accompanying the entourage of
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
29 February 2008
Please accept my dandabat pranams!
The weather is turning warm quite quickly now, though still a bit cool in the morning. Those mosquitoes have returned just in the last few days, and with full enthusiasm for their duty!
Srila Gurudev went up to the roof in the morning yesterday, and sat up in the warm sunshine.
The cook here, Kamalesh Prabhu, is very gentle, quietly doing his magnificent seva with a sweet, humble attitude. He continues to prepare wonderful offerings for Srila Gurudev Srila Govinda Maharaj and Sri Anu Giriraj. Every day is like a festival.
This morning, the very elderly and dedicated Dayita Das Prabhu, affectionately known as Dhakuram Prabhu, came up to Srila Gurudev's room. As always, he made his way slowly past the seated devotees to the front of the room, where he intently offered flowers to Srila Gurudev's lotus feet. Srila Govinda Maharaj always gives his attention to Dayita Das Prabhu's offering. Three devotees — he, Murari Krishna Prabhu and the Pujari — do almost all the seva here, whatever is needed, year round.
When Dayita Das Prabhu then carefully gathered up the offered flowers and left the room, Srila Gurudev commented that this prabhu is very dear to Srila Guru Maharaj. Srila Gurudev once gave him the instruction that offered flowers have special respect, and since that time, many years ago, he has always gathered each tiny flower he offers and puts it in the proper place.
Srila Govinda Maharaj said, "He breathes, so we breathe; he's alive and so we are alive." He is so humble, no one would know his exalted position. But Gurudev said that Krishna is giving so much respect to him.
This morning after Mangal Aratik, Srila Gurudev mercifully welcomed us in his room, and spoke there for a very long time. He said that he will go back to Calcutta on Sunday and affectionately asked about the travel arrangements of the devotees. He was concerned for those going by train, as they would arrive on Monday, which is Ekadasi. He said that mahaprasadam will be there for them when they arrive at the Math.
Yesterday work began on paving the road inside the Math compound here at the Srila Sridhar Swami Seva Ashram, Govardhan. Piles of stones and sand are now everywhere, and many workers are busy mixing, spreading and smoothing cement over the brick. Devotees tip-toe around trying not to get in the way or leave their prints in any wet cement. (We are not the celebrities here!)
He told many histories, including one about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad's once giving a lecture in Puri. A devotee excused himself when the bell rang for the aratik of Lord Jagannath. When he returned, Srila Prabhupad asked him if he really saw Jagannath, and said that actually it was just eye exercise. Gurudev said that whatever we see, that will be material. But sometimes we are getting some little sight of something beyond. Still, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said that when we try for that vision, we will not get that. It will come of its own accord; we cannot see it by our will.
Srila Gurudev spoke to us about concentrating on our Math, our Deity, and service, and not to go here and there to see this and that. But Srila Govinda Maharaj said that one thing is Govardhan Parikrama will be beneficial for us. Still, circumambulating Sri Anu Giriraj here is actually enough for us; we have to develop internal vision. He said, "I have come here for the service of Srila Kaviraj Goswami. And now here in Govardhan, this road will be paved. And you have come for me. All is the service of Srila Guru Maharaj. We are not here for any material enjoyment or benefit."
Srila Govinda Maharaj told another story of when he once came here to Govardhan with Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Sridhar Maharaj. All was very simple back then. Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad had not yet come, so the Western money had not yet changed the town and the wealth here. He remembered living with 'Abhay Babu', and how one business venture after another was failing. Finally Abhay Babu was selling bottles of distilled water in the medicine shop. But then he, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, went to the West to preach the pure message of Mahaprabhu; and when he returned he brought so much wealth back with him that it changed the whole economy.
Srila Gurudev said that at the time of that Govardhan visit, though, they were poor and everyone here was poor. When they arrived, Srila Guru Maharaj instructed Srila Gurudev to tell Balarama Panda that he had come. Gurudev said that when he delivered the news, Balarama Panda jumped with happiness. Srila Guru Maharaj had so much love for him, and he for Srila Guru Maharaj.
These are a few bits of the feast of Srila Gurudev's holy talks. They contain his great and inconceivable hopes for us, beyond our present understanding.
Srila Govinda Maharaj is gorgeously effulgent in his full devotion to Srila Sridhar Maharaj. Seeing even a small ray of this inconceivable dedication inspires a prayer in every devotee: that pure love and selfless service to His Divine Grace may someday capture wholesale our own hearts, minds, everything. It is itself the perfect goal of all religion, philosophy, austerity, and meditation, and is worshipped by all worlds, both mundane and transcendental.
With my humble dandabat pranams,
~Srilekha Devi Dasi