Dispatch from Australia
by Sadhu-priya Das Brahmachari
Jaya Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!
6th May, 1999. I offer my full dandavat pranams to the lotus feet of my dearmost Srila Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. On this current visit to Australia he has already stayed for twelve days here at Sri Govinda Dham. On arrival he seemed to be weak after the long flight, but was keen to see the devotees, who all indeed were extremely eager for his much anticipated association. By the time evening came, the devotees gave Srila Gurudev the opportunity to rest while Sripad Sagar Maharaj delivered an enlivening lecture to a packed gathering.
The next evening was our weekly Sunday Programme, and Srila Gurudev personally led the evening's events. After singing some sweet Kirttan, he answered questions and then sang 'Jaya Radha Madhava...'. He sat on a beautiful Vyasasan that was handmade by Anadi Krishna Prabhu, and by the end of the evening he was feeling quite at home and settling back into his Vyasasan very happily. Sripad Bhakti Amala Paramahamsa Maharaj led enthusiastic Sankirttan into the night as the devotees danced with pure joy.
Srila Gurudev's health has been fluctuating so the devotees have all been giving him every chance to recuperate. His Divine Grace has graced the devotees with his presence in the Temple room for four evenings. On one of those occasions Srila Gurudev explained the 'Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanya Arati' that he composed for the Arati to their Lordships Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanyadev in our Temple in Sri Puri Dham. He then proceeded to give an explanation of the different Rasas; Sakhya, Dasya, Vatsalya, Madhura and Parakiya.
The next big program was the Grand Appearance of Sri Nrsimhadeva which coincides with the day our beloved Srila Gurudev came to meet his Gurudev, Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Srila Gurudev sang the 'Dasa Avatar Stotra' and read from the Seventh Canto of the 'Srimad-Bhagavatam' on the Pastimes of Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaj. He also mentioned something of how he came to the Math.
His Divine Grace has been spending much time with the devotees on the long veranda here, answering their many questions. Srila Gurudev appreciates the view looking out over the gardens and he goes for walks around the property each morning and evening. Srila Gurudev is very pleased to see how nicely the gardens, fruit trees and land are being taken care of, and especially he is pleased to see the peacock that now stays here. It turned up of its own accord and happily stays at the Dham without wanting to go anywhere else. Srila Gurudev tells us that this is very auspicious.
Initiations have been going on for the last three days with about twenty Harinam initiations along with eight Brahmin initiations. Srila Gurudev is always enthusiastic to see newcomers coming, and he emphasised that he is giving these initiations as service to his Srila Gurudev.
Sripad Bhakti Amala Paramahamsa Maharaj, formerly Sri Rasabdhi Brahmachari Prabhu, has been doing much preaching and lecturing, whilst also taking care of the cooking for Srila Gurudev. Unfortunately Srila Gurudev's personal servant, Bimalananda Prabhu, has been unable to come to Australia this time, but Sita Devi Dasi and Chidananda Prabhu are ever present to take care of our Divine Master. Sripad Sagar Maharaj is ever busy, working on a translation of 'Sri Garga-samhita.' He also led the fire sacrifice for the Brahmin initiates, helped by Mathuranath Prabhu from Soquel, California.
Srila Gurudev is scheduled to stay with us until the 17th of May, a day that none of us here in Australia look forward to. In the meantime we are all so grateful that he is giving much affection and blessings to all the devotees present. As always he is ever-effulgent and resplendent, caring for us all from the heart.
I offer my humble dandavat pranams again and again unto His lotus feet and to the lotus feet of all of the Vaishnavas.
An aspiring servitor
Sri Govinda Dham
From Recent Correspondence
by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
My dear Prabhu,
Please accept my blessings. I am happy to read your email enquiry. At the time of Harinam initiation generally we give instructions to follow our Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada: to chant the Holy Name without offence sixteen rounds and more as possible. It is also a special consideration of Srila Guru Maharaj and Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur that if anyone is so busy for service to Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga then at least they must chant four rounds and that must be chanted with attention and without offence.
For those who can chant constantly they can chant for as long a time as possible. If there is sincerity and hankering Sri Harinam Himself will be attracted to him and help to remove the offences of the devotee; also service to Guru-Vaisnava is making happy the Sri Harinam of that devotee.
