In honour of the disappearance of Srila A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad today, we are presenting a lecture of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj in which he explains his view and appreciation of Srila Swami Maharaj as his siksha-guru.
namaḥ oṁ viṣṇupādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhūtale
swāmī śrī bhaktivedānta prabhupādāya te namaḥ
gurvajñaṁ śīrasi-dhṛtvā śaktyāveśa svarūpine
hare-kṛṣṇeti mantreṇa pāśchātya-prāchya-tāriṇe
viśvāchārya pravaryāya divya kāruṇya mūrtaye
śrī bhāgavata-mādhurya-gītā-jñāna pradāyine
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-padāmbhoja-bhṛṅgāya gurave namaḥ
(Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj)
“I perpetually offer my humble obeisance unto my guru, Kṛṣṇa’s dear devotee on this earth, Oṁ Viṣṇupād Śrīla A.C. Bhakti Vedānta Swāmī Prabhupād. Bearing the order of his guru on his head, he is a śaktyāveś-avatār (of Nityānanda Prabhu) and delivers the East and West with the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. He is the ultimate jagad-guru and embodiment of divine mercy. He distributes the knowledge of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and the sweetness of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, He serves Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu and Śrīman Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu, and He is a bumblebee in the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.”
Srila Swami Maharaj gave so much; Srila Guru Maharaj gave more than that. Srila Swami Maharaj arranged to preach Krishna consciousness to the general conditioned souls. He did many different things in many different ways. Over that, Guru Maharaj gave nourishment, very good nourishment, to those conditioned souls.
They are both my gurus. My conception is that one is avatar and the other is avatari. Mahaprabhu came as a Yug-avatar and Srila Swami Maharaj preached like a Yug-avatar. Inside Mahaprabhu though was another form. In this way I see Srila Swami Maharaj and Guru Maharaj as non-different. Guru Maharaj gave the finest conception, you all know that. Swami Maharaj made all the receivers and all the arrangements so that they could receive Krishna consciousness. He prepared the field, planted the seeds, and gave a good chance to everyone. He did everything. Then Guru Maharaj gave very good nourishment to everyone.
That is my idea, one is avatar and the other is avatari. In this way I consider Swami Maharaj and Guru Maharaj as my siksha-guru and diksha-guru.
Every Vaishnav has their own feelings, and with them they try to do something good for others. Srila Guru Maharaj has his own line and Srila Swami Maharaj has his own line. They are, however, non-different actually.
Food is prepared in one way in the West. Food is prepared in another way in the East. Food in Southern India is prepared in another way and food is prepared in the Northern India in another way. Still, all food lastly goes into our stomachs.
There are differences in the ways of Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj. It is not possible for them to be the same. The nature of every jiva-soul and every maha-purush is not the same and cannot be the same. Every saint has their own sadhana and through that they try to do something good for others. So their ways are non-different but there are also differences between them.
That is an external matter though. Internally it is deeper. A few may have been deceived but for the most part everyone is getting and has got the wealth of Krishna consciousness. Now, all over the world, people are chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Who knew about the mahamantra before Srila Swami Maharaj? Who knew about Chaitanyadev? Who knew about Nityananda Prabhu and the Pancha-Tattva? Who knew about Radha-Krishna? Before Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj, no one knew about these things actually.
Guru Maharaj used to always sing one song of Vasudev Ghosh:
yadi gaura nā ha’ta, tabe ki ha-ita,
kemane dharitām de
rādhāra mahimā prema-rasa-sīmā
jagate jānāta ke?
“If Gauranga Mahaprabhu had not appeared in this mundane world, then how could anyone have understood Radha-Krishna and Their prem?”
We could not have understood Their supreme love and beauty. We are so fortunate that we have now got that conception. Maybe not fully, but some percentage we have got and that is enough. Eka-bindu jagat dubaya (Cc. 3.15.19), “One drop can overflood the world.”
Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj have given that type of mercy and that type of Krishna-prem. By their mercy we are enlightened and trying to practise Krishna consciousness.
There is a deep, a deeper, and a deepest conception of Godhead. There are many conceptions, but Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His love, beauty, and effulgence are supreme. Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj have given that Krishna to this world.
I am very fortunate that I have got their mercy; since my youth they have always been very merciful and affectionate to me.