Srila Gurudeva’s Appearance

There is one thing that can give us suffering jīvas hope. Wherever Śrīla Guru-pāda-padma is in the eternal realm, he is looking at his followers, his disciples, the visitors, and everyone that comes together and follows his appearance day.

There is room for many things in our hearts, and many things have acquired space there. We cannot clean these things from our hearts. How can we be clean? Now many people want to acquire our hearts, saying, “I will be here. I will be present in your heart.” But I cannot clean my heart. I cannot renounce. I cannot be pure.

Many cheaters want to appear in our hearts. Our heart should have place only for Śrī Guru and his iṣṭadeva. How is this possible? The process of ceto darpaṇa mārjanam purifies the heart. Mahāprabhu has taught this. Śrīla Gurudeva said:

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.17

[By hearing the līlā-kathā of Śrī Bhagavān, all misfortunes of the jīvas are dispelled. Those who possess an ardent desire to obtain unalloyed prema-bhakti at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa must certainly hear His līlā-kathā repeatedly and incessantly.]

Listen! Śṛṇvatāṁ! How can you hear hari-kathā? If you do not invite the Guru-varga in your heart, if you are not near the Guru-varga, then what will appear in your heart? If only ghosts and witches are in the heart, you will have many bad moods and ideas. Therefore, śṛṇvatāṁ, hear. What should we listen to? Sva kathā—kṛṣṇa. Who gives kṛṣṇa-kathā? Only the gopīs, mañjarīs, Vraja-devīs, and the Vrajavāsīs.

Gurudeva has come from the eternal world only to distribute kṛṣṇa-kathā for us, not any other kathā. He spread only this vraja-kathā, or kṛṣṇa-kathā.

The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam describes the symptoms of a nirmatsara sādhu. The Bhāgavata says many things. Śrīla Gurudeva would say, “Hear me! You do not have to perform such strenuous sādhana. Just hear my kathā.” Śrīla Gurudeva would say, “Hear my kathā. Come to my classes.” But whose kathā was this? Would he tell his own glories? No. He only gave kathā of Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs. Without this — hṛdaya stha abhadrāṇi — the anarthas, false ego, sins, and offenses will go by no other process.

Therefore, it is said:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-janma-mūla haya ‘sādhu-saṅga’
kṛṣṇa-prema janme, teṅho punaḥ mukhya aṅga

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.83

[The root cause of kṛṣṇa-bhakti is sādhu-saṅga. Even when one’s dormant kṛṣṇa-prema awakens, sādhu-saṅga is still most essential.]

Kṛṣṇa-bhakti comes from sādhu-saṅga. Who is a sādhu? The Vrajavāsīs are real sādhus, everyone else are svāḍus, tasters and enjoyers.

Guru-pāda-padma appears today. Real disciples will make a place for his appearance in their hearts. Mahāprabhu mentioned three places He would always be present, even after His disappearance pastime. He said, “If My bhakta has affection for Me and the strong desire to be with Me, and is always chanting My names, then that bhakta’s tongue will be My birthplace and I will forever dance and distribute harināma from there. If anyone makes My Deity and worships Him with love, I will appear there directly and accept everyone’s service. And I will be present in the body of that bhakta who constantly meditates on Me and serves Me internally and externally. From there, I will help everybody.”

How many people have love for Guru-pāda-padma? How many have room for him in their hearts? How many like him? Who understands his specialties? Who is serious? Some people think that their nourishment can come from any farmhouse, where they will eat and become fat and healthy. But this is impossible. That food is not helpful for you.

One who always drinks filtered, purified water will not and cannot drink drain water or ordinary tap water. The glories of the Vrajavāsīs are rarely available. Without a Vrajavāsī, the Vrajavāsīs cannot be glorified.

What Śrīla Gurudeva explained to us is very rare, and is the wealth of our lives, and the wealth of this line. Param Gurudeva said to him, “I am very fortunate. My paramparā will not stop. You are a Vrajavāsī, so you will continuously distribute vraja-rasa.”

Śrīla Gurudeva appeared on this day of the dark moon, on the bank of the Gaṅgā. Many follow bhakti, but mixed bhakti. People do not know what is pure bhakti. They have no idea. They perform worship, service, and do vratas, but all for the maintenance and prosperity of the body. They have no idea about the soul and how the soul is spiritually born.

