Seeking Srila Saraswati Thakur's Mercy
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
gurvvabhista-supurakam guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam
I offer my obeisance unto he who perfectly fulfils his Gurudev's most cherished desires; who is fully adorned with the blessings of his Gurudev’s associates; who is expert in all aspects of Vedic knowledge, both conceivable and inconceivable; who is the pre-eminent follower of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu's line; who is known as 'Govinda'—Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj; whose beautiful, effulgent, exalted form is infused with pure devotion; who is the Guru of the entire universe; and who is the giver of the seed of divine love for the Supreme Lord.
First, I am offering my full obeisance at the feet of my Gurupadpadma Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, then to the Guru-varga, to great Vaishnav Pujyapad Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, the sannyasi-vrinda, the devotees (bhakta-mandala), all the brahmacharis, as well as all godbrothers.
I have been requested to speak today about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and his teachings. Param Gurudev Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, who wrote the first kirtan that was sung here ("Sujanarvuda-radhita-pada-yugam yuga-dharma-dhurandhara-patra-varam..."), wrote also one beautiful sloka,
"With his first step, he vigorously cut asunder the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he put a stop to all the calculations of the different scholars with their different conceptions of liberation. With his third step, he eased the hard rules and regulations by a touch of the Divine Love: he gave us the worship of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda. The real existence of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad is in his divine teachings. May those teachings dance eternally within the core of your heart."
Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur declared a totalitarian war against maya and he relaxed the viddhi, rules and regulations. When he came to Nabadwip, he had to go through many austerities, he said,
জগতে কৈলে ঘোষণা 'তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা' হন 'কীর্ত্তনীয়ঃ সদা হরিঃ' ।
jagate kaile ghosana 'taroriva sahisnuna'
"You have declared that to always chant the Holy Name one must be more tolerant than a tree."
He proclaimed: be humble, tolerant and give honour to others. That is Bhakti-siddhanta vani. He relaxed the viddhi rules and promoted the raganuga bhakti. He also said that if instead of making thousands of hospitals, instead of treating thousands of patients, you can bring even one person averse towards Krishna to this path, then it is thousand times better.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur also wrote beautifully: by serving the jiva souls, the soul gets benefit. "Soul" (jiva) means that even chickens have souls. "Jive prema kare yei jana sei jana sevichhe isvara" (জীবে প্রেম করে যেই জন সেই জন সেবিছে ঈশ্বর; "love God by loving others"). People say this all the time, but they do not think that even a chicken or a goat has a soul. That is why in our Gaudiya Math we say that such mentality is not Rama Krishna Mission, it is mentality of a Murgi Mission (lit. "Chicken Mission"). They say, "As many faiths, so many paths" (yata mat tata path, যত মত, তত পথ), but if you do not put food into your mouth—if you put it into your ear—will the food go down? Then you can understand what is what. This is apa-siddhanta.
When the dharma that people practised become different from the true dharma, Haridas Thakur and Advaita Acharya brought Mahaprabhu to this world. Later, after Mahaprabhu, there appeared thirteen apa-sampradayas (aul, baul, kartabhaja, neda, darvesh, sani, sahajiya, sakhibekhi, smarta, jata gosai, ativadi, churadhari, gauranga-nagari), and now there are thousands of them. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur wanted to give relief from it. What did he do? He came with Bhagavati Devi to Bimala Devi in the Jagannath Mandir and prayed, "O Lord! Please send someone who can preach Bhagavad-katha, who will be able to preach the precepts of pure devotion. Please send someone to me!" By the mercy of Jagannath, Bimala Prasad (later known as Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) came in this world. I have heard about this from my Gurudev. Later on, Bhaktivinod Thakur came with Srila Saraswati Thakur here in Mayapur, Nabadwip, and stayed here.
Bhaktivinod Thakur also had another son, Lalita Prasad, who often objected, "I am also Bhaktivinod Thakur's son! I am a brother of Bimala Prasad, why do I not get honour like him?" Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, "Baba badha Radha: you only see a father in Bhaktivinod Thakur, but I see him as an intimate associate of Srimati Radharani. That is the difference."
"By serving the jiva souls, the soul gets benefit." "Following your mind in the name of service is not service—following Guru and Vaishnavs, serving Guru and Vaishnavs, satisfying them, is called service." "You cannot become a Guru by flattery." Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur taught many things. You can travel to many places, you can follow all sixty-four devotional practices but if you do not follow your Guru, if you do not preach about your Guru, if you just carry on in your own way, then we will not be able to get Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur' mercy.
Thus, this is our address:
My Gurudev sent me to this Saraswat Gaudiya Sangha for the first time in 1996 after Pujyapad Jayapataka Swami Maharaj wrote an invitation to my Gurudev, and I am very happy that we celebrate the days of Srila Saraswati Thakur, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur together and I am very grateful that you have given me, a lowly person, an asan on this stage. I am very grateful to you all. I am asking you all for your mercy. Please forgive my offences.
Who would have said it?
sri-gauranga-parisada thakura bhakti-vinoda
"Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur is an associate of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and a friend of all low and fallen souls—to dispel all darkness of this dark age, he brought to this earth you, a spotless full moon."
How beautifully it is written about him. What advice, what teachings did he give to the world?
তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা ।
trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna
"One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives honour to others without desiring it for himself, is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Krishna."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila, 6.239)
If we all accept these teachings, then we too will be able to get the mercy of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
Jay Srila Prabhupad ki jay!
বাঞ্ছাকল্পতরুভ্যশ্চ কৃপাসিন্ধুভ্য এব চ ।
vanchha-kalpatarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
"Again and again I offer my obeisance unto the Supreme Lord's devotees, who are saviours of the fallen, oceans of mercy, and wish-fulfilling trees."
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