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Appearance of Jagad-Guru Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

Today is super excellent and auspicious as it is the appearance day of nitya-lila-pravishta om vishnupada ashtottara-shata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, who originally established all of our Gaudiya Mathas. Since there is little time left, I will speak for a few minutes on his contributions and life history and tomorrow we will also continue this topic. 

Bhakativinoder doya koro vichar, vichar kore le chite pave chamatkar’— first one must deeply enter into the mercy of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then your heart will become overjoyed. And, who is Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura? In Goloka Vrindavana, he is Srimati Radhika’s very nearest and dearest sakhi (intimate associate), Sri Kamala Manjari. 

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Manifests Bhakti Bhagiratha

Srimati Radhika Herself, gave the order to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “Go to the material world and preach the highest philosophy, preach madhurya-rasa (the mellow of amorous love) there.” However, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to Srimati Radhika, “Give another sakhi to me. Please give me Nayana-mani Manjari.” After hearing this, Srimati Radhika was very pleased and told Kamala Manjari, “Take Nayana-mani Manjari. Both of you will go to the material world.” 

Thus, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought Nayana-mani Manjari from Goloka Vrindavana. And who is Nayana-mani Manjari? In this material world, she is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Here, we see them as father and son, yet this relationship only exists in this material world. Who are they both actually? They are the very nearest and dearest sakhis of Srimati Radhika, Kamala Manjari and Nayana-mani Manjari.

For this reason, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is also called Bhakti-Ganga Bhagiratha. Srimad-Bhagavatam explains Bhagiratha manifested the Ganges in this material world from Satyaloka or Brahmaloka. Sagara Maharaja’s 60,000 sons were cursed by Lord Kapiladeva, causing their bodies to transform to ash. Bhagiratha appeared in the Sagara Maharaja dynasty, and for thousands and thousands of years he performed hard austerities, eventually pleasing Brahmaji. Then, Brahmaji gave him the water from the kamandalu (water pot), which was Ganga-jala (Ganges water). Ganga-jala is actually the foot-bathing water of Vamanadeva Bhagavan. 

After Ganga-devi manifested in the material world, everything was purified. For this reason, it is stated, “Gangara parasha hoile pashchate pavan” — if you simply touch the water of the Ganges, all of your sinful activities will be destroyed. One must simply visit Navadvipa-dhama and take bath in the Ganges and all of your sinful activities will be destroyed. Additionally, you can visit Haridvara as Ganga-devi is also there. And near the top of the Himalayas you will find Gangotri, the source of the Ganges River. Always remember that water from the Ganges is not material, rather it is transcendental water. 

After Bhagiratha manifested the Ganges in this material world, the ashes of Sagara Maharaja’s 60,000 sons touched her waters and the sons were immediately delivered from this material world— attaining Vaikuntha-dhama. If anyone leaves their body, you must take their ashes and place them in the Ganges so they can be delivered from this material world. However, first you must deliver yourself by bathing in the Ganges first. All of you, come to Navadvipa-dhama and bathe in the Ganges. Navadvipa-dhama is very powerful! 

Sacinandana Gaurahari, Nimai, performed His sweet lilas in the water of the Ganges. Because Ganga-devi did not want to leave Navadvipa-dhama, she began whirlpooling and created the nine islands of Navadvipa. Nava means nine, dvipa means island. The nine limbs of bhakti are represented within each island. Starting with shravanakhya-bhakti — ‘shravanam (hearing of the Lord’s pastimes), kirtanam (chanting the Lord’s holy names), vishnoh smaranam (remembrance of the Lord only), pada-sevanam (serving His lotus feet), archanam (worshipping Him), vandanam (offering Him prayers), dasyam (becoming His servant), sakhyam (becoming His friend) and atma-nivedanam (offering everything one has unto Him). So, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is known as Bhakti-Ganga Bhagiratha as he manifested Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada in this world, similar to how Bhagiratha manifested Ganga-devi. 