You cannot simply sow any seed in any place at any time of the year, give it some water, and expect it to grow. The expert gardener knows exactly when, where, and how to plant the many different seeds, and what care and nourishment they need.

Śrīla Gurudeva came to distribute rāgānugā, rūpānuga-bhakti. He was sent by the Divine Couple to fulfill Their desire for this line of rūpānuga-bhakti to be spread throughout the world. This was Mahāprabhu’s desire when He appeared in this world:

prema-rasa-niryāsa karite āsvādana
rāga-mārga bhakti loke karite pracāraṇa
rasika-śekhara kṛṣṇa parama-karuṇa
ei dui hetu haite icchāra udgama

Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 4.15-16

[The Lord’s desire to appear was born from two reasons: He wanted to taste the sweet essence of the mellows of love of God, and He wanted to propagate devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction. Thus He is known as supremely jubilant and as the most merciful of all.]

Mahāprabhu said, “I came to taste prema-rasa and distribute the rāga-mārga.” The soul is only satisfied by anurāga. Without anurāga, the soul will never take birth. The seed of our eternal identity will remain like a small dormant seed forever, suffering within the prison of material bodies. The soul will not even be satisfied by liberation from bondage. How will they cross everything and go to the Vrajavāsīs in eternal Vṛndāvana? Śrīla Gurudeva was the embodiment of the mercy that makes this possible. He had the power to take people from whatever standard they were present, and to give them entrance into the path of rāgānuga-bhakti.

Now, people are trying to make many kinds of mixtures. Do not run from this line! If you do, you will only find dryness. You may even be harmed and injured. You could be paralyzed if you run from the shelter of this line of Śrīla Gurudeva. No one will be able to give you this vraja-bhakti-rasa. This is for certain. If you ask this of others, they will never give it. They do not distribute this vraja-rasa. You should cry and beg for this from Śrīla Gurudeva. This is much better, for Guru-pāda-padma will definitely hear your crying and will come and lift you up. He will surely give you vraja-rasa, vraja-bhakti.

There are so many running for some new shelter. They will get everything, but they will not get vraja-bhakti! Other things will come to them. They will become followers of vaikuṇṭhīya-bhakti; the rules and regulations of vaidhī-bhakti, but not the rules and process of rūpānuga-bhakti. They will not attain vraja-rasa. Why? Others are not continuously following the Vraja-devīs. They are not one-pointed. They do not think about the Vraja-devīs. Śrīla Gurudeva openly and boldly spoke the glories of the Vraja-devīs and mañjarīs. He declared that he was their devoted follower and that his followers would only aspire to Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s kiṅkarīs, maidservants.

yat-kiṅkarīṣu bahuśaḥ khalu kāku-vāṇī,
nityaṁ parasya puruṣasya śikhaṇḍa-mauleḥ
tasyāḥ kadā rasa-nidheḥ vṛṣabhānu-jāyās
tat-keli-kuñja-bhavanāṅgana-mārjanī syām

Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 8

[O daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, ocean of rasa, that beautiful boy who wears a gracefully tilting peacock feather in His hair is actually the original Personality of Godhead. Still, He is always falling at the feet of Your maidservants and pitifully begging them with many humble words to gain entrance into Your kuñja where the two of You engage in Your playful loving pastimes. My life would be successful if I could even be one stick in the broom Your maidservants use to clean Your delightful kuñja.]

How many Vaiṣṇavas sing these prayers and are absorbed day and night in the moods of the Vraja-devīs, like Śrīla Gurudeva? Who else prays like this daily? Who teaches this? Everyday Śrīla Gurudeva would pray and distribute this mood to everyone.

You may go anywhere, but these things will not be available. There are many markets and big shops. There is a ‘Big Bazaar’, but this rasa is not there. No one prays like Gurudeva during the maṅgalācaraṇa before every class:

tavaivāsmi tavaivāsmi na jivāmi tvayā vinā
iti vijñāya rādhe tvaṁ naya māṁ caraṇāntikam

Śrī Vilāpa Kusumāñjali 96

[I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You! O Rādhe, please understand this and bring me to the service of Your lotus feet.]

How many people pray like this? How many people teach this mood? They say, “You are an anādhikāri. You are not qualified for this.” But who is an adhikārī? Will the birth of the soul come about without vraja-rasa? Impossible! Will the seed of the soul sprout by any other mundane rasa? Is there any evidence? Can anyone make such a thing possible? No!

