The Biography of HDG Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Part 3
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Srimad Paramahamsa 108 Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji
Background painting by Marianne North, November 1878
Jun 02, CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the life and pastimes of our illustrious Sampradaya Acaraya.
Deception and Actual Residence in the Holy Dhama
One day, a doctor, very anxiously desiring to stay in the holy dhama of Navadvipa and serve the Lord, came and revealed his intentions to Srila Gaurakisora. The young devotee had made arrangements to remain in the holy dhama as a doctor and treat sick persons. He planned to beg from the residents of Navadvipa, and with the profit, buy medicine. He would then be able to give free medical treatment. He considered that in this way he would perform his bhajana and at the same time perform the highest welfare activity for the community. To confirm his plans, he went to get the advice of Srila Gaurakisora. When he arrived and presented his proposal, he quoted the following verses spoken by Murari Gupta in the Caitanya-caritamrta: (Adi Lila 10:50-51):
pratigraha nahi kare, na laya kara' dhana
atma-vrtti kari' kare kutumba bharana
cikitsa karena yare haiya sadaya
deha-roga, bhava-roga, dui tara' ksaya
"Srila Murari Gupta never accepted charity from his friends, nor did he accept money from anyone. He practiced being a physician and maintained his family with his earnings. As Murari Gupta treated his patients, by his mercy, both their bodily and spiritual diseases ceased." Srila Gaurakisora could understand the restless nature of the doctor and his inner motives for wanting to live in the holy dhama for his so-called devotional service. Srila Gaurakisora made this very evident to him when he explained, "Murari Gupta is an eternal associate of Lord Caitanya, and always lives in the transcendental world of Navadvipa Dhama. He never suggested any intentions of living in the Supreme Lord's holy dhama by supporting himself through some clever means to materially enjoy there. He never supported his family at the expense of any temple, nor was he ever interested in earning money to keep his belly full. He would never accept charity or wealth from his friends or others. He was a direct storehouse of love of Godhead, and by his mercy, anyone would obtain the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Whomever he treated would become cured from all disease and obtain loving affection unto the Supreme Lord. If one does not follow his exemplary lifestyle, but imitates his activities for sense indulgence in the name of pure bhajana, then one must eternally suffer the miseries found in the diseased state of material existence.
"You are a patient suffering from the disease of material existence. How can you properly cure others? Crying, you must seriously pray for the mercy of Srila Murari Gupta. Then you will be able to understand what is the actual benefit for others. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu simply taught that one should seriously chant the holy names of Lord Krsna. Anything contrary to that is less intelligent. Just give up your bad intelligence and begin the process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord. If someone performs devotional service with other intentions, everything will be lost, including service to the holy name. Administering free medical treatment for worldly prestige and living in the holy dhama have nothing in common. A person who wants to enjoy the fruits of his activities can never actually live in the holy dhama."
Hearing the instruction of Srila Gaurakisora, the doctor asked, "Then what is my duty?" Srila Gaurakisora replied, "If you actually want to live in the holy dhama, you should first completely give up this idea you are entertaining. Abandon the misconception that benefiting materialistic persons by distributing free medical treatment is favorable for your worship. Any services you offer, or any religious practice which is not in connection with saintly persons who are factually performing bhajana, will be the cause of deep material bondage. As of now, it would be better if you returned home and chanted the holy name and maintained your livelihood. If this is what you really want then go home. Don't deceitfully maintain yourself in the holy abode of Navadvipa by some clever means."
The New Babaji
A new devotee who had just taken up the dress of babaji would often come and talk with Srila Gaurakisora. Finally he decided to live in the holy dhama, and so he approached a landowner queen to purchase three-quarters of an acre of land. After hearing this, Srila Gaurakisora said,"The supreme abode of the Lord is transcendental. How is it possible that this queen has become the owner of the holy dhama? How is it that she is entitled to sell that new babaji a portion of land in the holy dhama? All the jewels within the universe are not valuable enough to purchase even one speck of dust from the holy dhama. So how can any landowner amass enough wealth to become the owner of a plot of the transcendental abode of Sri Navadvipa Dhama? Has this new baba, by the exchange of his devotional magnimity, become entitled to a portion of land in Navadvipa Dhama? Let anyone who has such a materialistic mentality remain living at a distance from the holy abode. An attitude like that will certainly be offensive. Anyone who thinks the holy dhama is material is considered by the true devotees of the Supreme Lord to be a prakrta sahajiya or cheap impostors."
