My mood in spiritual life has grown from its very conception by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj. There is no doubt that I and many others, having been born in Bengal, have earlier gained some inspiration about Vaisnavism. It is natural for all Bengali Vaisnavas to worship Mahaprabhu. In every Vaisnava’s house is Mahaprabhu’s Deity, or some arrangement for His worship. If they do not continuously offer Him worship, at least sometimes they do so at specific festival times. They offer worship in the Name of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, and others.

What I knew about Vaisnavism from earlier days has some worth, but really I have got my birth in Mahaprabhu’s conception only when joining at the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj. I can say I gained my real birth in Vaisnavism when I fortunately came to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj. From him we received the seed of real jaiva-dharma, real Vaisnava-dharma.

Srila Guru Maharaj tried to make his disciples into perfect preachers in the line of devotion as preached by Mahaprabhu and Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur used many methods for his preaching. We know that his main preaching instrument was through the printing of patrikas [periodicals] and books. He started his first preaching by printing books and preaching, and by the end of his manifest Pastimes here, we have seen that the Gaudiya gave the guideline for the whole of the sampradaya.

Srila Prabhupad himself gave guidance as to the content of Gaudiya, therefore everyone respected Gaudiya at that time. Perhaps Srila Prabhupad did not see everything before it was printed, but he gave his guidance on most of the contents.

Actually, our Mission is becoming so big now internationally. We have many centres around the world in a variety of countries. They are all waiting and need some guidance from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Our main guideline is very simple: Mahaprabhu said,

trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

«One who knows himself more insignificant than a blade of grass, who is as forbearing as a tree, and who gives due honour to others without desiring it for himself, is qualified to sing the glories of Lord Hari constantly.»

This is the guideline: to always chant ‘Hare Krishna’ without offence. But in which way will it be possible? Many varieties of circumstances come, and many varieties of difficulties come. In each country, there are many different types of difficulties, but although the local circumstances may vary, the essence of the solution is given in this verse of Mahaprabhu.

Question: What would you like to see as being in common in each of our centres worldwide?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Actually, there are two kinds of vision everywhere: one is the external form, and one is the internal substance. Both the show and the substance are necessary in this mundane world, otherwise we cannot attract the general people. They are living in the mundane world, therefore, to attract them it is necessary to make a good, attractive cover.

In the goswamis’ books, everything is apparently simple, but inside that, everything given there is rich. Our own Math’s Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu externally is a big book looking like a dictionary, but internally our Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is greatly rich with knowledge with the explanations of Srila Guru Maharaj. Similarly, all our centres need to have an external form and an internal form. Anyhow we will harmonise.

Harmony. Harmony is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s conception. When He went to South India to preach, He visited every type of temple, such as those of Ganes, Kali, Siva, Durga, and other deities. Why did He visit all types of temples? He did so in order that He could reach the people to present to them the ultimate goal of life.

The conception of the Ramanuja sampradaya is that they will never go to a Siva temple. They have a saying that if a tiger will come to kill you, you may go to the mouth of the tiger but not to a Siva temple, even if you will get safety there! They have such a type of conception.

However, Mahaprabhu was not like that. He went to every temple He came across along His path of preaching. But everywhere Mahaprabhu went, He only preached the Krishna conception. He gave Krishna consciousness to all, and everyone took to Mahaprabhu’s religion. He went to Ganes temples, and the worshippers of Ganes took to Mahaprabhu’s religion. In that way, He preached everywhere, and our conception also will be like that. Our intention will be like that.

We do not hate others. If we will hate, then they will go out. Therefore, we must follow Mahaprabhu’s conception of not hating any religion, but giving them Krishna consciousness. So, we must always make harmony with others, otherwise this type of preaching is not possible.

In which way shall we be able to harmonise everything? That policy or theory is very nicely decorated in Sri Brahma-samhita. There you will see very nicely harmonised the position of Mother Durga, Ganes, Nrsimhadev, and other forms of Krishna: Narayan and so on. Everyone’s position is nicely harmonised there. The way in which they will be connected within our society is all very nicely explained in Sri Brahma-samhita.

The conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can also be understood through Sri Krsna-karnamrta. This book explains the supreme goal in life, and the final conclusion for the jiva-soul is also found there.

Mahaprabhu did not compose such books, but He brought Sri Brahma-samhita and Sri Krsna-karnamrta, and He ordered Srila Sanatan Goswami and Srila Rupa Goswami to take charge. Mahaprabhu distributed to us the highest conclusions of His conception through Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami.

At that time, Sri Ramananda Ray was His friend and sometimes acted as if His adviser, but Mahaprabhu did not give the charge of His sampradaya to Sri Ramananda Ray or Sri Svarup Damodar. He gave the charge for His society, sampradaya, or school, to Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami and under them Srila Raghunath Goswami and all others. That is, Mahaprabhu gave Sri Rupa–Sanatan His full mercy in this regard.

By Mahaprabhu’s instruction, Svarup Damodar prepared Raghunath Das Goswami. Finally, Raghunath Goswami went to Srila Rupa Goswami and saw, «Here Mahaprabhu is present.»

It is a proven fact that Srila Raghunath Das Goswami’s character was that he did not want anything without the mercy and grace of Mahaprabhu. After Mahaprabhu passed away, in separation from Him, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami resolved to leave his body by committing a type of suicide.

