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Remembering Srila Guru Maharaj (2)

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sripat Hapaniya Dham, Anniversary Festival,
2 April 2021, part 2, translated from Bengali

 

From his childhood, Srila Sridhar Maharaj had transcendental attraction to Lord Rama. He appeared on sri navami-tithi. There is Rama-navami described in scriptures, but Srila Sridhar Maharaj appeared on a Sri Krishna navami-tithi in the month of Kartik (26 Ashvin 1817 [Bengali], or 10 October 1895 [English]). Srila Sridhar Maharaj appeared on the same day as Sri Virachandra Prabhu. It is a great fortune for us to observe the day on which Srila Sridhar Maharaj chose to appear in Kirtida-nandini’s dearest month.

From the time he was a small boy, Srila Sridhar Maharaj had a very strong faith in the Lord. When he finished college in Baharampur, his classmates would say, ‘Ramendra Babu passed the exam without even studying! We had been studying so hard, but we could not pass it! He only studies Gita all day long and chants the Holy Name, and he has passed!’

At his birth, a Hindu astrologer predicted, ‘This boy will not stay at home.’ At first, Srila Sridhar Maharaj stayed here in Sri Hapaniya Dham, absorbed in reading scriptures.

If this great soul had not come to this world in this place, we would never have come here. In Mahaprabhu’s time also, Mahaprabhu would go to the birthplace of His gurudev with all the devotees. He would tell everyone, ‘Take the dust of this place on your head.’ As devotees took and took dust from that place, there appeared a pond! That pond is still there, it is situated near Halisahar and is called Chaitanya-doba.

As Srila Sridhar Maharaj appeared here, he went to the primary school in the village nearby and after that attended Okorsa High School. After high school, he went to college in Baharampur and then to university in Kolkata, where he studied law (LLB). There are scriptures where his full biography is described [can be found in Centenary Anthology in English], you can read about it there.

From childhood, Srila Sridhar Maharaj had a renounced mentality. He would wake up early in the morning and go to bathe in the Ganges (you know how far the Ganges is from here, but he would walk all the way there, every day). On the way back, he would bring a lotus flower from a pond and offer it to Lord Siva with the water from the Ganges. You have seen that there is a small temple of Lord Siva next to the temple (the place was given to the temple, and we made a small building there later). Sometimes, he would also go to Jhamatpur to have the darshan of Buroraj Lord Siva.

Like Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, he had no attachment to the material world (money, houses, cars, etc.), but his parents forcefully had him married. Many do not know about this, but he was forced to get married. His spouse’s name is Shanti Devi. Gurudev named the pond near the temple Shanti Sarovar in her honour. When Srila Prabhupad told him to come to the temple, he thought, ‘How will I come?’ He continued listening to Hari-katha from Srila Prabhupad’s lotus mouth, and by the will of the Lord, his spouse got very ill. It happened so that at that time, Srila Prabhupad called him to come to Chaitanya Math, so he had to make choice: on the one hand, he was called to Chaitanya Math, and on the other hand, his spouse was ill. He came to his house to give some medicine to his spouse, but a few days later she died. He had no bondage left. His father, Upendra Chandra Bhattacharya, had also left by that time.

Detached from the material world, he came to stay at Chaitanya Math in 1923, first as a white-clad devotee, then he took brahmacharya and, finally, sannyas in 1930, seven days later. Srila Prabhupad gave him the name ‘Sri Bhakti Raksak Sridhar.’

 

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Gurudev: His
Example and Teachings
'Gurudev conquered the whole world with his love and affection. Many people throughout the world do not know English language or cannot fully understand it, but they could understand Gurudev through their heart.'

 

Sujanarvuda-radhita-pada-yugam
'He is Srimati Radharani's beloved servant. I hold on my head the dust of his tremendous, wondrously purifying feet and eternally offer my obeisance to them.'
সুজনার্ব্বুদরাধিতপাদযুগং

Until you have reached a particular level of realisation, you cannot understand
who is a devotee and who is not just by their external behaviour.

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE | HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE