All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Darshan Notebook

in Calcutta with
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Sripad Pusta Krishna Prabhu shares
His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj's words of encouragement

Introduction | June 30th, 2005 | July 1st | July 2nd | July 5th | July 6th | July 8th | July 10th and July 10th afternoon | July 12th | July 13th | July 14th | July 15th | July 18th | July 19th | July 21st and July 21st afternoon


July 2, 2005

Dear bhaktas,

Dandavat and Hare Krishna. Because the devotees are compared to honeybees who are always collecting nectar to make honey, and because, I know, they feel great separation from His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, I wanted to share a summary of Srila Govinda Maharaj's divine comments from the last three mornings. I am visiting with His Divine Grace from June 29 and plan to return to the US on July 22. During this time, if you will not take offense at my feeble attempts to summarize the instructions of Srila Govinda Maharaj for the devotee community, I would be glad to share with you, and also for my own benefit, His Divine Grace's words of encouragement. I am helped also by His Grace Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj who is a vast resource of the teachings of Srila Guru Maharaj.

Darshan Notebook - Dum Dum Park Temple, Calcutta.


Morning, June 30, 2005. "Sadhu-sanga."


Srila Govinda Maharaj begins: The service of the Vaishnava is the highest. That is described in the 5th Canto, 7th Canto and 11th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. But, to be a "louse" in the hair of Guru, that is not service. We need to apply ourselves to hear and chant the Vaishnava books and teachings given to us. We may have some doubts about the "conscious world", but our experience as devotees will tell us differently (i.e. remove any doubts).

We are so fortunate. So many lifetimes we have passed... now in this lifetime we have gotten this opportunity by the grace of Gurudeva to become Krishna conscious. We must have sadhu-sanga, it does not matter sannyas or grihastha association. So many of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's associates were grihasthas (householders). Only a few, like Swarup Damodar, were sannyasis. Nityananda Prabhu was an avadhut, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi, but most of His associates were grihasthas. Srila Govinda Maharaj was saying that we need good association, whether by sannyas or with grihastha, it doesn't matter. Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhar, Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur gave his Amrita Pravaha Bhasya commentary on the Chaitanya Charitamrita..., then Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad yet still gave his nectarean commentary. There is no end to the glory of Krishna, just as Ananta Deva with so many heads and tongues cannot find an end to the glorification.

Several bhaktas visiting from Australia were going on to Puri for Rathayatra on July 8th. Maharaj said that the pandas have the tradition of keeping non-hindus out of the temple. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not break that tradition. But Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chose Haridas Thakur, a muslim born, as His own Namacharya. It was even more difficult in those times than it is today. Many of the devotees are pathan-vaishnavas, have some muslim background. They have no caste pride. But, still, at Rathayatra, Jagannath Himself comes out to have darshan of all His faithful and to give darshan to all His faithful.

This is just one brahmanda (universe) and they are innumerable. Maharaj noted that there are fourteen planetary systems, seven higher and seven lower, and beyond that Viraja, and then Brahmaloka (Brahman) and beyond that Vaikuntha. Quoting Sri Brahma Samhita: Verse 40, yasya prabha.... Brahman is only the bodily effulgence of Krishna, and Krishna is the highest Truth, Krishnas tu Bhagavan swayam.

Everyone in Vrindaban in the time of Srila Krishna das Kaviraj appreciated his realization of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lila. They encouraged him to write about Mahaprabhu's lila and teachings. Srila Kaviraj was humble and reluctant, as well as old and with failing eyesight. He went to Sri Sri Radha-Madan-Mohan Temple, and asked Their permission. The garland fell from Sri Madan-Mohan and Srila Kaviraj received that garland from the pujari.

Darshan Notebook


Morning, July 1, 2005. "Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati."


Prabodhananda Saraswati was in the Ramanuja Sampradaya. He is the author of Sri Chaitanya Chandra-amrita and Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi. He is very much qualified in expressing the lila of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself. His identity is said to be that of one of the eight principle sakhis, Tunga Vidya. He was the uncle of Gopal Bhatta Goswami. When Krishna das Kaviraj approached him for blessings and permission to write on the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Prabodhananda Saraswati gave him permission to do so but on one condition: that Srila Krishna das Kaviraj not mention him (Prabodhananda Saraswati) in his work. Srila Govinda Maharaj expressed that the reason for this was explained by Srila Guru Maharaj. Prabodhananda Saraswati knew that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was promoting the Rupanuga Sampradaya. Therefore, Prabodhananada Saraswati did not want himself mentioned in the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita to distract from the Will of Mahaprabhu.

