Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj lectures on the appearance day of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur.
I would like to produce something for your discretion about our revered and beloved master who attracted us from different directions to the shade of his holy feet. His words were all exclusively devoted to Mahāprabhu, to what Śrī Chaitanyadev wanted to give the souls at large in this world. His attempt was identified with that.
The most ancient of all the scriptures of revealed truth are the Vedas, and the Vedānta has plucked up the very substantial portions of the Vedas and Upaniṣads and placed them together in a very reasonable way according to a gradation in development to prove that theism and our aspiration for the sat-chit-ānanda, for eternity, full knowledge, and full satisfaction, are possible. The Vedānta has proved this, but it is still hazy to some extent. So, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, artho ’yaṁ brahma-sūtrānām [‘the meaning of the Vedānta’], came. Vedavyāsa, the propounder of the Vedānta, after receiving some novel impression from his Gurudev Nārad Goswāmī, himself gave a commentary on Vedānta, the Bhāgavatam. There, he has given some idea of full-fledged theism, and afterwards some thought about the adverse circumstances of the present Age of Kali where at every point there is challenge. Without challenge, nothing can pass during this age. Ordinary, simple, and fair transactions are not very easily possible at this time. Kali means kalaha [‘quarrel’]: at every step, someone will come and make some objection, “No, it can’t be.” In such an age, the most simple way and means must be devised for ordinary people to get out of this entanglement and reach the highest attainment. So, it was settled that sound should be the vehicle, only sound should be the means to attain our end. Such sound must be genuine sound, Śabda-brahma, Vaikuṇṭha sound: the vibration that produces that sound must come down, must be brought down here to this place. Then, with the help of that sound, one will be able to arrive at that highest height. That sound is such that the defects in environment cannot delay or destroy its progress. It is vaikuṇṭha [‘without limitation‘]. So, genuine sound which represents the highest truth should be given to one and all liberally as far as possible. Mahāprabhu came with that, the Name, the Name of God, Śabda-brahma. Because the jīva-souls in the Age of Kali are considered to be the most wretched, the pity of the highest order was drawn, with deep impression, and the highest attainment was given to them through sound. Kṛṣṇa-nām [‘the Name of Kṛṣṇa’], the representation of the highest thing, that sort of symbol, was extended to us, the souls of this age. Because we are fallen to the extreme, so for our relief the thing of the highest extreme has been used. Mahāprabhu came with that.
It may be inconceivable that only through sound a man can attain his highest prospect. It may seen ludicrous that purely through sound we can attain the highest thing. People of this world are trying their utmost, labouring so hard, for the achievement of small acquisitions, and the highest acquisition can be had only through sound? How is it possible? The divine scholars and scriptures came to our help to show and prove this, and then recruiting officers were sent from that level to here to preach, to make us understand. and to help in various ways to take us to that domain.
Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, one of the most courageous agents, thus came here to recruit some many fallen souls to the highest level. He had to undergo a fight with the representatives of all different intermediate levels, and he did so. Mostly, he considered that māyāvād was his greatest enemy. Other thoughts may be refuted very easily, but not māyāvād, the Brahma conception with which the renunciationists took the upper hand in the religious war with the elevationists. So, he had to fight it out with them. And not only that, he even had to fight with the lower conceptions of the spiritual world, Viśiṣṭādvaitavād, Śuddhādvaitavād, and so on, to prove that what Śrīman Mahāprabhu has given by His benevolence is the summum bonum of our life and that very easily we can get the highest thing if we can follow systematically the line of Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev.
Śrīla Bhakti Siddānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur did a great and noble service for Mahāprabhu as well as the people, the fallen souls at large like us. Taking that thread, the achievement A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāj attained is unthinkable to us, and as a result of it, you all have come here today to Nabadwīp Dhām on the day when our Guru Mahārāj appeared in this world to show your respect to him and thereby to the line: Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, the Guru-paramparā, Mahāprabhu, and what they gave—Rādhā-Govinda, Vraja-līlā.
The Vraja-līlā of Kṛṣṇa and Nabadwīp-līlā are almost of equal level. In Vraja, the highest attainment is within a particular group, and in Nabadwīp-līlā something is added: the means by which it can be distributed to the public. So, according to some, Gaura-līlā is more gracious to us, that is, greater, as is our Gurudev also. I am directly indebted to my Gurudev most because he is the nearest station from whom I have received my prospect, my fulfilment of life. I have received things from him, the nearest station, so I am indebted to him most, and through him I am to go and show my obeisance to any other higher layer.
