Book excerpts Acarya Kesari Srila Prabhupada’s viraha-utsava in Chunchura Matha

Srila Prabhupada’s viraha-utsava in Chunchura Matha

All the mathas under the jurisdiction of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti celebrated Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day (viraha-utsava) lavishly in December 1959. With great faith it was celebrated in Sri Dhama Navadvipa, Mathura, Goloka-ganja and other mathas.
Paramaradhya Srila Acaryadeva was personally present at Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha in Chunchura, so the disappearance day was celebrated there with special devotion. After the lecture and kirtana, the manager of the matha, tridandi-svami Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, strongly requested to the matha devotees and Sri Samiti’s initiated devotees to first offer puspanjali at paramaradhya Srila Gurudeva’s lotus feet and then at Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet. After that, arati of Srila Prabhupada’s picture (pata-vigraha) was performed with the arati-kirtana composed by Srila Gurupada-padma. In the evening assembly Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja read Srila Prabhupada’s collection of letters, essays and instructions from Gaudiya-patrika.

In his lecture, Srila Acaryadeva gave very useful instructions. “Every year on this special day we place special emphasis on hari-katha. Srila Prabhupada Siddhanta Sarasvati was hari-kirtana personified. Those who had his association definitely experienced this. During his discourses it seemed as if he was speaking with thousands of mouths, not just one. We count twenty-four hours as one day, but in Srila Prabhupada’s hari-katha one day would be converted into a thousand days. There are no words to describe the bliss he experienced when he spoke bhagavad-kirtana. Generally people leave aside all other duties and become enraptured in mundane occupations, such as eating and sleeping, because that is the only time they feel happy. They do not understand that there are other, superior types of happiness. Srila Prabhupada gave up eating and sleeping for engaging in hari-katha kirtana, because that is how he gained the greatest pleasure.”

Srila Acaryadeva discussed various topics in specific connection with Prabhupada’s teachings. He talked about ignorance and maya and about ancient and modern views on impersonalism. He pointed out that history and the Ultimate Truth (tattva-vastu) are not the same, and discussed Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s contribution to the living entities’ welfare. He also talked about the difference between various philosophical views, the oneness of para-tattva and so forth. In addition to this he expressed deep thoughts, full of profound truths, on the three features of para-tattva – brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. He showed that only theism (isvara-vada) can control maya, and he also spoke about the inconceivable, all-powerful Sri Krsna, Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krsna’s inconceivable pastimes, the eternality of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, the jivas’ eternality and other subject matters.

Sixty-two lectures of Sri Acarya Kesari in sixty-six days

On 19 April 1960, Srila Acarya Kesari went with a preaching party and visited about thirty villages in Medinipura and Caubisa Paragana, where he promoted sanatana-dharma with great vigour. With the power of a lion, he delivered brilliant lectures at sixty-two religious assemblies in sixty-six days. Sanatana-dharma started to blow like a strong whirlwind wherever he addressed the religious assemblies. Thousands of people assembled to hear his lectures. In some places as many as fifteen or twenty thousand people came and listened to his speeches and became transfixed, not moving or talking for two hours. At times the audience asked questions, which Acarya Kesari answered on the strength of sastric evidence and irrefutable logic. This dialogue increased the audience’s curiosity and eagerness. Not only those who asked the questions but also the entire audience became ecstatic when they heard Srila Gurudeva’s answers. Everyone was impatient to touch the dust of Srila Acaryadeva’s lotus feet at the end of the assembly, and even after he returned to his residence, a crowd from the audience gathered there as well. Nearby villages appealed to Acarya Kesari to hold religious gatherings in their places also, but it was not possible to go everywhere. Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s disappearance day was on 24 June and Sri Jagannatha-deva’s ratha-yatra would begin on another day. Consequently, Srila Acarya Kesari was obliged to return to Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha, Chunchura, together with the preaching party.

