Photos and account by Prabhu Mahamantra of Venezuela, travelling with Srila Acharya Maharaj’s party in Vrindavan and Govardhan at this time.
Srila Govinda Maharaj Tirobhav Tithi Mahamahotsav 2012
The adhivas festival held on the eve of Srila Govinda Maharaj’s disappearance anniversary and Sri Murti installation began in an auspicious gathering of devotees from all over the world. Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj and Srila Bhakti Kusum Ashram Maharaj led a very long night programme in Bengali and English, singing and chanting the glories of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.
Srila Ashram Maharaj spoke of the magnanimous mood of Srila Govinda Maharaj and discussed various Pastimes and histories of His Divine Grace. Srila Ashram Maharaj also glorified Srila Acharya Maharaj who fulfilled Srila Gurudev’s desire by manifesting this pushpa samadhi at Govardhan. He pointed out that Srila Acharya Maharaj manifested Srila Gurudev’s samadhi mandir in Nabadwip within the first year of his disappearance, and now in the second year of his disappearance had manifested this pushpa samadhi.
The following morning, immediately after mangal arati, the sannyasis assembled to begin glorification of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. In his humility His Grace Srila Acharya Maharaj began by saying that he wanted to hear glorification of Srila Gurudev from all the other sannyasis, feeling that in his fallen position he had no qualification to do so, and then requested Srila Bhakti Bimal Avadhut Maharaj to begin. Srila Avadhut Maharaj expressed his feeling that we are as blind persons who cannot see things properly, aichana amara mana phire yena andha jana, so our fortune is om ajnana timirandasya jnananjana shalakaya: “Our great hope is that we are in connection with one who has perfect vision and that is our Srila Gurudev. We will never think that we are so great and we can see everything; we hope lastly that we can get the merciful hand of Guru and Vaishnav and that they will lead us to perfection.” He also glorified Srila Acharya Maharaj and his extreme mood of service which made this festival possible.
Srila Acharya Maharaj then invited Sripad Mahananda Prabhu Bhakti Ranjan to glorify Srila Gurudev: “Today we are very fortunate to be here in Govardhan at our beautiful Srila Sridhar Swami Seva Ashram, a very appropriate place for us to remember the Pastimes of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj who had Govardhan and this temple so dear to his heart.” Following this Mahananda Prabhu explained the non-different relationship between Sri Nabadwip Dham and Vrindavan Dham, and also Srila Gurudev’s Pastimes related to the history of the construction of our Govardhan temple.
Following Mahananda Prabhu Sripad Bhakti Chandan Parvat Maharaj spoke on an early Pastime of Srila Gurudev and Srila Guru Maharaj: when Srila Govinda Maharaj arrived to the Math in 1947 Srila Guru Maharaj asked him if he could not follow his mind but follow him, and he agreed and the next day showed that he not only agreed with his words but also with his actions, by taking dal full of insects. “Srila Guru Maharaj recognised that that young boy would be his successor; he had that capacity to serve and follow the instructions of his Gurudev, and not to follow his mind. Now we, all of Srila Govinda Maharaj’s disciples, we have the same test, we have the same question: can we follow the instruction of our spiritual master and not our own mind. We have heard that our own mind can be our best friend and our worst enemy … Now our Srila Gurudev have given us an instruction, and we should not follow our mind; the instruction is that Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj is the Successor Acharya. Now we have to follow that instruction and we have to give our full faith, we have to give our full devotion, our full seva at the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj. This is our real test, to see if we are real disciples of Srila Govinda Maharaj or we are not.”
After a short speech by Sripad Bhakti Nandan Narayan Maharaj, Srila Acharya Maharaj closed the morning programme saying, “We have to understand the substance is what Avadhut Maharaj and Mahananda Prabhu were saying, that Srila Gurudev was teaching us, and he sacrificed his life for us and now we have to sacrifice our life for our Guru. That is necessary; not to take always but to give. (In Bengali:) Body, mind, and speech.”
The main programme started at 9.30 am with the abhishek of Srila Govinda Maharaj’s Sri Murti. Srila Acharya Maharaj simultaneously began kirtan in glorification of Srila Govinda Maharaj.
Srila Ashram Maharaj and Srila Acharya Maharaj spoke first, followed by Sripad Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaj and some respectable Vaishnav guests. Many Vraja-vasis from different Gaudiya Maths also attended this grand festival, which concluded with an opulent prasadam feast including thousands of luchis, begum pakoras, and sweets.