What difference can care and attention make in the practice of our sadhana? What are the results of real meditation? What is the difference between the day of appearance and disapearance of a pure devotee? Which are two aspects of his departure? What relationship had Srila Sridhar Maharaj and Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj? What are the symptoms of pure devotional reciprocation? How were the last days of Srila Sridhar Maharaja? Class given on the anniversary day of Srila Sridhar Maharaja´s disapearance, France, 11.8.2018.
As in the outside world, at work, we must pay attention to what we do, to be present when we do spiritual programs is the same, really do things well. We should not take a spiritual program for something banal, we really have to do it with a lot of attention and prepare the mood before doing a kirtan, hari-katha or a program, we have to really prepare ourselves mentally, get ready to receive a great benefit. Even if it is a subtle benefit, there is still a great benefit that we will receive, so if we do things banal, ”go, we’ll do a kirtan”, and that we are not really prepared, so we can miss the profit. And even if we do not realize it or sometimes we do not feel it, there is still a benefit, even if it is subtle, that comes with practicing these spiritual activities whether it be by the Hari-Kathas, watching or listening, all those things, when one engages in these transcendantal activities, there is a benefit that is there. Just believe it and have faith in it, and you will see the benefit come. The actions in the spiritual realm are much more subtle, much more mystical compared to the actions we can do in this material world where it is much more rude, we must also prepare ourselves for this much more subtle world. I insist on this because often we tend to fall into this kind of banality, ”oh ! We’ll do a bhajan for Krsna”, or else ”another sadhu, I’ll go”, we do not prepare at all and we take this for granted, we could say that no, we must come each time with this desire to obtain spiritual benefit. We can see in this world then, it’s not that we say ”oh ! Must sleep again”, or ”must still eat”, it is something that comes naturally without effort.
We do not need to cultivate these desires to eat or sleep, or to have a mental recreation. We never think ”oh ! I have already eaten, I eat every day, that’s it, I have experienced that, I no longer need to eat”, or so ”I have experienced sleep, I no longer need to sleep”, no, we don’t feel that.c We never have this mood, because otherwise, if we have no good meals, or a good sleep, then all the joy will go away.
In the same way, the thirst for Krsna-Bhakti, devotion to Krsna must be really present and cultivated, much more finally than the other material needs that we talked about previously. And when this natural desire for Krsna-Bhakti is not there in our life then we need to make an effort to cultivate it and consciously, a conscious effort and that is what is called sadhana : cultivate these spiritual desires.
This ruci, the taste is not necessarily and even rarely present in the life of a devotee, this spiritual taste really comes by a great fortune, but we in our case, the mahajanas really insisted, ”no ! We will have to constantly cultivate and grow our plant of devotion and cultivate these spiritual desires by sadhana”.
Also in our material life, we have good duties and sometimes we are tired, we don’t want to, but we do it anyway. Why ? Because we know there will be a profit or a return on the efforts we are going to make either for ourselves or for our family as well as society, isn’t it ? We do this to make money even though we don’t really want to go, but we make the effort because we want to raise that money.
In the same way, we need to find time to cultivate our spiritual life even though sometimes we don’t really want to, but we have to convince our mind that there is a huge benefit to cultivating our spiritual life. In the material sphere, there is a way to be able to have a taste for what we do, to love or to do a trade or an activity, a material duty that we love. And in this way, we don’t need to make a lot of effort to get there, we enjoy what we do, it’s no longer an effort. In the spiritual sphere, we will have to find taste in the spiritual activity that we do. Of course, when I speak of taking pleasure in a trade, it is important that this profession in under the guna of virtue, not professions or occupations that are in passion or in ignorance. I’m talking about sattvik work, I’m not going to encourage people to develop a taste for certain professions that cause so much cruelty and suffering for other living entities, I insist on the fact that I’m talking about finding some pleasure in sattvik activities.
I really encourage you to develop this same kind of taste when we engage in spiritual activities such as listening or singing (Sravanam-Kirtanam), for example in the spheres of yoga, sometimes at the beginning practitioners will practice, perhaps to be advised, they do not really want and have no taste for it, but by doing these yogic activities, they will develop the Pranayama, the breaths or the asanas, and will develop a certain well-being, a certain benefit that after a while they like to do that and even no longer able to do without these activities.
