If Srila Swami Maharaj had not come to this world, where would we be?
Talk by our Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami, on Nandotsav day, August 1988.
Today is the avirbhav day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, and also Nandotsav. Bhagavan Sri Krishna appeared in this world yesterday night with his paraphernalia.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-chaitanya prabhu jīve dayā kari’
svapārṣada svīya dhāma saha avatari
[“Being merciful to the souls, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya Mahāprabhu descends with His associates and abode.”]
“When Bhagavan comes to this world for the fallen souls, he brings his paraphernalia with him.”
You have seen that book, Loving Search for the Lost Servant: this is the main reason for Bhagavan Krishna Chandra’s appearance in this world, and in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we can see that in a full-fledged form in this world. Mahaprabhu is patit-pavan avatar.
In Chaitanya-charitamrita Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami gives two reasons for Mahaprabhu’s descent: one is external and one is internal.
অনর্পিতচরীং চিরাৎ করুণয়াবতীর্ণঃ কলৌ
সমর্পয়িতুমুন্নতোজ্জ্বলরসাং স্বভক্তিশ্রিয়ম্ ।
সদা হৃদয়কন্দরে স্ফুরতু বঃ শচীনন্দনঃ
anarpita-charīṁ chirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śachī-nandanaḥ
[“He mercifully descended in the Age of Kali to distribute in full His own wealth of bhakti, the most splendid and exalted rasa (madhura-rasa) which had never been distributed before. May Hari, abundantly radiant with beautiful golden lustre as the son of Śachī, shine forever within the core of your heart.”]
“My obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Sachinandan who appeared in this world to give Krishna-prema.”
This is the external cause for his appearance. And the inner cause:
শ্রীরাধায়াঃ প্রণয়মহিমা কীদৃশো বানয়ৈবা-
স্বাদ্যো যেনাদ্ভূতমধুরিমা কীদৃশো বা মদীয়ঃ ।
সৌখ্যঞ্চাস্যা মদনুভবতঃ কীদৃশং বেতি লোভা-
ত্তদ্ভাবাঢ্যঃ সমজনি শচীগর্ভসিন্ধৌ হরীন্দুঃ
śrī-rādhāyāḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vānayaivā-
svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ
saukhyaṁ chāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt
tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śachī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.6)
[“‘What are the glories of Śrī Rādhā’s love? What sort of astonishing sweetness of Mine does She relish? What sort of happiness arises in Her alone through experiencing My sweetness?’ Ardently desiring to fully appreciate these three mysteries, Śrī Krishna, enriched with Śrī Rādhā’s devotional mood (bhāva), appeared like the moon from the ocean of Śachī Devī’s womb.”]
These are the two causes, one inner and one outer.
pṛthvīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavata, 3.4.126)
[“My name will be spread in every town and village on earth.”]
Village after village in this world, everybody will chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra. This was Mahaprabhu’s desire and prediction. And it has happened now: Mahaprabhu’s followers are going door to door in this world, and already everyone is chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Five hundred years ago Mahaprabhu appeared in this world with His dham and parsad, paraphernalia. And at that time He said that the whole world will chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra in the near future. We are so fortunate that we are seeing that and hearing that: all over the world the Hare Krishna mahamantra is spreading like thunder in this world. And through this mahapurus, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Mahaprabhu has done it.
You have seen the face of our Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. I heard from him that one psychiatrist told him that he is very brave and fearless. That is, he doesn’t care about anything: where is Krishna consciousness, he gave his blessings there; otherwise he does not care about anything.
From my childhood we have seen his lotus feet, at 6 and 7 Sitakanta Banerjee Lane. We were living together with Swami Maharaj for eight or ten years in his house. He has much love for our Guru Maharaj, and he liked our Guru Maharaj. At that time Swami Maharaj was living grhastha life and he wanted to preach. But the Indian style is that they like sannyasis, and for that reason he would take Guru Maharaj with him and go many places for preaching.
In Bombay he also took Guru Maharaj and his party—Bon Maharaj, Goswami Maharaj, and others. Door to door he tried to preach in his grhastha life, household life. After that, wanting to fulfil the desire of his Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, who is our Param Gurudev, he took sannyas, and alone he went to the West.
Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur wanted to send our Guru Maharaj to the West but Guru Maharaj was hesitating at that time: he could not follow the accent of English men, and because he comes from a brahman family, he could not mix with the mlechchha society. Guru Maharaj was therefore hesitating and told Srila Prabhupad, “I am feeling very unfit for that. If you order me I must go, but it will be good if you send someone else to the West. Your preaching must be nicely spread in the West.” Prabhupad understood and knew Guru Maharaj’s nature as a ‘back pusher man’; so he did not give pressure to Guru Maharaj, and sent Aprakrita Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj instead. He was a grhastha Vaishnava at that time.
Prabhupad’s desire was very clear: he wanted to spread Krishna consciousness door to door in this world, and when he saw anybody enthusiastic, he ordered him, “You are a qualified man, you can preach Mahaprabhu’s message to English men.” When Swami Maharaj first met him, at that time Prabhupad also told him, “Abhay Babu, you are a qualified man, a very qualified man, you can try to preach in the West and to Western people.”
Swami Maharaj always remembered this, and he was always very enthusiastic, very, very enthusiastic. We have seen this. He had no money, but whenever he got some money he would use that money for preaching. For that reason he could not maintain his business nicely. Whenever money would come he would spend it for Krishna consciousness. He would use that money, and his business went down. This was his nature. Lastly he thought, “I shall preach and this will be good for my life.”
He came to Guru Maharaj and asked Guru Maharaj for sannyas; but Guru Maharaj was very close with his family, and so Guru Maharaj hesitated, “If I give you sannyas, your wife and children will come and blame me. Immediately it is not good for you. You wait sometime: go to Vrindavan and wait six months or one year. Then you can take sannyas and go anywhere, and blame will not come to me.”
Swami Maharaj said, “No Maharaj, it is not possible for me to wait. I want immediately to take sannyas. And I shall go out from India.” Then Guru Maharaj said, “It is very difficult for me: Madan’s mother, your sister, will think it is wrong, and your family will also think something is wrong. You go to Keshav Maharaj: I gave sannyas to Keshav Maharaj, and you can take the mantram from there. Your desire will be fulfilled and I will be in a clear position.”
Then Swami Maharaj went to Keshav Maharaj. Guru Maharaj had given the title ‘Bhaktivedanta’ before to Swami Maharaj. After taking sannyas from Keshav Maharaj he went to Vrindavan. In Vrindavan he stayed at the Radha Damodar Temple, writing. He had previously written his Srimad Bhagavad-gita translation, while in Sita Kanta Banerjee Lane. Guru Maharaj had told me, “You go to Abhay Babu and every day hear Srimad Bhagavad-gita from him.” He was my master and I read Srila Swami Maharaj’s Srimad Bhagavad-gita in my childhood.
After taking sannyas Swami Maharaj thought, “I must go to the West.” And Krishna gave so much trouble to him. Krishna tried to examine him: “how much anxiety does he have for Myself, for spreading My Name and My fame in this world.” He wanted to know, for his lila. But Swami Maharaj was very determined, and without money, without his future maintenance, he started to go to the West. You know the history after that of Swami Maharaj; you have also read from his books, and you have seen so many of the preaching results of Srila Swami Maharaj.
When Swami Maharaj wanted to come back to India, everybody thought, “What will he preach? What he has already preached may also not be correct.” None of his godbrothers were enthusiastic to receive him nicely. Then he wrote a letter to me, “Govinda Maharaj, I want to go to India, and want to stay with Sridhar Maharaj in Nabadwip. Can you arrange it?” I told Guru Maharaj, and Guru Maharaj was very happy. Guru Maharaj told me, “You write immediately: he will come here and he will stay in this Math, in that Blue House. I am making the Blue House ready for him.” And when he came here Guru Maharaj was very happy. He came with two disciples, Achyutananda and Ramanuja. Many more disciples were in America at that time. He told the history of his preaching life, and Guru Maharaj was very happy. Guru Maharaj told me, “Can you arrange here a reception from the town people in Nabadwip?” I said, “Yes Maharaj, I shall try.” And I gave the first reception for Srila Swami Maharaj in this town hall of Nabadwip.
Then all of his godbrothers came. Every godbrother had some special affection and regard for Guru Maharaj, and when they saw that Guru Maharaj was praising Swami Maharaj then they also came to praise and give honour to Swami Maharaj.
