“About Srila Gurudev | Disappearance Festival of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.” Srila B. S. Goswami Maharaj. 4 April, 2012. Gupta Govardhan



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Yudhamanyu Prabhu Seva Vikram spoke something about Srila Gurudev this morning. I’ll say a little something now, Paramananda Prabhu could say something, because we are here in Thailand and this country was blessed with the lotus feet of Srila Gurudev. It seems almost like a dream that he came here more then a few times and he really liked it here also. It was sort of… in one sense why should we be surprised, but to the degree that Srila Gurudev liked Thailand and the Thai people and the mood… it brought some relief to all of those who love him and wanted him to be happy even in his final time when his health was no good. He got some happiness and relief by coming here and his outings, going for to the fruit-market or to this place or that place and some of that was recorded by Satya Sundar Prabhu and being the true artist that he is, he’s like working on the video like right now as we speak and when it’s done, he’ll jump on his motorcycle and drive over here and we may it to see something. Like that.

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But when we think of His Divine Grace, Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya-Varya Astottara-Sata Sri Srimad Srila Bhaki Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, we think of his unique qualities and also of his relationship, his loving relationship with naturally with his disciples, but with Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupad, Srila Swami Maharaj and… really was so many people that he met. You can meet people who are not ostensibly directly connected to the Mission, who may have known him in Kolkata or in some other place, and they have… you can’t help it acknowledge that they have some type of extraordinary love and affection with him, by interacting with him.

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And we saw this by traveling with him around the world even… and sometimes instant appreciation. I remember being at the airport somewhere and you’re going trough this scanner, the scanning agents. It was in some European country and the scanner people, they come up me and they’re like, “Who is he? What is his…” They are smiling just by observing him, his divine movements, the way he goes with his cane, his famous latti they called it, means stick. Basically you’ve translated it a stick in Bengali, but it was a cane and this gives you a hint of his personality. That many times followers, devotees, or others they would have some cane carved, hand carved,… silver handle… and they would presented it to him. And Srila Gurudev ever the gentlemen, he would receive that, touch to his head, accepted it, but it would be put in his room somewhere. Where as… What he prided himself on was a fifteen or was it seventeen rupee cane that he bought in Puri many years ago.

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That means how should we say… that would be in an American money that would be around a quarter. I don’t know what would it be in rubles or thai money, but very cheap. That was his cane and with that he’d gone on the 22 times around the world. 22 World Tours. And so, sometimes he showed me, “Maharaj, have you seen my cane?” He said, “Originally it was this much longer, but by going around the world and all these tours, it’s worn down that much.” But no silver cane, no cane with a silver handle, golden handle, jewels, could get him away from his natural simplicity. Just his little fifteen rupees cane form Jaganath Puri.

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So, that means this, in his own expression “simple hearted devotee”, he would use that in different ways. In this regard and other regard he was an example of that. And we’re told by Rupa Goswami in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, where it mentions 24 or 26 qualities of the pure devotee. He’s out delineating what sort of qualities will observe in a pure Vaishnava. This one comes to mind which is in Bangla and Sanskrit called saral, means simple or simple-hearted. Cause Gurudev will say, “I’m a village boy from Bamunpar,…” And what is this Bamunpar, this name? It’s been modified in time. So, the original name, what have been Brahmenpur. And what is that mean? ‘pur’ like Puri. It means ‘a city of brahmans’. What is the specialty of this town? Is that everyone here is a brahman. It means they are in the highest section of Vedic society. What do brahmans do? They interpret Scriptures, they give medical advise and astrological consultation.

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Although we don’t think of Gurudev is fitting the stereotypical concept of brahman, what was his expertise? Scriptural interpretation, medical advise and astrological calculation. So, he is a brahman to the core actually, but the most friendly and accessible and loving, affectionate brahman you could imagine. Because we might think of them, “Oh, they are very detached group, they are very inclined towards spiritual practices, rituals etc…” But he didn’t have that kind of stereotypical brahminical persona, but he is a brahman to the core.

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So, sometimes he told me, when he was a baby, like this little baby over here, maybe little older than that… How old is this baby? 3 months, okay. A little older then that. Maybe like a toddler — 2 years or something… he would wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning. He had this habit his whole life, 3 o’clock in the morning, he is up. Even if he’s going to rest later. Even in the final years, he is up. If you want to check, at 3 o’clock in the morning, go to the Govinda Maharaj’s room, go, you’ll see that he’s awake. He did his whole life. He said, when he was a toddler, he’d wake up in the 3 o’clock in the morning and then look at his mum and dad, mother and father. And mother would be sleeping and his father would be awake and go like ‘shhhhh’, and he would climb up, and he climbed up on his father’s chest and like… want to play. So, what his father would do, his father is a brahman-guru, started teaching him Vedic mantras:

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Like, “Here is Satya-yuga mantra…” and then started speaking that. “Here is Treta-yuga mantra…” And that’s how he kept him occupied, by training him to memorize Sanskrit mantras. So, even though he is a little child, he is learning all these things. And he would say, when his father would be invited to performing religious functions, because he is a brahman, priest, and they go there, they sing the songs and all that stuff. He said, the way that you ‘pay’ brahmans, you know, it’s pranami. But sometimes pranami is actual money, other times pranami is puris — the deep fried… the bread. So, Gurudev said, sometimes describing what was life like, he said, “We had so many puris from doing programs that we used puris like fire-wood. So, if we needed build a fire we put a bunch of dried puris, throughing some ghee on it and light that up, that’s how we cooked.”

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So, what is life was like there, we can’t tell all these stories about his pastimes as a young student and different things. But I remember once like here, we’re hearing here in Chiang Mai by living here, we hear regularly the sound of the kokil, which is this bird that occupies place in the poetry of Goswamis, in the Pastimes of Krishna,

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“Kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa-gaṇākīrṇe mayūrākule…” (Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka: 5 ) The famous song of Srinivas acharya about Vrindavan, saying ‘kūjat-kokila’ that means the sound of the kokil, the hamsa — the swan, mayur — the peacock, he is singing what are the divine sounds of Vrindavan? So, here in Chiang Mai and actually all over Thailand, but really here, we hear the kokils all the time. What is the kokil, the bird that sound something like this… (don’t make me laugh, because then I can’t do it…) They sound like this… [imitating the sound of kokil]. Not the very good, but… You’ll hear them in the morning. So, that’s the sound of the kokil.

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So, Gurudev, hearing that sound, sometimes in a very ordinary situation that might bring about some divine remembrance to him. Here they are around, but in Nabadwip they come as announcing spring-time. When the kokil comes, you can understand, it’s like Saraswati-puja, Makara-sankranti. The things are changing and we’re going towards the spring time. Now, Gurudev, would say, “Oh, that reminds me of my childhood.” It means, so, when he grow up there is no clock on the wall that tell you what time it is and no one has a watch in Bamunpar. So, how do they know time? We can’t imagine living without mobile phone, computer, it’s constantly telling you what time it is. And if you’re going to buy something, the receipt says, “You bought it at 9:29 am.”

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But here he said, “The way we tell what time it is, it’s by the stars in the sky, by the position of the stars, the moon and the sound of birds. When birds start making a certain sound we know, then you have to get up in the morning. Like here, we hear roosters, crow in the morning and we also hear birds, and I know when I hear that, “Oh, it’s getting close to the Brahma-muhurta time.” But Gurudev said, “When I would hear the sound of kokil or different birds, then I knew that it was time to get up and eat muri.” Not to just get up, but get up and eat muri. ‘And what is muri?’ Someone might say. Or for the muri challenged I will explain. It means puffed rice, and it’s a specialty in India, but particularly in Bengal, there is a way… I don’t know how you do it, Gopal knows how to do it. So, this puffed rice it’s like Bengali comfort food, you can say.

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So, Gurudev, he is always saying… Sometimes even people would come and they are asking something very serious, and he said, “I know you’re wanting to know what you should do in your life, but I’m wandering what should I eat.” So, then people start suggesting, “Oh, Maharaj, you could have this, you could have that,” but usually if nothing sound like what he wants to eat, you say, “Muri? You could have muri.” “Yes.” And they bring some puffed rice, the muri and he puts in a little mustard oil and stirs it around in a particular way and eats that.

