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Rays of The Harmonist Number 22

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Special On-line Edition for the Disappearance Day of
Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja

sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

[Rays of The Harmonist Monthly On-Line Edition Banner-logo]

Year-3, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 20 November 2010

Dedicated to
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada

Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja

Inspired by and under the guidance of

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Offerings Unto the Lotus Feet of a Vaisnava

In remembrance of the transcendental life and teachings
of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja

by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Portrait of Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja

A glorification written for the auspicious occasion of
his 112th Vyasa-puja celebration, 11th October 2010

~ His Appearance and His Taking Shelter of Sri Guru

Most worshipful nitya-lila-pravista Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja appeared in the village of Ganganandapura, in the district of Yasohara in present day Bangladesh. His childhood name was Sri Pramoda Bhusana Cakravarti. In His youth he had the good fortune to listen to recitations of the sacred literatures written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In 1915, on the auspicious day of Utthana-ekadasi, Paramahamsa Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja entered nitya-lila. On that most auspicious day, Sri Pramoda Bhusana had the fortune of taking his first darsana of his eternally worshipful gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, Srila Prabhupada. Thereafter, in 1923, on the auspicious day of Sri Krsna Janmastami, Sri Pramoda Bhusana completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and accepted both harinama and mantra-diksa (initiation) from him. He was given the name Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari.

~ Serving The Innermost Desire of Srila Prabhupada’s Heart

Srila Prabhupada entrusted Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari with the responsibility of two extremely important services: mrdanga (kirtana) and brhad-mrdanga (book publication). Under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada, Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari used to lead kirtana at many events. And at times, his kirtana performances would even be aired on the radio. Many times when Srila Prabhupada heard him sing “gopinatha! mama nivedana suno”, he would experience deep pangs of separation and wanted Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari to sing the song again and again.

Srila Prabhupada Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura rested the responsibility of serving the brhad-mrdanga upon Srila Maharaja (Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja). For many years Srila Maharaja offered his services as the editor of the daily spiritual journal Dainika Nadiya-Prakasa, carrying out the orders of Srila Prabhupada with steadfast dedication. Many articles of his were also published in the weekly periodical, Gaudiya. Recognizing his genius for preaching Sri Caitanya’s message, Srila Prabhupada awarded him the titles upadesaka (instructor) and pratna-vidyalankara (exquisitely decorated with all ancient scriptural wisdom).

Even after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Maharaja served as the editor of the then monthly periodical Gaudiya, which was published directly from Sri Caitanya Matha (in Mayapura), and for nearly forty years after that he remained the editor of the periodical Sri Caitanya-vani, which was published from Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha (in Kolkata).

Along with his service to the mrdanga and the brhad-mrdanga, he also had the fortune of directly serving Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental body when Srila Prabhupada exhibited the pastime of being ill.

~ His Service After the Disappearance of Srila Prabhupada

For almost seven years after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Maharaja rendered service by accepting the responsibility of head pujari in the temple at Sri Yoga-pitha in Sridhama Mayapura. But a number of years after that, when some disturbances arose in Sri Caitanya Matha by the will of providence, Srila Maharaja, seeing no other alternative, left Sri Caitanya Matha with a heavy heart. My beloved gurupadapadma, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, established Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, and Srila Maharaja stayed with him for some time. It was then that I had his darsana for the first time and was fortunate enough to render some service to him.

~ His Acceptance of Sannyasa

After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari accepted sannyasa from his Godbrother Srimad Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanasa Maharaja on the most auspicious day of Sri Gaura-purnima, in 1947, at Sri Gaura Gadadhara Matha, in the village of Sri Campakahatta, Sri Navadvipa. Upon accepting sannyasa, he received the name Sri Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja.

~ A Life Full of Anugatya

Srila Maharaja was truly the embodiment of “trnadapi sunicena…”. He would always speak hari-katha with perfect impartiality, keeping his eyes closed. He would profusely glorify the sri bhagavata-parampara and sri harinama. Srila Maharaja lived an exemplary life, full of anugatya (being under guidance). From the beginning of his devotional life and for many, many years after that, Srila Maharaja demonstrated the ideal of living and practising devotional life while remaining completely under the guidance of his very qualified Godbrothers. Even after establishing Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha some time around 1990, he used to say, “I am not the acarya or governor of this matha; rather I am an insignificant servant. Indeed Srila Prabhupada and his associates are the acarya and governors of this matha.”