Saṁvit and sandhinī are more commonly available, but hlādinī is not available. Only hlādinī-śakti’s followers, svarūpa-śakti’s followers — the mañjarīs and Vraja-devīs — are the distributers of this hlādinī-śakti. No one else has this property. If a person does not follow the Vraja-devīs, they are out of our rūpānuga Gauḍīya line. They cannot be called Gauḍīyas. Why are they afraid? Why don’t they distribute this? Gauḍīyas are the sole followers of Gaurī, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and aspire to be Her maidservants.

How will one get qualification for this if he does not go to school and attend classes and the step-by-step process to attain this? How will one be trained for this? Therefore, we pray to Gurudeva as follows:

sevā kuñja vraja ramye govardhana girau sadā
rādhā kunde rasanande tat tat sevā pradayakam

Where is he present? He is always at Sevā Kuñja, Govardhana, and Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Without these places, he has no regard for anything. His hari-kathā always culminated with the glories of Vraja-maṇḍala, the Vrajavāsīs, and the Vraja-devīs. This was the case, whether he was in India, America, Australia, Russia, or anywhere. Wherever he was, he gave this vraja-rasa.

Therefore, we pray to him:

vande ham śrī guru varam śrī rūpānuga pravaram
vraja-rasa rasikam ca nārāyaṇam tam prapannam

Even till his very last moment, he gave no other instruction or inspiration that did not pertain to vraja-bhakti. It is our great fortune to have come in contact with such a rāgātmika Vrajavāsī. But if we do not remember and follow him now, striving to fulfill his desire for us by practicing ‘tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī,’ then we are cheaters and hypocrites. We are not worthy of the title ‘disciples of Śrīla Gurudeva’.

By continuously following the anugatya of the mañjarīs, we can make our hearts Śrīla Gurudeva’s appearance place in his eternal form. He has given such a good opportunity. This is anarpita-carīṁ cirāt. This vraja-rasa has not been openly given in millions and millions of years. Mahāprabhu came to taste and distribute this, and Śrīla Gurudeva was the first to openly and fearlessly spread this all over the world.

If any bhakta makes a place for Śrīla Gurudeva in his heart, and invites others for festivals to remember Śrīla Gurudeva, then both that bhakta and everyone else involved will be cleaned of all unwanted things in the heart—hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi—this does not refer just to material sins and offenses. Such things are only committed by the material body and mind. What is abhadra and amaṅgala, inauspicious? We do not know about our soul and soul service. We are separated from the reality of our souls. We are bound in bodies made of the five material elements. Who can bring us back from there? Who will show us our guru-paramparā? Who will instruct us to take shelter of them?

After the disappearance of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda held great festivals on his appearance and disappearance days, inviting all the Vaiṣṇavas to come, and then illuminating the glory of that great preceptor, the Saptama-Gosvāmī. He taught everyone in his line to follow these appearance and disappearance festivals of our Gosvāmīs and ācāryas.

Wherever we are, we should arrange festivals in honor and remembrance of Śrīla Gurudeva. We should invite all devotees, and fearlessly describe Śrīla Gurudeva’s mood and desire for all of us. If you do this, you will feel how pleased Śrīla Gurudeva is with you. You will be inspired in the heart and will feel great happiness.

I saw something very beautiful once in Vraja-maṇḍala. There was a disciple of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura named Bhakti Prakāśa Araṇya Mahārāja. Bhakti Prakāśa Araṇya Mahārāja had one disciple. He was not actually his direct disciple. I had offered this young devotee to him to be his servant. The boy was half pāgala, but he very faithfully served his Gurudeva his entire life.

When Pūjyapāda Bhakti Prakāśa Araṇya Mahārāja disappeared, this boy, although alone, and half-mad, somehow invited all of Vraja-maṇḍala for a viraha festival. There was kīrtana and hari-kathā in glorification of his Guru Mahārāja and a big feast. Oh, how much love he had for his Guru Mahārāja!

From then on, he yearly arranged two festivals in honor of his Guru Mahārāja, one on the appearance day, and one on his disappearance day. I asked him, “From where do you collect the money to do this? Who gives it to you? You are pāgala.” He really was crazy. There was no telling when he would stand, walk, sit, or do any eccentric act. He did not know anything and had only little control over himself. Often, when he was given something to eat, he would not eat it, and would walk around absorbed in his own world. But despite this, he always followed and properly honored his Guru-pāda-padma. He had such deep faith and such a strong relationship with his Guru-pāda-padma.

