On the order of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī traveled to Vṛndāvana. In Vṛndāvana, Rūpa Gosvāmī saw that there were many people distributing philosophical kichari. Those who do not know the glories of basmati rice and high quality dāl will mix everything...
The Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha compound included a large field where the devotees cultivated vegetables. In those days, Acarya Kesarī had insufficient funds to construct a fence around the proper.
To protect the land, the brahmacārīs surrounded the area with thorn bushes. Still, buffalos and other animals entered the garden, consuming and destroying the vegetation. Herdsmen would intentionally allow their drove to enter the area. Gurudeva and the brahmacārīs tried repeatedly to protect the track of land, but the herdsmen came late at night while everyone was asleep, allowing the drove to eat everything.
Intending to stop the intruders, Śrīla Gurudeva kept vigil one night. The herdsman arrived at midnight, fully intoxicated and rowdy. To their surprise, Gurudeva drew a large stake and began to drive the buffaloes away. Startled, the herdsman yelled, “Why are you driving our herd away?”
“Why are you destroying our temple’s farm?” Gurudeva shouted back. “I won’t tolerate such unlawfulness!”
Ignoring his questions, the herdsmen assailed Gurudeva. Undaunted, Gurudeva struck them with his stick. The scene became hysterical as the drunken men called out to one another and retreated. The perpetrators returned to their village and instigated their neighbors to defend them. That same night, an angry mob returned and surrounded the temple compound. By this point the police were involved and trailed behind the horde. The commotion roused Acarya Kesarī. After hearing a brief summary of the affair, he told Gurudeva, “Go inside while I talk with the officers.”
Acarya Kesarī approached the head officer who said, “We are here to arrest the man who beat the herdsmen. Hand him over.”
Acarya Kesarī calmly escorted the officers into the compound and offered them seats saying, “Please tell me how one person could fight alone against so many? A large band of these men came with their herds to ravage our land. They come on a regular basis and allow their animals to eat our vegetables. Tonight they were drunk and attacked our brahmacārī when he confronted them. In the midst of the confusion, they beat each other and ran away, shouting like madmen.”
“Where is the man who fought with them?” the officers asked. “We want to see him immediately.”
“First examine these drunken buffalo herders,” Acarya Kesarī said. “Ask them how one man could beat all of them?”
The police questioned the herdsmen and observed their drunken state. Upset by their behavior, the police said, “If you ever come back and disturb this temple, we will beat and imprison you!” They told Acarya Kesarī, “Call for us if they return to disturb you. We will protect the temple.”
At that moment Gurudeva came out of the inner room and introduced himself. The officers said, “Oh! It’s Tārījī! Are you the same distinguished inspector who recently left his post? We have heard about your eminent composure but were never able to meet you.” They were pleased to meet the esteemed Nārāyaṇa Tārī and engaged in friendly exchanges before dispersing the crowd and securing the temple on their leave.
Acarya Kesarī was impartial when the two brahmacārīs had previously been selfishly fighting yet protected Śrīla Gurudeva in this instance because he was defending the temple. Acarya Kesarī told Śrīla Gurudeva, “One who as against the rules of dharma must pay the consequences; but you must be qualified in order to discipline others. By surrendering to God, your life will be successful; otherwise, you will fail the test during challenging circumstances. When Rāvaṇa stole Sītā-devī from Rāma, Hanumān jumped across the sea and burnt down Rāvaṇa’s city of Laṅkā. This was true humility. Devotees are submissive to Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and tolerate all attacks upon themselves, but owing deference to demons is the sign of a coward, not a devotee.” Acarya-deva concluded, “You never need worry. Kṛṣṇa is protecting you.” (click on the Title to read the Full article )
Sannyāsīs and devotees from various societies had great faith in Śrīla Gurudeva and his non-sectarian spirit. Thus many people from all over India would gather and perform parikramā together under his guidance. The pilgrims walked in procession, while the luggage and cooking paraphernalia were taken on horse or buffalo carts. As Sanātana Gosvāmī would go on parikramā of Vraja and rest under a different tree each night, Gurudeva also stayed at a different place eve night with the devotees: on sool grounds, empty fields, dharmaśālās, and dilapidated temples.
Śrīla Gurudeva would send the brahmacārīs to serve the sannyāsīs and householder disciples of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Ācaraya Kesarī. He said, “Go and soak their feet in hot water, then massage them with oil. Otherwise, how will they be able to go on parikramā tomorrow?”
“By this kind of service to Vaiṣṇavas,” Gurudeva instructed the brahmacārīs, “you will receive their affection and mercy. Bhakti will never descend if Vaiṣṇavas are disrespected or neglected. Pride has no place in bhakti. One must learn to respect and serve all jīvas for the pleasure of guru and Bhagavān.”
In whichever village Śrīla Gurudeva chanced to stay, the surrounding Vrajavāsīs would come and participate in the programs, sing in the kīrtanas, and listen to the hari-kathā. The villagers would normally retire when it became dark at around 7:00 p.m., but when Gurudeva came to their village on parikramā, they would light candles and kerosene lamps and attend the programs. They would bring hot milk and capātīs or porridge as offerings to the pilgrims.
Śrīla Gurudeva said with gratitude, “My dharma is to serve the Vrajavāsīs, not to take from them.”
Paṇḍitas and brahmaṇas would leave their homes and listen to hari-kathā late into the night. Some Vrajavāsīs would ask Śrīla Gurudeva questions on various topics. Once, when Gurudeva concluded his hari-kathā before a crowd of pilgrims and locals, a leader amongst the Vrajavāsīs spoke up, “Bābā, you are always speaking of vraja-bhakti and the moods of the gopīs. What is the most prudent and straightforward process to obtain this most exalted aspiration? We locals are set in our ways. To what degree can we engage in devotional practices every day? You are a great ācārya and hearing hari-kathā from you inspires us all. How can we practically integrate these teachings into our daily lives? We will try our best to abide by your advice.”
Śrīla Gurudeva replied, “One who has desire for vraja-bhakti must follow Ekādaśī purely. On Mādhava-tithi (Ekādaśī) you should engage your time in worshiping Śrī Hari and fasting from grains and sense enjoyment, all the while cultivating in your heart the aspiration to attain Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s service in Vraja. For one who does so, vraja-bhakti is assured.”
Śrīla Gurudeva spoke in depth on the glories of Ekādaśī. The villagers were inspired and agreed to follow Ekādaśī, as well as to encourage others to do the same. Another Vrajavāsī then asked, “We took birth in Vraja-maṇḍala. Why aren’t our hearts pure and full of love for Vraja and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa?”
“You have taken birth in Vraja because of pious merits from past lives,” Gurudeva said, “but you have been debased by undesirable association. A covering of māyā inhibits one from experiencing Vraja in truth. That net of illusion is attainment to material family life and sense gratification in this world, along with distaste for bhakti and Kṛṣṇa. People have made their homes all over Vraja but know nothing other than the four walls of their house. Since they do not frequent Śrī Hari’s temple, their inimical family members gradually convince them to leave Vraja for a more affluent city ”
Gurudeva continued, “Those under the influence of wicked company begin to think, ‘What is there at the mandira? Why should I follow bhakti, Ekādaśī, and all that fanciful talk? This is the modern world we live in. The place for old-world sentimentalism is rapidly passing.’ The homes of such people are like the dens of demons, where everyone is engaged in selfish enjoyment; while the homes of those who have faith and devotion become temples of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Those people never suffer any shortage.” (click on the Title to read the full article )
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