Day by day Swami Maharaj continued spreading Krishna consciousness in this world. And you know how successful he was: now all over the world everyone is chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Who does not know Hare Krishna, what Hare Krishna is, they are also telling ‘Hare Krishna’. When people see the tilak, mala, and shaved head, then they are chanting ‘Hare Krishna’. When people see us in the road when we are going from Nabadwip to Calcutta, they are telling us ‘Hare Krishna’.
yāṅhāra darśane mukhe āise kṛṣṇa-nāma
tāṅhāre jāniha tumi ‘vaiṣṇava-pradhāna’
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, 2.16.74)
[Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu said, “A first-class Vaiṣṇava is one whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.”]
With the blessings of Swami Maharaj, everybody is now Vaishnava-pradhan! This is the blessings of Swami Maharaj. Guru Maharaj said that Swami Maharaj is not an ordinary Vaishnava, and not an ordinary man, but he is avatar-purus, and Bhagavan Nityananda Prabhu is spreading Krishna consciousness in this world through him. Guru Maharaj said, “Swami Maharaj is Saktyaves-avatar.” Who is Saktyaves-avatar? Vedavyas. Vedavyas is Saktyaves-avatar and spread Krishna consciousness in this world. After that Saktyaves-avatar we heard from Guru Maharaj that Swami Maharaj is Saktyaves-avatar. Some think it is a very low position; but they do not know what is the position mentioned here. You know Bhagavan Vedavyas; Vedavyas is Saktyaves-avatar. He made so many books for the jiva-souls, and glorified Bhagavan’s nama, rupa, guna, lila etc., and Swami Maharaj has also done that in this world. And Mahaprabhu said,
pṛthvīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
Through Swami Maharaj it is spreading, by Lord Krishna. Here there is no doubt.
Today is a very auspicious day for us. We have got our real path; we have got the consciousness of Krishna Chandra and Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Pancha Tattva etc, and we have got this through Srila Swami Maharaj. This day is that day, his appearance day. If Srila Swami Maharaj had not come to this world, where would we be?
One day when Swami Maharaj was staying in the Blue House here I was serving breakfast to him, and Swami Maharaj told me, “No, no, you also will be seated here, and Hari Charan will serve you.” Hari Charan Prabhu was there, and he was also distributing the prasadam: luchi, aloo bhaja, begum bhaja, some pakori, etc. I was there, and one table was there with Swami Maharaj, Achyutananda, and Ramanuja. But I was hesitating: I was thinking Swami Maharaj is a big Acharya, Swami Maharaj is a world Acharya, so how can I take at the same table as him? I was hesitating. Then Swami Maharaj told me, “You are thinking you will become mlechchha?” “No, no!” I told Swami Maharaj. “No, Maharaj. I can take the prasad of Achyutananda also, that is not the cause here. The only cause is that you are a big Acharya, and I am a very fallen soul. Then I cannot take with you at the same table. That is why I am hesitating.” Swami Maharaj said, “No problem, you take!” And I took the prasadam there. At that time the Indian mind was like that.
On one occasion some of Swami Maharaj’s godbrothers refused to take prasadam served by his western disciples at the Chandroday Mandir in Mayapur. When Guru Maharaj heard of this he said, “I shall take prasadam at the Iskcon temple in Mayapur. And who will go with me?” At that time Paramahamsa Maharaj was here. And Guru Maharaj said, “Maharaj, you want to go with me, to have prasadam, to Iskcon?” Paramahamsa Maharaj said, “Yes, if you go I shall go.” Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj was also there, and he said, “Yes, I shall go.” So Guru Maharaj, Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj, myself, Paramahamsa Maharaj, and one boy, Gautam, who you have seen here, all came. There is a photograph of that printed in a book of the life history of Swami Maharaj. And when Guru Maharaj took prasadam at the Iskcon Math then everybody thought, “It is okay, no problem, we also can take.” Guru Maharaj had this kind of relationship with our Swami Maharaj.
Today is very fortunate for us, Swami Maharaj’s appearance day. And on this Nandotsav day Nanda Maharaj held a great festival in his house. The day after Krishna’s appearance, on this day we are celebrating Swami Maharaj’s appearance with great joy in our hearts.
vāñchhā-kalpatarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
[“Again and again I offer my obeisance unto the Supreme Lord’s devotees, who are saviours of the fallen, oceans of mercy, and wish-fulfilling trees.”]
The Vaishnavas are wish-fulfilling trees, they know our heart. We cannot properly express our heart, but the Vaishnava knows everything, and he must be merciful. I am so fortunate because Swami Maharaj said in his lecture, “Govinda Maharaj is like my son.” This is my fortune.