CENTENARY ANTHOLOGY : INTRODUCTION
Sri Sri Guru-Gaurangau Jayatah
This Extremely Auspicious Day
A Sri Vyasa-puja address
Srila Guru Maharaj preached very successfully all over India. His preaching satisfied Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Everyone had special respect for Srila Guru Maharaj and this was shown by their actions. Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj took sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj even though Srila Guru Maharaj was junior to him (in the mission). Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaj was also senior to Srila Guru Maharaj and he was a very exalted brahmachari of the Sampradaya, but he took sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj. Such advanced, intelligent personalities knew the prospect and conception of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and his Sampradaya. Like these examples, many great devotees of Srila Saraswati Thakur wanted to take sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj, but Srila Guru Maharaj did not give it easily. They wanted to take, but I saw that often they were afraid to ask him. In Vrindavan in perhaps the 1950's I saw two disciples of Srila Saraswati Thakur who wanted to take sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj, but they could not approach him, and lastly they went to Srila Goswami Maharaj. Srila Goswami Maharaj then asked Srila Guru Maharaj, "Maharaj, shall I give sannyas to them?"
Srila Guru Maharaj had much respect for Srila Goswami Maharaj and replied, "Yes. Why are you asking me?" But it is a fact that those devotees could not ask it from Srila Guru Maharaj.
Many wanted to take sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj but could not come to him directly. That was the position of Srila Guru Maharaj.
There was a very dear disciple of Srila Saraswati Thakur who lived in the same room with Srila Saraswati Thakur and received much affection from him—his name was Mahananda Brahmachari. We saw that lastly he came to Srila Guru Maharaj and said, "Maharaj, I want to take sannyas from you. Please give me sannyas." Srila Guru Maharaj gave it very happily and his name became Srila Bhakti Alok Paramahamsa Maharaj.
There were many other disciples of Srila Saraswati Thakur, including Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj, who wanted to take sannyas from Srila Guru Maharaj.
Having some idea about their Sampradaya going in the line of Sri Rupanuga they all came to Srila Guru Maharaj. Srila Saraswati Thakur expressed this through the highest song of our Sampradaya, Sri Rupa-manjari-pada. He wanted to hear that song from Srila Guru Maharaj, not from others. This story is famous.
If we need Ganges water we must go to the Ganges. Similarly it is necessary that if we want the conception given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Srila Saraswati Thakur we must come to Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. This was also the expression of all the devotees of Srila Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada.
We saw that Srila Guru Maharaj would yearly go once or twice to Srila Madhava Maharaj's math, and once or more to Srila Goswami Maharaj's math. At that time there were strong party feelings amongst many devotees, but many of Srila Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers from other camps, including the secretaries and stalwarts from all parties, came to see Srila Guru Maharaj.
Every year on the appearance day of Srila Goswami Maharaj, he invited Srila Guru Maharaj to his math. For his respect Srila Guru Maharaj went there each year. However, one year Srila Guru Maharaj couldn't go because he was showing very poor health. Srila Goswami Maharaj's expression was, "This year Srila Sridhar Maharaj cannot come. Every year he comes and blesses me with a further year of life, and by this blessing I am existing. Now I am thinking that next year I shall not be able to accept the puja of my disciples." Such were the exalted feelings of Srila Goswami Maharaj, and it happened that Srila Goswami Maharaj disappeared that year and so was unable to attend his own next Guru-puja day.
At the time when the Gaudiya Math was divided, devotees would generally not visit devotees of any other camp. But when Srila Guru Maharaj would go to Srila Madhava Maharaj's math, even the general secretary of the Gaudiya Math would come and meet with Srila Guru Maharaj. One day Srila Guru Maharaj asked Sripad Supati Ranjan Nag Prabhu, the general secretary of the Gaudiya Math, "Prabhu, why do you come to see me every time I come here?"