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And also he has a particular way of eating it… it looks like it’s ice-cream. The way he is leaking the spoon and you just think like, “God, I wish I had some of that.” So once, he is doing that in Nabadwip… and he also knows how to tease people. And he’s going, “Maharaj, you want?” And I’m going, “Yes!” Like sign me up, I want some of that. But I don’t know exactly what is he eating or how he is eating that muri. So, then I find out that it’s not only muri, there is also puffed rice, but then he is putting in some gur, sweet substance, but like molasses, but then he is adding mustard oil. And so, when I get this, now I’m taking it, but I go like…[showing distaste] and he is smiling and laughing, “It’s good? Now you’re eating what I’m eating, you like it?” And I go like, “Yes, It’s very good…” And thinking, “How am I going to finish this?”

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And when he was a new member of the Math, some Math’s devotee was not treating him properly. Sometimes Guru Maharaj would say, “If you’re gonna live in an ashram, you have to be ready for dhal and gal.” Dhal — is the cheapest food available, gal — I can translate as like the lowest person there is going to be your boss. So it’s going to create some ego-problem and you’re going have to tolerate this, if you want to survive in an ashram. So, when he is there, it’s mango season, which is a time of great joy in India. Because unlike here where they have one mango, may be they have 2. Is it 2 or 1? Looks like one pretty much. All right, a few. In India they have like a hundred different types and they are all extraordinary and they’re really different.

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So, it’s s mango season, a time for a great joy for the devotees. But this Math’s member, who is like he is superior there, he is giving him rotten mangoes. When it comes time to eat he is giving him rotten mangoes. So, Gurudev, he is like 17-18 years old, he is saying, “Why is this? Giving me rotten mangoes, what is this?” So, he starts climbing trees, he knows that from his village life, how to climb the tree, he’s picking good mangoes, right of the tree and eating them. And so, that Math’s member tells him, “No, you can’t do this. The system in the ashram is that the mangoes are taken and they are offered for the pleasure of the Deities, they are given to Guru, for Guru, Gauranga, Radha-Govinda and then the prasad you’re taking. So, you can’t do this.” So, that Math’s member wants to get him in trouble, so he tells Guru Maharaj, “That young boy, Gaurendu Brahmachari, he is stealing mangoes directly, he is climbing trees and taking mangoes, and eating them.”

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So then Guru Maharaj had to call him in, to chastise him. And Guru Maharaj explaining, “See, here everything has to be given to the Deity first, this is our system.” “Yes, but he is giving me rotten mangoes.” And then because Guru Maharaj had so much love for Gurudev, sometimes they almost thought it was like to a fault, as we say. He loved him so intensely and also had big plans for him in a future. Guru Maharaj said, “You see under my bed.” and he looked and saw there are all, the like really good mangoes over there. And Guru Maharaj said, “Anytime you want mangoes, you just come to me.” And then Guru Maharaj took out these really beautiful sweet juicy mangoes and gave them to Gurudev. But for Gurudev it’s not enough like just now to relish these mangoes, he goes down and finds that Math’s member and he is sitting there and [eating]. “Oh, these are good, given to me by my Guru Maharaj.”

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So, anyway one time in the Math we’re hearing the sound of the kokil and Gurudev said, “Oh, that reminds my of my childhood.” But as I said it also mentioned in the Goswamis literature, because the kokil, the sound of the kokil is like a type of liquid sweetness. And Gurudev said, “You see, it’s two kokils competing for the affection of female.” So one makes a sweet sound and the other one’s saying, “No, my sound is sweeter.” and then makes a sound sweeter, and other — “No, my sound is sweeter…” and they go back and forth. And that’s why, if you’re listening carefully, you’d hear it’s goes up and up and gets higher. Higher, higher, higher, and then it sort of goes down and they do it again, so they are trying to get the affection of the female. That’s what’s going on that plane, but in the Goswamis literature, they are mentioning that this liquid sweetness of the sound of the kokil is reminiscent causes one to remember the sweetness of the voice of Krishna. And it gets sweeter and sweeter, and sweeter, and sweeter.

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So, if the higher devotees will hear the sound of the kokil it will bring about intense remembrance of Krishna. So, Gurudev says after saying, “Oh, it reminds me of my childhood…” Then I see his mood suddenly changes and becomes very deep and grave and reflective. And he starts to quoting the poetry of Rupa Goswami and… I have not committed this verse to the memory, but it something along the lines of:

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kurvati kila kokila-kula ujjvala-kala-nādam
jaiminir iti jaiminir iti jalpati sa-viṣādam

(Stava-mala: 6.32.1)


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And what this is, now he is talking about of the poetry of Rupa Goswami, and he says, and he’s become very grave and he says, “In this verse Rupa Goswami is voicing the sentiments of Srimati Radharani and this is called viruta alankar, means the poetic expression of opposites or things that seem to contradict one another, so, remember this sound is taking to be very sweet and very joy inducing as it reminds one of the voice of Krishna. But here in separation from Krishna Radharani is saying… she hears the sound of kokil, and she’s going, “Jaimini, Jaimini!” She is taking a name of Jaimini Rishi. And then Gurudev explained why, it is the habit of the people of Vrindavan, if they fear… Like we’re waiting for the rain if there’s thunder and lightening, we don’t want to be struck by lightening. So, when there is the chance of being stuck by thunderbolt, they say, “If you’ll take the name of Jaimini Rishi, you’ll be saved, you’ll be protected.” But here what Rupa Goswami is saying in this sloka is the sound, the sweet sound, the increasingly sweet sound of the kokil in separation from Krishna is like a thunderbolt, striking the heart of Srimati Radharani. So, she’s saying, “Jaimini, Jaimini!” She is taking the name of Jaimini Rishi to protect her heart from the thunderbolt sweetness of the sound of the kokil, remanding her of the voice of Krishna.”

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That comes out of the heart of Srila Gurudev, when he hears the sound of the kokil and many ordinary things are going on. And he can acknowledge, “Oh, in my childhood this or that”, but if the sentiment is allowed to develop, it goes deep into his heart and in this sort of expression would come out. So, and we know that he is famous for his sense of humor. And Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad said in one letter, when he wrote a humorous story, he loved it so much, he said, “You know, people, they can’t hear straight philosophy.” This thing called ‘Choler pathe’, it’s the story he wrote. He said, “But the way you’ve told this story, it’s humorous, it’s very funny, anyone will like it and it makes some profound philosophical point, so, I see a great future for you as a transcendental humorist. This is the kind of thing that people could appreciate.”


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So, in my own observations of this… we know that recently Bhakti Lalita DD was here, and she is his secretary for so many years and on his veranda crew and she add certain dietary considerations, so she knows, and we all know, who come before him, if Gurudev at this kind of simple, naive, childish, naiveté innocence, if you walk in front of him with a bag, he has to know what is inside of it. He’ll ask you. And then you have to open up your bag and show him. He won’t hesitate to ask.

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So, since she is with him all the time, she knows, whenever she walks in front of him, she has to show him what she has. So, especially maybe she is getting ready for lunch and makes some kind of salad or something like that, so, she would like parade in front of Gurudev, showing him everything, and he’ll like… see what she has and then like, “Okay”, and then she can go. So, this one particular day she stops and shows him, and it’s like different type of lettuce and green things, that kind of stuff. And Gurudev looks and says, “Oh, I can see that your Lord is Krishna.” And she looks at him [showing surprised face]. Alright and so, what does he mean? Well, Krishna, he is Govinda, that means he herds by cows, he is famous, Krishna is always surrounded by cows. So, what does he saying, when you look all this lettuce, all these green things, he is saying, “This looks like cow-food to me.” Right. But rather then say that he said, “Oh, I can see, your Lord is Krishna.”

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And that’s a hint what Prabhupad was talking about. So, simultaneously , we could say on one level, this is a little bit of a loving insult, like a little tease and he is being funny and humorous, but he stating the truth, so, who can do this? Who can be that clever? When I had the privilege to read a little bit of something written by Ragunath Das Goswami, and this is a clever repartee between Krishna and the Braja-gopis, just increasingly clever comebacks to one another, Krishna will say something, they will say something and there are many levels of interpretations, double-meaning, ponds. They’ll say things like, “You’re the acharya of despicable behavior.” Or they’ll say some sloka how Krishna is the savior of everyone, but they’ll change one letter on the, they’ll take the last letter of the one word and then make it become the first letter of the next word and the whole meaning changes and it turns into some kind of a tease, a loving insult. So, when I was reading this, I thought, “Where have I heard this kind of thing or this ability?” And I thought, “O, Srila Gurudev, Srila Govinda Maharaj, he has this ability.” Then I thought, “O, then that means, he is qualified to participate in their world.”

