Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s Far-sightedness
One day, Prāṇa Gopāla Gosvāmī gave a blanket to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to protect himself from the winter. When Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja wrapped it around himself during the night, he felt a little sleepy. On the next day, he took the blanket and while returning it to Prāṇa Gopāla Gosvāmī, he said, “Gaura Kiśora doesn’t have prema for your blanket. This blanket made me sleep for the entire night and didn’t let me do bhajana. Therefore, you should keep it with you.”
On another day, a person gave Bābājī Mahārāja a shawl. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja folded the shawl and kept it hanging from his bhajana-kuṭīra. When someone asked him why he did so, he said, “By seeing that I have a shawl, the winter will not come near me. It will run far away.”
The Difference between Actual and Hypocritical Residence in the Dhāma
One day, a doctor became exceedingly restless to do hari-bhajana. Therefore, he came to Navadvīpa and pretended to live alongside Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. The doctor had made previous arrangements to continue his medical practice in Navadvīpa. He had decided that he would beg for alms from the wealthy and treat the sick residents of the Dhāma for free.
He thought, “By thus acting, I will work for the welfare of others while simultaneously practicing hari-bhajana.”
While intending to gain Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s approval, the doctor started to speak of the pastimes of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s associate Śrīla Murāri Gupta:
pratigraha nāhi kare, nā laya kāra dhana
ātma-vṛtti kari’ kare kuṭumba bharaṇa
kitsā korena yāre ha-iyā sadaya
deharoga bhāva-roga,—dui tāra kṣaya
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 10.51–52
Śrīla Murāri Gupta never accepted charity from friends, nor did he accept money from anyone. He practiced as a physician and maintained his family with his earnings. As Murāri Gupta treated his patients, by his mercy both their bodily and spiritual diseases subsided.
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja then told the doctor that his artificial desire to stay in Navadvīpa-dhāma and engage in hari-bhajana was not pure.
He told him, “Śrī Murāri Gupta Prabhu is an eternal associate of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, who is also an eternal resident of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma. While staying in Navadvīpa-dhāma, he never fostered any separate desire to enjoy the holy abode. He didn’t open any temple in Navadvīpa for conducting a business, for by such business one can maintain his family and feed himself. He never engaged in such endeavors to earn wealth while pretending to do hari-bhajana. He never accepted anyone’s charity or wealth. Śrī Murāri Gupta is a storehouse of aprākṛta gaura-prema. A devotee can attain gaura-prema by his mercy. Out of his causeless mercy, anyone he treated became free of all diseases for eternity, and they also attained spotless prema at the lotus feet of Śrīman Mahāprabhu.
“By not following in his footsteps and by imitating his pure behavior, a person will only engage in sense gratification on the pretext of performing bhajana. Consequently, he will have to suffer from the anguish of material existence for eternity. You yourself are a diseased patient of this material existence—how can you possibly cure others of their suffering and make them transcend this material existence? First of all, you should sincerely weep and pray to Śrī Murāri Gupta to attain his mercy. By his mercy, you will realize what real welfare work is.
“Śrīman Mahāprabhu has said that only that intelligence which makes one chant harināma is pure. Other forms of intelligence are only variations of wickedness. You should leave such wicked intelligence and engage in śravaṇa-kīrtana. If separate desires such as these appear in a person while chanting harināma, he will be destroyed. And, he will be cheated of Harināma Prabhu’s service. On one hand, you wish to earn prestige by treating the diseased for free and on another hand you wish to reside in the transcendental abode of Navadvīpa—know that these desires cannot exist together for they are incompatible. A karmī can never reside in cinmaya-dhāma, the transcendental abode of Navadvīpa.”
After listening to these instructions, the doctor asked Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, “What is my duty?”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “If you really want to reside in Navadvīpa, then cast aside these material conceptions. You should renounce the desire of trying to treat materialists for free because by such ‘treatment’ you will only make them engage in sense gratification all the more. Only those actions that help make the conditions favorable for those performing hari-bhajana are truly beneficial for oneself. All the other forms of dharma and karma prolong the conditioned soul’s stay in this fearsome material world. Rather than staying in the dhāma like how you intend to, you should stay in your home and chant harināma. In this way you will be saved from committing a very serious offense. You should do this if you wish to save yourself. You must not cheat yourself by hypocritically staying in the dhāma.”
The Real Fruit of Sādhu-saṅga and the Offenses Committed by the Ineligible in the Name of Serving the Dhāma
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja told a person who had a desire to do hari-bhajana in sādhu-saṅga, “You will be able to do hari-bhajana with me only if you abandon the association of all the renowned Vaiṣṇavas and avaiṣṇavas, and always stay with me. I speak these words because I always honor the remnants of the residents of the dhāma and always use the earthen pots of the dhāma to cook for my Lord. I also collect the clothes of the deceased to clothe myself. While staying with me, if you meet other Vaiṣṇavas or persons who are following dharma, then considering you to be an untouchable, they will completely avoid your association—or, you will incur an offense by touching them.”
