His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Sannyasi life, brahmachari life, householder life, any life is meant for preaching. I see many sannyasis and I must say that when you take sannyas, you take it for preaching—the only duty in your life is only to preach Krishna consciousness.
When our Param Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, joined Gaudiya Math, he was an educated person, so when he would approach new person, newcomers, and talk to them, all newcomers would become very impressed by his talk. However, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's first service was printing service, and he was not very interested in it, so he did it without proper attention. He always wanted to engage in sravan, kirtan, and preaching. Therefore, when Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj joined the mission (his name was Ramendra Sundar Bhattacharya, after that his name was changed to Ramananda Das), some senior sannyasis engaged him in approaching new persons. (After speaking to newcomers, Srila Sridhar Maharaj (Ramananda Das) would take them to some senior sannyasis.) For this reason, sometimes some devotees would say that Srila Sridhar Maharaj was a good canvasser, but Sripad Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj said, "Srila Sridhar Maharaj is not only a good canvasser! He is a good preacher for new people." Moreover, everybody—Bhaktyalok Paramahamsa Maharaj, Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj, Bhakti Prajnan Keshav Maharaj, and others—always said, "If you want to hear Hari-katha, you must go to Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj." Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj preached about the main necessity in our life. We must establish the relation with the Absolute. Why do we lose our time on temporary things? We enter into relationship with some temporary things, but what for? You have material bondage, you are amidst so many things, but if you have a great desire to serve the Lord, then all bondage will be removed.
You can see the biography of Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and you can see there that when he started to hear Hari-katha from Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Srila Prabhupad, Srila Prabhupad told, "You have some bondage, but you have a great desire to serve the Lord, so your bondage will be removed. I think Krishna will remove it." And it did happen so. When Srila Sridhar Maharaj received a law degree, he was politically involved with Gandhiwadi Andolan, and he was also bound by his promise to his parents. His father had been pressing him much because he was the eldest son of the family (their first child was a daughter, but she had died), he had to protect the family property, etc.—because of that he was bound to get married. Later, he always tried to come out of that bondage. Actually, his life was very renounced—he did not think about anything, he had become almost as if mad because of all the bondage that attacked him at his house. Then, one year they went to Kumbhamela in Haridwar and after that his mother died. So, now Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's father died, mother died, and he had become as if mad—he did not used any umbrella or shoes for one year. Then, one day he got the news that his wife had fallen ill—he came back to Hapaniya and three days later his wife died. Now Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj thought, "I have been thinking to take a guru, and what that personality [Srila Prabhupad] had said, proved correct. Now that I am fully out of my bondage (now that I am a mukta purush—now that I am a free man), I will take him as my guru."
You can understand that even if you have some bondage, if you have a great desire to serve the Lord, Krishna will take care of you—He will protect you in any kind of illusory environment if you surrender to Him. You know this sloka,
দৈবী হ্যেষা গুণময়ী মম মায়া দুরত্যয়া ।
daivi hy esa gunamayi, mama maya duratyaya
My alluring, 'trimodal,' illusory potency is practically insurmountable. However, those who take shelter in Me can overcome this powerful obstacle.
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)
Maya, illusory environment, is very strong, but if you are a surrendered soul (prapadya, prapanna), if you surrender to Krishna, then maya will automatically run away from you. If you read Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad-gita, you can find so many slokas there giving such assurance.
সর্ব্বধর্ম্মান্ পরিত্যজ্য মামেকং শরণং ব্রজ ।
sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
"Give up all kinds of religion and surrender to Me alone. I will liberate you from all sins, do not despair."
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Surrender and a great desire are the main things in our spiritual life...
We sometimes do not get time to recite our gayatri properly, but Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, who later presented a perfect explanation of Sri Gayatri mantra, said, "I heard in some book that if you recite gayatri mantra 432 times every day, then you will attain a high spiritual level." Our Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj also said to me personally when I was taking second initiation, "If you recite this gayatri mantra three times daily for one year, you will realise your spiritual connection." So, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said that from his early school days he had been reciting gayatri mantra 432 times every day, and he said, "When I was reciting the gayatri mantra, I understood that gayatri was an eternal sound, it was not some dead sound. One day, when I was reciting the gayatri mantra, I felt some light coming to me." Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj himself told this in his autobiography.
As you may know, Gaudiya Math had two parties. I also see sometimes that here in India and abroad our Chaitanya Saraswat Math also has many groups now. So, one time, when one of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's godbrothers from an opposing party came to him, Srila Sridhar Maharaj laughed and asked him, "You are my godbrother, it is not a problem, but you are coming from the opposing party, why are you coming to me?" That sannyasi said, "Yes, I am coming because your mood is always grave—you do not say anything, you only watch (you have a disinterested nature); and also because of your unparalleled intelligence (strong common sense). You have much knowledge, that is why I am coming to you."
Also, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj said that his attachment to Krishna had come to him from Srimati Radharani and Mahaprabhu. He said when he was a young boy, his first attachment was for Srimad Bhagavad-gita, then Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually, in the beginning he was always inclined towards Ramachandra because Ramachandra is gentle, righteous, follows moral principles, etc., and Srila Sridhar Maharaj thought, "I do not have so much attachment to Krishna-lila because why must the Lord tell a lie? Why must the Lord accept so many women?" At first, he was not so much inclined to Krishna-lila, he did not understand it so much, but later, when he had developed much attachment to Srimati Radharani, Mahaprabhu, then he felt some attachment had come towards Lord Krishna. There are so many things, so many pastimes in Srila Sridhar Maharaj's life. I will tell you more another day.
I have been reading some books and listening properly these days. I work the whole day and read some books, listen at night time. Srila Sridhar Maharaj's godbrothers told many things about Srila Guru Maharaj, and our Gurudev also told many things about Srila Guru Maharaj. Actually, we always 'chew the chewed'—we always tell what Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Gurudev and all the godbrothers of Srila Guru Maharaj told about Srila Guru Maharaj, we always enjoy taking their prasad. That is our happiness. If we hear from our guru-varga and read their lectures, it is good and very nice for us.
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