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Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
15 August 2009


Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad made a channel to the West, and so many devotees come now through that channel. Without his mercy we would not have been able to think anything today, but we are very happy and we are making today a festival for Srila Swami Maharaj, on his appearance day.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur tried to come to the West through many of his disciples many times, but he could not do it—the only person Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave mercy to was Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, and Srila Swami Maharaj preached all over the world and conquered the Western countries through Krishna consciousness.

You know that when Srila Swami Maharaj was going to the West (the first country was the USA) for the first time, he paid dandavat to Srila Sridhar Maharaj and asked him for his mercy, "Maharaj, please give me your asirvad (blessing), give me some mercy—I am going to the West to preach Krishna consciousness... Please give me your blessings and mercy so that I can preach there."

When Srila Swami Maharaj returned from the West, he first met with Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and he told him what preaching he had done, how he had preached—he told everything to Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and Srila Sridhar Maharaj was very happy to hear it.

One time, Srila Sridhar Maharaj heard that Srila Swami Maharaj was coming from the West. You know how Srila Sridhar Maharaj lived and what he was like. He slept on a broken bed, and the bed was not also so clean, he wore clothes that had maybe a hundred holes. He always lived like this. So, when Srila Sridhar Maharaj heard Srila Swami Maharaj was coming from the West, he cleaned his own bed, thinking, "Oh, Srila Swami Maharaj will sleep here!" Then, Srila Swami Maharaj came and saw the bed prepared for him. He said to our Gurudev (Srila Govinda Maharaj, at that time his name was Gaurendu Brahmachari), "No, this is Srila Sridhar Maharaj's bed! Baba! I am paying so many dandavats to his bed, and I must sleep there?! It is impossible! Why will I sleep on my Master's bed? It is impossible, I can never do that. I cannot even sit on this bed, and you tell me to sleep here?! It is impossible!" Then he said, "O Gaurendu! Where is your bed? I will sleep with you!"

This is what happened...

Another time, when Srila Swami Maharaj was preaching in the West, in a foreign country, he was in pain and wrote a letter to Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, saying, "Maharaj, I am so far from Nabadwip Dham... I am so far and I am suffering so much, please give me some mercy! You are there, in the holy Nabadwip Dham, Gupta Govardhan, the sacred Govardhan, sacred Vrindavan in Nabadwip Dham... You are there, and I am so far away, I am getting so much austerity without your association. Please give your asirvad (blessing), give me some mercy..." And Srila Sridhar Maharaj wrote in his reply, "You are not a simple person. You are a great Vaishnav, an associate of Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and you are preaching now in the West, it is our fortune. You are preaching to the men who do not know about Krishna, who do not know about Mahaprabhu! So many others tried but could not do it, but you did it. It is such a great job, you have got mercy from Prabhupad, and you are giving happiness to Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur! You are actually a saktyavesa avatar. (Saktyavesa avatar means Nityananda Prabhu.) Wherever a great Vaishnav like you lives, there is Vrindavan. You think I live in Vrindavan, Gupta Govardhan Nabadwip, and you are not, but it is not true. You are also in Vrindavan because you are such a great Vaishnav, you are giving good association to these people, so actually you turn the West into Vrindavan!"

In the early years, long before preaching in the West, Srila Swami Maharaj lived in Kolkata, and our Gurupadpadma, Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj (at that time his name was Gaurendu Brahmachari) and our Param Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, went to his house and stayed not just for many days, but for many months and years with Srila Swami Maharaj. Our Gurupadpadma also got Srila Swami Maharaj's good association.

Sometimes Srila Swami Maharaj arranged preaching programmes at some small houses, and he would take our Gurupadpadma to those programmes. He would tell our Gurupadpadma, Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj (a brahmachari at that time), "You have more power than me because you are a saffron-clad brahmachari and I am a white-clad householder, so you sit at the Vaysa-asan and read from Srimad Bhagavatam, and I will explain." Srila Swami Maharaj gave so much honour and the big chair of Vyasa-asan seat to our Gurupadpadma because he was a brahmachari and told him to read Srimad Bhagavatam, and he himself would explain it.

Actually Srila Swami Maharaj admitted, he always said, "Gaurendu Brahmachari (Srila Govinda Maharaj) is my dearmost son. From all devotees all over the world, he is my only son." He actually had his own sons from the previous life, but he said, "I have only one son, and that is Gaurendu Brahmachari."

You know also that Srila Swami Maharaj wanted to take sannyas from our Param Gurudev Srila Sridhar Maharaj, but Srila Sridhar Maharaj said, "Prabhu, we always talk and behave like friends. You want to take sannyas from me, but I cannot think of you as my disciple, it is impossible for me, and you also cannot give me the respect that you would give to your sannyas guru. That is why it is better if you do not take sannyas from me, but I have given sannyas to Keshav Maharaj [previous name Vinod Babu], the mantra is the same. You can take sannyas from him, it will be better, and you can keep the same relation with me then."

Now many Gaudiya Maths' gurus come to preach in the West, but when Srila Swami Maharaj had just built the ISKCON temple, he invited all his godbrothers to the inauguration, but only Paramahamsa Maharaj (a disciple of Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) and Srila Sridhar Maharaj came there, no one else. Srila Sridhar Maharaj actually presided over the ceremony that day. Others thought, "They are coming from the West, they are mlechha and not good." They could not even go to ISKCON to take prasadam because they thought it was bad and touched by the Westerners (they showed "brahman" culture). At that time only Srila Sridhar Maharaj encouraged Srila Swami Maharaj, and he joined the programme, and not only joined the programme, he also took prasadam there happily. You have seen his photo there, but you will never see a photo of any Gaudiya Acharya there. Srila Swami Maharaj had invited everybody, but nobody came there. At that time they neglected and hated them, but now they all go to the West to preach. I feel like slapping them for this!

So, today is the appearance day of this Srila Swami Maharaj, and we are praying to his lotus feet that even from his Goloka Vrindavan he may bestow his mercy upon us, we pray that by his mercy we may be able to serve the devotees. We do not know how long, how many more days we will be alive in this world—we come and go through birth and death, it is not a problem—only we are praying, "Please, give us some mercy, please give us some place at your lotus feet." Everybody must pray for his mercy.


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