On January 4, 2010, over one hundred devotees waited at Durban International Airport for the arrival of Śrīla Gurudeva on his first visit to South Africa. Many devotees wept upon seeing him for the first me. Initially, Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in Pietermarzburg at the home of Acyuta dāsa and Madhurika dāsī. After his daily morning walk, he would visit the homes of the enthusiastic devotees in that area.
On the second and third day, he spoke at the Āan Hall and gave harināma and dīkṣā to many devotees. On the fourth and fifth day of his visit, Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in Durban at the home of Atula-Kṛṣṇa dāsa and Rukmiṇī dāsī. On those days, he spoke at the Sevā Samāja Hall and warmly welcomed the two guest speakers: Dr. M. Buthelezi, a local politician and Zulu prince, and Mr. A. Rajbansi, the leader of a local political par. On the sixth and final day of his first visit, January 9, Śrīla Gurudeva gave a ort class at the Durban International Airport as he waited for his flight to Johannesburg. At that me he also gave some local devotees personal instructions to continue his mission in South Africa. Śrīla Gurudeva was very satisfied with his visit to Pietermarzburg and Durban.
From January 12 to 17, Śrīla Gurudeva vised Brazil. Over 800 devotees from all over Latin America waited for Śrīla Gurudeva’s arrival in the Del Verde Hotel, in the Atlantic Forest. He had not been to Brazil for seven years and the hearts of the devotees of Brazil were being torn asunder by separation from him. As Śrīla Gurudeva entered amidst a large, powerful kīrtana, many devotees began crying, overwhelmed with happiness. The representative of the Consul of India, Mr. V.K.V. Raman, approached Śrīla Gurudeva, and after an exchange of smiles and garlands, he spoke kind words about the distinguished presence of a sādhu in the world. Śrīla Gurudeva eulogized the glories of the Vedas, especially Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the glories of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s preaching in the Western countries. Then, Śrīla Gurudeva explained that the sādhu should go here and there from door to door in order to remind the jīvas about their svarūpa, or constitutional position, and about the merciful and worshipful Lord, Vrajendra-nandana Śyāmasundara Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Gurudeva said: “Sometimes Śrī Kṛṣṇa personally comes to this world; sometimes He becomes manifest in the form of the ācāryas like Madhvācārya and Ramānujācārya; and He also manifests as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the holy name. Kṛṣṇa’s name is even more powerful than Kṛṣṇa Himself. Please have fixed faith in the holy name, perform bhakti, and preach my mission throughout the world.”
As the sun began to rise on the day of vyāsa-pūjā, all the devotees gathered for a sweet maṅgala-āratī. After that, they worked together to prepare plentiful offerings for Śrīla Gurudeva, including a cake that weighed 30 kilos. As they served together, they all softly sang “Happy Birthday” and then “Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti.” Finally, Śrīla Gurudeva instructed everyone to collect all the sweet pastimes of the Bhāgavatam in their hearts: Prahlada-caritra; the histories of Bharata Mahārāja and Ajāmila; Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with the fruit seller; His pastime with Kālīya-naga; His rāsa-līlā; Veṇu-gīta, Gopī-gīta, Bhramara-gīta, and other sweet pastimes.
On the evening of the 16th, Jayadeva Gosvāmī’s Gīta-govinda was performed by Odissi dancers. is festival was also an important time for facilitating better organization of the Portuguese GVP and the distribution of Śrīla Gurudeva’s Spanish books from Argentina to all of the countries in South America.
After his trip to Brazil, Śrīla Gurudeva returned to South Africa on January 25. He stayed at the home of Arjuna-Kṛṣṇa dāsa in Johannesburg. On the second and third day, he spoke at the Benoni Gujara Hindu Sevā Samāja Hall. On the third and fourth day, he spoke at the Gāndhī Hall in Lenasia where 250-300 people gathered to hear his hari-kathā.
In the last ten minutes of his final lecture, he transported the devotees to Vṛndāvana as he received beautiful ślokas and explained them in a wonderful way, bringing many people to tears. Everyone glorified and praised Śrīla Gurudeva with enthusiastic applause. On the fifth day, Śrīla Gurudeva initiated thirty devotees.
