Śrīla Guru Mahārāja happily spent many, many years absorbed in bhajan activities, writing activities, and of course in speaking Hari kathā, surrounded by this Tapovana atmosphere. So many fruit trees just came up on their own, and some of the fruit trees he planted himself later on. From the beginning there were many fruit trees, palm trees, mango trees, flower trees, one tamal tree, pines and coconut trees… One jack-fruit tree is original, and others were planted later on. The reason for describing all this is to explain the natural treasure of Caitanya Sāraswat Maṭh from the beginning with its flowers, fruits, trees, and also some herbs and spinach growing around this land. The back portion of the land was used for cultivation of nice crops like paddys (rice), wheat, sesame seeds, vegetables like pumpkin, potatoes, korella, eggplants, cauliflower, lady-fingers, cabbage and many others. We had to be very careful of the monkeys, so devotees were engaged in protecting all these vegetables from them.
So many devotees were the eye witnesses for seeing Guru Maharaja giving Hari katha for hours, days and months, and as I mentioned earlier it was in a reciprocating mood. For example, such conversations took place between Guru Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja. When Guru Mahraj would be speaking Srila Swami Maharaj would be listening, and when he would be speaking Guru Mahārāja would be listening. Both the Godbrothers would be exchanging and relishing the siddhānta and particular topics of Kṛṣṇa kathā, Gaura kathā, Rādhā kathā, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa kathā. It was so beautiful, so wonderful to see how they were reflecting on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, Brahma-saṁhitā, Kṛṣṇa-Karṇāmṛtam, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindu, Caitanya-Bhāgavata and other holy scriptures, based on how their Gurudeva, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, had relished and presented the same Hari kathā. So following in the mood of how their Gurudeva spoke the same topics of Hari kathā they would also be relishing and sharing with each other.
So this is a most invaluable historical place, a spiritual, historical place of great devotional activities, Kṛṣṇa kathā activities, imbued with the memories of the gatherings of so many great devotees of Their Lordships. Alongside Śrīla Guru Mahārāja exalted devotees like Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramahaṁsa Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Saranga Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Vicar Yajavara Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Akiñcana Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja and Bhakti Mayukha Bhāgavata Mahārāja. Several of these Godbrothers took sannyāsa from Guru Mahārāja. Later on Śrīla Bhakti Srirup Bhāgavata Goswāmī Mahārāja from Bagh Bazaar Gauḍīya Maṭh came here, then Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja, and Śrīla Bhakti Saudha Āśrama Mahārāja from Māyāpur, as well as many others, also came for visiting. Many stalwart Godbrothers of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja came over here, and spent most beautiful, priceless times, with him, engaged in relishing Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa kathā, Gaura vāṇī.
Therefore this is a real place of divine union, unity in diversity. And later on following their own Gurus the next generation also came to have darśana of Guru Mahārāja. Śrīla Bhakti Ballabha Tīrtha Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Vijnana Bhāratī Goswāmī Mahārāja, disciples of Śrīla B.D. Mādhava Goswāmī Mahārāja, then disciples of Śrīla B.S. Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla B.K. Madhusudana Goswāmī Mahārāja’s disciples. Of course, from Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭh, following the mood and ways of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja, beside him, also came Śrīla Bhakti Vedānta Vāmana Goswāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhakti Vedānta Nārāyaṇa Goswāmī Mahārāja. Needles to say, that disciples of Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja also visited him. Śrīla Bhakti Bibhud Bodhayan Mahārāja, before he accepted sannyāsa, and was known as Acyutānanda Dāsa Brahmacārī came here many times with his grandfather, Sripad Madana-mohana dāsa Prabhu, a dear disciple of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda. Of course many of the stalwart disciples of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī ji came here and engaged in hearing nectar of Hari kathā from Śrīla Guru Mahārāja. So this is the next generation we’re talking about. Following in the footsteps of their great, glorious Gurudeva. In this way Godbrother’s circle, as well as their disciples’ circle, dynamic circle, all came over here. So, it’s a great fortune to be in this glorious holy place. Śrīla Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupada and all our guru-varga, watching from their nitya-lila, are so pleased to know that we are remembering them, their glories and glories of this beautiful place.
