All glories to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga      

Remembering His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Article by Jagamohini Devi Dasi
written for Srila Guru Maharaj's Disappearance Festival, 2005.

sri-saraswati-priyan cha bhakti-sundarasrayam
sridharam namami bhakti-raksakam jagad-gurum
~composed and translated by Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

"Who is carrying the divine conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and nourishing it exclusively in the preceptorial line of Swarup Damodar, Ramananda Raya, Srila Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, etc.; and whose divine preaching activities are rescuing the conditioned souls from this mundane world without discriminating and considering the varna-dharmma (creed, caste, religion, etc.) or the degree of fallenness; and who is the dearmost servitor of his Gurudev, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and the only shelter of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda - I bow down to that divine protector of the whole universe, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj."

     Spotless Vaisnava

His Divine Grace Srila Thakur Bhaktivinoda has described the elevated and spotless Vaisnavas who protect the aspiring devotees on the difficult and dangerous path of dedication as raksakas or guardians. When His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur blessedSrila Guru Maharaj with the order of sannyas, he bestowed upon him the sacred title 'Bhakti Raksak Sridhar' - the Guardian of Devotion.

Daily, and in countless spiritual discourses, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj encouraged, inspired and nourished the aspiring devotees while protecting their fragile devotional creepers. At the same time, he was guarding and maintaining the purity of the divine teachings of devotion. Srila Saraswati Thakur was very pleased with Srila Guru Maharaj's Sanskrit prose and how he had described the deep and genuine feelings of separation from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He commented on the style of the composition and said that, through Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself had appeared in those pure verses. Param Guru Maharaj expressed his confidence that, after his own passing from this world, Srila Guru Maharaj was qualified to uphold the devotional standard of the Vaisnava Sampradaya.

Srila Guru Maharaj's pastimes are unlimited. His glorious and gentle grace is inexhaustible. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami lamented that even though he was ordered by the Vaisnavas to write, he could only describe one small particle of one drop of one wave of the ocean of the pastimes of Lord Gaurahari.

pana yanra ajna-dhana,   vrajera vaisnava-gana
vandon tanra mukhya haridasa
chaitanya-vilasa-sindhu   kallolera eka bindu
tara kana kahe krsnadasa  
~Cc Madhya 2.95

In a similar way, we find that it is impossible to find the words to adequately glorify Srila Guru Maharaj's lotus-like purity, transcendental realisation and heart-melting humility. His mercy charms all directions.


      Gems of the Highest Substance

Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj once said that Srila Govinda Maharaj likes to recall how, at times, Srila Guru Maharaj would share a sloka-jewel the way a young boy tosses you one of his favourite marbles. But these gems were of the highest substance. Srila Guru Maharaj was constantly tasting the sweetness of Hari-katha. It is explained that that sweetness, that intoxication, comes down from the transcendental world through the servitors of Krishna. Those servitors "dance and chant ecstatically, and while doing so, some of that ecstasy is spilt here and there and we can easily take that."

Srila Guru Maharaj wrote, "I have collected those drops of ecstasy in my Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. You take it and taste for yourself what this is."

sri-srimad-bhagavat-padambuja-madhu-svadotsavaih sat-padair
niksipta madhu-bindavas cha parito bhrasta mukhat gunjitaih
yatnaih kinchid ihahrtam nija-para-sreyo 'rthina tan maya
bhuyo-bhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje
~Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam 10.14

In The Divine Servitor Srila Govinda Maharaj has commented, "I think that this is the highest sloka I have received in my life, and I shall try to explain the meaning.

'In the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is honey. The devotees in a very glorifying way are tasting that; and it is not a mere drop of honey, rather it is an ocean. They take that and become very intoxicated. They chant and glorify their Lord, and that honey overflows. A few drops of that come down into this world and I am quickly collecting those drops of honey and keeping them in a pot: that is Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. For my benefit and the benefit of the searchers, I am presenting this in book form. You take this and bless me.'

"This, in a simple way, is the meaning of that sloka, and I think that this is the highest sloka I have heard in my life. I am always quoting this...."

    My Only Shelter is My Divine Master

In The Divine Servitor Srila Govinda Maharaj shares some of Srila Guru Maharaj's favourite preparations: natural orange juice (with just a little sugar), chola dahl, alu-bhaja (fried potatoes), and daily he would take muri (puffed rice). He would also like to take puris with the alu-bhaja, and alu-dam (potato curry) and samosas. He liked and appreciated many of the slokas and bhajans from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Saranagati and Narottam Das Thakur's bhajans, also his own composition, Sujanarbbuda Radhita.... He was always chanting many different slokas, and particularly liked many of those in chapter two of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila.

Srila Guru Maharaj was always chanting, "Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai." He said, "My only hope is 'Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai.' Srila Govinda Maharaj reminds us that Srila Guru Maharaj was showing us our true fortune - that is Dayal Nitai. By the mercy of Sriman Nityananda we must be successful. Srila Guru Maharaj was constantly reminding the devotees to be humble by way of trnad api sunichena taror API sahisnuna, amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. When we can understand properly, we must think, "I am very, very insignificant and my only hope is the mercy of the Vaisnavas, and my only shelter is my Divine Master." 

       Divine Disappearance

In Golden Reflections Srila Govinda Maharaj speaks about a large mango tree that left its body on the very same day as Srila Guru Maharaj's disappearance. It was surprising to His Divine Grace because it was a very strong and healthy tree. But within twenty-four hours all the leaves fell from the tree and it left its bodily form. Srila Maharaj reflected that perhaps this tree had left because it could not tolerate the deep pain of Srila Guru Maharaj's departure. In heartbreaking sorrow, it had left its body, unable to bear the separation. Later Srila Maharaj, who sees divinity everywhere, could understand that this was not the only reason. As he meditated further, some feeling came to him that the tree had disappeared to make room for one of the pillars that now supports the roof of Srila Guru Maharaj's Samadhi Mandir, The Temple of Union in Separation. He noted that the mango tree could understand that the Temple would manifest in that spot.

Srila Guru Maharaj's disciples have described the inconceivable pain of his disappearance and how the area of Gauda-desa was shaken by earthquakes in the days preceding and following the close of his manifest lila in this world. All over the world, and particularly in Sri Nabadwip Dham, the devotees were suffering from the shock and pain of broken hearts.

We are reminded that just as the glorious full moon of Srila Guru Maharaj's divine Pastimes was setting, the brilliant sun that is his most beloved disciple, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, was rising and spreading his soothing rays to the hearts of the afflicted devotees.

In The Divine Servitor His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj has reminded us, "When Srila Guru Maharaj was directly present he constantly gave his association in order to guide souls as fallen as ourselves on the path of the ultimate good. Now, in his absence, Srila Guru Maharaj remains present as our guardian in the form of his direct representative, dear associates and chaittya-guru who reveals that path of the highest good. Srila Guru Maharaj's presence is found in his message, in his instructions, in his guidance, and in every particle of every single atom of his established place of bhajan, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. With the vision of service to the holy abode, we can directly witness and realise this extension of his divine service: this wealth of his divine service."

Jaya Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharyya-varyya Astottara-sata-Sri Srimad Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!

Jaya Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharyya-varyya Astottara-sata-Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!

Ananta-koti Vaisnava-vrnda ki jaya!

      Hare Krishna

Feeling helpless and unqualified, I offer my obeisances at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj and at the feet of the Vaisnavas - to those who are advanced and to those who are just beginning. Taking their foot dust, I pray for their blessings and their gracious glance.


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