Deception and Devotional Service
One day a resident of Bangladesh who was a very wealthy landlord, scholar, brahman, and great devotee of the Lord, came with his friend to see Srila Gaurakisora. The landowner was apparently so deeply absorbed in devotional ecstasies that his friend had to assist him by holding him as he walked. When they arrived before Srila Gaurakisora, the landowner was holding the shoulder of his friend in order to walk as his body was trembling in ecstasy. Several of the assembled devotees recognized the landowner and knew he was respected as an advanced devotee in the devotional community. The devotees very reverently arranged a sitting place for the visitor and requested him to please be seated.
At that time Srila Gaurakisora was enacting his divine pastime as a blind person. When he heard the devotees respectfully greeting the visitor, he asked, "Who has come?" The landowner's friend introduced his companion by elaborately describing his erudition, devotion, and non-attachment to the material world and its temptations in spite of him possessing unlimited wealth. He then described how only one fortnight before, a thief had broken in and stolen forty-five thousand rupees from the landowner's house. Although suffering such a setback, the landlord, knowing that devotion should be one's ultimate attachment in life, had come for Srila Gaurakisora's divine association. The friend added, "I am his only friend. He has left all other material association and now only associates with me. You will be able to realize his greatness just by talking with him. He once asked me a question about a confidential exchange between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Ramananda Raya from the Caitanya-Caritamrta. I told him that only you, Srila Gaurakisora, could properly answer his questions. We have already been to see many scholarly persons in Navadvipa, yet we cannot come to any agreement regarding the inner meaning of this conversation. We think that only you can explain it properly."
After the friend of the great devotee completed his introduction, Srila Gaurakisora replied, "I will tell you how you can understand the conclusion of this conversation. But before trying to understand these confidential topics between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya, you should renounce the association of this rascal impostor landowner and take shelter of a pure devotee of the Lord. You should hear the Caitanya-caritamrta one hundred times from beginning to end in the association of advanced devotees of the Lord. In this way, crying and being absorbed in devotional ecstasy, you will be able to realize the purport of these conversations. At present all the devotees here want to congregationally chant the Lord's holy names. We don't have time to discuss anything else." Then Srila Gaurakisora loudly requested that everyone perform Hari Nama Sankirtana. Everyone began to chant the holy name of Krsna. After hearing this, the landowner and his friend immediately left.
Later that evening, when almost everyone had left, one or two persons told Srila Gaurakisora, "That very learned landowner was so absorbed in devotional ecstasy that we saw no trace of wordly consciousness in him." Another person sitting nearby also spoke up in defense of the landowner, "That person was so immersed in various loving devotional ecstasies that he could not even walk by himself. How can you say he was not on the highest level of Bhava-bhakti?" Srila Gaurakisora then replied, "After speaking with him a few moments, I could understand that he had no good intentions in his performance of devotional service. One cannot measure a person's devotional advancement by the popular vote of ordinary people. If a person is not serious in his devotional practice, then even if he displays external signs of renunciation, material indifference, or ecstatic symptoms in spontaneous devotion, he should not be considered to be actually renounced and experiencing devotional moods. As soon as a difficult test comes, false renunciation will not endure.
At the first opportunity, detachment searches out the shelter of practitioners who are seriously fixed in their intentions to execute devotional service. In our practical devotional service, we never show anyone our devotional ecstasies. One should perform devotional service in such a way that deep attachment to the Lord will internally blossom in the heart. Even if one makes an external show of symptoms of attachment to the Lord, he will not receive the Lord's causeless mercy if he does not actually develop internal loving attachment. When there is an actual deep loving attitude, Krsna Himself will approach the advanced devotee. A person who lacks even a trace of sincerity and unflinching devotion, and whose heart is filled with material desires, simply decorates himself with some nice dress. Krsna remains proportionally aloof or available according to the degree of one's surrender. On the other hand, if one is spontaneously immersed in devotional attachment to Lord Hari, then even if he externally appears to be suffering from leprosy, Krsna becomes spiritually overjoyed by the slightest trace of his transcendental loving service. When we can fast and chant Hare Krsna day and night, always crying out for the service of Srimati Radharani without offering any external show to others, then Sri Krsna, who is the very wealth of Srimati Radharani's life force, can be captured."
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