The creator of this universe, Lord Brahma, once prayed to the Supreme Lord, “Prabhu, I am concerned for the jivas of this world. Nowadays, there are so many philosophies concocted by unqualified cheaters and hypocrites. Many people say that they are worthy objects of the jivas’ worship but they are actually fallen and sinful. The souls are being misled and are thus suffering. They cannot see the truth and they do not know the process by which they can come close to You. Some who follow the real process remain reclusive and do not speak of it to others. Others speak highly of devotion to You but do not follow that process in their own lives. O Lord, this is the state of the world now.
“O Bhagavan, You gave me advice in the form of the Vedas, and I understand that only by receiving this message of Yours can the jivas be saved from this danger. But who can receive this message, protect it, and manifest it for the benefit of everyone?
“I am very disturbed by the weight of the jivas’ tamasik and rajasik natures—to find a person who follows sattva-guna is extremely rare; what to speak of finding a follower of nirguna-tattva. O Master, please help. If you do not do something, this creation will surely fall into ruin.”
Lord Sri Hari replied, “May your fears be gone. I will make the necessary arrangements. But this task cannot be done by an ordinary person.”
Then, on this Purnima day, by Krsna’s desire, Krsna-Dvaipayana Vyasa was born in Sri Vraja-mandala. From the very beginning of his life he had no attachment to family and society. Taking up residence at Badrikasrama he began manifesting the message of God. He called Ganesa and asked him, “O revered devata, will you be my scribe?”
At first, Ganesa, the most popular demigod, felt insulted, but then he thought, “Vyasa is non-different from Sri Hari Himself. I must not disobey him.” But being still uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a scribe, he agreed to help with a condition. “I will write only as long as you speak continuously. If you stop speaking even briefly I will write no more. This is my condition.”
Vyasadeva replied, “Very well, but I will agree to this on a condition of my own: you must pause your writing if you do not understand something I have said.”
Agreeing to each other’s conditions, the two began their work. It was not long before Ganesaji had to frown and pause in the middle of his writing. The verses composed by Vyasadeva were so deep and intricate, and the sage was speaking them in an unbroken stream. Awestruck, Ganesh began to offer prayers to Vyasadeva. He said, “O Prabhu, until now I saw myself as the greatest and most qualified being, but I now understand that because I have no knowledge of the Veda I am really the most insignificant and unfortunate person. I offer my respectful obeisance unto you, O worshipful Krsna-Dvaipayana Vedavyasa.”
Although he was non-different from Lord Narayana, Sri Vyasadeva remained unsatisfied in his heart even after manifesting a vast ocean of Vedic knowledge in written form. He felt as though his work was useless. Something was missing.
Vyasadeva’s spiritual master, Narada Rsi, visited him as he was thinking in this way, and he spoke as follows, “You are the great learned Vyasa. Why are you disturbed?”
“Yes,” Vyasadeva replied, “I am Vyasa, and I have compiled and manifested the Vedas. But I lack the mercy of Sri Guru. Without Sri Guru, all a person’s endeavors are useless. Therefore, O master, kindly shower your mercy on me and instruct me.
Narada Rsi said, “You are disturbed because you have glorified the many gods and demigods and their respective qualities and activities, but you have failed to clearly describe who the pinnacle shelter of all these personalities is. You have not told the jivas who the Supreme Lord of all Lords is, and you have not openly revealed His names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. Now you must clearly establish the glories of the Original Supreme Lord and the process by which the jivas can come close to Him.”
Thus instructed by his Guru Maharaja, Vyasadeva entered samadhi and in that state of meditation realized what Narada Rsi had told to him. “Yes,” he thought, “I have written about Nrsimha, Vamana, and so on. But in actuality, Sri Krsna Govinda is the cause of all causes and the source of all these incarnations.”
anadir adir govindah
Krsna-lila became visible to him and he then very happily revealed what he saw in written form. That is known as Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Now Vyasadeva thought, “I divided the Veda into four parts and appointed my disciples Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini, and Sumantu as the professors of those parts. They are the teachers of the Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas. But who will be the teacher of this Bhagavatam that has manifest? Who is qualified to do this? Who is nivrtta-trsna?
puman virajyeta vina pasughnat
Glorification of the Supreme Lord—Uttama-sloka—is performed in the parampara system. In other words, it is conveyed from Sri Guru to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those persons who have no interest in the so-called glories of temporary, material things, and who have discarded all connection to mundanity. Descriptions of the Lord are the perfect medicine for the conditioned soul trapped in the cycle of repeated birth and death. Only a lowly butcher, or a killer of his own self, will desire to cease hearing such glorification?
