RELIGION OF THE HEART
I would like to begin by first offering my respectful obeisances to my diksa Guru, His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupada and my sannyasa Guru, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the author of this book. These two great Maha-Bhagavatas as well as His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj have given me shelter and a chance to practice Krsna consciousness. Although I am very fallen and helpless and full of faults, they have been kind and given their valuable energy to me as well as to so many others. I can only pray that one day I may at least come close to trying to do some service for them.
This book is an inadequate attempt to show a small part of the vast treasure of transcendental knowledge His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj has been imparting to the world for the past eighteen years. Most know that Srila Govinda Maharaj was personally given charge of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Mission before his departure from this world. Srila Sridhar Maharaj said publicly in 1985 that Srila Govinda Maharaj has tirelessly and wholeheartedly assisted in the duties of organizing and developing his Math, and also in the duties of establishing and developing other Maths, as well as arranging many donors for these Maths. He said he has provided much encouragement to even himself in managing and maintaining his Math and is naturally disposed to serve the Math and its residents, and that he is always endeavoring for the progressive development of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Above all Srila Sridhar Maharaj said Srila Govinda Maharaj is well-known and unanimously acclaimed as being firmly established in the philosophy of the Perfect Axiomatic Truth of Bhakti as propounded by both himself as well as his Divine Master, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada.
Srila Govinda Maharaj has shown this to be the truth as he has spread this perfect transcendental knowledge of Bhakti as he learned from his Guru Maharaj.
Srila Govinda Maharaj has been on twenty-four world tours (as of this writing) where he has met with sincere seekers and distinguished persons from all walks of life, and he preached Krsna consciousness vigorously everywhere he went. He has appeared on weekly internet radio broadcasts as well as regular radio and TV shows for the past ten years and under his direction and inspiration over seventy centers of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math have been established in over forty countries. 350 books and related articles in over twenty languages have been published under his direction establishing the perfect conception of Krsna consciousness that he has carried from his Guru Maharaj. By his influence so many sincere souls suffering under the horrible influence of Kali-yuga now have a chance to take shelter under the cooling rays of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet.
In 1941 Srila Sridhar Maharaj wrote a sloka and hoisted a large flag atop a tall bamboo pole in his Math, which was just a small thatched hut at that time. That sloka forecast the future glories of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and said one day they would be sung all over the world:
At that time some of Srila Guru Maharaj's Godbrothers chided him by saying he had only a small Math with a few buildings and a few devotees, so how, they said, would the glories of his Math be heard all over the world?
Now due to Srila Govinda Maharaj's unflinching spirit of self-sacrifice and complete dedication to his Guru Maharaj he has successfully established the supreme conception of his Guru Maharaj in all parts of the world so those with a clean heart and desirous of real spiritual life can practice Krsna consciousness under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. Due to his grace the sun never sets on Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and the flag that Srila Guru Maharaj hoisted in 1941 waves in the favorable breezes on every continent.
Srila Govinda Maharaj is the real Hidden Treasure of Srila Guru Maharaj and our entire sampradaya. By his causeless mercy he is attracting the entire world and inspiring everyone from all walks of life and countries to chant the Holy Names of the Lord. From the North Pole to the South Pole and on every continent the sun is never setting on his divine conception. It is said Srila Prabhupada built a house in which the whole world could live. Srila Govinda Maharaj has built a temple for Sri Radha and Sri Krsna and Sriman Mahaprabhu in which the whole world can worship and thus get free from the hard knot of material life that is so strongly trapping the jiva-souls in this age. He has strung a garland of the Holy Name of Krsna around the world and made the world more beautiful by it.
When we hear Srila Govinda Maharaj speak about the Lord's Pastimes, or for that matter about any subject, we are reminded of the third sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam which says:
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
"The subject matter of Srimad-Bhagavatam is very sweet because it deals with Krsna's Pastimes but those Pastimes have been made even sweeter because they were spoken by Srila Sukadev Goswami."
I hope we can see in this book that the sweet nature of Krsna's Pastimes are made even sweeter because they come through the lotus lips of Srila Govinda Maharaj. Srila Guru Maharaj said Srila Govinda Maharaj is a natural paramahamsa. He is taking the sweet fruits of Krsna's Pastimes and making them even sweeter and more relishable by adding his own sweet nature to them.
In 1955, when Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupada received the first copy of the Sri Gaudiya Darsan magazine published by Srila Govinda Maharaj, he commented that Govinda Maharaj was a "transcendental humorist," and "people would like to read articles written by him with great relish because they are not only instructive but also amusing." I hope the reader will find this book both instructive and amusing.
The preface is a Bengali poem "Your Fearless Lotus Feet," written by Srila Govinda Maharaj in 1957 for the glorification of Srila Guru Maharaj on the occasion of his Sri Vyasa-puja. In this poem we are shown the perfect spirit of dedication and devotion an expert disciple has for his Guru as well as the perfect example of humility a disciple should have for his spiritual master. The poem also shows the deep insight into the higher siddhanta that Srila Guru Maharaj said Srila Govinda Maharaj was so expert in, and that comes so naturally to him. Guru Maharaj said he was a natural paramahamsa and this is evident in this poem.
