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Shrila B.V. Narayana MaharajShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami (birth name: Narayana Tiwari, February 16, 1921, Tivaripur — December 29, 2010, Puri) is a Hindu Vaishnava religious figure, theologian, writer, senior student and successor of Shrila Bhaktipragyana Keshava Gosvami (1898-1968); founder of the "International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society." Being in old age Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami traveled around the world more than 30 times, having been preaching Gaudiya Vaishnavism in many countries of the world. According to data for 2002, the Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami had more than 40,000 students.

Шрила Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами (имя при рождении — Нараяна Тивари; 16 февраля 1921, Тиварипур — 29 декабря 2010, Пури) — индуистский вайшнавский религиозный деятель, богослов, писатель, старший ученик и преемник Шрила Бхактипрагьяна Кешавы Госвами (1898-1968); основатель «Международного общества чистой бхакти-йоги». Пребывая в преклонном возрасте Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами объехал вокруг света более 30 раз, побывав с проповедью гаудия-вайшнавизма во многих странах мира. По данным на 2002 год, у Бхактиведанты Нараяны Госвами было более 40 000 учеников.

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blog-0679853001420673161.jpgSunday, 18 May 2003

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Just after the devotees sang Bhajahu Re Mana by Sri Govinda dasa Kaviraja, Srila Narayana Maharaja gave a short history of the author and his brother, Sri Ramacandra Kaviraja:]

Srila Narrottama dasa Thakura prays, "Please give me the association of Ramacandra Kaviraja. Please place me with him."

doya koro sri acarya prabhu srinivasa

ramacandra-sanga mage narottama dasa.

["O Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu, be merciful to me. Except for You, who in this material existence is so full of compassion?" (Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Daya Karo More, verse 6)]

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Srinivasa Acarya, and Sri Syamananda Prabhu were associates. Srinivasa Acarya was an elevated acarya. Once he was sitting in an asrama, and nearby were a newly wedded girl and her husband. Approaching the asrama, the carriers of the wedding palanquins thought to stop there for water and cooling shade. They put the palanquins down there and took water.

Seeing the wedding party, Srinivasa Acarya said, "This foolish person has obtained a poisonous black snake, and he is keeping it around his neck. That very snake will bite him and he will die, but he does not know this."

Hearing the words of Srinivasa Acarya, the bridegroom at once approached him and said, "What are you saying? I could not understand thoroughly." Srinivasa replied, "He who marries does not know that his wife is a black serpent – a very poisonous snake. He does not know that she will bite him and he will die." The bridegroom's eyes were at once opened, and he told the palanquin carrier, "Return this girl to her father."

As the carrier began returning the weeping girl to her father's house, that boy told Srinivasa Acarya, "I want to serve you forever. I am giving myself to you; my life is now in your hands."

He later became known as Ramacandra Kaviraja. He was a very elevated devotee, a realized soul.

Once, the brother of Ramacandra Kaviraja, named Durgadha became very sick. Although several people tried to save his life by administering many medicines and by worshipping the demigoddess Durga, still, day by day his health was decreasing and he was now about to die. Ramacandra Kaviraja came to him and asked, "Why are you worshipping Durga? Why aren't you worshipping Krsna, Govinda? Take responsibility for yourself and chant 'Govinda,' one-pointedly. In this way you'll be cured, your life will be saved, and you'll be happy forever." Hearing this, Durgadha agreed: "Durga couldn't help me". He took initiation from his elder brother and gradually, in three or four days, as if by some magical effect, his illness was cured, his health was restored, and he began to do bhajana under the guidance of his guru.

From then on, Durgadha became known as Govinda dasa Kaviraja. He was an excellent writer and poet, and after he wrote "Bhajahu re mana, sri nanda-nandana abhaya-caranaravinda re," he sent it to Srila Jiva Gosvami. When Jiva Gosvami heard the bhajana of Govinda dasa Kaviraja, he appreciated it so much that he told him, "Continue to compose kirtanas like these. You are very qualified, so you should compose more, and send them to me in Vrndavana." Srila Govinda dasa Kaviraja then composed many poems of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Radha-Krsna.

Abhaya-caranaravinda re (the place of fearlessness – the lotus feet of Sri Krsna). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada gave this name, Abhaya Caranaravinda, to Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

Bhajahu re mana has been a favorite bhajana in our guru-parampara, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja used to sing this song, weeping and his heart melting. Bhajahu re mana, sri nanda-nandana abhaya-caranaravinda re. He was meeting with the inner, transcendental meaning of his own name, and he used to weep.

We should also have strong faith in this, bhajahu re mana. Every one of these songs has a deep history behind them.


A Christmas Message

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

North Shore, Hawaii: December 25, 2006

Today is Christmas Day, the birthday of Jesus Christ. In Europe and other countries, hardly anyone knows what Jesus Christ was doing in his youth, at around 15 years of age. Indian history shows that he was in India, where he visited Vrndavana, Ayodya, Jagannatha Puri, and other pilgrimage places. In Vrndavana he heard the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and when he went to Jagannath Puri he heard how the local persons pronounce Krsna as Krusna or Krusta. Later, Krusta became Christos. Later, Krusta became Christos (or Khristos) , and then Christus , so the change in name is actually only a difference in language. *[see Endnote 1]

When Jesus returned to Galilee from India, he preached the same devotion he had learned in India. By his mercy, his followers preached the mission of God everywhere, and it was therefore gradually distributed in Western countries.

There are not many Gods – There is only One. In the Bible it has been written: “God created man after His own image.” If the Supreme Lord, God, has no form, then how can He create so many worlds and so many forms? God has form. He has all qualities.

‘Christ’ means ‘Krsna’, the One without a second, the Supreme Lord. In the Bible we see that God has a transcendental form. Jesus has called him father, so there is some relation. We are refined Christians because we totally follow this understanding. Many of those who call themselves Christians don’t truly follow Christianity, because they say that God is formless, but the Bible actually tells that God has a form and that form is transcendental.

Today, on the birthday of Jesus, we are giving honor to him. He was a manifestation of God called saktyavesa-avatara. God has empowered him, and that is why he was able to preach everywhere.Krsna is very merciful – very, very merciful. He is so beautiful, His qualities are transcendental, and the song of His flute is so sweet that it attracts everyone. We have forgotten Him. We are His part and parcel; that is, we are His servants or maidservants, whether we accept this or not. We have forgotten Him, and that is why maya (the Lord’s material, deluding potency) has taken us to this world.

No one can be happy in this world, which is like a prison. Sri Krsna’s deluding potency maya keeps those who have forgotten Him in this jail, and anyone who wants happiness here is a foolish person. No one can be happy in jail. Only the watchmen – police of the jail – can be happy, and they are devotees. Only devotees can be happy in this world.

Sri Krsna has mercifully given this human body, which is very strong, like a boat. He has placed a captain in this boat, and that captain is Sri Gurudeva. The favorable winds are blowing very fast, and these winds are sadhu-sanga, the association of devotees. For example, while you remained in your homes, we came from India.

One of Gods messengers was Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. Srila Swami Maharaja went door to door, to islands in the midst of oceans, on the top of hills, and in the depths of forests. He went everywhere and preached. How merciful are Krsna and His associates!

Having all these facilities, if you do not take the opportunity to realize your self, to realize that you are soul and that the Supersoul, Krsna is present with you, then you are committing spiritual suicide. [*See Endnote 2]

So don’t waste a minute’s time without worshipping Krsna. The money, houses, dogs, cats, cars, and so many other things you are collecting cannot give you any help at the time of death. You will have to go alone, and where you will go, you don’t know. So don’t waste time. All facility is available, so you are very fortunate. The only aim and object of this life should be this: ‘Realization of my self and Krsna, and performance of pure bhakti.’

