Hari-kathaArticlesGaura Parivara — Mahaprabhu’s Family

Gaura Parivara — Mahaprabhu’s Family

[Hari-katha of Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja who is referred to as Srila Gurudeva in the following transcription]

Devotee: ‘Mula’ means medicine?

Srila Gurudeva: ‘Mula’ means the root.

Devotee: Herbs?

Srila Gurudeva: Same herbs. And by proper mixing, dasa-mula is produced in medical science. If anyone takes this medicine, then all his illnesses will go away. So, in this line, if anyone takes these five roots or herbs, then maya and everything else will go away. And he will attain Krsna-prema.

You should also read Jaiva-dharma and Caitanya-caritamrita. Then you can understand. Worldly relations are false. The body, which you consider to be yourself, is also false. But the world is real and true, but the relations are false. You will have to give up all these things. One day, you will have to vacate this world.

Krsna will tell you, “Oh you should leave everything.”

All the relations will be cut. There is no happiness to be found here for even a moment. But your chanting will not go in vain. You will continue to advance in your future births. You must realize this. What are you doing today? Are you not coming with them?

Devotee 2: No, I am not going Gurudeva.

Srila Gurudeva: Then who will do kirtana there?

Devotee 2: I want to come with you Gurudeva?

Srila Gurudeva: Then what became? Is your father saying that you should come with me? Is he saying?

Devotee 2: You must feel very bad if I were you.

Srila Gurudeva: Then why did you call him?


Devotee: This nandani-nandanastakam is so sweet.

Devotee 2: Namami nanda-nandanam.

Srila Gurudeva: Oh Namami nanda-nandanam.


Sri Nanda-nandanastakam. Are you tasting the moods of all these kirtanas?

Devotee: Yes. They are so sweet. The Nanda-nandanastakam is especially sweet.

Srila Gurudeva: I want to sow the seeds in all your hearts.

Devotee: But the seed will not come out properly.

Srila Gurudeva: But yet, I will sow the seed. Along with your wife and three daughters, you should sing, “Namami nanda-nandanam,” every day. Now is it eight?

Vrajanatha dasa: Five more minutes to eight.

Srila Gurudeva: Then you should go and be ready. Navina should be told to come. How are you feeling? Okay?

Devotee: Yes Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: But I will feel separation.

Devotee: I will also feel separation.

Srila Gurudeva: In one form, you can go with me and in another form, you should remain here doing what you are doing.

Devotee: Yes.


Srila Gurudeva: I will keep you all with me and my body will go there. But, I will be in your homes. Nirguna Prabhu and all of you will be there.

Devotee: You have so many disciples and devotees to look after Maharaja. How can you keep them all in your heart? Your heart must be very, very big?

Srila Gurudeva: Svamiji has given me all of you. He remembers all of you. This qualification is very rare.

Devotee: I had a question from the class last night. May I ask you?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes.

Devotee: You were speaking about the gopis’ love for Krsna. Krsna feels indebted to them. He wanted to pay them back. That is why Krsna appeared as Mahaprabhu.

Srila Gurudeva: That is why He appeared as Mahaprabhu—to repay.

Devotee: Then how is it that Mahaprabhu paid them back?

Srila Gurudeva: He would weep by constantly remembering them.

Now we should be ready. Take my luggage there in our van.

Devotee 2: Gurudeva, this is from some books that I sold.

Srila Gurudeva: I know that you are penniless. From where did you get this money?

Devotee 2: Some devotees bought some of your books.

Srila Gurudeva: Oh books. Very good.

Devotee 3: Can we take one picture before Maharaja leaves?

Devotee: That is a good idea. All the devotees can stand with Maharaja.

[Break of audio]

[The following part of the transcription is a translation of a Bengali conversation between Srila Gurudeva and Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja.]