Supati Babu replied in a very nice way: "Your nature attracts us. Your disinterested nature, strong common sense and deep intelligence—these three things attract us, therefore I am coming to see you, and I am feeling so fortunate that still this kind of man is living within our Sampradaya."
In the Scriptures it is said:
acharyam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhichit
That kind of Guru we have got. We have got his mercy, his association, his associates' association, his friends' association, his Godbrothers' association. In that way we can say we are very fortunate that Srila Guru Maharaj bestowed his mercy upon us, but if we cannot worship him in a proper way and cannot respect him properly, then we will go to hell, actually.
You see, in the Scriptures it is said Acharyam Mam vijaniyat: Bhagavan Himself in the form of the Acharya appears in this mundane world to bestow His mercy to the sincere seekers. Navamanyeta karhichit. Don't think anything about the Guru except that he is non-different from Krishna. Then again Krishna says, "Na marttya buddhyasuyeta: don't consider him as a mundane man. He may appear in the form of a mundane body but he is not mundane. You must consider him as Myself. Sarvva-deva-mayo guruh: all the Devas are living within his body." This kind of conception you must carry otherwise you cannot worship him properly. It is necessary to give respectful obeisance to the Guru. The fully surrendered soul will get full mercy from his Guru.
Guru has many forms, and one who is a paramahamsa sees everyone as his Guru. We must try to consider the Mahanta-guru, Chaittya-guru and Siksa-guru in a non-different way, but we cannot always understand the signal of the Chaittya-guru. Our mind lives in the mundane idea, therefore we cannot always say that what our mind says is coming from Krishna. Sometimes, for one who is a very fortunate soul, he will receive instruction from his Chaittya-guru. But Krishna represents Himself in the form of the Mahanta- and Siksa-gurus for our direct guidance.
In which way can we understand? Krsnas tu Bhagavan svayam. Srimad-Bhagavatam said:
ete chamsa-kalah pumsah, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if we try to worship those who are really devoted to Krishna, then our worship must go directly to Krishna. This is the proper channel. We cannot serve Krishna directly, but through Guru and Vaisnava our service can go to Krishna. We cannot see Krishna, but through a 'lens' we can see Him, otherwise not. There are so many planets in the sky and they exist both by day and by night, but how much can we see? We can see them only by looking through a telescope, and that is made by lenses set one after another. This is the process, and in spiritual life this is called the Guru-parampara. It is coming down by the mercy of Krishna, and Krishna Himself appears in the form of a human body, or any kind of form, but when He is very merciful we can understand His glories.
krsna yadi krpa kare kona bhagyavane
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya, 22.47)
It depends upon fortune, and that fortune comes through the service to Guru and the Vaisnavas. When we get such transcendental sukrti, through that we get the connection of Guru. The Guru's position is so high. Srila Guru Maharaj used the expression, 'heavier than the Himalayas.'
One who is fully dedicated to his Guru will get everything. Etat sarvam gurau bhaktya, puruso hy anjasa jayet. He can conquer and get everything by the mercy of Guru.
Before, in the Vedic age, we can see that the students would go to the Guru's house, and the Guru would engage them. This occurred also in the example of Krishna and Sudama. They were instructed: "Go to the jungle and bring some firewood. Go there." They were ordered to do many things, "Do this. Do that." When disciples successfully carry out the order of their Guru and satisfy him, the Guru gives his blessings and they get all the transcendental knowledge, thus becoming all-rounders in spiritual life. In this present age also we have seen this kind of mercy in many cases. So, it is necessary to fully surrender to Guru and carry out his order. But if we think that Guru is mundane, then we will go to hell and not get anything of transcendental knowledge. Krishna consciousness is so high, and there is a special line of Guru. But even in an ordinary way we shall not get that conception of Vedic knowledge without their grace.