Also, it should be noted that when taking the name of Prabodhananda, it must be taken as Prabodhananda Saraswati. Some individuals falsely claim that Prabodhananda Saraswati was a mayavad converted by Lord Chaitanyadeva. This is not possible for an asta-sakhi.

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 2nd, 2005. "Try to preach."


Krishna is so kind to give us shelter at His Lotus Feet. Bahunam janmanam ante(BG), many lifetimes we have passed to get this opportunity. One bhakta wrote asking the question whether he should preach because he does not feel that he has perfect knowledge. Srila Govinda Maharaj thought about this last night and again this morning, expressing finally the following. Only one person has perfect knowledge as far as I know and that is my Guru Maharaj. But, I may have $5, it is still currency.

yare dekha tare kaha krishna upadesa. On the order and for the pleasure of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we must try to preach Krishna consciousness to others. (CC Madhya 7.128).

It is true that it is very rare to find someone in this world who knows "everything." Srila Govinda Maharaj quotes Sri Brahma Samhita verse 56: sriyah kantah... vidantas te santah ksiti virala charah katipaye. "Practically no one in this world knows that place but for a few pure devotees, and they know it as Goloka." Even our Srila Guru Maharaj said that we are practitioners, students. Always have the mentality of a student. Even if one is placed in the position of Guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur identified himself like a monitor in a class.

Quoting Srila Guru Maharaj's "Bhaktivinoda Viraha Dasakam" found in Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamritam, Srimati Radharani's Lotus Feet cannot be given by anyone except for Her associates. We must not be hopeless.

Srila Govinda Maharaj recollects how there were many great disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. They would come to visit Srila Guru Maharaj, and thus Srila Govinda Maharaj met and received the blessings of all of them. He could only recall one disciple, Srila Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj of Puri, that he had not had the opportunity to meet. They were all coming to have Srila Guru Maharaj's association and instruction.

Please forgive any offense in presenting this to you for your devotional upliftment. In general, Srila Govinda Maharaj is in stable health. He feels the need at this time to remain in Calcutta for health reasons, however, and as of the moment, His Divine Grace is not planning to attend the Rathayatra Celebration in Puri. About 100 devotees will be going however by bus, train and plane. Hare Krishna.

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 5th, 2005. "Praising the Devotees."


This morning Srila Govinda Maharaj honestly and spontaneously praised the seva of the Italian devotees who cooperate so beautifully and without false ego together for the satisfaction of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga. He is very, very satisfied with their offerings of service.

He is always amazed at the service of Srimati Krishna Kanta dd whose transcendental vision bypasses the infirmity of her own body for the service of Sri Sri Nitai-Gauranga. What a wonderful example for any and all, and it is genuinely kept in the heart of Srila Govinda Maharaj, giving him strength also.

This morning Sripad Yudhamanyu Prabhu, Jivana dd, and Urmila dd (one of Srila Govinda Maharaj's new young Chinese disciples) arrived with much mutual affection in Calcutta. Urmila dd is the artist who saw a photo of the Deities from Soquel and proceded to paint Sri Sri Radha Krishna and Sriman Mahaprabhu. Her parents sent beautiful and humble gifts for Srila Govinda Maharaj.

Srila Govinda Maharaj received the pilgrims with much honor and affection. He spoke for a few moments how Lord Buddha was born in India but he introduced Buddhism throughout Asia and China. Then His Grace emphasized that the Vedas, Puranas, Itihasas (histories), Upanishads, all declare that life will go on after death, after liberation. He has restated a theme which His Divine Grace uses almost daily when he speaks. "We are all so very fortunate to have Krishna consciousness in this lifetime."

He also received many offerings of seva which Jivana dd brought from Soquel. He opened and acknowledged each and every one of them. He praised Kumkum dd, and Divya Shakti dd, as well as Jivana dd and so many others. He dreamed that he would like to return to stay in Soquel, but he knows that for his health he is remaining in Calcutta.

Your servant,
Pusta Krishna das.

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 6th, 2005. "Avadhut."


Dandavat pranam, and Hare Krishna.

This morning I awoke just after 2 am and chanted japa. Srila Govinda Maharaj arose at 3 am. After finishing some japa, I continued my reading of a translation of the Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat by Srila Vrindaban das Thakur. I remarked to Srila Govinda Maharaj that I did not understand what was meant by Nityananda Prabhu being called an Avadhut until I entered into this great literature.