Srila Gurudeva: I went to so many places—Houston, Eugene, Los Angeles, and so many other places. I will go to Canada and then to New York. Everywhere I went, so many came. Hundreds and hundreds of devotees are so inspired.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Exactly.

Srila Gurudeva: Especially, those who have left ISKCON and who had been neglected by them—they all came.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: That is a little sad. But we can hope positively that everything comes together in the future.

Srila Gurudeva: Did Puri Maharaja take sannyasa from Vaikhanas Maharaja?

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Yes.

Srila Gurudeva: His brahmacari name was Pranavananda. He stayed with me in the Chuncura Matha for many days. He also did parikrama with me. I saw him first in 1946. He was in Guru Maharaja’s Matha first. Then he was with Madhava Maharaja.

He bestowed his profuse blessings on me. He becomes so happy when he sees me. Did you come to see me anytime?

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: But for only a short time Maharaja. I was staying in Caitanya Saraswat Matha. You came many times to Caitanya Saraswat Matha. Is it not Maharaja?

Srila Gurudeva: I came there many times. At the end of the parikrama, Guru Maharaja would definitely come and we would all also come with him. We would offer pranama to Maharaja.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I joined the Matha after Parama-pujyapada Srila Kesava Maharaja’s disappearance. So, I am very unfortunate to have not had his darsana. But I have had the darsana of Srila Vamana Maharaja. I also met Nava-yogendra Prabhu.

Srila Gurudeva: Vamana Maharaja is now in Navadvipa.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: But I would only have Maharaja’s darsana for a short time.

Srila Gurudeva: Once, when I went to the Matha, I saw a lean and thin boy listening to Sridhara Maharaja speak hari-katha. Were you that boy? That boy was so brilliant. Because of his old age, if Sridhara Maharaja would forget something then that boy would immediately speak what he had heard from Maharaja earlier and remind Maharaja. I think you were that lean and thin boy.


You are not tasting anything? I am speaking of some things that had transpired many years before.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: You saw him when he was a small boy?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: He is very brilliant.

[Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja recites a verse from the Prema Dhama Deva Stotram composed by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja.]

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: When you came to the Matha, I saw how Guru Maharaja used to love you so much. He used to give you so much love and affection.

Srila Gurudeva: When I would ask Maharaja some questions, he would become so happy. He would give me such beautiful instructions. One day Maharaja told me, “I came to the Matha after leaving the law college. When I entered the Matha, I saw a brahmacari wearing silken cloth. He also had a horse. He was sitting on a chair with his legs on the table. He was in deep contemplation. A sannyasi came and did pranama to him. Shaking his legs, the brahmacari then answered the inquiring sannyasi’s question. After offering pranama, the sannyasi returned. I thought, ‘This brahmacari is lean and thin. But a sannyasi is offering him dandavat-pranama. Why is it so?’ Then I found out that the name of the devotee was Vinodabihari brahmacari. He was the superintendent and manager of the Sri Caitanya Matha. He looked after the temple and was deeply conversant with all the tattva-siddhanta of the Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy.”

He is my Guru Maharaja. Sridhara Maharaja told me, “This was your Guru Maharaja. Did your Guru Maharaja tell you this incident?”

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Srila Guru Maharaja and Srila Kesava Gosvami Maharaja shared so much love and affection between each other.

Srila Gurudeva: Guru Maharaja used to say, “When Sridhara Maharaja and me have a discussion on the Vedanta, the entire audience listens with such rapt attention. I cut Sridhara Maharaja’s arguments and establish my point of view and Sridhara Maharaja cuts my arguments and establishes his point of view. So many devotees would assemble and listen to us speak.”

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Transcendental logic and display.

Srila Gurudeva: I was also there when Guru Maharaja and Sridhara Maharaja had these discussions. Madhava Maharaja, Puri Maharaja, Yayavara Maharaja, Madhusudhana Maharaja, and Hrsikesa Maharaja would also come with all the devotees.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Was Narahari Prabhu there then?