As for example, meditation is really in the higher spheres of yoga and that can become very very attractive, that can intoxicate us transcendentally, feel this connection with the supreme soul in the heart can be really very fulfilling for the jiva, the spiritual soul is the purpose of meditation.
I personally had some experiences like that in my life through this kind of meditation, it’s so addictive and attractive, it’s like nectar, transcendental intoxication, live in a constant connection through our life with the supreme soul, the Supreme Lord in our heart, it is something very tangible, very concrete, I speak of a real spiritual meditation which is finally pure devotion. It’s not just sleeping or sitting without doing anything, it’s a very active meditation but an activity that is internal, very subtle, that happens in us in our heart. Maybe externally it may seem immobile or inactive like that but in the inner world, the subjective world there is a full satisfaction, this ambrosia, this spiritual nectar flows freely.
The essence, the character of all these inner spiritual activities are soothing. These activities are very soothing, satisfying essences full of ambrosia, unlike external material activities that will be very passionate and ultimately very unsatisfactory. Because these inner actions are totally concentrated, where the devotion is unique to the Paramatma who is no different from Krsna Himself, everything is focused on the Supreme Soul. I felt inspired to share this with you to really encourage you to come to the spiritual programs with a certain gravity and concentration that it is not a few ordinary things all these spiritual programs.
For the spiritualist, this supra-subjective world is filled with nectar, diversity, activities, etc., just like for example an ordinary person, when we see a tree or a pebble, it’s something banal we see that every day, for someone who has refined their perception as a scientist or someone versed in Ayurveda, then go see a plant, a stone or a tree of a different vision and see a whole diversity of things, its utilities, etc.
Whoever does not have the knowledge of the stones maybe will see a diamond or gold like ” yes, ok it’s pretty, it’s a little yellow, it shines ”, but whoever really has this knowledge of gemstones then will be completely fascinated by this gold and these diamonds or even hope to be able to get it.
In a similar way, when we develop this knowledge of this subjective world, of the transcendence, that we really know the benefits and their values then automatically we become much more attentive, more motivated, of course for that, it will be necessary to cultivate this mood and this knowledge.
Nowadays, we can see on the internet a lot of small messages and videos that are very motivating in the material sphere to get this or that and it is very much appreciated, it works very well for the people who will draw their motivations through these messages, and in a similar way in the spiritual spheres, there are many motivating messages especially through the life of the saints, will motivate us or give us the desire really to obtain this immeasurable wealth. it was the prelude to Hari-Katha. Disappearance day of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhardev Goswami Maharaj.
Today is a very auspicious day, one of the most important days of our life because my divine master His Holiness Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj left this earthly plan to enter the eternal pastimes in GolokaVrndavana of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
This day has two aspects, the first aspect where our divine master has chosen to withdraw, to deprive us somewhere of his direct association, his direct and physical service of being able to touch him, to listen to the teachings of his mouth, etc. At the same time there is another aspect, which is the glorious and happy day when he entered the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna after so many years of absence. This day is marked by the union in separation bihare (separation) -milana (union). On our side, he retired, he deprives us of his direct association with him (bihare), he made us sink into an ocean of sadness due to his separation. But it also makes us feel that kind of union that we have through that intense love, that love and that union in separation that we did not know when he was physically present.
This was achieved by the realized souls, the pure devotees, this intensity of the union through these strong feelings of separations and finally this union is sometimes more intense in the separation than when our master was physically present. This is why there is this expression, the term the union in the separation that may seem opposite, when there is union, there can be no separation, but from an internal point of view it is very real where there is this union in the separation.
Sometimes, when the master is physically present, we tend to forget that he is there, but when the master disappears, deprives us of his presence, this acute feeling of pain in the separation creates a union with that master who can constantly increase. The other aspect we talked about earlier, Guru Maharaj goes into nitya-lila, so we call it union in the union, this concerns Guru Maharaj and His Lordships and it is this day. where they could taste the union in the union in this particular tithi. Whether it is the day of the disappearance or the appearance of a great Vaisnava, these two days are very important and very auspicious for us, embodied beings, and we observe with great attention and devotion.
