His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
We have gathered here today on a special occasion, to hold Vaishnava-seva for Sarojini Devi Dasi, the late mother of our Chaitanya Saraswat Math's Singaporean leaders, Ravindra Krishna Prabhu and Rajeswari Devi Dasi. When Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, went abroad for the first time in 1992, he first stayed at her house. I also went to Singapore and saw how much service she did for the Math.
Before that, she came to Nabadwip and had a darshan of Param Guru Maharaj, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, she had a darshan of Gurudev also. She was a very devotional lady and chanted the Holy Name, although she was not initiated. Her children tried to press her to take initiation, but she did not. But,
শরীর অবিদ্যা-জাল জড়েন্দ্রিয় তাহে কাল
sarira avidya-jala jadendriya tahe kala
"The body is a net of illusion, and the material senses are one's enemies; they throw the soul into the ocean of mundanity."
জীবন অনিত্য জানহ সার
jivana anitya yanaha sara
"Remember that life is temporary and full of all kinds of danger."
When the time came for her to leave, on her deathbed, she became anxious. I was in the car, going to Krishna Nagar, when my phone rang. I saw that it was a Singaporean number. I answered the call, and she said, "Maharaj, I am calling from hospital. Could you give me initiation?" Her family also begged me, "Maharaj, please give mercy to our mother, she will not be alive for long." So, anyhow, they gave her the phone and I gave her Pancha-tattva mantra and the maha-mantra. She passed away several hours later. Her family asked me, if possible, to do Vaishnav-seva, invite Vaishnavs from Nabadwip and Mayapur, and that is why I have called you all. So, for her peace, I am asking you all to please give blessings to late Sarojini Devi Dasi.
We do not know when our notice will come... Pariksit Maharaj got a seven-day's notice, Khatvanga Maharaj got a moment's notice that they had to leave their bodies, but who knows when our notice will arrive.
দিন যায় মিছা কাজে নিশা নিদ্রাবশে ।
dina yaya michha kaje nisa nidra-base
"My days pass in useless work and nights are wasted on sleeping. It never occurs to me that death sitting next to me."
Who knows when we will have to leave...
Khatvanga Maharaj prayed, "I do not want anything, only please tell me how much time I have left." When he heard that he had only one muhurta left (muhurta means a moment, equal to forty-eight minutes in Vedic calculation), he said, "I do not want to waste a moment. I am surrendering and offering myself at the lotus feet of the Lord."
We do not know if we will get even one muhurta's notice—Pariksit Maharaj had seven days, but we do not know if we will get even seven seconds. We think we will do this, we will do that, we plan so many things... "অহঙ্কারে মত্ত হৈঞা নিতাই-পদ পাসরিয়া অসত্যেরে সত্য করি' মানি, ahankare matta haina, Nitai-pada pasariya, asatyere satya kori mani: "Maddened with pride, forgetting Nitai's feet, I accept untruth as truth."
Conditioned souls, we have turned away from Krishna,
কৃষ্ণ-বহির্ম্মুখ হঞা ভোগ বাঞ্ছা করে ।
krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vanchha kare
"When souls become averse to Krishna and desire enjoyment, nearby Maya seizes them."
(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 6.2)
We worry all the time about our own happiness. As Bhakti Vinod Thakur writes,
নিজ সুখ লাগি' পাপে নাহি ডরি
nija sukha lagi' pape nahi dari
"For my own happiness, I am not afraid to sin. I am devoid of compassion and my own interest is supreme for me."
We are not afraid to commit sin for our own happiness.
So, sadhus, Guru, and Vaishnavs always go from place to place trying to give benefit to such souls as us.
জীব জাগ, জীব জাগ, গোরাচাঁদ বলে ।
jiva jago, jiva jago, gorachanda bale
Sri Gorachand calls, "O souls, awake! O souls, awake! How long will you sleep in the clutches of the witch Maya?"
They go house to house, calling, "You have lost your home, you have lost your address!"
(radha) krsna bol, sange chala, ei matra bhiksa chai
"I am begging you for one thing only: come with us and chant 'Radha Krishna'!"
It is the loving search for the lost servant—the Lord is searching for the souls to engage them in service. We have lost our supreme father, and our father has also lost His sons, so we are looking for the Lord and the Lord is looking for us.
তব নিজ-জন কোন মহাজনে
tava nija-jana kona mahajane
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur writes the Lord send one of His own to rescue the fallen souls like us, and we should surrender and serve sincerely.
“গোরার আমি, গোরার আমি” মুখে বলিলে নাহি চলে ।
"gorara ami, gorara ami" mukhe balile nahi chale
Just saying, "I am Gora's! I am Gora's!" does not do. Only when you follow Gora's practices and Gora's conception will you get the proper result.
Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.6
লোক দেখান গোরা ভজা তিলক মাত্র ধরি ।
loka dekhana gora bhaja tilaka matra dhari'
You show the world you serve Gora simply by wearing tilak but secretly you misbehave. Gora will catch you, you thief!
Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 8.7
Gora knows everything, what you are doing and what you are not doing. So, we must serve the lotus feet of Guru and Vaishnavs.
ছাড়িয়া বৈষ্ণব-সেবা নিস্তার পায়েছে কেবা
chhadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payechhe keba
"Without service to the Vaishnav, you cannot get any relief."
Mahaprabhu told Sanatan Goswami,
জীবে দয়া, নামে রুচি, বৈষ্ণব সেবা ।
jive daya name ruchi vaisnava seva
"Be merciful to the souls, chant the Holy Name, and serve the Vaishnavs. Sanatan, besides this, there is no other religion."
So, we have gathered here on this occasion and have got to have your darshan, otherwise we do not always get this opportunity. It is a great fortune to have a darshan of a Vaishnav, so on the occasion of this Vaishnav-seva we were fortunate to have heard Hari-katha from your mouth.
It is our misfortune that we have no taste for Hari-katha. Guru Maharaj said that we can check ourselves if we are going backward or forward: do we like more to read a newspaper or to hear Hari-katha? We can analyse and understand it ourselves...
So, much has been said, and without speaking much further, I am offering my full obeisance at the holy feet of you all and would like to finish here.
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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