Make the Festival, with Heart and Soul
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Actually, I can tell it to you in advance: you know that on Thursday (19 July 2012) is Srila Sridhar Maharaj's disappearance festival, you must understand it and make some festival. Cook some chickpea dal (chana dal), potato with poppy seeds (aloo posto, or aloo dum), get some good mango, and you can make the bhog with that. It will be good for you.
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the Founder-Acharya of our society. If Srila Sridhar Maharaj had not come in this world, we would not have been able to get our Guru, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. That is why we must pay obeisance to Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj properly, not only showing, but properly, in our heart. We should not only say, "I am the disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj"—if you want to show it from your heart, if you want to show that you want to serve Srila Sridhar Maharaj, then make a good festival on this day. Make a small festival, but give good prasadam.
I am telling to everyone who is staying in the temple, to every centre: you must make a festival for Srila Sridhar Maharaj. This is my message for the devotees all over the world.
Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj made Chaitanya Saraswat Math in 1941. If he had not made our society, where would we be now? We were floating in an ocean, we were in a jungle, forest, but through Gurudev, through his disciples, he brought us all under one umbrella of Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Remembering this, we must pay full obeisance to him, we must serve him properly, with heart and soul.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj also made our Guru, and for that we are forever indebted to his lotus feet. We always pray to him because he has actually given us our Guru! Without him, where would we have got our Guru?
Even A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Srila Prabhupad recognised Srila Sridhar Maharaj as the perfect Guru: when he first went to the foreign countries of the West, he told some of his disciples that in India, Bengal, there lived Srila Sridhar Maharaj, that he was a bona fide Guru, his spiritual master, his siksa Guru, and that they all could take shelter of that Srila Sridhar Maharaj. All godbrothers of Srila Sridhar Maharaj said this—they recognised Srila Sridhar Maharaj was a bona fide Guru.
Only a bona fide Guru can recognise another bona fide Guru. Srila Sridhar Maharaj also recognised Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, as his successor. In his lifetime, he said that the next Acharya, the next Guru, the next Sevaite-Acharya would be our Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj himself recognised our Guru—it is not necessary for anyone else to give recognition.
Some Gurus from other Maths also went to the West, but Srila Swami Maharaj gave recognition to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave recognition to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and Srila Sridhar Maharaj gave recognition to our Gurudev.
You know that Srila Sridhar Maharaj had been waiting to give his chair, to give the Guru's position to our Gurudev for thirty years. Gurudev did not want to take this position, but finally Srila Sridhar Maharaj said, "If you do not take this position now, I will commit suicide, and if I commit suicide, you will be the murderer and everyone will accuse you. Think now what you will do." After this Gurudev took sannyas and took the position. It was 1985.
You can understand how much love and affection everyone had for Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Many of his godbrothers—Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj, Bhakti Prajnan Kesav Maharaj, Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj and others—took sannyas from Srila Sridhar Maharaj. They all got a siksa Guru in the person of Srila Sridhar Maharaj.
We must give importance, must give respect to Srila Sridhar Maharaj. If you love Srila Sridhar Maharaj, if you give honour to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, then our Gurudev also will be happy. We do not give dishonour to anybody, we do not differentiate, "This is my Guru, and this is my Param Guru." No! I got my Guru through Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and if I do not give respect to him, it will be improper.
You know also that every year Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj invited Srila Sridhar Maharaj to his temple in Mayapur for his birthday. Every year Srila Sridhar Maharaj went there and Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj offered whatever he received that day to his sannyas Guru, to Srila Sridhar Maharaj. One year, when Srila Sridhar Maharaj could not come for his birthday, Goswami Maharaj said, "My siksa Guru, my sannyas Guru could not come, so I may not be alive next year." He expired that year.
When Srila Sridhar Maharaj left his body, it was 12 August 1988, at the place that Gurudev had chosen for the samadhi, there was a mango tree, and that mango tree also died the same day—it gave its place for its Guru's samadhi...
Also, you must buy white flowers, not any other colour, for this day. Place Srila Sridhar Maharaj's photo on a Vyas asan and give some puspanjali. OK?
ছাড়িয়া বৈষ্ণব-সেবা নিস্তার পায়েছে কেবা
chhadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payechhe keba
Srila Narottam Das Thakur
"Without service to the Vaishnav, no one can get relief." Only service to the Guru, Vaishnavs, Bhagavan can give you relief:
তিনের স্মরণে হয় বিঘ্ন-বিনাশন
tinera smarane haya vighna-vinasana
By remembering Guru, Vaishnav, Bhagavan, all obstacles are destroyed.
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 1.21
* Some of other preparations that are known to be favourite to His Divine Grace Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj include: cholar dal (split chickpea dal), aloo dum, aloo bhaja (deep-fried potato), muri, luchi (puri) with aloo bhaja, samosas, pineapple chutney, puspanna, natural orange juice with just a little sugar.
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