[The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Bhaktabandhav publication, Sri Harinama Cintamani]

One day after bathing in the ocean, Mahāprabhu went to Siddha-bakula and met with Haridāsa Ṭhākura. The place was called Siddha-bakula even at that time, because Mahāprabhu had planted Jagannātha’s prasadī toothbrush made from a bakula tree into the ground there. At that very place a great bakula tree manifested. From that day onwards, the bakula tree sheltered Haridāsa Ṭhākura while he sat and performed bhajana. Rūpa, Sanātana, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and other devotees would assemble there and sit with Mahāprabhu to perform kīrtana and hear hari-kathā.

Siddha-bakula bestows mercy to anyone who comes there with a sincere desire to perform kīrtana, to receive Mahaprabhu’s blessings, and to obtain the mercy of Śrī Guru and the Vrajavāsīs.

This bakula tree gives siddhi, perfection in bhajana. Therefore, it is called Siddha-bakula. Nowadays however, people go there and tie many stones, pieces of bricks, and other things to the branches of the tree, praying for the fulfillment of their mundane desires. We see that the same type of people also come to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, tie many things upon them, and pray for mundane things.

Mahāprabhu asked Haridāsa Ṭhākura, “O Ṭhākura, please tell Me how the mundane living beings can cross māyā. How can they give up all material attachment and be freed from worldly suffering? Please explain these things to Me.”

Haridāsa Ṭhākura very humbly said with tears in his eyes, “Prabhu, I am a very small and fallen soul. Who can understand Your wonderful līlā? I am insignificant and destitute. I have no spiritual knowledge. Your lotus feet are my all in all. I am unqualified. Why are You asking me these questions? How can I answer? My responses will have no value.”

A pure devotee is free from the four material defects and anything they speak is truthful and helpful. Ordinary people may speak so many things, but they are only cheaters and liars. What they speak cannot help the living beings. If a pure devotee or spiritual master tells anyone to chant harināma, they will surely begin to do so. But if an ordinary person gives advice, such instructions are useless and no one will follow it.

Haridāsa Ṭhākura, considering himself a lowly and ordinary person, thus said, “My answer will not give any help. I have no realization. You are Kṛṣṇa Himself, who has appeared in Navadvīpa-dhāma to help the entire world. Please do not cheat or reject me. I reside here chanting Your holy names and remembering Your pastimes and qualities. I desire nothing else.

“You are like the rising sun, O Prabhu, and I am very insignificant, but I am Your eternal servant. Pure nectar comes from Your lotus feet, and this is my only nourishment. I am very fallen, but because You have instructed me to say something, I will try to follow Your order to do so.

“Children may speak in broken language to their parents, but the parents do not think ill of their children for this. When the child speaks in the presence of his parents, he has the chance to learn something.”

Haridāsa Ṭhākura spoke like this, with such a humble mood. We, on the other hand, take some position, and when we are requested to speak, we become arrogant and consider ourselves very advanced.

Haridāsa Ṭhākura said, “By your request and through Your inspiration, I will endeavor to speak a few words.”

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