely offer yourself, you must observe and follow Nama-sankirtana. This Nama-sankirtana is eternally observed by the Mahabhagavat Vaisnavas. They are always inundated by the intoxicating taste of Nama-rasa. They distribute this Nama-rasa and are surrendered to Nama-rasa. Bhaktivinoda Thakura showed this in his Jaiva-dharma through the example of Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha.
Sri Gauranga Mangala-stotram is one among many of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s transcendental works. In this book, he explains the pastimes and Asta-kaliya lila of Mahaprabhu. He also wrote Bhajana Rahasya where he explained the Asta-kaliya lila of Krishna in relation to Siksastakam. He showed by his own example that if we want to do bhajan, we must engage in ourselves in, “Kramena rasana manasi niyojya. Tistan vraje tad-anuragi-jananugami.” If we want anuraga, we must engage our mind, body, speech, and all our senses in Krsna’s seva. Where should we engage in Krsna-seva? In the transcendental land of Vraja by being under the shelter of that person who is tad-anuragi-jananugami. A person of this caliber is always remembering and serving in Vraja. The Thakura wrote Gauranga-smarana-mangala-stotram in Sanskrit. There, he described all the pastimes of Mahaprabhu that manifest throughout the day. Pujyapada Bhakti Raksaka Sridhar Gosvami Maharaja has written a wonderful commentary on this stotram. His commentary includes a wonderful glorification of Mahaprabhu’s name, abode, and pastimes. BhaktivinodaThakura wrote many kirtanas and books. He manifested them for the welfare of the entire world. Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja was over a hundred and forty years old, when he said, “After manifesting Mahaprabhu’s birthplace for the whole world to see; I will leave.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura would meet Babaji Maharaja in Vraja. On his way to Vraja, Bhaktivinoda Thakura had the darsana of Tarakesvara Siva. Tarakesvasa Siva said, “I was coming to see you! Where are you going now? Why are you leaving Navadvipa-dhama?”
The Thakura said, “I am going to Vrindavana.”
“Don’t go to Vrindavana. In Kali Yuga, Navadvipa-dhama is Vrindavana-dhama. The dhama of Mahaprabhu is non-different from the dhama of Sri Krsna. You must go and serve there. Chalo! Let us go to Navadvipa-dhama.” Then Tarakesvara Mahadeva and Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to Mayapura. Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja sent news that he is also coming to Mayapura. He came while seated on a basket. Bihari-dasa carried the basket on his head; this way, Babaji Maharaja set out to Mayapura-dhama. On their way to Mayapura, they had to pass through thick jungles. One day, a tiger stood on their path through the jungle. Seeing the tiger, Bihari-dasa went backwards.
Babaji Maharaja asked, “Where are you going?”
“There is a tiger standing in front of us!”
“What is the tiger going to do? Don’t worry. Our Gaurahari made many animals chant harinama. So, tell the tiger to chant the Panca-tattva mantra and the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Why are you afraid?”
Being very afraid, Bihari-dasa thought, “What should I do?” Out of extreme fear, he took the dust of Babaji Maharaja’s lotus feet and threw it on the tiger. The tiger began to dance in ecstasy after being touched by Babaji Maharaja’s footdust. The tiger sniffed the feet of Babaji Maharaja, did parikrama, and left. After much guru-seva, Bihari-dasa still did not have firm faith. Despite carrying his Gurudeva on his head, he still had a mundane perception of his gurudeva, who was nearly a hundred and fifty years old.
Na martyata buddhyasuye sarva-deva-maya-guro. We should understand Gurudeva to be the embodiment of all the demigods. Yasyatma buddhih kunape tri-datuke—one should not falsely identify with this body. When Bihari-dasa saw the tiger doing parikrama of his Guru Maharaja, then real faith came in his heart. Seeing this, he was astonished. He thought, “Just see the power of the lotus foot dust of Babaji Maharaja!”
They would pass through many villages and Babaji Maharaja would bestow his mercy on the simple villagers by glancing on them. When Babaji Maharaja would do kirtana, streams of tears would fall from his eyes.
He said, “Bihari, we must reach Mayapura quickly.”
“Bhaktivinoda is in Godruma anxiously waiting for us.”
From Godruma, Bhaktivinoda saw the effulgence of Mayapura at night. He saw the many pastime-places of Mahaprabhu. At midnight, he would see the effulgence radiating out of Mayapura-dhama.