The beautiful heart of Srila Govinda Maharaj opened up. He quoted a verse which Srila Guru Maharaj heard from a respected bhakta in Mednapur District. The bhakta's name was Viraja and he was part of the Nanda Family. The quote is from the Vaishnava Tantra describing the nature of an Avadhut. I checked the Sanskrit with Srila Govinda Maharaj and, lacking ability to show diacriticals on this email, I will do my best to write it out for those interested.

Wherever there is a long "a" will be represented by two a's side by side, and a long "i" by two i's side by side:

antah shaaktaa bahi shaibah
sabhaayaam vaishnavaamataah
naanaaveshadharaa kolaa
vicaranti mahiitale

"Internally (antah) like shakta (a follower of Kali) not caring for any rules or regulations, externally (bahi) like a follower of Lord Shiva.
"In the assembly He is thinking like a Vaishanava. He does not care for any dress, He walks in this world."
(Translation with help of Srila Govinda Maharaj)

You might not find this sloka in any standard texts so make note of it if you find it interesting.

Srila Govinda Maharaj then recalled how (from Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat) Lord Chaitanyadeva requested the kaupin (loincloth) of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu tore it into strips of cloth and distributed this to His associates describing it as most worshipable. The devotees tied it around their foreheads.

Srila Govinda Maharaj began spontaneously singing verses from the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and then 'Nitai Pada Kamala...' with great feeling as His Divine Grace's beautiful transcendental mood melted my heart. It is frankly difficult for Srila Govinda Maharaj to sing as he once did because of spasms of coughing that occur.

Then Srila Govinda Maharaj noted that if you see Lord Nityananda with a bottle of whisky in his left hand and a mleccha girl in his right hand walking down the street, Lord Brahma will come and give his full dandavat pranam to Lord Nityananda. Such is His supreme position as the topmost intimate servitor of Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Absolute Truth. (By the way friends, don't try to imitate Lord Nityananda. Remember the ocean of poison that Lord Siva drank, also not to be imitated by any jiva soul aspiring for devotional service. PK das)

Hare Krishna.
I beg to remain at your service,
Pusta Krishna das.

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 8th, 2005. "Rathayatra."


Dandavat and Hare Krishna. Here is Calcutta on July 8, it is Rathayatra Day. Srila Govinda Maharaj stated that about 600,000 people will celebrate Rathayatra in Puri. Also today, about 28 kilometers from Calcutta, one person Mahesh puts on a Rathayatra Festival for 200,000 people. ISKCON also has its Rathayatra in Calcutta and there is one more such festival in Calcutta as well. Advertisements for Puri Rathayatra have been playing on Indian TV for the past week or so, and there are some large advertisements on big boards on main thoroughfares in Calcutta.

This morning, Srila Govinda Maharaj is in very good spirits. He spoke with Yudhamanyu Prabhu and his good wife Jivana, myself and some of the temple devotees. He said that today, Jagannath will get dry prasadam, not rice. The pandas who share in the care of the temple will sell the prasadam, ask for donations or sometimes give it away for free. Srila Maharaj said that he thinks there are about 1,200 pandas in Puri. They consider that, when they are taking Their Lordships out for Rathayatra, they are going to take Them to Their aunties' house, i.e. Gundicha Mandir. Of course, the Vaishnavas who have studied Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita can understand how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Lila celebrated this festival. Pandas like to think of themselves as zamindars or landlords of the Jagannath Temple, although officially that term (landlord = zamindar) is no longer acceptable. The pandas receive a portion of the prasadam of Lord Jagannath regularly, and they feed their families and sell the prasadam. Most of the pandas are well to do.

When approached by a panda, or seeking one out, they will generally show you around Puri for a donation or fee, something like a tour-guide. In Puri, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, like all the other temples, keeps peace and employs the services of a panda to obtain prasadam from Lord Jagannath. Srila Govinda Maharaj said that our panda in Puri is named Gopinath Khutia. His son is Hare Krishna Khutia, and one gentleman, Bubli, is also working with them in a managerial capacity. If you are in Puri and being solicited by various pandas (more the rule than the exception), if you say that we have a panda, Gopinath Khutia, then the other pandas will leave you alone.

I asked Maharaj if they sing kirtan inside the Jagannath Temple. He said yes, sometimes Jayadeva's Gitagovinda or the 'Jagannatha Swami Nayana Pathagami bhava tu me...,' etc., and sometimes the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

Also, a trivial item, how Srila Govinda Maharaj likes to take his mango (it IS mango season in India, you know). Mangos are taken at virtually every meal if you want! He prefers that the skin be cut off where the stalk used to be and then the skin be pealed off by hand, not with a knife, and then present the entire mango without skin and without further cutting it. That is his personal preference. I am not trying to create a rule about this however, but it was humorous. In fact, for breakfast this morning, Srila Maharaj had moori (puffed rice), a ripe mango squeezed into the bowl (without the pith), a sandesh broken up into the bowl, a supplement mix that he uses in the morning, and some water. Srila Maharaj calls the fuzzy mango hair around the pith a "beard" (in Bengali it is called a dhari).

Srila Govinda Maharaj just got off the telephone with Sripad Janardan Maharaj who returned from a preaching tour in the Central and South Americas. His Divine Grace was very satisfied. He is very happy with the Mexico Yatra, the amazing Venezuelan devotees, the happy devotees of Brazil, and he is very happy that Raja Ram Prabhu is taking the lead role under his direction and at the request of Srila Govinda Maharaj to manage the Temple in Ecuador.

All of the devotees around the world should know that His Divine Grace is well in terms of his health, and even improving a little. Keep in mind that his serious health illnesses occurred about 6 months ago. I take a little license as one of Srila Govinda Maharaj's doctors to let you know that Maharaj is with you all throughout the world in spirit, even though he currently remains in India continuing to recuperate and maintain his fragile health. Please do not be upset or take it wrongly if His Divine Grace does not travel like he used to. He made over twenty world tours, and negotiating a flight of stairs is quite enough for right now. He is incessantly looking at news and pictures of the devotees from around the world mission of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. We want and need to protect the good health of the Captain of this glorious ship bound for only one port, Goloka Vrindaban. The future is all in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's divine Lotus Hands. Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Pusta Krishna dasa

P.S. Afternoon update:
  Sri Jagannath's Rathayatra from Puri today is on Indian National TV and Srila Govinda Maharaj is joyfully watching the festivities from his room in Calcutta with some of the bhaktas here. It is very sweet to see the program in this manner because the coverage on TV allows one to see all of the main activities. Also, as those in Puri know, it has been raining heavily in Puri today. Knowing Srila Govinda Maharaj's health conditions, it is a joy to see His Divine Grace be enabled to see the Rathayatra today from his quarters in Calcutta. Hare Krishna. All Glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga!! All Glories to Jagannath, Subhadra and Baladeva!!! All Glories to the bhaktas performing Nagar Sankirtan before the Rath-carts in Puri!!!!

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 10th, 2005. "Heart and Halo."


Dandavat and Hare Krishna. The floodgates of love for Sri Sri Guru Gauranga opened this morning. Srila Govinda Maharaj began by discussing his health with me, and concluded by saying "sariram vyadhi mandiram," the body is a temple of disease and misery. He noted that yesterday "our one friend passed away suddenly." His name was Vijaya (affectionately Vijaya Babu). He lived in Calcutta with his family. He had only one good eye but rode everywhere on his bicycle. He was noted for helping to decorate the temples on festival days. Just yesterday even he was riding his bicycle. His death came unexpectedly.

Srila Govinda Maharaj related the story of the son of Srivas Pandit. He passed away in the house of Srivas Pandit while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was having ecstatic kirtan with Srivas and others. Srivas became aware of his son's passing away and did not want to disturb the mood of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Later, as we know, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu brought the son of Srivas back to life several hours after his passing so that he could instruct everyone on the relativity of the body.

Srila Govinda Maharaj quoted several verses from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita:

na jayate mriyate va kadachin
nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah sasvato 'yam purano
na hanyate hanyamane sarire

"For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-lasting and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain."

na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhipah
na chaiva na bhavisyamah
sarve vayam atah param

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."

Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj asked a question about the significance of the return Rathayatra, when Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Baladeva return from the Gundicha Mandir (i.e. Vrindaban) to the Jagannath Mandir (i.e. Dwarka). Srila Govinda Maharaj said that not much is given in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. It may not have the same significance to Mahaprabhu as the taking of Their Lordships to Gundicha, but Mahaprabhu is having ecstatic kirtan and enjoying with the devotees.

I asked Srila Govinda Maharaj why Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started out for Vrindaban once and then turned back and returned to Puri. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Ramakeli and seemed to intend to go on to Vrindaban, but He returned to Nilachala, Puri.