Today is a very auspicious day, that Srila Guru Maharaj, the bearer of that high conception of Krishna consciousness—Madhura-rasa—appeared on this day to bestow his mercy upon us. This is an extremely auspicious day for us. He showed his appearance on the same day as Nityananda Prabhu's son. Nityananda Prabhu's glories were chanted by Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami:
preme matta nityananda krpa-avatara
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi, 5.208–209)
("Because He is intoxicated by ecstatic love Sri Gauranga is an incarnation of the ocean of mercy, He does not distinguish between the good and the bad. He delivers all those who fall down before Him. Therefore He has delivered such a sinful and fallen person as me.")
"I have no qualification, but Nityananda Prabhu is so merciful that whoever goes to him receives his mercy. I have no qualification except that I approached him."
There is no cause. It is causeless mercy. Srila Guru Maharaj said many times that mercy is above justice. Justice searches qualification, but mercy does not search for qualification, but only dedication. The word'dedication' is very easy to say, but Krishna showed in which way the strength of dedication comes down into this mundane world. Krishna said,
sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita 18.66)
"Don't worry, but you dedicate yourself to Me fully. Non-religion must be ignored, but also do not be involved with religion. Leave that. Leave everything. Leave whatever you think is good for you as well as whatever you think is bad for you. Leave everything and dedicate yourself fully to Me." That is the advice of Krishna. Sarva-dharman parityajya, Mam ekam, "I am the only person who can give you relief from everything." What kind of mood of dedication is required? "Mam ekam saranam vraja: you will see only the fully dedicated mood of Vraja-dham." Krishna said there is nothing more necessary than this. This is final. He then asked Arjjuna, "Now have you settled your position?" Arjjuna replied: "Yes. Whatever You say, I shall do that." Dedication.
We can see full dedication in Vraja-dham. Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur said:
aradhyo bhagavan brajesa-tanayas-tad-dhama vrndavanam
("It is the conclusive opinion of Lord Chaitanya that Sri Krishna, who is Vrajendra-nandana, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the topmost worshipable Supreme; Vrindavan-dham which is an expansion of Krishna and is non-different from Him is the highest worshipable abode; the Gopis are the highest example of the worship of Sri Krishna; Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless evidence for knowing the Absolute Truth; Krishna-prema is the fifth and highest goal of life. These are the teachings of Sri Chaitanya in a nutshell.")
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and our whole mood of worship must go to Him. Like the Ganges goes to the ocean, when a devotee hears the glories of Krishna, his mind also goes to Krishna, like the Ganges goes to the ocean. Why? Because Krishna lives in everyone's heart. But it is necessary to have full dedication. The Guru's mercy is supreme everywhere. Without his mercy we cannot do anything. If we think that Guru is mundane then we must be faulty, of this there is no doubt. So we must be careful.
There are ten kinds of Namaparadha. The third kind is gurvavajna. You cannot ignore the directives and the lotus feet of your Gurudev. You must dedicate yourself there fully. His order is the order of all the Scriptures. Tad ajna gurunam hy avicharaniya. You must not consider whether it is right or whether it is wrong, but whatever the Guru will say, you must do that without hesitation. Tad ajna gurunam hy avicharaniya.
There are many varieties of expressions in the Scriptures glorifying Srila Gurudev. That Gurudev appeared on this day near Nabadwip, showing his form in Hapaniya. By his mercy we have arranged there in a Temple the service of the Deity and Srila Guru Maharaj for the remembrance of his appearance. We shall also go there for a festival of his glorification.
Today is Srila Guru Maharaj's appearance day, and this is the highest auspicious day for the conditioned souls. I am praying to Srila Guru Maharaj. He is always merciful to us, no doubt, but more strength is necessary to fight with the maya, the illusion. If illusion will manifest such as in the case of taking the form of Bibhisan, that is particularly dangerous. Such type of illusion is possible. Even Hanuman himself was also charmed by the illusion of Mahiravan.
The story is that Ravan was defeated in many ways by Ramachandra, then he called his son, Mahiravan, who was living down in Patala, the lower part of these worlds. Mahiravan had much power. He could go anywhere and in anyway. He went to Ravan and said, "Father, what has happened? I see that Lanka is massacred."
