Book excerpts Acarya Kesari Establishment of Sri Gaudiya Charity Clinic

Establishment of Sri Gaudiya Charity Clinic

On 15 December 1962, the Sri Gaudiya Charity Clinic was established at Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha, Navadvipa, to provide homeopathic, biochemic and allopathic treatment. A sub-committee was formed to manage the clinic, which is under the supervision of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti.

The selected members of the committee were as follows:

  1. Chairman: om visnupada paramahamsa-svami parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami
  2. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja
  3. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja
  4. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [the author]
  5. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Harijana Maharaja
  6. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhaktivedanta Visnu-daivata Maharaja
  7. Sectretary: Sriyuta Vrajananda dasa Vrajavasi (LMF) (Regd. No. 8134 Cal.)
  8. Sriyuta Advaita dasa Vrajavasi
  9. Sri Gaudiya Charity Clinic’s doctor: Sri Krsnabandhu Bhaumika (HMBHTC)

At the inauguration of the Charity Clinic, paramaradhyatama Srila Gurudeva was selected chairman. He requested the secretary of the sub-committee, Dr. Sriyuta Vrajananda Vrajavasi (LMF), to read the article Gaudiya Clinic, after which Srila Gurudeva gave an attractive lecture full of deep thoughts about this clinic.

Srila Acaryadeva said, “The Sri Gaudiya Charity Clinic is not the same as the clinics of the Ramakrsna Mission and the Bharata Sevasrama Association. It may look the same from the external point of view of distributing medicine to patients, but there is a tremendous difference in the purpose. If we endeavour to give material help and sympathy to human beings, it will cause their bondage. Contrary to this, if we provide aide to the jivas for their progress in bhagavat-bhajana, this will remove their material bondage and help them to enter the spiritual realm. We are very happy to point out that this Charity Clinic has quickly become very famous throughout Navadvipa. Every day many patients come from far away to be treated by our qualified and skilled doctors.”

Installation festival of the deities in the new temple during Sri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Sri Gaura-janmotsava

In March 1963, Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti organized the extensive celebration of Sri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Sri Gaura-janmotsava. On the third day of the parikrama (7 March), the atmosphere of the entire matha was filled with unprecedented joy, because of the inauguration of the temple and the installation of the deities. The natya-mandira (the temple room) and especially the deities’ altar were beautifully decorated with flower garlands, festoons of mango leaves and flowers, and trunks of banana trees. There was no parikrama that day, and during brahma-muhurta the day’s auspicious ceremony was heralded by mangala-arati, sankirtana, an instrumental band and the sweet sound of the sehnai.

When Srila Acaryadeva himself was ready with a water pot in his hands to bring water from the Bhagavati Bhagirathi for the installation and abhiseka, the matha sannyasis, brahmacaris and thousands of devoted pilgrims also assembled with their water pots. The procession made its way to the holy bank of the Bhagavati Bhagirathi with a band playing in the front, followed by the matha devotees’ sankirtana group, then paramaradhya Srila Gurudeva with the water pot on his head, and finally thousands of devoted pilgrims performing kirtana with great joy. The devotees worshipped Sri Jahnavi-devi (Ganga) with sixteen articles. They then filled up their water pots with sacred Ganga water and returned in the same manner they came, to the matha premises and the yajna altar.

Srila Acaryadeva requested tridandi-svami Sri Srimad Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharajaji to officiate at this ceremony, with the help of tridandi-svami Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [the author]. Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja arranged for the deity installation and Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja looked after the main guests.
The deities were placed on the bathing platform. First of all, They were bathed with milk, yoghurt, ghee, honey and sugar sanctified by mantras. After that, Their abhiseka was performed with one hundred and eight pots containing fragrant water from all the tirthas, water flavoured from herbs (sarvausadhi ), water flavoured from jewels, etc. During the abhiseka, Vedic scholars recited the Purusa-sukta. Around the altar, Srimad Bhakti Jivana Janardana Maharaja and other prominent sannyasis melodiously recited different dharma-sastras, such as Veda-chatustya (the four Vedas), Upanisads, Vedanta-darsana (Govinda-bhasya), Srimad-Bhagavatam, Gita, Visnu-sahasra-nama and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. In addition, the sounds of maha-sankirtana‚ conch shells and the ladies’ ululating resounded throughout the sky. Nearby, at the sacrificial altar, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras, tridandi-svami Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja and others offered oblations into the fire. All directions were purified by the fragrant, sacred smoke of the vaisnava-homa and the very impressive sound of the loud sankirtana. Altogether, the occasion was surcharged with transcendental potency and life.

No one could count how many people filled up the natya-mandira and the mandira, taking darsana of the mahabhiseka with wide eyes. After the abhiseka the deities were taken to the altar and Srila Acaryadeva himself completed the installation.