After listening to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s words, the person said, “I will do only as you say, but I will only stay with you.”
In this way, he started staying with Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja and started doing hari-bhajana. But after some time, the same person started meeting some Vaiṣṇavas (who were Vaiṣṇavas in name only) on the pretext of bathing in the Gaṅgā and doing mādhukarī (collecting food from different homes). Being attracted by their kīrtanas that were sung in sweet voices, he became bewildered and actively started taking part in their kīrtanas. He would even honor prasāda with them at times and started to learn their various melodies of kīrtana.
One day, he started glorifying the Vaiṣṇavas in a high-pitched voice in front of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. When he left to do bhikṣā, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told his servant, “This novice Vaiṣṇava is going secretly to many different places. He learns some aspects of bhakti there and intends to teach us what he has learnt. In reality, rather than collecting hari-bhakti, he is only collecting offenses. I have understood everything by listening to his kīrtanas and by witnessing how he glorifies Vaiṣṇavas. Now he will not stay here any longer because by associating even once with those who are Vaiṣṇavas in name only, a person will not listen to anyone else. This is the result of unfavorable association. In such association, a person will only learn hypocrisy and duplicity.”
After staying for a few days with Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the person who had the desire to do hari-bhajana, suddenly left to Śrī Jagannātha Purī without telling anyone. After listening about his sudden departure from another person, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja expressed sorrow and said, “The nāmādhārī Vaiṣṇavas made him leave, and this boy also had greed to eat and drink. I could not save him. The jīva is independent and is bound to taste the fruits of his karma. He had come to me by Kṛṣṇa’s inspiration, but he has fallen into great trouble by secretly meeting with many people. Now, he will only dress himself as a Vaiṣṇava.
“Nowadays, many ignorant and harmful persons give the guise of a Vaiṣṇava to anyone and turn that person into a frog. Many hypocritical persons are dressing themselves as Vaiṣṇavas to accept the obeisances offered by many people. They are also greedy to taste the opulent foodstuffs offered by these people. Therefore, they dress themselves as such. The harināma-kīrtana performed by such people is merely the croaking of frogs. The louder they croak, the nearer the snake of sense gratification comes. And then it devours them.”
After some days, that devotee accepted the guise of a particular sect and returned to Navadvīpa. There, he started living with the mahānta (group leader) of that sect. One day, the mahānta saw Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and said, “Your disciple has become a complete Vaiṣṇava and returned from Purī. His life has become successful. He has returned after serving Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura and is doing bhajana now with so much anurāga.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “I cannot understand how he has become my disciple. I don’t see anyone in this world as being a disciple. I myself have not become a disciple, so how can I become the ‘guru’ of another? Can a person become a Vaiṣṇava merely by dressing himself like a frog? The croaking of a frog cannot be called the chanting of ‘śrī harināma’ or the practice of ‘śrī hari-bhajana.’ A frog only has anurāga to attain enjoyment, but a frog cannot enjoy because the snake of sense-enjoyment will quickly devour it. Is it so easy to serve Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura? Why are you decreasing your precious life-span by dressing yourself as a mahānta? Leaving aside hypocrisy, you should do pure hari-bhajana.”
The mahānta then said, “I had no worldly intentions in mind while becoming a mahānta. My only intention is to clean the area surrounding the bhajana-kuṭīra and serve the Vaiṣṇavas. The area of the bhajana-kuṭīra has become like a jungle. I have cleared the vegetation and made the area clean.”
After listening to these words of the mahānta, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja became very sad at heart. He didn’t speak any longer with the mahānta.
After sometime, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told some people, “The mahānta has mercilessly cut down all the kalpa-vṛkṣas (wish-fulfilling trees) and kalpa-latās (wish-fulfilling creepers) of Navadvīpa-dhāma, like an atheist would do, and he proudly spoke of his actions to me. Alas! Alas! Such pain is brought to the heart by cutting even a dry tree of Navadvīpa. All these trees and creepers are our eternal friends and relatives. They are the paraphernalia of Śrī Gaurasundara’s pastimes. Can anyone attack the bodies of their friends or relatives with weapons even after they have died? But this mahānta has cut the dhāma’s transcendental trees and creepers while considering them to be inanimate forms. Such cruel persons can never be qualified to do hari-bhajana. By only externally dressing themselves up as Vaiṣṇavas, they only bring inauspiciousness to themselves and the people around them.”
True Auspiciousness Lies in a Sādhu’s Words of Chastisement
When a devotee had stopped listening to hari-kathā, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja asked him, “After having stopped listening to hari-kathā, have you started practicing solitary bhajana? Sādhu-saṅga is had, while listening to hari-kathā. By being in sādhu-saṅga, Māyā cannot present any obstacles in one’s bhajana. Māyā will tighten her grip on a person performing nirjana-bhajana if he cannot avail himself of hari-kathā or sādhu-saṅga. As a result, a person will start thinking of the objects of sense gratification, rather than thinking of Śrī Hari. These thoughts will conquer his heart.”
After listening to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s instructions, the person said, “I think that rather than going near a sādhu and listening to his words of chastisement that cause pain to the heart, I should just engage in nirjana-bhajana.”
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “Listen! A person who speaks the truth and makes the witch of Māyā flee is really a sādhu and your dearest friend. Even after listening to the harsh words of their wives and abuses of their relatives, people don’t wish to leave their association, not even when they are about to die. Rather than rejecting their association, they continue serving them while trying to make them happy. On the other hand, should a promise be made to renounce the association of a sādhu just because he spoke a few words of chastisement? Although the sādhu has spoken such words, you should know that he wishes the ultimate auspiciousness for all the jīvas. If you really want to do bhajana, then you should accept the Vaiṣṇavas’ words of chastisement as the topmost medicine that serves as the mantra that makes Māyā leave. Only then will you receive the qualification to chant harināma.”
Attachment to One’s Home and the Auspiciousness of the Soul
One day, a person came with his wife and begged for the mercy of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told him, “If you sincerely want to do bhajana, then both of you should separately chant harināma and not expect anything from each other.” When the same person came again to see Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja asked him, “Do your wife and yourself eat together or do you separately cook for yourselves?”
The person replied, “We cook and eat together. But according to your instruction, we live separately and do bhajana.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja asked him, “Which preparations were made today?”
The person said, “Sabjī, eggplant curry, and dāl.”
After listening to his words, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “A person will not be benefited only by externally leaving the association of his wife. You are associating with your wife by your mind. Until now, you have not been able to forsake the greed of tasting the preparations your wife has made—so how can you do bhajana? By offering you many delicious preparations, your wife is making you associate with her. Alas! Alas! Even after pretending to chant harināma, you still have the desire to chew drumsticks. How did you chew these sticks? Can a person even eat a morsel of rice if he has lost one lakh rupees? The pain of having lost so much money will continuously pierce his heart. While constantly thinking about the money he has lost, he will only eat a little rice as he has been habituated to do so. But he will never have any taste in relishing delicious foodstuffs because of being overwhelmed by lamentation. You have lost the priceless jewel of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s service, and despite of being in such a sorrowful state, you find joy in chewing drumsticks. Although you have left the association of a woman externally, you still associate with her in your heart. Therefore, hari-bhajana is not within your grasp.”
After listening to these nectarean instructions of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, a householder who was nearby said, “Many Vaiṣṇavas stay with women and do bhajana; will they not achieve their ultimate auspiciousness?”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “The jīva is Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant according to his constitutional nature—jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. But a conditioned soul only has māyā-darśana when he becomes bewildered by his illusory relationships with his wife and children. Without having the transcendental eyes of bhakti, no soul can identify another soul as being an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. A conditioned soul is always stunted by his desire to enjoy women. Nowadays, the conditioned souls don’t associate with the hari-bhaktas and they don’t listen to hari-kathā. Therefore, they don’t receive the strength to chant harināma and they remain attached to their husband or wife. There are also some who artificially renounce their families. They even supposedly refrain from sense gratification, but their renunciation is like that of a monkey. The activities of such pseudo-renunciants are like that of
“A factual Vaiṣṇava will never want to enjoy his wife. He will see his wife as his guru or as a servant of Kṛṣṇa, a kṛṣṇa-dāsī. A person may want to sincerely do bhajana, but his heart is still plagued by many weaknesses—he is still very attached to his wife and children. But by continuously staying with a mahā-bhāgavata and by doing śravaṇa-kīrtana of his hari-kathā, his attachment to his wife and children will go away. He will then be able to understand that the auspiciousness of his soul can only be attained by completely surrendering to Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra. A person cannot offer his true self (ātma-samarpaṇa) if he still identifies himself with his body. The mercy of Śrī Hari will not be attained without such ātma-samarpaṇa. Conversely, a jīva will remain attached to his wife and children.
“A person may leave his wife and children to avoid their complaints and noisy behavior. He then becomes ‘renounced,’ just so he can have some peace and tranquility, but such a mentality doesn’t reflect the true purpose of renunciation. The renunciation of the devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa bears a speciality. They abandon objects that are unfavorable and accept only those objects that are favorable for their service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such is the nature of the love that they have for Him.”
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the Ideal Instructor
One day, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja sat cross-legged without exposing his feet and said, “To fulfil their selfish desires, many people want the dust of my feet. But I say that I am not even a Vaiṣṇava. There are some who stretch their legs just so people can easily take the dust of their feet, or even wash their feet and take their ‘caraṇāmṛta.’ By approaching such people, one can have as much foot dust as he desires. So, why should these people come here?”