After every Gaura Pūrṇimā festival, the Viśva Vaiṣṇava Rāja-Sabhā, the World Vaiṣṇava Association Meeting, used to take place here. Many of Guru Mahārāja’s stalwart Godbrothers would gather over here then.
Also in the beginning, before starting their own missions, our great Guru varga, like Śrīmad Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Aloka Paramahaṁsa Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Vicar Yajavara Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Mayukha Bhāgavata Goswāmī Mahārāja and a few other stalwart Godbrothers of Guru Mahārāja, used to do dhāma-parikramā with Guru Mahārāja’s party, Śrī Caitanya Sāraswat Maṭh party, all together. They would not do separate.
At that time Navadwīpa dhāma-parikramā party was divided into four main parties. Caitanya Maṭh, led by Śrīmad Bhakti Vilās Tīrtha Goswāmī Mahārāja, Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭh, started by Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Goswāmī Mahārāja, Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭh, under the guidance of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja, and the Caitanya Sāraswat Maṭh dhāma-parikramā party begun by Śrīla Guru Mahārāja. So according to the liking of one’s own heart desire, devotees would join in one of the parties. Sometimes, some devotees would be doing parikramā with one of the four parties one year, another year would be doing it with another party, next year another party. In this way they would cover doing Navadwīpa dhāma-parikramā with all these four parties.
In this way the devotees would not miss the opportunity of doing parikramā because at that time each parikramā party would be led by some stalwart disciple of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākura. Many of the exalted Godbrothers of Guru Mahārāja preferred to join here. Because Śrīla Guru Mahārāja would not directly go out with the parikramā party all the time, but he would make his own Godbrothers the leaders of his parikramā party. So we used to do parikramā under the gracious guidance of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja’s Godbrothers, like Śrīmad Bhakti Kamal Madhusudana Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Aloka Paramahaṁsa Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Mayukha Bhāgavata Goswāmī Mahārāja, Śrīmad Bhakti Vicara Yajavara Goswāmī Mahārāja or Śrīmad Bhakti Sharan Shanta Goswāmī Mahārāja, (whose temple sevā is now taken over by Gopīnātha Gauḍīya Maṭh, at Māyāpur). So at first his parikramā party would be led by his own Godbrothers instead of his disciples, and later on when all the Godbrothers were gone, then of course we had to take up the responsibility, to lead.
So much intimate relationships, which I have personally seen, and realised, tasted, that between Śrīla Guru Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja. I did not see Guru Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja together. I don’t remember because I was very young at that time, but I remember Śrīla Guru Mahārāja telling me about their early days together and how he took sannyāsa from Guru Mahārāja. So there was also sannyāsa Guru and śikṣā Guru relationship there. In that way we also find spiritual connections between Śrīla Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Keśava Goswami Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja – another connection, dhara is there. Besides their direct connection with their Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Śrīla Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, there is another sub-dhara, another branch we find. They’re all inter-related, all branches are mixing together, just like the all the rivers finally get united in the unlimited ocean of Caitanya family.
We all have seen these sweet relationships between Guru Maharaj and his dearly respected Godbrothers. They all used to come here. I remember seeing him with Srila Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj in my childhood. Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Mahārāja came here so many times, lovingly invited by Śrīla Guru Mahārāja to take care of many important things on his behalf.
There’s a beautiful photo of Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Goswāmī with the stick in one hand and with a book in another, in glasses, looking upwards, in the Natha Mandir, very naturally beautiful picture, taken by some foreign devotee. I think that was after the completion of Govinda Mahārāja’s official sannyāsa ceremony. Śrīla Guru Mahārāja invited him to officially complete the sannyāsa fire sacrifice ceremony. He would be feeling very pleased, to see things getting completed under the guidance of Srila Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja. He was a very active Godbrother of Guru Mahārāja, to take care of many things in the practical field, whereas other stalwart Godbrothers of Guru Mahārāja were not always available. Śrīla Purī Goswāmī Mahārāja would make himself available, because of his loving relationship and special feelings for Guru Mahārāja, whenever Guru Mahārāja invited him whereas his other Godbrothers would be busily engaged in their own respective fields of services, preaching, in India or abroad.