Mahaprabhu had given him a Govardhan-sila, a stone from Govardhan Hill, consequently he wanted to see the hill of Govardhan once before passing away. He decided that he would commit suicide by jumping off Govardhan Hill. Naturally, when he went to Vrndavan, he would try to meet with Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatan Goswamis. When he met them, he suddenly saw, «Here Mahaprabhu is present in them!» He wanted to leave his body by jumping from Giriraj Govardhan, but when he saw Sri Rupa–Sanatan, he again got life and abandoned his former plan. Srila Raghunath Das Goswami said in his sloka:

nama-srestham manum api sachi-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gosthavatim
radha-kundam giri-varam aho radhika-madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita-krpaya sri-gurum tam nato ’smi

«I am fully indebted to Sri Gurudev. Why? He has given me so many things….» [See Appendix 1.]

Then, everything we will get from the books of the goswamis. The Manah-siksa of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami is very valuable for us. The Upadesamrta of Srila Rupa Goswami is also extremely good for us. We published Upadesamrta before, I can remember.

Sri Rupa–Sanatan also harmonised, and the supreme example of harmonising is Mahaprabhu Himself. Actually, He harmonised with all types of religion. He gave respect to all religions, and over them all He established the Temple of Krishna consciousness. That is His harmonising capacity, we can say.

Each of our centres worldwide must first themselves practise in the way of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and I think that what I am preaching in this regard is perfect. I am trying to preach the conception of Mahaprabhu in the line of Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Saraswati Thakur. This is my claim, and I have no other intention. If I shall not claim this with my full energy, then I shall be an offender to Srila Guru Maharaj because Srila Guru Maharaj believed that I am capable. I am trying, and everybody knows it. Still, I know there are many difficulties going on in many countries — and it is natural. I feel it, but I am trying to give them harmony in the line of Mahaprabhu, and when they are getting harmony, they are very happy.

A few days ago some devotees from Malaysia came here. A few months earlier they were feeling a little troubled, but at that time I could not go to Malaysia. Seeing their situation, I sent Sripad Sagar Maharaj there, and with his association they were very happy. They then came and told me, «Maharaj, we have gained new life with Sagar Maharaj’s preaching.»

Like that we are trying to harmonise everywhere. But the preaching principle of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very simple: you be humble, be tolerant, and give honour to others, and practise Krishna consciousness in the line of Sri Rupa–Sanatan. This is the line given to us by Srila Guru Maharaj. We will find that the main thing given there is chanting: chanting without offence.

The main thing is chanting without offence, along with the nine kinds of activity of this devotional line: sravanam, kirtanam, and so on. Our main activity is sravan and kirtan — give your perfect hearing from a good Vaisnava and then try to preach what you hear from him to others for their benefit and your own benefit. This is the advice of Mahaprabhu.

Especially if you are born in India, you can easily fulfil your spiritual requirement here by the grace of Guru-Gauranga, and the process is to give fulfilment to others also, to distribute this conception.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

This is Mahaprabhu’s conception. He expressed it very nicely to Prakasananda Saraswati.

Prakasananda Saraswati said to Mahaprabhu, «Why are you preaching this way?» Seeing Mahaprabhu’s clothing he said, «You are a sannyasi of our sampradaya, but You are dancing and chanting with the general people, and thousands of people are following You. Like mad You are doing. Why are You doing this?»

Mahaprabhu replied, «This is the only process in the Age of Kali to satisfy our Supreme Lord.» That is, the Lord Himself in the form of Hari-nam has appeared in this age of Kali-yuga.

Mahaprabhu illustrated this in the second sloka of His Siksastakam prayers:

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah

«O Lord, Your Holy Name bestows all good fortune unto the soul, and thus You have extended into the world Your many Names — Krishna, Govinda, and so on. You have offered all Your transcendental potency in Your Holy Name, without enjoining any (scriptural or philosophical) hard and fast rules and regulations concerning time, place, or circumstance to be observed in chanting it. Dear Lord, You have so graciously made Your Holy Name available to ordinary souls, and yet my misfortune, my offensiveness, does not allow love for that gracious Name to be born in my heart.»

But in which way shall we gain attachment, attraction, and love for Hari-nam? And in which way shall we practise? Mahaprabhu’s third sloka shows the answer to us:

trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

Mahaprabhu’s conception and method is very simple, and we are preaching it all over the world in varieties of ways. In different countries, they adopt different methods to preach, but it is all going to one pocket: the practice of Krishna consciousness.

Mahaprabhu said to Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas, «Tell everyone about Krishna, serve Krishna, and learn about Krishna. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.»

In a very simple and clear way, Krishna’s position is given in Sri Brahma-samhita (5.1).

isvarah paramah krsnah sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam
(Sri Brahma-samhita: 5.1)

[«The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the embodiment of truth, consciousness, and joy, is Govinda, Krishna. He is beginningless, the origin of all that be, and the cause of all causes.»]

We shall try to follow this advice of Mahaprabhu: «Tell everyone about Krishna, serve Him, and learn about Krishna.» My own feeling, given by the grace of my Srila Guru Maharaj, is that this guideline for us will be very good.

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