Krsna is causelessly merciful. He has all powers, and He has invested all His powers and qualities in harinama (His holy names):

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Krsna’s names are more powerful than Krsna Himself. These names can stop your pain of endless birth and death, and they can give you love for Krsna. You should chant and remember the sweet pastimes of Krsna with great honor and strong belief.

Krsna lives in Goloka Vrndavana with His associates – Nanda Baba, Mother Yasoda, Sridama, Subal, Madhumangala, and the gopis, including Srimati Radhika. He always plays there. He thinks, “My servants and maidservants have forgotten Me.” In order to deliver them, He therefore descends with all of His associates in this material world and performs so many sweet pastimes here. He is unlimited, He is beyond the limitation of length and breadth, inside or outside; He is everywhere.

All worlds are within His belly, and yet Mother Yasoda binds Him with the silken rope which holds her hair in a braid. He kindly picked up the great mountain Govardhana and held it for seven days on His left pinky. At that time He told all the Vrajavasis, “Come under Govardhana. I will save you from the rains arranged by Indra.”

In Vrndavana He killed so many demons, like Aghasura and Bakasura. He killed Kamsa, who was as strong as 10,000 elephants. He also killed so many demons in Dvaraka, through Bhima and Arjuna; He killed so many in the Mahabharata War, such as Dronacarya and Bhisma. All the warriors had unparalleled immense strength, but they were all killed by Krsna. Paundraka Vasudeva, Sisupala, Kalayavana, and so many other demons were also killed by Him.

At the end of His manifest pastimes, He took with Him His associates from Dvaraka as they were in the guise of their fighting and killing each other. Thus He removed the burden of the Earth, and then ascended with His eternal associates to His Goloka Vrndavana. He performed such sweet pastimes. How merciful He is!

He came as Lord Ramacandra, with Sita, Laksmana, Bharata, Sratrugna, and Hanuman, and in that form He performed very pathetic, heart-rending pastimes. Ravana kidnapped Sita-devi, and Hanuman discovered where She was. With the help of monkeys and bears Ramacandra built a bridge over the ocean, and He killed Ravana and Ravana’s entire army. Sita is Rama’s eternal spiritual energy, but He sent Her away. This is a very sad pastime, so why did He do this? He thought: People will hear or read My pastimes and engage in bhakti (devotional service) to Me. Bhakti is so powerful that it is able to take out all the malice and manifest pure love in their heart. They will be liberated, they will join Me in My service and become happy.

Bhakti is a very easy method to reach God.

If you cannot pray, then simply offering respectful obeisances will do. If you sing God’s names and dance, or even chant loudly while walking, or even if you chant softly in the mind, or even if you name your dog or that or cow Narayana, Krsna, or any of Gods names, you will be liberated at once, like Ajamila. [*See Endnote 3]

My request is that you should not waste this human life. Don’t be always engaged in money-making. Even if you become more wealthy than Bill Gates, still, you cannot be happy. So try to engage in this very easy method of bhakti. Then you will be liberated from all miseries, and you will be happy forever.


blog-0440835001419039209.jpgShriman Siddhanath Prabhu, Shrila Gurudeva's younger brother, departed today, November 28th, 2014 at 3:15 PM. He attended Vraja Mandala Parikrama this year, 2014, and stayed with devotees of Gopinath Bhavan and Seva Kunja Krsna-Balaram Mandir. We will post more details of his departure and life as they come. Below is his remembrances of Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja.

Fond of discipline

My most worshipable Gurudeva, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja, appeared in this world as my elder brother. He was nearly nine years older than me. I remember some incidents from my childhood, when I was five or six years old. There was a study room in our home that was set aside for the children, and Srila Gurudeva used to sit there and study. When the rest of us seven kids started going to school, we would all study together in that same room with Srila Gurudeva, who would act as our teacher.

After completing his studies at the medium school (eighth class), Srila Gurudeva attended high school in Buxar, which was about seven kilometers from our home. He worked very hard and daily walked this distance back and forth. The holy Ganges was about three kilometers away from our home. Srila Gurudeva would walk to the Ganga everyday for bath immediately after finishing his morning ablutions. Upon returning from the Ganges he would sit outside and listen very attentively to Ramayana, Gita or Bhagavatam from our father's lips. When he would return home from school in the afternoon, he would complete his homework and then teach the seven younger kids in the family. He would also enthusiastically help father in various household chores. Srila Gurudeva was quite expert in nearly everything. He lived his life in accordance with father's discipline and assured that the rest of us kids did also, instructing us in so many ways. Srila Gurudeva was very good in his studies – in history, math and English he would score 100 percent.

Natural inclination to serve his elders right from an early age

Our father was Pandit Sri Valeswara Natha Tiwari and our mother was Srimati Laksmi Devi. They had seven children – three sons and four daughters. According to seniority they were Sriman Narayana (Bhola), Srimati Matarniya Devi, Sri Visvanatha Tiwari, Sri Siddhanath Tiwari, Srimati Saraswati Devi, Srimati Phoolkeshari and Srimati Anoopi. Our father's brothers and their wives lived with us, and our extended family consisted of around thirty members. All our uncles, their wives and children were dependent on our father.

Father was a farmer and his income was very meager. He would spend most of his time worshiping Bhagavan and reading the scriptures, and remained indifferent regarding his income. One day after some deep thought Srila Gurudeva said to our father, "I am grown up now and wish to help you. It is better that I drop my studies and give you a helping hand." Father desired that Gurudeva further his education but due to compelling circumstances he agreed to his son's proposal.

Gifted with all material qualities

Our elder sister's father-in-law was a police inspector. He said to our father, "Send Sriman Narayana to me. He is handsome to look at, as well as tall and strong. I will try to get him a job with the police." Father sent him to our relative's village which was about twenty kilometers from our home. For some time Srila Gurudeva stayed in their home where the inspector of police made him even stronger with proper diet and excercises. Later he secured a job for Srila Gurudeva in the police department. Srila Gurudeva finished his police training successfully within a short time and he was posted at the border of Bihar and Bengal. This was the period before India's independence; therefore his officer was a Britisher. Once the officer organized a sports camp. Srila Gurudeva approached him and said, "Sir, I also want to take part in the sports meet." "No, no, Mr. Tiwari, this event is only for junior and senior officers." Srila Gurudeva responded, "Sir, I can not force you, but I am a sportsman. If possible, please allow me to participate." The officer agreed and Srila Gurudeva justified their allowing him to participate by attaining first positions in long jump, high jump, jogging and swimming. The Superintendent of Police (S.P) was very impressed to see Srila Gurudeva's extraordinary qualities and appointed him to the post of inspector on his very first promotion. Now Srila Gurudeva was posted at the police station in Rajmahal, Bihar [near Rama-keli grama].

Extremely far-sighted

From time to time Srila Gurudeva would come home, and whatever he earned he would place in the hands of our father. If our mother would say, "Sriman Narayana, now and then give something to the kids too," Srila Gurudeva would respond, "Mother, our father is taking good care of everyone. Therefore I feel it is better to put everything in his hands. These children are young, and they can be spoiled easily if they get money in their hands. Therefore I will do no such thing which will give them an opportunity to get spoiled."

Sadhu Sanga

Once a few preachers from the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti came to Rajmahal near the police station, to perform kirtana and present spiritual discourses. It was here that Srila Gurudeva met Sri Narottamananda Brahmacari (Sri Srimad Bhakti Kamala Madhusudana Goswami Maharaja), Sri Radhanatha Vanacari (Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Goswami Maharaja) and a few other devotees for the first time. Some time later by their association, he started going back and forth to meet with nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Goswami Maharaja, although he was still serving in the police. After a few days he came home with a japa mala in his hand. Everyone saw him chanting but no one paid much attention to it, as we were used to seeing him perform devotional activities right from childhood – the only difference now was that he was using a japa. This continued for a couple of years. He would come home to give his salary, stay about six hours and go back.