Just as Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja was speaking these words, a person who had just returned to Navadvīpa from Vṛndāvana came to him and said, “You are my Gurudeva! Please bestow your mercy upon me.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “I don’t have any rasagullās, sandeśa, luci, purī, or any other foodstuffs to give. Neither do I have money nor even sweet words to offer. What should I give and bestow mercifully upon you? Only those who can feed their disciples rasagullās, sandeśa, and other sweets, have the right to become gurus. Only they have the right to bestow mercy. Nowadays, scholars think that anukūla (that which is favorable) means to have money, women, and fame. They speak sweet words to fulfil their purpose.
I only see that eating soaked rice and chanting harināma in my hut is favorable to bhajana. Even if you still desire to receive my mercy, then you should eat such food that even the dogs will not eat. You should wear such clothes that even thieves will despise and you should always chant harināma in the association of the śuddha-bhaktas. But your bhajana will be lost if you become a monkey-like renunciant. A monkey sits silently on a branch, but upon sensing an opportunity, it will immediately snatch many things from whoever it sees. By exhibiting such monkey-like renunciation, you will never be able to have unwavering faith in śrī hari-bhajana.”
Separate Desires Are to Be Completely Rejected
Scriptures like Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would be recited daily outside of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s hut. The assembled Vaiṣṇavas would diligently study the scriptures and Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would explain the purports and established philosophical principles of these scriptures to the assembled Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would always desire to repeatedly listen to the pastimes of Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja. He would always say that Śrī Gaurasundara relished listening to the pastimes of Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja. The Lord also manifested the pastime of repeatedly listening to Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja’s life and teachings. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would also listen to Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s Prema-bhakti-candrikā, and Prārthanā. He would intermittently explain the deep siddhānta of these scriptures to all the devotees. The assembled Vaiṣṇavas would only recite the scriptures, but Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja himself was the real speaker.
One day before the Ratha-yātrā, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja asked the assembled devotees, “Which Ratha-yātrā are all of you going to attend? A big Ratha-yātrā festival is going to take place in Paramatala. A Ratha-yātrā is also arranged from Zamīndār Bābū’s house. If you go there, you will get one rasagullā and dahī-chidwa (chipped rice soaked in curd or milk) prasāda.”
In this way, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told all the devotees about five or seven places where the Ratha-yātrā would take place. On the day of the Ratha-yātrā, everyone was busy observing the festivities, thus there was no one to recite the scriptures. On that day, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja stepped out of his bhajana-kuṭīra and while smiling said, “Today my life has been saved, for everyone has gone away. Those who are offenders to harināma will leave śravaṇa-kīrtana in the association of the sādhus and on the pretext of going to the Ratha-yātrā, they will see young women and other objects of enjoyment. People do come to artificially associate with Vaiṣṇavas, but they are swept away by the current of desires separate from pleasing Kṛṣṇa because of not being under guidance (anugatya).”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja then loudly started to do hari-kīrtana. After seeing the Ratha-yātrā, everyone again came to see Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. But Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja was sitting in a very grave manner—he didn’t speak to anyone.
Hypocrisy in the Name of Bhakti
A Vaiṣṇava from Orissa stayed for many days with Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja and performed hari-bhajana. The people of the surrounding areas had much faith and regard for him. He would go from one place to another while carrying the Bhāgavat on his head. He would speak from the Bhāgavat at many places and earn some money. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja used to also have him keep some money for serving the Vaiṣṇavas.
One day, the Vaiṣṇava’s father from his previous āśrama came to see him. The Vaiṣṇava gave some of the money that Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja had collected to his penniless father. Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who is an antaryāmī (indwelling witness to everyone’s actions) knew about his actions. He stopped speaking with the Vaiṣṇava. Before, the Vaiṣṇava would sometimes cook rice for Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. Now, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja never accepted anything that was touched by him. Like before, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja started eating rice, after soaking it in water. Seeing this, the Vaiṣṇava became very fearful and stopped eating and drinking.
When Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja came to know of this, he said, “If this person does not leave immediately, I will give up my life.” When the person didn’t leave even after hearing these words, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja jumped into the Gaṅgā the next day. Shocked, many people went to rescue Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, who then loudly said, “You should leave me. I will not remain in this body if I cannot do
The people rescued Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja and pulled him out of the water. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “Why did you bring me out of the Gaṅgā? This person has given everything I possessed to
The assembled people replied, “We will give you all the money you need. We will give you four times the amount this person has lost. We will give you the money shortly.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told them, “I don’t require any amount of money. But this person will not be able to remain with me. My bhajana will be hindered by staying with a hypocrite.” Many people thought that Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja jumped into the Gaṅgā because of his attachment to the money, but now they understood that Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja was not a beggar—he could not tolerate even a little hypocrisy in the name of guru-sevā, vaiṣṇava-sevā, and bhagavat-sevā. Simplicity is Vaiṣṇavism.