Phani Bhusan prabhu told me earlier that the Vaisnavas have considered the days of disappearances less important, why? because, when the Vaisnava disappears, we have all the memories, all the memories of its passage among us, whereas its appearance is finally only the beginning, relatively one can say that it is less important than its disappearance. But from a point of view of the tattva, the eternal nature of gurudeva, these two lilas, these two pastimes of the appearance and disappearance of gurudeva must be seen and observed equally. Despite the fact that the mood, that is to say, the state of mind, the state of mind with which we observe the day of appearance and the day of disappearance is not the same, but nevertheless these two days are of equal importance in the tattva, these two days, from a Vaisnava point of view, must be honored, adored with the same importance. At the level of the tattva of the eternal identity of the spiritual master, even if these lilas are not yet revealed to me, they are already there, a little bit like the example of Valmiki Muni, he could see all the Râmâyana, before as it manifests itself on Earth.
We should rather observe these events from a subjective point of view, where everything is there for now, come into this world and disappear, and even from a relative point of view, we should understand that even when it has a child’s form (gurudeva), everything is already there. From the point of view of the eternal Swarup, the guru-tattva, everything remains intact, all the potential in the form of seeds, these lilas are already there and everything is already predestined somewhere by the good will of the Supreme Lord, and simply when He appears this day, everything is already there, so it matters so much. The Vyasa-Puja, even if it is considered appearance as disappearance, even when the day of the apparition, the Vyasa-Puja is used for the day of its full appearance. Vyasa-Puja means adoration of the Guru-Tattva, Puja is worship and Vyasa, with greatness, enthusiasm, zeal. The day of the apparition, Vyasa-Puja, which means adoration with a lot of abundance, Vyasa means wide.
On this auspicious day, there is so much pastimes of my gurudeva that comes to my mind and many different aspects of his pastimes. There are several aspects, tattvik but also of its lilas, its different activities in this world related to its service and many different compartments. I am thinking about what we are going to discuss because I could not cover all of them today.
For example, there is the aspect of his grandiose preaching, but also of his internal bhajan, which was also grandiose. A great servant who was very very active in serving the temple. He was very very fond of his godsisters and godbrothers much like Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj who had a lot of affection for her godsisters and godbrothers too. A great protector of our lineage rupanuga and guardian of the siddhanta, wisdom and philosophy of our lineage. He was a great protector of his disciples or of anyone who wanted to surrender at his lotus feet, and he was a very loving guardian to all. There are many different aspects. I will touch one of them according to my inspiration. There is a scene that appears before my inner eyes between Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj who loved each other so much. When Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj arrived at the Caitanya Saraswat Math in Navadvip and went to his room, the devotees prepared him a chair with an asana, my gurudeva was not satisfied to see his godbrother sitting so far away from him he took his hands and sat him on his own bed. And there, my guru Maharaj was so happy to have his godbrother sitting next to him on his own bed. These two great friends, fond of each other, began to chat with each other on the bed face to face, this affectionate friendship between these two godbrothers goes back to the time of their service for their spiritual master Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada and has been growing since that time.
Often, Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati and Thakur Prabhupada sent them together on missions of preaching and Hari-Katha. My gurudeva and Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj have shared so many years in singing preaching, traveling together, sleeping in the same rooms, sometimes in the same bed, sharing the prasadam together, going to the Hari-Katha program together. When Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj was returning from a preaching tour, returning to the Caitanya Gaudiya Math in Mayapur, he could not help but immediately see Navadvip’s dear Sridhar Maharaj, his dear friend to share his achievements.
He was crossing the Ganges at Navadvip’s Caitanya Saraswat Math and was staying for a few days with my spiritual master. In the garden of Sri Caitanya Saraswat Math, there are two orange trees, (mosambi) two kinds of oranges, Sri Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj loved the juice of these particular oranges. As soon as Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj arrived at the ashram, my spiritual master said “go and pick some oranges” on the trees growing in the yard of the math, and we were going to squeeze the oranges, we offered to the deities, to Thakurji and then brought them to the room and Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj drank a large glass of this orange juice, while my spiritual master drank a little and he took a lot of fun to see his great friend drink this pure orange juice. My gurudeva had so much fun, finally he had more fun to see his godbrother revel in the orange juice, the fruit that had grown in his math, and was totally filled by watching like that Srila Madhava Maharaj drink this juice orange. When Guru Maharaj saw Srila Dayita Madhava Maharaj drink the orange juice, he was so satisfied and asked, “Do you want more?”