If the devotees follow Śrīla Gurudeva, glorify him, and remember his moods, no matter which far off corner of the world they may be in, Kṛṣṇa’s and the Vraja-devī’s hearts will melt, and the devotees will gallop along the path of vraja-bhakti. The Vraja-devīs will say, “This jīva has no realization, but he has great love for his Guru-pāda-padma.” Without difficult sādhana, and without any condition, we will receive our svarūpa-siddhi.

One time, I was joking with one of Śrīla Gurudeva’s disciples, a young boy of fifteen or sixteen years. My nature is to tease people when they come near me. I asked the boy, “What kind of bhajana are you doing? Pāgala! Don’t you know? Sakhya-rasa is the best. Why do you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa? You should chant, ‘Hanumān, Hanumān, Vajrangawalli,’ and then you will become very strong.”

“No,” he said, “My Guru Mahārāja told me that I will only be a pālya-dāsī of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.”

I cannot forget this. Just see his determination and dedication. If anyone makes a place for Śrīla Gurudeva, his advice, and his instructions in his heart, then will Śrīla Gurudeva’s heart not melt? Will the hearts of the Vraja-devīs not melt?

Every morning, Śrīla Gurudeva prayed to Rādhārānī and Her kiṅkarīs. Gurudeva taught by his example. He taught that service must be done with anurāga. Everything should be done with love. Śrīla Gurudeva opened Sevā Kuñja, a training center to enter the service of the Divine Couple. A teacher, guide, or master like Śrīla Gurudeva is very rarely available.

We are all very fortunate. Let us all, even those who are newly coming, make a place in our hearts for Śrīla Gurudeva. Let no one else acquire space there. Let us not fall victim to cheaters that want us to call them our own. Everything must be for Śrīla Gurudeva. Sarvasvaṁ gurave dadyāt—offer everything to him. Anyone that does this will be always connected to Gurudeva, and his heart will be Gurudeva’s appearance place.

Śrīla Gurudeva’s appearance day and disappearance day are both very helpful. Gurudeva is now in the eternal world. I explained before that previously, Gurudeva gave us darśana within the five elements. He has now manifest outside of these elements and is thus everywhere. Śrīla Gurudeva is now present in a subtle form and knows all that we are doing.

Kṛṣṇa says:

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ

Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gītā 4.11

[O Pārtha! In whichever way a person renders service to Me I serve him in that very same way. Everyone follows My path in all respects.]

Kṛṣṇa measures our worship of Him with a scale and reciprocates accordingly. If someone remembers the name of Śrīla Gurudeva, Kṛṣṇa fills one with the desire to perform bhajana.

Therefore, we are very lucky. This good chance comes every year. Do not lose this good fortune. If you are in a train, a plane in the air, a boat in the water, or anywhere, respect this day. How? If there are no flowers, cloth, or sweets, does this mean we cannot honor Gurudeva on this day? The real way to follow this day in a way pleasing to Gurudeva is to follow Gurudeva’s desire for us. What does he like? He always woke early in the morning and recited beautiful prayers. You should remember how Gurudeva would pray, and follow in his footsteps.

Gurudeva would daily offer prayers in the morning. He first prayed to Yogamāyā:

vinyāsa-vijñāṁ vraja-vanditāṅghrim
śrī-paurṇamāsīṁ śirasā namāmi

[I bow my head and offer praṇāma unto Śrī Paurṇamāsī-devī, who is completely adept at arranging the most elevated varieties of enjoyment for the master of Śrīmatī Rādhikā; whose lotus feet are worshiped by the Vrajavāsīs; and who, due to possessing the entirety of transcendental qualities starting with kindness, is worshipable to everyone in the entire universe.]

He then prayed:

vṛndāvanāvani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
gopīśvara! vraja-vilāsi-yugāṅghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupādhi namo namas te

Sankalpa Kalpadruma 103

[O gatekeeper of Vṛndāvana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable for the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and Nārada! O Gopīśvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhāma, I offer praṇāmas unto you time and again.]

He then prayed to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and all the Vraja-devīs. Afterwards, he went everywhere in Vraja-maṇḍala, and offered prayers, praṇāma, and puṣpāñjali to those places. He daily went to Vraja-maṇḍala, Kṣetra-maṇḍala, and Gaura-maṇḍala, in his mind, and offered service there to the Guru-varga.