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That is so unthinkable to us, but I could understand he can enter… You can only enter there out of the service necessity. And we’ll think, “What is all this cleverness about?” Serves means when you are doing this or doing that, but we will see in that realm. If someone can provide some sort of thing that’s humorous, it’s a very clever use of language, metaphor, pun, double entende that produces some joy to all the heroes. And in the same time has in it bases some profound philosophical conclusion. Well, that’s what’s going on with Krishna and Braja-gopis. So, then I thought that means that he is qualified to enter that plane and render that kind of seva.

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So, that’s one indication. And something that Yudhamanyu Prabhu said once to me, reminds about what we have said, “Don’t give certificate to Gurudev.” So, we are not here giving him a certificate. No way, shape or form. We here identifying some of his divine qualities for our own edification and trying, however poorly, to praise him. But we are not sitting here saying, “We are certify that he is so extraordinary.” His certification comes form Guru Maharaj himself and all the God-brothers of Guru Majaraj. That’s why in the pranam-mantra written by Guru Maharaj, the first line,

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“Gurvvābhīṣṭa-supūrakaṁ guru-gaṇair āśīṣa-saṁbhūṣitaṁ…” He is saying, “Beyond totally pleasing me”, — Guru Maharaj — his Guru, guru-gaṇair’ – the guru gaṇ — means the group of gurus, Guru Maharaj is saying, “My God-brothers they’re all gurus too, so not only he is fullfiled every desire of his own Guru, all my god-brothers, who are also gurus, the guru gaṇguru-gaṇair āśīṣa-saṁbhūṣitaṁ….” Āśīṣ means blessings, saṁbhūṣitaṁ means, “He is fully ornamented with all the blessings of my god-brothers, one by one they all tell the extraordinary qualifications of Srila Gurudev. Srila Keshava Maharaj is saying, “Whatever he wills must happen.” We, who have so many recourses, men, finances, what we are unable to do, he can do with his intelligence.”

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As we told Srila Prabhupad’s saying, “Oh, now Srila Sridhar Maharaj has a confidant assistant.” Because everyone knows, Guru Maharaj by nature is a philosopher and recluse, tending towards nirjan-bajan. When he got Gurudev, Prabhupad said, “Now he’s got someone, who’s going to take it out and do something with it.” Guru Maharaj has unparalleled wealth, but who’s going to distribute it? Just like Bhaktivinod Thakur, he is everything to us, but we need Saraswati Thakur to reveal the wealth of Bhaktivinod Thakur to the world. So, Guru Maharaj, he has an unparalleled treasury of bhaktisiddhanta sindhu and all of that. But who is going to distribute it all?

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So, when he got Srila Gurudev… He is the agent for the what the Guru Maharaj conceived as the conceptual architecture of Chaitanya Saraswat Math,

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śrīmach-chaitanya-sāraswata-maṭhavara-udgīta-kīrttir jaya-śrīṁ 
bibhrat sambhāti gaṅgā-taṭa-nikaṭa-navadvīpa-kolādri-rāje 
yatra śrī-gaura-sārasvata-mata-niratā-gaura-gāthā gṛṇanti 
nityaṁ-rūpānuga-śrī-kṛtamati-guru-gaurāṅga-rādhā-jitāśā

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When Guru Maharaj went in that thatched hut on the Ratha-yatra day and put the giant bamboo pole with the red flag on the top, saying, “This flag is announcing to the world that Chaitanya Saraswat Math it’s Mission to glorify Radharani, to spread the glories of Radharani around the world, which is the purpose of the descend of Mahaprabhu in the line of Sri Rupa, to talk about “gaura-gāthā gṛṇanti nityaṁ-rūpānuga-śrī…” all of this, “śrī rādhikā-mādhavāśāṁ…” That’s there, but who is going to translate this into action, something actionable, how is it going to manifest? It manifests under the divine guidance and direction of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. That’s how the world came to know how great is Srila Guru Maharaj. That’s how all of us got some opportunity to interact with Srila Guru Maharaj, it was always Srila Gurudev, bringing the devotees in connection with the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj. Because Srila Guru Maharaj was very shy, back-pushing men, living in seclusion. And Gurudev sweetly irresistibly appealing to him with his heart, “You give them your mercy, they want connection with your lotus feet.” And Srila Guru Maharaj would say, when he would relent, he’d say, “Alright, but you must take care of them. They can have connection with me, but you’ll take care of everyone.”

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And that’s really how Chaitanya Saraswat Math sprung out of the soil of Nabadwip and then became so exalted all over the world. And Srila Gurudev, taking that flag and circling the globe something like 22 times, I forget the number... 22 times around the world and keeping it’s dignity.

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When we were with him in Geneva in Switzerland, we were invited to go to this Ram-Krishna Mission place. And the leader there supposed to be introducing Gurudev and he just had a big introduction of himself. He’s saying, “I am the only swami in Switzerland. I have a PHD. I am this, I am that” and he went so on, “And now here is Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj.” So, then Gurudev started speaking very humbly, and he is saying, “I am not so qualified. He has a PHD, he is a doctor…” all the things that men said about himself, Gurudev said, “I have no such qualifications, I am just a village boy from Bamunpar, small little village in Bengal.” He is like playing it down-down-down, he said, “But my Guru Maharaj, he was qualified and by the grace of my Guru Maharaj something I got from him, even though I have no qualifications.”

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And then he like quoted one Sanskrit verse and like a long one, and one which is very deep and involved, and that man kind of like looked over… And then Gurudev, “But despite of my lack of qualifications my Guru Maharaj also…” then he quoted another one. And then he quoted like 15-20-25 of these very intricate Sanskrit verses and each time he did it that men’s head went… [down] And Gurudev is saying, “I am not so qualified as our honorable host.” He totally defeated that man, but in a sweet way by all along highlighting his qualifications and saying he was totally unqualified.

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How do you do that? That some type of genius. When he’s saying, “He’s so qualified, I have no qualifications.” He is going down and Gurudev is going up, like that. And you could say, “Oh, is there some ego there, some arrogance?” No. He sees himself… who is himself, what is the identity of Govinda-Dev Goswami? He is the president, sevaite-acharya of the Math of Sridhar Maharaj. The sevaite — he always make sure, “I am the servitor of Srila Guru Maharaj.” His expansion of the worldwide Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Math was meant to promote the glory of Srila Guru Maharaj. Why was he so kind to us, and generous, and forgiving? Because we on some level promoted the glories of Guru Maharaj. And if you did that, in his own words he said, “If someone contributes to the seva of Guru Maharaj, I become their slave.” And we would be like, “Maharaj, please, don’t these things.” Or sometimes devotees would come and say, “Some particular devotee has done wrong, you should oust him from our Mission.” And Gurudev would saying, “No-no, he serves Srila Guru Maharaj at the time of the greatest necessity, not I will never oust him, I will follow that servitor trough hell, eternally if necessary to show my gratitude for their service to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj.”

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So, in the words of Yamunacharya, Prapanna-jivanamritam, but what is it, stotra-ratna? He says, “When will I realize that I have such a wonderful divine master and offer myself to him in eternal service?” Sometimes Gurudev would say, “One word from Srila Guru Maharaj is sufficient to make us his slaves forever.” What type of devotion is that? He’s thinking — ‘one word from Guru Maharaj is sufficient to make us his slaves eternally’. And actually as with everything that he says if you look into this, you’ll find slokas in the Vedas that will verify the truth of this statement. But there it may appear to you like something written in a book, in a scripture, whatever, here someone expressing it from the heart, who’s realized that, who lives it, who personifies it.

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So, he’s personified devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. The things we read about, the things we sing about or what we might dream about he personified that.

#00:43:55#

Narada says, “Gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet…” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 7.15.25) This sloka. Many things can be said. Many things are said described alluded to, but if you have guru-bhakti, devotion to the lotus feet of Guru, you get everything.

#00:44:24#

So, sometimes in his final days he’d be relishing different slokas and things. And such a degree of happiness or ecstasy would come to him and he would say, “I don’t know why this is happening…” very innocently and naively he would say, “why is all this coming to me now?” It was the cumulative effect of his unalloyed service and devotion to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj.