External Cleanliness and the Desire for Sense-gratification
One day, a prominent reciter of the Bhāgavat who resided in Navadvīpa wore a blanket around his waist and came to see Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. During hari-kathā, the question on the degree of cleanliness that the sādhakas should observe arose. When the assembled devotees requested Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to give his decision on this discussion, he consented and told them, “The degree of cleanliness observed by those who desire women, wealth, and prestige can never be equated to real purity. This trait of theirs is only another impurity that is amassed upon their towering heap of impurities. If even part of the body is affected by leprosy, then the entire body will also become affected by leprosy. Those who wish to become pure by going to the bathroom or by having a bath in the Gaṅgā with a blanket wrapped around themselves, and whose heart is full of desires for sense-gratification, are very impure. They are so impure that they will not admit their impurity, even if it is explained to them.
“Those who wrap blankets around them and those who wear silken cloths will undoubtedly eat rice that is fully boiled. There are also those who bathe in the Gaṅgā and exhibit themselves as being Vaiṣṇavas by dressing as such. But they only consider satisfying the objects of their senses as being the essence of their lives. They are especially fond of serving their wives and children, while desiring wealth, fulfilment of their desires, and adoration. Conversely, they are not fond of vaiṣṇava-sevā. Such people may try to become pure in various ways—but their purity will never bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”
A Lusty Person Will See the Entire World as Being Lusty
One day, a person came to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and complained about one of his followers. He said, “The person whom you consider to be a good devotee and whom you address as ‘Prabhu’ is becoming very attached to the objects of the senses. There is a possibility of him becoming a gross materialist.” After listening to these words, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja became extremely grave and fell silent. By witnessing his gravity and silence, all the assembled devotees became greatly fearful and bound to make the person who spoke as such leave. On that day, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja recollected the following words of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura:
vaiṣṇava-caritra sarvadā pavitra
jei ninde hiṁsā kori’
One should never speak to those who, out of envy, criticize the ever-pure character of Vaiṣṇavas.
These words warn one about fault-finding. But this nature of finding fault had assumed a form and manifested itself on this day.
After this person had left, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja expressed his anger at those who were against the devotees. He then told the devotees, “This atheist had himself become greedy to enjoy the objects of his senses. Therefore, he is trying to superimpose his anarthas on a Vaiṣṇava and has alleged that the Vaiṣṇava is at fault. The Vaiṣṇavas are only attached to those services that bring happiness to Kṛṣṇa’s senses. Except these services, they are never greedy to acquire objects of material enjoyment. Prema-bhakti can never arise in those whose heart has even a smell of attachment towards the objects of their senses. Without having attachment to the objects that are related to Śrī Hari, the symptoms of prema-bhakti will not be purely understood.
“Those in whose heart prema-bhakti has arisen for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Śrī Kṛṣṇa will have natural, strong attachment to those objects that are favorable for the service of Śrī Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Anything they possess is only meant to be favorably used in the service of the devotees of Śrī Hari. They never use anything for their own enjoyment or for the enjoyment of their kith and kin. Their attachment to those objects that are favorable for Kṛṣṇa’s service is even greater than the attachment that the materialists have for the objects of their senses. Therefore, the enjoyers (bhogīs) and the so-called renunciants (tyāgīs) think that the premi-bhaktas have attachment towards the objects of their senses. Although attachment has not manifested for those objects that are related to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and bring happiness to His senses, a person artificially exhibits his ‘attachment’ towards such objects. But know that such behavior accounts to mere hypocrisy.
“A person who criticizes the Vaiṣṇavas who are one-pointedly engaged in their services should be rejected, even if he is your dear friend or relative. Thus, I will never see the face of such an atheist.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s Pastime of Illness
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja manifested a pastime of being unhealthy when he spoke of having a painful headache. Even after Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura arranged the necessary medicine for Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja continued practicing his unprecedented renunciation. He didn’t ready himself to accept the medicine. His headache then started to increase every day, so much so that it lessened the sight of both his eyes.
The Crest-jewel of Avadhūtas
When Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja started manifesting his pastime of losing his eyesight, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura prayed to his Gurupāda-padma, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, that he be taken to Kolkata for treatment. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura also requested Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to undergo treatment.
But Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “I will never go to Kolkata, the place of Māyā-devī.”
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura then told Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Prabhu, “Your sevaka, Sarasvatī, will stay with you in Kolkata. He will serve you, and you will not have to undergo any inconvenience.”
After listening to these words, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Prabhu said,
“I will not accept Prabhu’s service. I will jump into the water and give up my life.” Saying these words, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora ran towards the Sarasvatī River that was flowing in front of Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura ran behind his master and pleaded to him. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja didn’t jump into the river, but for the next 45 days, no one knew anything about him—where he was or how he was doing.
After 45 days, he returned and said, “Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s grace cannot be attained by giving up one’s life, I cannot bear to tolerate the idea of someone serving me.”
The medicine could not be administered to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja even after the devotees tried in many ways. His renunciation was not artificial—his renunciation led to the awakening of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s happiness.