Anyhow, we are to realise practically how we can get the benefit given by A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī, or Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Mahārāj, or Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, or Mahāprabhu. Practically, we are to acquire that knowledge, that feeling, that sentiment. We are to make that highly valuable wealth our own property. That should be our object of life: how shortly and genuinely we can reach that. Otherwise, our appreciation for them will be lip deep. To be sincere, we must try hard and see how we can really get that thing.
bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ para-upakāra
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 9.41)
We should satisfy ourselves and then satisfy others with the nectar that we appreciate that is given by our Guru Mahārāj. If we can do that successfully, then it will be befitting for us to say that it is great, that it is noble, and that it is high. But all this will be mere lip-deep talk until we can really acquire that, really distribute that, convert many to that, and prove that it is really nectar which can save us.
More or less, we are always at every stage of our life in apprehension of mortality, of dissipation. Everything is vanishing. So, eternity we want first, and not only eternity but eternity with consciousness, feeling (anubhūti), and satisfaction. Sat-chit-ānandam and satyam śivam sundaram. Sundar, beauty, charm, ānanda—every one of us knowingly or unknowingly is earnestly hankering only for that. Ānanda and sundar are synonymous. So, we are in want.
In this connection, I may say that when Mahatma Gandhi was running his political movement of ahiṁsā [‘nonviolence’] in pursuit of political achievement, Rabindranath was the only opposition to it amongst the scholars of India. To this, Gandhi commented, “While I am trying to release Sītā Devī from the hands of demons, Rabindranath wants to play his flute and make the gopīs dance.” This sort of complaint may come against us, that of the immediate necessity. Gauḍīya Maṭh had to fight in intense circumstances when political men, by their great sacrifice of the resources of this world, were trying to earn political freedom. We had to do argue that this is nothing, that it is futile: “You are fighting for freedom for the senses, but we want to fight for freedom from the senses.” The senses may be pleased by their acquisitions, but that is something of a very low order. Really, the senses are our enemies. We want freedom from the hands of these misguiding apparent friends and other material achievements. Not only that, but proposals of so many kinds of liberation are also snares. Arabindo said, “Mukti is the last snare of māyā.” Before I joined Gauḍīya Maṭh, I found in Yoga and Its Object: “Mukti is the last snare of māyā.” Mukti must also be discarded. There is something else above that, respectful devotion, and then devotion which is pure, actuated by the motive of pure love. The highest sacrifice is there, and the highest gain is also there. These things have been proven in the scriptures as well as by the practices of the great personages, the Vaiṣṇavas, and our Guru Mahārāj, the great messiah who came with such news to deliver and delivered so many souls. As a result, we are all assembled here. It is his work. He began, and now we are here.
Once, he told an attorney in Kolkata Maṭh, “Singlehandedly, I began this fight, and now I have so many, about five hundred, who are speaking on my behalf.” And now, thousands and thousands are speaking on his behalf throughout the world. He started first alone. The background was given by Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, but the practical dealings he began alone, and now today we find we are so many under his holy feet. To show our gratitude to that noble leader in the line of Mahāprabhu on his birthday, today, the day of his advent, we should do as Mahāprabhu says,
ye kāle vā svapane dekhinu vaṁśī-vadane
sei kāle āilā dui vairi
‘ānanda’ āra ‘madana’ hari’ nila mora mana
dekhite nā pāinu netra bhari’
punaḥ yadi kona kṣaṇa karāya kṛṣṇa daraśana
tabe sei ghaṭī-kṣaṇa-pala
diyā mālya-chandana nānā ratna-ābharaṇa
alaṅkṛta karimu sakala
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 2.37–8)
“Suddenly, like lightning, the most happy plane came down to have some connection with me, and then suddenly it disappeared. Now, I can only remember the touch, the slight, lightning-like touch of that wonderful type of ecstasy. I think that if that point in time can be made to stay for a little longer, I should try to do that. I should try to propitiate Time so that Time may make a delay in this plane, and I will be able to have such connection for a little longer because when that time passes away, everything is lost.”
Time is very valuable, and we should try to worship this time, the time he came and delivered such a good omen to the world. So, we are all assembled to honour this time, the time of our noble fortune-giver, our master, the leader of our life who has commanded the whole of our life’s energy and is directing which way it should go and move. All-important in our life is our guide. We are to go the way he wants to guide us. Our guide is the great important factor in our life. So, a good guide who can satisfy all our aspirations to the fullest extent, how important is the position he holds? And how much should we be thankful to him, to the time of his coming, and to everything we have received in his connection? Die to live. Hegel says, “Die to live.” If you want to live a proper life, you will have to die. So, at the cost of our death, we are making some progress. How valuable is it? And who is our guide in that, and what sort of importance does he hold in our heart? With that sort of energy and attention, we shall try to show our little honour to him. We are children, and he knows it fully well. So, seeing our childish attempt, perhaps he will be satisfied with us. With this statement, I want to retire today from this function.
13 February 1982.