Nowadays, most people practising devotional life find it quite difficult to genuinely accept as their superiors those who are on the same platform as they are or even those who are more advanced. However, it was seen in the exemplary life of Srila Maharaja that whoever he saw as the object of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, in whomever he saw an intense desire to serve Srila Prabhupada, he unconditionally bowed his head to. For instance, although Srila Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanasa Maharaja was his junior Godbrother, he still accepted him as his sannyasa-guru. And even though Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja took shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet much later than Srila Maharaja, he nevertheless devoted almost thirty-five years of his life to fulfilling the innermost desires of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja by editing books and magazines for hi m and by contributing articles to the magazines.

Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja was first drawn to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada on account of regularly hearing hari-katha in Kolkata from the divine lips of this same great personality, Srila Maharaja. Yet, when the intimate associates of Srila Prabhupada accepted Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja as a highly exalted devotee, Srila Maharaja did not even slightly hesitate in also accepting him as his siksa-guru. And even though it was Srila Maharaja in fact, along with Srila Bhakti Hrdaya Vana Gosvami Maharaja, who first brought Srila Bhakti Kumuda Santa Gosvami Maharaja from his home to the matha during his childhood, later, Srila Maharaja personally used to inspire so many devotees to take shelter of Srila Bhakti Kumuda Santa Gosvami Maharaja. It is impossible to find so much magnanimity in an ordinary person.

~ Entering Into the Eternal Pastimes of the Divine Couple

During the last days of his manifest pastimes (prakata-lila), he lived in vipralambha ksetra, Sri Jagannatha Puri*. It was there that by the orders of his isvari (the empress of Vraja, Srimati Radhika), to enhance the beauty of Her service, Srila Maharaja entered into the eternal pastimes of the Divine Couple on the eve of the autumnal rasa-purnima of Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha on the 21st of November, 1999.** On the autumnal rasa-purnima of Kartika, in the courtyard of Sri Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha in Isodyana (the garden of his isvari), which is very close to sri rasa-mandala – or in other words, Srivasa Angana in Sridhama Mayapura, which is non-different from sri rasa-mandala in Vraja – he entered into the permanent state of complete absorption in his eternal service (samadhi).

* The place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu relished the moods of Srimati Radhika in separation from Sri Krsna.
** His divine body was transported from Jagannatha Puri to Sridhama Mayapura.

~ His Relationship With My Gurupadpadma

Most revered Srila Maharaja had a very intimate transcendental relationship with my beloved gurudeva, nitya-lila-pravista Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. In 1990, for the occasion of my srila gurudeva’s disappearance day, Srila Maharaja penned his humble expression of separation, which was published in Sri Gaudiya Patrika (Year 41, Issue 4). Therein he wrote,

“Due to receiving divine guidance in the shelter of your feet and due to being affectionately blessed by both* of you, in the initial days of his matha life this fallen younger Godbrother of yours had the good fortune of serving the lotus feet of the most worshipful Srila Prabhupada for three years. It was then that both of you made your unqualified, fallen brother full of intense enthusiasm to serve, by completely opening to him the unlimited storehouse of your affection. At that time, I had thought that I would spend my whole life in Sridhama Mayapura, serving our most worshipful Srila Prabhupada, while constantly protected and guided solely by your divine affection for me.”

* The two Godbrothers mentioned here are Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja – who was known as Sripada Vinoda-bihari Brahmacari at the time – and Sri Narahari ‘Seva-vigraha’ Prabhu.

From these words, it is clear that Srila Maharaja spent the first three years of his devotional life in Sridhama Mayapura, and that he had deep nistha in my worshipful gurudeva. Because of that, he wrote elsewhere that Sripad Vinoda-bihari Brahmacari was not just one of the exalted, renounced disciples of Srila Prabhupada living in the matha, rather, he was the greatest of them all.*

* From an article published in Sri Bhagavat Patrika (Year 41, Issue 12)

Srila Maharaja has also expressed in his article entitled “A Humble Submission – My Life Story”:

“Srila Prabhupada used to address all of his disciples with apa, the respectful form of ‘you’. But when he spoke to Paramananda Prabhu, Vinoda-bihari Brahmacari, Narahari ‘Seva-vigraha’ Prabhu and Vaisnava Dasa Babaji, he used the extremely intimate form, tu. It is certainly true that Vinoda-bihari Prabhu and Narahari Prabhu were the life and soul of the Mayapura asrama (Sri Caitanya Matha). Their pleasing, lovable conduct would fill the hearts of the devotees with bliss, and that is why they were objects of Srila Prabhupada’s boundless affection. I think that throughout my entire life I have never received such guileless affection from anyone as I have received from these two Godbrothers.”