Even if it were small events, for us it meant a lot, we could really show the love of these two godbrothers and the way Guru Maharaj was totally satisfied, he tasted something when he saw his dear godbrother drink this orange juice that came from the math and not just from a subjective point of view but also from an objective point of view that is to say physically, it’s as if he had really drunk or to taste this orange juice, we could see live a great relationship of love between these godbrothers. It is a high principle of love, there we could see directly in front of us, completely alive in this world.
Not only with Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj but also with other godbrothers such as Bhakti Promoda Puri Goswami Maharaj or Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, when they came, our gurudeva instructed us: ” do this or do it! ”, We would run everywhere because he was very very demanding about really satisfying his gobrothers who came to visit him. When Guru Maharaj saw that his godbrothers were satisfied by our service and by the love he had for them then he was fully satisfied, finally it was very hard to say who were the most satisfied, his godbrothers that we dealt with with a lot of attention and love, or Guru Maharaj himself satisfied to see his godbrothers by the service he gave them in his math, oh! So beautiful !
It is the nature of a relationship of spiritual love, of divine love. I had the incredible good fortune to be able to witness all these exchanges, really in front of me, in a lively way.
I could have had this great fortune to be able to witness the Kathas exchanges between my spiritual master and many of his godbrothers, some like Srila Madhava Maharaj and others I was a lot younger, I was a child, it were fuzzy memories but I still remember very well those hours and hours of discussions between my spiritual master and his godbrothers.
The verses of the Upadesamrta of Srila Rupa Goswami took life, were incarnate, were lived before me by my spiritual master and especially this verse:
guhyam akhyati prcchati
bhunkte bhojayate caiva
which speaks of the different exchanges of affections between the devotees. In this verse of the Upadesamrta, are presented the six kinds of love exchanges between the exalted people, the pure devotees.
Dadati pratigrhnati : dadati means to reveal his heart and the nectar of his heart and mind through the Hari-Katha, the achievements that a pure devotee can have, dadati means to reveal his heart to another devotee, the second aspect is to receive, to receive the nectar of the heart of the other pure devotee, in this way it is an exchange between devotee, give and receive in return.
Guhyam akhyati prcchati: share his experiences and achievements on different aspects of Krsna or the spiritual life but also ask the other person, ” what is your experience? ”, ” Can you share me your achievements on this subject? “It is very reciprocal and always in relation with Lord Hari.
Bhunkte bhojayate caiva: when the devotee tastes a feeling, he will taste it but also make it taste with the other devotee with a lot of love. What does he taste? The nectarean experience of bhajan.
Sad-vidham priti-laksanam: these are the six ways of reciprocity between devotees and Lord Hari.
We can be sure that Sri Sri Radha-Krsna taste this nectar that the two devotees taste by talking together and They (Radha-Krsna) taste it in the same way that they (the devotees) taste it because Sri Sri Radha-Krsna are captivated, are attached to the place where there is this kind of exchange between the devotees. The Supreme Lord can not stay away from this kind of exchange, often in an invisible way, but sometimes in a visible way, and there the two devotees taste even more by having the darshan of Radha-Krsna.
Sometimes my spiritual master shared to me that he had just had a vision of a particular pastimes of Radha and Krsna just for a moment and that it disappeared. He shared with me a few things that he shared with only a few people and sometimes had the vision of some lilas of Mahaprabhu and RadhaKrsna when he composed the Sri Premadhama Deva Stotram, the Lord Gauranga’s glorification of 70 verses, he perceived these lilas and wrote them, it was not simply that he had a poetic talent but a few things realized. This is how many bhajans were composed either by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura or Srila Narottama Das Thakura, they were not just great poets but they lived it because they perceived what they were writing.
The subjective and objective realization harmonized and wrote in these bhajans, these poems. Some devotees have totally subjective experiences, mystical and invisible to anyone while others transcribe these experiences in the objective world through their service in the temple, the pujas, the Hari-Kathas, their bhajans, singing, by dancing, organizing sevas, but in the life of the pure devotee, these objective and subjective experiences harmonize and unite.