#00:45:05#

So, one of the final things that he said about everyone else, how he viewed everyone, sometimes he would look all of disciples, his disciples and say, “You’re all gifts of Srila Guru Maharaj.” That’s how he saw it. And we’ve heard a maha-bhagavata-guru doesn’t see anyone as a disciple, they see everyone as vaibhav, the extension of their own guru. So, I remember once the veranda was filled with so many devotees and he turned to me and said, “Maharaj, they are all gifts from Srila Guru Maharaj.” He’s not thinking they’re his. No, it’s Guru Maharaj. So, in the final times one of the things he said in a very affectionate mood for all his followers, he said, “Everyone has some fault. Big or small — that is not the question. But if they have a devotional mood, devotional spirit, that has to be recognized and respected.” This was very beautiful thing to say. You can look at anyone, if you want, and find some fault there or flaw, he said, “But what I’m seeing it’s their devotional mood and tendency, their devotional sprit and that’s what you should recognize and respect.”

#00:46:38#

So, we know, we see like hovering above his head this sloka
tṛṇād api sunīchena 
taror iva sahiṣṇunā 
amāninā mānadena 
kīrttanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, 3)

#00:46:51#

A thousand times we heard him say, “You must be humble, you must be tolerant and give honor to others”, which he wants condensed even further in a sense by saying, “My religion is finding faults with myself, not with others.” Which is, Guru Maharaj is saying, that’s the real message of Gita, further developed in Bhagavatam.

#00:47:23#

So, once I said to him, “Maharaj, when did you realize this? You’re always telling that ‘tṛṇād api sunīchena’ sloka — be humble, tolerant, honor others.” And he shook his head and said, “Out of desperation.” He said, “Nothing else works. That’s how I came to embrace that. You can try so many things, try to make so many adjustments, try to harmonize so many egos, try to accommodate, digest so many things. At last out of desperation you’ll take a shelter of this sloka, this teaching of Mahaprabhu — to be humble, tolerant and give honor to others.” And then, what Guru Maharaj would say, ‘kīrttanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ’, then you can go on with Krishna Consciousness, the sankirtan movement, preaching, all these things. But those three thins have to be there.

#00:48:24#

When it came time to arrange his samadhi, we knew, this sloka has to be very prominent in placement. So many slokas were selected on the bases of his expressed appreciation, but that one was given the central position.

#00:48:52#

So, that’s what I want to say for this point and I would like if Paramananda Prabhu will say a little bit about Srila Gurudev’s Pastimes in Thailand, because we are here...

#00:49:11#

Paramananda Prabhu: Goswami Maharaj just mentioned about a simplicity, simple hearted Vaisnav as one of the qualities of the pure devotee. And we were talking about the simplicity of the Vaisnav. And Gurudev was a prefect example of that. I remember, I recall some of the Pastimes that happened.

#00:49:37#

And one time I receiving this reports of one lady, continuously coming and asking of Srila Gurudev. This is Thai lady. And every time she would come, we were somewhere else with Gurudev — in a hospital or just went somewhere. Anyway, she was trying for a week and then Srila Gurudev left, it was towards the end of his last visit. And then what happened is, she explained that one time Gurudev was taking his morning walk, 6-7 o’clock he would come down everyday and go on the walk with group of disciples. And she was just passing by in the car and then by some reasons Gurudev just looked at her and waved her. She described, “With beautiful smile he just waved to me and when I came home I just couldn’t get rid of this, to forget about him. So, I came the next day and asked, ‘Who is that person?’. And some devotees explained, ‘He is an Indian Guru, he came from India’.” And she asked, “What is it all about?” And they taught her how to chant. She started reading some books, she started chanting a little bit and kept coming for a week every day. By some mystical arrangement Gurudev wasn’t there, but she kept coming. But anyway this is just a small interaction Gurudev passing by on his scooter smiling and waving to that lady, that interaction.

#00:51:13#

Like in Chaitanya-charitamrita we have this, when Mahaprabhu says that the highest devotee is the one who can just by his presence he can inspire people to practice Krishna Consciousness, to chant…

#00:51:26#

Goswami Maharaj: Yes. Krishna Consciousness descends within them. Yes.
Paramananda Prabhu: So here we can see a clear illustration of that. And also another day some monks were having the annual prayers over there. And there was one monk who met Srila Gurudev in his past visits. Younger monk and lots of senior monks sitting in the end of the line. And then we came over and he saw me, and he was talking to the other monks and saying, “You know, that man, his teacher is here…” And I could hear, he is speaking in Thai. “And when I met him for the first time I just couldn’t forget, he is the most beautiful person in the world. Two years pass since I met his for the first time, but I still remember. Let’s see him.”

#00:52:14#

And all the senior monks said, “No, it’s not according to our rules. Because after prayer we all will come back to the temple, no left and right.” But somehow we managed to convince that man. And while we walking he was describing the qualities of Gurudev, based on the very short meeting with Srila Gurudev, during the time Gurudev visited his temple. So, very short interaction, but very sweet one. And the all the monks were coming into his room and Gurudev was like, “Wow!” I was saying, “Gurudev, Thai sannyasis are coming…” He told, “Really?!” And I told, “Quite few…” And I remember he called Goswami Maharaj in the room, and they all came there.
Goswami Maharaj: I remember all these Thai monks sitting on the matt.

#00:53:04#

Paramananda Prabhu: And that particular monk who had some experience with Srila Gurudev in the past, he was trying to present Srila Gurudev. At some point… And in his very natural and sweet way Gurudev was making them comfortable, serving some water, asking ‘How are you doing?’, ‘How’s your family doing?’, even those he was not supposed to ask that [laughing].

#00:53:27#

Anyway, Indian hospitality style he is doing. And we can see that they all are captured, they are already captured. He is so simple, he is sitting there in a very simple environment and not so much is going on around him. How come he is this very big maha-acharya, jagat-guru, how come he’s that personality that monk was talking about. And one man was asking, “Well, how many temples have you got?” And Srila Gurudeva was telling him, “Well here we have just this place, around the world we have more than a hundred.” And when they hear this number, more than a hundred, the chief monk of that particular group, he’s just got one temple, and Gurudeva said it in such a humble way… more than a hundred, and at that time, some of the people went down and offered their obeisances in the mind. And I remember later on, about a month later, or perhaps a year later, Gurudeva went to the same temple and you were there, and Gurudeva wouldn’t get out of the car because he wasn’t feeling well. And the monks spotted us, and the whole temple emptied, all the monks came up to the car and paid their dandavats right there, that was nice, I’ve still got a picture of that. And after we came back Gurudeva was very happy, he said, I saw old friends and I’m very happy with this trip. Like that. Also on account of the mangoes.

#00:55:13#

I remember one time we came to Kolkata with Sripad Vaishnav Maharaj and that was a mango season. And normally not so many people were there, it is a hot season. And then Sandip Prabhu, he sent some alphonso mangoes, the best mangoes you can get.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, from Bombay.
Paramananda Prabhu: We came to Gurudev’s veranda, he was having this mango and he offered us. And then he started talk about mangoes, he kept talking for maybe an hour and he didn’t stop! [laugh] He was describing qualities of different mangoes, like Maharaj has mentioned, there are more then hundred of them. It was an endless talk.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes! Telling the name of each one, it’s qualities…
Paramananda Prabhu: Where it grows, how tasty is it… And the way he was explaining it, the taste of the mangoes… We were just sitting there and waiting [to taste it] It was so intense and so real, that we could feel it.

#00:56:10#

And then at the end of this explanation, ‘mango-samhita’, he says, “But, Thai mangoes — those are transcendental mangoes! They are beyond… And Prabhu…, did you bring some this time?” It was like a first day I arrived, so I said, “Yes.” We always bring some mangoes for him.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, there would be a lot of Thai mangoes would come…
Paramananda Prabhu: And even when he stopped taking mangoes because of the sugar, he would give them to the VIP guests, VIP devotees who would visit him.

#00:56:54#

And there are so many other Pastimes. Maharaj just said so many beautiful things about Gurudev and what we are trying to say is just a drop of unlimited glories of Srila Gurudev.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, definitely.

#00:57:13#

Jay Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj Tirobhav Maha-Mahotsava Tithi ki Jay!

