Question: Recently Your Divine Grace instructed that in all our Temples and Ashrams worldwide our devotees should chant the Sri Saraswat Arati in addition to Sri Gaura Arati each evening.

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes, and I feel other Missions will also adopt this. There are now so many Ashrams and Maths. Not only Srila Guru Maharaj’s Ashram and Math, but so many of Srila Guru Maharaj’s godbrothers and disciples have made separate Ashrams and Maths. There may now be 300 or 400 Ashrams, but in each Ashram they generally sing only Jaya jaya Gorachader aratika sobha, and some may sometimes sing Jaya jaya Radha-Krsna yugala-milana. Srila Bhakti Vinod composed these two songs, which are of different types. One song is for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and one is for Sri Sri Radha-Krishna.

In our Saraswat sampradaya — the disciples and grand-disciples of Srila Saraswati Thakur — you will find in almost every Ashram that the Sri Vigrahas are Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and Mahaprabhu together on one throne. We offer arati to the one throne of Radha-Krishna and Mahaprabhu, but that specific kind of arati song had not previously been composed. Srila Guru Maharaj considered that ‘arati’ means the glorification of the Deities, but a specific kirtan for the glorification of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna together with Mahaprabhu is not found anywhere. Srila Guru Maharaj therefore composed Sri Saraswat Arati [see Appendix 2], where he explained the mood of our Deities and why the Deities are in this particular way on the simhasan of our Math. So many of Srila Guru Maharaj’s godbrothers appreciated this composition, and some started singing it regularly and some did not. This was the situation.

Srila Guru Maharaj was not by nature eager to push others to chant the arati song he had composed. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur composed Jaya jaya Gorachader aratika sobha, and Srila Guru Maharaj did not want to disturb the mood of the devotees who chant this in their Maths everywhere. Although Srila Guru Maharaj did not want to cross over what had been organised already by the whole of the Saraswat sampradaya, he nonetheless wanted to give the full conception regarding our Deities. He therefore instructed that in Their honour, every Friday Sri Saraswat Arati will be sung for the satisfaction of our Deities and our Divine Masters.

Srila Guru Maharaj was a little hesitant, but I feel it was a little shortcoming on my part that I did not assert the introduction of this arati song on a daily basis in the presence of Srila Guru Maharaj. Now, by his grace, the inspiration has come to me that this Sri Saraswat Arati is the real arati of our Deities.

Jaya jaya Gorachader is only for Mahaprabhu and the Pancha Tattva, so if we sing only this one song, some incompleteness will always be felt. Srila Guru Maharaj wanted to make our song complete. I started to feel this very strongly, and I mentioned it to Sripad Janardan Maharaj. He immediately declared that he will start the singing of Sri Saraswat Arati on a daily basis in our Santa Cruz Ashram. Sripad Sagar Maharaj then followed suit. Then I decided that we shall also start here in Nabadwip.

I understood that it will not disturb the mood of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur because we shall first sing Jaya jaya Gorachader. No doubt it will take a little more time to chant both songs instead of one, but what is the purpose of our life without the service and satisfaction of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga? Certainly there is no difficulty for us to spend a little more time for Their service in the arati.

The purport of Sri Saraswat Arati gives full Krishna consciousness to us. It perfectly explains the mood of Radha-Govinda and the mood of Mahaprabhu. Included there is some description of their Pastimes, and why They have manifested in this form of the Deities. Such clarification is given in this song.

Question: Why did Srila Guru Maharaj ask it to be sung specifically on Friday evenings?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Friday is considered to be a good day. Brhaspativar and Sukravar [Thursday and Friday] are both pure, auspicious days according to astrology. However, on Brhaspativar barbela [Thursday afternoon] some environmental or general disturbance may come around the time of arati. This is the external cause.

The internal cause is that Sukra is known as a teacher in raga-marg, and Brhaspati as a teacher of vidhi-marg. We are followers of raga-marg, so he chose Sukravar, Friday.

Question: Do you wish this Sri Saraswat Arati to be sung in all our Temples around the world whether they have Mahaprabhu, Radha, and Krishna or not?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes, even if they have only Mahaprabhu. However in special cases the devotees may sing other specific songs for the Deities in their Temple; for example in Puri where we have Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanyadev. For Them, I composed Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanya Arati.

In particular, we give specific honour to what our Guru Maharaj composed. He gave much honour with respect to his Guru Maharaj’s songs, so we shall give that type of respect to our Guru Maharaj’s songs. He taught us by his example, and we must carry out his teachings.

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