Rare Video of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur


Jan 27, USA (SUN) — Three days ago, the Sun received a link to an amazing piece of video footage of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

The item came to us with no explanation or background information. Not being certain of its source or bonafides, we simply posted it as an item in our Hot Links section. Today, other Vaisnava news sites have reported the item as coming from Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami:

"The rarest video of our Parama Guru His Divine Grace Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is now available due to our greatest good fortune. He is preaching about the glories of the most holy Vedic Scriptures in Shri Chaitanya Math (Main Gate and Dome shown in the video), Shri Mayapura Dhama, at the lotus feet of His beloved Deities of Shri Gauranga and Shri Shri Gandharvika Giridhari, Who are shown in the first part of the video. There is no audio in this video. Please notice how beautifully, soberly and compassionately Shri Shrila Prabhupada moves his long hands while speaking to teach the conditioned souls. "

The worldwide community of Vaisnavas will be most interested to learn the details of where this footage was acquired, who has been archiving it over the years, and any other relevant details. Hopefully our readers will pass this along information, and post it in the Sun Blog attached to this article.

In the meantime, we offer the following lecture by Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Saraswati, which was given during the same approximate era as that captured on the film footage. Here, Srila Bhaktiddhanta is lecturing on "The Pathway to Highest Blessedness". The lecture was transcribed and published in the Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani).

"Some people attempt at acquiring heroism through karma; some again strive for fulfilling other desires, some others (jnanis) for culturing Brahman; yet others (yogis) for getting accomplishment of oneness with God. But we know that worships for dharma, artha, kaama or moksha are mere pretences; these are only connected with base selfishness. They have nothing to do with liberated souls, but are only the ravings of conditioned or fettered souls. Lord Shri Chaitanya gave instructions to people all over India to give every one, whom they would come across, advice to worship Krishna. He thus told them to make endeavour for God, even from the positions they were occupying, irrespective of differences of place, time or person. Now to carry out His commandment there is no other course than to cultivate what we have learnt at the lotus-feet of our Shri Gurudeva. The only work for a worshipper of God is to see that His worship increases more and more. Our prayer should ever be that our attachment towards Krishna may become more and more increased. We do not want power and pelf, no cessation of further births.

The special advice that Shri Chaitanya Deva has given us about the easy way of getting rid of desires, so natural to mankind, is nothing more than taking our shelter in devotion. He has said: [1] “The particular vision, i.e., company, of vishayis i.e., persons sunk deep in worldly affairs, and women is much more harmful and fitter for abandonment than even the sipping up of poison for men who are going to serve God having abandoned every worldly attachment with a desire of crossing the ocean of worldliness (samsara).”

One may take poison and die; but one should never keep company with a visayi and vishaya (object of worldly enjoyment). He, who after beginning Hari bhajana (the service of God Hari) becomes entangled with vishaya, is ruined. It is for this reason that we receive the teaching from the lotus-feet of Shri Gurudeva that we have no other duty to perform than doing service to Krishna, His only blessing has been, “May your mind rest in Krishna!”

Shri Mahaprabhu has given the seekers after true well-being the advice to totally shun the company of the emancipationist seekers after oneness with non-distinct Brahman because they are more insincere than those who are desirous of worldly enjoyments. We should shun all such bad company and associate with true Sadhus (devotees of God). Their only duty is to cut through the kinds of accumulated evil designs of jivas; and only this is their natural motiveless desire.

The worldly people generally cherish doubleness of heart or duplicity, speaking out one thing abroad and concealing a different thing inside. And the funny part of it is that they are anxious to present this doubleness of heart to the public as liberality or the virtue of conciliation. These double-tongued men give to the creeds of persons, who are candid and do not adopt duplicity themselves, the designations of sectarianism, bigotry etc. But we should associate only with those who are candid, and not with the others.

The common decision of men, whether discriminative or otherwise, is not identical with Truth. The common sense of the people of blind following, like dumb-drive cattle, is always defective with errors and mistakes produced only by the faculty of the mind, and there may be in it some appearance of truth; but that is only relative or for the time being and no real truth. Human intellect, driven as it is by rajas and tamas cannot penetrate into the deliberations of unmixed sattva guna. So when one gives the advice to add the attempts of jnana, yoga, karma etc., of the world, born of the gunas, to pure Bhakti free from any of the three gunas of prakriti in order to make it complete it would be to our benefit not to accept such sweet food adulterated with a mixture of mortar. Karma, jnaana, yoga, etc. When, however, these acknowledge the supremacy of Bhakti, then that Bhakti, though mixed up with karma and jnaana, may be helpful to lead one along the road to pure Bhakti. When pure Bhakti is attained, the mixed state is no more there. This has been thus stated in the Pancharatra: “The acts that are prescribed in the Shastras for the service of Hari, constitute ordained Bhakti, through the performance of which true Bhakti is available.” [2]