One day, being very eager to hear hari-kathā from Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. the devotees made arrangements for Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to speak on the banks of the Gaṅgā. That evening, however, many instruments sounded from a nearby temple and this sound made it difficult for Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to continue speaking. No one could properly hear the hari-kathā. At that time, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja felt intense pangs of separation from the object of his devotion and he expressed a desire to give up his body. As a result, all the Vaiṣṇavas had to humbly pacify Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja.
Sometimes, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would say, “I am not able to have darśana of the Holy Name,” and he would head to the Gaṅgā to jump in her waters. He would also sometimes become upset with his servant, Dīna-bandhu dāsa, and thereafter jump into the Gaṅgā.
He Cheated Those Who Were Averse
When Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura manifested his pastime of illness, he decided to stay in Bhakti-bhavana, his residence in Kolkata. One day during this time, a caste gosvāmī came to see Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja in Kuliyā Navadvīpa. Intending to cheat him, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told him, “You should go to Kolkata and bring Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, carrying him on your head, from Māyā’s abode Kolkata to Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa.”
Because of having conceptions that were ingrained in modern-day society, the caste gosvāmī could not understand the words or actions of an eternal associate of Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He had never heard the meaning of the following words before:
tomāra hṛdaye sadā govinda visrāma
O Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura! Śrī Govinda is always resting in your heart.
yathāya vaiṣṇava-gaṇa seī sthāna vṛndāvana,
seī sthāne ānanda aśeṣa
Wherever the great Vaiṣṇavas reside is the same as the holy abode of Vṛndāvana, and one will experience unlimited happiness in that place.
Regardless of where the mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas are staying, they have the Holy Abode of Śrī Goloka manifest in that place. Thus, they remain absorbed in the service of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, the eternally youthful Divine Couple of Vraja, during all the eight segments of the day. The purport to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s words ‘gṛhete goloka bhāya ’ has manifested itself in the bhajana of the transcendental associates of Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Only those whose erroneous material vision has departed can have darśana of this unprecedented ideal.
The caste gosvāmī came to Kolkata and conveyed Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s request to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. After listening to this message, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said, “You should convey my blessings to Bābājī Mahārāja for his hari-bhajana.”
The caste gosvāmī, who was completely unable to understand the words and actions of mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas, then met Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, who took it upon himself to correct the caste gosvāmī. He told him, “The Vaiṣṇavas act accordingly when they witness how wicked our intelligence is. The statement—ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham—is apt here, because the Vaiṣṇavas cheat us according to the purport of this statement.
If the Vaiṣṇavas see that we don’t desire our auspiciousness, then they will speak words that are relishable for us. Yet, despite speaking such words, they remain engaged in their bhagavat-bhajana.
“Many gross materialists would approach paramahaṁsa Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja and speak to him according to their liking. They would also be cheated by receiving answers from him that were according to their liking. Many people would find the opportunity to remain engaged in their materialistic activities after they heard stories concerning wheat, rice, sesame seeds, tobacco, potatoes, and other vegetables from Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja. Sādhu-saṅga can never be had by possessing a mental disposition that is crippled by hypocrisy and the desire for sense-gratification. A sādhu will only reveal himself to a sādhaka who has completely surrendered himself unto him. Such a sādhaka will only desire to serve. The sādhu will speak hari-kathā to such a sādhaka, while desiring to not cheat him in anyway. Thus, he will make that sādhaka the recipient of his non-duplicitous, one-pointed, truthful words.”
The Blessings of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja
One day, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura told a devotee in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, “After taking the permission of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, you should go to Kuliyā Navadvīpa and have darśana of the lotus feet of oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the best of paramahaṁsas, whose life and teachings are greatly wonderful.”
According to the instructions of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the mahā-puruṣa bought a watermelon and, after receiving the permission of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, went to have the darśana of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja in Kuliyā. He saw a mahātmā sitting in his bhajana-kuṭīra on the other side of the Gaṅgā. He offered his prostrated obeisances to this mahātmā, who was none other than Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja himself, and he kept the watermelon beside him. Although Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would never accept anything that others presented to him, he became greatly happy upon listening that this devotee had come to see him after receiving the permission of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Therefore, he mercifully accepted the watermelon and cast his merciful glance on the devotee. When Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja heard that the devotee had come to have his darśana according to the instructions of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he told the devotee to sing one of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s Prārthanā prayers. The devotee sang:
gaurāṅga bolite habe pulaka śarīra
‘hari hari’ bolite nayane ba’be nīra
When will the hair on my body stand on end upon chanting, “Gaurāṅga”? When will my eyes overflow with tears upon chanting, “Hari Hari”?
After listening to the kīrtana, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja gave the following instructions to the devotee, “You should always have faith in Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Being humbler than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree, you should always do nāma-kīrtana. You should remain far away from asat-saṅga by your body, mind, and words.”
After listening to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s instructions, the gentleman said, “I have not accepted the lotus feet of a guru until now.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “You have had the darśana of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in Māyāpura. Śrīdhāma Māyāpura is the place of ātma-nivedaṇa (full self-surrender). How have you not accepted the lotus feet of śrī guru when you have submitted your self at the lotus feet of a sad-guru? Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is waiting for you. You should accept his mercy.”
