In 1964, upon the insistent entreaty of Sri Sudhira Kumara Saha, the owner of the famous Bhavani Paper Concern in Kolkata, Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti’s founder-acarya, along with many sannyasis and brahmacaris, observed urja-vrata niyama-seva for one month, at his Kening Street residence. For that month, his home was transformed into Sri Vaikuntha-dhama. Every day mangala-arati ; sankirtana; reading from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam and other bhakti literatures; sandhya-arati and other devotional activities took place. Many educated, respected and prosperous persons from Kolkata participated. Srila Gurudeva regularly explained the dialogue between Vasudeva and Narada in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Teachers, lawyers, educationalists, highly posted officials and many others were very attracted when they heard his Bhagavatam lectures, which were full of excellent siddhanta. From time to time, Sripada Trivikrama Maharaja, Sripada Vamana Maharaja and Sripada Narayana Maharaja [the author] also spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srila Gurudeva returned to Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha and from there preached in different regions of Medinipura and inaugurated the temple in Kalyanapura. He also preached sanatana-dharma in Sabadavede Jalpai and other places. Sri vyasa-puja was held with great pomp and ceremony in his presence in Khamati-grama.
In the next year, 1965, after Sri Dhama parikrama and Sri Gaura-janmotsava, Srila Acaryadeva went to Sri Siddhavadi Gaudiya Matha with many sannyasis and brahmacaris and there he laid the foundation stone for sri mandira. After returning, he preached for a month in Goloka-ganja, Bangoi-grama, Mathabhanga, Sitala Kuci, Siligudi and other places in Assam, and then returned to Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha, Chunchura.
Preaching suddha-bhakti in Sri Mathura, Vrndavana, Lukhnow and Kasi
During kartika-vrata niyama-seva in September and October 1966, Srila Acaryadeva performed the eighty-four krosa Sri Vraja-mandala parikrama with many pilgrims. First of all, Srila Acarayadeva went to Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, where Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [the author] and Sri Bhaktivedanta Muni Maharaja offered him garlands and sandal paste in a grand reception. Srila Gurupada-padma entrusted the responsibility of the parikrama to Sripad Harijana Maharaja and took rest in Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha for a month. Afterwards he went to preach in Lukhnow, Prayaga, Varanasi and Gaya with Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [the author] and a few brahmacaris, and then returned to Chunchura.
While Srila Gurupada-padma was staying in Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura, many educated people of the city came to hear his hari-katha. Among them, the principal of Sri Mathura Caturveda College, Sri Gaya Prasada Saksena (Employment Exchange Officer) and Sri Pitambara Pantha (SDOMES) are particularly worth mentioning. In Lukhnow Srila Acaryadeva accepted Sri Pitambara Pantha’s special invitation and for three days stayed at his residence with some sannyasis and brahmacaris, and then left for Kasi. While there he collected the Veda (the original scripture of the science of transcendental sound vibrations), some rare sacred literatures and a large brass bell weighing two maunds (about eighty kilos) for the matha in Navadvipa. After staying in Kasi for three days, he returned to Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha.
Srila Acarya Kesari in Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha, Kolkata
From 26 January to 1 February 1967, there was a large annual week-long festival at Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha in Kolkata. The new temple and temple room were inaugurated with a great celebration during this time. Nitya-lila-pravista Sri Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja was the president and founder-acarya of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha and its branches in India. He personally went to invite our worshipful Srila Gurudeva and other Gaudiya acaryas to participate in this big therefore, many of jagad-guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada’s sannyasis took part. Some of the prominent sannyasis among them are mentioned here:
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Kamala Madhusudana Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Aloka Paramahamsa Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Vikasa Hrsikesa Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Prapana Damodara Maharaja;
- Parivrajakacarya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Kumuda Santa Maharaja.
Paramapujya tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja performed the inauguration of the newly constructed temple and temple room. Pujyapada tridandi-svami Srimad Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharaja and pujyapada Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja performed the installation of the deities, the Vaisnava homa-yajna and other ceremonies.
Every evening for three days, religious assemblies were held which were attended by learned audiences. Paramaradhya Srila Gurudeva gave three lectures filled with tattva-siddhanta on ‘The necessity of matha and mandira’, ‘The teachings of the Gita’, and ‘Yuga-dharma’. Each day a different dignitary chaired the assembly: the honourable Sriyuta Dipanarayana Simha (Kolkata High Court’s main judge), Sri Sambhunatha Banarji (Kolkata University’s former vice-chancellor) and judge Sriyuta Paresanatha Mukharaji.
Srila Acaryadeva said in one of his lectures, “The leading judge of the High Court of Bengal is present here at this religious conference. The fact that he is present in the matha and mandira is proof of the necessity for their existence. The authors of our smrti-sastras say that it is not proper to reside where there are no matha-mandiras.
“Nowadays many people question whether one will get food just by calling out to Krsna. This country can never be prosperous as long as this materialistic point of view persists. Modern politics are devoid of siddhanta and religious belief. In ancient times, the country was ruled according to the codes and rules drawn up by the sages. Today our country disregards these rules and has taken up western teachings. It is very sad that society allows the slaughter of cows and other animals and the consumption of alcohol, and that dharma has no place in the constitution of the nation. It is also unfortunate that this constitution makes no provision for religious people. On the contrary, religious people are faced with anxiety and inconvenience for no reason.
“It is easy for anyone to understand that the sadhus’ renunciation is a great help to the country. The government has not yet been able to solve the problem of unemployment. No one can tell how many more thousands of unemployed people there would be if all the highly educated persons presently residing in mathas were to move back into society and seek employment, whether in service, business or agriculture. If they wanted to take up farming, there would not be enough land to accommodate them.
“These days the suicidal and self-destructive teaching, ‘aham brahmasmi – I am brahma, the Supreme Absolute’, is being disseminated in many mathas, mandiras, missions and sevasramas. This is turning the public into atheists opposed to dharma.”
The audience listened very eagerly as Srila Acaryadeva, a fearless speaker of the impartial truth, expressed his revolutionary views. His brilliant lecture went on for almost one hour, after which other speakers also presented their views. When the assembly ended, all the sannyasis and brahmacaris of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha came to Srila Acaryadeva’s lotus feet‚ praising his views and asking questions concerning the philosophical conclusions of bhakti.