At that time, yatiraja Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja, tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Vicara Yayavara Maharaja and other sannyasis arrived. They were welcomed with garlands and sandal paste and seated on the well-decorated stage in the natya-mandira. Thus brilliant lectures commenced in Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya and other languages by the acaryas, tridandi-sannyasis and scholars learned in siddhanta, from various mathas. Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja gave a significant lecture on the great contribution of Sri Gaudiya Matha and the superiority of its philosophical views. Srila Acaryadeva then respectfully escorted his guests to the entrance of the altar to inaugurate the opening. At that time, the assembled multitude vibrated their jaya-dhvani, hari-dhvani and the ladies’ ululating. This mixed with the auspicious sound of conch shells and the mrdangas and karatalas from the sankirtana, and filled all directions. Srimad Bhakti Saudha Asrama Maharaja and Srimad Bhakti Vikasa Hrsikesa Maharaja came with their entire parikrama parties at the time of the inauguration, and in the evening they were joined by tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Saranga Gosvami Maharaja and tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja and their respective parties.

Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda-bihari were installed in the middle chamber. In the chamber to Their right is dhamesvara Sri Koladeva (Varahadeva) and Laksmi-devi, and on Their left is the deity of jagad-guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. Srila Acaryadeva bestowed darsana of Them upon the whole world.

After the installation, tridandi-svami Bhakti Desika Acarya Maharaja performed arcana, and offered bhoga and arati to the deities. After bhoga-arati, maha-prasada was distributed to thousands and thousands of people. The audience was enchanted by the deities’ unprecedented sweetness, and unanimously declared that they had never before seen such beautiful deities.

Paramaradhya Srila Acaryadeva declared at the occasion, “Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti has taken a vow to destroy irreligiosity (adharma), corrupt activities (kudharma), that which opposes religion (vidharma), heresy (apadharma), deceitful religion (chaladharma) and so on. To this end, we have installed Sri Koladeva (Varahadeva) who is the Lord of the dhama (dhamesvara) of Koladvipa, together with Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga and Radha-Vinoda-bihariji, in this huge and prominent temple in Sri Navadvipa-dhama. But constructing large temples is not the sole purpose of preaching; it is a limb of arcana. The foremost purpose of preaching is kirtana-seva under the guidance of Sri Rupa. We have not established this prominent temple and huge temple room in Sri Dhama Navadvipa only for deity worship. Rather, the topmost perfection of Vedanta is the symbol of bhaktisiddhanta-vani, the preaching of kirtana-bhakti. Within my heart, I followed the path of the mahajanas and have thus established the foundation of this matha-mandira. The purpose of the mandira is to preach siddhanta-vani through the transcendental sound of sri nama-sankirtana blended with the nectar flowing from my Sri Gurudeva’s mouth. The construction of the temple, the auspicious task of installing the deities and other work has been completed by means of sri nama-sankirtana.”

One of the godbrothers of our most worshipful Srila Acaryadeva was attracted by Srila Acaryadeva’s qualities and wrote an essay in Sri Gaudiya-patrika, which included the following commendation:

“According to Srila Prabhupada’s commentary on yara mantre sakala murtite vaise prana (Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khanda 2.305), in the Sri Gaudiya sampradaya, as prescribed by Sri Gaurahari, the deity is installed by chanting the maha-mantra. Only nama-sankirtana can remove the misconception that the deity is stone. The verse krsna varnam tvisakrsnam shows that Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva has prescribed the chanting of the maha-mantra as the appropriate and affectionate worship of the deity. Worship and darsana of the deities are lifeless where Bhagavan is not served by the worshipper’s inner love and affection, but instead by mere wealth or as a ritual. No matter what system one is following, worship has life if performed with the Hare Krsna maha-mantra as chanted by Sri Gaurasundara.

“Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha in Koladvipa has today assumed a new splendour, for it is now decorated with a new temple crowned with nine prominent sky-high domes, a huge natya-mandira, living quarters for devotees, a building for the printing press, a school for spiritual education and a charitable dispensary. The devotees of this place have dedicated themselves to serving the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as explained by Sri Thakura Bhaktivinoda. The disciples of parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja, who are expert in bhajana, jointly performed the inauguration ceremony of Sri Guru-Gauranga-Gandharvika-Vinoda-bihariji and Sri Varahadeva in the new temple, in accordance with the procedure of our sri rupanuga-guru-parampara. This has created a new atmosphere in Sri Navadvipa-dhama.”

A large dharma-sabha (religious assembly) was arranged in the Sri Hari-kirtana Nat ya-mandira on the evening of the third day of Sri Dhama parikrama. At Srila Acaryadeva’s request, yati-pravara tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Maharaja accepted the chairman’s seat. Tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharaja and tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Saurabha Bhaktisara Maharaja addressed the assembly after which Srila Acaryadeva spoke on the difference between Vaisnava and mayavada philosophies in regard to sri vigraha-tattva. He then recited Sri Radha-Vinoda-bihari-tattvastakam and explained why the deity of Sri Vinoda-bihari does not have Sri Krsna’s dark complexion. He concluded by glorifying the late Sri Giridhari dasa Adhikari for his outstanding service of constructing the temple, and Sri Haripada dasa Adhikari, who covered all the expenses for constructing the natya-mandira. Finally, the chairman of the assembly, Srimad Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Maharaja, closed the evening with an enchanting lecture.

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