Search for the Supreme

One day we received a letter from Srila Gurudeva. I was in the fifth grade at that time. I gathered all the family members together and read them his letter. Everyone listened carefully. It said, "My honorable father, my respectful pranamas at your feet. I have given up my job and gone in search of Bhagavan. I am not sure when I will be able to meet you again. You have a heavy burden of the family on your shoulders and no one to help you. I was working because I desired to assist you, but do not know what plans Bhagavan has. By inspiration of Providence my views have changed and I can no longer serve you in this way, and on top of that I have given you an additional burden of taking care of my family also. For this I ask forgiveness again and again." Hearing these words all the family members burst out crying loudly; everyone felt as if a mountain of troubles had crushed them to the ground.

A humble reunion with father

Our father started searching for Srila Gurudeva – he searched the entire length and breadth of India for about a year and a half, but got no clue to his whereabouts. A person from our village, Sri Kedaranatha Tiwari, was working as a guard in Baidyanath Dhama. One day he saw Srila Gurudeva along with Param-gurudeva Srila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Goswami Maharaja in that very town. Immediately he sent a telegram to our home, saying, "Your son Sriman Narayana has become a sadhu and is here." The moment our father received the telegram he left for Baidyanath Dhama. The day father reached there Srila Gurudeva was suffering from fever and he was sleeping under a bed sheet. Father called out, "Sriman Narayana!" Hearing his voice Srila Gurudeva lifted the sheet instantly and got down from the bed to touch his father's feet in respect. He offered him a place to sit and inquired for news about all the family. With great honor he reminded our father, "Right from childhood I heard all about bhakti from your lips. As a result I have desired to perform bhakti in the manner I am now doing." In this way he pacified father; he fortified his argument with many quotations from the scriptures and requested him to return home. He also assured father that after some time he would certainly come to see everyone.

A firm determination to perform bhajan

Shortly thereafter, with the intention of meeting Srila Gurudeva, father and mother, along with a number of our relatives, visited Devananda Gaudiya Matha in Navadvipa Dhama. Hearing so many people cry and lament, Srila Param-gurudeva called for Srila Gurudeva; it is difficult to ascertain what exactly transpired between them, but Srila Gurudeva returned to his home along with all the relatives. He behaved exactly as before, getting up at four in the morning, going to bathe in the Ganges, chanting on his beads, and later he would accompany father to the fields. He created such an atmosphere that everyone became convinced that he would never leave again. Twenty-eight days passed in this fashion. But on the twenty-ninth day he did not come out of his room. Father inquired, "What is wrong today? Sriman Narayana did not wake up?" We replied, "He is not in his room!" Father himself went to look for him in the room, and he noticed a letter on the bed. It said, "Father, my respecful obeisances to you. I am going away to immerse myself in bhajana of Bhagavan. What to speak about the lives of my wife and children, even if millions of people were to leave their bodies, I would neither be able to give up the service to my Gurudeva nor my bhajana. Please do not make any further attempts to bring me back home." What time he left home, no one had any idea.

Giving inspiration to take sadhu sanga and serve the saints

After some years we came to know that Srila Gurudeva was living in Mathura. By now father had given up all desire to bring him back home. He would say to everyone, "If Sriman Narayana wants to perform bhajana, then we should not partake in sin by creating obstacles on his path." From time to time mother, father and other family members used to visit him in Mathura, and upon returning they would praise his devotional activities and his conduct.

As I grew up I started working in Jamshedpur Tatanagar. I was keeping regular contact with Srila Gurudeva through the post. In response to one of my letters in 1962, he wrote, "Listen, whenever you find some time, come to Navadvipa. Many exalted Vaisnavas visit there from all over India. You will get an opportunity to associate with the sadhus and a chance to hear hari-katha." After receiving this letter I took leave and went to Sri Navadvipa Dhama.

The whole journey I kept wondering if my brother would recognize me or if I would be able to recognize him. We had not seen each other for a long time. Anyhow, I reached Devananda Gaudiya Matha, and the very moment I arrived, hari-katha was being spoken. I inquired about Srila Gurudeva and was told that he was sitting on the dais along with the other sannyasis. Param-gurudeva was also present there. I became completely bewildered; after all, I was seeing my brother after a long time. But upon careful observation I ascertained one particular sannyasi to be my brother. I went forward and touched his feet and offered him my obeisances. In response Srila Gurudeva said, "Siddhanath, you came! Now your life will be successful. Do not touch my feet, touch the feet of my Gurudeva and the other exalted saints. I too beg for their mercy all the time." I did as he instructed and Srila Gurudeva introduced me to everyone. Later he advised me, "Listen, this is a holy place. Do not wear a loongi* here, only a dhoti. Do not accept any service from anyone here; as far as possible serve everyone else."

*Loongi- A particular style of wearing a casual, mostly check pattern wrap-around sheet.

Everyone's affectionate behavior towards me in Devananda Gaudiya Matha


I stayed for about ten days in Devananda Gaudiya Matha. During this period I had the opportunity to observe very closely the sweet affectionate behavior, the hari-katha and the ideals of Srila Param-gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Goswami Maharaja. Srila Trivikama Maharaja arranged a room, mosquito net and other necessities for me. Whenever it was time for prasad, Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja would call me, "Siddhanathji, let's go, it's time for prasad. Rotis have been made for you, hot rotis. Come, come." He spoke these words with such affection and sweetness that they are still fresh in my memory.

Ten days later I said to Srila Gurudeva, "I must leave now. Please give me permission. But I have one request." Srila Gurudeva replied, "What is that?" I answered, "The family members have not seen you in quite some time, and many of them have not seen you at all since you left, so at least try to go home just once." Srila Gurudeva replied, "I no longer lead an independent life. I follow my Gurudeva's orders regarding all my activities. Whatever you are telling me, say it in front of my Gurudeva, and whatever he decides I will follow." Srila Gurudeva took me to Param-gurudeva. The moment Param-gurudeva saw me he inquired, "Dear Siddhanath, do you have something to say?" I offered my obeisances and said, "I have a request. Please give my brother permission to visit our home just once." Srila Param-gurudeva replied, "What are you saying? Now, why does he need my permission? If one is not to be trusted, he will be kept under check, but we have complete faith in him." That very moment Srila Param-gurudeva fixed a date for his visit, and said, "On the way to Mathura Narayana Maharaja will stop in Buxar and he will be accompanied by a few brahmacaris." Then I said, "Now please give me permission to leave." Srila Param-gurudeva responded, "No, no, you remain here. Narayana Maharaja will live in Mathura and I will put you in charge of this Matha." At first I replied, "Maharajaji, do you also have some other Mathas? Shall I call for my third brother to take charge too?" On hearing this Param-gurudeva burst out laughing. Then I pointed to all the devotees standing there and said, "Maharajaji, please select any one of these to be responsible for the temple, and give me permission to leave." This way we had a very light-hearted exchange before my departure.

Making his life successful by always staying in high class association

Before departing I inquired from Srila Gurudeva, "Why did you decide to leave home?" Srila Gurudeva replied, "In fact, I was not able to leave home despite my desire to do so. Firstly, the S.P. would not accept my letter of resignation. Three or four times he refused to accept it and only with great difficulty he finally did so. Secondly, I attempted to leave home nine times. I would go a few kilometers and then turn back each time. I even cried at times, but still remained indecisive. Then I heard an aerial voice say to me, 'This is your last chance to pass this examination. If you fail this time, you will never get another chance this life.' So then I took a firm stand and left. Our domestic condition was not such that I could leave, but whatever transpired was by the will of Guru-Vaisnavas and Bhagavan, and I feel it was a blessing in disguise for all concerned."

