Srila Sridhar Maharaj:
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Before Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur left his body, before his demise, he said he wanted to hear Sri Rupa-manjari-pada kirtan from Srila Sridhar Maharaj. At that time, Sripad Tirtha Maharaj brought a brahmachari who could sing very well and told him to sing. Unhappy, Srila Prabhupad immediately stopped that brahmachari saying, "I do not want to hear the tune! I want to hear Sri Rupa-manjari song, and I want to hear it from Srila Sridhar Maharaj." All main great personalities of the mission were present at that time, and as Srila Sridhar Maharaj said, in this way Srila Prabhupad gave him the service, the recognition and the responsibility of carrying Sri Rupa-Raghunath line.
When Srila Sridhar Maharaj composed Sri Bhaktivinod Viraha Dasakam, he presented it to Srila Prabhupad. When Srila Prabhupad read this sloka,
srigauranumatam svarupaviditam rupagrajenadrtam
"What was sanctioned by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by His descent was intimately known only to Sri Svarupa Damodara Goswami. It was adored by Sanatan Goswami and served by Rupa Goswami and his followers. Raghunatha Das Goswami tasted that wonderful thing fully and enhanced it with his own realization. And Jiva Goswami supported and protected it by quoting the scriptures from different places. The taste of that divine truth is aspired for by Brahma, Siva, and Uddhava, who respect it as the supreme goal of life. What is this wonderful truth? Sri radhapadasevana: that the highest nectar of our life is the service of Srimati Radharani. This is most wonderful. O Bhakti Vinoda Thakur, you are our master. It is within your power to allow them to bestow their grace upon us. You are in a position to bestow the highest gift ever known to the world upon us all. It is at your disposal. O Bhaktivinod Thakur, please be kind to us and grant us your mercy."
He said, "This is not written by Srila Sridhar Maharaj. Actually, Srila Sridhar Maharaj only held the pen, but Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur himself wrote it. It is very happy style." Srila Prabhupad was very happy with it.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj wrote many articles, many works in this life. In those days, Sripad Shraman Maharaj (Srila Prabhupad's disciple) was in charge of the printing press in Chaitanya Math and published a monthly newspaper called Nadiya Prakash. Srila Prabhupad told Shraman Maharaj about Srila Sridhar Maharaj's writing, "If you can publish this kind of Hari-katha, this kind of articles in our monthly newspaper, it will increase the value of our publication." The value here means not the price, but the quality of the printed matter. On another occasion, Srila Prabhupad remarked that Srila Sridhar Maharaj was 'sastra-nipun' [expert in scriptures]. Srila Sridhar Maharaj himself remembers in his autobiography,
"In the'Gaudiya', Gaudiya Math's leading weekly paper in Madras, there was published one siddhanta. The birthday of Srimati Visnupriya Devi and the birthday of our Guru Maharaj were mistakenly transposed. Both are panchami [fifth lunar day]. Srimati Visnupriya Devi's is on panchami of the bright moon fort-night, and Prabhupad's is on panchami of the dark moon fortnight. But they were transposed—Prabhupad to the bright fifth and Srimati Visnupriya Devi to the dark fifth. I read it carefully, and I thought the basis of the philosophising was wrong. Why has Krishna-sakti come on the bright moon, and Gaura-sakti on the dark moon? I found it should be just the opposite. I showed it to Sripad Bon Maharaj, considering it a grave error. He suddenly took up the pen and wrote a letter to the effect, 'What is this? We thought that the editors have some touch with the reality and what they write has some real connection with the sentiment, but how can this sort of error be possible from them? Have they no srauta-connection? All concoction!' So it was detected, and an amendment was published in a later issue. When Prabhupad was there, the books 'Ray Ramananda', 'Relative Worlds' and 'Brahma-samhita' were published. On the occasion of his Vyasa-Puja, Prabhupad delivered a written address, and there he mentioned before my name, 'Sastra-nipuna Sridhar Maharaj—he has very deep knowledge in the Scriptures'; that was his consideration."