Srila Govinda Maharaj relates that Srila Sanatan Goswami advised Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that with Mahaprabhu being followed by throngs of people, it was not the way for Him to travel to Vrindaban. Mahaprabhu took it that Krishna was speaking through Srila Sanatan Goswami, so Mahaprabhu returned to Puri via Santipur after visiting with Sri Advaita Prabhu and others, only to go to Vrindaban later. Srila Govinda Maharaj related in this context that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told to Gadadhar that, "You cannot go to Vrindaban, so Krishna has not taken me to Vrindaban."

Gadadhar is a 'ksetra sannyas' - "I shall stay here until death." Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu however is a religious preacher, but Gadadhar was not like that. I suggested and Srila Maharaj agreed that Gadadhar is feeding the fuel to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mood of separation. Srila Govinda Maharaj said: "Heart and halo Mahaprabhu has taken, so what will be the form (of Sri Radha) without heart and halo? Gadadhar. His only service to give nourishment to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In this way, Gadadhar is coming to Him and giving service to the Lord (Sri Chaitanyadeva)."

Srila Govinda Maharaj explained that the heart and halo of Srimati Radharani was assumed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So the question raised is: What will be the form of Sri Radharani without heart and halo? She becomes Gadadhar Prabhu, who appears to nourish the deep mood of transcendental separation that Sri Krishna is tasting in His Form as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gadadhar has many disciples. Srila Guru Maharaj gave a sloka (found in Golden Volcano of Divine Love) about Gadadhar:

 nilambhodhi-tate sada sva-viraha-ksepanvitam bandhavam
 srimad-bhagavati katha madiraya sanjivayan bhati yah
 srimad-bhagavatam sada sva-nayanasru-payanaih pujayam
 gosvami-prabaro gadadhara-vibhur-bhuyat mad-eka-gatih

"On the shore of the broad blue ocean, Gadadhar Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Krishna). Gadadhar Pandit supplied the wine of Krishna-lila to intoxicate his afflicted friend and give Him relief. As he read, tears would fall from his eyes like flower offerings, onto the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. May the pleasure of that brilliant personality, Gadadhar Pandit, the best of the Goswamis, be my only object in writing this book."

Srila Govinda Maharaj noted that Gadadhar gave all property and heart (whose real identity is Srimati Radharani) to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then he (Gadadhar) is vacant, but he has a body and he is giving nourishment to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on the shore of the ocean.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared from this world and in a dream He instructed Gadadhar to teach Srinivas the Srimad Bhagavatam. Gadadhar wanted to teach Srinivas, who came from Bengal to Puri. Gadadhar said: yes, I have got that from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I want to teach you but my book, Srimad Bhagavatam, my "alphabet" (as Srila Govinda Maharaj put it) is lost from tears (i.e. the hand print of Gadadhar's copy was smeared beyond recognition by the tears of love that flowed from Gadadhar when he read the Srimad Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanyadeva.) Gadadhar told Srinivas to bring one copy from Bengal and he would instruct him.

Srinivas went to Bengal to secure a copy of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but on the way back to Puri he heard that Gadadhar had also left this world. But, Gadadhar had said: "I shall teach you," and that was enough to make Srinivas a great teacher of Srimad Bhagavatam. All knowledge appeared to Srinivas. That was sufficient for Srinivas: that Gadadhar had said "I will teach you."

How much valuable is that knowledge? Srinivas went to Vrindaban and there was a great celebration taking place. He inquired and discovered that Srila Rupa Goswami had also just disappeared. Distraught he then was given shelter by, and he learned under, Srila Jiva Goswami, and Srila Jiva Goswami entrusted all the written works of the Goswamis to Srinivas.

Srinivas, Syamananda and Narottama Das were travelling by bullock cart with the works of the Goswamis of Vrindaban. They passed through a kingdom where the king was named Birhamvir. His astrologer said that these mendicants were carrying the greatest treasure. The king had his men steal a trunk containing the books. None in the king's entourage, however, could make sense of this treasure. Anyway, one day one of the king's scholars was trying to interpret Srimad Bhagavatam and Srinivas was present. Srinivas was asked to elaborate on the Srimad Bhagavatam after being dissatisfied with the king's scholar's words.