“Punar api jananam, punar api maranam, punarapi janani jathare sayanam. Being born, then dying, only to take shelter within the womb of another mother, and then repeating this pattern for what seems like eternity—this is what the conditioned souls experience. Who is that person who can give the jivas the nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam and free them from birth and death?”
By Bhagavan’s will, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, the personality fit to accomplish this task, appeared as Vyasadeva’s son. But to his father’s dismay, Sri Sukadeva entered the forest to do bhajana the moment he exited the womb of his mother. He did not look back at his family, for he was completely disinterested in the material world and bodily relations. He had, at first, refused to come out from His mother’s womb, feeling maya would come to disturb him as soon as he did so. Finally, after residing in the womb for 16 years, he only agreed to take birth after being assured by Lord Krsna Himself that His maya’s influence would not touch him. Krsna removed his maya for the amount of time that a mustard seed can rest on the tip of a bull’s horn. In that moment Sukadeva Gosvami took birth and made straight for the forest.
Seeing his son leaving, Vyasadeva lamented, “Alas! Who will teach the Srimad-Bhagavatam? Who tell them about the pancama-purusaratha, krsna-prema?” Then he quickly taught a hunter verses from the Bhagavatam and they were able to lure Sukadeva Gosvami back to Vyasadeva, who then taught him Srimad-Bhagavatam. The same Sukadeva Gosvami in turn spoke the Bhagavatam to Pariksit Maharaja.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradaro na parah
“Bhagavan Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna is my only worshipful object. In the same way that He is worshipful, so is His transcendental abode Sri Vrndavana dhama. The mood in which the young brides of Vraja have worshipped Him is the most excellent of all. Srimad-Bhagavatam alone is the immaculate sabda-pramana, (scriptural evidence) and prema is the supreme objective of life. This is the conception of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and there is nothing beyond it.”
This verse is one of the two verses that Srila Gurudeva said are to be memorized by anyone who wishes to be called his disciple. In this verse it is made clear that the followers of Mahaprabhu accept the Srimad-Bhagavatam as the authoritative scriptural pramana.
Vyasadeva manifested Srimad-Bhagavatam last, after glorifying the avatars of Bhagavan and the paths of dharma, artha, kama, and moksa. He did this, having received the mercy of his spiritual master, Narada Rsi. This proves the importance of having the shelter of Sri Guru.
On the day of vyasa-puja we offer our worship and very life to the representative of Vyasadeva, to our own spiritual master who comes in the line descending from Sri Vyasadeva himself, and Sri Guru in turn carries our offerings to him.
Sri Hari says:
prathamam tu gurum pujya
tatas caiva mamarcanam
kurvan siddhim avapnoti
hy anyatha nisphalam bhavet
A devotee who worships the spiritual master first and then worships Me attains perfection. It is fruitless to worship Me alone.
Puja offered to Bhagavan will be useless if you do not first worship Sri Guru. This is Bhagavan’s own statement.
Today is also the disappearence day of Sri Sanatana Gosvami.
vairagya-yug bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
krpambudhir yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanam tam prabhum asrayami
Sri Vilapa-kusumanjalih 6
I was unwilling to drink the nectar of bhakti-rasa endowed with renunciation, but Srila Sanatana Gosvami, being an ocean of mercy who cannot tolerate the sufferings of others, induced me to drink it. Therefore, I take shelter of Srila Sanatana Gosvami.
