Appearance

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was born in the Year 1830. He was born in a mercantile family in a village called ‘Bāghajāna.’ This village, situated on the banks of the river Padma, lies within the precincts of Tepakola, a division within Bangladesh’s Faridpura District. His childhood name was Vaṁśīdāsa.

– Life as a Householder

Because of his parents’ repeated requests and endeavors, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja was married in his childhood according to the standards of society. As a householder, he maintained his family by running his family business.

– Pañcarātrikī-dīkṣā

While enacting his gṛhastha-līlā, Bābājī Mahārāja accepted initiation from a Gosvāmī who belonged to the line of Śrī Advaita Ācārya Prabhu. Thus, he spent those years of his life as an ideal householder Vaiṣṇava. His wife departed from this abode when Bābājī Mahārāja was only 29 years old.

– The Journey towards Vraja-maṇḍala

Bābājī Mahārāja saw his wife’s departure as a golden opportunity to engage in bhagavat-bhajana. Firstly, he renounced his business and after making a firm vow to engage in hari-bhajana by his mind, body, and words, he proceeded towards Vraja-maṇḍala.

– The Appearance of a Paramahaṁsa

While residing in Vraja, Bābājī Mahārāja accepted paramahaṁsa-veśa from Śrīmad Bhāgavat dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who in turn had accepted paramahaṁsa-veśa from Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the foremost authority of the society of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.

– His Ideal Paramahaṁsa Personality and Stern Disregard for the Association of Non-devotees

On one hand, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja displayed the ideal of being a paramahaṁsa. He was completely absorbed in relishing bhakti-rasa that was especially marked by ideal renunciation. On the other hand, he never resided near hypocrites who only made an artificial display of practicing bhakti. Therefore, his behavior instructed everyone to abandon asat-saṅga. Renunciation marked by his ideal paramahaṁsa behavior and the avoidance of hypocrites and demons—these two qualities of his were continuously present at every moment of his service to Kṛṣṇa.

– His Extraordinary Renunciation

By witnessing Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s extraordinary renunciation, everyone is reminded of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī’s life—a life characterized by intense pangs of separation from his object of service. Renunciation itself (from objects and relations unrelated to Kṛṣṇa) became most fortunate by attaining shelter at the lotus feet of these two associates of Śrī Gaurahari.

Like the Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja gained complete victory over eating, sleeping, and recreation. Thus, he spent his entire life in finishing his fixed number of rounds and offering his fixed number of obeisances. These two services were also coupled with his absorption in nāma-saṅkīrtana. Being controlled by the moods of divine love that made him transcendentally maddened, he became absorbed in an ocean of separation. Being absorbed as such, he wandered on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and the Yamunā. He would also wander in Vaṁśī-vaṭa, Bhāṇḍīravaṭa, and various other places of Vraja.

While singing the pastimes of Vraja with great joy, he would call out, “He Rādhe! He Lalite! He Vraja-rāja-kumāra!” While calling out these names, he would become overwhelmed by pangs of separation. He would then become oblivious to the presence of his body. Vraja’s Six Gosvāmīs would only take dry chickpeas to maintain their bodies. Sometimes they would completely fast. In the same way, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would honor and sometimes eat the mud of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and the sand of the Yamunā. And sometimes, he would eat nothing. Still, he would be continuously absorbed in his divine rapture.

– His Arrival in Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa

After residing in Vraja for thirty years, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja came to Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa at the behest of Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. He used to realize how Śrī Gaura-dhāma is non-different from Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala.

– The Specialty of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s Unprecedented Renunciation

By residing on the banks of the Ganges in Kuliyā-Navadvīpa, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja manifested his pastime of unprecedented renunciation to those sincere jīvas who, desiring their ultimate auspiciousness, endeavored to engage themselves in hari-bhajana. Therefore, his renunciation highlighted the importance of continuous kṛṣṇa-sevā that is especially devoid of any separate desires other than that of pleasing Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s renunciation is entirely different from the renunciation that is conceived by the residents of this world. His renunciation is also different from the renunciation of those who are held in high esteem by the residents of this world. Although such esteemed souls only desire to be renounced, their feelings of apathy towards this world can in no way be likened to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s transcendental behavior.