At both venues, more than five hundred devotees and guests listened attentively as Śrīla Gurudeva spoke on many topics. He spoke very boldly about his relation with Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja and he explained that the Gauḍīya Maṭha is the father and mother of ISKCON. At both venues he spoke about Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s various pastimes, like Dāmodara-līlā. He also spoke about pure bhakti; the importance of taking initiation from a bona fide guru and following his instructions; Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Nityānanda; sādhu-saṅga; chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra;
and understanding your Gurudeva’s mood and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s mood. On the sixth day, January 31, Śrīla Gurudeva flew out of South Africa.
Śrīla Gurudeva presided at New Braja’s annual summer Hari-kathā festival from June 11 to 15. Śrīla Gurudeva began his first class by saying, “My millions of heartfelt obeisance’s unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and the same unto the lotus feet of my instructing spiritual master, nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja.
“Before the appearance of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, no one had come from India to preach in the West. In fact, going outside of India was considered to be like a sin, because, among other things, there was no uncertainty of being able to take proper prasādam. But Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaksiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura broke this barrier. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura declared, ‘We will utilize the development of Western science, like airplanes and other things. We will travel around the entire world and distribute the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So, we are now traveling throughout the world. I think that Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja had less time than I have had.
“I have come to distribute the knowledge that we have received from our guru-paramparā. What is that knowledge? You have not come directly from the Supreme Lord. You have not come directly from Goloka Vṛndāvana or Vaikuṇṭha. You have come from the marginal point, the point between the material and spiritual worlds, where there is neither the world of māyā nor the world of Vaikuṇṭha. You have come from the light emanating from the forehead of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. He resides in the causal ocean; it is not an ocean as we know it. It is the marginal point. That marginal point is very fine, like the ever-changing shoreline of an ocean or a river, ebbing in and out. If, from that point or that line, you look towards this world, a tendency for sense enjoyment enters your heart and you come to this world. On the other hand, when you look from there towards Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka Vṛndāvana, at once you are liberated and go to those realms.”
After this introduction, Śrīla Gurudeva began the theme of his lectures in New Braja. Over the next few days he presented a series of heart-rending classes portraying the anguish that Kṛṣṇa felt in separation from the Vrajavāsīs after He left them to go to Mathurā, and the torment they felt being separated from Him.
On June 11, Śrīla Gurudeva said: “Vṛndāvana is the place of love and affection, therefore it is not possible for Kṛṣṇa to give it up. The gopīs, Nanda Baba, and Mother Yaśodā love Kṛṣṇa from the core of their hearts, so how can Kṛṣṇa give them up and go to Mathurā and Dvārakā? Why would He go there?
“Kṛṣṇa is described in the Vedic scriptures as satya-saṅkalpa, which means that whatever He promises He fulfills: His words come true. When Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and went to Mathurā, He sent a messenger with the promise, ‘I must return. I must return. I must return. After killing Kaṁsa, I will return to Vṛndāvana. No one will be able to check Me.’ For someone to be described as satya-saṅkalpa, there can be no discrepancy between his words and his actions. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s promise to return to Vṛndāvana must have been fulfilled. So, how did He fulfill it?
“In his commentary of this sectiion of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura as the question, ‘Was the purpose of Kṛṣṇa’s promise, sent through the messenger, only to pacify the residents of Vṛndāvana?’ If so, He is not satya-saṅkalpa. Let us see how Kṛṣṇa fulfilled His promise to return to Vṛndāvana.
“Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary to this section of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam takes the form of pūrva-pakṣa, which means that he himself is presenting the questions and also giving the answers. Why? He is doing this because it is not possible for ordinary persons like us to reconcile this inconceivable pastime that is full of apparent contradictions. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura raises the point of discussion: A person will always stay where he gets the most affection. Although it is true that Vasudeva and Devakī have immense prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, their prema cannot equal or supersede the prema of Nanda and Yaśodā, what to speak of the prema of the vraja-gopīs. Considering this, how is it possible that Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and went to Mathurā? How could He leave the place where He receives the most prema?