~ Accepting Rupanugatya, Following in the Footsteps of Srila Prabhupada

Under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada and his internal associates, and in their association, the path that Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja traversed to achieve perfection in following the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami (rupanugatya) – he who fulfilled the innermost desire of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s heart – is truly evident in the internal emotions he has expressed through his writings.

For example, in the preface to the edition of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta published by Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha, Srila Maharaja has explicitly stated:

“In Sri Raya Ramananda Samvada, the love experienced by Srimati Radhika is recognized as the crest-jewel of perfection (sadhya-siromani). But when Sri Raya Ramananda further explained about prema-vilasa-vivarta – the aspect of love in which the experience of actual meeting occurs even at the time of separation, by virtue of adhirudha-bhava* – Sriman Mahaprabhu accepted that form of love as the highest limit of perfection. Subservience (anugatya) to the sakhis is the only way to achieve the sadhya-vastu, the ultimate objective of life.

* Adhirudha-bhava is the final limit of mahabhava, which is the very essence of Krsna’s pleasure-giving potency. Adhirudha-bhava is characterized by the feeling that each moment is like a day of Brahma when one is separated from Krsna and that a day of Brahma is like a moment when one is meeting with Him.

nijendriya-sukha-vancha nahi gopikara
krsne sukha dite kare sangama-vihara

sei gopi-bhavamrte yanra lobha haya
veda-dharma-tyaji’ se krsne bhajaya

raganuga-marge tanre bhaje yei jana
sei-jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 8.217, 219–220)

There is no desire for personal enjoyment in the heart of any gopi. They meet with Krsna and joyfully play with Him only to give Him happiness.

Whoever develops greed for the ambrosia of love of God tasted by these gopis abandons the religious duties prescribed in the Vedas in order to render perfect loving service to Sri Krsna.

And he who worships Krsna on the path of spontaneous love (raganuga-marga) attains Vrajendra-nandana in Vraja.

“Therefore, one cannot earn the qualification to perform vraja-bhajana (perfected internal service in the mood of the residents of Vraja) if there is even a trace of desire for the pleasure of gratifying one’s own senses. It is a fact that, “vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti – devotion governed by the regulative principles (vaidhi-bhakti) has no power to grant vraja-bhakti” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.15). And since raga-bhakti is so difficult to attain, it has been explained that, “nama-sankirtanaثalau parama upaya – in this age of Kali, nama-sankirtana (chanting of the holy names) is the ultimate limb of bhakti” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 20.8). When someone is able to chant harinama withou t offences, then harinama alone mercifully bestows upon him the qualification to enter into raga-bhajana. Merely displaying that one has acquired the qualification to perform raga-bhajana without taking complete shelter of the holy name is nothing more than impertinence. It never leads to favourable results.”

Srila Maharaja has also stated in an article entitled “Sri Sri Radhastami”* published in Sri Caitanya Vani,

* Published in English in Rays of The Harmonist, No.14, Kartika, 2004.

“With such a vast depth of emotion, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and other Gosvamis have lovingly sung the glories of Srimati Radharani. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada has relished the nectar of Her glories in such an unprecedented and astonishing way in his Sri Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi. And the way Sri Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has composed Sva-niyamastaka and other prayers gloriously demonstrates his intense longing to attain sri radha-dasyam, the role of a maidservant of Sri Radha.

“This same mood is also found in the writings of the most worshipful Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. It is found in his Anubhasya commentary on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and in his Anuvrtti on Sri Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Upadesamrta. It is found in his poetic translations of Sri Bhramara-gita, Sri Mahisi-gita and the ten states of divyonmada that Sri Rupa Gosvami described in Sri Ujjvala-nilamani. And it is found in the mangalacarana, or auspicious invocation, of his Prarthana-rasa-vivrti commentary on Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya’s Prarthana and in the mangalacarana of his Gaudiya-bhasya commentary on Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. The goal of our constant endeavour is to imbibe these wonderful expressions of yearning for sri radha-dasyam.

