Now, Śrīla Gurudeva has gone to his eternal abode. Before he gave darśana to everyone openly. Now his pastimes are also going on, but only very fortunate souls can witness and be connected to them. Those who are fortunate have seen Śrīla Gurudeva and met with him. Now he has disappeared. But when Śrī Guru disappears, it doesn’t mean that he has died or left this world, nor does it mean that he is no longer able to meet with us. This is a misunderstanding.
Ordinary people leave this world and cannot return by their will. They have no power to do so. By their own karma they get this body and then they leave when their scheduled time is finished. They have no strength or power to come back and meet with anyone. It is true that there are those who get ghost bodies and are able to remain. They move in this world in subtle bodies and disturb many people. But when the Guru-varga leave their physical bodies, it is not that they move in this world with subtle bodies like ghosts. Mahā-bhāgavatas come and go from this world in accordance with God’s will.
Suffering in separation from them, the devotees bitterly weep. Sanātana Gosvāmī Prabhu, Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu, and all the Gosvāmīs give their darśana and help to a soul who cries to them in separation.
Why would Gurudeva be an exception from this? He will also come if called in this way.
What does this mean? Simply if you desire it, God’s mercy, the service of Śrī Guru, and the help of the Vaisnavas is not far away. But if we neglect them and are happy with everything in this world without them, then there is no need for them to give us darśana.
In this world, babies always have eagerness, “How can I meet with my parents?” Other than parents, they don’t think about anyone or anything. But when they become a little older they think that it would be ve good if their parents left for the old-age home.
This is the nature of conditioned souls. They learn something from the Guru-varga, and preach it to some other people. After some time, people respect them, and help them in material ways. Then they start to think, “Gurudeva is unnecessary. What will he do? I am all and all. I have all power. I know nice kīrtana. I am a very good cook and I speak such nice hari-kathā. So many people follow me. I am helpful for everyone. I don’t need Gurudeva.” They have no desire for Gurudeva’s darśana or the help he gives.
They do not realize that whatever they possess has been given by Śrīla Gurudeva and that if they leave or forget him, it will all be lost.
They don’t think of the future. They have gotten some knowledge, have learnt some verses of śāstra, but they have no realization. If they had realization, they would not be distance from Guru and Vaiṣṇavas.
They have no realization and therefore have no separation. If you always need help, will you remain alone? If you always cry and weep for help, then how will the Guru-varga stay distant from you? If you cry and weep for them, they will not stay away. They will come and help.
Like a mother for her babies, the Guru-varga always help their followers. But now we don’t have any need.
Madhyama-adhikārīs are also content in this world. They chant harināma with knowledge of śāstra and can easily achieve anything they desire in this world. Therefore they are not unhappy. Kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs have relation with the Deity and their own followers. They have no deep tension or separation in absence of Śrī Guru. But the high-class disciple, who is at least on the first stage of an uttama-adhikārī, will understand the kindness of Guru Mahārāja, and will cry in separation from him day and night. Madhyama and kaniṣṭhas won’t think so much of Śrī Guru. Sometimes, if there is a problem, they will think of him, but when help comes, they will again forget him. They cannot weep in separation from him morning to evening. Seeing this, Gurudeva will feel, “Oh, they have no need for me,” and he won’t reveal himself to them.
Especially on Śrīla Gurudeva’s appearance and disappearance days, we should remember his specialties and glories, and how he magnanimously helped us all. On these days especially, we should cry and call out for his further help and pray to be always connected to him.
On the bank of the Gaṅgā, in Buxar, Tiwaripur, Śrīla Gurudeva appeared. We all know this. But we must also understand his pastimes.
Throughout his life, Param Gurudeva served Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura incessantly. After Prabhupāda disappeared, Param Gurudeva very lovingly and respectfully maintained His near and dear godbrothers to stay with him. But who was there to serve these Vaiṣṇavas? Who would assist Param Gurudeva in his continued service to Prabhupāda?
In Māyāpura, when he was young and alone, Param Gurudeva served Prabhupāda tirelessly. Prabhupāda now thought, “My Vinoda always serves and helps me, but who will serve and help Vinoda?”
Another meaning of this is, “Vinoda has desire to serve me. Who will be qualified to help him?”
By Prabhupāda’s divine arrangement, many of his disciples came to stay with Param Gurudeva. But they were mostly elderly men. My Guru Mahārāja was the only young man with Param Gurudeva at that time.
One day Narahari Sevā-vigraha Prabhu and Bhakti Kamala Madhusūdana Mahārāja, whose name at that time was Narottamānanda Prabhu, approached Param Gurudeva with an important matter.
