Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj remembers an exalted servant of Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga.
The Departure of Param Bhāgavat
Śrīpād Saurīndranāth Bhakti Vāridhi Mahoday
by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
Translated from the Bengali article
published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan,
Volume 13, Issue 1, Sunday, 24 August 1969.
There is a village named Madla not far from Bogra. In this village is the opulent home of the renowned and powerful landholder Yogendranāth Sarkār Mahoday. Yogendra Bābu himself was a very clever and forceful administrator. He twice fought in lawsuits that went up to the Privy Council (Supreme Court of Great Britain) between a landholder in Bogra and Śrī Mohamed Ali, the former chief minister of Pakistan [Bangladesh]. Once, he also invited the Bahadur governor of Bengal at that time to his home and honourably hosted him.
Śrī Saurīndranāth Sarkār was the eldest son of Yogendra Bābu. After finishing his higher education, Śrī Saurīndranāth Bābu passed an English M.A. examination with honours and then successfully passed a law examination. He started practising law in the high court as an assistant to the widely renowned Kolkata High Court advocate Śrī Atul Gupta Mahāśay. Later, at the wish of his venerable father and out of necessity for the maintenance his estate, Saurīndranāth Bābu began to plead in the Bogra district court, and by doing so he was able to acquire abundant fame and wealth. Later, at a mature age, even after Pakistan [Bangladesh] was established, while he was doing praiseworthy work as a public prosecutor, he would stay in Śrī Dhām Nabadwīp, being desirous of sincere spiritual life.
About thirty-five or thirty-six years earlier, Śrī Saurīndranāth Sarkār Mahoday became extremely grief-stricken and confounded by the death of his only daughter. He suddenly pulled his extremely busy life to a halt and went out on a pilgrimage. At this time it so happened that he started to visit the Delhi Gauḍīya Maṭh, and after he came there, he became attracted upon seeing a resemblance between his dead daughter and the Deity of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the Maṭh. Although he showed some eagerness for spiritual discussion with the residents of the Maṭh, as an expert advocate with a modern education and educated mind, he was unable to give up the illusion that so-called service to humanity is the highest good, and he would bewilder the residents of the Maṭh with arguments.
It so happened that Jagad-guru Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Prabhupād was at that time staying in Mathurā at a famous place known as Śivālaya near Dampier Park. When he was informed by letter of the above mentioned events by the caretaker of the Delhi Maṭh, Śrīla Prabhupād sent my Guru Pāda-padma Om Viṣṇupād Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj, who was expert in the conclusions of all the scriptures, to the Delhi Maṭh to attract Śrīyukta Saurīn Bābu to the proper conception of devotion. There, for a few days, my Guru Pāda-padma elaborately discussed the supremacy of the conception of pure devotion with the renowned advocate. As a result, Saurīn Bābu realised the insubstantiality of so-called service to humanity and attained a clear conception of the supremacy of service to the Lord, and, above all, service to Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. He immediately went to Śrī Mathurā Dhām, met Śrīla Prabhupād, and became completed satisfied upon hearing the divine message pouring from Śrīla Prabhupād’s holy mouth. He and his wife then surrendered themselves at Śrīla Prabhupād’s feet and were blessed to receive Śrī Hari-nām initiation.
After returning to his residence in Bogra, desiring good fortune for all souls, he became intensely eager to spread the speciality of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭh‘s preaching—the message of Śrī Chaitanya as propagated by Śrīla Prabhupād, and he courageously endeavoured to do this. Gradually, he invited qualified preachers to his home and set a great example by spending and endeavouring extensively to spread the unparalleled teachings of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭh amongst the educated section of society.
Attracted by his efforts to preach and serve, Śrīla Prabhupād set foot in his house in Bogra as he was returning from Darjeeling in the company of his associates (with the German scholar Sadānanda Brahmachārī and other exalted associates). The grand reception and procession that Saurīndranāth Bhakti Vāridhi Mahoday organised with the cooperation of the Bogra Bar association for Śrīla Prabhupād was envied even by many famous political leaders.
