The Biography of HDG Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Part 13
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Srimad Paramahamsa 108 Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji
The Temples at Deogarh, Jharakand
Painting by William Hodges, c. 1782
Jun 13, CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the life and pastimes of our illustrious Sampradaya Acaraya.
A newly-wedded man, who was a wealthy and famous disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, came to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura to understand how to correctly follow the process of devotional service in married life. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura made it very evident to the visitor that persons who are married face many different kinds of impediments in the execution of their devotional service. After hearing this explanation the married guest became unhappy.
Sometime later the same gentleman went to Kuliya in Navadvipa, where Srila Gaurakisora was residing. When Srila Gaurakisora heard that he was discussing married life he said, "Oh, very good. This is very good. Daily he can cook an offering for Lord Visnu with his own hands. After he prepares the offering for Lord Visnu's satisfaction, then he may accept it as maha-prasadam along with his religious wife. Instead of an exploitative mentality he must always consider his wife a servant of Lord Krsna and a representative of his guru. If this is done, then everything will become very auspicious for him. Everything in this material world is meant for the Lord's service whether it be wealth, jewels, wife, or ones' husband. Engage everything in Krsnas' service. You should always understand that your wife is not your servant, but she is a servant of Lord Krsna. In this way, she should always be respected."
Once one person by the name of Sri Yukta Vandyopadhyaya, who was an M.A. and a B.A., came from Calcutta to see the lotus feet of Srila Gaurakisora in Navadvipa. When he arrived there, one of his associates introduced him to Srila Gaurakisora who said, "Oh, very nice, I am glad that you have come here. Now you should stay and worship the Supreme Lord." Mr. Vandyopadhyaya said, "Before I left Calcutta I got a return ticket." When Srila Babaji Maharaja heard this, he became very amazed and said, "You mean you made arrangements for a return ticket before you even came? Then why have you come here to see me? Simply coming here to see me and then returning to Calcutta is useless. I would have thought that whoever wants to carry out devotional service comes to the holy abode of Navadvipa."
By this example, Srila Gaurakisora taught that going to see the holy persons to satisfy one's curiosity, or with some motive, or for the purpose of seeing other holy places, is no way to take the association of the devotees of the Lord. One should travel to the holy places of pilgrimage in order to take shelter of the pure devotees of the Lord who reside there, and not to satisfy any material motive. One can never actually take the association of higher Vaisnavas until he surrenders unflinchingly unto a pure devotee of the Lord. Real Vaisnava association means surrendering everything to the lotus feet of the pure devotee by offering obeisances, inquiring submissively, and rendering devotional service unto him and always following his example. The real meaning of sanga is to wholeheartedly approach. If someone entertains the prospect of further sense enjoyment and purchases a return ticket before approaching the lotus feet of the Vaisnava then self surrender is impossible. Explanations pertaining to real devotional worship unto Lord Hari can never enter such a person's ear.
One day in Navadvipa, a very famous professional reciter of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, who was a Gosvami by caste, came to visit Srila Gaurakisora. He was dressed in fine woolen garments. In the course of their conversation, the topic of purity in devotional service was discussed. When Srila Gaurakisora was asked about this, he said, "If a person maintains materialistic intentions such as the desire for women, wealth, or position, then even the different rules for attaining pure consciousness become another form of impurity. A small spot of leprosy gradually contaminates the entire body. If someone thinks I will remain pure by wearing wool cloth while evacuating or go to bathe in the Ganges to become pure, and yet maintains material desires in mind and heart, will remain impure. Such a person is so contaminated that even if you explain how contaminated he is, he can never understand his impure condition.
One who wears wool or silk cloth, takes only rice that has been dried in the sun, takes bath in the Ganges river, or superficiously
accept all the processes in Vaisnava tradition for becoming pure, can never become purified as long as he is only thinking of his wife, children, money, and self-esteem. Whoever has no affinity towards serving the Vaisnavas can practice whatever purifying principles they want, but Krsna will never be pleased with their external purity."
Lord Caitanya's Birthplace
Once, during the festive season, a visitor came to Navadvipa and constructed a small tin house underneath a Nim tree on the southwest side of a large temple in Navadvipa. He installed the Deity form of Lord Caitanya as the small boy Nimai in the tin hut. When the festival arrived he began to preach to everyone that his Deity was the actual place where Lord Caitanya appeared. He requested everyone there to give donations liberally in order to excavate the lost place of pilgrimage. The pilgrims who visited him generously contributed large sums of money to the proprietor of the so-called birthplace. In this way, the charlatan was conducting business.
In that area, there was a devotee named Srila Vamsi dasa Babaji, who was renowned as a self-realized Vaisnava and topmost paramahamsa. The business minded man knew how famous Srila Vamsi dasa Babaji was so he brought him to his tin house. He also tried to convince Srila Gaurakisora that he had dreams in which it was revealed that his hut was the original site where Lord Caitanya appeared. The visitor claimed that Caitanya Mahaprabhu had appeared to him within a dream and revealed that place as the original place of His transcendental appearance within this material world. The actual place, known as Mayapura today, was accepted by Srila Gaurakisora and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as being Lord Caitanya's birthplace and is backed with historical evidence. For example the names of the places in that area such as Banikpada, Sankharipada, and Malancapada are still present today.
