Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the ideal behind the term brihat mridanga.
Our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, liked book preaching. He called it the brihat mridanga. When a mridanga resounds, it invites the people around it, “Come to hear the chanting of the Divine Name.” Similarly, books go from man to man, house to house, informing people, “These things are occurring. Come and join.” The ‘sound’ made by books, however, works more efficiently than the sound made by the mridanga. So our Guru Maharaj called them the brihat mridanga. The inundation upon people made by books is more intense and more perfect than that made by the mridanga.
A gentleman who read the Gaudiya wrote an article in praise of our Guru Maharaj.
jīva moha-nidrā gata jāgā’te vaikuṇṭha dūta
‘gauḍīya’ pāṭhāo ghare ghare
uṭhare uṭhare bhāi āra ta’ samaya nāi
‘kṛṣṇa bhaja’ bale uchchaiḥsvare
(Acharya Vandana: 15)
“Generally souls are sleeping under the influence of ignorance, and to rouse them you send your weekly paper, the Gaudiya, from door to door. It is the messenger of Vaikuntha, the infinite world, and it pushes open doors to be heard. It loudly calls the people, ‘Utha re utha re bhai ara ta’ samaya nai Krishna bhaja’ bale uchchaihsvare: There is no time! Awake! Arise! Come to the Absolute! Why are you are sleeping in ignorance? Such a great prospect waits for you. Come and serve Krishna!’ That is the Gaudiya’s news.”
Prabhupad founded this weekly newspaper, the Gaudiya, and even a daily newspaper, the Nadia Prakash. Madan Mohan Malaviya, the majority leader of India at the time, remarked, “What is this? A daily religious newspaper?” Prabhupad answered him, “In this mundane world there are so many daily papers. We are told that in America there are not only morning and evening papers but newspapers published every hour. In Vaikuntha there is a thousand times more news than there is in the mundane world. So why is printing one daily paper about Vaikuntha a wonder? Thousands of daily papers about Vaikuntha may be continued, that much news comes from Vaikuṇṭha. The news of Vaikuntha can overflood this mundane world. Vaikuntha is infinite, and this world is finite. When a ray from the infinite world comes to the finite world, what can it do?”
Later Madan Mohan Malaviya said to Prabhupad, “Every village should have a centre for your activities.” Our Guru Maharaj answered, “What do you say? I want to establish a temple of the Lord in every man’s heart.”