The conditioned souls, who don’t desire to do bhagavat-bhajana, are bewildered by the knowledge of opulence. Such bewilderment makes them believe that renunciation in itself is supreme. Because they themselves are great enjoyers, they lower their heads even if they see someone exhibiting a little renunciation. Renunciation or austerity cannot be practiced by someone steeped in enjoying the objects of his senses. Therefore, renunciation is held in high regard by such enjoyers. A calf cannot tolerate being separated from it’s mother; and vegetation can barely sustain itself in a dry desert. Similarly, in the absence of the mother (who embodies kṛṣṇa-bhakti), the calf of renunciation cannot live. In the absence of fertile land (land that is permeated by kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa), nothing will grow. Therefore, renunciation devoid of Kṛṣṇa-bhakti will only lead to nirvāṇa—which is worse than even death itself for the devotees. But Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s unwavering kṛṣṇa-bhajana and unparalleled renunciation were never separate from each other.

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would never accept anything that a mundane materialist had to offer. Yet, he would consider a low-caste person, who was even considered to be an untouchable by society, to be a transcendental resident of the Dhāma. By accepting his remnants, he manifested the ideal of how to live in a Dhāma and how to respect the Dhāma’s residents. Conversely, he never accepted the prasāda that was offered by the brāhmaṇas who were residents of the Dhāma in name only. These brāhmaṇas maintained themselves by accepting the wealth offered by materialists. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja never accepted anything that was issued forth by temples maintained by these brāhmaṇas. Although many varieties of foodstuffs would be presented before him, he would never even glance at them.

It is only possible for another mahā-puruṣa to glorify the qualities and specialties of a mahā-puruṣa like Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja:

kva tāvad vairāgyaṁ kva ca viṣaya-vārtāsu narakeṣv

ivodvegaḥ kvāsau vinaya-bharam āpūrya-laharī

kva tāva tejo ’laukikam atha mahā-bhakti-padavī

kva sā vā sambhavyā yad avakalitaṁ gaura-gatiṣu

Caitanya-candrāmṛta 20

Where is renunciation? Where is tranquil indifference to the temptations of sense pleasure or torments of hell? Where are the great waves of humility? Where is uncommon prowess? Where is the intense path of devotion? Where are these virtues present in the same way as they are present in those who have made Lord Gaura the goal of their lives?

tṛṇād api ca nīcatā sahaja-saumya-mugdhākṛtiḥ

sudhā-madhura-bhāṣitā viṣaya-gandha-thūthūt-kṛtiḥ

hari-praṇaya vihvalā kim api dhīr anālambitā

bhavanti kila sad-guṇā jagati gaura bhājām amī

Caitanya-candrāmṛta 24

Humbly thinking oneself to be lower than a blade of grass, natural gentleness and charm, speaking words that are sweet as nectar, spitting at the insignificant sense gratification of this world, disinterest in the affairs of this world, and overwhelming love for Śrī Hari are the transcendental virtues of the devotees of Lord Śrī Gaura.

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, whose life and soul is Śrī Gaurahari, embodied these two ślokas. There were some who had darśana of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s life and character by becoming the recipients of his causeless mercy. These most fortunate souls have only been able to study these two ślokas of Śrī Caitanya-candrāmṛta by bearing witness to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s divine life. How do scriptures like Śrī Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the books of the Gosvāmīs instruct us? What is the nature of the eternal truth that they establish? The answers to these questions is easily found by carefully observing the life and teachings of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. Therefore, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was the embodiment of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Although it seemed that Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was not externally learned in Sanskrit grammar, the essence and philosophical truths of all the scriptures shone brightly in the heart and behavior of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja.

Those who were most fortunate to attain the foot dust of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s lotus feet by being in his association, never found it difficult to grasp the purports of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic literature and the svarūpa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. They never tried to distort the real meaning of the Bhāgavatam. Neither did they preach any speculated theories or rasa-ābhāsa (overlapping of mellows), by presenting a false commentary on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

– A Life of Detachment

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would beg for dry foodstuffs from the homes of the residents of the dhāma and offer bhoga (unoffered foodstuffs) by his own hands to Śrī Gaura-Kṛṣṇa. He would collect dry pieces of wood from the streets to cook for his Lord. When people would discard their earthen pots on an occasion like the eclipse, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would collect all the pots and wash them in the water of the Gaṅgā. He would then use these pots for cooking. After performing the final rites for their dear ones, people would leave the cloth of the deceased on the banks of the Gaṅgā. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would cover himself in such cloth after washing it in the water of the Gaṅgā. Not caring for the views of others, he would engage in his daily services by using the things that were rejected by others.