By such activity Guru and Vaiṣṇavas automatically are with you and give you blessings. Just look. Yesterday, who invited so many Vaiṣṇavas? We did not send cars and cards. And yet, over a thousand people came for the festival. How is it that all Vaiṣṇavas came here? This is Śrīla Gurudeva’s attraction power. He pulls everyone. He likes everyone. This is his desire. He says, “This is my family.” He is never outside of his family. He never leaves his family.

But we do not like this. We run here and there, to other families. This is the Western method. So many disciples have taken a divorce from Śrīla Gurudeva and now seek relation with other ācāryas. Śrīla Gurudeva is very happy to see his family members and his children. But if our heart has no room for him, then we will feel dry and will suffer. If you have just a little bit of respect for him, then pray every day, as he would:

vṛndāvane viharator iha keli-kuñje
sandarśayasva yuvayor vadanāravinda-
dvandvaṁ vidhehi mayi devi! kṛpāṁ prasīda

Śrī Gāndharvā-Samprārthanāṣṭakam

[O Devī Rādhike! You and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are constantly enjoying Your ambrosial amorous pastimes in the leafy pleasure-groves of Vṛndāvana, like the intoxicated king of elephants sporting with his queen elephant. Therefore, O Gāndharvike! Be pleased with me and mercifully grant me darśana of Your and Your beloved Kṛṣṇa’s lotus-like faces.]

Śrīla Gurudeva would then pray:

uttuṅga-sauhṛda-viśeṣa-vaśāt pragalbhāṁ
devīṁ guṇaiḥ sulalitāṁ lalitāṁ namāmi

[I offer praṇāma unto the haughty Śrī Lalitā-devī who is charmingly endowed with many beautiful, sweet qualities (sulalitā). She has natural expertise in all arts (lalitā), thus her sevā self-manifests. She wipes away the glittering drops of perspiration which appear upon the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā and Mādhava when They meet; and she is perpetually immersed in the most elevated mellow of sauhṛda-rasa, or undivided absorption in fulfilling the heart’s desire of her intimate friend Śrīmatī Rādhikā.]

Śrīla Gurudeva then prayed:

nija-pati-bhuja-daṇḍa-cchatra-bhāvaṁ prapadya
atula-pṛthula-śaila-śreṇi-bhūpa! priyaṁ me
nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana! tvam

Śrī Govardhana-Vāsa-Prārthanā-Daśakam

[O beautiful Govardhana, matchlessly enormous king of mountains! Please bestow upon me my most cherished desire—residence near your side. You took the shape of an umbrella with the arm of your own Lord as the handle, thus pulverizing the arrogant pride of Indra who was intoxicated by his own opulence.]

kṛṣṇa-prasādena samasta-śaila-
sāmrājyam āpnoti ca vairiṇo ’pi
śakrasya yaḥ prāpa baliṁ sa sākṣād
govardhano me diśatām abhīṣṭam

Śrī Govardhanāṣṭakam

[May Govardhana Hill fulfill my deepest desire—to get darśana of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s līlās. By Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy Govardhana became the emperor of all mountains, and received the offerings meant for Indra despite Indra’s enmity.]

If we don’t follow Gurudeva’s footsteps, we will go very far away from him; further and further until we cannot come back.

Śrīla Gurudeva endeavored to bring everyone to Vṛndāvana. He wants to make us all Vrajavāsīs. He therefore gave us a place nearby Rādhā-Ramaṇa, Rādhā Govinda, Gopinātha, and Madana-mohana. Gurudeva gave us a place in the shelter of Rūpa-Sanātana. He told us to stay nearby them, but now, all want to run far away. The fire of this desire is disturbing everybody. This is not a good idea. My request is not enough. If it were, then I would catch hold of everyone’s feet and pray for the devotees not to follow this idea and mentality.

I was with Gurudeva and saw what he did. I saw how he gave the jīvas of this world great strength and power to attain svarūpa-siddhi. Jīvas do not understand. Babies do not know the path of their welfare, but Śrīla Gurudeva knows everything. Out of causeless mercy, he tries to bring us forward on the path of vraja-bhakti, which will lead us to our eternal welfare.

If you try to follow Śrīla Gurudeva’s mood from morning to evening, then you will surely see for yourself that you are not distant from Gurudeva. But if you do not follow his footsteps, then aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā, aṣṭayāma sādhana, and eternal vraja-riti will not come into your heart. Only māyā will come and you will run for the business of the body and mind. You will forget about the business of the soul.

Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna, trying again and again to make him understand:

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
buddhayo ’vyavasāyinām

Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gītā 2.41

[O Kuru-nandana, the intelligence of those who are on this path of bhakti is resolute and one-pointed, but the intelligence of those who are averse to bhakti is many-branched and inconclusive.]

A materialistic businessman is one-pointedly focused on his business. Why not be one-pointed on your soul’s business.

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.18

If I do not do bhāgavata sevā, if I do not follow my Guru-pāda-padma, if I do not serve this mahā-bhāgavata, then where am I? I have lost everything.

Therefore, do guru-pūjā at every moment. Guru-pūjā does not only mean the rotating of paraphernalia; the offering of ghee, flowers, and incense. This is not pūjā. What is the meaning of pūjā? Pūjā is pṛthivī dāna, pleasing the object of worship. How will Gurudeva be pleased? Our activities should be guided by this mood. When we strive to follow Gurudeva’s advice, rules, line, and everything, then he will give us the strength to do so. We do many things under the dictates of our mind, but we do not perform nityam bhāgavata-sevayā.

Today is Gurudeva’s appearance day. We should all make a serious promise to reserve a place for Guru-pāda-padma in our hearts. If one has the mood, “I will keep a place in my heart only for Śrīla Gurudeva, his beloved Lordships, and eternal associates,” then Gurudeva will be present with us and will give us everything. One will be connected to the flow of vraja-rasa.

Śrīla Gurudeva urged us, “Be a rūpānuga. Follow the footsteps of Rūpa Gosvāmī.” We should ask ourselves, “Are we fulfilling this desire he has for us? Are we praying:

priya-svarūpe dayita-svarūpe prema-svarūpe sahajābhirūpe
nijānurūpe prabhur eka-rūpe tatāna-rūpe sva-vilāsa-rūpe

[Indeed, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, whose dear friend was Svarūpa Dāmodara, was the exact replica of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and he was very, very dear to the Lord. Being the embodiment of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s ecstatic love, Rūpa Gosvāmī was naturally very beautiful. He very carefully followed the principles enunciated by the Lord, and he was a competent person to explain properly the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu expanded His mercy to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī just so he could render service by writing transcendental literatures.]

ādadānas tṛṇaṁ dantair
idaṁ yāce punaḥ punaḥ
śrīmad rūpa-padāmbhoja
dhūliḥ syāṁ janma-janmani

Śrī Dāna Keli Cintāmani 175

śrī rūpa mañjarī karārcita pādapadma
goṣṭendra-nandana bhujārpita mastakāyāḥ
hā modataḥ kanaka-gauri padāravinda
samvāhanāni śanakais tava kiṁ kariṣye

Vilāpa-Kusumāñjali 72

Śrīla Gurudeva explained this verse in his lectures, as follows:

[When will that day come when Rūpa Mañjarī will call me and order me to do this sevā, when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are both tired from walking here and there in Vṛndāvana?” Rādhikā is more soft, so She is more tired. She has put Her head in Kṛṣṇa’s lap, and Her feet in the lap of Rūpa Mañjarī. Kṛṣṇa is gently massaging Her head. And sometimes with His pītāmbara He is wiping Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s face very affectionately. And Rūpa Mañjarī is massaging Her feet very gently, softly and sweetly. Nearby Rati Mañjarī is standing and fanning with a cāmara. Rūpa Mañjarī calls her with her eyes, “Come on, come on. I will give you a remnant of mahā-mahā-mahā-prasādam. You should take these feet and gently massage them. I am going to bring water, very beautiful water because They are thirsty.” Saying this, Rūpa Mañjarī placed those feet in the hands of Rati Mañjarī. “When will I have a chance to serve like this? When will Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī give me this remnant of this mahā-mahā-mahā-prasādam?” This is siddha-rūpeṇa.]

Śrīla Gurudeva always recited these prayers. He taught us this. But how have we forgotten? Why don’t we pray with these moods? Why is this not our meditation? Chant harināma and always pray to Guru-pāda-padma. Consider, “How can I follow his footsteps?” Then you will not be distant from him. Try again and again and again. This is your sādhana. This is your meditation. This is your tapa, japa, and yoga.

śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada, sei mora sampada,
sei mora bhajana-pūjana

[The lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī are my dearmost treasure. They are the topmost object of my worship and inner devotional practices.]