Captured by Kamala Devi Dasi,
Edited by Yuvati Devi Dasi



←  «Законы Ману». Шрила Б. С. Говинда Дев-Госвами Махарадж. 15 августа 2002 года. Лахта, Санкт-Петербург ·• Архив новостей •· «Милость наших хранителей». Шрила Б. С. Говинда Дев-Госвами Махарадж. 2001 год. Лахта, Санкт-Петербург →

Yudhamanyu Prabhu Seva Vikram spoke something about Srila Gurudev this morning. I’ll say a little something now, Paramananda Prabhu could say something, because we are here in Thailand and this country was blessed with the lotus feet of Srila Gurudev. It seems almost like a dream that he came here more then a few times and he really liked it here also. It was sort of… in one sense why should we be surprised, but to the degree that Srila Gurudev liked Thailand and the Thai people and the mood… it brought some relief to all of those who love him and wanted him to be happy even in his final time when his health was no good. He got some happiness and relief by coming here and his outings, going for to the fruit-market or to this place or that place and some of that was recorded by Satya Sundar Prabhu and being the true artist that he is, he’s like working on the video like right now as we speak and when it’s done, he’ll jump on his motorcycle and drive over here and we may it to see something. Like that.

#00:02:57#

But when we think of His Divine Grace, Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya-Varya Astottara-Sata Sri Srimad Srila Bhaki Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, we think of his unique qualities and also of his relationship, his loving relationship with naturally with his disciples, but with Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupad, Srila Swami Maharaj and… really was so many people that he met. You can meet people who are not ostensibly directly connected to the Mission, who may have known him in Kolkata or in some other place, and they have… you can’t help it acknowledge that they have some type of extraordinary love and affection with him, by interacting with him.

#00:04:02#

And we saw this by traveling with him around the world even… and sometimes instant appreciation. I remember being at the airport somewhere and you’re going trough this scanner, the scanning agents. It was in some European country and the scanner people, they come up me and they’re like, “Who is he? What is his…” They are smiling just by observing him, his divine movements, the way he goes with his cane, his famous latti they called it, means stick. Basically you’ve translated it a stick in Bengali, but it was a cane and this gives you a hint of his personality. That many times followers, devotees, or others they would have some cane carved, hand carved,… silver handle… and they would presented it to him. And Srila Gurudev ever the gentlemen, he would receive that, touch to his head, accepted it, but it would be put in his room somewhere. Where as… What he prided himself on was a fifteen or was it seventeen rupee cane that he bought in Puri many years ago.

#00:05:30#

That means how should we say… that would be in an American money that would be around a quarter. I don’t know what would it be in rubles or thai money, but very cheap. That was his cane and with that he’d gone on the 22 times around the world. 22 World Tours. And so, sometimes he showed me, “Maharaj, have you seen my cane?” He said, “Originally it was this much longer, but by going around the world and all these tours, it’s worn down that much.” But no silver cane, no cane with a silver handle, golden handle, jewels, could get him away from his natural simplicity. Just his little fifteen rupees cane form Jaganath Puri.

#00:06:23#

So, that means this, in his own expression “simple hearted devotee”, he would use that in different ways. In this regard and other regard he was an example of that. And we’re told by Rupa Goswami in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, where it mentions 24 or 26 qualities of the pure devotee. He’s out delineating what sort of qualities will observe in a pure Vaishnava. This one comes to mind which is in Bangla and Sanskrit called saral, means simple or simple-hearted. Cause Gurudev will say, “I’m a village boy from Bamunpar,…” And what is this Bamunpar, this name? It’s been modified in time. So, the original name, what have been Brahmenpur. And what is that mean? ‘pur’ like Puri. It means ‘a city of brahmans’. What is the specialty of this town? Is that everyone here is a brahman. It means they are in the highest section of Vedic society. What do brahmans do? They interpret Scriptures, they give medical advise and astrological consultation.

#00:08:09#

Although we don’t think of Gurudev is fitting the stereotypical concept of brahman, what was his expertise? Scriptural interpretation, medical advise and astrological calculation. So, he is a brahman to the core actually, but the most friendly and accessible and loving, affectionate brahman you could imagine. Because we might think of them, “Oh, they are very detached group, they are very inclined towards spiritual practices, rituals etc…” But he didn’t have that kind of stereotypical brahminical persona, but he is a brahman to the core.

#00:08:53#

So, sometimes he told me, when he was a baby, like this little baby over here, maybe little older than that… How old is this baby? 3 months, okay. A little older then that. Maybe like a toddler – 2 years or something… he would wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning. He had this habit his whole life, 3 o’clock in the morning, he is up. Even if he’s going to rest later. Even in the final years, he is up. If you want to check, at 3 o’clock in the morning, go to the Govinda Maharaj’s room, go, you’ll see that he’s awake. He did his whole life. He said, when he was a toddler, he’d wake up in the 3 o’clock in the morning and then look at his mum and dad, mother and father. And mother would be sleeping and his father would be awake and go like ‘shhhhh’, and he would climb up, and he climbed up on his father’s chest and like… want to play. So, what his father would do, his father is a brahman-guru, started teaching him Vedic mantras:

#00:10:05#

Like, “Here is Satya-yuga mantra…” and then started speaking that. “Here is Treta-yuga mantra…” And that’s how he kept him occupied, by training him to memorize Sanskrit mantras. So, even though he is a little child, he is learning all these things. And he would say, when his father would be invited to performing religious functions, because he is a brahman, priest, and they go there, they sing the songs and all that stuff. He said, the way that you ‘pay’ brahmans, you know, it’s pranami. But sometimes pranami is actual money, other times pranami is puris – the deep fried… the bread. So, Gurudev said, sometimes describing what was life like, he said, “We had so many puris from doing programs that we used puris like fire-wood. So, if we needed build a fire we put a bunch of dried puris, throughing some ghee on it and light that up, that’s how we cooked.”

#00:11:25#

So, what is life was like there, we can’t tell all these stories about his pastimes as a young student and different things. But I remember once like here, we’re hearing here in Chiang Mai by living here, we hear regularly the sound of the kokil, which is this bird that occupies place in the poetry of Goswamis, in the Pastimes of Krishna,

#00:12:08#

“Kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa-gaṇākīrṇe mayūrākule…” (Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka: 5 ) The famous song of Srinivas acharya about Vrindavan, saying ‘kūjat-kokila’ that means the sound of the kokil, the hamsa – the swan, mayur – the peacock, he is singing what are the divine sounds of Vrindavan? So, here in Chiang Mai and actually all over Thailand, but really here, we hear the kokils all the time. What is the kokil, the bird that sound something like this… (don’t make me laugh, because then I can’t do it…) They sound like this… [imitating the sound of kokil]. Not the very good, but… You’ll hear them in the morning. So, that’s the sound of the kokil.

#00:13:13#

So, Gurudev, hearing that sound, sometimes in a very ordinary situation that might bring about some divine remembrance to him. Here they are around, but in Nabadwip they come as announcing spring-time. When the kokil comes, you can understand, it’s like Saraswati-puja, Makara-sankranti. The things are changing and we’re going towards the spring time. Now, Gurudev, would say, “Oh, that reminds me of my childhood.” It means, so, when he grow up there is no clock on the wall that tell you what time it is and no one has a watch in Bamunpar. So, how do they know time? We can’t imagine living without mobile phone, computer, it’s constantly telling you what time it is. And if you’re going to buy something, the receipt says, “You bought it at 9:29 am.”

#00:14:36#

But here he said, “The way we tell what time it is, it’s by the stars in the sky, by the position of the stars, the moon and the sound of birds. When birds start making a certain sound we know, then you have to get up in the morning. Like here, we hear roosters, crow in the morning and we also hear birds, and I know when I hear that, “Oh, it’s getting close to the Brahma-muhurta time.” But Gurudev said, “When I would hear the sound of kokil or different birds, then I knew that it was time to get up and eat muri.” Not to just get up, but get up and eat muri. ‘And what is muri?’ Someone might say. Or for the muri challenged I will explain. It means puffed rice, and it’s a specialty in India, but particularly in Bengal, there is a way… I don’t know how you do it, Gopal knows how to do it. So, this puffed rice it’s like Bengali comfort food, you can say.

#00:15:49#

So, Gurudev, he is always saying… Sometimes even people would come and they are asking something very serious, and he said, “I know you’re wanting to know what you should do in your life, but I’m wandering what should I eat.” So, then people start suggesting, “Oh, Maharaj, you could have this, you could have that,” but usually if nothing sound like what he wants to eat, you say, “Muri? You could have muri.” “Yes.” And they bring some puffed rice, the muri and he puts in a little mustard oil and stirs it around in a particular way and eats that.