Srila Gurudeva: Narahari Prabhu was there during the early days. He disappeared in 1950. Guru Maharaja and all the senior devotees from the Saraswat Gaudiya sanga would have discussions on bhakti-tattva. I think you were there also.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: My previous name was Nimaisundara brahmacari.

Srila Gurudeva: And what is your present name?

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Bhaktinandana Swami. Guru Maharaja wanted to give me sannyasa, but I had to leave my university studies. So, I decided to wait. But Guru Maharaja then entered nitya-lila. But before leaving, he told me to take sannyasa from his respected godbrother, Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja. He had a very special relationship with Puri Gosvami Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: I know. Srila Puri Maharaja would stay at the Matha and listen to hari-katha from Sridhara Maharaja.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Thus, I took sannyasa from him. Puri Maharaja gave me lot of mercy and blessings. After I finished my education, I took sannyasa from Puri Gosvami Maharaja. He gives me so much love and affection

Srila Gurudeva: You should preach. You are also educated. You also have the mercy and blessings of Guru-Vaisnavas upon you. There is no need of anything else.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I long to attain the service of Sri Radha-Gopinathajiu and Sriman Mahaprabhu. I desire to attain the service of the Guru-varga. Guru Maharaja would always say:

Sa vidya man matir ca sei se vidya phala janiba niscaya krsna pada-padme jate citta-vritti haya

I was told to discard knowledge that is against Krsna. I was told that mundane knowledge is a manifestation of Maya-devi. But Sarasvati is Krsna-priya. She is a beloved of Krsna. Pujyapada Kesava Maharaja has the name—Bhakti Prajnana.

Srila Gurudeva: Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja gave this name.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Guru Maharaja also mentioned the special term, “Prajnana,” in his commentary to the Gayatri. I always noticed that Srila Guru Maharaja had some special affinity towards using some special devotional terms. One of them is Prajnana.

He introduced the word Prajnana-lila-param. In this way, we find some special kind of feelings and love that Guru Maharaja had for Srila Kesava Maharaja. That is why he chose the name for his very beloved godbrother—Prajnana.

Srila Gurudeva: Both of them would always be together. I met Maharaja in 1946. As soon as he saw me, he said, “You should always be absorbed in bhajana.”

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I feel I had the darsana of Pujyapada Srila Kesava Gosvami Maharaja by listening about his glories from Srila Guru Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: The ears have real darsana i.e. by listening to hari-katha.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Yes.

Srila Gurudeva: Now I think that this is the same boy.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Even though in the past it didn’t happen to be that we talked to each other for a long time, we just met for a short while; but that’s how the transcendental ways manifest. What could not take place there is taking place here today. And we know that the Dhama can manifest anywhere. The Dhama is a transcendental concept not limited to a certain area, even though the Dhama has a specific manifestation in a specific part of India. The Dhama appears wherever the presence of the Vaisnavas is there because they carry the pure Dhama consciousness in their hearts.

The Vaisnavas make the Dhama appear wherever they go. We feel we are meeting in Navadvipa Dhama; the mood is non-different from Gaura Dhama.

Srila Gurudeva: During the time of parikrama, I go to take the darsana of Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja’s Samadhi every year. Sometimes I go alone and sometimes I would go with around twenty-five of our brahmacaris. We would take darsana and offer our pranams and speak about the glories of Maharaja in the garden nearby. There were also two brahmacaris who were senior most.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Krsnasarana brahmacari and Haricarana brahmacari. Krsnacaran brahmacari took sannyasa and became Bhakti Prasuna Aranya Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: I saw the two of them doing service in the temple.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: My parents were staying near the temple. My father’s name was Madhupati dasa adhikari. My parents were initiated by Guru Maharaja. By Guru Maharaja’s karuna-sakti, everyone were my Guru Maharaja’s disciples.

