Our Disciplic Succession:
"The Sun Never Sets on Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math":
Potato Collection in Tarakeshwar Area: Day Three
Friday, 12 February 2021
Tarakeshwar Area, West Bengal
Photographs courtesy of Sripad B.N. Sadhu Maharaj
bhakter nirmala-nirjharasya nibhrtam samraksakam sadaram
vande sri-gurudevam anata-sira acharya-varyam nijam
"I bow my head in eternal obeisance to my Gurudev, the best of acharyas,
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj. He is the ever vigilant, stalwart
guardian of the current of pure devotion whose highest form flows from our
most worshippable Sri Rupanuga Guru-varga in their exclusive dedication to
Mahabhav, Srimati Radharani."
mahanta-svabhava ei tarite pamara
nija karya nahi tabu yana tara ghara
"It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen.
Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya, 8.39)
vaisnavera pada-dhuli tahe mora snana-keli
tarpana mora vaisnavera nama
vaisnavera uchchhista tahe mora mano-nistha
vaisnavera namete ullasa
"The feet dust of the Vaishnavs is where I sport and take bath, Vaishnavs'
name is the water oblation. My mind is intently fixed upon the remnants of
Vaishnavs, and I am elated at the name of Vaishnavs."
gangara-parasa ha-ile paschate pavana
darsane pavitra kara—ei tomara guna
"If the Ganges touches someone, they are purified some time later; but one
becomes purified just by seeing you, O Vaishnava Thakur. Such is your power."
His Divine Grace tells:
When I was a brahmachari (I had not taken sannyas at that
time), Gurudev told me, "I have been preaching in many villages of Burdwan
district before Gaura Purnima, and now that preaching has become rice
collection only. If you can try to preach there, it would be good." So, I
started house to house preaching in various villages in Burdwan and
Midnapore, started visiting many places. It all started in Gurudev's
At that time, devotees would mainly go out to distribute invitations for
Gaura Purnima and to collect rice, but I started preaching. I would start
early in the morning when everybody was still sleeping—I would wake up early,
take my Deities (photographs and the altar), do mangal arati, etc. We
did everything in the same way how we do it in the temple—we would turn the
house into a temple. Sometimes, I would take along some brahmacharis
and some foreign devotees also. Sripad Trivikram Maharaj was not a
sannyasi at that time, he also went with me, Bhakta Bandhu Prabhu,
Munindra Mohan Prabhu, Sadhu Priya Prabhu, Gaurachandra Prabhu, and many
other devotees also went with me. At that time, devotees would come for
Gurudev's appearance day, so there were usually a lot of foreign devotees
living at the temple.
Before that, those who went to villages did not follow so many things—they
would wake up, take some breakfast and then go to collect rice. What for will
people give them rice? What for do we go for collection? When I go, I mainly
give attention to the preaching programme—more than to the actual rice
collection. What for do we come? We do not come just for rice or money. We
come to preach. So, I would stay in some devotee's house and from
there go on a sankirtan with a megaphone (hand mic) around the whole
village announcing and inviting everybody to some programme or to the evening
programme. People like it, they become excited, "Oh, Krishna-Name has come to
my house!" I would invite everyone, "There is going to be a programme in the
evening. Please come, everybody." In the meantime, I would tell the person
where I stayed to prepare prasadam for two-three hundred people, and
they are usually rich people, so they were happy to feed others. I invited
everyone to the programme and for prasadam ("Come to this house
tonight, join our programme"), and many people would come just for
prasadam, but they joined the programme, listened to my class, and so
on. This is how I started preaching. In the evening, most of villagers do not
work, they sit and gossip at the tea stall or some village shop—I thought
better they instead come to my class and hear some kirtan. In this
way, I would give a class, chant kirtans, and the next day I would go
for collection and people happily gave much rice because they understood what
for they were giving it.
We are not beggars. We are not going house to house asking for some rice. No.
We do not come as beggars—we come to give something to them. We are
actually donors coming to give them something, we do not come to take
anything from them. Those who understood it happily gave very much rice.
This is how I started this preaching and this is how so many people also
started coming and joining Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama. Gurudev was
very happy with that. Over the years, the number of devotees attending the
parikrama kept growing—so many people would come, there would be no
place to accommodate everyone, we had to make many pandals, make many
arrangements, etc. Gurudev was happy to see that. When I joined the Mission
(in 1992), there were only about two hundred and fifty people joining Sri
Nabadwip Dham parikrama, but now a few thousand people come to Sri
Chaitanya Saraswat Math for Sri Nabadwip Dham parikrama. You have seen
Early morning: at Sri Tarakeshwar Temple. His Divine Grace comes to see the cows.
Starting off one more day of house to house potato collection and preaching.
As each year, shortly before Gaura Purnima, His Divine Grace goes for rice
and potato collection to provide for the temples and festivals:
'We go door to door, and somebody gives 500 grams, somebody gives 200
grams or 100 grams, but they give their energy for service at Gaura Purnima,
for service to the Lord. You cannot take that energy away—you cannot destroy
that energy!' Later Gurudev told me, 'You must remember that I will never buy
rice for Gaura Purnima. I can spend so much money and make Gaura Purnima
festival, but I cannot buy rice for Gaura Purnima." Then I understood what
Gurudev wanted. He wants to give benefit to others, and he wants us to go for
collection for that reason."
(~Srila B.N. Acharya Maharaj, More Than Meets the Eye
"He sees we go for rice collection and collect a little at each place and
thinks we collect for money and food. He does not understand how much benefit
we give to others...
(~Srila B.N. Acharya Maharaj, Odds and Ends, 1
<< Back to the main page
"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"