Srila Narottam Das Thakur:
His Mission in Bengal

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj,
Srila Narottam Das Thakur's disappearance day
Sri Nabadwip Dham, 4 November 2012, part 4

 

Narottam Das Thakur started sankirtan movement at every house. At least one day a year everybody must have a kirtan, and I saw that even now in many villages each house has kirtan for one day. But now they are not practising properly, they are following a misconception—they are doing kirtan, but that is actually kirtan business...

Do you know who Narottam Das Thakur studied from? From Jiva Goswami Prabhu, Rupa Goswami Prabhu's nephew. Jiva Goswami wrote many books including Harinam-amrita-vyakaran. After that, Srinivas Acharya was his friend. When Mahaprabhu took sannyas, He took shelter at his house—He stayed there a few hours. Sometimes we go to that house, it is near Katwa.

At first, Narottam Das Thakur thought, "I will stay in Vrindavan full time," but he could not fulfil his desire because his Guru told him to go to Bengal and preach there. And he did that. Later, when he became old and finished his preaching, he again came to Vrindavan. His mind was always in Vrindavan, and last moment he came there, just like Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. He also wanted to die in Vrindavan, but when he was staying in Vrindavan, at Radha-Damodar temple, translating Srimad Bhagavatam, he got some daiva vani (message) from Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and at his old age (about seventy years old), he went out of India by ship. How is it possible at such an old age? But he also wanted to leave his body in Vrindavan, and he did that—when came back, he finally left his body in Vrindavan. The same thing happened with Narottam Das Thakur. He wanted to stay in Vrindavan but how will he go to Vrindavan to stay alone? No, Jiva Goswami told him, "Do you want to eat alone? No, that is not good! Go preaching!"

Jiva Goswami Prabhu sent three of them—Acharya Srinivas, Shyamananda Prabhu and Narottam Das Thakur—to preach and they took with them many books from Vrindavan because at that time the Muslim emperor took all books and burnt them. So, they quickly took some books in Vrindavan and brought them to different place in India otherwise so many books would have been lost. In Mahaprabhu's time also, the Muslim king stopped the kirtan, and Rupa and Sanatan came to that place and met with Mahaprabhu. Anyhow, Narottam Das Thakur thought, "Oh, my hope, my desire was to stay in Vrindavan, but my Guru said I had to go to Bengal for preaching and I came there, but at my last moment I am still leaving my body in Vrindavan." At his last age, he was even happier to leave his body in Vrindavan because he knew he had followed his Guru.

Three persons (Acharya Srinivas, Shyamananda Prabhu and Narottam Das Thakur) had promised they would stay in Vrindavan, but they left their promise and came to Bengal.

One night, king Birhambir stole the books they were taking from Vrindavan. In the morning when they did not see the books they were very surprised and began to search for them everywhere. In the end, Acharya Srinivas collected those books.

Then, Narottam Das Thakur came to the birthplace of Mahaprabhu. Crying, "Ha Gaura! Ha Gaura! (O Gaura! O Gaura!)" he came to the bank of the Ganges under a tree. He was searching, "Where is Mahaprabhu's tree? Where is Mahaprabhu's birthplace? Where is that neem tree?" Then he saw on brahman. He came to him and asked, "Do you know where the birthplace of Mahaprabhu is?" That brahman became so happy, "Oh, I have found one real devotee who is searching for Mahaprabhu's birthplace!" Narottam Das Thakur asked, "What is your name?" and the brahman replied, "My name is Suklambhar Brahmachari. What is your name?" Narottam Das Thakur replied, "My name is Narottam Das..." Suklambhar Pabhu got excited, "Oh, you have come from Vrindavan! I have heard your name, you are a real devotee!" They mixed together.

In this way, Narottam Das Thakur got there so many great devotees. He also went to Kharadaha where Nityananda Prabhu's sakti, Vasuda and Jahnava, were staying. He came there to pay his dandavat to Nityananda's sakti (sakti means power—we think it is like a wife, but actually it is not, it is power). Narottam Das Thakur met with them... His life's description is very long... When he came to Bengal he found so many great devotees there who were not getting good association. In this way, Narottam Das Thakur kept Mahaprabhu's conception properly.

 

We are praying to that Vaishnav Thakur, "Wherever you are staying, Prabhu, wherever you are living now, we want to serve your servant! We want to serve your servant's servant." We pray we can get some mercy and can serve him, can protect his line and preach about him.

"Vaisnava sangete mana anandita anuksana" (বৈষ্ণব সঙ্গেতে মন আনন্দিত অনুক্ষণ): "In the association of Vaishnavs, my mind is always joyful." "Chhadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payechhe keba (ছাড়িয়া বৈষ্ণব-সেবা নিস্তার পায়েছে কেবা): Without service to the Vaishnav, you cannot get any relief." (Srila Narottam Das Thakur). If you serve Narottam Das Thakur, if you serve great Vaishnavs, as Gurudev said, if you serve Guru, Vaishnavs, then Bhagavan Krishna Himself will come to serve you.

We must understand how we will go to the proper, real place, proper, real way. How will we practise? Without practise nobody can be perfect. Practise makes perfect. We must understand what our main line is—we must understand Narottam Das Thakur's line, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's line, Gurudev's line, who can protect our line, who can protect our sampradaya and give proper, real conception. If we can follow them, we can understand everything properly.

Gurudev always said there are 10% devotees, 20% devotees, etc. I told about it yesterday also. "Sraddha-anusari bhakti-adhikari (শ্রদ্ধা-অনুসারী ভক্তি-অধিকারী): quality of devotion depends faith." (Cc, 2.22.64) You must buy devotion not with money, but with what? With faith—with sraddha, the strongest faith. There are four types of faith—kamala sraddha (soft, fragile faith), taranga sraddha (wavering faith), drdha sraddha (strong faith), and sudrdha sraddha (strongest faith). How will you acquire devotion? With faith, sraddha. That is why Gurudev always said that those who have 10% faith will be a 10% devotee, those who have 50% faith will be a 50% devotee. Why did Gurudev say it? He was saying that sraddha-anusari bhakti-adhikari (শ্রদ্ধা-অনুসারী ভক্তি-অধিকারী) (quality of devotion depends faith).

In this way, we can have a proper realisation about Srila Narottam Das Thakur. Those who have a strong desire will get real benefit, real things...

 

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