“Another subject matter is this: At the time of leaving Vṛndāvana and going to Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa promised the Vrajavāsīs, ‘I will come back. I will definitely come back. I promise I will come back.’ If Kṛṣṇa had fulfilled His word and gone back to Vṛndāvana, that would be okay. But it seems that He did not. It seems that there is a discrepancy between Kṛṣṇa’s words and His actions. This raises another doubt. Another matter: If in one night Kṛṣṇa transferred all the residents of Mathurā to Dvārakā, why could He not bring the gopīs from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā? After all, He is Bhagavān and nothing is impossible for Him. So, why did He not do so?
“After Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma killed Kaṁsa, They approached Vasudeva and Devakī, who were wondering how it had been possible for Kṛṣṇa to kill such a powerful hero like Kaṁsa. They considered He could not be an ordinary human being, but that He must be the Supreme Lord Himself. Thus they became filled with feelings of awe and reverence; they could not even bow to the ground; they simply stood with their hands joined and prayed to Kṛṣṇa.
“Kṛṣṇa was thinking, ‘They cannot give Me full affection, because they think I am Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord.’ Being slightly dissatisfied with this, He called His Yogamāyā potency, which made Vasudeva and Devakī forget that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇa then told them, ‘A mother and father give so much affection to their child, and by so doing, they get great happiness. But alas, because We went to Vṛndāvana We denied you that happiness.’ Because Kṛṣṇa’s Yogamāyā potency enabled Vasudeva and Devakī to forget their feelings of awe and reverence for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and now being filled with a new mood of parental affection, they took Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma on their laps and began talking to Them with great affection.
“After Kṛṣṇa killed Kaṁsa, the residents of Mathurā began saying that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were actually the sons of Vasudeva and Devakī, and that Nanda and Yaśodā were simply stepparents. The Mathurāvāsīs all began telling Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, ‘You are really the sons of Vasudeva and Devakī. Because Kaṁsa was causing so much disturbance to your parents, and because they loved You so much, they sent You to Vṛndāvana where You were put under the very affectionate care of Nanda and Yaśodā. But Nanda and Yaśodā are not Your real parents. Your real parents are Devakī and Vasudeva.’”
Śrīla Gurudeva then described how Kṛṣṇa established Ugrasena Mahārāja as king. Then he said, “Nanda Baba was waiting at his camp outside the city and weeping, thinking, ‘When will Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma come back to me? They have not yet come.’ Finally, on the next night, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma came back to Nanda Baba. Embracing Them, he took Them both on his lap and began speaking to them with great affection. ‘Oh, I have been waiting so long for You.’ Kṛṣṇa is very tricky. When He was with Devaki and Vasudeva, He had told them, ‘I am your son,’ and when He was with Nanda Baba He said, ‘O Father, I am definitely your son.’ As Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma sat on the lap of Nanda Baba, Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Father, Vasudeva and Devaki are saying to Me, “You are our son. You are our son.” And all the Mathurāvāsīs are saying likewise. I wanted to come to you earlier, but all the residents of Mathurā obstructed Me from coming to meet you.’
“Balarāma said, ‘Listen, Father, those parents who give up their baby cannot be called real parents. Rather, those persons who look after the child, like the eyelids protect the eyes, are the real parents. One who merely gives birth is not the real parent, but one who protects and nourishes like a parent is the real parent. You are certainly My real father, and Yaśodā is My real mother.’
In the course of the conversation, Nanda Baba said, ‘What do You want? What is Your decision?’
“‘You were saying that I should stay here in Mathurā alone, without Kṛṣṇa, but that is completely impossible,’ Balarāma replied. ‘Even if Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe, comes to Me thousands of times with the instruction, “Be without Kṛṣṇa. Be without Kṛṣṇa,” I cannot be without Him.’ Nanda Baba never thought of Kṛṣṇa as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī. He was thinking, ‘No one will ever criticize me for taking my own son away from here. However, if I take Balarāma as well, I will be considered very selfish for taking Vasudeva and Rohiṇī’s son. I will be considered very unfair.’”
At this point in his lecture, Śrīla Gurudeva requested one of his disciples to lead a kīrtana in relation to the Vrajavāsīs’ separation: tuhū se rohili madhupūra.
