Having heard of Śrīla Gurudeva’s glories, the parents of a young man with brain cancer once came to the maṭha, hoping he could help treat their son. They had taken their son to Germany, England, and other places for treatment, but all without success. Now he was suffering severely without leaving his body, although on the brink of death. They carried the young man to the first floor of the temple and laid him down on a cloth. Śrīla Gurudeva came downstairs and met with them. He had heard of their difficulties and knew of their business. He said to the parents, “In this life you have cheated people to amass great wealth, and you also engaged your son in this sinful work. He was always using his brain to think about how to cheat people, and now he has been punished as a result.”
The parents wept bitterly. The father said, “We would be so relieved if our son could get liberation from his agonizing condition. His life airs have been at his neck for many months, but he cannot pass on.”
“I will get him Ṭhākurajī’s mahā-prasāda,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “This will free him from his sins.”
Śrīla Gurudeva brought Radha-Vinoda Bihārī’s mahā-prasāda and forced into the young man’s mouth. Previously senseless, he opened his eyes and looked up at Śrīla Gurudeva. Gurudeva chanted the mahāmantra into his ear and told him to repeat: Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare/Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. The man tried but could not chant.
The family invited Śrīla Gurudeva to their house. At their house, Gurudeva told the parents, “Take water in your hand and circumnavigate your son, then do a saṅkalpa to offer him to Bhagavān, along with all the property and wealth he collected through sinful means. Remove all your attachment to him and pray to Bhagavān to grant him liberation. Then you must follow Ekādaśī and hear the Bhāgavatam. Donate in charity to brāhmaṇas and Bhagavān’s temples, and go on parikramā of the dhāma. Offer the results of all these spiritual activites to your son, and he will then leave his body easily and attain a higher destination.”
Śrīla Gurudeva recited the entire Bhagavad-gītā in the young man’s ear and then returned to the temple. The family offered him great wealth for his help, but Śrīla Gurudeva declined. He would not take anything. That same day, the young man left his body and was liberated.
Doctor K.K. Sarabhai, a middle-aged family man from Āgrā, worked as a surgeon in the Mathurā Government Hospital opposite to Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, and from there regularly came to meet Śrīla Gurudeva, having heard he was a staunch sannyāsī in the Gauḍīya line. The first time he came to Gurudeva he introduced himself as a devotee of Mahāprabhu.
“How did you begin to respect Mahāprabhu?” Gurudeva asked.
“I read books on His life and glories and had faith that He is the Supreme Lord,” the doctor said. “I then bought wooden shoes I regarded as Mahāprabhu’s and began worshiping them, offering them flowers and ārati.”
The first time he met with Srila Gurudeva, Doctor Sarabhai offered his heart to him and requested Gurudeva for initiation. Although Gurudeva declined, Door Sarabhai internally accepted him as his guru. Śrīla Gurudeva gave the doctor books on Mahāprabhu, and he accepted them blissfully. Returning home that night to his wife and two daughters, he told them, “Today, by Mahāprabhu’s blessings, I have met with a pure Gauḍīya-bhakta.”
Whenever he had the chance, Doctor Sarabhai would come to Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha to meet and hear from Gurudeva. One day a few years later, when the doctor returned to his home in Āgrā after hearing hari-kathā in the evening from Gurudeva, he told his wife, “Now, I will soon give up my body and go to Mahāprabhu’s dhāma. When I do so, call Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja from Mathurā and have him cremate my body.”
The next morning the doctor woke, offered praṇāma to Mahāprabhu’s wooden shoes, and called his wife, requesting her to go to Mathurā and bring Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. Śrīla Gurudeva arrived a few hours later with brahmacārīs and sang many kīrtanas of Mahāprabhu, the pañca-tattva mantra and mahāmantra. The doctor was sitting in his bed chanting harināma with a serene look of beatitude on his face as he listened to the kīrtanas. Although he had no evident sickness, he then departed from this world. His wife and daughters began weeping in grief.
Śrīla Gurudeva consoled the door’s wife, saying, “Do not lament—he has gone to serve in Mahāprabhu’s dhāma.”
“I am alone with two unmarried daughters. What shall I do?”
“Mahāprabhu has accepted your husband and will always care for you,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “Worship Mahāprabhu faithfully. He has taken back His bhakta and will not allow you to suffer.”
Śrīyuta Sarabhai then began coming to Mathurā with her daughters to hear hari-kathā from Śrīla Gurudeva. Her family was maintained easily and her daughters married good men.
Faithful Mathurāvāsīs occasionally invited Śrīla Gurudeva to come bless their homes, perform kīrtana, and speak hari-kathā. When Gurudeva went to their houses, they gave him an asana, flower garlands, sandalwood paste, arati and washed his feet.
“I have not come here to be worshiped,” Gurudeva said. “I came for one piece of mādhukarī. I will take your remnants, as you affectionately feed your children. there is no need to get me anything special.”
Śrīla Gurudeva went to houses of people from all walks of life to inspire them to practice bhakti. When a local congregational member was struggling or someone was sick in the family, Gurudeva would go and give comfort and help. He once went at dawn, without telling anyone he was leaving, and did not return until late morning.