“The day when my most revered spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, first met his spiritual master, om visnupada Sri Srila Gaura-kisora Prabhu, he saw him walking towards Sri Svananda-sukhada-kunja. His appearance was that of an avadhuta* and he was singing one particular song over and over. Srila Prabhupada wrote that song down with his own hand and kept it with him, regarding it as the dear-most treasure of his bhajana. As the servants of the servants of Srila Prabhupada, our sole objective is to seek out that secret treasure. The Six Gosvamis have demonstrated the ideal of weeping in profound anxiety as they wandered throughout Vraja, crying “ha radhe! ha radhe!” In performing bhajana, our sole asset is our unpretentious cries to attain the undisguised mercy of the embodiment of mercy Herself, Sri mati Radharani. There is no other means to attain this treasure of devotion than by the causeless mercy of sri gurudeva. The song of devotion that Srila Babaji Maharaja used to sing goes like this:

* Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary defines an avadhuta as ‘one who has shaken off from himself worldly feeling and obligation’.

kothaya go premamayi, radhe radhe
radhe radhe go, jaya radhe radhe

Only when I sincerely offer my life and soul to attain this extremely valuable treasure, feeling true anxiety and deep yearning for it, shall I understand that Sri Gurudeva has genuinely accepted me. Oh, when will such good fortune arise for me! The number of days of my life is almost exhausted!

So many examples such as these can be given, but for now, to prevent this offering from becoming too lengthy, I have only presented these two.

~ The Causeless Mercy My Srila Gurudeva and
Other Disciples of Srila Prabhupada Bestowed Upon Me

In 1954 my most worshipful spiritual master, nitya-lila pravista Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, established Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura and entrusted me with the complete responsibility of caring for the matha, from that time on. Because of this causeless mercy from Srila Gurudeva, I had the great fortune of serving and associating with most of Srila Prabhupada’s intimate disciples. Whenever they would come to Vraja, they would unfailingly visit Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, since the only inter-city bus and railway stations in Vraja are both located in Mathura. Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja also came and stayed in Mathura Matha many times. Moreover, on many occasions like Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama, various special festivals, deity installations and so on, I received the association of Srila Maharaja. In this way, I had the great fortune to hear about the precious treasure of bhajana that I mentioned before, directly from the lips of the associates of Srila Prabhupada, and to store the glory of this precious treasure in the core of my heart by virtue of rendering service to them and receiving their mercy.

To prevent this extremely rare treasure of rupanuga-bhajana from disappearing from this world with the passage of time, and to prevent the conditioned souls from being deprived of it forever, wherever I travel in my service of preaching, I provide aspiring devotees clear insights, in line with the current of thought of our rupanuga guru-varga; insights about sri guru and sri guru-parampara; about the message of Sri Rupa-Ragunatha and the teachings of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta; about the profound purpose of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent and the speciality of His contributions to the world; about the glory of sri harinama-sankirtana; about chanting without making offences; and insights into the glories of vraja-bhakti, the transcendental love of Sri Radha and Krsna, and the sadhya (ultimate goal) and sadhana (process) of devotional service. In truth, my srila gurudeva along with Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja and the other associates of Srila Prabhupada are the inspirational source of every insight I have. I am simply an insignificant servant of my beloved gurudeva, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and of the other intimate followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, totally dependent upon the spiritual inheritance they have left for me. Besides this, I do not have any independent existence or identity.

On the auspicious occasion of the appearance day of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja, I offer my dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of my srila gurudeva, nitya-lila pravista Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and unto the lotus feet of Srila Maharaja, and I beg for their causeless mercy so that by following in their footsteps I may attain the qualification to engage in fulfilling the innermost desire of their hearts (mano’bhista-seva) – that is, to practice and preach that most precious treasure of bhajana, more and more.

Praying for a particle of the mercy of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas,
Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana

(Originally written in Hindi)
Translated from Sri Sri Bhagavat Patrika, Year 7, issues 8–9
by the Rays of The Harmonist team in collaboration with
the producers of Bhagavata Dharma (the magazine of Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha)


Next Issue – Year 3, Issue 11: “Sri Guru Is Present In All Things”, 26 November 2010
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