As mentioned, in this material world, we notice the relationship between them as father and son, but this is not true, it is only temporary. It is further explained, “Bhakativinoder doya koro vichar, vichar kore le chite pave chamatkar — when you deeply enter the philosophy of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s conceptions, your heart will be overjoyed.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Prayers Answered

When he manifested Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a district magistrate in Orissa and he would take darshana of Sri Jagannatha-deva every day. One day, he went to Jagannatha-deva’s consort, Vimala-devi, and requested, “Please give me a son who can preach shuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service to God) all over the world.” For this reason, by the causeless mercy of Vimala-devi, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada descended to this world. And who is Vimala-devi? She is the consort of Lord Jagannatha. This is why Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada the name Vimala-prasada. Prasada means mercy— the mercy of Vimala-devi. 

When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada was born, all kinds of symptoms of a mahapurusha (great personality) were found in him: he had twelve tilaka (clay markings worn on the forehead and other parts of the body by Vaishnavas) marks over his body. He also had the mark of a sacred thread around his body. ‘Ajanu-lambita-bhujau’  — his hands reached towards his knees. In one picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada, you can clearly see his long arms. And ‘tapta-kanchana’ — he had a very nice, beautiful molten gold complexion. All these symptoms of a mahapurusha were present within him. 

Once, during the Jagannatha Ratha-yatra festival, Sri Jagannatha-deva’s cart arrived in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house. At that moment, Lord Jagannatha-deva stopped completely, and for three days He did not move even one inch. You see, Sri Jagannatha-deva, Sri Krishna Himself wanted to directly meet with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada. For this reason, the chariot completely stopped. 

Realising the Lord’s desires, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought his small baby and offered him on to the lotus feet of Lord Jagannatha. Then, as a small baby, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada embraced Jagannatha, and Sri Jagannatha’s garland fell directly onto his neck. Afterwards, Lord Jagannatha’s chariot automatically began moving! You must all read Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada’s life history and see how Lord Jagannatha-deva wanted to meet with His own eternal associate, parikara.

Talented Astrologer

In another lila (pastime), by the age of five, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada or Vimala-prasada had already learned all of the shastras (scriptures). Despite only being five years old, he knew Gita, Bhagavatam— everything. He even studied astrology, which is not an easy subject. If you do not possess perfect mathematical knowledge, you should not study astrology, otherwise  you will just end up cheating many people. In order to read someone’s chart accurately, you have to carefully calculate every second of each day. Those who are very intelligent, with a sharp brain can study astrology. 

Thus, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada perfectly arranged our Vaishnava calendar. He flawlessly calculated every second so we could observe Ekadashi correctly. For this reason, he manifested a panjika (calendar) named Sarasvati Vishuddha Panjika. Everything found there has been calculated by him to perfection— viddha-ekadashi, shuddha-ekadashi, every important date is properly arranged. He very carefully calculated each second, every moment. Nowadays, most just recopy his work. 

As an astrologist, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada calculations were always perfect. Due to this, a great scholarly person from Kolkata University, named Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay, asked Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada, “Please come and take the lead chair of this astronomy department.” Ashutosh was a very respected person, the British government even awarded him the title of Royal Bengal Tiger. 

In his autobiography, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada wrote, “A great person reserved that post for me…” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada further glorified Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay in his writings, “He reserved this post for me in Kolkata University.” Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay   was not an ordinary personality. He was very powerful, even the British government were afraid of him. 

Try to understand that during those times, the British government had nearly conquered the entire world. The sun never set on the British kingdom. Despite this control, everyone still feared them. Except for Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay, he was very brave and, unlike others, was not afraid of the British government. For this reason, they gave him the title, Royal Bengal Tiger. Much like a tiger, he was very ferocious and unwavering. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada wrote all of these things in his autobiography, I am simply repeating his words.

On one occasion, Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay was travelling on a train in a first class carriage. He was sitting next to a high-ranking British officer. The British officer did not like that Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay was sitting so close to him. So, when Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay fell asleep, the officer tossed his boots off the train. When Ashutosh awoke and saw his boots were not there, he quickly thought, “Oh, this person must have done it. There can be no other explanation.” 

A while later, after the British officer fell asleep, Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay took his coat, which, by the way, was very expensive and contained many valuable items, and he threw it off the train. Later,  the British officer awoke and he looked around wondering where his coat was. He then asked Ashutosh, “Where is my coat?” Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay wittingly replied, “Your coat has gone searching for my boots.” After hearing his response, the British officer had no reply. 