Acarya Kesari’s daily preaching schedule during this time:

  1. 19 April 1960, Tuesday, in the courtyard of Sri Yogendra-natha Samanta dasa’s home in Kesavapura Jalpai village (Medinipura): ‘Who is called a human being?’
  2. 20 April, in the courtyard of Sri Ayodhyanatha dasa’s home in the same village: ‘Vaisnava etiquette and the symptoms of bhakti ’.
  3. 21 April, in the courtyard of Sri Bhuvana-mohana Jana’s home in Aktala village: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  4. 22 April, at the same place: ‘The duty of human life’.
  5. 23 April, in the courtyard of Sri Aruna-candra dasa’s home in the same village: ‘The solution to various problems’.
  6. 24 April, in the Durga Mandapa of Sri Janakinatha Mandira in Nandigrama: ‘The solution to various problems’.
  7. 25 April, in the field of Sri Vraja-mohana Tivari Siksa-niketan in the same village: ‘The necessity of religion’.
  8. 26 April, in the courtyard of Sri Sitaprakasa dasa Adhikari’s home in Bheturiya village: ‘The difference between service to the living entity and service to the Supreme Lord’.
  9. 27 April, in the huge courtyard of Kodamvadi High School from 9–11 a.m.: ‘The necessity for religion’.
  10. 27 April, in the courtyard of Sri Nani-gopala dasa Adhikari’s home in Bheturiya village, from 8.30–10.30 p.m.: ‘Humanity of mankind’.
  11. 28 April, at the same place: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  12. 29 April, at the huge field of Sri Gagancandra Hajra Higher Secondary School in Saivadi village: ‘Sri Caitanyadeva and the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya’.
  13. 30 April, at the same place: ‘The duty of human life’.
  14. 2 May, in the field of Vegunavadi Junior High School in Purvacaka village: ‘The duty of human life’.
  15. 3 May, in the courtyard of Sri Giridhari dasa Adhikari’s home in Purvacaka village: ‘The difference between Vaisnava philosophy and Sankara’s philosophy’.
  16. 4 May, in the huge courtyard of the local Siva temple in Mohati village, at the request of bhakta Sasibhusana Bhusa: ‘The duty of human life’.
  17. 5 May, in the field of the high school in Simuliya village: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  18. 6 May, at the same place, at 9 a.m.: ‘The necessity of religion in student life’.
  19. 6 May, at the same place at 8 p.m.: ‘The superiority of vaisnava-dharma’.
  20. 7 May, in the courtyard of Sri Hare-krsna dasa Adhikari’s home in Edasala village: ‘Pure (suddha) and mixed (biddha) ekadasi-tattva’.
  21. 8 May, at the same place: ‘Is Vaisnavism a caste or a religion?’
  22. 9 May, in the courtyard of Sri Jitajnana dasa Adhikari’s home in the same village: ‘What is the living entity’s dharma?’
  23. 10 May, in the courtyard of Sri Thakura temple in Kulavadi village: ‘What is humanity?’
  24. 12 May, in the courtyard of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti’s Sri Pichlada pada-pitha in Pichlada village: ‘The purpose of human life’.
  25. 13 May, at Pichlada Gaudiya Matha: ‘Disciplic succession (the bona fide sampradaya) vs. a mix of everything (all paths are the same)’.
  26. 14 May, in the courtyard of the local primary school in Nar-Cakanana village, at the request of bhakta Haradhana: ‘The speciality of Sri Caitanyadeva’s great contribution’.
  27. 15 May, at Terpekhya Bazar: ‘The subject established in Vedanta’.
  28. 16 May, at the same place: ‘The subject established in Vedanta’.
  29. 17 May, at the same place: Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture.
  30. 19 May, in the courtyard of Sri Mandira in Kalyanpura village: ‘The necessity of religious life’.
  31. 20 May, at the same place: ‘Solutions to problems of the present time’.
  32. 21 May, in Sri Madana-mohana Gaudiya Matha in Kalyanpura village: ‘Vaisnava-dharma’.
  33. 22 May, in the courtyard of Sri Revati-bhusana Pal’s home in Maluvasana village: ‘Sri nama-tattva’.