So everybody would love to come over here while Śrīla Guru Mahārāja himself hardly moved from here, especially in his old age. He would go out time to time on some special occasions. But most of the Godbrothers came over here, since Guru Mahārāja could not go out to see them in their temples, they’re respectful and always came over here to be with him and spend some joyful moments together. And Guru Mahārāja would become so very happy, when his beloved Godbrothers would come over here. He would always be very particular to make special arrangements for them. There would be special bhogas prepared for the temple Deities because of the their visit. Everything was filled with the festival mood.
Guru Mahārāja would order his disciples to prepare the specific bhoga according to the special likings and tastes of his Godbrothers. For example, some item which is favourite to Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Goswāmī, favourite to Śrīla Bhakti Pramode Purī Goswāmī, favourite to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja. Being Godbrothers they would know among each other which item is most favourable to whom. Kṛṣṇamayi Devī, Rāma Devī, sometimes Govinda Mahārāja’s mother, also Lakṣmī Nārāyaṇa, another male cook, would happily engage in cooking those specific delicious items of the bhoga. They would be offered to the Deity and then everyone would relish the prasādam. Guru Mahārāja would be particular to take care of his Godbrothers very nicely with so much loving care. He specifically ordered us to attend to them and to take care of them, whenever they used to come over and stay in this place. Not only prasādam, anything they needed, water, nice bedding, some fans during the summer. It was Guru Mahārāja’s standing instruction for his disciples, to respectfully take full care of all his Godbrothers. In other words he engaged us as the caring attendants of his Godbrothers. He would say, “You don’t need to come to me. You’re all the time with me anyhow, so now fulfil my desire. You do what I say, carry out my order, then I’ll be very pleased. So now, this is my desire, that you all take care of my Godbrothers very nicely, as perfect as possible. I’ll be very pleased with that. You don’t need to attend to me. So this is what I want from you.”
Accordingly we would do that, we’d carry out Guru Mahārāja’s instructions with full respect. So the Godbrothers used to be very happy here also, nicely taken care of. Mostly they used to stay downstairs. All the three rooms you see downstairs are imbued with the memories of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja’s stalwart Godbrothers. Specifically the room presently I’m using, and the next room which is used as an office, both rooms are filled, sanctified with the invaluable memories of many of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja’s stalwart Godbrothers. They are imbued with the beautiful memories of the residents and their bhajana. Sometimes when they were staying for a few days, they had three main streams of engagement: One, absorbed in bhajana; Two, whenever they found suitable time, mutual understanding with Guru Mahārāja, they would just come up to be with him and spend hours in Hari kathā; And three, they needed to take care of their mission also, by live communication through their disciples. In those days not so much use of the telephones, no mobile phones, but disciples used to come and go. Every day live communications instead of phone.
Later on, around the mid eighties, many other buildings were added to the Math. Govinda Mahārāja’s bhajan-kuṭīra, guest buildings, Sevaka Bhavan and others, all manifested, with some Western money. Guru Mahārāja had some good hearted Western disciples and followers, so they began to make very big contributions to build up Guru Mahārāja’s Mission. Many more buildings came up at that time with the help of their special financial contributions. Also Śrīla Guru Mahārāja’s Hari kathā became spread all over the world, through those Western devotees’ mercy. Guru Mahārāja had special gratitude and appreciation for those good hearted Western devotees who helped in spreading his nectarean Hari kathā all over the world by audio and video recordings and many books, distributed through their devoted service alongside the Indian devotees too.
transcribed by Paramananda dasa
edited by Kundalata dasi