On my way back home I thought to myself again and again, "Oh, Srila Gurudeva is serving Bhagavan in such esoteric association. He has dedicated his life to following in the footsteps of Guru and Vaisnavas. Indeed, his life is successful." I felt so proud to be his younger brother.

Instructing us to serve the devotees

After some time Srila Gurudeva came to Tiwaripur accompanied by four brahmacaris. According to prior arrangements Srila Gurudeva led programs with hari-katha and kirtana for three days. Before arriving Srila Gurudeva informed us that he desired to stay outside somewhere, so we had arranged for everyone to stay in a nearby school. Srila Gurudeva reminded us again and again, "Do not consider these brahmacaris accompanying me to be ordinary people. Even the demigods desire to serve them. Please make the best arrangements you can for their accommodations, prasada and donations. And you should especially try to adopt in your life whatever pertinent instructions you hear from them in their hari-katha." After three days Srila Gurudeva left for Mathura.

Whenever some devotees would pass through Buxar from Navadvipa to Mathura or vice versa, Srila Gurudeva would inform us by letter: "On such and such train, on such and such date, so many devotees are coming. Prepare rice, dal, kacauri, kheer, etc., and take it to them." In the summers we would try to serve the devotees as per Srila Gurudeva's instructions. By doing this service we gradually started to develop affection for Srila Gurudeva and the other devotees, and in fact a deep desire to live the life of a Vaisnava awakened in the heart.

Keeping his promise to father

In the summer of 1975 our father became quite ill and it became obvious that he would not remain with us much longer. As Srila Gurudeva had promised our father that he would be at his side in his last moments, we sent a letter to Srila Gurudeva informing him of our father's condition. But we got no reply. Then we sent a telegram and Srila Gurudeva came to the village within a short time along with two brahmacaris. As usual he stayed somewhere outside and not in the home. He remained with us for three days.

All the village came to have his darsana and the atmosphere became completely spiritual with kirtana in the morning and in the evening. He would often speak from Bhagavad Gita to our father, and advised him, "Chant harinama. If you are unable to chant loudly then keep chanting Lord Rama's name in your mind. Externally it seems like I could not serve you, but indeed I have tended to you from the spiritual viewpoint. If I have performed even a little bit of pure bhakti, then you will not have to take birth again."

The third day Srila Gurudev desired to take leave, and the entire village walked along with him. Srila Gurudeva requested everyone to return back as they reached the border of the village. When we came to the highway, we saw another few hundred people waiting there too!

In this way he left for Mathura while continuing to give instructions on bhakti to everyone non-stop. That very night father gave up his body. Srila Gurudeva had already left a clear-cut guideline to follow upon his passing away. He had said, "You perform his funeral rites, and I will do my duty – I will make sure that father reaches the top most spiritual abode."

Impartiality and staunch adherence to proper Vaisnava etiquette

Once my brother and I begged for diksa from Srila Gurudeva. He explained, "Listen, I do not give diksa initiation. My Gurudeva and many other senior Vaisnavas have bestowed the responsibility for diksa upon Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja. So you will have to approach him and pray for diksa." Then Srila Gurudeva gave us many instructions regarding the duties of an initiated disciple and also spoke at length about the relationship between disciple and guru. When we received the good fortune of having Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja's darsana, we expressed our desire to accept diska from him. He also refused to initiate us, saying, "Right from birth Bhagavan has given you the relationship as younger brother of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. That is why you should take diksa from him only." This discussion continued for many years. In the end Srila Gurudeva gave me harinama just seven or eight years back and instructed me to chant harinama continuously.

I had the good fortune to get Srila Gurudeva's darsana in Delhi as well as in Govardhana just before his departure from this mortal world. Externally Srila Gurudeva is not present in front of our eyes now. I have only one prayer at Srila Gurudeva's lotus feet – may I be given the opportunity to serve and associate with him life after life.

Translated from Bhagavat Patrika

into English by Sriman Akhilesh das

Year 8, Issues 11-12, 2012

Before leaving this world, Sriman Siddhanath Tiwari Prabhu directed Sripad BV Madhusudan Maharaja, his own son Sriman Krsna-murari Tiwari Prabhu, Sriman Govinda Tiwari Prabhu and his elder brother Sriman Krsna-bihari Tiwari Prabhu, his whole family, and all village people of Tiwaripur to construct a temple in honor of Srila Gurudeva's, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's, worshipable deities, Sri Sacinandana Gaura Hari and Sri Sri Radha-Raman-bihariji. Sriman Siddhanath Tiwari Prabhu donated land and was helping organize the seva.

Sriman Siddhanath Tiwari Prabhu was a happy person, friendly to all, soft hearted, and simple, which are all qualities of a vaisnava. Before his departure from this world in November 2014, he came to Vraja-mandala Parikrama and met with all of Srila Gurudeva's disciples. Afterwards, he left this world very happily. Whoever comes in this world has to leave, and his leaving was glorious. Before leaving he was remembering and worshiping Sri Saci-nandana Gaura Hari and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna yugala. While leaving this world, he was very conscious, remembering his Thakurji, and chanting harinam. For over fifty years he was doing Gaura-mandala and Vraja-mandala parikrama in sadhu sanga. Whether staying or leaving this world, the benefits of bhajan and sadhu sanga were his.

Param pujyapad Sriman Siddhanath Tiwari prahbhu ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! Sri Siddhapith Tiwaripur ki Jaya!


Tiwaripur Sri Sri Radha-Raman-bihariji Temple Construction Site


Sriman Siddhanath Tiwari Prabhu in his bhajan kutir in Tiwaripur


Have I Made a Mistake?

blog-0859388001415007597.jpgby Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

My Doubt

A doubt occasionally arises in my heart. I think, “Have I made a mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas? It certainly seems so. I appear to have made a mistake in taking up bhajana, in accepting the shelter of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas and, specifically, in taking refuge of the Gauḍīya Maṭha and dedicating all my senses to serving in the Maṭha.

“Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are not big-hearted. When we perform bhajana under their shelter, we are controlled by so many rules and regulations. If I were to take refuge of some other sampradāya where there is no concern for offences, such as vaiṣṇava-aparādha, nāma-aparādha or dhāma-aparādha, I would feel no such hindrance or botheration. I would not be obliged to develop exclusive devotion for a particular object of worship [such as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa], nor would my eating habits be curtailed. In the Maṭha, issues like vaiṣṇava-aparādha are raised, and it often impedes my unrestricted sense enjoyment, lawless gossiping and other whimsical activities. It would therefore be better for me to live outside the Maṭha than be governed by such restraints.”

Sometimes I even think it would be best for me to abandon the shelter of a gurudeva as controlling as mine altogether, and to accept the mantra elsewhere, from someone who doesn’t demand that I pay attention to all the rules and regulations. Thus, I occasionally contemplate severing my ties with the Gauḍīya Maṭha completely. What stops me, however, is the thought that if people were to find out that I had broken my connection with Śrī Guru, it could jeopardise my prestige and position.

Discipline and Deceit

The Vaiṣṇavas of the Gauḍīya Maṭha are one pointedly engaged in worshipping Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva and Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmipāda and the best among his followers, namely, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. Kṛṣṇa-prema is their only goal and their only practice, or sādhana. There is no absence of affection or devotion in the sādhana of the servants of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. Hence, they will never support any endeavour that is unfavourable to the cultivation of affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

What auspiciousness can a sādhana bring if it can’t offer its practitioner any way to attain his cherished goal quickly, or if it can’t even offer him any certainty that he will realize his worshipable deity at all? This type of sādhana, when propagated, tends only to attract followers. For those content to pass their lives without purpose or restriction, what use is there to accept the lotus feet of sad-guru, a transcendental teacher? But those who can see their own faults and anarthas, and who try to become free of them, develop an urge to become qualified to taste the bliss of prema for Bhagavān. Only they can remain in the shelter of saintly devotees endowed with this prema. They can experience the happiness of being engaged in service to Bhagavān by living under the guidance of such one-pointed devotees and following their instructions. This involves subduing their senses and abstaining from whimsical activities.