#00:16:30#

And also he has a particular way of eating it… it looks like it’s ice-cream. The way he is leaking the spoon and you just think like, “God, I wish I had some of that.” So once, he is doing that in Nabadwip… and he also knows how to tease people. And he’s going, “Maharaj, you want?” And I’m going, “Yes!” Like sign me up, I want some of that. But I don’t know exactly what is he eating or how he is eating that muri. So, then I find out that it’s not only muri, there is also puffed rice, but then he is putting in some gur, sweet substance, but like molasses, but then he is adding mustard oil. And so, when I get this, now I’m taking it, but I go like…[showing distaste] and he is smiling and laughing, “It’s good? Now you’re eating what I’m eating, you like it?” And I go like, “Yes, It’s very good…” And thinking, “How am I going to finish this?”

#00:17:44#

And when he was a new member of the Math, some Math’s devotee was not treating him properly. Sometimes Guru Maharaj would say, “If you’re gonna live in an ashram, you have to be ready for dhal and gal.” Dhal – is the cheapest food available, gal – I can translate as like the lowest person there is going to be your boss. So it’s going to create some ego-problem and you’re going have to tolerate this, if you want to survive in an ashram. So, when he is there, it’s mango season, which is a time of great joy in India. Because unlike here where they have one mango, may be they have 2. Is it 2 or 1? Looks like one pretty much. All right, a few. In India they have like a hundred different types and they are all extraordinary and they’re really different.

#00:18:46#

So, it’s s mango season, a time for a great joy for the devotees. But this Math’s member, who is like he is superior there, he is giving him rotten mangoes. When it comes time to eat he is giving him rotten mangoes. So, Gurudev, he is like 17-18 years old, he is saying, “Why is this? Giving me rotten mangoes, what is this?” So, he starts climbing trees, he knows that from his village life, how to climb the tree, he’s picking good mangoes, right of the tree and eating them. And so, that Math’s member tells him, “No, you can’t do this. The system in the ashram is that the mangoes are taken and they are offered for the pleasure of the Deities, they are given to Guru, for Guru, Gauranga, Radha-Govinda and then the prasad you’re taking. So, you can’t do this.” So, that Math’s member wants to get him in trouble, so he tells Guru Maharaj, “That young boy, Gaurendu Brahmachari, he is stealing mangoes directly, he is climbing trees and taking mangoes, and eating them.”

#00:19:59#

So then Guru Maharaj had to call him in, to chastise him. And Guru Maharaj explaining, “See, here everything has to be given to the Deity first, this is our system.” “Yes, but he is giving me rotten mangoes.” And then because Guru Maharaj had so much love for Gurudev, sometimes they almost thought it was like to a fault, as we say. He loved him so intensely and also had big plans for him in a future. Guru Maharaj said, “You see under my bed.” and he looked and saw there are all, the like really good mangoes over there. And Guru Maharaj said, “Anytime you want mangoes, you just come to me.” And then Guru Maharaj took out these really beautiful sweet juicy mangoes and gave them to Gurudev. But for Gurudev it’s not enough like just now to relish these mangoes, he goes down and finds that Math’s member and he is sitting there and [eating]. “Oh, these are good, given to me by my Guru Maharaj.”

#00:21:22#

So, anyway one time in the Math we’re hearing the sound of the kokil and Gurudev said, “Oh, that reminds my of my childhood.” But as I said it also mentioned in the Goswamis literature, because the kokil, the sound of the kokil is like a type of liquid sweetness. And Gurudev said, “You see, it’s two kokils competing for the affection of female.” So one makes a sweet sound and the other one’s saying, “No, my sound is sweeter.” and then makes a sound sweeter, and other – “No, my sound is sweeter…” and they go back and forth. And that’s why, if you’re listening carefully, you’d hear it’s goes up and up and gets higher. Higher, higher, higher, and then it sort of goes down and they do it again, so they are trying to get the affection of the female. That’s what’s going on that plane, but in the Goswamis literature, they are mentioning that this liquid sweetness of the sound of the kokil is reminiscent causes one to remember the sweetness of the voice of Krishna. And it gets sweeter and sweeter, and sweeter, and sweeter.

#00:22:44#

So, if the higher devotees will hear the sound of the kokil it will bring about intense remembrance of Krishna. So, Gurudev says after saying, “Oh, it reminds me of my childhood…” Then I see his mood suddenly changes and becomes very deep and grave and reflective. And he starts to quoting the poetry of Rupa Goswami and… I have not committed this verse to the memory, but it something along the lines of:

#00:23:23#

kurvati kila kokila-kula ujjvala-kala-nādam
jaiminir iti jaiminir iti jalpati sa-viṣādam

(Stava-mala: 6.32.1)


#00:23:35#

And what this is, now he is talking about of the poetry of Rupa Goswami, and he says, and he’s become very grave and he says, “In this verse Rupa Goswami is voicing the sentiments of Srimati Radharani and this is called viruta alankar, means the poetic expression of opposites or things that seem to contradict one another, so, remember this sound is taking to be very sweet and very joy inducing as it reminds one of the voice of Krishna. But here in separation from Krishna Radharani is saying… she hears the sound of kokil, and she’s going, “Jaimini, Jaimini!” She is taking a name of Jaimini Rishi. And then Gurudev explained why, it is the habit of the people of Vrindavan, if they fear… Like we’re waiting for the rain if there’s thunder and lightening, we don’t want to be struck by lightening. So, when there is the chance of being stuck by thunderbolt, they say, “If you’ll take the name of Jaimini Rishi, you’ll be saved, you’ll be protected.” But here what Rupa Goswami is saying in this sloka is the sound, the sweet sound, the increasingly sweet sound of the kokil in separation from Krishna is like a thunderbolt, striking the heart of Srimati Radharani. So, she’s saying, “Jaimini, Jaimini!” She is taking the name of Jaimini Rishi to protect her heart from the thunderbolt sweetness of the sound of the kokil, remanding her of the voice of Krishna.”

#00:25:45#

That comes out of the heart of Srila Gurudev, when he hears the sound of the kokil and many ordinary things are going on. And he can acknowledge, “Oh, in my childhood this or that”, but if the sentiment is allowed to develop, it goes deep into his heart and in this sort of expression would come out. So, and we know that he is famous for his sense of humor. And Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad said in one letter, when he wrote a humorous story, he loved it so much, he said, “You know, people, they can’t hear straight philosophy.” This thing called ‘Choler pathe’, it’s the story he wrote. He said, “But the way you’ve told this story, it’s humorous, it’s very funny, anyone will like it and it makes some profound philosophical point, so, I see a great future for you as a transcendental humorist. This is the kind of thing that people could appreciate.”


#00:27:01#

So, in my own observations of this… we know that recently Bhakti Lalita DD was here, and she is his secretary for so many years and on his veranda crew and she add certain dietary considerations, so she knows, and we all know, who come before him, if Gurudev at this kind of simple, naive, childish, naiveté innocence, if you walk in front of him with a bag, he has to know what is inside of it. He’ll ask you. And then you have to open up your bag and show him. He won’t hesitate to ask.

#00:28:01#

So, since she is with him all the time, she knows, whenever she walks in front of him, she has to show him what she has. So, especially maybe she is getting ready for lunch and makes some kind of salad or something like that, so, she would like parade in front of Gurudev, showing him everything, and he’ll like… see what she has and then like, “Okay”, and then she can go. So, this one particular day she stops and shows him, and it’s like different type of lettuce and green things, that kind of stuff. And Gurudev looks and says, “Oh, I can see that your Lord is Krishna.” And she looks at him [showing surprised face]. Alright and so, what does he mean? Well, Krishna, he is Govinda, that means he herds by cows, he is famous, Krishna is always surrounded by cows. So, what does he saying, when you look all this lettuce, all these green things, he is saying, “This looks like cow-food to me.” Right. But rather then say that he said, “Oh, I can see, your Lord is Krishna.”

#00:29:35#

And that’s a hint what Prabhupad was talking about. So, simultaneously , we could say on one level, this is a little bit of a loving insult, like a little tease and he is being funny and humorous, but he stating the truth, so, who can do this? Who can be that clever? When I had the privilege to read a little bit of something written by Ragunath Das Goswami, and this is a clever repartee between Krishna and the Braja-gopis, just increasingly clever comebacks to one another, Krishna will say something, they will say something and there are many levels of interpretations, double-meaning, ponds. They’ll say things like, “You’re the acharya of despicable behavior.” Or they’ll say some sloka how Krishna is the savior of everyone, but they’ll change one letter on the, they’ll take the last letter of the one word and then make it become the first letter of the next word and the whole meaning changes and it turns into some kind of a tease, a loving insult. So, when I was reading this, I thought, “Where have I heard this kind of thing or this ability?” And I thought, “O, Srila Gurudev, Srila Govinda Maharaj, he has this ability.” Then I thought, “O, then that means, he is qualified to participate in their world.”