Why did Śrīla Gurudeva like these kīrtanas so much? He is giving the lesson of our paramparā.

sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra japa,
sei mora dharama karama
sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra japa,
sei mora dharama karama

[Her lotus feet fulfill the goal of my vows and austerities, my harināma japa, my actions, and my spiritual practices – all performed with the aim to please Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī.]

Do we think like this in regard to Guru-pāda-padma? Sādhana starts when this mood is fixed. The platform will then be made. Now, those that newly come think that they cannot meet with Śrīla Gurudeva. But this is not true. All his followers are present. His books are present. Everything is present.

One time, in Devānanda Gauḍīya-maṭha, when Śrīla Gurudeva had newly joined, he said in his class, “I know Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.” All of Prabhupāda’s disciples that were there complained to Param Gurudeva about this, saying, “Gaura Nārāyaṇa claims that he knows Prabhupāda, that he has seen Prabhupāda.”

Param Gurudeva called for Śrīla Gurudeva and asked him, “Do you know Prabhupāda? Have you seen him?”

“Yes,” Gurudeva said.

“Why are you saying this?”

“It is the truth. These Vaiṣṇavas have seen Prabhupāda with their eyes, but I have seen him with my ears by your mercy. You have told me all about Prabhupāda. I believe in your words and have faith in you. Thus, you have shown me Prabhupāda.”

In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it says:

tvaṁ bhakti-yoga-paribhāvita-hṛt-saroja
āsse śrutekṣita-patho nanu nātha puṁsām

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.9.11

[O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there.]

One who has faith in Śrīla Gurudeva should describe his glories and divine nature to everyone and bring people near Śrīla Gurudeva through this method. Then people can be the followers of Śrīla Gurudeva, just as Śrīla Gurudeva instructed us to be the followers of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu. People will see Gurudeva by hearing his glories and teachings. They can meet with him and receive his mercy by remembering him. He has not gone from this world. Before, he was present in one form, but now he is present everywhere, waiting to see who has love for him and wants to follow his mood.

One time I asked Śrīla Gurudeva, “Everyone is chanting the mahāmantra. Is this really helpful for the conditioned souls? Please tell me.”

“Why should I tell you?” he said.

“I am always with you. I am not with anyone else.”

“Do you have faith in me?”

“Yes, please tell me what is most helpful for the jīvas.”

“What do you think?”

“I think chanting guru-mantra and guru gāyatrī is very good. I will chant it all the time. Then I will always be with you.”

Śrīla Gurudeva laughed. He said, “My Guru Mahārāja spoke like this to Prabhupāda.”

Param Gurudeva, at that time Vinoda, had said, “Gurudeva, you have given me kṛṣṇa-mantra, gaura-mantra, and other mantras, but will you not give me guru-mantra? Will I have to go to another guru for guru-mantra?”

Smiling, Prabhupāda gave him the guru-mantra.

Gurudeva gives guru-mantra, but should this become secondary? He gave us the mahāmantra also, but this does not mean guru-mantra is secondary. We chant it a few times a day and then forget about it. Then who do we stay with? Ghosts? Witches? Will Kṛṣṇa so easily come to deliver us?

Are Bābā! Seriously chant guru-mantra! Chant it continuously. Śrīla Gurudeva’s eternal svarūpa will then manifest to you. Why have you lost your Gurudeva? What is the meaning of this? Mantra and svarūpa are non-different. Therefore, Gurudeva gives guru-mantra and says, “Chant this mantra, and I will never be distant from you.”

But we do not chant this mantra and are then naturally always disturbed. If we are always chanting guru-mantra, then all auspiciousness will easily come. The mahāmantra will be revealed to us. We will have darśana of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa only by Gurudeva’s mercy. Why? Gurudeva is always chanting the mahāmantra. He is chanting śuddha-nāma, but we are not.
Who is the most helpful for us in this world? Is the mahāmantra the most helpful? By which medium did the mahāmantra come to us? Who gave it to us? Did Kṛṣṇa give it to us? Did Mahāprabhu give it to us? Did any other sādhu come and give it to us? Only our Guru-pāda-padma is with us. We must follow only him. We shall chant his mantra.

I said, “If I chant your mantra will you be pleased?”

Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Nityānanda Prabhu will be happy and Baladeva Prabhu will give you cit bala, spiritual strength.”

“But will you not give anything?” I asked.

“Yes…I have some love for my Guru Mahārāja, therefore you will receive love for your Guru Mahārāja.”