“O Vinoda Dā,” Narottamānanda Prabhu said, “in Prabhupāda’s time, many young boys came and helped him with his mission. But you have only one young man with you. How can the next generation run on?”
Param Gurudeva replied, “When I first joined the temple, Prabhupāda said, ‘My Vinoda alone is enough. He will do everything.”
“Yes,” said Narahari Prabhu, “you are the Vinoda of Prabhupāda, but who is with you?”
“Don’t be concerned,” Param Gurudeva replied, “If I have done any service of the Pañca-tattva, they will surely help me. Nityānanda Prabhu and Gaura Nārāyaṇa will help me.”
But this matter continued to worry Param Gurudeva’s affectionate godbrothers.
My Guru Mahārāja was the only young brahmacārī then. How much could he serve alone? He served all day and all night. Param Gurudeva was very strong. Sometimes he would give orders to Sajjana-sevaka in the middle of the night to do so many services. There was so much to be done. One time when Sajjana was sick with a high fever, Param Gurudeva instructed him, “My godbrothers have come. Cook and serve them mahā-prasāda.” Sajjana-sevaka Brahmacārī faithfully carried out all of Param Gurudeva’s orders despite any difficult condition, but how much could he do alone?
At the time of Vyāsa-pūjā, Param Gurudeva’s godbrothers told him, “Start a putreṣṭi-yajña (a ceremony to attain a son).”
Param Gurudeva asked, “What is the meaning?”
“You have no disciples and followers.”
Param Gurudeva was generally silent and peaceful. But on the day of Maunī Amāvasyā, he said, “No one will disturb me today. Today I will chant harināma silently and will write some articles for the magazine. Today I am very busy. No one should come near me.”
Mahāprabhu went to Rāma-keli to meet with Rūpa-Sanātana, similarly, on that day Param Gurudeva wrote a letter and told Narottamānanda Prabhu, “Now I have no problem. Go and preach in Paṭnā, Gayā, Vārāṇasī, and all these areas. Collect one mahā-puruṣa from Bihar.”
Narottamānanda Prabhu went and met with Śrīla Gurudeva and shortly after, Gurudeva joined the maṭha and began his services.
Now also we can be connected to Śrīla Gurudeva through deep prayer and internal service. Śrīla Gurudeva is a Vrajavāsī. His heart is a storehouse of love. In this world, if anyone collects the pure love of the Vrajavāsīs in his heart, his heart will melt and will shower that love in thousands of other hearts. In the absence of this anurāga, the love of the Vrajavāsīs, the fires of anger, lust, hunger, and worldly desires will burn us. We will burn everyone we come in contact with. When the electric line is connected to the powerhouse, then power comes to all appliances. But if there is no connection, even though all the appliances are in the house, they will not function. How can this powerful love of the Vrajavāsīs come in our hearts and how can we become connected to this powerhouse?
Only the Vrajavāsīs have this power, this anurāga, this love. If you don’t follow the Vrajavāsīs, you cannot get this anurāga. If you follow the Mathurāvāsīs, the Dvārakāvāsīs, or the Vaikuṇṭhavāsīs, they don’t have this power of anurāga. They only have vaidhī-mārga, maryādā, rules and regulations. We must be connected to that powerhouse of the Vrajavāsīs’ love. In Vraja, the cows, calves, peacocks, deer, tiger, lion, horses, all animals have this anurāga in their hearts. They come and smell Kṛṣṇa, lick Kṛṣṇa, and sit nearby Him. The birds fly in the sky and make shade for Kṛṣṇa as He goes to graze with His sakhās. The clouds also follow Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa is under any tree, the birds come and sing from the top of that tree. They collect beautiful flowers and drop them at Kṛṣṇa’s feet, and they collect sweet and ripe juicy fruits, and offer them to Kṛṣṇa. The squirrels bring mangoes and guavas to Kṛṣṇa. How did they acquire such a nature?
If we look at ourselves we see that if any item comes to us, we hide it in our rooms to keep it for ourselves. Why? Who are we staying with? Why has our nature not changed to the nature of the Vrajavāsīs? Are we connected to our guardian and authority? Or are we disconnected from guru and Vaiṣṇavas and instead connected to māyā? If we are filled inside with the qualities of māyā, we should know that we are connected to māyā, and not guru and Vaiṣṇavas.
Without a guardian, we are orphans. From whom will you hear?
Who will accept your bhajana? Who will hear your prayers and answer them? Who will give the fruit of your endeavor and think about our welfare? If we do not have any relation, then who will care for us with love? Harināma and dīkṣā is not enough, if there is no relation with Śrī Guru, then there is no affection, and no affection means no connection and no connection means no attraction—then one’s life is useless. Merely staying in a temple is not enough! Being a brahmacārī or sannyāsī or a gṛhastha is not enough! Relation is necessary. How does this come? It comes through the process of rūpānuga, rāgānuga–bhakti. Whoever is a rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava, follow him. If you see that someone is only speaking all these things, but not following Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, then do not follow him. By following that person you will be disturbed and destroyed. Follow the rūpānuga Vaiṣṇavas, then their love will manifest in your heart, and that love will automatically control everyone. People will surrender to that love. That love is very powerful. To follow the rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava is the most important thing to do in this life. When we are with our friends, do we talk about Rūpa and Raghunātha and memorize their prayers, or do we waste our time speaking about mundane subjects?
Pure devotion flows in the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs. When Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest in the daytime, will the Vrajavāsīs be happily engaged in activities with their families? Will they forget Kṛṣṇa for even a second? No. Their love will only increase. If one follows rāgānuga-bhakti, then if one day he doesn’t hear hari-kathā, or does not go to kīrtana, then he becomes agitated and restless.
Now, choose, “Should I follow the service of Citraka and Patraka?
Or Subala-sakhā, Stoka-kṛṣṇa, Dāma, Vasudāmā, Kiṅkiṇī, Arjuna, Pippali, and Bhadrasena? Should I follow the love of Yaśodā Mātā and Nanda Bābā? Should I follow Lalitā, Viśākhā, Rūpa Mañjarī, or Rati Mañjarī?”
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says, “I will become a rope in Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala, and Kṛṣṇa will use me to bind His turban. Sometimes He will open His turban and decorate the cow’s horns with this rope.”
Sometimes, the sakhās will go to Kṛṣṇa and ask, “Why is this rope with You?”
Kṛṣṇa says, “I use this to bind someone.”
“Who do you like?”
They pull one sakhā to Kṛṣṇa, saying, “You stay distant from Kṛṣṇa, you should stay with Him.” The sakhās bind this sakhā to Kṛṣṇa, and he feels, “Now I am close to Kṛṣṇa.” But this sakhā is very golden and Kṛṣṇa is black.
The sakhās tell Kṛṣṇa, “If you stay with this golden sakhā, then Your blackness will go away.”
The rāgātmika Vrajavāsīs’ hearts have pure love. If we remember them, speak about them and pray to them, their love will flow into our heart. How often do we remember the Vrajavāsīs? How often do we pray calling out the holy names of the Vraja-devīs, such as: “Nayana-maṇī Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, Rasa Mañjarī, Vilāsa Mañjarī, Kastūrī, Kanaka Mañjarī, Ramaṇa Mañjarī?”
How often do we pray with their names? But we are shy.
Okay, then pray to the sakhās with their holy names: “Śrīdāma, Sudāma,
Stoka Kṛṣṇa, Subhadrā, Bhadrasena, Kiṅkiṇī, Lavaṅga, Subala, Madhumaṅgala, Arjuna.” They will help us progress. How often do we pray with the holy names of the Aṣṭa-kavirāja, Cauṣaṭṭi-mahānta, and Six Gosvāmīs? We don’t even know their names. We have no relation, and we feel no need for this. We don’t know who they are. Many don’t even know the names of the islands of Navadvīpa-dhāma, and which islands are the centers of each sakhī. But we know from the internet what is five kilometers down in the ocean, and what is in deep space. We have so much knowledge of māyā. What result will come from that knowledge? Only repeated birth and death, only misery. But if knowledge of the Vrajavāsīs and their love spreads to our hearts, what will be our position? Every morning and evening we will go in our minds to Nandagrāma, Varsānā, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Girirāja Govardhana, and pray and weep there in the dhāma, rolling in the dust.
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-jana anugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
Śrī Upadeśāmṛta 8
The bhakti-sādhakas should perform kīrtana and smaraṇa (remembrance) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, character, and pastimes. Thus they should gradually engage their tongues and minds, withdrawing them from absorption in sense objects which cause aversion to Kṛṣṇa. Residing in Vraja-maṇḍala they should follow in the footsteps of Kṛṣṇa’s associates who have deep attachment for Him, and fully utilize every moment of their time like this. This is the essence of all teachings.