Those who make a show of accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru simply deceive themselves; they pretend to be self-controlled and reformed but internally maintain their previous bad impressions, and especially the tendency to strive to gather followers. In other words, they recruit followers on the pretext of accepting the shelter of Śrī Guru, with the aim of fulfilling their selfish ends through their so-called disciples. The attempts of such arrogant and duplicitous people to attain auspiciousness are endlessly frustrated.

To be a disciple means to be disciplined, or controlled. If a person outwardly accepts the shelter of Śrī Guru but arrogantly maintains the attitude that he knows best about his spiritual life, then he is but a cheater – deceiving both himself and others. Pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are most magnanimous and bestow the highest auspiciousness. If we can become eligible to understand even a single aspect of their exemplary lives we will become attached to sādhana-bhajana and be filled with jubilation and devotion.

Bhakti Lies Beyond Renunciation

Those who possess kṛṣṇa-prema are neither enjoyers nor renunciants. They are not karmīs (fruitive workers); neither are they jñānīs (persons cultivating knowledge of impersonal brahman). Those who perform activities opposed to scriptural injunctions honour karmīs who abide by scriptural injunctions; and when karmīs, who are eager to enjoy the results of their endeavours see the external renunciation of jñānīs and renunciants, they may be attracted to them. However, those who hanker for bhagavat-prema disregard both of these paths. They are attracted only by behaviour that nurtures the cultivation of this prema.

Someone who is not aspiring for prema for Bhagavān will perceive only enjoyment or renunciation in the behaviour of the devotees. If he takes shelter of them upon observing their external renunciation, he may for a while consider himself blessed to be in their company. Kṛṣṇa-prema, however, cannot be attained by external renunciation. Unless one has faith grounded in philosophical truth (tattvika śraddhā), or has affection for the svarūpa of Śrī Bhagavān, he cannot become attracted to the behaviour of Bhagavān’s devotees. The characteristic of such one-pointed devotees is that directly or indirectly they only cultivate love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa:



ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu

śīlanaṁ bhaktir-uttamā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11)

“The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas), which is not covered by jñāna (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.”

One must deliberate upon this verse. The activities of a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, such as establishing a maṭha (spiritual institution), constructing a temple, meeting with materialistic or aristocratic people, hosting festivals with pomp and grandeur, and giving instructions to ignorant or faithless people, are all śuddha-bhakti. To serve Bhagavān and the devotees one may supervise the construction of a temple or the house of a devotee, collect materials, purchase supplies and accept the lowly propensity to beg. Such activities are supremely pleasurable and they nourish one’s bhakti.

What Is True Renunciation?

kuṣṭhi-viprera ramaṇī pativratā-śiromaṇi

pati lāgi’ kailā veśyāra sevā

stambhila sūryera gati jīyāila mṛta pati

tuṣṭa kaila mukhya tina-devā

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 20.57)

“The wife of a brāhmaṇa suffering from leprosy showed herself to be the topmost of chaste women by serving a prostitute to satisfy her husband. She thus halted the movement of the sun, brought her dead husband back to life and satisfied the three principal demigods [brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara].”

We should consider this account in the light of our discussion. That chaste brāhmaṇa wife’s service to a lowly prostitute in the sincere endeavour to please her husband enhanced her glory. She thus became worshipable for the entire world. What’s more, she became very dear to Śrī Bhagavān. If, however, she had performed this service for her own sense, pleasure, or for dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa, it would have been reprehensible in every respect.

Similarly, activities such as constructing a maṭha, meeting and talking with materialistic or aristocratic people, hosting grand festivals and bestowing the śrī nāma-mantra to faithful persons sincerely desiring to serve Śrī Bhagavān, His devotees and His dhāma (all aspects of Vaikuṇṭha), enhance bhakti and ultimately cause prema to appear. Those same activities, however, bind one to this material world if they are performed with the aim of gratifying one’s senses; accumulating wealth, women and fame; or attaining dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa.

In this world, renunciation means to relinquish the objects of one’s attachment. But can ceasing to take foods that merely aggravate a disease, for instance, be considered renunciation? Abstaining from foodstuffs that destroy good health and instead accepting foods that increase longevity can hardly be celebrated as a great act of renunciation. Thus, it is hard to see how the act of renouncing one’ father, mother, relatives, friends, wealth, occupation, business or worldly duties performed to gain material comforts, can in itself be glorious. Only when a person renounces the objects of his mundane pleasure for the pleasure of the Complete Entity [Śrī Bhagavān], expecting no sense enjoyment in return, can his renunciation be considered actual renunciation. In other words, true renunciation entails not striving for dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa, or for wealth, women and adoration.

Ordinarily, it is considered irreligious to forsake the duties the scriptures prescribe for one’s varṇa and āśrama; but if these duties are discarded for the pleasure and satisfaction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the cause of all causes and the bestower of supreme bliss, then and only then is such renunciation honourable. Indeed, such renunciation, which benefits everyone, is to be revered. To renounce endeavours for sense gratification – that is, endeavours in one’s search for happiness in this world or in the next – is courageous and glorious. But the topmost renunciation is to abandon everything, even one’s independent will and desires, for the pleasure of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His one-pointed devotees.

Renouncing the mind’s propensity for independence, in other words, the sacrifice of one’s very self, is far superior to renouncing that which is inert and temporary. The glory of one’s renunciation lies truly in the glory of the object of such sacrifice. Śrī Bhagavān and His devotees who possess prema are unlimitedly glorious; and therefore to renounce for their pleasure is supremely noble. Such renunciation is incomparable because it increases the happiness of all living entities by reawakening their relationship with Śrī Bhagavān. It does not admit even the slightest scent of distress. Rather, the renunciant feels increasingly happy at every step. It can therefore be concluded that such renunciation bestows bliss in every respect and is highly esteemed.

Fruitive workers, or karmīs, make sacrifices and perform austerity with the hope of attaining increased mundane sense pleasure in the future. Such renunciation is therefore meagre and does not bestow complete happiness. Jñānīs, who aspire to realize the impersonal brahman , make sacrifices and perform austerity to dispel their own suffering. Their renunciation, also, does not bestow full happiness.

The sacrifices and austerities of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, however, are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Hari. Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes, such renunciation bestows true welfare upon the devotee and upon others. Therefore Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas greatly honour those activities that promote love of Bhagavān, and they reject activities that hinder it. In this sādhana, any sense enjoyment and renunciation that is favourable to bhakti is highly regarded. Yet devotees are not attracted to sense enjoyment and renunciation in their own right. They are attracted to love for Bhagavān and His devotees. They have no independent or whimsical desire to enjoy or renounce. Yukta-vairāgya, renunciation for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is their only sādhana. Without understanding bhajana-rahasya, the secrets of bhajana, one will become bewildered by what sense enjoyment is and what renunciation is. Both are impediments in the sādhaka’s cultivation of prema for Bhagavān.

Don’t Waste a Moment

Those who have realized that this human life offers an invaluable opportunity to work towards attaining the supreme goal, prize every moment of it. They are unwilling to waste even an instant in any other endeavour. They know that living entities in other species of life do not have the facility or good fortune to make progress towards the supreme goal, and accordingly, they see no value in living their lives in the manner of the lower species. Hence, upon attaining this extremely rare human life and, on top of that, attaining the fortune to associate with sādhus and developing śraddhā for the supreme goal, they cannot quietly squander a single moment of their lives. Rather, they will accept only what is favourable to the cultivation of affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and will reject all activities that are unfavourable to it.

