After staying with Śrīla Bhaktedānta Svāmī Mahārāja in Delhi and meeting with him in Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Gurudeva felt a great eagerness to perform bhajana in Govardhana.
He contemplated the ninth verse of Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta:
vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
Owing to Śrī Kṛṣṇa having taken birth there, the abode of Mathurā is superior even to Vaikuṇṭha, the realm of spiritual opulence. Superior to Mathurā is the forest of Vṛndāvana, because there the festival of rāsa took place. Superior to the Vṛndāvana forest is Govardhana Hill, because Kṛṣṇa raised with His lotus hand and enacted many pastimes there with His beloveds. Yet superior even to Govardhana Hill is Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, because immerses one in the near of Kṛṣṇa’s divine love. What intelligent person would not desire to render service to this magnificent pond, which shines at the base of Govardhana Hill?
Śrīla Gurudeva read the commentaries of the Gauḍīya acaryas stating who will be so foollsh as to leave Rādha kunda and Govardhana to stay anywhere else? The Gosvāmīs would sometimes visit Mathurā, but they resided in Vṛndāvana, Govardhana, or Rādhā-kuṇḍa.”
He thought, “The Vedic scriptures state that if one stays for three nights in Mathurā, then millions of lifetimes of offenses, sins, and material desires are destroyed. And if you make offenses while staying in Mathurā, by once circumambulang Mathurā, all sins are absolved. But to attain pure love for Kṛṣṇa, Mathurā-devī will first purify you and then send you to Yamunā-devī. Yamunā-devī makes you qualified to enter Vṛndāvana and will send you to Vṛndā-devī, who will train you and then send you to Girirāja Govardhana, who in turn sends you to Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
“When Kṛṣṇa departed to His eternal abode, He left His dearmost Girirāja Govardhana and Yamunā behind. I will go to Yamunā-devī and pray for her counsel whether or not I should spend some time in Govardhana. She will kindly direct me to the proper course of action.”
Śrīla Gurudeva prayed to Yamuna Devī and received the inspiration to depart for Govardhana at once. He resolved, “I will stay in Govardhana and do parikramā every day.” Then he thought, “What shall I offer Girirāja? I have no money to buy opulent items.” He concluded, “Girirāja is most pleased by hearing the glories of Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs. I will daily recite the Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam at the base of Govardhana. After parikramā, I will beg alms and will offer whatever I receive to Girirāja.”
After giving the responsibly for the management of Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha to Kuñja Bihārī Prabhu and telling him he would return from Govardhana before Kārtika commenced, Gurudeva left with only his japa–mālā, sannyāsa cloth, waterpot, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In Govardhana, Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in the Dāna Bihari garden of Babu Lal Śāstri, where the Giridhari Gaudīya Maṭha is now located. Bābū Lāl Śāstrī had met and served Jagad-guru Śrīla Prabhupāda and Ācarya Kesarī. He was affectionate to Gurudeva and happily gave him free board in the upstairs room of his garden house. Bābū Lāl Śāstrī had two sons, Mādana-mohana and Dr. Goloka. After Gurudeva had completed his daily Girirāja Parikramā, fixed vow of harināma, and reading of the Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam, he would visit Mādana-mohana and Goloka in the evening and they offered him alms of rotis and buttermilk.
While on parikramā, Śrīla Gurudeva would stop at special pastime places on the side of Govardhana like Ratna Siṁhāsana and Ratna-vedī, and there receieved verses from Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, Stava-mālā, Stavāvalī, and Radha Rasa-Sudha nihi. He then received a canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for Girirāja’s pleasure. Internally, Gurudeva was always engaged in service to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa during the eight divisions of the day.
Śrīla Gurudeva had no relation with anything of this world, neither did he harbor desire for delicious food, property, or wealth. His consciousness was always beyond this mundane plane, absorbed in his spiritual service in the transcendental world. General people cannot comprehend the unique nature of sādhus. They think, “Sādhus have no occupation. They senselessly squander their life eating, sleeping, and pursuing imaginary objectives.” Meanwhile sādhus conclude, “Materialistic people have no intelligence. They waste all their time in mundane work for perishable results, ignoring their impending death. A boy grows up and conjectures, ‘My father works, I will work. My father married, I will marry.’ thus they only follow the culture of illusion.” Constantly engaged in loving service to the Divine Couple, Śrīla Gurudeva was completely beyond the influence of māyā.
