The Biography of HDG Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Part 14
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Srimad Paramahamsa 108 Srila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji
Calcutta Temple and Street Scene
Hand-colored Engraving, c. 1880
Jun 14, CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the life and pastimes of our illustrious Sampradaya Acaraya.
Imitating The Pure Devotee
One celibate student, brahmacari who was born in a brahmana family came to see Srila Gaurakisora pretending to be interested in bhajana. Shortly following this many persons came to offer respect to the celibate student. The brahamacari, after some time, decided he would also begin to live in the same way as Srila Gaurakisora. He secretly collected money which he used to build a small grass hut for his bhajana like Srila Gaurakisora's on the bank of the Ganges river.
The brahmacari thought that he would approach Srila Gaurakisora and get his permission to begin his solitary bhajana. When he approached Srila Gaurakisora, who was in direct contact with Supersoul, Srila Gaurakisora stood up and said, "If you want to perform bhajana, then it is very good. But if you enter into the house of maya, then you will be captured by even more impediments then now. You should give up your idea of living in that hut, and just live under the nearby trees in the area."
One proud devotee who considered himself a follower of Srila Gaurakisora asked, "You first told us to lock ourselves up in small huts and to perform our worship of the Supreme Lord. But now you are giving the instruction that we should leave our huts and live under the trees in order to perform proper worship. What is this?" Srila Gaurakisora then manifested his pastime of anger, and said, "I have given the correct instructions. The body is like a hut and the eyes are like the window shutters. A person who closes the wooden shutters of his hut in order to imitate the activities of the elevated devotees by simply copying what he sees them doing is not factually closing the shutters. The only alternative for such a person is to take shelter beneath a tree. If you follow the instructions of the devotees and the Lord, then you will be able to obtain what is to your real benefit. In this way, if one is faithful to the service of the devotees and the Lord he will be able to carry out those instructions. But if one imitates the character of the great devotees of the Lord, he will quickly be checked and fall down."
Later on, after the brahmacari had left, Srila Babaji Maharaja said, "Just see how the ordinary public's intelligence has become spoiled. They simply want some cheap adoration from the people in general by living in a secluded hut on the side of the road. But after a short time they become attracted to gaining wealth, and must leave. Persons who are not even properly acting in the lower stages of devotion, want to obtain to the higher stages of realization as exemplified by the pure devotee paramahamsas!" Not long after this, the brahmacari wanted to return to his previous home.
Afterwards one person came to Srila Gaurakisora and asked about the whereabouts of the brahmacari, "Why did that brahmacari become influenced by maya? How is this possible after he received the association of the devotees of the Lord? If one contacts the devotees of the Lord, how can he fail to reap the beneficial results of their association?" Srila Gaurakisora replied, "It is not enough to only act like one is associating with the Lord's devotees. If someone abandons the association of the elevated devotees before the desired result, he will remain deprived of the ultimate attainment. Maybe that brahmacari will not eat meat or fish, and maybe he will follow some external codes of moral conduct, but he will never be able to enter into the realm of pure dedication, hari-bhajana.
The day before the Rathayatra car festival Srila Gaurakisora called over some nearby residents and asked, "Will all of you attend the Rathayatra car festival tomorrow? There will be a grand festival at the Podamatala in Navadvipa with a large chariot. Another car festival will be held at the residence of a famous landowner in Purvashali. If you go there, you will able to eat various sweets such as rasagulas and flat rice with sweet yogurt."
In this way, Srila Gaurakisora told different persons in five or six places about the Rathayatra festival which would take place the following day. The people began to think that Srila Gaurakisora was inviting them to attend the Rathayatra festival.
Several literatures such as the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Caitanya Bhagavat and the Srimad Bhagavatam were read daily by varying residents in the presence of Srila Babaji Maharaja. Srila Babaji Maharaja would comment on the ultimate conclusions of these literatures. Srila Gaurakisora used to like to hear the pastimes of Prahlada Maharaja again and again. He often said that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also used to relish hearing the pastimes of Prahlada Maharaja. Sometimes Srila Gaurakisora would hear the Premabhakti-candrika and Prarthana of Narottama dasa Thakura and explain their deep devotional siddhanta. Persons would come and read these different books, but it was Srila Gaurakisora who would actually explain their purport.
The next day everyone assembled at the festival of the Rathayatra. Because everyone was gone to the festival there was no one to read from any of the literatures. On that day Srila Gaurakisora came outside and sat before his small hut with a sweet smile on his face. He commented, "Today I have found new life. Everyone has gone. Those who are offenders of the holy name leave the association of the devotees and the glorification of the Lord's names and qualities to go and see the Rathayatra festival. There they will see many beautiful young women and have a chance to associate with ordinary people. Persons simply enact a drama in the association of pure devotees but because they are not loyal to them, they drift away with the current of their material desires." All alone, Srila Gaurakisora began to loudly chant the glories of the holy name of the Lord. After seeing the Rathayatra festival, the residents gradually returned. They came before Srila Babaji Maharaja who was sitting in the gravest mood, not speaking to anyone.
The Devotees Deceit
When Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was enacting his pastimes of illness at his home in Calcutta at Bhakti-bhavan, a materialistic Goswami came to Navadvipa to visit Srila Gaurakisora for some deceptive purpose. In order to put the gentleman off, Srila Gaurakisora said, "You should go to Calcutta, place Srila Bhaktivinoda on your head and bring him back to the holy abode of Navadvipa. Kindly go there and rescue him from Calcutta." The caste Goswami, who was materialistic in nature, was not perceptive to the exchange that these two self-realized personalities and intimate associates of Lord Caitanya were enacting.
tomara hrdaye sada,govinda-visrama
yathaya vaisnava gana, sei stana Vrndavana
sei sthana ananda asesa
The Supreme Lord Govinda resides in the hearts of His exalted devotees. Wherever the great Vaisnavas reside is the same as the holy abode of Vrndavana. The residence of the exalted devotees is the abode of untold joy.
By appearing in this world, the Vaisnava automatically brings the paraphernalia of the divine abode of Goloka and engages himself twenty-four hours in the service of the Divine Couple. The prayer written by Srila Bhaktivinoda containing the lines, "grhete goloka bhaya" depicts his personal bhajana with the intimate associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Those who have become free from the delusion of the fleshy eye can directly realize this spiritual example. The worldly Goswami went to meet Srila Bhaktivinoda in Calcutta and told him what Srila Gaurakisora has requested. Srila Bhaktivinoda, hearing this, simply indicated that he extended his full blessings for Srila Gaurakisora's devotional bhajana. Later, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada elaborately explained to the Goswami who was unable to interpret these exchanges as follows, "When the great devotees notice our crooked intelligence they deceive us as mentioned by the logic in the verse,
ye yatha mam prapandyante tams tathaiva bhajamyaham.
As My devotees surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.
The great devotees recognize the mentality of those who approach them. They know that such persons are not interested in their real spiritual interests. Therefore, the mahabhagavata devotee will often speak with self-interested persons in such a way to favorably appeal to their worldly tastes. In this manner the pure devotee continues his internal solitary engagement in the Lord's service with no impediment. When materialistic persons would approach Srila Gaurakisora and express their different fruitive interests they would be deprived of their real interests when they would hear what satisfied their mundane endeavors. Some persons received the opportunity to become more involved in material affairs when they heard ordinary stories concerning rice, wheat, mustard oil, betel nut, potatoes, and kitchen vegetables. Devotional association cannot be obtained if an exploitive mentality based on insincerity accompanies the practitioner. The pure devotee exclusively eulogizes divine and eternal truth in the presence of those who are devotionally inspired and self surrendered.
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