This is a glorification spoken by Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami. But not only Dasa Gosvami glorified Sanatana Gosvami. Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself glorified him in Jagannatha Puri when he embraced Sanatana Gosvami despite the presence of many infected and open sores on his body. At that time, the Lord declared, “O Sanatana, your body is completely transcendental.”
prabhu kahe—vaisnava-deha prakrta kabhu naya
aprakrta’ deha bhaktera cid-ananda-maya
Mahaprabhu said, “The body of a devotee is never to be considered ordinary. It is transcendental and full of spiritual bliss.
Sanatana Gosvami felt as though he was committing an offense every time Mahaprabhu touched his body. Troubled, he asked Jagadananda Pandita for advice. Jadadananda Pandita told him that it would be best for him to quickly return to Vrndavana after Ratha-yatra.
Mahaprabhu, being Antaryami, knew what Jagadananda Pandita had said and He chastised him, saying, “Foolish Jaga! How dare you try to advise the exalted Sanatana Gosvami?” He continued to embrace Sanatana Gosvami by force, although Sanatana Gosvami tried to stop Him. “It is my greatest fortune to touch the body of a Vaisnava,” Mahaprabhu said.
The body of the Vaisnava is God’s property and completely transcendental. By touching the body of a Vaisnava or being graced by his embrace one is completely purified.
The next time Mahaprabhu embraced him, Sanatana Gosvami’s body was cured of the disease and it became fair and fragrant like Mahaprabhu.
When Sanatana Gosvami entered samadhi, on this day, all the Vrajavasis shaved their heads and bore his transcendental body in a grand procession, visiting Mathura and Govardhana. Then finally they placed him in samadhi in Vrndavana. To this very day, the Vrajavasis have not forgotten their ‘Bada Baba’ and follow this tradition out of great affection.
This is also the day that Giriraja came to Vraja-mandala. Giriraja is the abode of unlimited good qualities. He is so humble. He always lies in the dust of Vraja and does not get up. He never complains when the Vrajavasis walk on him and cover him with cow dung. Krsna revealed the glories of Giriraja Govardhana—this is mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Sanatana Gosvami had great affection and respect for Giriraja. He used to do three parikramas per day, circumambulating Vrndavana, Mathura, and Govardhana one after the other. His heart melting, seeing that Sanatana Gosvami carried out this practice unflinchingly even in his old age, Sri Krsna personally gave him a sila that had imprints of His feet, flute, and the hoof of one of His calves. He told Sanatana Gosvami to simple do parikrama of that sila and that would be the same as doing parikrama of all three dhamas.
There are so many sweet and instructive pastimes of Sanatana Gosvami, told by our Guru-varga, such as the one in which he found Madana happily eating the hot porridge of the simple brahmani.
When anyone took shelter of the Six Gosvamis they would offer those souls to Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Our Guru-varga are the distributors of unnata-ujjvala-rasa and they connect our devotion to the previous acaryas coming in the line of Vyasadeva, and to Mahaprabhu and the Divine Couple. The Guru-varga are thus direct representatives of Vyasadeva.
Some of us have scene how Guru-pada-padma observed this occasion of Guru-purnima. So many Vrajavasis came to the temple on this day and he warned us all not to think ourselves too holy to serve all the guests with great reverence.
During Navadvipa Parikrama, Gurudeva would personally look in every corner of the temple to see that all the pilgrims had prasadam and were properly cared for. Some one once complained, “But some of these people eat fish. Why must we serve them?” Gurudeva strongly said, “What are you saying? All souls are in God’s family—vasudeva-kutumbakam. If you think you are too great to serve these dear children of Bhagavan, you are most ignorant and unqualified. If you have no humility and patience then you have no good qualities at all. Perhaps, some of these people have come into an unfortunate conditioned state right now, but they are just as much God’s family as you are. Therefore, respect them all, and you will bring pleasure to God.”
Srila Gurudeva mercifully went door-to-door and connected lost souls to Guru-Gauranga and Radha-Krsna. All those who had stopped following bhakti and all those who were in ignorance—he helped them all. Sanatana Gosvami used to also go door-to-door and give mercy to everyone.
Be careful and remember Gurudeva’s vicara and his mood. Meditate on his lotus feet and pray to him that his mercy will shower upon us, enabling us to come closer to him day after day.