SARANAGATI (SURRENDER) | Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya
In Praise of Saranagati
(Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)
Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, gave much attention to the writings of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Bhakti Vinod Thakur is very sober and has expressed our conception in a very beautiful way through his songs. I feel and think that for anyone who practises Krishna consciousness, who is eager to practise Krishna consciousness, and has affection for the line of Krishna consciousness, it is not necessary to read anything else—the songs of Bhakti Vinod Thakur are sufficient. That is, one will obtain all knowledge through his songs. You may not find all the references for this knowledge in his songs, but you will find all knowledge and our conception expressed very clearly there.
I think the songs of Bhakti Vinod Thakur are sufficient for everyone, and whenever I get a chance I read the songs of Bhakti Vinod Thakur. You do not know how much happiness I felt when Saranagati was published in a beautiful form. Many books of Srila Guru Maharaj had been published. We were very happy to see even Brahma-samhita published. But when Saranagati was published, I was overjoyed to see her form.
Bankim Chandra, the emperor of Bengali literature, wrote, "Balya-prema vara sangadi". This means that the very strong love felt between young men and women is unbreakable and is the sweetest form of love in this world. When I was very young and first joined Krishna consciousness, Srila Guru Maharaj gave me Saranagati. I first published Saranagati for Srila Guru Maharaj in 1949, and at that time I felt this type of happiness; I felt my experience of balya-prema was with Saranagati.
When I joined the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj as a young boy, he gave me this book and said, "If you can memorise it, you take it." I had some capacity as a kirtan singer from my childhood, and Srila Guru Maharaj wanted to begin training me according to my qualifications. As a boy I had learned from my father many Vaisnava songs. They were good songs, no doubt, but they are songs which are sung by sahajiyas. Srila Guru Maharaj told me, "First you must forget all of those songs." I said, "Yes, I will not sing any of those songs again." And I never sang those songs again. Later, maybe twenty-five or thirty years later, Srila Guru Maharaj wanted to hear some of those songs from me and he asked me, "Can you remember those songs now?" I said, "Maharaj, I cannot remember the style of singing for those songs."
Anyhow, when Srila Guru Maharaj first gave me Saranagati, he tick-marked thirty-two songs and said, "Memorise these thirty-two songs within seven days. Then every day, one by one or as required, you can sing those songs." That book is still in my room, and I memorised those songs. How that happened, I do not know.
Now my memory is not always working; still, I hate to look at the book when I am singing. I never want to sing any song which I do not know. All the songs are within my memory. Now maybe I may miss one point as I am singing, but still I am never prepared to read from the book as I sing. And that was Srila Guru Maharaj's style. Guru Maharaj knew all the songs and he would always sing them without the book. Previously he sang so much; he sang all the songs and showed us everything. After I joined, Guru Maharaj got some relief and would give charge to me, saying, "Govinda Maharaj, you sing, you sing, you sing."
During assemblies of devotees, Srila Guru Maharaj would always request me to sing two particular songs from Saranagati: Emana durmati samsara bhitare and Ki jani ki bale Tomara dhamete. Guru Maharaj gave me these two songs for my own realisation. He wanted that every day I would really think, "Ki jani ki bale Tomara dhamete ha-inu saranagata—by what force have I surrendered unto your lotus feet?"
Every day very nice sankirtan is happening here in our temple. I cannot go and join the sankirtan party, but I am always joining with the devotees mentally. I also hear the songs they are singing; every day they are singing such beautiful songs. It is very important though to have some realisation about those songs. Every phrase within the songs we sing is very sweet and very meaningful, and it is necessary to realise why we are singing these songs every day. Through that realisation we can cross over illusion.
We have heard from Srila Guru Maharaj many times that Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur would tell his disciples that some of the songs are very important to realise. He would say especially that the song Amara jivana sada pape rata is very important for practitioners to realise. Srila Guru Maharaj told us that he would say that we must realise the position of our own self. What are we doing? What are we eating? How are our activities going on? We must have some realisation about these things.
I am thinking it is no doubt difficult for everyone to go on living every day without worldly forms of enjoyment. I am always thinking so much about the situation of the conditioned souls in this mundane world. It is unpalatable and very hard, no doubt. But Srila Saraswati Thakur's advice is that we must clean our mind every day by singing the songs of Saranagati, and especially this song, Amara jivana sada pape rata. Just as we clean our home when we awaken in the morning by sweeping with a broom, so we should clean our mind by sweeping it with this song. By sweeping our mind with this song, the dirt within it is removed, it becomes cleaned, and our activities are redirected in the proper way. Srila Guru Maharaj told us this many times: it is necessary to sweep clean our minds every day through sankirtan.
It is very good that the devotees are patiently trying to follow this. I am getting inspiration by seeing their activities. Maya, the illusory environment of Lord Krishna, is always living beside us and trying to attract us. But by the grace of the mood of surrender and devotion to Lord Krishna, under the direction of Guru-Vaisnava, we must cross over the illusory environment.
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and Srila Guru Maharaj have tried to give the conditioned souls inspiration to surrender. This is the primary purpose of their teachings. I have seen that it is not necessary to know so many things. If you know how to swim then you can cross a river. You do not need to know where the river is coming from, where it is going, what is inside the river, or which way the river is flowing. You do not need to check the speed at which the river is flowing or analyse the river with a barometer, temperature gauge, or anything else. You only need to know how to swim and in which direction you need to swim. That is sufficient for swimming across a river. The knowledge presented in Saranagati by Bhakti Vinod Thakur is like that. It is clear, simple knowledge which by itself is sufficient for us to cross over this illusory environment and reach the divine abode of the Lord.
Saranagati is a small book, but all wealth is present within it in a glorious way. Through the songs of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur we get the gist of all the scriptures. If all the scriptures disappeared from this mundane world but Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur's songs remained, we would still have everything. We can get everything through his songs.
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