‘Nirapekṣa’ nahile ‘dharma’ nā yāya rakṣaṇe—without being nirapekṣa, or without any partiality to this world and its people, dharma cannot be protected. The actual meaning of these words was fully seen in the life of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. The meaning of detachment manifested itself fully in the life and teachings of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. Therefore, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura would always discuss the extraordinarily renounced life of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja with the faithful devotees. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura would also delight the assembly of devotees by speaking on how Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja practiced pure bhakti, while simultaneously having the greatest form of anurāga (loving attachment) for Śrī Gaura-Kṛṣṇa.

– His Firm Faith in the Produce of the Dhāma

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would only maintain his body by honoring the fruits and vegetables that were grown in the dhāma. He used to consider that honoring prasāda in pots made of the dhāma’s earth was very favorable for hari-bhajana.

He used to say, “The fruits and vegetables grown in the dhāma are very dear to Śrī Bhagavān. Therefore, such fruits and vegetables embody Bhagavān’s mercy and blessings. Honoring them as His remnants is a sign of one’s love for Śrī Gaura-Kṛṣṇa. Thus, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy will very quickly be attained.

– Wealth and Debt

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja used to say, “Our eternal wealth is the satisfaction of Śrī Hari by our services. A conditioned soul becomes greatly indebted by drinking the poison of sense gratification, or by illicitly associating with a woman.” By his teachings, he has taught everyone to become ‘wealthy’ and not ‘indebted.’

– The Greed for Transcendental Association

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would always come to see Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in Śrī Godruma-dhāma’s Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. There, he would listen to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s deep expositions on the meanings of the ślokas of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He would express great enthusiasm while discussing the established philosophical truths of pure devotion with Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. He would come at three in the afternoon and listen to the Bhāgavatam until five in the evening. He would then return to Kuliyā-Navadvīpa. He would sometimes spend the night in a tin house built in Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. He would sometimes accept prasāda there, and on other occasions, he would completely fast.

– Wealth

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja always wore a tulasī-mālā around his neck. He would always be seen chanting harināma on his tulasī beads. He would always carry Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s Prārthanā, Prema-bhakti-candrikā, and some other scriptures with him. Indeed, this was his only wealth.

– His Omniscience

Omniscience and other supernatural powers would always follow the footsteps of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. They would always stand with folded hands to serve Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. He knew everything that the hypocrites were thinking of and would clearly tell them what their real intentions were. Despite being far away, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja knew of every hypocrite who, on the pretense of performing hari-bhajana and hari-sevā, only engaged in sense gratification. He would clearly speak of their intentions, being in full knowledge, like the indwelling Supersoul. As a result, he would present an unprecedented opportunity for everyone to save themselves from the hands of such hypocrites.

Once, at ten in the night, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja loudly said, “Look! Look! A reciter of the Bhāgavat who has gone to a village of the Pavan district is destroying the dharma of a widow. Alas! Alas! Such miscreants cause great blemish to the name of dharma. Śrīman Mahāprabhu speaks of many instances to me. There is a famous reciter of the Bhāgavat in a place called Harisabhā. He comes to me from time to time to display his scholarship. He goes to many places and proclaims himself to be a great scholar of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In reality, he only speaks on the Bhāgavat to earn wealth. But people cannot understand the true intentions of his heart. He has kept a widow with him. He uses the wealth he has earned by reciting the Bhāgavatam to feed and clothe his lover. Is there any greater form of offense or atheism?”

Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would speak of many such instances. It seemed that he was witnessing all these depraved acts. Although some instances of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s omniscience and omnipresence have been told, it should be known that this does not constitute his real glory. He has shown the highest ideal of śrī kṛṣṇa-bhajana in this material world. He has manifested the ideal deity of separation of kṛṣṇa-prema. These transcendental qualities of his are eternally illuminating the beauty of his lotus feet.

– The First Meeting of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura

One day, in 1898, the best of the followers of Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, that is Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, was seen calling out to Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrīmatī Rādhikā with feelings of intense separation. He was humbly calling out to Śrīmatī Rādhikā with great distress in the following way:

kothāya go premamayi, rādhe rādhe!

rādhe, rādhe go, jaya rādhe, rādhe!