Srila Sridhar Maharaj wrote many books, composed many slokas, articles, etc. He composed the famous song about Srila Prabhupad,
"My master, Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, established the religion of the age, Krishna-sankirtan, and is the chief minister of the universal assembly of leading Vaisnavas. His lotus feet are worshipped by millions of virtuous souls and fulfil the desires of those who dispel souls' fears. Eternally I offer my obeisance to my master's worshippable feet."
All Gaudiya Math temples sing this song. Srila Sridhar Maharaj also composed Sri Gaura Saraswati Arati,
jayare jayare jaya gaura-sarasvati
"All glory to the voice of Sri Gauranga, the embodiment of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur's mercy, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur!"
prakasile gaura-sevabhuvana mangala
"He manifested Sri Gauranga's service for the upliftment of the world. His teaching of devotion is pure, brilliant, and enlightening."
This is a very beautiful, very nice song. Srila Sridhar Maharaj also wrote Sri Gaura Arati (I do not know if Gaudiya Maths sing it or not, but we sing it in every temple),
jaya sachi-nandana sura-muni-vandana
All glory to Sri Sachi Nandan, who is worshipped by the demigods and sages! All glory to He who destroys all fear of material existence! All glory to the inaugurator of dancing and chanting the Lord's Names! All glory to He who removes the contamination of Kali!
Srila Sridhar Maharaj composed these and many others things—he composed Sri Dayita-Dasa Pranati Panchakam, Sri Dayita-Dasa Dasakam, Sri Bhaktivinod Viraha Dasakam, Srimad Gaura Kishor Namaskar Dasakam, Srimad Rupa Padarajah Prarthana Dasakam, Sriman Nityananda Prabhu Dvadasakam, Sri Srila Prabhupad Pranati, Srila Gadadhar Prarthana, etc. He also presented the explanation of the meaning of Sri Gayatri mantra.
"Gayatri muralista-kirtana-dhanam Radha-padam dhimahi: Krishna's flute does not make any other tune except the glorification of Srimati Radharani, and that is the real meaning and gist of the Gayatri mantra." We want that kind of service deep in our hearts,
মাতল হরিজন কীর্ত্তন-রঙ্গে ।
matala hari-jana kirtana-range
"From afar we shall worship the raga-path, the path of spontaneous affectionate service, while we ourselves shall live within the Vedic guidelines."
We always pray to Radharani's lotus feet and to the lotus feet of Sri Gaura, Sri Krishna in our hearts—we do not show it; we do not become sahajiyas. We have some limit and we shall not cross that limit (we shall not cross the line). People always want to cross the line and go beyond what is allowed, but we must not cross the line. We must do the service according to our rights. You may be able to catch a small snake, but do not try to catch a cobra. Eat according to your power of digestion, if you eat more than you are able to digest, you will end up in trouble—you will become sahajiya. Srila Param Guru Maharaj warns us against this.
We are fallen souls, we have no quality, so we only worship devotees of Lord Krishna—we worship Srila Sridhar Maharaj, our Srila Gurudev. Even on the day of Sri Nrisingha-chaturdasi, we first worship Prahlad Maharaj ("Prahlada-klesa nasaya ya hi punya chaturdasi pujayet tatra yatnenahareh prahladam agratah. It is proper to first worship Prahlad before worshipping Lord Nrisinghadev because the holy fourteenth lunar day of the bright fortnight has appeared in order to remove the distress of Prahlad.") Moreover, Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata (1.1.10),
eteke karila age bhaktera vandana
"I have therefore offered my prayers first to the devotees, as this is the key for attaining perfection."
First we worship devotees, then our endeavour or whatever we do will be auspicious. It is necessary to worship devotees. So, the main thing for us in our life is that we must try to do the service according to our capacity, then our life will be perfect.
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