The heart of King Birhamvir was melted by the explanation of Srinivas. The king asked Srinivas to go on explaining more, but Srinivas said that he would if he could have back the books that were taken from him. The king said that, "I have those books, I had stolen them." In this way, the treasures in the form of the Goswami's works were returned to Srinivas so that he could return to Nabadwip. Srinivas gave initiation to the king and his son, Gopal, who became the king after his father. Gopal as king enforced a rule that anyone in his kingdom had to chant Hare Krishna (Srila Govinda Maharaj jokingly said "4 rounds"). The king even had spies to make sure that all his subjects were chanting, otherwise they would be removed from the kingdom. Some people would joke that the king was "Beggar of Gopal." Gopal Singh the beggar (please see the later note on 13th July), but without payment he is begging, for he is only asking his subjects to chant the Holy Names.

At this point Srila Govinda Maharaj said how Srila Guru Maharaj's Godbrother, Srila Puri Maharaj was very simple hearted and greatly appreciated Srila Guru Maharaj's presentation of Krishna Consciousness.

This is enough to digest for today. Tomorrow I will share some of Srila Govinda Maharaj's comments about Jagannath prasadam.

  Begging to remain in the service of the Vaishnavas,
Pusta Krishna das
P.S. Afternoon update. "Top to bottom: faith."

Srila Govinda Maharaj today praised the simple-hearted faith of Yudhamanyu Prabhu Seva Vikram who is endeavouring to introduce Krishna consciousness in China. All that is necessary is faith in Krishna, Guru and Vaishnava. One does not have to be a highly learned devotee to do this. Simply a sincere desire to please Krishna, Guru and Vaishnava.

Top to bottom, everything in Krishna consciousness is based on faith.

There are two paths: raga-bhakti and vaidhi-bhakti. Srila Govinda Maharaj said that he is acharya so he must see that there is rule and regulation so that things are not approached whimsically. But, raga-bhakti is very good. It is based on faith and love, a desire to please Guru and Krishna. Devotion is the essential ingredient. He emphasized this over and over. Devotion is the essential ingredient.

He gave an example. Sometimes one may obtain Jagannath prasad from a vendor, but it was not actually offered to the Deity. If one is faithful and devoted, "how I am honoring Jagannath prasad," without lobha (greed), then the Supreme Lord will be pleased and transform this into prasadam. Even taking prasadam offered to Jagannath is maximally beneficial with faith and devotion. It is a question of trying to please Guru and Krishna.

Hrishikesha hrishikena sevanam, bhaktir ucyate. One's senses are for the pleasure of Krishna, not for oneself for one's own selfish mood.

All is depending on faith and devotion.

Srila Govinda Maharaj told a story of how Srila Guru Maharaj and several other sannyasi godbrothers went to Kashmir to preach. They looked for a vegetarian hotel to eat in. They bought rice, dahl, vegetables like that. One of the godbrothers commented that there is "onion" in the soup. Another Godbrother retorted saying, "be quiet, this is prasadam." All is depending upon the faith of the devotee. Sometimes even normally undesirable things have utility in Guru and Krishna's service.

There is another extreme story you may have heard. There was one hunter that used to weigh the meat that he sold on a scale. One of the counter-balance weights that the hunter used was a Salagram-sila (a form of Narayan). One day, a brahman strictly following the rules and regulations (vaidhi marga) noticed and chastised the hunter for this and requested that he, the brahmana, instead worship the Salagram-sila with proper application of the rules and regulations for that worship. The brahman did so but Lord Narayan in that form was unhappy. He came to the brahman in a dream and expressed that the hunter was a great devotee of Lord Narayan, and the Lord in His Salagram-sila Form was very happy swinging on the scale of the hunter, His devotee. Due to this dream, the brahman returned the Salagram-sila to the hunter realizing his mistake.

These stories of raga-bhakti are intended to exemplify the nature of faith and devotion that transcends all rules and regulations. The essential ingredient however is faith and devotion. This was the take home message of Srila Govinda Maharaj. His Divine Grace said he sometimes appreciated the Western devotees in this regard, being sometimes more spontaneous than the bhaktas brought up in India. I suggested that he may be mistaking ignorance for spontaneity, at which he laughed, and went in to take his morning bath.

Srila Govinda Maharaj has been very open this morning to giving instruction, and I told him how we are trying to give this to the devotees worldwide on the website to nourish the devotees that are suffering from separation from him. He was very satisfied and said, "Yes." His Divine Grace's soft heart is always with the faithful and devoted bhaktas throughout the world. He spends hours daily looking at the pictures of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Mission throughout the world and with great appreciation and affection for all the efforts to please Sri Sri Guru Gauranga.