Srila Gurudeva: You should do very nice bhajana. You should practice and preach the instructions of our Guruvarga. You should preach everywhere. You should try to preach everywhere. You should preach the name of your Guru Maharaja all over the world.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Definitely Maharaja. I will try. The line of Rupa-Raghunatha must be preached.

Srila Gurudeva: Yes. By respecting Vaisnavas, you will definitely get the qualification. I have to take a bath now. Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja has many disciples. You are a qualified disciple.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Guru Maharaja told me that his only desire was that the mission of Mahaprabhu should be preached all over the world. He told me to not enter samsara and to preach Mahaprabhu’s mission all over the world. I promised that I would.

I want the blessings of you Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: Krsna will give you His blessings and the Guruvarga will also give their blessings. You are young and enthusiastic to preach Mahaprabhu’s message.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: We are from the same Ruganuga family Maharaja. Even though we find different branches, but we are still inseparably connected to each other because we are from the same Rupanuga family.

Srila Gurudeva: In his final instructions, Srila Prabhupada told his disciples to perform bhajana under guidance even if they have to face a million obstacles. My desire is not to make the material shortcomings of the souls go away. My main desire is to make everyone conversant with the ultimate goal of life. I want everyone to decide their ultimate goal of life.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Maharaja, you have been speaking for long. You should take prasada Maharaja. You should take care of your body; you shouldn’t pressurize yourself.

Srila Gurudeva: I have lessened my participation in kirtana. Before, I used to do kirtana for a long time with sixty devotees. They were not less than fifty devotees. Many kirtaniyas would assemble and we would sing and dance. We preach in this way.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Please bring some prasadam for Maharaja now.

Srila Gurudeva: I will take after your offering.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Make a short offering to the deities. Then Srila Maharaja, myself, and all other devotees can honor some prasada.

Devotee: Maharaja, will you take fruits?

Srila Gurudeva: As you like; you can give anything you like.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Let the offering be made now. This is such a happy gathering.

Srila Gurudeva: By speaking with you, I remember Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja so much. We would always be with each other in a great council that had so many Vaisnavas.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Like Visva-Vaisnava-Rajya-sabha.

Srila Gurudeva: He used to speak such high hari-katha from the core of his heart.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I have heard about Guru Maharaja speaking about his relationship with Kesava Maharaja. I also heard from Guru Maharaja’s sevaka about the loving relationship Guru Maharaja and Kesava Maharaja shared. They had so much love and affection for each other.

Srila Gurudeva: I would always serve Guru Maharaja and his godbrothers. Vaisnava-seva must always be done. They used to discuss so many tattvas.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: They were such intimate godbrothers.

[Break of audio]

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I feel some special love is there in your kirtana.

Srila Gurudeva: Svamiji was very interested to listen to my kirtana.

Devotee: Yesterday, Agnideva Prabhu met and told Srila Maharaja that he had heard his kirtanas on tapes many times and he wanted to also hear Maharaja do kirtana these days. But the doctors told Maharaja to not speak.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I have a special liking for the way Maharaja leads kirtana. If there is any manifestation of genuine devotion from anywhere and if another sincere devotee feels this love, then it is beyond calculation. We can receive that vibration spontaneously if we are unprejudiced.

Srila Gurudeva: What is the name of Puri Maharaja’s Matha in Kalna?

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Vasudeva Gaudiya Matha.

Srila Gurudeva: I went there many times.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: It is a very ancient temple. The king of Vardhaman gave the temple to Puri Maharaja.

Srila Gurudeva: What is the name of the Puri Matha?

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha.

Srila Gurudeva: When Puri Maharaja comes to Vrndavana, he goes to the Matha near Kesi-ghata. We have a beautiful Matha there. Have you been there? You should come there if you come to Vrndavana.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: It would be my pleasure Maharaja. I have been to Vrndavana Dhama, but I have mostly stayed in Navadvipa Dhama.

Srila Gurudeva: I have been staying in Vrndavana since 1954.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I have only been to some places of Vrndavana.