Why am I mentioning these pastimes? Because in his autobiography, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada himself wrote, “This great person had reserved the head post in the Kolkata University astrological department for me.” However, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada told him, “I have not come to this material world just to calculate the movements of stars and planets.” When one studies astronomy, taking accurate measurements of the constant movement of all the stars and planets, it  is a very difficult and time consuming task. 

For these reasons, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada replied to Ashutosh, “I have come here to preach harinama (the Lord’s holy names) and fulfil the desires of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.” After rejecting his proposal, Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay replied, “As long as you live in this material world, the post will be reserved for you. No one will take that position.” 

Initiation From Sri Gaura-Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja 

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada received diksha-mantras (the mantras given by the guru at the time of brahmanical initiation) from Srila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Although he received harinama (initiation to chant Hare Krishna mantra) and kurma-mantra (mantra to Kurma avatara of Sri Krishna) from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada accepted his purna diksha, complete diksha from Srila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja. At first, Srila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja would say, “No, no, I will not give diksha to him.” You see, Babaji Maharaja was incredibly humble and would answer, “He is a very learned scholar...” 

Prabhupada had asked Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja three times, “Give me diksha-mantras.” But, Babaji Maharaja very humbly replied, “You are a very learned scholar, I have no qualifications and no degrees. How can I possibly accept you as my disciple?” After hearing this response, Srila Prabhupada did not eat or drink water for three days. And after three days, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja, “If you do not give him diksha, he will die.” Babaji Maharaja replied, “First, I will ask my Nitai. If Nitai gives me permission, then I will give diksha to him.” 

The next day, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura met with Srila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja and asked, “Did Nitai give you permission or not?” Babaji Maharaja replied, “Oh, I forgot to ask my Nitai.” So the following day, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura again asked Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja, “Did you ask Nitai?” “Yes, Nitai gave me permission. I will give him diksha,” answered Babaji Maharaja. In this way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada finally received his diksha-mantras from an uttama-mahabhagavata, Srila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Afterwards, he accepted sannyasa (renounced order) and was awarded the name Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.

All of you must chant the gayatri-mantras (confidential mantra given to a disciple by the spiritual master at time of second initiation) which you have received from guru. Do not neglect chanting your gayatri-mantras, otherwise, you will go to hell. And no one will be able to protect you from this result. Listen very carefully. Everyone has to chant the gayatri-mantras and gopala-mantra (a sacred verse, repeated by Gaudiya Vaishnava brahmanas) they have received from guru. I have seen how some have even given up their sacred threads. No! Your sacred thread is Baladeva Prabhu. I have explained this before. Try to fully understand this concept. 

Please, never commit this offence, aparadha. You must chant the gayatri-mantras, gopala-mantra and guru-mantra which you have received from Gurudeva. If you do not chant them every day, even Krishna will not protect you. No one can protect you. ‘Harau ruṣṭe gurustrātā gurau ruṣṭe na kaścana’— if Krishna is unhappy or angry with you, guru can protect you, yet, if guru is unhappy, who can protect you? Not even Krishna can protect you. 

Thus, take care of your tulasi-mala and kanthi-mala (neck beads). Never give up your kanthi-mala. Do not give up your sacred thread, and never stop chanting the holy names. Many have stopped chanting the holy names, or have given up their kanthi-mala, or are no longer chanting their gayatri-mantras. Perhaps, they have even begun consuming fish, meat or eggs again. Or they are now becoming intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. This is stupid nonsense! Never do this. I always tell you that you have almost achieved Krishna. How far away from Krishna are you? Just two fingers! Always chant the holy names. I kindly request all of you to never stop chanting the holy names and never stop chanting your gayatri-mantras.

Thus, Srila Prabhupada received diksha-mantras from Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Amongst the many temples he constructed, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada first established a Gaudiya matha (temple) in Kolkata, Bagbazar Gaudiya Matha. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada is the original acharya who established many of our Gaudiya temples. Perhaps tomorrow we can further cover the glorious life history and many contributions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. There are so many sweet and important pastimes of Prabhupada left to discuss. 

Jaya Srila Gurudeva ki jaya!

Jaya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada ki jaya!

Date: 24 February 2019 Location: Brazil


Transcriber: Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Damodara dasa (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK), Indira dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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