One time, Param Gurudeva traveled to Assam with Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, and Srila Gurudeva—the three pillars of his preaching mission—and a group of brahmacaris. They visited Guwahat, and other villages and towns such as Dhupguri, Gaulpara, and Basugaon.
On the occasion of Radhastami the group found themselves in an area where Hankaradeva, a preacher who did not accept Srimati Radharani in his philosophy, was accepted as acarya. This however, did not trouble Param Gurudeva in the slightest. He boldly held a program for the glorification of Srimati Radharani.
In the morning Param Gurudeva celebrated the birth of Srimatiji by offering puja and abhiseka and in the evening he spoke on radha-tattva.
Hankaradeva’s followers came to the program and began shouting abuses during the lecture. They said, “We will not allow any glorification of Radha here. We only hear the glories of Krsna. Our Guru Maharaja tells us not to glorify anyone but Krsna and especially forbids us to glorify any ladies. We do not accept Radha. If you continue speaking Her glories then we will beat you all to death!”
When Param Gurudeva did not stop, the angry mob began throwing stones, bricks, and bottles. They brought sticks to beat the devotees and began shouting, “Hankaradeva ki jaya! Hankaradeva ki jaya!”
Param Gurudeva asked Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja to address the crowd. He stood up and spoke in a powerful voice. “Do you respect Hankaradeva?” he shouted. Immediately, silence fell. “Do you respect him or not?”
“Yes!” Hankaradeva’s followers replied.
“Does he give mercy or not?”
“Has he given you sakti or not?”
“Alright, now answer me this: is there any potency in water?”
After a short pause many members of the crowd said, “Yes.”
“Is there potency in fire or in storms?”
“Is there power in this Earth?”
“So Bhagavan exists, you accept this? You accept Krsna?
“How can Krsna not have any sakti of His own? He must have some power, but in what form does that power manifest?”
The mob was silent. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja asked, “Do you have sakti in your home or not?”
“Yes,” they said.
“What is the form of that sakti?”
“Our wives—they are our sakti.”
Srila Trivikrama Maharaja laughed. “So how do you think that Bhagavan is Nirakara or Nirvisesa, without form, or sakti? If He was so then how could He give you any mercy?”
Srila Trivikrama Maharaja then began to glorify Srimati Radharani with many quotes and slokas from sastra. Everyone was amazed to hear his speech. When he had finished, Param Gurudeva requested Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja to speak. He also quoted many verses from scripture in praise of Srimati Radharani.
Just after Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja concluded his glorification, the official representative of Hankaradeva arrived—who was respected as guru of the area—desiring to speak with Param Gurudeva and his company. When Param Gurudeva saw him, he offered him a seat next to his own on the Vyasa-asana. Param Gurudeva and his disciples and their preaching impressed the guru. He gave up his disrespectful attitude toward Srimati Radharani then and there.
Often times, Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja, who was known for being strong and grave, would tease Srila Gurudeva when he chanted, “Radhe, Radhe.” He would say, “You are always chanting the names of ladies. Alas! You are a sannyasi, but you always thinking about ladies.” In his playful way he would speak like this, but really he had so much love for Srimati Radharani and Her servants.
Param Gurudeva spoke last there at that assembly. He said, “I have established three special devatas here. One is the sambandha-jnana-devata, one is the abhideya-jnana-devata, and one is the prayojana-tattva-devata.”
The disciples of Hankardeva were curious. They asked, “Who is the sambandha-devata?”
Param Gurudeva replied, “That person who frees others from the jada-jagat and establishes them in the transcendental world—he who gives knowledge of one’s eternal relationship with Bhagavan and His devotees—he is the sambandha-devata. Once one has sambandha, then one must have abhideya. If a newly married girl arrives at her in-laws’ house, and says, ‘I do not know how to serve my husband. I will go and serve someone else and learn how to do the service and then come back,’ then that girl is just like a prostitute. Therefore, relationship is not enough, we must know the process of service. The process is abhideya. If a girl were to speak like this it means her real attachment is somewhere else. Her relationship has not been properly established. So after we get sambandha-jnana, we must learn to adopt abhideya-vrtti, the tendency to carry out the different processes of service. Bhagavan Himself gives this tendency and knowledge of how to serve.”
Param Gurudeva continued, “So you have received some sambandha and then abhideya. Now the prayojana-devata is also before you.”
“Who is the sambandha-devata?” the crowd called out in excitement. “Who is the abhideya-devata? Who is the prayojana-devata?”
