domingo, 19 de julho de 2009

MY SERVICE TO HIM

CHAPTER THREE



From the very early days onwards, even before he first went to the West, Srila Swami Maharaja requested me many times to come and join him in his preaching. I could not go at that time because I had given my word to my Guru Maharaja to look after the Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura and to translate books and preach in Hindi. I obeyed his order for so long. In Swamiji's letters from America, he again invited me to come there and assist him. He also wanted some brahmacaris to come with him to help preach, but we knew of none suitable at that time. Some of us wanted to serve him then, but we could see he was doing so marvelously even without others' help. It was in 1922 that Swamiji first received the order from his Gurudeva to go to the West and preach, and it took until 1965 for it to happen. In a similar way I am now trying after twenty years to fulfill the order Swamiji gave to me.

***

As I have mentioned many times before, when Swamiji called for me in his final days, in everyone's presence he requested me to assist his disciples in all respects after his disappearance. He is a pure Vaisaava, there can be no doubt about this whatsoever. I consider it my duty and religious principle to follow the order of the pure Vaisnavas. Therefore as soon as I meet any devotee regardless of what group he may be from- whether the group of Srila Sridhara Maharaja or other acaryas or within ISKCON , I accept them all as followers of Srila Prabhupada. As far as is possible I respect and help them all in a liberal manner; I do not see different parties of devotees. It is not that I only consider those in our Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Rather, I go beyond that, breaking the walls of institutions. I know that when a Vaisaava is serving his bona-fide guru, especially a guru in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he always tries to serve everyone without consideration of caste or creed. I consider it my duty to help everyone who comes to me by answering their questions and giving them guidance to the best of my ability. Srila Swami Maharaja was pleased that I served him with this mood before, and I am still continuing to try to serve him like this.

***

Once I was travelling from Navadvipa by train. Acyutananda dasa and two other devotees were in the same compartment. An Indian gentleman asked Acyutananda, "Who are you? Are you Gaudiya Vaisnavas?" He flatly replied, "No, we are from ISKCON. We are disciples of Srila Prabhupada. We're not connected with other Gaudiya Vaisnavas." Upon hearing this, I became sorry. "I know that Swamiji would not tell you to speak like this, to say that you are not affiliated with the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Perhaps you are not understanding correctly. If you declare this then you are like a kuputra, a disobedient son who is not a real son of his father." I told the persons who were asking that his Gurudeva was a Gaudiya Vaisaava, a very bona-fide and exalted disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and that he had taken sannyasa from our Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I explained that we are all different branches in the same tree of the Gaudiya Vaisaava parampara.

I never discussed with Swamiji that some of his students were declaring they were not part of the Gaudiya Vaisnava movement. I knew that Swamiji is in the same line as all the disciples and followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, but some of Swamiji's disciples didn't yet understand the siddhanta. I defeated their arguments because I know that everywhere he has explained guru-parampara and all of his purports and teachings came from the same guru-parampara. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami's parampara is our same parampara. If it had been different, then why did he take sannyasa from our gurudeva? Personally I was fully satisfied about these points; there was no confusion for either me or Swamiji. At that time I thought it was a very minor problem, that soon it would be adjusted properly.

In our Gaudiya Matha there are also many students who don't follow all these concepts correctly because they don't know anything yet. They don't understand about siddhanta and guru-tattva. Some of Swamiji's disciples may have had misunderstandings, but it seemed minor then. I have always ordered everyone in our matha not to be sectarian, to be very respectful towards all Vaisnavas, and not to speak badly against anyone. Some are immature and if there is a problem, I continue to order them to improve. We must say that any devotee who does these incorrect things is not the proper son of his father, but is mistaken.

***

Sometimes it may sound as if I am speaking some things that Srila Swami Maharaja has never said. When a seed is planted then naturally it will grow into a tree with branches. Are these branches not included in the original seed? Are they coming from somewhere else? Because it is a tree, then all its parts will naturally manifest; they are all hidden within the seed. Swamiji has written everything in his books. I am not saying anything new. Everything that I speak is coming directly and exclusively from the authentic literatures of our acaryas. I also try to give examples from Srila Swami Maharaja's own purports in his own words. So his tree will certainly grow. New leaves will come and it will give more and more shade. As we water it so many beautiful flowers and fruits will come, that is sure. That watering process is hearing, chanting and remembering hari-katha.