The shrewd devotees of God must clearly point out to the absolute monists that their principle of naiskarmya or cessation of activities aiming at freedom from all desire for the fruit, is a misnomer, for there is in it ample touch of desire for fruits. Their attempt for peace with emancipation is nothing better than the gratification of their own senses devoid of their attachment to God. The principle of their Mayavada is this: “Inasmuch as we have to remain afflicted with the three kinds of trouble in the world, it is necessary to get rid of the evils of the world having origin in the three gunas (primordial elements, sattva, rajas and tamas, of which matter is composed). If we can do away with the triangle of knowledge, knowable and knower, we shall not have a separate existence and our doctrine of Buddhism in which the annihilation of sentience is emancipation. But the full manifestation of sentience is still in the Real Entity and it will ever remain so. They cannot understand how they got their conditioned state nor what would be their free state. Their conception of emancipation is totally wrong.

If some one raises the point that there is no need of devotion which induces taking shelter at the Feet of God and that one can cross the worldly ocean only by means of the dry-knowledge (of the absolute monists), he is referred to the answer given by Shri Brahma in his panegyric of Shri Krishna [3] : “O Lotus-Eyed God, those who do not take shelter at Your Feet, but cherish the self-conceit of having been emancipated, have dirty minds cherishing no love for You; in spite of acquiring a high position near to emancipation, they undergo a downfall from there on account of their having disdainfully slighted Your Feet. O Lord Madhava, Your devotees, bound to You with ties of friend-like love do not, like them, deviate from the right path, but, being protected by You, they rather fearlessly walk over the heads of the strongest of all interruptions and obstacles.”

The deliberations of devotees are not trifling. Those which point oneness with God are only for the time being, growing out of the desire for giving up the bitter experience of the world arrived at by proceeding with the empiric knowledge gathered with the deliberations about the external world. In the long run it is concluded that nothing will exist at the end. But the Entity of Plenary Sentience is and will ever stay. It is not wise to start an expedition against Him. The light of the sun cannot be destroyed, nor can the sun be covered with a screen, the rays come to the outside of the screen and it cannot be taken near the sun. It cannot be a true proposition that Brahman has become jiva through ignorance, because in that case the existence of a second entity beyond Brahman, viz. His ignorance, has got to be admitted. It is not proper to say that Brahman has got ignorance, having been over-powered by Maya. The human race should be emancipated from such a proposition. Men should expand their power of intelligence and feel the needfulness of devotion. It will not do to turn aside as mere gossip the declaration that the world is not the place for men of intelligence to stay in, and that it is necessary to bid it adieu. But if instead we toil hard from sunrise to sunset for the improvement of this world, what shall we gain thereby? Gold (i.e. money), women, or at best honour and respect as a pious or holy man. But all these things are contemptible. Just before Bhakti (devotion) is generated, men get sufficient intelligence to understand that these are not important things. And what is emancipation too? The thirst after it grows with the inordinate desire that I should be free from all distresses leaving the others to suffer them.

Due to our radical unrighteousness, i.e., our predilection for keeping away from our eternal function of service to God, we are going astray, being misled by some environing affairs, i.e. we are trying to secure pleasures for ourselves in preference to those for God, having been thrown off from our true object. But the saintly personages who are free from all spitefulness do not suffer these inconveniences; they are established in the highest form of righteousness, having taken shelter with God. Spitefulness exists only among those who are averse to remembrance of God. Spitefulness comes when one is engaged as the servant of the five evils, viz. lustfulness, etc. We adopt the principle of clipping one’s own nose for making another’s journey inauspicious, believing in the concept of monopolizing all the pleasure to oneself and enviously hindering others’ pleasure. Every human being should cultivate the highest form of righteousness. It is proper to bid farewell to such ideas as, “I shall be lustful, wrathful, covetous, distracted and proud”; everyone here has got the capability to be all this. When all these accumulate together, spitefulness appears. If we do not serve them, then there will be no spitefulness. But at present, it has become customary to dress up these foes of ours, and serve them, but not to serve God. Those who do not serve God necessarily become servants of the group of six enemies. Those who culture the Eternal Entity should not be servants of this group. So long as men are not free from spitefulness, the instruction about the highest righteousness does not enter their ears."


[1] C. Chandrodaya VIII.24.
[2] Also Bh. R.S. 1.2.28.
[3] Bh. X.2 32-33.


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