After the kīrtana, before a tearful audience, Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “The essence of this pastime is very difficult to understand, and its most confidential. Externally, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes that after hearing the arguments of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, Nanda Baba was pacified by them. They gave him many of their golden ornaments, and Nanda Baba, with tears of affection in his eyes, returned to Vṛndāvana. But how could this have possibly happened? Did Nanda Baba sell Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma? Did he travel all the way from Vraja to Mathurā to collect wealth? This is quite impossible, because prema, pure devotion, never takes— always gives. Therefore, the hidden meaning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam statements, as revealed to us in the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, should also be understood.
“Kṛṣṇa had promised at the time of going with Akrūra from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā that He would definitely return. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is satya-saṅkalpa; He always speaks the truth. However, we cannot see any dire evidence in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣṇa did indeed return to Vṛndāvana. We hear that Balarāma returned for two months, but we don’t hear that
Śrī Kṛṣṇa ever returned. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes that many years later, at the me of the solar eclipse, Kṛṣṇa went to Kurukṣetra with His 16,108 queens, and He met the Vrajavāsīs there. The Bhāgavatam describes only that Śrī Kṛṣṇa went back to Vṛndāvana by being carried in the minds of the vraja-gopīs, but not that He Himself directly returned.
So, was Kṛṣṇa’s promise broken? There is a Padma-Purāṇa reference, which we accept as true, which states that after Kṛṣṇa killed Dantavakra, when there were no more enemies of Kṛṣṇa left on the Earth planet, Kṛṣṇa took all the Vrajavāsīs back to Goloka Vṛndāvana, but that He simultaneously stayed on Earth in His form as Dvārakādīśa-Kṛṣṇa,
the Lord of Dvārakā. But this Padma-Purāṇa reference does not prove Kṛṣṇa’s words true—that He honored His promise—because it does not say that He personally returned to Vraja. Therefore the question remains: was Kṛṣṇa’s promise broken?
“How are we to reconcile this? Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. Everything is possible for Him. He performs all His pastimes under the dire shelter of His Yogamāyā potency, His transcendental spiritual deluding potency. How should we understand this pastime? What the Bhāgavatam describes must be true—that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma came at night to meet Nanda Baba, who, after conversations with Them, took the golden ornaments from Them, and, weeping and weeping, returned alone to Vraja, leaving Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma in Mathurā.
“But Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma each manifested two forms, and thus there were two prakosts, or chambers, of Their pastimes. Like two different rooms in a house, there were two different sections of Their pastimes. In another prakost, another section or manifestation of Their pastimes, They accompanied Nanda Baba back to Vṛndāvana on the bullock cart, in great ecstasy.
“Two manifestations were in play at that time; that is how we understand this pastime. Both these pastimes happened simultaneously. In this way, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has reconciled the apparent inconsistency.
“In truth, Kṛṣṇa cannot give up Vṛndāvana for even a moment, as it is said in śāstra: vṛndāvanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati. He never takes one step out of Vṛndāvana; He is always there. This being so, who went to Mathurā and Dvārakā? In one prakoṣṭa—as Vasudeva-nandana—Kṛṣṇa went there; Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa did not go.
“Here is another, very important point which supports Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s explanations: When Kṛṣṇa instructed Uddhava to go to Vṛndāvana to console Nanda Baba, Mother Yaśodā, and the gopīs, Uddhava asked Him, ‘How can I live without You? I cannot live without You.’ Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘I am partly here in Mathurā, but I am always fully in Vṛndāvana.’ When Uddhava entered Vṛndāvana, he saw some bulls fighting over some cows; and he saw that the gopīs had burnt ghee lamps emanating a very beautiful fragrance. He saw Kṛṣṇa herding the cows, and he saw that the cows’ hooves had kicked up the Vṛndāvana dust which now covered his golden chariot. It was as if Kṛṣṇa was fully there in Vṛndāvana.
“Thus, in one pastime manifestation Nanda Baba returned to Vraja alone and weeping, and in another, overjoyed, he returned to Vraja with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. In this way, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has reconciled the apparent contradictions and revealed the hidden pastimes. Gaura Premānande! Hari haribol!”