***

Swami Maharaja has planted so many seeds of bhakti. Some seeds are sprouting, some are growing, and some have leaves- two leaves, four leaves, six leaves and more. But there are also so many seeds that are drying up. Many devotees have lost their strength and their faith. Some sannyasis are leaving sannyasa, and many sincere devotees are feeling disconnected and disheartened. These creepers which Swamiji has planted need water to be sprinkled on them.

***

One Vaisnava can never have exactly the same mood as another. No one can say that even Swamiji's leading disciples are totally the same as him. There will be a difference of shape, difference of speech, difference of words, tunes, moods-- everything. All details cannot be identically the same; there must be some difference. Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are not equally the same. Rupa and Sanatana are in the same line, but are not completely the same. The leaves of any tree, like one mango tree, are not all the same- there must be some difference. But we are also in the family of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, therefore we are included in the same tree. It cannot be said that there is real any difference between us since we are in the same bona-fide disciplic tree.

***

I was never interested in making many followers and I didn't want to initiate many disciples. For a long time I have been active as a siksa-guru for the devotees in the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Similarly, I want to offer siksa like this to anyone who is interested. Now I have accepted Western diksa disciples, but my original intention was to help everyone become strong by siksa. I want the devotees to benefit from the siksa of all bona-fide Vaisnavas. I want them to advance more and more in Krsna consciousness, to have love and affection for each other and for all other Vaisnavas. I want to see Srila Swami Maharaja's movement become healthy and strong.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja tried to help in this same way because he was also requested by Swamiji. He never called the devotees or tried to cause any disturbance. Many were attracted and came and wanted to hear hari-katha and he was distributing hari-katha. Other Gaudiya Vaisnavas are also doing this. We are speaking hari-katha here and thus so many devotees are thirsty to receive help. But the concept and siddhanta of siksa-guru and guru-tattva is not yet widely understood and accepted. The siksa-guru does not compete with the diksa-guru. He assists the devotees in strengthening their relationship with their diksa-guru and in understanding and carrying out their diksa guru's conclusions. I am bound to serve Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja in these ways because he is not only my siksa guru, he is also my bosom friend.

***

Srila Swami Maharaja's order to me was that I help his devotees. If I am obeying him, then I may be disobeying others. In any case, even if the whole world is on one side opposing me, I will be on the other side trying to obey him. I only want to teach what is pure bhakti in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami and all our acaryas up to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. I want to be welcome in his temples where he had his pastimes. I want to take his footdust, pay my respects and especially worship at his samadhi, which was performed with my own hands. I have an open heart and open arms; my door is always open to anyone. My intention is to help everyone who comes to me to establish a beautiful temple in their heart where Sri Sri Radha and Krsna can be served.

I am praying at the lotus feet of my diksa-gurudeva and at the lotus feet of my siksa-guru and priya-bandhu Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. May they bestow their mercy on all of you and also on me. If after first giving mercy to all of you there is some left, then may they give to me as well. Please do not think that I am minimizing Swamiji or acting against the best interest of his mission. From my heart I care for all of his followers who try to carry out his orders and spread Krsna consciousness so much. I am begging all of the Vaisnavas to be sympathetic to my attempt to serve the lotus feet and mission of our beloved Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. He has kindly given me the opportunity to serve him and I am offering my heartfelt puspanjali at his lotus feet.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada !

Gaura premanande Haribol!

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Sri Guru-vandana

.
The Worship of Sri Guru
(from Prema-bhakti-candrika)
.

1
sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,
bando mui savadhana mate
jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,
krsna-prapti hoy jaha ha'to

2
guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,
ar na koriho mane asa
sri-guru-carane rati, ei se uttama-gati,
je prasade pure sarv asa

3
cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,
divya-jnan hrde prokasito
prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate,
vede gay jahara carito

4
sri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu,
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya,
ebe jasa ghusuk tribhuvana

TRANSLATION

1
The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

2
My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth. Attachment to his lotus feet is the perfection that fulfills all desires.

3
He opens my darkened eyes and fills my heart with transcendental knowledge. He is my Lord birth after birth. From him ecstatic prema emanates; by him ignorance is destroyed. The Vedic scriptures sing of his character.

4
Our spiritual master is the ocean of mercy, the fiend of the poor, and the lord and master of the devotees. O master! Be merciful unto me. Give me the shade of your lotus feet. Your fame is spread all over the three worlds.

Maha Mantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare



LOTUS

Jaya Srila Gurudeva , Srila Prabhupada Ki Jay !

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada !

Gaura premanande Haribol!