From the time of Śrīla Prabhupād’s manifest Pastimes, Saurīndranāth Bhakti Vāridhi was attracted to the special quality of the deeply insightful Hari-kathā spoken by my Śrī Guru Pāda-padma, and he had deep faith in my Śrī Guru Pāda-padma. After Śrīla Prabhupād’s disappearance, when Śrīla Guru Mahārāj established Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh in Kolergañj within Gupta Govardhan in the southern part of the town in Śrī Dhām Nabadwīp and separately dedicated himself to a life of service through preaching and other devotional activities, Saurīndranāth Prabhu also engaged in devotional practice as his follower, eager to be near Śrīla Guru Mahārāj; in many ways Saurīndranāth Prabhu assisted with various services for Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh in the company of the Maṭh’s servitors.
On the day of worship of the holy appearance of our Śrī Guru Pāda-padma, he would come unfailingly every year (whatever his health condition was) and personally feel great satisfaction in worshipping our Āchārya as a nondifferent form of Śrīla Prabhupād. Furthermore, by teaching, with his hands and his pen, fallen souls like me how to worship Śrī Guru, and inspiring us in our service, he would bless us with eternal good fortune. In particular, he would again and again take care to make me appreciate the qualification and special characteristics of he whom Śrīla Prabhupād, on the eve of his disappearance, personally summoned and requested to sing Śrī-Rūpa-mañjarī-pada, he from whom Śrīla Prabhupād heard Narottam Ṭhākur’s bhajan which illuminates the highest development of divine service. It is our great fortune that we were blessed to get the association of this great soul Saurīndranāth Bhakti Vāridhi.
Unfailingly every year, and with intense devotion, he would organise in allegiance with Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh a grand festival commemorating the disappearance of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur in the Śrī Sāraswat Kuṭīr at his house. At this function, he would invite and gather distinguished, honourable, educated, and qualified people, recount for everyone the Hari-kathā spoken by Śrīla Prabhupād’s worshippable associates and the glories of Śrīla Prabhupād, and, by distributing to everyone, invited and uninvited, the four types of Bhagavad-prasād—that can be chewed, sucked, licked, and drunk—he would ensure everyone attained good fortune.
By attaining one drop of the firm constancy for endeavouring to serve Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of Śrīla Prabhupād and His associate—the Āchārya of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh—that was observed in his life and up until his last moment, even a fallen soul like myself could become qualified for eternal good fortune and be supremely blessed.
On Varuthinī Ekādaśī, the day of the last vernal equinox, this great soul deprived souls like myself of an intimate friend and departed to lovingly serve Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅga Gāndharvā Govindasundar in his own plane, that of pure divine service.
According to his desire, on the eleventh day after his departure, his last rights were performed for his spiritual satisfaction at Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh with decorum and dignity. Many renowned tridaṇḍi sannyāsīs and pure devotees attended this observance and perfectly performed the functions of worship, recitation, chanting, lecturing, praising this exalted Vaiṣṇava soul [Saurīndranāth Bhakti Vāridhi], conducting a fire sacrifice, and distributing mahāprasād. Lastly, everyone in attendance was offered wonderful mahāprasād.
Many of his family members, personal companions, and friends came to the Maṭh on this occasion and were satisfied with mahāprasād. When they took leave to depart, singing his glories, his disappearance festival was complete.
All of Śrīla Prabhupād associates, one by one, are taking leave from this mortal world and depriving the earth of its jewels. Without this great soul, the Gauḍīya sampradāya and the servitors of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh are feeling an irreparable loss for which there is no solace. But what can done? Svatantra Kṛṣṇera ichchhā ha-ila saṅga-bhaṅga: such association has been lost by the independent will of Lord Kṛṣṇa.