O Rādhe, full of prema, where are You? O Rādhe, all glories to You!

dekhā diya prāṇa rākho, rādhe rādhe!

tomāra kāṅgāla tomāya ḍāke, rādhe rādhe!

O Rādhe, give me Your darśana and save my life. Your wretched beggar calls out to You, “Rādhe! Rādhe!”

While singing the names of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja arrived in Godruma’s Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. It was then that Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura had darśana of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja for the first time.

This sweet and separation-filled kīrtana of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja can melt the hardest of hearts. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, the crest jewel of avadhūtas, sang this kīrtana while nourishing the rasa of separation (vipralambha). His divine personality is aptly described in the following śloka of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’s Uddhava-gīta:

evaṁ-vrataḥ sva-priya-nāma-kīrtyā

jātānurāgo druta-citta uccaiḥ

hasaty atho roditi rauti gāyaty

unmāda-van nṛtyati loka-bāhyaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.2.40

By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly, or cries, or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.

Śrīla Siddhānta Sarasvatī was astonished by seeing how Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s services bought much happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He personally witnessed how Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s body became completely overwhelmed by aprākṛta-bhāvas (emotions stemming from the spiritual realm). He offered himself at the lotus feet of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja just by having his darśana for the first time. When Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura saw Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja singing this kīrtana and heading towards Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja, he himself wrote this kīrtana down and accepted it to be the dearest wealth of his heart. Every moment of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s life showered the sweetness of this transcendental separation-filled kīrtana on every sincere soul.

The Six Gosvāmīs would anxiously call out, ‘Ha Rādhe! Ha Rādhe!’ and wander all over Vraja. Their tear-filled separation from Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is the ideal of every sādhaka. Similarly, following in their footsteps, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the crest-jewel of renunciants, would also sing his separation-filled kīrtana and anxiously beseech Śrīmatī Rādhārānī for Her mercy. Thus, he has set an ideal for every sādhaka to follow. The sādhaka should also sincerely call out to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, the ocean of compassion, for the attainment of Her mercy. These prayers constitute the wealth of their bhajana.

During this time, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja wore a hat that Kālnā’s Śrī Bhagavān dāsa Bābājī had given to him. He also gave Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja a bag that had paraphernalia related to bhāva-sevā (service rendered according to spontaneous love and affection).

– The Pastimes of Mahā-bhāgavatas

One-pointed kṛṣṇa-sevā is transcendental to worldly morality and scholarship. To manifest this teaching in this world, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura manifested a beautiful pastime. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was an eternal associate of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu, who embodied the qualities of purity and unflinching resolve. He knew the purports of all the scriptures. According to the instruction of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, he prayed to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja
for initiation.

– Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Pleas for Initiation

Upon listening to Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s repeated requests for initiation, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja said, “Without asking Śrīman Mahāprabhu, I cannot say anything in this regard.” When Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura approached Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja for a second time, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I forgot to ask Śrīman Mahāprabhu.”

Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura then sorrowfully albeit with great humility said, “I cannot maintain my life without your mercy.”

On seeing Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura for the third time, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I asked Śrīman Mahāprabhu. But he said, ‘Morality and scholarship are very insignificant in front of bhakti.’ ”

Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura humbly replied, “Please don’t cheat me. Although Śrī Rāmānujācārya approached Śrī Goṣṭhīpūrṇa eighteen times, Goṣṭhīpūrṇa refused to give the mantra to Rāmānujācārya every single time. But he succeeded in his efforts when he tried the nineteenth time. Similarly, I will also obtain your mercy one day or another—this is a promise I have made to myself.”

Although Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja became very happy on listening to these words of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he didn’t bestow his mercy on him externally. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura then started following the cāndrāyaṇa and other austere vratas.

– Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja Initiates
Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura as per the Desire
of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

One day, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura himself requested Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, saying, “How much longer will you test this boy? You should award your mercy to him at least now.” On listening to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s request and on personally witnessing Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s resolute determination, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who had formerly made a vow to not initiate any disciples, bathed Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura with the dust of his lotus feet. Thus, he initiated Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in Śrī Godrumadvīpa’s Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. This pastime of initiation took place in January of 1900.