The Thakura would write the meanings of the slokas of the Bhagavatam and compose kirtanas out of them. He would also cook for Radharani and for the Rasa-lila. Late in the night, he would serve many wonderful items for the pleasure of Sri Radha-Krishna while They rested from Rasa-lila. With his own hands, BhaktivinodaThakura would also make camaras, fans, and many items for the service of Radha-Krishna. We can have the darsana of all these articles in his room in Godruma.
One stormy night, Srila Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja crossed the Ganga and reached the bhajana-kutira of Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Godruma. He saw that the Thakura had made puri, halava, sabji, and many other preparations. He called out, “Oh Bhaktivinoda Thakura!”
When Bhaktivinoda Thakura opened the door, he said in amazement, “Oh how did you come here, Babaji Maharaja? How did you cross the Ganga at one a.m.?”
Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja replied, “Oh you have managed to arrange such a big festival! A boy came, called me and said, ‘Just see! Bhaktivinoda Thakura has arranged such a big festival!’ Holding my hand, He brought me here. I have come for the remnants of the Divine Couple.”
The Thakura inquired, “Maharaja, how did you cross the Ganga?”
At that time, Ganga was very powerful. There were no dams to control the might of her current.
Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja replied, “I don’t know. A boy caught me by the hand and said, ‘Let us go.’ I followed Him and now I am here. What have you offered? Let us take prasada!”
At that time, Babaji Maharaja performed kirtana. In his song, he described Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s spiritual form. In his form as a maidservant, BhaktivinodaThakura’s name is Kamala-manjari. While revealing his own identity, Babaji Maharaja also revealed the Thakura’s identity. Then the two Mahabhagavats began kirtana and ecstatically danced. They did not honor prasad by themselves. All the sakhis and manjaris sat together and took prasad. Such wonderful pastimes occurred!
Babaji Maharaja told Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “From today, I will never leave you. I will stay with you. Arrange a bhajan-kutira here for me also.”
Therefore, a Malati-Madhavi Kunja was made for Srila Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja and he did bhajan there. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a disciple called Krsna das Babaji. He had many disciples, but Krsna das Babaji was his personal servant. He would watch many of these pastimes unfold.
Meanwhile, Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja reached Navadvipa. Other devotees like Ramadas Babaji, Bhagavan das Babaji, Radha-raman Caranadas Babaji, and other Babajis who are still famous now, reached Mayapura. Some of the Babajis who invented mantras like, “Hare Krsna Hare Rama, Nitai Gaura-Radhe Syama,” and “Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Hare Krsna Hare Rama, Sri Radhe Govinda,” also came to Mayapura-dhama. Indeed, all the different Babajis reached Mayapura-dhama. Altogether, they had previously decided, “Chalo! Let us go to Mayapura.”
On seeing Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja, Bhaktivinoda Thakura told everyone, “Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja has come! Let us welcome him!” Led by Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja, everyone went to the birth place of Mahaprabhu that had previously been acquired by the Muslims. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had already gone there two or three times.
As soon as Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja reached the spot of Mahaprabhu’s birth, he jumped out of his basket and began to dance in ecstatic bliss. He repeatedly called out, “This is my Mahaprabhu’s birthplace! What else needs to be said?”
All the scholars, Ramakrsna Paramahamsa, Devendranatha Tagore from the Arya-samaja, and many dignitaries reached Mayapura-dhama to have darsana of Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. Bhaktivinoda Thakura stayed there and chanted continuously, crying tears of bliss. When the devotees excavated the land there, they found Jagannatha Misra’s Adhoksaja Visnu deity. Bhaktivinoda Thakura also made a temple and asrama there. He gave responsibility of the temple to his son Bimala-prasada, who in later years came to be known as Srila Prabhupada. BhaktivinodaThakura then went to Kolkata. Staying in Kolkata, he resumed his preaching services. He continuously preached his Lordships’ message with great vigor and enthusiasm. He then returned to Puri, where he stayed in a place the government had presented to him. Staying there, the Thakura would enter Antar-dasha. He would be completely absorbed in his services in the eternal realm while his physical body was seated in one place. Sometimes he would be in Bahya-dasha, and sometimes, he would be in Ardha-bahya dasha. At times, He would be externally aware and at other times, he would be absorbed in his services in Goloka-Vrndavan.
Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura would come to meet him many times. Bhagavati-devi, the wife of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was also deeply absorbed in bhajana. She was like a Vanaprasti or a Sannyassini. She would write down what Bhaktivinoda Thakura would say while he was internally absorbed in his services to Sri Radha-Krsna. She was very scholarly; she was after all, Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s sakti. She would send what she had written to Srila Prabhupada.
Gradually, Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja, Srila Gaura Kisora das Babaji Maharaja, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prepared to leave to the spiritual world. They told all their disciples, “Take shelter of Bimala-prasada. Take Sannyasa from him.” The Guruvarga instructed Srila Prabhupada to start Daiva-Varnasrama. Varnasrama-dharma had been destroyed by those who took the vesha of a Paramahamsa, but who in reality were vyabhicaris, debauchees. They would enjoy with Matajis while calling themselves, ‘Babajis.’ They would engage in illicit activities with women.
They would say, “We will eat fish, sleep on the laps of our lovers, and sing Gaura-Nitai’s names! What is the problem? Fish are the fruits of the Ganga. Bring together all the widows. Without being sakhi-bekhi, rasa will not be tasted. If you don’t do rasa-lila here, how will you do rasa-lila in the spiritual world? If we don’t practice stealing the clothes of the widows here, then how can we do bhajan in the spiritual world?”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote a song describing the practices of these ‘Babajis.’ In that song, he has written, “Tumi Radhe, Ami Syama, Ami kande late Balarama!”
“Thinking of each other to be the Divine Couple, you say, ‘you are Radhe and I am Syama,’ and you want to enjoy each other? Then know that I am Balarama who will beat you with a club!”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura smashed the conceptions of all these Babajis and Sahajiyas. When this preaching was spreading powerfully, everyone surrendered to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s son, Srila Prabhupada. The Thakura gave all his sakti to his son, Bimala-prasada, who the world knows as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. He instructed him to also take Sannyasa. He told him to establish Daiva-varnasrama dharma and to construct asramas where brahmacaris could live and practice sadhana-bhajana. Mathanti Vasanti Chatra—Mathas are places of spiritual guidance for students. They are spiritual hospitals where the conditioned souls can reside protected and secure and becoming cured of the material disease of lust and ignorance, can attain their pure spiritual form and service. Here, they will follow hari-bhajana, without engaging in any illicit activities.
In Baul kirtana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote, “Nake tilaka galaye mala, etho eka kaler chela.” Bhaktivinoda Thakura stated, “There are certain duplicitous persons who adorn themselves with Tulasi-mala and tilaka. But know that they are really the disciples of Kali Maharaja; they are not the followers of Mahaprabhu.” BhaktivinodaThakura wrote very strongly about the evil practices of people who had tried to pollute the pristine state of Gaudiya Vaisnava bhajana. The entire world is greatly influenced by the kirtanas of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. To this day, the entire world sings his kirtanas.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prophesized, “A day will come in this world when people of all races and nationalities will join hands and sing Sri Krsna’s names! Men, women, children, the aged; indeed, everyone will be absorbed in the ecstasy of hari-kirtana. Everyone will sing, ‘Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol!’ Everyone will be showered by Bhakti-rasa and be purified. Everyone will come to these asramas and follow Krsna-bhakti.”
He gave great blessings to Srila Prabhupada to continue his mission and then entered Nitya-lila, the eternal pastimes of Radha-Krsna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Now it has become late and we will do arati. Tomorrow is Ananta Caturdasi. It is also the disappearance day of Srila Haridasa Thakura. We will discuss how Mahaprabhu explained the specialties and glories of His dear associate, Srila Haridasa Thakura, while He resided in Puri with His associates. Tomorrow, from the morning, we will speak on the glories of Srila Haridasa Thakura. If this rasa enters our hearts, our souls will be replenished. Then we will able to follow Krsna bhakti. If we don’t drink this rasa; if we don’t give any food and water to our souls, then our souls will become sad and weak. The soul will then only lick the toes of the representatives of Maya. The soul will then run behind dogs and donkeys. You will think your husband, wife, or lover to be your life and soul.
You will sing, “Sarvasva tomara, carane sapiya, podechi tomara ghare, tumi to thakura, tomara kukura, boliya janaho more.” But who will you sing this for? You will only sing this for your lovers! You will become the dogs of your wives, husbands, lovers, and relatives. A man will write to a woman and say, “Oh I am yours! Please accept me!”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written this bhajana for Mahaprabhu and Krsna. But a man tells a woman, “I am your dog. Please accept me; don’t ever abandon me.”