Ravan replied, "Ram and Laksman have destroyed everything, but we cannot compete with them. They are destroying, but we cannot kill them." Mahiravan then said, "This is a small matter. I shall arrange it nicely."
Mahiravan had much power of illusion through the worship of the goddess Kali. He arranged to steal Ram and Laksman with the intention of taking them to his own country to kill them as an offering in front of Mother Kali.
Bibhisan was in the company of Ram and Laksman and he knew of the illusory power of Mahiravan. When he heard Mahiravan had come to Lanka, Bibhisan made everyone conscious of Mahiravan's danger, "He can make illusion at any moment, so you must be careful."
Hanuman said, "Yes, I shall make a big fort with my tail. Everyone can stay there including Ram and Laksman. No one will be able to enter that fort, so Mahiravan will not be able to enter. I shall stand guard at the gate, also Bibhisan can guard the wall of the fort, so no problem will come."
They did this, and Hanuman remained at the gate so none could enter the tail-made fort. Bibhisan guarded the fort wall. It took him a little time to walk all around the wall of the fort—perhaps half an hour. He would come back from time to time to consult with Hanuman, "Has anyone come here?"
One time Hanuman said, "Yes, Janak Raja (the father of Sita) came. He wanted to enter within the fort. I asked him to wait here for Bibhisan and if he gives permission he may then enter." In this way Mahiravan took on several forms such as Janak Raja, Dasarath and Kausalya with the desire of entering that fort. In each case Hanuman asked them to wait, but they went away.
Lastly Mahiravan took the form of Bibhisan. One time after consulting with Hanuman, Bibhisan went away, but within a short time, perhaps ten minutes, he again came before Hanuman. This time he was not the real Bibhisan, but Mahiravan. Hanuman commented, "Oh, you have toured the walls very quickly this time."
Bibhisan replied, "No, actually I forgot that I wanted to give a kavach to Ram and Laksman and it will be very nice for them, therefore I came back and didn't complete the tour of the wall."
Hanuman thought it was the real Bibhisan, so he said, "Yes, you can go inside. No problem."
Mahiravan went inside and made an illusion whereby everyone went to sleep. He then took Ram and Laksman, made a hole, and went to Patala. After some time the real Bibhisan came back. When Hanuman saw him he challenged, "Who are you? You went ten minutes ago inside the fort, so who are you?"
Then Bibhisan replied, "Yes, I am Bibhisan, your friend."
"No! Bibhisan has already entered within the fort. You are not him!" Then Bibhisan struck his forehead and said, "Oh, in my form Mahiravan must have come and entered within the cave."
Hanuman didn't believe him and took his hand. "Come with me, we shall go inside." Within they saw a big hole and they saw that Ram and Laksman had been stolen by Mahiravan.
So, if, like taking the form of Bibhisan, strong illusion attacks us, we do not see any way except the protection of our preceptor and protector, Sri Gurudev. If we have full faith in our Gurudev and are fully surrendered to our Gurudev, we must get transcendental strength, and in that way we can remove all illusion by his grace. So it is necessary to have strong faith in Gurudev, and to surrender fully to his divine lotus feet, then we shall get everything. We can appeal today to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj for that kind of strength. We are fallen souls, and very conditioned souls, trying to proceed to our destination, but we cannot proceed properly because we are within the illusory environment. By his mercy we can proceed, but the destination is so far from us. So, may he mercifully bestow more and more mercy upon us. This is my prayer on this day to Srila Guru Maharaj and to his dear associates, and to all of you.
This year we have a special opportunity for the disciples of Srila Guru Maharaj as well as his devotional family to serve His Divine Grace with glorification, offerings and services of many types for his Divine Mission, the Deities and devotees. I believe it must be successful by his Divine Grace. Side by side, it is my special prayer to you all that you give your mercy to me so that I can serve Srila Guru Maharaj properly. This is my earnest prayer this day.
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