#00:31:20#

That is so unthinkable to us, but I could understand he can enter… You can only enter there out of the service necessity. And we’ll think, “What is all this cleverness about?” Serves means when you are doing this or doing that, but we will see in that realm. If someone can provide some sort of thing that’s humorous, it’s a very clever use of language, metaphor, pun, double entende that produces some joy to all the heroes. And in the same time has in it bases some profound philosophical conclusion. Well, that’s what’s going on with Krishna and Braja-gopis. So, then I thought that means that he is qualified to enter that plane and render that kind of seva.

#00:32:19#

So, that’s one indication. And something that Yudhamanyu Prabhu said once to me, reminds about what we have said, “Don’t give certificate to Gurudev.” So, we are not here giving him a certificate. No way, shape or form. We here identifying some of his divine qualities for our own edification and trying, however poorly, to praise him. But we are not sitting here saying, “We are certify that he is so extraordinary.” His certification comes form Guru Maharaj himself and all the God-brothers of Guru Majaraj. That’s why in the pranam-mantra written by Guru Maharaj, the first line,

#00:33:14#

“Gurvvābhīṣṭa-supūrakaṁ guru-gaṇair āśīṣa-saṁbhūṣitaṁ…” He is saying, “Beyond totally pleasing me”, – Guru Maharaj – his Guru, guru-gaṇair’ – the guru gaṇ – means the group of gurus, Guru Maharaj is saying, “My God-brothers they’re all gurus too, so not only he is fullfiled every desire of his own Guru, all my god-brothers, who are also gurus, the guru gaṇguru-gaṇair āśīṣa-saṁbhūṣitaṁ….” Āśīṣ means blessings, saṁbhūṣitaṁ means, “He is fully ornamented with all the blessings of my god-brothers, one by one they all tell the extraordinary qualifications of Srila Gurudev. Srila Keshava Maharaj is saying, “Whatever he wills must happen.” We, who have so many recourses, men, finances, what we are unable to do, he can do with his intelligence.”

#00:34:19#

As we told Srila Prabhupad’s saying, “Oh, now Srila Sridhar Maharaj has a confidant assistant.” Because everyone knows, Guru Maharaj by nature is a philosopher and recluse, tending towards nirjan-bajan. When he got Gurudev, Prabhupad said, “Now he’s got someone, who’s going to take it out and do something with it.” Guru Maharaj has unparalleled wealth, but who’s going to distribute it? Just like Bhaktivinod Thakur, he is everything to us, but we need Saraswati Thakur to reveal the wealth of Bhaktivinod Thakur to the world. So, Guru Maharaj, he has an unparalleled treasury of bhaktisiddhanta sindhu and all of that. But who is going to distribute it all?

#00:35:15#

So, when he got Srila Gurudev… He is the agent for the what the Guru Maharaj conceived as the conceptual architecture of Chaitanya Saraswat Math,

#00:35:28#

śrīmach-chaitanya-sāraswata-maṭhavara-udgīta-kīrttir jaya-śrīṁ 
bibhrat sambhāti gaṅgā-taṭa-nikaṭa-navadvīpa-kolādri-rāje 
yatra śrī-gaura-sārasvata-mata-niratā-gaura-gāthā gṛṇanti 
nityaṁ-rūpānuga-śrī-kṛtamati-guru-gaurāṅga-rādhā-jitāśā

#00:35:48#

When Guru Maharaj went in that thatched hut on the Ratha-yatra day and put the giant bamboo pole with the red flag on the top, saying, “This flag is announcing to the world that Chaitanya Saraswat Math it’s Mission to glorify Radharani, to spread the glories of Radharani around the world, which is the purpose of the descend of Mahaprabhu in the line of Sri Rupa, to talk about “gaura-gāthā gṛṇanti nityaṁ-rūpānuga-śrī…” all of this, “śrī rādhikā-mādhavāśāṁ…” That’s there, but who is going to translate this into action, something actionable, how is it going to manifest? It manifests under the divine guidance and direction of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. That’s how the world came to know how great is Srila Guru Maharaj. That’s how all of us got some opportunity to interact with Srila Guru Maharaj, it was always Srila Gurudev, bringing the devotees in connection with the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj. Because Srila Guru Maharaj was very shy, back-pushing men, living in seclusion. And Gurudev sweetly irresistibly appealing to him with his heart, “You give them your mercy, they want connection with your lotus feet.” And Srila Guru Maharaj would say, when he would relent, he’d say, “Alright, but you must take care of them. They can have connection with me, but you’ll take care of everyone.”

#00:37:38#

And that’s really how Chaitanya Saraswat Math sprung out of the soil of Nabadwip and then became so exalted all over the world. And Srila Gurudev, taking that flag and circling the globe something like 22 times, I forget the number... 22 times around the world and keeping it’s dignity.

#00:38:08#

When we were with him in Geneva in Switzerland, we were invited to go to this Ram-Krishna Mission place. And the leader there supposed to be introducing Gurudev and he just had a big introduction of himself. He’s saying, “I am the only swami in Switzerland. I have a PHD. I am this, I am that” and he went so on, “And now here is Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj.” So, then Gurudev started speaking very humbly, and he is saying, “I am not so qualified. He has a PHD, he is a doctor…” all the things that men said about himself, Gurudev said, “I have no such qualifications, I am just a village boy from Bamunpar, small little village in Bengal.” He is like playing it down-down-down, he said, “But my Guru Maharaj, he was qualified and by the grace of my Guru Maharaj something I got from him, even though I have no qualifications.”

#00:39:27#

And then he like quoted one Sanskrit verse and like a long one, and one which is very deep and involved, and that man kind of like looked over… And then Gurudev, “But despite of my lack of qualifications my Guru Maharaj also…” then he quoted another one. And then he quoted like 15-20-25 of these very intricate Sanskrit verses and each time he did it that men’s head went… [down] And Gurudev is saying, “I am not so qualified as our honorable host.” He totally defeated that man, but in a sweet way by all along highlighting his qualifications and saying he was totally unqualified.

#00:40:27#

How do you do that? That some type of genius. When he’s saying, “He’s so qualified, I have no qualifications.” He is going down and Gurudev is going up, like that. And you could say, “Oh, is there some ego there, some arrogance?” No. He sees himself… who is himself, what is the identity of Govinda-Dev Goswami? He is the president, sevaite-acharya of the Math of Sridhar Maharaj. The sevaite – he always make sure, “I am the servitor of Srila Guru Maharaj.” His expansion of the worldwide Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Math was meant to promote the glory of Srila Guru Maharaj. Why was he so kind to us, and generous, and forgiving? Because we on some level promoted the glories of Guru Maharaj. And if you did that, in his own words he said, “If someone contributes to the seva of Guru Maharaj, I become their slave.” And we would be like, “Maharaj, please, don’t these things.” Or sometimes devotees would come and say, “Some particular devotee has done wrong, you should oust him from our Mission.” And Gurudev would saying, “No-no, he serves Srila Guru Maharaj at the time of the greatest necessity, not I will never oust him, I will follow that servitor trough hell, eternally if necessary to show my gratitude for their service to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj.”

#00:42:15#

So, in the words of Yamunacharya, Prapanna-jivanamritam, but what is it, stotra-ratna? He says, “When will I realize that I have such a wonderful divine master and offer myself to him in eternal service?” Sometimes Gurudev would say, “One word from Srila Guru Maharaj is sufficient to make us his slaves forever.” What type of devotion is that? He’s thinking – ‘one word from Guru Maharaj is sufficient to make us his slaves eternally’. And actually as with everything that he says if you look into this, you’ll find slokas in the Vedas that will verify the truth of this statement. But there it may appear to you like something written in a book, in a scripture, whatever, here someone expressing it from the heart, who’s realized that, who lives it, who personifies it.

#00:43:28#

So, he’s personified devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. The things we read about, the things we sing about or what we might dream about he personified that.

#00:43:55#

Narada says, “Gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet…” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 7.15.25) This sloka. Many things can be said. Many things are said described alluded to, but if you have guru-bhakti, devotion to the lotus feet of Guru, you get everything.

#00:44:24#

So, sometimes in his final days he’d be relishing different slokas and things. And such a degree of happiness or ecstasy would come to him and he would say, “I don’t know why this is happening…” very innocently and naively he would say, “why is all this coming to me now?” It was the cumulative effect of his unalloyed service and devotion to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj.