The Thakura has also sung,
“Atma-nivedana, tuwa pade kori, hoinu parama sukhi,
dukhe dure gelo, cinta na rohilo, caudike ananda-dekhi.”
“Asoka-abhaya, amrta-adhara, tomara carana-dvaya
Tahate ekhona, visrama labhiya, chadinu bhavera bhaya.”
How wonderful these kirtanas are! If you were present during the time our Guruvarga and if you heard how they would sing these kirtanas, then you would realize how glorious they are! In Siliguri, Gurudeva and all the Acaryas would do kirtana and nagar-sankirtana for five or ten kilometers while dancing and singing. Pujyapada Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja with dozens of Sannyasis and hundreds of brahmacaris would do kirtana in the streets of Chandigarh. He would give harikatha for many hours on end. Pujyapada Akincana Krsnadas Babaji Maharaja performed the kirtana of Krsna-Karnamrita in Madras during an assembly. In the assembly, an announcement was made that a speech should be given in Sanskrit. There were discussions on who would speak in Sanskrit. The mike was passed to Babaji Maharaja. Babaji Maharaja sang, “Vande Visvambhara pada kamalam.” He also recited all the slokas of Krsna-karnamrita. I also heard Babaji Maharaja sing the verses. His voice was recorded on a cassette and one of our brahmacaris played the audio file for me. Listening to Babaji Maharaja’s kirtana, the spiritualists belonging to Sankaraacharya’s sect, the devotees belonging to Ramanucharya’s sampradaya and Visnusvami’s sampradaya, and the entire assembly became astonished. He had memorized all the slokas and melodiously sang them. There was no need to speak anything else. The entire assembly gave a tilak to the Gaudiya sampradaya as the preeminent sampradaya in India.
There are such great Mahapurusas! These great personalities belong to the Bhakti-rasa-dhara. Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought this Bhakti-rasa-dhara. Before the advent of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, this flow of Bhakti was almost lost.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung,
“Ek-bar dekhle cakse jal, gaura bo’le nitai dena sakala sambal.”
Sraddhavan jana he, sraddhavan jana he—If there is no faith, then nothing is with you. So, faith comes by hearing the glorification of the Vaisnavas. By surrendering to the Vaisnavas, you will receive everything from them. Can you buy this faith by going to the market with some money in your hands? Will you get this faith by going to a sweet shop? Where will you go? You must surrender to the Vaisnavas to receive this faith!
Material love and romance can be found in cinemas and novels. But Bhakti-rasa, the real prema or love of the spiritual world is only present with the Bhaktas. If we don’t follow these tithis and if we don’t hear the glories of the Acaryas, then the flow of Bhakti-rasa will not come in our hearts. Our hearts will not be softened. We will not be established in this Bhakti-rasa and we will not achieve our ultimate welfare.
Now we conclude today’s class. We pray that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives us his mercy. We are foolish and insignificant, but Mahaprabhu is very great. To bestow mercy on everyone, He appeared in this world. He also sent His beloved associates like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to help us. Mahaprabhu and our Guruvarga will not give up on us, however bad we may be; they will never leave us. If we remember the name of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and pray to him, then our protection is assured.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is so great. He has said, “I have written this kirtana Yasomati-nandana for the pleasure of the darling son of Mother Yasoda. This kirtana will be sung in every corner of the world.” The meaning of the kirtana, ‘Vibhavari sesa,’ doesn’t state that it will wake people from their ordinary sleep, rather, it means that people will awake from their ignorance and sleep in maya’s samsara and will take notice of the transcendental realm. He also sang, “Jaya Radha-Madhava Kunja Bihari.” The Thakura’s kirtanas have been translated into all the major languages of the world. Everyone will be nourished by the rasa of these kirtanas. This is the power of Satchitananda-tattva, the tattva of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. The Karuna-sakti of Mahaprabhu is embodied in the form of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
There is so much more to say on the glories of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. But, Hari-lila is infinite; Vaisnava-lila is infinite. The more we speak on their glories, the more we will realize how unending they are! We can never end the katha of the Vaisnavas, but now it is the time for arati. We will do arati and will hear more tomorrow.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]