On June 14, at the end of what was to be Śrīla Gurudeva’s final class in New Braja, he announced, “This is my last journey to America.” Then, to the great dismay of the over eight hundred devotees gathered, Śrīla Gurudeva left the festival a day before its scheduled conclusion.
Śrīla Gurudeva held his final program in the US on June 19th, at the Rose Temple in Los Angeles. Hundreds of devotees packed into the temple, anxious to hear and for darśana of Gurudeva. Gurudeva appeared grave and majestic as he spoke. He was bathed in golden light streaming in from the stained glass church windows behind him, and garlanded by fragrant white flowers. When Gurudeva left that evening, all the devotees surrounded his car, blocking the whole street in their eagerness for one more merciful glance from their beloved master. Onlookers approached, also eager for a view of the great personality. As he was driven away, Gurudeva blessed the crowd with his beautiful smile and raised hands. The devotees then bowed down on the pavement with tear-filled eyes in the direction of Gurudeva’s departing car.
From July 2 to 7, Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in Marina di Massa, Italy, a west coast town between the Marble Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Devotees were present from over twenty-five countries, including Russia, Poland, Brazil, Argentina, USA, England, India, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Canada, Iran, Mexico, and various parts of Africa. Guru-tattva had been a regular theme that devotees asked questions about. In Italy during Śrīla Gurudeva’s morning walks, some of his sannyāsīs asked him about the qualification to be a guru: if there was any benefit to the conditioned souls if a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī gave initiation to them, because in many devotional societies this practice was going on. Śrīla Gurudeva replied that the result of such initiations would be nothing, and that what to speak of being kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, most gurus around the world were not even on that platform.
From Italy, Śrīla Gurudeva returned to India for Guru-pūrṇimā. After this annual festival, despite the manifestation of his illness and the hesitation and request for him to stay in India by his close associates, Śrīla Gurudeva went to Russia as scheduled. On August 8, Śrīla Gurudeva arrived in Moscow, where he would stay until the 12th. On the first day of the 2010 Moscow Hari-kathā Festival, Śrīla Gurudeva began discussion on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He began with the opening of the First Canto, and by the last day he was up to the Tenth Canto. During his last class in Russia, on August 11, Śrīla Gurudeva discussed the pastime of Kṛṣṇa accepting prasādam from the wives of the brāhmaṇas in Mathurā.
When Śrīla Gurudeva returned to India, his health seriously declined and he went directly to a Delhi hospital. On the request of his doctors, Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in Delhi to regain his health. Therefore, for the first me in fifty-six years, he was not in Mathurā or Vṛndāvana for the celebrations of Jhulana-yātrā; his annual three-day conference honoring Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī on his disappearance day; Śrī Baladeva Pūrṇimā; Śrī Kṛṣṇa-janmāstami and Sri Nandotsava. Words cannot describe how Srila Gurudeva lamented not being able to be there. In his tearful speech on Janmāṣṭami, Srila Gurudeva said that he had not missed the celebrations for Janmāṣṭami and Nandotsava in Mathura for over over 50 years. He said that, although he was in Delhi by body, his heart and soul were in Mathura with the devotees there.
While Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in the Śrī Ramaṇa Bihari Gauḍīya-maṭha and received treatment, local devotees and devotees arriving from all corners of the world would perform nāma-sankīrtana outside his bhajana-kuṭīra for many hours everyday. And to pray for Srila Gurudeva’s good health, many devotees performed regular parikramā, abhiṣeka with pancamṛta and worship of Śrī Girirāja. Besides this, Nṛsiṁha–yajñas, Sudarśana–yajñas, and other ceremonies were organized in India and abroad on a daily basis with the prayer for Śrīla Gurudeva’s full recovery.
The devotees were worried about Śrīla Gurudeva’s health and many wanted to remain in Delhi to be near him. However, once Kārtika started, Śrīla Gurudeva did not usually encourage this. On many mornings and evenings, Gurudeva would come to the screen door of his bhajana-kuṭīra, either to sit for a few minutes or to stop briefly as he walked, aided by his attendants. If he saw devotees waiting for his darśana in the courtyard, often he would ask them why they were there, and he would instruct them to go to Vṛndāvana to participate in Vraja-maṇḍala Parikramā. “Your life will become successful by visiting these pastime places,” he would say. “I am only unable to attend parikramā because of my ill health, but I order all of you to go and participate. Gradually, I am improving, and I will try to join the parikramā as soon as possible.”
