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Clearing Contradictions

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Divine Appearance Day, Sri Vyasa Puja
Kolkata—Worldwide, 17 October 2020, part 2


Srila Gurudev gave me this position in December 2009, but even before that I had always been trying to fulfil Gurudev's desire. For example, I have been making Srila Gurudev's appearance day festival for many years.

When I joined the mission, I saw one old invitation letter—Srila Gurudev's godbrothers made Srila Gurudev's appearance festival (the letter was dated 1989; I had not joined Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math yet at that time), but they wrote "Acharya Abhivandan Mahotsav." It means "paying respect to the Acharya of the temple." Later, I saw many letters coming from Mayapur where different temples invited us to their festivals, and I noticed that they wrote their invitation letters in a different way—they wrote "Sri Sri Vyasa Puja Maha-Mahotsav" or "Sri Guru-Puja Maha-Mahotsav." Later on, I read and learned what is called a vyasa-puja, what is called a guru-puja maha-mahotsav, I learned the meaning of Gurudev's appearance day. So, next year I printed the invitation letter for Gurudev's appearance day myself. First, I gave a copy of the letter to Gurudev—there was some small mistake in it and Gurudev corrected it; but I was very happy because at that time I did not know how to write such letters, I did not know so much Vaishnaviya language, and Gurudev corrected only one thing. Since that time, I have been sending the invitation letters for Gurudev's appearance day every year.

The first year when I made the festival, I arranged so much decoration, lights, etc. at the temple of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip.

You know, all devotees are not equal, not the same. Even the five fingers on one hand are not the same. Sometimes, one hand can be even beating the other hand. Such is our culture, such is our background and nature. It is also like that at the temple. Not all disciples have the same, equal faith (sraddha). The quality of devotion depends upon one's faith. Another thing is that we all know that a jiva soul lives in our body, and this jiva soul is a part of the Lord, so we think, "We (should) see Krishna in all jiva souls (samasta jiver Krsna darasan)." However, if we analyse ourselves, we will see that there are good things in our heart and there are also bad things in our heart. There are good things (sura, demigods, representing piety, goodness) living in our heart, and there is enemy (asura, demon) also living in our heart. One man can have two natures (surasur)—sometimes, you look like a man, you put on tilaks, etc., but at other times, you deal or talk with others like a demon (asura). I understand that we think, "Sarva jive Krsna adhisthan. Krishna lives in all living entities (jiva souls)." However, we sometimes see that there is also an asura (demon) living in the heart of the jiva soul—there is some envy, some other things living in their heart. I see that. There are different sides of one's nature.

So, much depends upon the devotee. Some devotees see Gurudev as the dearmost of Srimati Radharani or Lord Krishna. Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur says,

সাক্ষাদ্ধরিত্বেন সমস্ত-শাস্ত্রৈ-
রুক্তস্তথা ভাব্যত এব সদ্ভিঃ ।
কিন্তু প্রভোর্যঃ প্রিয় এব তস্য
বন্দে গুরোঃ শ্রীচরণারবিন্দম্ ॥

saksadd-haritvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-charanaravindam

"I offer my obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Guru, who is said by all the scriptures to be the Lord Himself, and considered to be so by the sadhus, yet is also the Lord's beloved devotee."

(Sri Sri Gurvastakam, 7)

Gurudev is the dearmost (atyanta priya) of the Lord. Sometimes, some devotees also can see Gurudev as the Lord Himself. At the same time, there are also some who say that Gurudev is a human being like them—they see Gurudev goes to the toilet, Gurudev going to the bathroom, he eats, sleeps, etc. Sometimes, people start thinking like this and they make an offence through that.

So, everything depends upon one's faith, upon one's affinity. Somebody can see the Lord's Deity is made of marble, stone or brass, and somebody will see Lord Nitai and Lord Gaura, somebody will see Lord Krishna, Radharani in the Deity. Everybody's vision (darshan) is not the same, everybody's feelings are not the same. Therefore, there are some pious activities existing in our body, and there is also some demoniac qualities existing in our body.

It was like that in Gurudev's time also. I do not know if you can remember it or not, but I can remember it clearly. It was adhivas, the day before Gurudev's festival. Gurudev heard that I had painted his building (Acharya Bhavan), cleaned everything, decorated everything and put lights everywhere. Everything was arranged very nicely, and in the afternoon time, before the evening, Gurudev went around the temple premises, he went to the goshala, he saw all the lights go on and the temple was very beautiful in the dark. He smiled and was very happy. After that, I went to the evening arati and after the arati came to pay dandavat to Gurudev. Seeing me Gurudev said suddenly, "Why have you spent so much money?! Why have you painted my building white?! Why did you not paint it with black japan [intensely black varnish used for industrial purposes]?!" I was surprised, "What has happened? Why Gurudev is saying like that?" Later, I heard that one of Gurudev's godbrothers had given some pain to Gurudev—he had come to Gurudev and complained, "Oh, Vinod is spending so much money on this festival! He has arranged the lights and everything else—what is all this for?! Why was it necessary to paint your building? It was already painted, they had painted it just one-two years ago, why was it necessary to paint it again?!" and so on. Gurudev understood everything, and he chastised me, but why did he chastise me? It was not chastisement, actually. This is how he showed his love and affection to me. He chastised me because he felt pain that his godbrother would say all this. That godbrother was actually foolish—he was envious and foolish. He did not like it that I had made a big festival for Gurudev, that I controlled everything—that I started writing the invitation letter (changing it and starting to write Vyasa Puja Maha-Mahotsav and Guru Puja Maha-Mahotsav), that I made the festival, invited many people, made a big gathering, wrote so many letters so Gurudev's and Srila Sridhar Maharaj's disciples—they all came and there was a very big crowd at the temple. At that time, there were not so many buildings—there was perhaps only one-two floors of the centenary building completed. It was very difficult to manage at that time—we had to make a pandal, etc.

This is how I started making Srila Gurudev's appearance day, and I have never stopped it since then. Even when Gurudev was not here for his Vyasa Puja in 1996 (he was in Australia, in Govinda Dham, at that time), I still made the festival—invited all Mayapur devotees, all Bengali devotees, and made a big festival. It continues in this way every year to this day.


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