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja also told him, “In the future, after taking sannyāsa from a sad-guru, you should preach Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s name from village to village.” After speaking these words, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja bestowed his mercy profusely
on this devotee.
Whenever anyone would approach Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to touch his lotus feet, he would tell that person, “You will be destroyed. Your household life will be destroyed as well.”
Speaking these words, he exhibited the pastime of anger. But when this gentleman touched Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s feet and offered his praṇāma, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja didn’t say anything. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, who is most compassionate, never cheats a person who sincerely desires to attain the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Absolute Truth. By distributing his spotless mercy, he would bestow the fragrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet on such sincere
According to the instruction of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, this devotee received shelter at the lotus feet of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. When he was living in Godruma, he went to Kuliyā Navadvīpa, along with Śrīpāda Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābājī Mahāśaya, to have the darśana of the lotus feet of Śrī Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. He did so especially after being told to do so by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. After hearing that the devotee had obtained the mercy of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja became very pleased.
While experiencing great happiness, he told the devotee, “You should always be in the association of Sarasvatī Prabhu. He is my Gurudeva and he is an ideal Vaiṣṇava. Just see! Although he is the son of a veritable king, how ideal is his renunciation! Leaving aside all forms of asat-saṅga, he is performing his nāma-sevā, while being sheltered by Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. His renunciation is unprecedented. He is an eternal associate of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana, and of my Śrīman Mahāprabhu. You should always do vaiṣṇava-sevā and nāma-saṅkīrtana by your body, mind, and words. You should do kīrtana loudly.”
According to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s foretelling, this devotee later came to be known as Śrī Bhakti Pradīpa Tīrtha Mahārāja. He was the first sannyāsa disciple of oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It was under the guidance of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura that he preached śrī bhaktivinoda-gaura-vāṇī, the instructions of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīman Mahāprabhu, in India and abroad.
The Fruit of Committing an Offense at the Lotus Feet of the Ācārya
Once, a person who had been staying in Māyāpura for a few days left Śrīdhāma Māyāpura to go and reside in Kuliyā Navadvīpa.
One day, after doing bhikṣā, he came to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who asked him about the state of affairs in Māyāpura. The person replied, “I will not go to Māyāpura anymore. Śrī Sarasvatī Prabhu, a resident of Vaikuṇṭha, is present there. He has aiśvarya-bhāva, the mood of awe and reverence. There is no need for people like us, who engage in vraja-bhajana, to remain in his association.”
After listening to his words, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “If an insignificant bird tries to jump over the ocean, it will become the object of everyone’s laughter. If you want to save yourself, then you should become free of the tendency to criticize and you should become humbler than a blade of grass. You should chant harināma day and night, while situated in this temperament. You should first of all renounce any attachment you have towards committing offenses at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. How will you know what is happening in Vraja when you have such a hellish mentality? Sarasvatī is present in Vaikuṇṭha, and Sarasvatī is also present in Śrīdhāma Vṛndāvana. A ghost is sitting on your shoulders; so how will you know Vraja’s Sarasvatī?”
The person replied, “I will stay with you, in Navadvīpa.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja then said, “You will not be able to stay in Navadvīpa. No person can stay in Navadvīpa after committing offenses at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. You have committed an offense at the lotus feet of Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. Your downfall is inevitable. I am residing in Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, and I am residing in Navadvīpa as well. A person who has ill-feelings towards
Śrī Māyāpura can never reside in Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa. Śrī Māyāpura is the birthplace of Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari. It is a transcendental abode of the Lord. You have not been fortunate enough to witness how Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrī Sarasvatī Ṭhākura have established the ideal standard for hari-bhajana there. While disregarding one Vaiṣṇava, you are praying for the mercy of another Vaiṣṇava—this is mere hypocrisy.”
siddha vaiṣṇavera yena viṣama vyavahāra
kahilāṅā, ihā bujhibāre śakti kāra
adhikārī vaiṣṇavera nā bujhi’ vyavahāra
ye jana nindaye, tāra nāhika nistāra
kṛṣṇa kṛpāya se ihā jānibāre pāre
ei saba saṅkaṭe keha mare, keha tare
Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi 9.379, 387, 389
Who has the power to understand the actions of a siddha-vaiṣṇava, a pure devotee? Because of not being able to understand the external actions of such a Vaiṣṇava by one’s gross intelligence, a foolish person dares to criticize the Vaiṣṇava, who is transcendental to his understanding. Know that such an offender cannot be delivered. It is only possible to understand a mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇava’s conduct by the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. By not availing oneself of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, one will only be able to behold a Vaiṣṇava externally. By beholding the Vaiṣṇava in this manner, one will arrive at a judgement that will either be the cause of his ruin or of his spiritual upliftment (because of not having committed any offenses).]
vaiṣṇave vaiṣṇave bhinna nāi
bhinna karāyane raṅga caitanya gosāi
ithe yei eka vaiṣnavera pakṣa haya
anya vaiṣṇavere ninde, sei yāya kṣaya
Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya 4.390–391
Although one Vaiṣṇava is not different from another, Mahāprabhu desired to establish different philosophical truths through His devotees. Therefore, the Lord shows them in a different light. But if one sides with one particular Vaiṣṇava’s conduct and activities, and criticizes another Vaiṣṇava, this will be the cause of his destruction.