As such, the devotees of the Gauḍīya Maṭha instruct the world to engage only in those practices that are righteous and favourable to the cultivation of kṛṣṇa-prema and to reject unrighteous activities that impede it. Moreover, they never indulge in violence or envy, as this hinders the cultivation of prema.

My Doubt Resolved

Thus, if I am genuinely searching for kṛṣṇa-prema, I have not after all made any mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Such Vaiṣṇavas will not fuel our desire for dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa or our hankering for wealth, women and adoration. The purpose of the Maṭha is to help free us from these anarthas and attain kṛṣṇa-prema. By taking shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in the Gauḍīya Maṭha, beggars for kṛṣṇa-prema become qualified to attain their greatest welfare. Moreover, they receive the opportunity to achieve the highest ideal of magnanimity and to ascend to the topmost level of pure vairāgya, renunciation. This is my unshakable conviction. One cannot be deviated from attaining prema for Bhagavān in due course, unless one becomes a severe offender.

One day, by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the world will profusely glorify and worship the Śrī Sarasvata Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas [that is, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s followers]. They alone are able to establish the highest ideal of benevolence in the world. Victory will certainly belong to the devotees of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, or those who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. I have not, therefore, made a mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Rather, I have whole-heartedly embraced the good fortune of attaining my highest welfare, and thus I am truly blessed.

Essay originally penned in 1966.

Translated from Śrī Caitanya-vānī by the Rays of The Harmonist team.

Published in English for the first time in Rays of The Harmonist No. 14 Kārttika 2004.

About the Author

One of the shining luminaries of the Gauḍīya sky, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja was an initimate disciple of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhakurā Prabhupāda who soon became renowned for his intense devotion, deep humility and brilliance in spreading the mission of his divine master. Indeed, Śrīla Prabhupāda used to refer to him as “a preacher of volcanic energy.”

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Madhāva Gosvāmī Mahārāja appeared in this world in Kārttika of l904, On the disappearance day of Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, in Kanchanpada, present-day Bangaladesh. He accepted the renounced order in 1944, and established Śri Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha in 1953, the current ācārya of which is Śrī Śrīmad BhaktiVallabha Tīrtha Mahārāja. One of his most significant contributions was to re-establish the appearance site of Śrīla Prabhupāda in Śrī Jagannātha Purī. This empowered personality who was kind and magnanimous to all, entered nitya līlā in 1979, on the disappearance day of Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja.

Puṣpāñjali by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

I often received the opportunity to associate closely with our revered śikṣā-guru Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. He was serene, tolerant, grave and endowed with many other qualities befitting a Vaiṣṇava. He preached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message of Divine Love widely throughout India with great vigour. The special feature of his preaching was that he taught by personal example. He emphasized that we should be humbler than a blade of grass and more forbearing than a tree, and that we should offer respect to everyone without ourselves desiring respect from others. His unique spiritual quality was that he honoured all his godbrothers. This is truly ideal. If we can sincerely follow his teachings, our guru-pujā will be successful.

Excerpt from a speech delivered in Hindi on 17th November 2003

at Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, Vṛndāvana,

at Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja’s birth centennial celebration.


Annakuta Mahotsava

blog-0442441001414253727.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Dear Readers,

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, Govardhana Annakuta is on October 24th (in India). Below are two glorifications of this celebration, which Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2002 and 2003. Below is the video of Srila Gurudeva's Annakut in 1997, in India:

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Badger, Califiornia

May 18, 2003

First of all, I offer millions of humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my paramaradyadeva, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same millions of obeisances unto the feet of my siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

Today we observed the maha-mahotsava (great festival) of Giriraja Govardhana. Who is Govardhana?

pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te

racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam

iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

"O Govardhana! Please grant me a dwelling near your side so that I can easily witness and serve the youthful lovers Sri Radha-Krsna as They perform newer and newer secret, amorous lilas within your many caves, and where They become completely maddened from drinking prema. You are present there, and you make everything possible." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 2)

So many secret and sweet pastimes of Radha and Krsna and the gopas and gopis take place in the caves and groves of Giriraja Govardhana. It can be understood, therefore, that Govardhana is not male. Radha and Krsna would not be able to play so many grove-lilas and kunja-lilas in front of a male. That would be absurd. Giriraja has actually come from the heart of Srimati Radhika. It is not that Krsna became Giriraja Govardhana. Krsna is the predominating Deity of Giriraja, but it has been written in Tapani Upanisad and Bhavisya Purana that Giriraja Govardhana has manifested from the heart of Radhika.

There were three mantras especially uttered by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura when he offered puspanjali at the lotus feet of Giriraja Govardhana. Although they are taken from songs, they are now accepted as the mantras used in the worship of Govardhana. The first is from Stava-mala by Srila Rupa Gosvami:

Govardhana tvam kuru manoratam purnam

Srila Rupa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, I have so many very confidential desires that cannot be revealed to any person besides you. I want to serve Radha-Krsna Conjugal in your groves, in many ways, as the personal maidservant of Srimati Radhika. I have this hope; so please bestow your mercy upon me."

The second mantra is: nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prayed, "O Giriraja Govardhana, you give so many facilities to Krsna and His cowherd boys. You supply grasses, very beautiful and sweet water, the shade of kadamba and other trees, you fulfill the desires of the cowherd boys, and you give beautiful ornaments of flowers to Krsna and Radhika, and to all their associates.

This mantra is taken from a verse from Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Sri Govardhan-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam:

sthala-jala-tala-saspari bhuruhac-chayaya ca

prati-padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah

tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me

nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

["O Govardhana! Please grant me residence near your side. You are worshipping Sri Radha-Krsna with your nice spacious fields, ponds, streams and waterfalls, forests, fresh grass, and shade-trees, and you are nourishing Sri Krsna's beloved cows whose numbers are thus increasing at every moment. Your very name 'Govardhana' (gah means cows, and vardhayati means to nourish and increase) is successful and renowned throughout the three worlds. If I can reside near you, I will also be able to receive the darsana of my istadeva Sri Krsna, who comes to you when He brings His cows out to graze." (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 6)]

In this way, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays, "O Giriraja Govardhana, please keep me at your lotus feet." Giriraja Govardhana has kindly given an opportunity to me, and also to you all. For more than fifty years I desired to somehow live at Govardhana. Now he has given me a place, and you are all invited to come there during the month of Kartika.

The third mantra, govardhano me disatam abhistam, is taken from the verse:

yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya

danam grhitum kalaham vitene

sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri-

govardhano me disatam abhistam

["Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I can also hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)]

Always pray: "O Giriraja, I have so much hope, and I have come to you with this hope. Srimati Radharani and Krsna were quarrelling in so many ways, in so many lilas. I want to be there, and I want to hear all those sweet quarrels. I pray to you to give me a very good place at your lotus feet so that, continually weeping and my heart melting, I can always remember Radha and Krsna's pastimes. I don't want to remember any worldly matters at all."

Your festival, Giriraja Govardhana Annukuta, was extremely beautiful. I hope it will be observed each and every year in this way. Whether I come or not, you must do it.

Gaura Premanande

[This year, 2014, Govardhana Annakuta festival is on October 24th (in India). In honor of the Annakuta festival, please accept the following class that Srila Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave in Badger, California, in 2003:]

krsna lifting govardhanaToday, Annakuta Mohotsava, is a very auspicious day. This day is observed in India during the month of Kartika. Many of Krsna's other sweet pastimes were also performed in the month of Kartika. In this month, under the guidance of Nanda Baba, the Vrajavasis observed Govardhana puja. They did this, having given up the puja of Indradeva, and that resulted in Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill on His little finger. Yasoda-devi bound Krsna in this very month, which is how the song Sri Damodarastakam originated. Kartika is also the month in which Krsna and the gopis performed Saradiya Rasa (Autumn rasa-lila).

GdatGirirajaAfter Krsna lifted Giri Govardhana, Indra understood that his torrential rain would have no effect, and thus he began to repent his actions. He thought that Krsna would punish him, and that the only way to save himself would be to take shelter of Surabhi cow. Surabhi would be able to please Krsna. She would pray to Krsna on his behalf, "Please, excuse him." No one else would be able to achieve this. Krsna considers Himself the servant of the cows and always supports them. It would therefore be easy for Surabhi to please Him. If Surabhi would not go, Krsna would not be pacified and would therefore punish him. Indra thus took shelter of Surabhi, walking behind her, and they both approached Krsna. Krsna said, "O Mother, you have come!" Surabhi said, "Yes. I have brought my son with me. I request that You please excuse him." Surabhi then began to supply large quantities of milk, and Indra, the demigods, and the great sages present began to abhisheka (bathe) Krsna, just as we did here today. Krsna then became very happy and said, "In the future I don't want to have to tolerate your nonsense activities. For your own good you should go to Navadvipa, and there, in the company of Surabhi, perform austerities. In that way you will be excused." Indra thus understood that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Up until the time of that abhiseka, Krsna was known as Yasoda-nandana and Nanda-nandana Krsna. Now, He would also be known as Govinda. Go indicates gopa, gopi, go (cow), govatsa (calf) and Veda. Krsna gives pleasure to all these gos and He also protects them; therefore His name is Govinda. Govinda and Govardhana are in the same line: He has the same duty, the same function, as Giriraja Govardhana (vardana means to nourish).

Now our Govardhana-puja is completed. Giriraja is Krsna Himself; and moreover, He has come from the heart of Radhika. He can fulfill our every desire very easily, and he can even give krsna-prema. He very rarely does so, but he can.

We should also remember that the Annakuta Mohotsava was also performed by Srila Madhavendra Puripada, as we saw in the drama play. Madhavavendra Puri went to Vrajabumi,Vrndavana, and there he stayed on the banks of Govinda-kunda at Govardhana. One day, after taking his bath, he sat beneath a tree on the banks of Govinda-Kunda. Krsna came there in the form of a cowherd boy and said to him, "Oh, why you sitting here, starving. No one starves here. My mother has sent some milk. Please drink it."

govardhanaMadhavendra Puri thought, "Throughout my entire life I have never been attracted by any human, and especially to any lady, but now I am attracted to this boy. Who is He?" He took the milk and he began to weep, his heart melting. Then he cried, "Oh! That cowherd boy was actually Krsna, and now He has left me." And he wept bitterly.

In the last part of the night Madhavavendra Puri had a dream. In that dream he saw that same boy, that very Gopala, come to him and say, "I have been here, waiting in this bush for you for a very long time; and now you have come. I'm feeling very hungry and very hot. Please make a temple for Me, and perform My abhiseka ceremony and Annakuta festival (festival in which there is cooked rice that is stacked like a small mountain) so that I shall feel satisfied." When Madhavavendra Puri awoke, he fixed his mind on executing the order of the Lord. After his morning bath he gathered some of the villagers and together they went to the kunja where Gopala was waiting and that kunja is still there today, nearby Govardhana. After clearing away the thick bushes, they very easily dug Him out and took Him to the top of Govardhana Hill. They erected a throne from stones there – one piece for the seat and one to support Him from behind. Then they began to worship Him.

Annakuta was performed for several months. Many wealthy persons from Mathura heard that Gopala had arrived and they became very happy. They brought all types of paraphernalia, such as gold, cloth, scents and bhoga. Cooking was performed for Thakurji daily, and for many months lakhs and lakhs of people honored the maha-prasadam of Gopala at that place.

After 2 years Gopala again came in a dream to Madhavavendra Puri and said, "I'm satisfied by taking all of your offerings, but My body is still hot. Can you bring malaya-candana sandalwood from Jagannath Puri?" Thus, Madhavavendra Puri once again set off to fulfill the desires of the Lord.

We are very lucky to be in the line of Madhavavendra Puri. Every year, in the month of Kartika, we observe the Annakuta Mohotsava (festival) of Giriraja Govardhana, and hundreds of devotees attend. There we worship Giriraja Govardhana Himself, not one piece (as Govardhana-sila). Actually, although a piece of Govardhana and Govardhana Hill Himself are one, still, Govardhana Hill in Vrndavana has a special glory.

annakutaIn Vrndavana we worship Govardhana with many pounds, not only a little, of milk, ghee, and yogurt, with many types of preparations – even more than here in Badger. Many of you have been to our Kartika-vrata and have personally seen this festival. We are fortunate to take part. We will continue to perform this festival every year; and we will do so until our life in this world is over. We cannot obtain pure bhakti without the mercy of Govardhana.

Many sweet pastimes take place at Govardhana. For example, Srimati Radhika, Lalita and Visakha and the other gopis are on their way to the fire sacrifice of Bhaguri Rsi. During their journey there is a discussion with Krsna. Krsna wants to check them and make them pay a toll tax, the gopis defeat Him, and He has to apologize. There is so much history there, and it is all coming in our mind and hearts.

Wherever you are, you can worship Giriraja by mind and pray:

krsna-prasadena samasta-saila-

samrajyam apnoti ca vairino pi

sakrasya yah prapa balim sa saksad

govardhano me disatam abhistam

"May Govardhana Hill fulfill my deepest desire – to get darsana of Sri Radha and Krsna's lilas. By Sri Krsna's mercy Govardhana became the emperor of all mountains, and received the offerings meant for Indra despite Indra's enmity."

(Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 1)

yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya

danam grhitum kalaham vitene

sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri

govardhano me disatam abhistam

"Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I also can hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)

These prayers will do as much for you as worshipping Govardhana Himself, because there are many moods contained within them. Try to pray in this way. This is bhajana.

Gaura premanande.


blog-0977928001413921920.jpg[This year, 2014, the festival of Dipavali is on October 23rd (in India). Srila Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, always leads the devotees to Manasi Ganga in the evening to offer ghee lamps there in remembrance of this auspicious day. He is still with us leading all the pilgrims there, continually bringing his disicples and followers out of the darkness and into the light of bhakti.]

Question: Why do we celebrate Dipavali, and in what mood is it celebrated by Vrajavasis?

Srila Gurudeva: Dipavali means a time of happiness. When Lord Rama defeated Ravana and reached Ayodhya, a big Dipavali festival was performed there. Sri Vamanadeva wanted to cheat Bali Maharaja. He did not cheat him; rather he gave his mercy, although it seemed that he was cheating. When Bali Maharaja was offered a benediction from the Lord, he requested, "Always remain in my home." In this way the Lord Himself was cheated. Lord Vamana was very glad, and he agreed to stay there forever. Due to great happiness, Bali Maharaja then asked all his associates to hold a Dipavali festival, and that was the first Dipavali. When Krsna defeated Duryodhana and returned to Dvaraka, a Dipavali was also celebrated there.

Lord Krsna Himself, along with Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba and all other Vrajavasis, came here and celebrated this festival with their own hands. In other words they themselves offered dipa (a lighted ghee wick) and rendered many other services.

Divali also means light. If there is no bhajana of Krsna there is darkness, and in Krsna Consciousness there is light. We celebrate this function in order to give up darkness and to bring the light of bhakti, pure devotion. This is the same celebration. Real happiness comes from playing karatalas and mrdangas. If one hears this, and if maya hears, maya will go away at once. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought the sankirtana movement to this world to drive out maya. Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu do this Themselves, and we should try to follow Them.