It was the monsoon season when Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in Govardhana. Although unrelenting downpours made the pathways muddy and flooded, Gurudeva never deviated from his daily parikramā. The Mānasi Gaṅgā used to overflow into the road, which later has been rebuilt ten feet above its previous position. In those days, flooding occurred after only a few hours of heavy rainfall. As a passerby approached Mānasi Gaṅgā, it became apparent that one had to swim along the road. Undeterred, Gurudeva athletically entered the flooded road, and after crossing the Cakleśvara Mahādeva landmark he could wade to solid ground. The road near Rādhā-kuṇḍa was also flooded, and Śrīla Gurudeva had to wade there as well. Sometimes he would see snakes and animals drifting by, but he was unshakable.
One day, as Śrīla Gurudeva was treading through the flooded road around Mānasi Gaṅgā, he saw a beautiful young boy and girl shivering and standing on a raised platform. The boy said, “Do you feel no mercy? We have no warm clothes to wear. We are cold, and there is rainwater everywhere. You don’t look after us at all. Why don’t you arrange anything? Are you heartless? You can’t even see the pathway in such stormy weather. Do you think Bhagavān will be happy with this sādhana of yours? You are doing austerity, but you are not thinking about us. We are suffering. Your Guru Mahārāja gave us to you. Now you are here, so we came here behind you.”
“What are they saying?” Śrīla Gurudeva thought. “How could these children come on parikramā in the rain and in such deep water? Who are they?”
Śrīla Gurudeva could swim across the flooded parts, but how could small children get through the deep water? Gurudeva did not say anything. He passed by the youngsters and continued chanting harināma. After reading Uddhava Kuṇḍa, Gurudeva could no longer see the two beautiful children, but their image had made an indelible impression in his heart. While reading the Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam later that day, the same duo came and stood nearby in wet cloth, watched him for some me, and then left. Later, a man came to distribute children’s cloth in the house where Śrīla Gurudeva was staying.
“O Mahārāja,” he said, “will you take some cloth?”
“I am a sannyāsī. What will I do with children’s cloth?”
“You have a young boy and girl in your care. Please take this cloth and give it to them.”
“How could I have children?”
Disregarding Gurudeva’s confusion, the person put down a bundle of cloth and left. The next day, when Śrīla Gurudeva had finished reciting a canto of the Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam at the base of Girirāja Govardhana, he began to chant his gāyatrī-mantras. The two children came again and watched Gurudeva from a distance—this time wearing the cloth he had been given. Gurudeva stared in surprise. It was rare in those days to see anyone, what to speak of children, doing parikramā of Girirāja, for the road was dangerous, and many dacoits haunted the paths.
Śrīla Gurudeva only accepted the necessary amount of alms needed for each day and offered what he received to Girirāja. One day, while meditating as he made the offering, Gurudeva saw the same two children come and hungrily devour the foodstuffs.
A few days passed without incident, then Ācarya Kesarī arrived in Mathurā from Navadvīpa in early October. A brahmacārī was dispatched to send word to Śrīla Gurudeva, who immediately returned to Sri Kesavi Gauḍīya Maṭha. Arriving in mid-morning, Śrīla Gurudeva prostrated himself before Acarya Kesarī. They embraced and wept, as if many years had passed since they last met.
“What were you doing in Govardhana?” Ācarya Kesari asked. “Why did you leave Śrī Śrī-Radha-Vinoda Bihārī? The roof has cracks and rainwater has been leaking on Ṭhākurajī. The pūjārī has not changed Their dress in many days and proper offerings have not been made. Ṭhākurajī is not stone! They came to Navadvīpa and called me to come and intervene. You must always serve Rādhā-Vinoda Bihārī with loving care, like a father for his children. If Ṭhākurajī is unsatisfied with your service, then no one in the temple can ever be happy. Before going anywhere, be certain that their worship will continue properly.”
Srila Gurudeva humbly accepted the instruction of his divine master with folded hands.
Ācarya Kesarī then led Gurudeva into his quarters and spoke to him privately. He asked Gurudeva esoteric questions on topics of bhajana and was pleased with his answers. Ācarya Kesari said, “I have many disciples, but no one has such eagerness for developing these exalted moods of the Vraja-devīs. Śrīla Prabhupāda relentlessly established the line of pure devotion, and cut out the weeds of Māyāvāda and Sahajiyism. I have also spent much time destroying the Māyāvāda doctrine and apasampradāyas that pollute the current of pure bhakti-yoga. The objective of this preaching is to read the unparalleled glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Her expansions, the countless gopīs. I desire that you explain the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs everywhere. Without you, there is a danger that this divine nectar and message will all be lost. Therefore, be fearless and boldly preach these truths of pure love and devotion. The whole world may be against you, but you must have faith in vraja-kathā. At that time you can stand on the head of all problems.”
Śrīla Gurudeva fell at the lotus feet of his divine master and received his heartfelt blessings.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (excerpted from; “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: [email protected] )