Just as Śrīla Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī, the crest-jewel of renun­ciants and bhajanānandīs, never wished to accept disciples, in the same way Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, whose renunciation was also second to none, never wished to accept anyone as his disciple. But Śrīla Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī was bound to break his vow after witnessing the selfless, sincere, and intimate service of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. In the same way, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja also accepted Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura as his only disciple and was made to break his unyielding vow of not accepting any disciples.

– Detachment towards a Place of Residence

One day, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī put the begging bowl on top of his head while he was returning from Śrīvāsa-aṅgana’s bathing place (ghaṭa). At that time, two Bābājīs, who were playing an instrument similar to a sitar, headed towards him. They were singing the mahā-mantra in a very sweet voice. They asked Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, “Where is your place of residence?”

Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja displayed great anger as soon as he heard this question. Taking the begging bowl and aiming it towards them, he said, “Son, you were singing the mahā-mantra so sweetly. Being overcome by great bliss, I was thinking about what I should give you both. And now you are asking me about where I live? What concern should a person chanting harināma have with another’s place of residence?”

– The Imposters

When Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was residing in a dharmaśālā in Kuliyā Navadvīpa, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would regularly come to have his darśana. He would ask him many questions about his time residing in Vraja and about the devotees performing bhajana there. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would especially question Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja about those who came to be known as perfected souls of this world (siddha-mahātmās). Upon listening to Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s question in this regard, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would smile and say, “All the so-called siddha-mahātmās are imposters.”

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Prabhu never accepted those who called themselves ‘siddha-bābājīs.’ He didn’t find even a trace of devotion inside them.

– His Unflinching Faith in the Words of
the Mahājanas

One day, a person made a tin-shed under a neem tree, where a dhūlāter-melā  (a festival where many would roll on the earth as bhajana-kīrtanas are being sung) was going to take place. This neem tree was situated in the southern direction of Kuliyā Navadvīpa’s ‘Bāḍe Ākhaḍe’ temple. He established a deity of Bāla-Gaura (infant Gaura) in this tin-shed, and then started to preach among everyone that Mahāprabhu had taken His birth below this very neem tree. The same person then started to collect money from everyone to ‘re-discover’ lost pilgrimage sites.

One day, he took Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja [1] to this site and told him, “This very place is Mahāprabhu’s birthplace—it is really Māyāpura. Mahāprabhu revealed this to me in a dream. The current place of Māyāpura that is situated on the eastern side of Navadvīpa doesn’t have as much evidence in regard to being Mahāprabhu’s birthplace. This place is really Mahāprabhu’s birthplace, because famous villages like Vanikpada, Shakripada, and Malanchapada lie within the precincts of this place. You should tell Śrī Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī that he too should accept this place as ‘Mahāprabhu’s birthplace.’ ”

When Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja spoke these words to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “Only the words spoken by the Mahājanas are authoritative because they have manifested the birthplace of Mahāprabhu by the strength of their bhajana. Lost pilgrimage sites and Mahāprabhu’s birthplace are not manifested by having a mere dream. A person to whom a tīrtha (pilgrimage site) is revealed, will never be greedy to manifest pilgrimage sites for the sake of earning money. Only an eternal associate of Śrī Gaurāṅga can manifest His pastime places—no other person can have such śakti.

Just as Advaita Ācārya Prabhu, who is Śaṅkara himself, bought Mahāprabhu to this world by the power of his knowledge and contemplation—in the same way, oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura have manifested the birthplace of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. They did not manifest Mahāprabhu’s birthplace with the intention of accruing worldly fame, adoration, or prestige. They only manifested Mahāprabhu’s birthplace with the intention of rendering bhagavat-sevā.”

After listening to these words of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, on the very next day, Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja took a sickle and cut down the fence that surrounded the ‘birthplace.’ He then told everyone, “This wicked man is foolishly imitating the Mahājanas and uselessly preaching.”

– Śrī Gaura Kiśora Glorifies Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s worshipable mother, Ṭhākurānī Śrī Bhagavatī-devī, and his sister, Śrīyukta Kādambinī-devī, would sometimes come to Kuliyā Navadvīpa to have darśana of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s lotus feet.

One day, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja told them, “Why have you come to Kuliyā Navadvīpa, leaving behind Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, the Lord of your house? Have you come to buy something here? An associate of Śrī Gaurasundara is living in your house. If you desire to keep him longer in your home, then you should go home and do hari-bhajana. Otherwise you will not be able to keep him with you for long.”