44glava.jpgHilo, Hawaii: February 9, 2005
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Yesterday [Vyasa-puja] we discussed guru-tattva. There are so many speakers present tonight, those who are preaching here and there. I want them to preach, but first they must learn guru-tattva and all other tattvas (established philosophical truths). They should learn all tattvas, and guru-tattva is the backbone of them all.

[Shrila Narayana Maharaja then called on several devotees to continue speaking on the topic of guru-tattva. This took quite some time, and then Shrila Narayana Maharaja spoke:]

What is the duty of a pure disciple towards his god-brothers, gurudeva and superiors? Should he criticize others or not, and should he be humble or not? We should not criticize anyone. Always be humble and try to respect both superiors and inferiors.

Today our time is over. It is 7pm, and now the drama will be performed. There are so many speakers and I want to give time to them, but I will speak for at least one minute.

You have been hearing about Shrimad-Bhagavatam. If anyone will utter or hear even one verse, half of a verse, half of a half of one verse, one word or even one letter of a verse, he may attain krsna-prema. He will come in the process to attain pure bhakti:

satam prasangam mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati

[“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25)]

First you will attain sadhana-bhakti, then gradually bhava-bhakti, and at last prema-bhakti. At that time you will go directly to Goloka Vrindavana and serve the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. Try to read, utter and hear hari-katha, especially from Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shrila Vyasadeva and Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami have stated:

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

[“O expert and thoughtful men, relish Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Shri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its sectarian juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3)]

There was a fruit in the spiritual world that was full of rasa (nectar). It had no skin and no seed. It was simply rasa. A parrot from this world flew there and saw that fruit. He became greedy and wanted to taste it, so he put his beak into the fruit and said to himself, “Very, very tasteful.” Out of greed, he at once picked it up with his beak and returned to this world, and he has mercifully given the fruit – Shrimad-Bhagavatam – to the entire world.

Those who are fortunate should go to a rasika (taster of transcendental mellows) tattva-jna (knower of all truths) Vaisnava and drink this rasa until they have fainted. Even if you are a liberated soul, you can drink this transcendental juice.

I wanted to explain these topics more elaborately, but I could not do so because of a shortage of time.

It will be best if I tell you more. So next year, if Lord Shri Krishna will arrange it, we can meet here again.

Up until now we have explained only the first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:

janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijïah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi

[“O my Lord, Shri Krishna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Shri Krishna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Shri Krishna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1)]

To explain these verses, some selected verses have been given by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Shrimad Bhagavata-arka-maricimala. Among these verses, I will try to explain as many as I will have time for – perhaps one, two, three or four.

Lord Shri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that fruit, which Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami brought from Goloka Vrindavana, is Lord Krishna Himself. Krishna is bhagavat-svarupa, the embodiment of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the glorification of Krishna, and therefore it consists simply of rasa. Shri Narada told Shrila Vyasadeva, “Don’t mix anything when you write Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It should be pure rasa.” Krishna Himself is pure rasa.

There are twelve kinds of rasa (transcendental mellow relationships with Lord Krsn). The five prominent rasas are: santa (neutral), dasya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental) and madhurya (conjugal love). The seven secondary rasas are: hasya (comedy), adbhuta (wonder), karuna (mercy), raudra (anger), bhayanaka (horror) bibhatsa (shock) and vira (chivalry). All rasas are present in Krishna. Everything is there.

When Shri Krishna entered the wrestling arena with his brother, Lord Baladeva, they were each carrying a tusk of the elephant Kuvalayapida. Some blood was dripping from the tusks and the boys were somewhat smiling. At that time Kamsa told the very strong wrestlers, Carana, Mustika and others, “Be ready. Krishna should not leave here alive. You should all combine and kill Him at once.” The wrestlers were very tall, resembling mountains. They were ready to wrestle, and they tried to pull Krishna and Baladeva into the arena. Lord Krishna told them, “I can only wrestle with boys my age. I cannot wrestle with you.” They replied, “You have killed Putana, Agasura and Bakasura. You always wrestle while cow-herding. We know you. So come on and wrestle, and in that way we can try to please Maharaja Kamsa.” Then they forcibly pulled Krishna and Baladeva into the arena.

The wives of the Yadus were present in the audience. They saw Krishna, and they saw that the demons were dragging Him into the arena. They became furious and could not check themselves. Rebuking everyone present, they announced, “If anyone here supports the idea that the wrestlers should fight with this boy, Krishna, they will go against religious principles. We will not remain here.”

You should be like these wives of the Yadus. My daughters should be very bold. When something is going on against religion and bhakti, they should speak up.

They wives of the Yadavas spoke very beautiful verses, in which they glorified the gopis. They said: “O gopis, what high class of austerities you have performed!”

gopyas tapah kim acaran yad amusya rupam
lavanya-saram asamordhvam ananya-siddham
drgbhih pibanty anusavabhinavam durapam
ekanta-dhama yasasah sriya aisvarasya

[“What austerities must the gopis have performed! With their eyes they always drink the nectar of Lord Krishna’s form, which is the essence of loveliness and is not to be equaled or surpassed. That loveliness is the only abode of beauty, fame and opulence. It is self-perfect, ever fresh and extremely rare.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.44.15)]

“You are always drinking the beauty of Shri Krishna with your eyes, taking Him through your eyes into your heart, and embracing Him there. What austerities have you performed? We want the dust of your lotus feet upon our heads, so we can be like you.”

ya dohane ’vahanane mathanopalepa
gayanti cainam anurakta-dhiyo ’sru-kanthyo
dhanya vraja-striya urukrama-citta-yanah

[“The ladies of Vraja are the most fortunate of women because, with their minds fully attached to Krishna and their throats always choked up with tears, they constantly sing about Him while milking the cows, winnowing grain, churning butter, gathering cow dung for fuel, riding on swings, taking care of their crying babies, sprinkling the ground with water, cleaning their houses, and so on. By their exalted Krishna consciousness they automatically acquire all desirable things.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.44.15)]

“Oh gopis, you are always remembering the sweet pastimes of Shri Krishna. At the time of sweeping you sing: ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.’

“When purifying your courtyard with cow dung and water, you sing: ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.’”When your babies are going to sleep but are not yet sleeping, what are you doing?

‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.’

“And when you are churning yogurt, you sing: ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti Govinda Damodara Madhaveti’“

"Only the bodies of the gopis engage in these household activities. They are blessed, for their minds are in Lord Krishna. Krishna is always on the chariot of their minds, and they always sit on the chariot of Krishna’s mind."

“Oh gopis, how glorious you are! What austerities you must have performed!” pratar vrajad vrajata avisatas ca sayam
gobhih samam kvanayato ’sya nisamya venum
nirgamya turnam abalah pathi bhuri-punyah
pasyanti sa-smita-mukham sa-dayavalokam

[“When the gopis hear Krishna playing His flute as He leaves Vraja in the morning with His cows or returns with them at sunset, the young girls quickly come out of their houses to see Him. They must have performed many pious activities to be able to see Him as He walks on the road, His smiling face mercifully glancing upon them. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.44.16)]

“When Krishna goes to the forest to graze the cows, and also when He returns home, you are waiting there. Having come from your houses and having given up all your duties, you gaze at Shri Krishna’s face and smile. What austerities have you performed?”

You can also think of Shri Krishna like the gopis, when sweeping or performing any activity. Krishna is very sweet, and this has been told in the above-mentioned verses.
I will continue to explain tomorrow.

Gaura Premanande.

I wanted to give this sweet rasa to you during my days here in Hilo, but I could not. Instead I spent most of my time here discussing tattva-jnana (philosophy).

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