His brahmacārī assistant had prepared his breakfast as normal,
but when Śrīla Gurudeva returned, he said, “I already ate.”
“Where?” the brahmacārī asked.
“I went to the home of poor gṛhasthas who keep donkeys for labor work. One of them was sick, so I went to help.”
“Oh, the family by the Yamunā who come regularly to the maṭha?”
“Yes,” Gurudeva said.
“They were asking for Tulasī neckbeads.”
“I took them neckbeads,” Gurudeva said. “When I arrived, they were cooking capātīs over a coal fire. They gave me a piece of tattered cloth to sit on and said, ‘O Gurudeva, you came to our poor and low-class home; we have nothing worthy to offer you. We can only give you our praṇāma.’ ‘You are making rotis,’ I said, ‘give me a little piece.’ Taking that, I have given up my brāhmaṇa caste. Now I am fit to be a Vrajavāsī.”
The rules for mahā-bhāgavatas are not the same as those for general sādhakas. Śrīla Gurudeva broke all normal customs to make a relation with people so they would become devoted to Kṛṣṇa. Bhagavān and the Guru-varga do not discriminate.
vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
The wise look with equal vision upon a gentle and learned brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater.
Śrīla Gurudeva instructed the brahmacārīs, “You came to Vraja—learn to take mādhukarī. Go and beg alms for your sustenance. Don’t be a burden on anyone. Guru and Vaiṣṇavas do not desire worship and adulation.
One who comes to Vraja to receive worship truly resides in the hell of his own pride.”
In Vraja, Śrīla Gurudeva treated the Vrajavāsīs with great affection and would go to their homes without warning in the morning to teach them the habit of rising early. The Vrajavāsīs offer maṅgala-āratī to the Banke Bihārī Dey at nine a.m. because they say this is His schedule. They do not understand that Banke Bihārī does not get darśana to the general public in the early morning because at that me He is with His inmate associates in the kuñja. To gain entrance into kuñja-sevā, it is vital to rise early and do bhajana under the guidance of a bona fide rūpānuga-guru. Śrīla Gurudeva would sometimes call on local residents before dawn, waking them with kīrtana.
Poor villagers would sometimes come to Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Mathurā and offer Śrīla Gurudeva a donation. Gurudeva would decline, saying, “The Vrajavāsīs are my family. I will not take one coin from them. I can accept alms at your homes, but not your hard-earned money.
You cultivate the land and provide us with the means to serve Ṭhākurajī and sustain ourselves.”
If anyone gave Srīla Gurudeva anything, he would go and distribute it to the sādhus and Vrajavāsīs around Vraja-bhūmi. Therefore, if you desire vraja-bhakti and residence in Vraja, have respect and love for the dust of Vraja.
Different sādhus spoke vraja-kathā at Cakaleśvara Mahādeva. The sādhus were extremely pleased to hear from him. Afterwards, they requested, “In the future you must promote, develop, and read the parakīya-rūpānuga bhak-marga. For this purpose, please continue publishing the Gosvāmīs’ books.”
“Līlā–śak is svarūpa-śak’s primal limb,” Gurudeva replied. “If līlā–śak desires to read the rāga-bhak-marga in this world through me, then certainly, it will be so.”
One day Śrīla Gurudeva went with devotees to Nandagoan and visited Ter- kadamba, Pāvana-sarovara, Uddhava-kyārī, and Nanda-baiṭhaka. Wherever Śrīla Gurudeva went in Vraja-maṇḍala, people would gather around with a desire to hear hari-kathā from him. At Lala-kuṇḍa in Nandagoan, Śrīla Gurudeva began speaking while sinking in the mood of the gopīs’ separation. Nearby, at the Ciranjilal-seṭha Dharmaśālā, there were bhaktas doing vraja-kīrtanas in front of their Vrajavāsī guru. The guru had heard Śrīla Gurudeva’s name many times and esteemed him greatly. Seeing that Gurudeva was there, this guru came and heard his hari-kathā. Afterwards he told Ciranjilal-seṭha, his disciple who was the owner of the dharmaśālā, “Unless you serve and honor mahā-bhāgavatas, how will you ever enter the realm of vraja–bhak?” By his guru’s inspiration, Ciranjilal-seṭha arranged a large amount of winter clothing and prasāda and presented it to Śrīla Gurudeva. He prayed, “O Mahārāja, please grant me the qualification to serve in Vraja.” Gurudeva distributed all the clothing and prasāda to the sādhus of Vraja. He was satisfied with Ciranjilal-seṭha’s mood and service tendency. Those who understand who the eternal Vrajavāsī gurus are, and thus serve them in this world, become connected to transcendental service in Vraja.
When the faithful people of Mathurā came to give a donation to Śrīla Gurudeva, he accepted only a small amount and used with great respect in the service of Ṭhākurajī. He gave the Vrajavāsīs mahā-prasāda and a free place to stay in the dharmaśālā. Observing Gurudeva’s saintly nature, the locals developed respect and affection for him.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (excerpted from “Sri Guru Darshan” please order this wonderful book from [email protected])