According to the foretelling of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, this person became bound to taste the fruits of his offenses. He started to illicitly associate with women and he became an atheist. After doing bhikṣā, he started collecting things that would facilitate his association with women. This is the fearsome fruit of committing offenses at the lotus feet of mahat-vaiṣṇavas.
Hari-kathā Should Only Be Heard from the Śuddha-vaiṣṇavas
During the month of Vaiśākha (April–May), Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja heard many discourses that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gave in Māyāpura on Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta. When some gosvāmīs and scholars of Kuliyā Navadvīpa, who claimed to belong to the line of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, came to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja to have him listen to their recital of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja hinted to them that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam can never be spoken from the mouth of a nāma-aparādhī, one who commits offenses to the holy name:
śravaṇaṁ naive kartavyaṁ
sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ
Just as milk touched by the lips of a serpent has a poisonous effect, hari-kathā, when heard from the lips of non-devotees, is poisonous. Both those who speak it and those who hear it will suffer from the effects of poison.
Milk is a very pure substance. By drinking milk, a person’s hunger and fatigue are quelled, and he is duly nourished. But milk touched by the lips of a serpent is turned into poison. Similarly, the jīva’s devotional temperament manifests by drinking the pure nectar of hari-kathā that emanates from the mouths of the pure, śuddha-vaiṣṇavas. But the hari-kathā spoken by a nāma-aparādhī is an offense to the holy name, even if the hari-kathā spoken by such a person resembles the hari-kathā spoken by śuddha-vaiṣṇavas. It is the duty of one to not listen to such nāma-aparādha, because by listening to such nāma-aparādha, the jīva will not attain his auspiciousness. Rather, like the milk touched by the lips of a serpent, this ‘hari-kathā’ will only cause inauspiciousness for the jīva.
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja had the place swept clean after those persons who claimed to speak on the Bhāgavat (while desiring to be remunerated) left.
One person called Shaha Mahāśaya used to send rice to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja from time to time. He used to do so of his own accord. In the same way, another person would also give rice periodically for Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s sevā. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja would have all the rice stored in Kuliyā’s Rānī Dharmaśālā. After receiving rice periodically for two months, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja sent someone to Shaha Bābā to tell him to not send more rice. Receiving this information, Shaha Bābū immediately came to see Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja.
While intently praying at his lotus feet, he said, “Prabhu! What offense have I committed that has made you stop accepting mādhukarī from me?”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “My Gurudeva has forbidden me to become a cow that is being nourished by someone else. Rather than being such a cow, it is better to be a wandering bull.”
After listening to these words, one person expressed his desire to know why Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja had used the example of these two animals—a paltu-gāya, or a cow raised by householders, and a vicaran-shila sadā, or a wandering bull.
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja then said, “A householder duly takes care of a cow and nourishes it with food and water. He also milks the cow. But he will sell the cow to liquidate himself of any debt. Therefore, such a cow is called a paltu-gāya. Similarly, any person who fills his stomach with food obtained from another person, and who always desires that same person to supply whatever he needs from time to time, is called a paltu-gāya because he becomes subservient to that person who is supplying him with food. Conversely, if a cow is notorious and causes much disturbance, the person looking after this cow will be duly fined. Any person who, on the pretext of doing bhajana in Vraja or Navadvīpa, enjoys the wealth given by materialists, is called a paltu-gāya.
“But a wandering bull is never under the care of anyone. It nourishes its body by feeding on the produce of different fields. Even if it is beaten by someone at times, it is never chained for life, unlike a paltu-gāya. Those who reside in the dhāma while living like this bull to sustain themselves, depending on mādhukarī-vṛtti, wander here and there, just like a vicaran-shila sadā.
“Nowadays, many people have learned how to do mādhukarī. It is understood that any person who dresses as a Bābājī is a rightful recipient for mādhukarī. Mādhukarī is nirguṇa-vṛtti, an act that is transcendental to the three modes of material nature. A person who factually accepts mādhukarī will have his mood of surrender towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa strengthened. His identification with the body will gradually lessen and he will leave his desire to be bound in saṁsāra behind forever, for he will no longer wish to satisfy the desires of his tongue and genitals, unlike the materialists. But it is not easy to obtain this qualification. Therefore, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura have sung the following kīrtanas in regard to the innate nature of mādhukarī and its eligible practitioners:
Srila Gaura Kishora das Babaji ki Jaya! (excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Four Rupanuga Vaisnava Acaryas of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya”, for future availability contact: email@example.com )