For those who have less practical service duty, they must try to engage themselves more and more in Harinam seva by counting on their beads. Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself was always counting and chanting.
hare-krsnety uchchaih sphurita-rasano namaganana-
sa chaitanyah kim me punar api drsor yasyati padam
Always Mahaprabhu is chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and counting the Holy Name on a knotted thread. Then Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur quoted:
namaparadha-yuktanam namany eva haranty agham,
avisranta-prayuktani tany evartha-karani cha
He said that we are always committing offence to the Name. Actually it is difficult for the conditioned soul to chant without offence, therefore if we constantly try to chant we can attract the affection of Sri Harinam and His presence in the heart, destroying the offences of that devotee. So four rounds or sixteen rounds is not the factor. Srila Guru Maharaj said we need quality, not quantity. Quality means that it is without offence, and this is possible through service to Harinam and Guru-Vaisnava. Srila Prabhupad, Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Saraswati Thakur -- each of them advised in this way for the practitioners. There is no limit actually for counting. Srila Haridas Thakur chanted every day 3 lakhs of Names (192 rounds).
...Again with my blessings to you and all the devotees there.
Swami B.S. Govinda
Calcutta Book Fair 1999
by Sripad Bhakti Swarup Tridandi Maharaj
This year the Calcutta Book Fair consisted of over 500 stalls and ran from the 27th January until the 7th February. Publishers and Booksellers from around the world as well as all over India were represented, and the turnout was so extensive that at times there was quite literally standing room only. This Book Fair has the highest attendance of any such Fair in the World.
The extraordinary efforts of Sripad Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaj and Bhakti Lalita Devi Dasi secured our largest stall ever -- 40 square meters. One of the benefits of the larger size, besides offering more room for our ever-increasing selection of spiritual books, was that we were able to implement a 'one-way' system by using a separate entrance and exit -- for the steady stream of visiting fairgoers. A stunning 'peacock blue' banner, designed and made by our American printing and publishing house, Ananta Printing, adorned the outside of the stall, drawing the attention of one and all. On display were over 200 titles in more than 20 languages -- a telling indication of the growth of our Math's publishing endeavours around the globe. Kumari Krishna Kanta Dasi of Italy painted a beautiful backdrop in blue and silvery white: our Nabadwip Deities' Mandir and Srila Guru Maharaj's Samadhi Mandir beneath the rays of a benevolent full moon.
Visitors were greeted by smiling devotees eager to spread the glories of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga. For the spiritual benefit of the steady stream of book hunters, the devotees produced several informative flyers and introductory leaflets. The fairground covered a large area this year, which made finding individual booths a little more difficult. To meet this challenge, our devotees strategically placed themselves at all corners of the fairground and handed out "bookmark" invitations to our stall. Devotees posted immediately outside our stall directed the fortunate inside -- and within, the Hari-katha and book distribution continued without end.
More Books in Print
Hot off of the presses were two new introductory books: 'In Search of the Original Source', a lecture delivered by Acharyyadev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj in Mexico, previously published by Prabhu Srutasrava in the pages of Sri Vaishnava Toshani; and 'Awakening to the Absolute' by Acharyyadev Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, prepared by my lowly self and the devotees of our Malaysian yatra.
Our book distribution serves two purposes: to distribute the life-giving instructions of our Guru-varga throughout the world, and to give mercy to others by accepting their heartfelt donations for the service of Param-Vaishnava, Srila Govinda Maharaj. At this year's Fair, the collection went exceptionally well: in just the first few days we exceeded last year's entire contributions.
Many respectable personages came to visit us at the Fair. One day Sripad Jayapataka Swami, accompanied by a video crew and a large group of devotees, visited our stall and happily received a selection of books from the hand of Prabhu Rasabdhi Brahmachari, now Sripad Bhakti Amala Paramahamsa Maharaj.
Srila Gurudev'S Personal Visit Our happiest moment descended when Srila Govinda Maharaj, who only a day earlier had arrived from our Temple in Puri Dham, graced us with his magnanimous appearance at the Fair. His radiant smile flooded everyone's heart with happiness, and the devotees were thoroughly enlivened at his arrival. Srila Maharaj remained with us for a few hours, greeting the public and giving encouragement to everyone by his holy presence. As we followed Srila Maharaj back to his car, Prabhu Krishna Chandra Brahmachari led a resounding Kirttan, and we looked on with joy as people in the crowd stopped what they were doing to offer their sincere respects to our Divine Master.