This morning he spent a lot of time showing these pictures to Urmila Devi Dasi, the visiting Chinese devotee. She will be going to Nabadwip soon to visit the Mother Math. She is very happy and she was especially amazed to see the large Russian yatra with temple, restaurants, large preaching programs, all in a formerly staunchly communist country. Anyone can see that the Will of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu must prevail due to His very nature as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Cause of All Causes, and the Supreme Controller. We are very fortunate to be a part of His divine lila of Sri Krishna Sankirtan. Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Pusta Krishna das

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 12th, 2005. "A Simple Expression of Love."


I want to share with you the sentiments of one devotee who left yesterday to return to his native Venezuela. Srila Govinda Maharaj was out from the Math at the time he had to leave, so he dictated to me a message which I later read to Srila Govinda Maharaj who heard it attentively with folded hands and expressing, "Jaya Guru Maharaj." What can I say? I am also so moved by his simple expression of love for his Gurudeva, Srila Govinda Maharaj, that it must be shared with others to hear the beautiful sentiments that come from the bhaktas. I hope that Ishwara Prasad will not be offended by me that I share his feelings with others, and I know that he will not feel pride, because his heart is already so soft and melted by Sri Gurudeva and Lord Jagannath. He attended the Rathayatra in Puri, and his smiling face was almost as big as the smile on the face of Lord Jagannath Himself. Anyway, when leaving the Math to go to the Kolkata (Calcutta) airport, this is the message that Prabhu Ishwara Prasad wanted delivered to Maharaj. Incidentally, earlier that same day Ishwara Prasad Das arranged a fire yajna in the Calcutta Math in remembrance of his deceased father. This was followed by sumptuous and opulent prasadam.

"Dear Gurudeva,
This was the best experience of my life to be here. I am very thankful for everything that you have given us. Today's ceremony was very special. I hope to be serving you for many lives. Now, you are my father...
My love, Ishwara Prasad das"

Hare Krishna. I will be here in Calcutta with Srila Govinda Maharaj for another ten days, and am thankful to have the opportunity to share moments such as these with the devotee community throughout the world. Hare Krishna.


"It all has come from Sri Gurudeva"


This morning after giving second initiation to Dyuti Krishna dd from Australia, Srila Govinda Maharaj went into deep thought again how fortunate we are to have Krishna consciousness in this lifetime. He quoted a number of verses highlighting this including Bhagavad Gita 7.19, Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.29 & 6.14.5 which highlight the extraordinary rarity it is to have gotten entry into Krishna consciousness. Crores and crores of people but so few have taken to Krishna consciousness.

His Divine Grace said that he has seen so much good and bad in his lifetime. "Still, even though I may feel that I have nothing, still Das Goswami has said that what we have received from Sri Gurudeva, it is fact, prapto, we have received it."

He quoted the famous sloka found on p.70 of Sri Guru and His Grace: "Nama-srestham......." What we have gotten, this we have gotten all from our Gurudeva.

Then, of those who do not take to Krishna, so many asura, asuram bhavam asritah (quoting BG 7.15), and mudha. Srila Govinda Maharaj noted how Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad would often use this word, mudha (and we all interjected, yes, "fools and rascals").

His Divine Grace then sat down to his breakfast of moori sweetened with the juice of rasgulla or gulabjamon.

I tried writing this out one time before and it was long and very elaborate with the quotes from the books and their translations. Just as I was finishing, it disappeared from the computer. I can only take this as Krishna's will. Perhaps He wants you to look into the books to find those quotes and translations since Krishna is non-different form of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Anyway, Srila Govinda Maharaj is wanting to say that it is so very, very rare to get this and when getting it, we must acknowledge, as Das Goswami (Raghunath Das) has that what we have gotten, it all has come from Sri Gurudeva.
Hare Krishna.

  Yours in service,
Pusta Krishna das

Darshan Notebook


This morning, July 13th, 2005. "Instructive points."


Dandavat and Hare Krishna.

This morning Srila Govinda Maharaj was looking at the Panjika or Vaishnava Calendar. I asked him what he was looking at. He told me that the Vaishnava Calendar is listing the holy days and appearance and disappearance days of the Vaishnavas. He noted that tomorrow, 14th. July, is the disappearance day of Ajita Krishna Prabhu. Ajita Krishna Brahmachari was one of three stalwart brahmachari servitors of the Math in the earlier days after Srila Govinda Maharaj had come to the Math. Others included Ramendu Brahmachari who later became a grihastha, and Krishna Govinda Das Brahmachari, who also has passed on. One householder Laksmi Narayan Das was a grihastha servitor also who gave so much energy to the mission then.