Have you come to our Matha in Navadvipa?

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: I came with Maharaja and had the darsana of Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja many times.

Srila Gurudeva: He joined the Matha early.

[Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja introduces the devotees to Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja]

Maharaja, this is Pundarika Prabhu. He is the transcendental interpreter. And, Vrndavana-vilasini didi and Jadurani didi are some of the first disciples of Srila Svami Maharaja. Jadurani didi has done so many paintings.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: I also saw some of her paintings she did under the guidance of Srila Narayana Maharaja’s instructions. I really appreciated her efforts. They are very beautiful.

Srimati Syamarani dasi: I only sat there, and Srila Narayana Maharaja painted them.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: He painted through you.

Srila Gurudeva: She was first attached so much to Dvarakadisa. I took her to Vraja and gave all these things to her.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: In the higher way, we see that this is the way of spiritual manifestation just as Sriman Mahaprabhu did. Actually, He presented all the scriptures through Rupa Gosvami, the Sad-Gosvamis, and Raya Ramananda Prabhu. Raya Ramananda Prabhu pointed it out everywhere in Caitanya-caritamrita that “It is actually You Lord, who is empowering me to speak as such. You are the ocean and You have created the clouds to rain upon You. I am the cloud of Your mercy and empowerment. So, I am pouring the rain by Your mercy.”

So, the Vaisnavas’ inspiration and Sri Guru’s inspiration is natural in the life of a devotee who is under the guidance of his Diksa or Siksa-Guru.

Srila Gurudeva: She is a bona fide Vaisnavi. Her holy master named her, “Jadurani.” And I call her, “Syamarani.”

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: It is my special pleasure to know that all of you are assisting Srila Narayana Maharaja in his preaching service. You are all so blessed. I am very happy.

Are you a Bengali?

Pundarika dasa: No, I am from Punjab. I have had Maharaja’s association since two years.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: You are from Punjab?

Pundarika dasa: But, I always stayed in Delhi.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: This is Vrajanatha Prabhu. He is from Holland. Previously, he served in ISKCON for many, many years. He was in charge of BBT. And now he is traveling with Maharaja. He is like a personal secretary taking care of so many things.

Vrajanatha dasa: I am still serving in ISKCON.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Same as ISKCON.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: The unbridled conception of ISKCON is pure Krsna consciousness; pure consciousness of the supreme beloved, divine Truth—Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu. After all, we are all the servitors of ISKCON. All ISKCON devotees are the servitors of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavism. It is one and the same.

Srila Gurudeva: I have told this so many times. First there was the Visva-Vaisnava-Rajya-sabha started by Srila Jiva Gosvami.

Sripad Bhaktinandana Maharaja: Do you have a small desk?

Srila Gurudeva: You can sit there; not in front of the deities.

[Break of audio]

Srila Gurudeva: . . . someone wrote in his name. So, I had strongly written “Anyone who speaks against our Guru or anything wrong—whoever he may be, I will oppose.” He used to fear also.

The ISKCON leaders think that “Oh he is not doing anything.” They are doing all these things. But it is for their good that they are doing something and everything is coming out.

[Break of audio]

Srila Gurudeva: . . . they say, “Karma-misra bhakti is highest.” It means they don’t know who Svamiji is.

Vrajanatha dasa: They make Svamiji into a businessman.

Srila Gurudeva: Yes.

Vrajanatha dasa: They think his mission is to collect money and make buildings and followers.

Srila Gurudeva: Yes. And to make marriage ceremonies.

Devotee: They accept karma-misra bhakti. But they do not desire to advance.

Srila Gurudeva: They should not follow. But we should not dishonor them; I don’t dishonor them. They should regard vaidhi-bhakti and go on. But we should know that vaidhi-bhakti should be practiced to attain raganuga-bhakti in our line. Vaidhi-bhakti is not the ultimate goal.


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