– The Secret of Mahā-prasāda

One day, a lawyer came to Navadvīpa to do bhajana. He had made arrangements for his food at the home of a Gosvāmī Vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa. When he came for the darśana of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, he told Bābājī Mahārāja about the arrangements he had made for honoring prasāda.

After listening to him, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “Rather than eating what has been cooked from others, you should cook by your own hands and honor prasāda. Your hosts eat fish and also supposedly worship Mahāprabhu. Their worship is only a masquerade. There is no greater offense than this. Your bhajana will even be destroyed if you just speak with those who have no fear of committing offenses.

On another day, the same lawyer offered some sweets to Śrīman Mahāprabhu and pleaded to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to accept the remnants. But Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I don’t eat sweets.”

The lawyer replied, “Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s prasāda should not be neglected.”

Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja then said, “How can a person who eats fish and engages in debauchery ever offer bhoga to Śrīman Mahāprabhu? Even a person who engages in the pretense of offering bhoga while possessing many desires separate from pleasing the Lord does not really offer bhoga. The service of offering bhoga is not carried out by his hands. The bhoga never turns into prasāda.

“If one doesn’t have loving attachment towards the Vaiṣṇavas and cannot identify a Vaiṣṇava or non-Vaiṣṇava, then even if such a person offers bhoga to Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrīman Mahāprabhu doesn’t accept his offering. Desiring to eat a banana-flower preparation, a person may pretend to offer this preparation to Mahāprabhu. But this preparation is not really offered to Śrīman Mahāprabhu. In reality, such a person is only superimposing his desire on the Lord. He is trying to offer his remnants to the Lord. Therefore, he commits a great offense. But when the mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas offer what they like, Śrīman Mahāprabhu gladly accepts their offerings. Śrī Gaura-Kṛṣṇa relishes mahā-prasāda through the mouths of His dedicated devotees.

“A person’s mind becomes impure by eating what has been cooked by materialists. As a result, many obstacles present themselves in one’s bhajana. ‘I haven’t been able to do kṛṣṇa-bhajana; how will I attain the service of the Vaiṣṇavas?’ While crying out this way, a devotee collects an eggplant that has been thrown away. He boils the clean part of the eggplant and offers it to Śrīman Mahāprabhu even without adding salt. Indeed, such an offering becomes mahā-prasāda.

“The devotee thinks, ‘May only the mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas accept those things that are favorable for their service. I am not able to do hari-bhajana. What will happen by eating and dressing myself nicely? As a result of such actions, I will only strengthen my ill-gotten tendency of not wanting to do bhajana.’”

–

[1] Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja had accepted paramahaṁsa-veśa from Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. He used to do bhajana on the banks of the Gaṅgā in the city of Navadvīpa. He would always be absorbed in the bhāvamayī-sevā of Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. He also used to serve the deities of Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda in the same mood. He would even sometimes lovingly quarrel (prema-kalaha) with Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu.

Even great scholars and mahātmās could never fathom his unpredictable behavior. When Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would do bhajana while practicing intense renunciation under a tree on the banks of the Gaṅgā, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura became attracted by his activities that befitted a paramahaṁsa. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura used to offer him praṇāma from afar. But he used to tell his surrendered disciples to not go and see him. The reason he did so was because Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was a mahā-puruṣa, whose activities could not be understood by the ordinary sādhakas who possessed varying degrees of devotion. Therefore, not being able to understand Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s exalted position, many would misunderstand him and commit offenses at his lotus feet.

To avoid the association of non-devotees, Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would chastise many persons who would come for his darśana and he would make them leave immediately. He would also keep fish-bones around his hut and make ordinary people believe that he was eating fish. Such people were cheated of his darśana and pure hari-kathā. But he would make those who were detached from sense gratification and attached to performing bhajana sit next to him. He would then instruct them on how to do bhajana with great love.

Śrīla Vaṁśīdāsa Bābājī Mahārāja entered into the eternal pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Govinda and Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu on the fourth day of the bright half of the lunar moon in the month of Śravaṇa (July-August).

Srila Gaura kishora das Babaji ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication,  “Four Rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas of the Śrī Gauḍīya Sampradāya”, for future availablility contact: rasik@bhaktabandhav.org )