Srila Govinda Maharaj praised the character and quality of Ajita Krishna Das as follows. He was 24 hours per day engaged in service to Srila Guru Maharaj and the Math. Srila Govinda Maharaj said that he was so helpful, that the Math would not be what it is today without him. He would do everything even without being asked and never had any complaint. He would milk the cows, cook and do pujari seva. Every day, and all day long, Ajita Krishna was engaged in such wonderful devotional service. Srila Guru Maharaj was very pleased with him.

One day in July many years ago, the young Ajita Krishna who was only in his early 30's, was making ghee wicks for offering during arotik. There was one guava tree, not too big, but heavily laden with guava fruit. Ajita Krishna saw that some of the fruit might fall to the ground and then not be offerable to the Deities. He climbed into the guava tree and was collecting the fruit for His Lordships when one of the branches of the tree broke. Ajita Krishna Prabhu fell to the earth striking his head and dying instantly. There was nothing that anyone could do. Srila Guru Maharaj cried for this wonderful servitor of Mahaprabhu, and Srila Govinda Maharaj thus remembered him gloriously today.

Srila Govinda Maharaj mentioned that at that time there was a "good wave" and there were many devoted strongly dedicated servitors. Later, a less favorable wave came and affected not only the Math, but other missions as well.

In this way, Srila Govinda Maharaj's thoughts then turned to the disappearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although we do not relish discussing the disappearance of our Lord, Srila Govinda Maharaj made instructive points for us to understand. Generally, there have been three possibilities proposed for the disappearance lila of Mahaprabhu. Nobody knows for sure. One possibility was that Mahaprabhu entered the Form of Lord Jagannath. Another, and the most palatable for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, is that He entered the Deity of Gopinath. Finally, it had been suggested that Mahaprabhu entered the ocean and never returned.

We really do not know how any of the Panchatattva disappeared from our vision in this world. Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Sri Gadadhar, Srivas Prabhu. We do not know how any of these Personalities left. Some people have engaged in vikriti (or disfigurement) to engage in attempts at historical mundane research to determine how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared. A sloka was given about this, but it is not from the authorized Scriptures and it is not accepted by pure Vaishnavas. In this way, simply because something has been written does not make it so. Srila Govinda Maharaj cautioned one not to follow or accept that path of speculation. What is in the shastra, and authorized shastra, that is accepted. In this way, Srila Govinda Maharaj recounted about one man in Puri who was trying to do historical research to prove how Mahaprabhu left this world. That man was found dead with his head in a bucket of water (Goswami Maharaj elucidated, that means in the toilet bowl). His wife also met with an untimely accident and died.

I recalled how one of my former acquaintances had gone to Srila Guru Maharaj many years ago and brought up the issue of whether the moon is closer to the earth planet, or whether the sun was closer to the earth planet. Srila Guru Maharaj explained to that gentleman that it does not matter which is the case, but how Srila Sukadeva Goswami saw it, that is presented in Srimad Bhagavatam, and that is important.

Srila Govinda Maharaj then offered that there are three concepts, all according to the capacity of the individual. One is heliocentric (the sun is the center), the another is geocentric (the earth or humanity is the center), and the third and the one which we are following is God-centric: Krishna consciousness. All is depending on one's capacity. This is a theme that Srila Govinda Maharaj has also used in recent days. We hear something from authorized sources, Guru & Shastra, but different individuals will understand it differently, based upon the capacity of the individual.

Finally, there are two clarifications that need to be made. One is use of the word "prapto" yesterday. This means that "I have got it," that is, all of what Raghunath Das Goswami, our prayojana Acharya has received, "Nama sresta, etc.", that I have gotten all by the grace of Sri Gurudeva.

Secondly, several days ago I described Gopal Singh, the son of the king that stole and later returned the sacred writings of the Goswamis, was described as a Beggar, asking people to chant the Holy Names of the Lord within his kingdom or they would have to leave. In fact, Srila Govinda Maharaj was using some other word that sounds like beggar but he thinks may be an Urdu word. In summary, Gopal Singh told his subjects that you will chant the Holy Names or you will be, forcefully if necessary, removed from his kingdom, hence he was not a beggar, but some other word that described his staunch and forceful injunction to chant the Lord's Holy Names, and without payment. Hare Krishna.

By the way, it has been raining practically every day. Last night was a powerful rain storm with heavy rolling thunder which accompanied the storm. So far the tank or pond across the street has not flooded. So happy to be here in Calcutta, sequestered with Srila Govinda Maharaj.

  Yours in service,
Pusta Krishna das

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip.
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