To return to the point, my spiritual master had many, many affections for his godbrothers and godsisters, always in relation to his spiritual master, he really liked to take care of his brothers and sisters like Srila Bhakti Madhava Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Promoda Puri Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and many others, he took great pleasure in serving them. Among other practical aspects in the temple, my spiritual master was very caring to take care of his godbrothers, that they be really comfortable and satisfied in their own mission.
The mood of my spiritual master was always to retain as much as possible his godbrothers and vaisnavas saying to them: ” but stay a little longer, a few more days ”, his godbrothers sometimes, despite the fact that they wanted to stay, had to go back to their own math, their own mission, each time his brothers said: “We too, it really hurts our hearts to leave, but do not worry, we’ll be back soon.” Because with the age, my gurudeva really absorbed himself in Bhajananandi, in a more intense internal practice, he remained much more in his math, he did not travel much anymore, it was rather his godbrothers who came to see him in Navadwip. If he did not go see his godbrothers then it was them who came to see him and had queries full of love, ” Oh! Please! Stay here, do not go! ”
Today is the disappearance of my spiritual master, and I have an important memory that comes to mind, an event that happened between my gurudeva and Srila Bhakti Promoda Puri Goswami maharaj, all these great devotees ( Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj, Srila Promoda Puri Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Prajana Kesava Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Akincana Goswami Maharaj), these godbrothers of my spiritual master have become my siksa-gurus in my spiritual life .
When the news spread that my spiritual master was about to enter his pastimes to leave this world, Srila Bhakti Promoda Puri Goswami Maharaj, immediately came to stay at Navadvip, the SCSM to be with him at that moment precise, he had his own mission, his own institution, Sri Gopinnath Gaudiya Math which was just starting in Mayapur, through his disciples while staying at the SCSM, he was taking care of Sri Gopinnath Gaudiya Math. At one point, there was something very important that he had to settle (Puri Maharaj) at the SGGM, he wanted to go through the Ganges and then back to the SCSM, with that mindset that Puri Maharaj was going to cross the Ganges to go to the SGGM to solve this problem then come back, he still went up to the bhajan kutir of my spiritual master to ask for his blessings, my spiritual master was lying on his bed demonstrating his last moments of demonstrations on Earth.
While Puri Maharaj was asking for permission to go and settle this problem on the other side of the Ganges, we had brought a chair, an asana to Maharaj to sit near the bed of my gurudeva, my gurudeva took the hands of Puri Maharaj and implored him: “Stay there, please, do not go, during your absence, anything could happen to me, I feel that these are my last moments to stay here, rest a few more days, I will solve the problems of my math from here “, Sridhar Maharaj said:” Please, take care of my samadhi, I entrust it to you, it is in your hands “. The two brothers started crying, Puri Maharaj immediately said, “Maharaj! You can not leave, your time has not come yet for you to leave us behind, what will you have done without you, please, do not think this time has come !! “, Srila Guru Maharaj replied, “No Maharaj! I feel that my time is coming, I have received a call from above, I have to leave, please, do not try to keep me in this plane, I am not in good health with physical difficulties I think I’m old enough, I think my time has come, do not try to stop this time, let me go. It is the desire of their Lordships! but I really want you to make my Samadhi-Puja with your own hands, please, do not leave! ”, the two brothers were crying, but he accepted the request of Guru-Maharaja, and canceling going to Mayapur, calling some of his disciples to take care of the math, he decided to stay with him, three, four days later that, my gurudeva is gone, and we put him in samadhi under the expert guidance of Puri Maharaj as was the desire of my spiritual master.
It was the wonderful contribution of Puri Maharaj in relation to my gurudeva, taking care of the samadhi ceremony, myself and Govinda Maharaj and the brahmacari who was the personal servant of my gurudeva, under the expert guidance of Puri Maharaj who was in tears, we did this samadhi ceremony together.
Today is the disappearance of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhardev Goswami Maharaj, my Guru-Maharaja, of course I remember these events, there would be many aspects to touch but I would like to stay there today.
Simultaneous English translation by Uddhava das Prabhu
Transcribed by Rasalila Devi Dasi Mataji
Translated to English from Uddhava Das Prabhu’s translation by Rasalila Devi Dasi Mataji
and re-read by GovardhanKrsna Das Prabhu