#00:45:05#

So, one of the final things that he said about everyone else, how he viewed everyone, sometimes he would look all of disciples, his disciples and say, “You’re all gifts of Srila Guru Maharaj.” That’s how he saw it. And we’ve heard a maha-bhagavata-guru doesn’t see anyone as a disciple, they see everyone as vaibhav, the extension of their own guru. So, I remember once the veranda was filled with so many devotees and he turned to me and said, “Maharaj, they are all gifts from Srila Guru Maharaj.” He’s not thinking they’re his. No, it’s Guru Maharaj. So, in the final times one of the things he said in a very affectionate mood for all his followers, he said, “Everyone has some fault. Big or small – that is not the question. But if they have a devotional mood, devotional spirit, that has to be recognized and respected.” This was very beautiful thing to say. You can look at anyone, if you want, and find some fault there or flaw, he said, “But what I’m seeing it’s their devotional mood and tendency, their devotional sprit and that’s what you should recognize and respect.”

#00:46:38#

So, we know, we see like hovering above his head this sloka
tṛṇād api sunīchena 
taror iva sahiṣṇunā 
amāninā mānadena 
kīrttanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, 3)

#00:46:51#

A thousand times we heard him say, “You must be humble, you must be tolerant and give honor to others”, which he wants condensed even further in a sense by saying, “My religion is finding faults with myself, not with others.” Which is, Guru Maharaj is saying, that’s the real message of Gita, further developed in Bhagavatam.

#00:47:23#

So, once I said to him, “Maharaj, when did you realize this? You’re always telling that ‘tṛṇād api sunīchena’ sloka – be humble, tolerant, honor others.” And he shook his head and said, “Out of desperation.” He said, “Nothing else works. That’s how I came to embrace that. You can try so many things, try to make so many adjustments, try to harmonize so many egos, try to accommodate, digest so many things. At last out of desperation you’ll take a shelter of this sloka, this teaching of Mahaprabhu – to be humble, tolerant and give honor to others.” And then, what Guru Maharaj would say, ‘kīrttanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ’, then you can go on with Krishna Consciousness, the sankirtan movement, preaching, all these things. But those three thins have to be there.

#00:48:24#

When it came time to arrange his samadhi, we knew, this sloka has to be very prominent in placement. So many slokas were selected on the bases of his expressed appreciation, but that one was given the central position.

#00:48:52#

So, that’s what I want to say for this point and I would like if Paramananda Prabhu will say a little bit about Srila Gurudev’s Pastimes in Thailand, because we are here...

#00:49:11#

Paramananda Prabhu: Goswami Maharaj just mentioned about a simplicity, simple hearted Vaisnav as one of the qualities of the pure devotee. And we were talking about the simplicity of the Vaisnav. And Gurudev was a prefect example of that. I remember, I recall some of the Pastimes that happened.

#00:49:37#

And one time I receiving this reports of one lady, continuously coming and asking of Srila Gurudev. This is Thai lady. And every time she would come, we were somewhere else with Gurudev – in a hospital or just went somewhere. Anyway, she was trying for a week and then Srila Gurudev left, it was towards the end of his last visit. And then what happened is, she explained that one time Gurudev was taking his morning walk, 6-7 o’clock he would come down everyday and go on the walk with group of disciples. And she was just passing by in the car and then by some reasons Gurudev just looked at her and waved her. She described, “With beautiful smile he just waved to me and when I came home I just couldn’t get rid of this, to forget about him. So, I came the next day and asked, ‘Who is that person?’. And some devotees explained, ‘He is an Indian Guru, he came from India’.” And she asked, “What is it all about?” And they taught her how to chant. She started reading some books, she started chanting a little bit and kept coming for a week every day. By some mystical arrangement Gurudev wasn’t there, but she kept coming. But anyway this is just a small interaction Gurudev passing by on his scooter smiling and waving to that lady, that interaction.

#00:51:13#

Like in Chaitanya-charitamrita we have this, when Mahaprabhu says that the highest devotee is the one who can just by his presence he can inspire people to practice Krishna Consciousness, to chant…

#00:51:26#

Goswami Maharaj: Yes. Krishna Consciousness descends within them. Yes.
Paramananda Prabhu: So here we can see a clear illustration of that. And also another day some monks were having the annual prayers over there. And there was one monk who met Srila Gurudev in his past visits. Younger monk and lots of senior monks sitting in the end of the line. And then we came over and he saw me, and he was talking to the other monks and saying, “You know, that man, his teacher is here…” And I could hear, he is speaking in Thai. “And when I met him for the first time I just couldn’t forget, he is the most beautiful person in the world. Two years pass since I met his for the first time, but I still remember. Let’s see him.”

#00:52:14#

And all the senior monks said, “No, it’s not according to our rules. Because after prayer we all will come back to the temple, no left and right.” But somehow we managed to convince that man. And while we walking he was describing the qualities of Gurudev, based on the very short meeting with Srila Gurudev, during the time Gurudev visited his temple. So, very short interaction, but very sweet one. And the all the monks were coming into his room and Gurudev was like, “Wow!” I was saying, “Gurudev, Thai sannyasis are coming…” He told, “Really?!” And I told, “Quite few…” And I remember he called Goswami Maharaj in the room, and they all came there.
Goswami Maharaj: I remember all these Thai monks sitting on the matt.

#00:53:04#

Paramananda Prabhu: And that particular monk who had some experience with Srila Gurudev in the past, he was trying to present Srila Gurudev. At some point… And in his very natural and sweet way Gurudev was making them comfortable, serving some water, asking ‘How are you doing?’, ‘How’s your family doing?’, even those he was not supposed to ask that [laughing].

#00:53:27#

Anyway, Indian hospitality style he is doing. And we can see that they all are captured, they are already captured. He is so simple, he is sitting there in a very simple environment and not so much is going on around him. How come he is this very big maha-acharya, jagat-guru, how come he’s that personality that monk was talking about. And one man was asking, “Well, how many temples have you got?” And Srila Gurudeva was telling him, “Well here we have just this place, around the world we have more than a hundred.” And when they hear this number, more than a hundred, the chief monk of that particular group, he’s just got one temple, and Gurudeva said it in such a humble way… more than a hundred, and at that time, some of the people went down and offered their obeisances in the mind. And I remember later on, about a month later, or perhaps a year later, Gurudeva went to the same temple and you were there, and Gurudeva wouldn’t get out of the car because he wasn’t feeling well. And the monks spotted us, and the whole temple emptied, all the monks came up to the car and paid their dandavats right there, that was nice, I’ve still got a picture of that. And after we came back Gurudeva was very happy, he said, I saw old friends and I’m very happy with this trip. Like that. Also on account of the mangoes.

#00:55:13#

I remember one time we came to Kolkata with Sripad Vaishnav Maharaj and that was a mango season. And normally not so many people were there, it is a hot season. And then Sandip Prabhu, he sent some alphonso mangoes, the best mangoes you can get.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, from Bombay.
Paramananda Prabhu: We came to Gurudev’s veranda, he was having this mango and he offered us. And then he started talk about mangoes, he kept talking for maybe an hour and he didn’t stop! [laugh] He was describing qualities of different mangoes, like Maharaj has mentioned, there are more then hundred of them. It was an endless talk.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes! Telling the name of each one, it’s qualities…
Paramananda Prabhu: Where it grows, how tasty is it… And the way he was explaining it, the taste of the mangoes… We were just sitting there and waiting [to taste it] It was so intense and so real, that we could feel it.

#00:56:10#

And then at the end of this explanation, ‘mango-samhita’, he says, “But, Thai mangoes – those are transcendental mangoes! They are beyond… And Prabhu…, did you bring some this time?” It was like a first day I arrived, so I said, “Yes.” We always bring some mangoes for him.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, there would be a lot of Thai mangoes would come…
Paramananda Prabhu: And even when he stopped taking mangoes because of the sugar, he would give them to the VIP guests, VIP devotees who would visit him.

#00:56:54#

And there are so many other Pastimes. Maharaj just said so many beautiful things about Gurudev and what we are trying to say is just a drop of unlimited glories of Srila Gurudev.
Goswami Maharaj: Yes, definitely.

#00:57:13#

Jay Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj Tirobhav Maha-Mahotsava Tithi ki Jay!

Captured by Kamala Devi Dasi,
Edited by Yuvati Devi Dasi

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