The success of our preaching at this year's Calcutta Book Fair was due largely to the dedication and teamwork of many devotees from our Dum Dum Park and Nabadwip Maths, as well as the many Western devotees currently serving here in Calcutta. How can we mention them all? Months ago, Sripad B.P. Tirtha Maharaj began to carefully canvass the Bookseller's Guild for this larger stall, eventually proving to them that Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is a world-wide mission that deserves a prominent place at the Fair. Later, as the Fair approached, Sripad Tirtha Maharaj supervised the construction of our booth and ensured everything was in place for a successful and effective presentation. Sripad B.K. Ashram Maharaj, Sripad B.C. Parvat Maharaj and Prabhu Krishna Chandra Brahmachari enthusiastically preached to visitors day in and day out. They led a team which included Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj, Prabhu Sundar Krishna Brahmachari, Prabhu Rukmini Kumar and others including several of our lady devotees from abroad. Everyone served with full energy.
Bhakti Lalita Dasi's efforts are particularly noteworthy -- our star collector here in Calcutta, she tirelessly obtained whatever raw materials were needed for the Fair, and ensured that the devotees had everything they needed for their service. Among the other ladies, Kumaris Sundari Dasi and Rasarajani Dasi spent long hours collecting donations and writing receipts, and Kumari Braja Mohini Dasi answered questions and handed out invitations to our Calcutta and Nabadwip Maths. Arriving from Hawaii, Srimati Sunanda Dasi added another dimension to our preaching by supplying videotapes of Srila Maharaj's World Tours.
In conclusion, by Srila Maharaj's grace, we had a very successful Book Fair '99, and we are hopeful that the Book Fair 2000 will be an even more spectacular success!
--Swami B.S. Tridandi
Sri Guru Puja Offerings
In addition to the two new booklets mentioned in the previous article -- 'Awakening to the Absolute' and 'In Search of the Original Source', we also now have copies available of the 'Sri Gaudiya Darshan, Sri Guru-Puja Offerings Special Edition.' With almost 200 large pages including pictures of several of the contributors, this is a compilation of glorification and prayers presented to our affectionate and beloved Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj on his all-auspicious 69th Appearance Anniversary.
Sri Harinam-Mahatmya O Namaparadha
This is a Bengali publication compiled by Sripad Bhakti Amala Paramahamsa Maharaj in glorification of the Holy Name. It includes the contents of the booklet 'The Holy Name and Offences to be Avoided' as well as verses and advices from several other sources including quotations from our Sri Guru-varga.
It is divided into six chapters, one of which is entirely made up of questions and answers. The book is over 100 pages in length and has 4 colour plates and a colour cover.
'Sri Nabadwip Bhavataranga' and 'Sri Sri Prapanna-Jivanamritam'
Set of three 90 minute tapes (English only)
For those who have little time to read, or who simply find it easier to listen, we now have available a three-cassette set which begins with 'Sri Nabadwip Bhavataranga' then proceeds with the reading of the English section
of 'Sri Sri Prapanna-Jivanamritam' from the Preface through to the end of the 10th and last chapter of the book. These tapes have been made available by the request of many.
To assist devotees and the public a 32 page 'Catalogue of Selected Publications' is now available. It includes illustrations and a brief description of many of the principal titles. Accompanying the Catalogue is a regularly updated 'Information Sheet of Publications Available.' This gives a full listing of current publications, requested donations and ordering information.
Your Questions regarding 'The Hidden Treasure of the Holy Dham Nabadwip'
Since mentioning in December's Bulletin of the recently expanded printing of 'The Hidden Treasure of the Holy Dham Nabadwip,' several enquiries have come asking what this book is. In answer, this publication is based on the 'Sri Nabadwip-Dham Mahatmya' and 'Sri Nabadwip Bhavataranga' both by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. In addition there are two chapters by Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj about Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur and the way to see the Dham. It is designed, published and printed from our devotees' press in California, 'Ananta Printing and Publishing.'
Previous Bulletin on the Web
For those of you who missed the last edition of the 'Nabadwip News Bulletin,' you still have the opportunity to read it on our Math's Website: http://www.scsmath.com. It contains a lively personal write-up of the recent -- and unexpected -- pilgrimage by Srilekha Devi Dasi and her family.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's
Nabadwip News Bulletin.
Compiled in the characteristic heat and humidity of India's summer.
Produced by Mahananda das Bhakti Ranjan for:
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Sri Chaitanya
Saraswat Math Road, Kolerganj,
P.O. Nabadwip, District Nadia, West Bengal,
PIN 741302, India.
Tel: (03472) 40086 & 40752. Calcutta: Tel: (033) 551-9175.