“You may look at these three disciples of mine and understand amongst yourselves.”
Param Gurudeva later revealed that Srila Vamana Maharaja is sambandha-jnana-pradata—the giver of sambandha-jnana; Srila Trivikrama Maharaja is the giver of abhideya, or seva-vrtti; and Srila Gurudeva is the bestower of prayojana—eternal love and service offered to Gopinatha.
siksa-guru haya krsna-mahanta-svarupe
Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja would give diksa, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja would give strong instruction and the service tendency to the initiates, and Srila Gurudeva would teach them how to achieve pure love for Krsna and the service of Srimati Radhika.
By the efforts of Param Gurudeva and his dear disciples, a temple was established in Assam and many people became favorable towards Gaudiya Vaisnavas and service of Radha-Krsna. The principal of the main high school in the area was so attracted to Param Gurudeva and his bhakti that he immediately gave up all material ties, took diksa from Param Gurudeva, and became a resident of the Math. Param Gurudeva instructed this devotee, “Now go to my sambandha, abhideya, and prayojana-devatas. Without their help, you will not understand anything about bhakti and bhajan. They will maintain you and help you progress.”
In this way, Param Gurudeva showed that is not enough to simply give initiation to others. One must help them progress and look after them. Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja was always very peaceful and he could never be disturbed. He never became angry. He was respected and glorified by all Vaisnava-acaryas in the different Gaudiya-mathas for his qualities of humility, tolerance, forgiveness, and peacefulness. Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja would externally show anger and harshness and this was the way that he took away the anarthas of the sadhakas. By his power and example, he taught devotees the way of selfless service. Despite his fierce exterior, he had so much affection and softness internally. Srila Gurudeva would feel deep compassion when he saw living beings wasting time in material relationships of this world. His work was to connect those souls to Krsna and give them divine love. He knew how to awaken their love for Krsna and for Guru and Vaisnavas.
Srila Gurudeva’s compassion was infinite. Once in the Mathura-matha he noticed that one of the Brahmacaris would jump over the wall of the temple late at night, after everyone had gone asleep, and he would climb back in at 3:00 in the morning, acting as if he had been there the whole night. The brahmacari had been sneaking off to the cinema and sometimes even to meet a lover outside. Observing this, Srila Gurudeva caught hold of the brahmacari one night and extracted his desire for sense enjoyment, which had been with him for lifetimes. He brought him into a room and locked the door. Then with his danda and his wooden shoes he beat the brahmacari so badly that he was covered in bruises and scratches from head to toe. Like an expert doctor Srila Gurudeva would administer severe treatment like this if necessary, then afterwards he would affectionately explain to the patient why he did it and what he was protecting him from. Srila Gurudeva next took the brahmacari in his arms, stroked him affectionately, and fed him laddus and fruit. Unless or until he could not take out all the anarthas from someone, Srila Gurudeva would not be at peace, nor would he leave that person alone.
We have not heard of disciples of Param Gurudeva falling down because they were all taken care of so nicely by Srila Gurudeva, Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, and Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja. Coming into the association of these three illustrious Vaisnavas, everyone would become engaged in bhajan. Even in his own time, Param Gurudeva said, “All you people who have come, you should take shelter of my three prominent disciples.”
Later on, after Param Gurudeva’s disappearance, Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja would give diksa only after begging permission and mercy from Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Gurudeva. Then after he gave initiation he would send his disciples to Srila Gurudeva and Srila Trivikrama Maharaja for training.
Srila Gurudeva would bring so many qualified boys to Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and then personally train them in Mathura. Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja would say to his disciples, “If you want to make your life successful and learn something useful then go take training from Srila Narayana Maharaja.” He would also order his disciples to associate with Srila Trivikram Maharaja. He never told them, “Just stay with me and I will teach you everything. Do not look toward any other Vaisnava.”
In Srila Gurudeva’s classes he would teach how to respect and serve Vaisnavas and the Guru-varga. He taught devotees how to pray to the great previous acaryas. Taking his instructions to heart, they would pray, “O Ramanujacarya! O Madhvacarya, please help me perform bhakti. Help me to not become bewildered by the material energy.”
This is the method to attain the shower of the acaryas’ mercy, strength to remain above the influence of maya, and to make rapid spiritual advancement. Guru and Vaisnavas are manifestations of svarupa-sakti in this world, therefore unless we take shelter of them and pray for their mercy, we cannot rise up above our own material nature and we cannot be blessed by krpa-sakti, the mercy potency of Krsna.