This is called guru śakti and guru bhakti. If you have no guru bhakti, you have nothing.

Śāstra says:

prathaman tu guruṁ pūjyāṁ tataś caiva mamārcanam
kurvan siddhim avāpnoti hy anyathā niṣphalaṁ bhavet

Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 4.344

[Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “One must always worship one’s Guru first and only then worship Me. If one follows this process properly, one will naturally attain all perfection, but if one neglects this process everything will be fruitless.]

Guru-bhakti must come before kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Gurudeva is not only Baladeva Prabhu’s expansion. All gurus are not Baladeva Prabhu’s or Nityānanda Prabhu’s expansion. Some gurus come to this world by the order of Rādhārānī, and they are Rādhārānī and Rūpa-mañjarī and Rati mañjarī’s direct followers. Not all lines are the same. Kṛṣṇa Himself is surprised and marvels at how Śrīmatī manifests Her group in this world and attracts everyone to Vraja to serve Him.

Not all lines are the same. Different lines send people in different directions. Many people came after Nayana-maṇī-mañjarī and Vinoda Mañjarī. Who is a true follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s line? The understanding of this is very rare.
We are therefore very fortunate. Guru bhakti is not only the backbone of bhakti, it gives us spiritual strength and bliss.

In śāstra, there are prayers such as:

gurur brahmā gurur viṣṇur guru devo maheśvaraḥ
gurur sākṣād parabrahma tasmai śrī-guruve namaḥ

Does this mean that Guru is Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, or Sākṣād Parabrahma? What is the meaning of this prayer? A disciple or follower that offers himself completely to Guru-pāda-padma attains the protection and care of Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Parabrahma, and all other powerful personalities. These personalities come take you in their lap and bless you. They say, “I will take care of you. Why? Because you have taken shelter of sad-guru! You are very lucky.”

Rāmacandra Kavirāja was the disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya. He stayed with Narottama Ṭhākura, but how strong was his relation with Gurudeva! His Gurudeva went in samādhi to Rādhā-kuṇḍa to find Śrīmatī’s lost nose ring. Rāmacandra Kavirāja also went there with his siddha-svarūpa and joined his Gurudeva in mānasī-sevā. Together, they searched for the nose ring and when it was found, they came back together. How strong that relation with guru is!

How can we have relation with Gurudeva if we do not chant his mantra and always remember him? If our hearts have no room for him, then we are bogus disciples! I do not like this. I desire that everyone pray to him, chant his name, and follow his footsteps and desire. What does he want for us? What is his line? Let this be our focus.

Śrīla Gurudeva is present now also, protecting us, and helping us move forward in vraja-bhakti. He is preparing us for the birth of our soul in Vraja, where we will blissfully serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa under guidance of the Vraja-devīs. Birth from the womb of the mother is birth of the body, but not of the soul. For the birth of the soul, guru is the father, and Gāyatrī is the mother — Guru Pitā, Gāyatrī Mātā. Through saṁskāra, spiritual initiation, Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā accept one, and give the soul spiritual birth. The soul is now very small, like a seed inside the body, where it is a prisoner, bound by its karma, fruitive activities. When the conditioned soul accepts the shelter of sad-guru and receives the gāyatrī-mantra as its spiritual mother, then Gurudeva and Gāyatrī nourish one and help one develop in spiritual existence. If one gives up Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā, then one will be like an orphan child. The flow of spiritual life will stop. One will run to accept the offerings of Māyā-devī.

Those who follow Gāyatrī Mātā and Guru Pitā will never be separated from their spiritual life, and will certainly attain svarūpa-siddhi. By remembering Śrīla Gurudeva and Gāyatrī-devī, we receive spiritual strength and knowledge, and will never be attached to mundane objects. Whatever action we do will be beneficial for attaining our svarūpa-siddhi. We will not do anything for this mundane world. And we will not be attracted to mundane objects. But we must seriously chant our guru mantras, gāyatrī mantras, harināma, and always remember Gurudeva and try to follow his line.

In our Gauḍīya-paramparā, there is a great need for such gurus. Śrī Guru never dies or takes birth. He appears in this world to give lessons to the people of this world, and when he performs the pastime of disappearance, then he keeps the jīvas attracted to him, and never lets them go separate from him. The jīvas, however, are independent, and try to separate themselves from guru. If they do so, then the result of their actions is disastrous.

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