Srila Gaurakisora said, "We must accept the proofs of those great personalities who have discovered the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu while absorbed in deep devotional contemplation. The dreams of a charlatan can never reveal a lost place of pilgrimage or the Lord's appearance place. Those great souls who realize the holy places of pilgrimage never collect money on the pretense of excavating lost holy places. Only the perfect followers of Lord Caitanya, are actually qualified to reveal the Lord's holy birthplace. Sri Advaita Prabhu, who is none other than Lord Siva, caused Lord Caitanya to reveal Himself in this world. Similary Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Jagannatha dasa babaji discovered this holy place where Sriman Mahaprabhu appeared."
The following day, after Srila Gaurakisora said this, Srila Vamsi dasa Babaji Maharaja, taking a small shovel in his hand, went to the place of that charlatan who was preaching that he was representing the "original" birthplace of Lord Caitanya and began to chop down the fence in the front of his tin hut. He showed the people how this hypocrite was imitating the exalted devotee of the Lord.
The Feast Of The Paramahamsas
The day before the Disappearance of Srila Sanatana Goswami, Srila Babaji Maharaja called one devotee and said, "Tomorrow is Srila Sanatana Goswami's disappearance day. Therefore we will have a grand festival. The caste Gosvami's here in Navadvipa never have a festival." The devotee then said, "How will we be able to arrange all the necessary paraphernalia for the feast?" Srila Babaji Maharaja answered, "Don't tell anyone. Tomorrow we will fast all day and chant Hare Krsna. We are insignificant beggars. It will be the grandest of all festivals."
How Can I Know A Vaisnava?
Once, someone approached Srila Gaurakisora, and asked "We see many narrations in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and other scriptures which describe the realized devotees of the highest order. But these narrations are often contradictory with the persons we see today who are called Vaisnavas. Sometimes we see that the so-called great devotees of today seem to have just the opposite symptoms of the devotees described in the scriptures. Therefore, mercifully instruct us so we can identify the real devotees of the Lord." Srila Gaurakisora replied "When the sweet will of a pure devotee is combined with personal inspiration from Lord Krsna, such a compassionate soul, without consideration of birth, time and place, liberates the fallen souls and those adverse to the Lord. Revealing his personal wealth of pure love of Godhead, the great mahabhagavat devotee attracts the living entities so they can begin their search for pure dedication unto Lord Krsna. When this happens Lord Krsna apprehensively thinks, "There are so many fallen souls that are whole heartedly surrendering unto my pure devotee, who is as dear to Me as My very life. Now I am becoming so indebted to them. It will be very difficult for Me to clear My debt to them. Being their dependent, I will become captured simply by the desire of those devotees who have surrendered to My dearmost servants, those close servants who reside next to my heart."
For this reason, Krsna covers the eyes of the ordinary people in general, so that they cannot realize the qualities of his pure devotee. Krsna also tests the other living entities in this way, to see how attached they are to Him. Those symptoms which characterize Krsna's material energy, are a perverted replica of the traits exhibited by the pure devotees of the Lord. Therefore it is only by the independent desire of the pure devotees of the Lord who are so compassionate, that their real symptoms and spiritual form can be realized, even through the scriptures. "Sometimes it is seen that a pure devotee will offer an important position to a conditioned soul. In this way such a person is carefully kept at a distance from them. At other times the pure devotees of the Lord may become alarmed at attracting too many followers, and thus keep their natural qualities hidden. Sometimes the elevated devotees externally accept disciples always remain surrounded by them, consult them in every activity, and apparently accept service from them. However they cover their spiritual identity from them."
Srila Gaurakisora continued, "I have seen with my own eyes, a devotee in Vrndavana who would perform his bhajana in a solitary place. He lived in a village just north of Sri Radha-kunda. When anxiety ridden persons would approach him he would pray to Lord Krsna for the removal of their mental and physical distress. Because of fulfilling their desires, he became famous and well-known as a great devotee. This brought about a great disturbance in his life. He was free from the desire for wealth, women and prestige, always compassionate to all living entities, and exemplary in character. Gradually, along with the fame of a pure devotee, he became very annoyed. Some time later that great soul had one of his very wealthy followers in Calcutta employ a young, beautiful wife of a sweeper a monthly salary to sit in front of his solitary place of bhajana. Consequently, people would come and think the elevated soul was having illicit sex with the young girl and collecting money out of greed. Others would come but because their material desires remained unfulfilled they would discontinue meeting him. He was actually a great Vaisnava devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When pure devotees of the Lord compassionately manifest their mercy the faithful are attracted and surrender unto them. Eventually the surrendered soul realizes the spiritual identity of guru-deva. Extremely fortunate persons are not deprived of the Lord's and His devotees mercy. Real Vaisnavas often deceive persons in various ways in order to obscure their spiritual identity. If you want to know the spiritual identity of the mahabhagavat devotee then with the deepest sincerity and heart-felt aspiration, pray unto the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya. By the causeless mercy of Lord Gauranga and Nitai Prabhu your heart becomes free from pride and filled with humility. Sri Sri Goura Nitai then reveals the pure Vaisnavas spiritual identity in such a pure heart. The pure Vaisnava makes Sri Sri Gaura Nitai known to all and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai introduces the self realized Vaisnava. Therefore in the Caitanya Caritamrta the author Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja has stated,
ei dui bhai hrdayera ksali andhakara
dui bhajavat sange karana saksat kara
"Those Two brothers, Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sriman Nityananda Prabhu remove the darkness of the heart and introduce the direct spiritual identity of the great elevated souls."
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