  34. 23 May, in the courtyard of Sri Harinama Pracarini Sabha in the city of Tamaluka: ‘Sri nama-tattva’.
  35. 24 May, at the same place: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  36. 25 May, at the same place: ‘The subject established in Vedanta’.
  37. 26 May, at the same place: Srila Gurudeva read from and commented on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
  38. 28 May, in the school ground in Cakagadupota village: ‘Sanatana-dharma and the worship of demigods and demigoddesses’.
  39. 29 May, at the same place: ‘Panca-rasa-tattva, the five mellows, and Bhagavatam’. On this occasion there were arguments with people from the Arya Samaja concerning Srimad-Bhagavatam, but they left speechless when they heard Srila Acarya Kesari’s irrefutable logic and scriptural evidence.
  40. 30 May, in the courtyard of Sri Narendra Padua’s home in the same village: ‘Proper Vaisnava conduct’.
  41. 31 May, at the same place: ‘The problems of the present age’. Here on behalf of the audience the question was raised whether or not Vaisnavas can engage in agriculture. Srila Acarya Kesari gave scriptural evidence and examples that Vaisnavas can do so. Srimad-Bhagavatam mentions this in the section describing varnasrama-dharma. During Sri Krsna’s time there were two categories of the gopa community: gopas engaged in cow grazing and gopas engaged in agriculture; both are Vaisnavas. During Sriman Mahaprabhu’s time, too, there were many grhastha Vaisnavas engaged in agriculture. The audience was very satisfied to receive such a good reply.
  42. 2 June, in the courtyard of Sailendranatha Ghosa’s home in Daimond Harbour (in Caubis Pargana district): Srila Acaryadeva read from Srimad-Bhagavatam.
  43. 3 June, in the courtyard of Sri Visalaksmi Mandira in Kakadvipa: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  44. 4 June, at the same place: ‘The duty and dharma of human life’.
  45. 6 June, at the local Hari-sabha: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  46. 7 June, in Kasinagara Bazar: ‘The duty of human life’.
  47. 8 June, at the same place: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  48. 9 June, in Gilarchata village: ‘Vaisnava-dharma’.
  49. 10 June, at the same place: ‘Sri nama-tattva’.
  50. 11 June, in Kasinagara Bazar: ‘Vaisnava etiquette and eternal dharma’.
  51. 12 June, on the college ground in Krsna-candrapura village: ‘Jiva-tattva and how the living being can become qualified to serve the Supreme Lord’.
  52. 13 June, in the courtyard of Sri Dvijottama dasa Adhikari’s home in Sarvediya village: ‘Adhoksaja-tattva (the transcendental reality)’.
  53. 15 June, in the courtyard of the primary school in Ektara village: ‘The duty of human life’.
  54. 16 June, at the same place: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  55. 17 June, in the Hari-sabha Bhavana in Haduganja village: ‘The duty of human life and vaisnava-dharma’.
  56. 18 June, in the courtyard of Sri Vasanta Kumara Ghosa’s home in Candanagara village: ‘Sri nama-tattva’.
  57. 19 June, in the courtyard of Sri Nilamani Ghosa’s home in the same village: Srila Gurudeva read ‘The conversation between Nimi and the Nava-yogendras’ from Srimad-Bhagavatam.
  58. 20 June, in the courtyard of Sri Krsnapada Ghosa’s home in the same village: Srila Gurudeva read from the same part of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
  59. 20 June, in the courtyard of Sri Rajanikanta Ghosa’s home in the same village at 8 p.m.: Srila Acaryadeva read from the same part of Srimad-Bhagavatam again.
  60. 21 June, in the courtyard of the Court in Daimond Harbour: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  61. 22 June, at the same place: ‘Sanatana-dharma’.
  62. 23 June, at the same place: Srila Gurudeva read from the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

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