One day, in the middle of Kārtika, Śrīla Gurudeva told his servants that he now desired to go to Govardhana. Upon hearing his request, they immediately made all arrangements to take him there. On the morning of his departure, the crowd of devotees in the Delhi temple was so large that it took half an hour for Śrīla Gurudeva to travel in his wheelchair from the elevator exit to the ambulance, forty meters away.
Well over a thousand devotees gathered for Śrīla Gurudeva’s darśana upon his arrival at Śrī Giridhārī Gauḍīya Maṭha. During the remainder of his stay in Govardhana, his health fluctuated from day to day and he remained in internal consciousness most of the time. Devotees were very eager to meet with Śrīla Gurudeva in his quarters, as he did not come out of his room. Because it would not be possible to receive so many people in Gurudeva’s quarters, a monitor was placed in the temple hall and during evening programs, devotees could see Śrīla Gurudeva from a camera in his room and Gurudeva could likewise see them on a monitor. Śrīla Gurudeva gave his merciful glance upon the devotees assembled in the temple hall, and encouraged them to do kīrtana with upraised arms. After two weeks of great concern over Śrīla Gurudeva’s condition, where it seemed he could depart any day, on the mornings of November 20 and 21, having miraculously recovered to some extent, Śrīla Gurudeva came out of his quarters and spoke to the assembled devotees. On the 20th he said, “I have brought you all here from many different parts of the world. You have all been hearing hari-kathā and doing parikramā of Vraja-maṇḍala for the past month. You are all extremely fortunate to be here. What more can I say? Tomorrow is pūrṇimā, and you will all go back to your countries. I am inviting you all to come again next year for Kārtika. Please also come to Navadvīpa Parikramā.”
From Govardhana, on the day of Navamī, after Kārtika, Śrīla Gurudeva traveled to Jagannātha Purī. There, on Wednesday, 29 December 2010, on the cusp of niśānta-līlā, at three a.m., the end of the night, on the auicious kṛṣṇa-navamī-tithi of the pauṣa-(Nārāyaṇā) Māsa, the appearance day of oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmāna Gosvāmī Mahārāja, in the Jayaśrī-Dāmodara Gauḍīya Maṭha, which is located at Śrī Cakra-tīrtha, the sacred appearance place of Śrī Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā in Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Jagannātha Purī, he who is an intimate associate of nitya-līlā praviṣṭa aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja; he who is best among the one-pointed followers of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda, who fulfils the innermost desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the savior of the most fallen in this age of Kali; he who is the crown jewel of the rasika Vaiṣṇavas in present times; he who was acclaimed Yugācāa; oṁ viṣṇupāda paramahaṁsa svāmī Bhaktabāndhava Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, by his own sweet desire, entered Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa-Bihārījī’s eternal pastimes, thus submerging those servants who had taken shelter at his lotus feet in an ocean of intense separation from him.
When Śrīla Gurudeva first arrived in Navadvīpa, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja sent Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmāna Gosvāmī Mahārāja to the train station in the middle of the night to receive him and bring him to the maṭha. Deep within his heart, Śrī Gurudeva desired that through the medium of Śrīla Vāmāna Gosvāmī Mahārāja he would again meet his beloved Gurudeva in the eternal abode. Approving that desire, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja arranged for Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmāna Gosvāmī Mahārāja to again appear in this world at three a.m., on śrī kṛṣṇa-navami-tithi, 29 December 2010—his own appearance day—to bring Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja back to his eternal home. The next day, Śrīla Gurudeva was brought to Śrī Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, in Koladvīpa, Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, which is non-different from Girirāja-Govardhana. There, thousands of heartbroken bhaktas assembled from the world over and witnessed as their beloved Divine Master, an intimate associate of the Divine Couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, was placed in Mahā-samādhi.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org)