In Part One he explains the gist of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's supreme conception of Krsna consciousness based on the sloka: Aradhyo Bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama Vrndavanam, composed by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur. Srila Govinda Maharaj takes this sloka and adds new life and a beautiful meaning to it just as he does with so many slokas. He explains and shows by logical reasoning how the Absolute Truth is a person, not an impersonal void or an abstract entity, and that person is Sri Krsna whose land is Vrndavan Dham, the highest plane in the spiritual world. In Vrndavan Dham all the residents worship Krsna with great devotion but in different moods such as santa-rasa—passive, dasya-rasa—servitorship, sakhya-rasa—friendship, vatsalya-rasa—parental relation, and madhura-rasa—conjugal love, which is divided in two parts: wedded and paramour. The highest worship is shown by the Vraja-gopis, and this is thoroughly explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam which is the supreme Scripture recommended by Sriman Mahaprabhu. Srila Govinda Maharaj gives us this conception in a very beautiful, simple and straightforward manner and adds new life by drawing on many beautiful slokas from different Scriptures to paint a picture of Krsna consciousness as only a true transcendental poet can do.
In Part Two he takes us deeper into the subject matter of Krsna consciousness and shows us beyond a doubt that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the emporium of all rasa, Akhila-rasamrta-murtih, by presenting a fascinating description of His sweet Pastimes, His wonderful associates, His transcen- dental flute and His exquisite beauty, based on slokas from Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta (Madhya 23.82-83):
But before he does this he cautions us in Chapter Four to first hear about Krsna consciousness in a step-by-step process from a bona fide spiritual master. He says a bona fide spiritual master will not instruct his disciple in the higher Pastimes of the Lord in the beginning. When a spiritual master sees a disciple is ready to hear about those higher Pastimes, then he will instruct him, not before. If we don't follow this caution we will get only "imitation Pastimes" or an "imitation diamond" as he says. We won't get the real thing.
Throughout the book Srila Govinda Maharaj stresses the importance of worshiping Krsna and shows us that the real way to worship Him is through Radha-dasyam, service to Srimati Radharani. And the way to worship Her is through Sri Gurudev who is the embodiment of Radharani in the highest aspect, and of Nityananda Prabhu in a little lower form. We get this knowledge of Krsna consciousness through the descending process beginning with Krsna Himself who spoke it to Lord Brahma. This was passed on to Narada and Vyasadev and ultimately to our Gurudev His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. The knowledge of Krsna consciousness is always descending through the hearts of the pure souls and we can understand where a pure soul is by seeing "the shining light-bulb of transcendental knowledge that is burning in his pure heart." This is the knowledge given by Vedavyasa, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and now Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.
The theme of the book is vidvadbhih sevitah sadbhir, nityam advesa-ragibhih hrdayenabhyanujnato, yo dharmas tam nibhodata, that real religion extends from the Infinite Quarter, and when it comes to the finite, it will always come through those who are proficient in the Scriptures, advanced in their realizations, and deeply dedicated in their service. It cannot be man-made. It is coming from the highest quarter and those who carry it are also from that plane.
We are very fortunate Srila Govinda Maharaj is presenting the proper conception of Sriman Mahaprabhu as he heard it from his Guru Maharaj, adding his own deep realizations and sweet nature to this, and we are even more fortunate that he can present it in a clear and straightforward manner, as only a great teacher and devotee can do. And we are even more fortunate he is going all over the world, even in his ill health, trying heart and soul to give this great wealth to everyone who wants it.
In trying to make this book as an offering to His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj I am sure I have committed errors, for which I am asking everyone's forgiveness.
I am from a very low born, sinful and offensive family where I was taught it is alright to engage in sinful and offensive activities, therefore I am a very fallen person and not qualified to do any service to Srila Govinda Maharaj.
Srila Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami said he was lower than the worms in stool (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi-lila 5.205):
jagai madhai haite muni se papistha
I feel lower than them because at least they have a position in this world. However, due to my offenses to my Gurudev and the Vaisnavas, I cannot be counted amongst the living or the dead.
Myself being in such a position, how is it possible this book has been so well received by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj? I can only consider that any success has come from this endeavor due to his own causeless mercy and the grace of the devotees who have helped such as Sripad Sagar Maharaj, Sripad Goswami Maharaj, Sripad Tridandi Maharaj, Bhuvana Mohan Prabhu, Mahananda Prabhu, Jagadananda Prabhu, Visakha Devi Dasi and others too numerous to mention.
Knowing this book to have appeared by the grace of the Vaisnavas, I offer with my whole heart this second edition to the lotus hands of His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj.
Om Tat Sat
Part One: The Glories of Devotional Service
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