We come to Vraja-maṇḍala, but we don’t remember Vraja-maṇḍala, we remember māyā-maṇḍala. We do parikramā of Girirāja Govardhana, but doing so just with the body is not enough—we must do parikramā by our minds. The body is only a physical structure; it has no consciousness. Our mind must walk on parikramā, our heart must go on parikramā, then we are connected, otherwise we are disconnected. Then this anurāga will easily come in our hearts.
The reservoir water connects to a canal, the canal connects to a drain, the drain to irrigation pipes, and eventually it comes to the farmhouse. This is the procedure. Without this the clouds will go and shower rain. The Vrajavāsīs’ hearts have this anurāga. If anyone tries to follow them, then he will be very fortunate. His life will be successful, for the love of the Vrajavāsīs will come in his heart. That love is unparalleled.
All beings are searching for love. We must not wait for love from conditioned souls. Follow the Vrajavāsīs. If we follow in their footsteps, then we will achieve that pure love. That love is very clean. That love controls Kṛṣṇa. It controls the whole creation! That love protects and helps all souls. It is food for our souls. If we take this, then we will never be hungry or thirsty running for any material gratification. And if we don’t take it we will run searching for mundane love. When we are unsatisfied, we will run and disturb all others. If our fire is quenched, cooled with this love, then we will be eternally satisfied. We must pray from the core of our hearts, following in the line of the Ṣaḍ Gosvāmīs.
he rādhe! vraja-devike! ca lalite! he nanda-sūno! kutaḥ
śrī-govardhana-kalpa-pādapa-tale kālindī-vanye kutaḥ
ghoṣantāv iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair mahā-vihvalau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau
I am offering prayers to the Six Gosvāmīs, who were always calling out, “Hey Rādhe! O Queen of Vṛndāvana! Where are You? Hey Lalite! O son of Nanda Mahārāja! Where are You? Are You seated beneath the kalpa-vṛkṣa trees of Śrī Govardhana Hill? Or are You roaming in all the forests along the soft banks of the Kālindī?” They were always lamenting, overwhelmed and burning in feelings of great separation as they wandered throughout all Vraja-maṇḍala.
When will that day come that we move everywhere with greed and thirst for vraja-prema? When will that desire come? That desire is called rāgamayī-bhakti. This only comes from the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs. If their hearts melt seeing our suffering and hearing our prayers, then they will shower their love in our hearts. Then our hearts will be restless and we will forget the whole world. There will be no need for hard austerities.
Śrīla Gurudeva instructs us, “Remember the Vrajavāsīs. You will then forget your past and future, and will only be absorbed in loving pastimes with Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs.”
The Vrajavāsīs’ love has no selfishness. They have no desire for sense enjoyment. The Vrajavāsīs’ love is based on a pure and fathomless friend. There is no selfishness. Their love is spotlessly pure. A cow has natural love for her calf, as a mother has love for her child, but there is some spot of selfishness there. The calf is waiting for the mother’s milk. But the Vrajavāsīs’ hearts don’t have this desire. They love Kṛṣṇa, but with no desire for anything in return from Him. There is no cause for their love. This love is very valuable and powerful.
In this world, people have so-called love for others, but it is only really to satisfy their own desires. Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs’ love is pure. If one drop of that love comes to us, then we will realize how sweet it is. You will forget everything else—food, sleep, cloth, money—everything. Everything will be forgotten, and you will use everything for Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Kṛṣṇa’s associates want to give the conditioned souls this spiritual food—pure love. By tasting this love, one will understand his spiritual form, and his soul’s service. Śrīla Gurudeva has brought this soul food from Vraja-bhūmi to give nourishment to the conditioned souls. In the morning we eat but, by the afternoon, again we become hungry. Again in the evening we need to eat. We are never permanently satisfied. If for a few days we don’t eat or drink then we will die. In the heavenly planets we may take
soma-rasa, but that will also not satisfy our thirst. We will want to drink more and to enjoy with the heavenly damsels. Even in heaven the fire of anger burns, and they fight with the demons. Our soul is suffering and because of this our body and mind is restless. Try to realize your position. By chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma incessantly, you will come to the realization:
gāite gāite nāma ki daśā haila
kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa muñi hṛdaye sphurila
jānilāma māyā-pāśe e jaḍa-jagate
govinda-virahe duḥkha pāi nānā-mate
Because my attention has been diverted from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, I have been bound in the dreadful grip of māyā. Thus I am suffering from various kinds of miseries in this material world.
The soul is hungry and thirsty, weak and tired, and needs help. They go here and there searching for help and satisfaction. By taking this mahā-prasāda given by Śrīla Gurudeva, all fires burning within us will be extinguished.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva! (Excerpted from a Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )