Sripad B.V. Dandi Maharaja
All glories to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga.
I would like to offer millions of obeisances at the lotus feet of my eternal spiritual master Nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Oṁ Viṣṇu-pāda Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja (Śrīla Gurudeva).
My close association with Śrila Gurudeva in 1997
I had the greatest fortune of receiving Śrīla Gurudeva's direct association in 1997 when he came to our temple and preaching center (New York Interfaith League of Devotees) located at 25 First Avenue, Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, United States of America, where I was the in-charge. I gladly arranged for the stay and preaching programs of Śrīla Gurudeva. Śrīla Gurudeva originally had a plan of staying only for seven days, but by our good fortune he ended up staying with us for fourteen days. He was accompanied by two hundred devotees, one hundred male and one hundred female. At that time, only one English book, “Going Beyond Vaikuṇṭha”, had been published in Śrīla Gurudeva's saṅga. Śrī Gauḍīya-gīti-guccha in English had been published as a spiral-bound book. All the devotees used to accept kṛṣṇa-prasādam in the restaurant downstairs.
Later on, I went to Śrī Rūpa Raghunātha Gauḍīya Maṭha in Washington D.C. for preaching. After that, Srila Gurudeva ordered me to go to Bangalore and start a Gaudiya Matha, according to the desire of our Parama Gurudeva Śrīla Bhakti Prajñana Keśava Gosvāmī mahārāja. I returned to India and began to preach in Bangalore, South India.
How the Bangalore temple was constructed
By the causeless mercy of Śrīla Gurudeva, our dear god-brother Śrī Bhagavatī-kānta Prabhujī of North Carolina in USA donated five and a half acres of land in Hesaraghatta, Bangalore. Srila Gurudeva gave the temple the name SHREE RANGANATHA GOUDIYA MATHA. With the kind inspiration of Śrīla Gurudeva, Śrī Raṅganātha Gauḍīya Maṭha Charitable Trust (SRGMCT) was incorporated in 2005. The aim of SRGMCT is to preach the teachings of Śrīla Gurudeva, to translate and publish his books in the South Indian languages (Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu), and to protect cows and bulls from slaughter, since cows are like our mothers and bulls are like our fathers.
'Hesaraghatta’ is the corrupt form of the name ‘Vyāsera-gaṭṭā’. The cave of Śrīla Vyāsadeva is present in Hesaraghatta. Śrīla Vyāsadeva stayed in this cave and did bhajana (devotional service) of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The five Pāṇḍava brothers, along with mother Kuntī, also stayed there. Mother Kuntī used to pluck flowers in the gardens in this area. Also, Bhīma killed a demon in the area near our āśrama, and his huge footprints can be seen imprinted in the rocks. Śrīla Durvāsa Munī also established a temple for Lord Śrī Lakṣmī Narasiṁha Deities made out of Śālagrāma, which are about three feet tall.
When Śrīla Gurudeva visited our āśrama in 2004, he predicted that this āśrama would become a shelter for thousands of devotees; it would become like the āśrama of great sages such as Vaśiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra. Śrīla Gurudeva gave a class and gave chanting beads to many students who attended.
During Śrīla Gurudeva's three visits to Bangalore, more than 350 devotees accepted hari-nāma-mahā-mantra and dīkṣā-mantras from Śrīla Gurudeva.
Śrī Mahādeva says in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (11.200)):
narā mokṣaṁ labhanti vai
kiṁ punar ye sadā bhaktyā
pūjayanty acyutaṁ narāḥ
“Just by receiving initiation into the kṛṣṇa-mantra one can obtain liberation, so what can be said about what one can achieve by performing devotion unto the Supreme Lord?”
Translation of books to South India languages
Śrīla Gurudeva ordered me to translate and publish all of his books in the South India languages. Following the order of Śrīla Gurudeva, we have translated to Kannada and published many books such as Jaiva Dharma, Vaiṣṇava-siddhānta-mālā (A Necklace of Divine Conclusions), Catuḥ-śloki Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, The Butter Thief, Gauḍīya-gīti-guccha (a priceless collection of Sanskrit, Bengali, and Hindi devotional prayers and songs written by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas), and Harmony (a collection of instructions by Śrīla Gurudeva on how truly humble and harmonious dealings are conducive to our practice of bhakti).
“The Essence of Bhagavad-gītā” was translated to the Malayalam language. Many books such as The Butter Thief, Śiva-tattva, and The Essence of Bhagavad-gītā were translated to the Tamil language by a team led by Dr. Bhagavatī-kānta Prabhujī.
Śrīmatī Yaśodā dīdī from Mumbai, Śrīpāda Bhakti-vedānta Viṣṇu-daivata Mahārāja, Śrīmatī Śubhadā Dhande, and others have translated and published Jaiva-dharma and Hari-nāma-mahā-mantra in the Marathi language.
By the blessings of Śrīla Gurudeva, Śrī Sukumāra Prabhujī and Śrī Rasa-kṛṣṇa Prabhujī are translating Śrīla Gurudeva's books to the Telugu language.
Śrīla Gurudeva's lectures on Ekādaśī were transcribed, translated, and published in book form in the Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, and English languages. Taking inspiration from these books, thousands of faithful persons have started observing Ekādaśī fasting and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
Rāgānugā-bhakti sādhakas should in all respects practice bhāva-sambandhi sādhana such as śravaṇa, kīrtana, service to tulasī, wearing tilaka, observing vows beginning with Śrī Ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī, and so on, for all these activities nourish one’s desired bhāva (spiritual mood).
Preaching centers in Sindhanur and Tirupati
A small temple and preaching center was started in camp3 Sindhanur taluk of Raichur district of Karnataka, where Śrī Janmāṣṭamī and other important festivals are celebrated. Kiṣkindhā, the capital of Sugrīva and birthplace of Lord Hanumān, is located nearby.
Śrī Bālājī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Tirupati
A small temple and preaching center was started in Satya-nārāyaṇa Puram Circle in Tirupati. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited Tirumalā during His South India travel. The Deities of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana were installed in this temple, and all the important holy festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam-saptāh (seven-day discourse on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam) is held regularly and devotees benefit by listening to the Telugu language commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja writes, “The Tirupati temple is sometimes called Tirupaṭura. It is situated on the northern side of Arcot in the district of Candragiri. It is a famous holy place of pilgrimage. In pursuance of His name, Veṅkaṭeśvara, the four-handed Lord Viṣṇu, the Deity of Bālājī, with His potencies named Śrī and Bhū, is located on Veṅkaṭa Hill, about eight miles from Tirupati. This Veṅkaṭeśvara Deity is in the form of Lord Viṣṇu, and the place where He is situated is known as Veṅkaṭa-kṣetra. There are many temples in southern India, but this Bālājī temple is especially opulent. A great fair is held there in the months of September and October. There is a railway station called Tirupati on the Southern Railway. Nimna-tirupati is located in the valley of the Veṅkaṭa Hill. There are several temples there also, among which are those of Govindarāja and Lord Rāmacandra.”
Distribution of kṛṣṇa-prasāda
Śrīla Gurudeva and Śrīla Parama-gurudeva (Nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Oṁ Viṣṇu-pāda Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti-Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja) had a strong desire to preach in South India. Now, by their mercy, a preaching center has opened in the heart of Bangalore City. The preaching center is known as Śrī Gopīnātha Bhavana. By the hard work of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-kānta Prabhujī and his family, and Śrī Jitendra Bābu (Śrī Jitendriya Prabhujī) and his family, a modern kitchen for distributing kṛṣṇa-prasādam (food-stuffs offered with love and affection to Lord Kṛṣṇa) and sat-saṅga (preaching) hall has been commissioned for the pleasure of Their Lordships Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnātha-jiu. Śrī Gopīnātha Bhavana wants to distribute kṛṣṇa-prasādam to everyone.
Since March of 2020, India and the entire Earth planet are suffering from the corona-virus pandemic. During such difficult times, Śrīla Gurudeva's Śrī Raṅganātha Gauḍīya Maṭha has distributed 1000 plates of hot kṛṣṇa-prasādam to poor people.
Śrīla Gurudeva taught us how to control our tongue by honoring kṛṣṇa-prasādam and chanting the holy names of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He said, “Control the pushing of the tongue by serving and respecting the Supreme Lord’s prasādam and the mahā-mahā-prasādam of His devotees. We should accept this mahā-prasādam in an appropriate and careful manner; not to greedily fill the belly. To remind ourselves of this, we sing:
viśvāso naiva jāyate
‘Those persons who do not have many sukṛtis, spiritual pious credits, cannot understand the glories of the Lord’s name or His mahā-prasādam, nor can they understand the glories of the Vaiṣṇavas. They don’t have faith in these things.’
“When we take prasādam, we sing, ‘Oh sādhu, be careful. Don’t overeat and don’t eat with a mentality for personal enjoyment.’Mahā-prasādam is so rare. When Śrīmatī Pārvatī-devī and Śaṅkara honored mahā-prasādam, they began to dance. Do not ‘eat’, but rather ‘honor’ prasādam. Do not ‘chant’ the holy name, but rather ‘serve’ the holy name. Do not ‘listen’ to hari-kathā, but rather ‘serve’ hari-kathā. Serve prasādam and hari-kathā with faith and respect for their transcendental identity; this is bhajana.”
By Śrīla Gurudeva's mercy, nagara-saṅkīrtana is carried out every week in different villages and areas in the vicinity of Hesaraghatta. Śrīmatī Yaśodā Mātājī, Śrīmad Kṛṣṇa-kāntā Devī Mātājī, and other devotees take great interest in distributing kṛṣṇa-prasādam and leading the nagara-saṅkrītana festival. During nagara-saṅkrītana, we distribute the books of Śrīla Gurudeva and mahā-mantra cards.
Śrīla Gurudeva has told us: "Don’t believe in money and wealth. Don’t believe in them. To think that they will help, that we will be benefited and happy by money and wealth, is quite wrong. By chanting the name and serving Gurudeva, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Conjugal, Mahāprabhu, and Nityānanda Prabhu, you will be so happy that you cannot imagine, and the world will be benefited by this. So try to do nagara-saṅkīrtana without self-gain. If there is any self-gain, let Kṛṣṇa be the Self here, and we can do anything for His service. If you have so much money, or even some money, in your pockets, so many problems will come. Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī left his one associate, Īśāna. He told him, ‘You should take that coin and return home. It is like poison.’You should try to do nagara-saṅkīrtana and distribute books also, but always chant and remember, hear classes, and be in high-class devotee association. And first of all you should not be selfish. Be guru-centered or Kṛṣṇa-centered. They will manage everything."
Gośālā or Govardhana khaṇḍa
A place where cows live is known as a gośālā or Govardhana khaṇḍa. Such cows are very beautiful. Yogurt, ghee, khīra, paramānna (sweet rice), etc. are made from their milk and offered to Ṭhākurajī. Śrī Raṅganātha Gauḍīya Maṭha currently has 105 cows and bulls of mainly Indian breeds such as Gir, Tharparkar, Ongole, Khillari, and Kankrej. Recently, four gośālā sheds were constructed for cows and bulls, and for storing hay. Two sheds were constructed on the first floor for storing equipment for manufacturing cow urine extract, herbal soaps, and herbal tooth-powder. By the causeless mercy of Śrīla Gurudeva, a cement road leading from the main gate to the entrance of the temple and the gośālā has been constructed. Many businessmen happily donate fodder for the cows.
The importance of cows is explained in the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.3.13):
bhavāya śreyase bhūtyai
kṣemāya vijayāya ca
tava—your; āsanam—position on the throne; dvija—of the brahminical culture or the brāhmaṇas; gavām—of the cows; pārameṣṭhyam—supreme; jagat-pate—O master of the whole universe; bhavāya—for improvement; śreyase—for the ultimate happiness; bhūtyai—for increasing the opulence; kṣemāya—for the maintenance and good fortune; vijayāya—for the victory and increasing prestige; ca—and.
O Lord Brahmā, your position within this universe is certainly most auspicious for everyone, especially the cows and brāhmaṇas. Brahminical culture and the protection of cows can be increasingly glorified, and thus all kinds of material happiness, opulence and good fortune will automatically increase. But unfortunately, if Hiraṇyakaśipu occupies your seat, everything will be lost.
In this verse the words dvija-gavāṁ pārameṣṭhyam indicate the most exalted position of the brāhmaṇas, brahminical culture and the cows. In Vedic culture, the welfare of the cows and the welfare of the brāhmaṇas are essential. Without a proper arrangement for developing brahminical culture and protecting cows, all the affairs of administration will go to hell. Being afraid that Hiraṇyakaśipu would occupy the post of Brahmā, all the demigods were extremely disturbed. Hiraṇyakaśipu was a well-known demon, and the demigods knew that if demons and Rākṣasas were to occupy the supreme post, brahminical culture and protection of cows would come to an end. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29), the original proprietor of everything is Lord Kṛṣṇa (bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram). The Lord, therefore, knows particularly well how to develop the material condition of the living entities within this material world. In every universe there is one Brahmā engaged on behalf of Lord Kṛṣṇa, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (tene brahma hṛdaya ādi-kavaye). The principal creator in each brahmāṇḍa is Lord Brahmā, who imparts Vedic knowledge to his disciples and sons. On every planet, the king or supreme controller must be a representative of Brahmā. Therefore, if a Rākṣasa, or demon, were situated in Brahmā's post, then the entire arrangement of the universe, especially the protection of the brahminical culture and cows, would be ruined. All the demigods anticipated this danger, and therefore they went to request Lord Brahmā to take immediate steps to thwart Hiraṇyakaśipu's plan.
Śrīla Gurudeva has said, “Without delay, stop the disgraceful taint of cow-slaughter in our nation. The cow species has an unbreakable relation with the Āryan culture, refined civilization, and lineage and dharma of India. Cows are the life of our culture, the essence of honor in our society, and an indivisible limb of our dharma. Without cows, our culture and very selves will become corpses devoid of life. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.4.27) describes the root pillars of the Indian Āryan culture in this way:
goṣu vipreṣu sādhuṣu
dharme mayi ca vidveṣaḥ
sa vā āśu vinaśyati
'When one is envious of the demigods, who represent the Supreme Personality of Godhead, of the Vedas, which give all knowledge, of the cows, brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and religious principles, and ultimately of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he and his civilization will be vanquished without delay.'
“Our primary duty is faith and service to the cows, brāhmaṇas, sādhus, Vedas, demigods, dharma, and the Supreme Lord. This is the main pillar of our culture. That person, society, race, or nation that acts with hostility against these pillars will quickly be destroyed. Nowadays, in our own country, hateful actions have begun against them. This is the greatest misfortune for our nation and us.”
Importance of cow dung and cow urine
The importance of cow dung and agnihotra-bhasma (holy ash) is being demonstrated to the whole world, as we have used copper, dried cow dung, and agnihotra-bhasma to manufacture anti-radiation chips for mobile phones.
Śrīla Gurudeva writes, “The viśva-rūpa is an aspect of Bhagavān’s aiśvarya, but upon seeing it, not even a trace of aiśvarya-bhāva arose in Yaśodā. Instead her prema for Kṛṣṇa only increased, and continuing to see Him merely as a small child, she bathed Him in cow dung and cow urine for auspiciousness. Bhagavān is the personification of auspiciousness, yet to bring auspiciousness to Him, she sang some mantras and gave charity to the brāhmaṇas! Sanātana Gosvāmī says here in his commentary that if one hears these descriptions of Yaśodā endeavoring to bring auspiciousness to Kṛṣṇa, then very soon that same auspiciousness will come to that person.”
Śrī Rāja-rājeśvara Prabhujī distills cow urine, and purified cow urine extract is given to patients so that they become healthy. The cow urine extract cures many serious diseases. He also manufactures tooth-powder for cleansing teeth, using cow dung ash and pure camphor.
Mahāprabhu inquired from Sārvabhuama Bhaṭṭcārya, "Why have you said that the Supreme has no form, no qualities? He is very merciful. What would be the need of worshiping a God who has no mercy? If the Supreme Truth cannot do anything, there is no need for such a Supreme Truth."
Mahāprabhu continued, "Śruti (the Vedas) is the first evidence. There it is stated that a human being's stool, urine, and bones are very impure. However, although a conchshell is bone, and cow dung and cow urine are stool and urine, they are always pure. In fact, we perform abhiṣeka (the bathing ceremony of the Deity on the altar) of Kṛṣṇa with cow urine and cow dung, and we use conch-shells in all temples. Śruti says this. You are not speaking from Śruti. You are twisting the meaning and imagining your own meaning, not giving the direct meaning. Especially, the living entities are not the Supreme Spirit Truth."
Clear refutation of ṛtvik philosophy
We remember how Śrīla Gurudeva strongly refuted the ṛtvik doctrine which claims that Śrīla Bhakti-vedānta Svāmī Mahārāja is the only spiritual master in the world, and there would be no other spiritual master after him. Śrīla Gurudeva proclaimed that the disciplic succession is eternal and will continue for eternity. He said that this Earth planet cannot survive if any pure devotee does not exist on her.
Śrīla Gurudeva wrote, “If bogus gurus cannot give bhakti, then how can such a fallen guru, who is now coming in the bogus ṛtvik system, help devotees? Fallen gurus are now becoming ṛtviks. You should do praṇāma to them from very far away. Don’t mix with them, and always boycott them. The ṛtvik system cannot help because it is only related to performance of sacrifices.”
Śrīla Gurudeva states in 'The True Conception of Guru Tattva', "Beginning from the Vedic period up to Dvāpara-yuga, it is seen that many great emperors have obtained their desired fruits by flawless performance of sacrifices…Generally; all of these sacrifices were performed for fulfilling material desires, the chief of which was the attainment of heavenly planets…After the completion of yajñas, the yajamāna (he on whose behalf the yajña is performed) pays the appropriate remunerations to the ṛtviks and sends them away. The yajamāna and the ṛtvik have no mutual eternal relationships."
Śrīla Gurudeva also writes, “In our line there is guru, there is śikṣā-guru, there is caitya-guru, there is śravaṇa-guru, there is patha-pradarṣaka-guru—so many gurus. Why go to these bogus ṛtviks? Be very far away from them. Be careful about them. We should be very careful about māyāvādīs, sahajiyās, and all nirviśeṣa-vādīs. You know that in our guru-paramparā line Brahmā has never fallen down, Nārada has never fallen down, and Śrī Vyāsa and Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī have also never fallen down. You know Mādhavendra Purī and Īśvara Purīpāda; they never fell down. You know that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and all the other six Gosvāmīs, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura, and after that Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, my Gurudeva Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and my śikṣā-guru Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja – none of them ever fell down. They cannot fall down. They are actual gurus. One should select a guru like them. However, even if you have not as yet done so, you can think about it more and more.
“We have not come for joining any society. We have come to serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Conjugal and Mahāprabhu. This is our aim and object. Why remain where the object is not fulfilled? Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja came with a mission, and at that time the mission was fulfilled in all ways. All joined, but those who neglected his teachings fell down. We should try to know all these truths.
“The real guru is an uttama mahā-bhāgavata – like Nārada Gosvāmī and Śukadeva Gosvāmī. They can hold up their hand to bless you with the words, “Bhakti should come at once.” And bhakti will come. There are three kinds of uttama-bhāgavats. The first is Nārada in his first stage (in his previous birth, after Lord Viṣṇu gave him His momentary darśana). He realized Kṛṣṇa in his heart, and at once all kinds of anarthas and imperfections disappeared. He realized Kṛṣṇa, his relationship with Kṛṣṇa, and his service to Kṛṣṇa. However, at that time his body was still composed of past activities. He is therefore known as a mūrcchita kaśāyā mahā-bhāgavata. What is the meaning of mūrcchita-kaśāyā? There is some imperfection, but it is now sleeping; not active.”
Refutation of monism and impersonalism
Śrīla Gurudeva was a clear refuter of māyāvāda doctrine, the doctrine of monism and impersonalism. During his visit to Bangalore in 2007, a grand program was arranged in Chowdiah Memorial Hall so that many could benefit by his holy association. A retired judge of the Supreme Court was also invited. The honorable judge expressed his thoughts during the program. However, his speech was tinged with thoughts of monism.
Śrīla Gurudeva gently corrected him afterwards during his lecture by highlighting that the goal of human life is not to merge in impersonal Brahman (brahma-sāyujya). He mentioned that in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said:
yan mitraṁ paramānandaṁ
pūrṇaṁ brahma sanātanam
“‘O! How greatly fortunate are Nanda Bābā, Yaśodā Maiyyā and all the other gopas and gopīs of Vraja. There is factually no limit to their good fortune, because Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the abode of paramānanda (supreme bliss), and the eternal and complete form of Brahman, is their relative and friend.”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Here Kṛṣṇa is called the eternal, complete Brahman. The jīvātmā is also acknowledged to be this sanātana-tattva because the uncountable souls are eternal (sanātana) parts of sanātana-parabrahman Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself calls them His eternal parts in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7):
manaḥ ṣasṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati
‘O Arjuna! I am Sarveśvara (the Lord of all). All jīvas are My parts and they are all eternal. Like the empty space inside a waterpot, they are not fabricated or false. Due to being conditioned and opposed to Me, they are struggling intensely with the mind and the five senses in this material world.’
‘This jīvātmā is changeless and immortal. It cannot be cut by any weapon, burnt by fire, moistened by water or dried by air. It is nitya (eternal), all-pervasive, unchanging, steadfast and sanātana (ever-existing).’
“Thus, according to the Vedic śāstras there are two sanātana-tattvas (eternal principles): one is Svayaṁ Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the undivided, complete sanātana-tattva; and the other is the jīva, the divided, aṇusanātana-tattva. The nature of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, bṛhat-caitanya-svarūpa (the embodiment of complete consciousness) is unchangeable, but if the jīva is opposed to Bhagavān, his pure nature can be covered due to his being aṇusanātana-tattva (eternal but atomic in size). But by nature, the jīva’s dharma (constitutional nature) is śuddha and sanātana. Prema is the only sanātana-dharma of the jīva. The eternal, pure prema is service to Kṛṣṇa, therefore the svarūpa-dharma or sanātana-dharma of the jīva is service to Kṛṣṇa. In different places in the scriptures this sanātana-dharma is referred to as bhāgavat-dharma or vaiṣṇava-dharma.
“The pure sanātana-dharma of the conditioned jīva is distorted by māyā. In such circumstances, the jīva considers the dharma of the gross and subtle body to be his dharma, because he only understands the gross and subtle body. But the dharma of these two bodies is not sanātana-dharma, because it is perishable and prone to change. ‘I am Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist’ and ‘I am a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya’ are identifications of the gross body, so this gross dharma is not sanātana. Nowadays, pure sanātana-dharma is rarely preached due to a lack of pure understanding of the Absolute Truth. Actually the relationship of servant and master between the jīva and īśvara is nitya (eternal) and sanātana (ever-existing). This relationship is what is known as sanātana-dharma.”
After this, Śrīla Gurudeva extensively preached śuddha sanātana-dharma, also known as śuddha-bhakti-dharma.
Mercy on an unborn baby
I used to give a class on the Science of Bhakti-yoga to a group of devotees in a Gaṇeśa temple located near the Jyotī Vidyālaya school. A friend of a pregnant lady talked to me after the class. She told me that her friend’s baby in the womb might have some deformity. She had undergone two ultra-sound tests of the baby, and both tests showed that the baby had a deformity. I told her to meet Śrīla Gurudeva, who was going to visit soon. She met Śrīla Gurudeva and He blessed her. After a few months, she and her husband came to the āśrama with a perfectly healthy baby. They brought two bags of rice as a donation. Śrīla Gurudeva had miraculously rectified the health issues of the unborn baby, unknowingly to anyone.
“Preaching till my last breath”
During his last visit to Bangalore, at one point I was alone with him. He was asking about Kiṣkindhā and Śrī Raṅgam, which had been visited by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. At Śrī Raṅgam, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu spent one cāturmāsya (four months of the rainy season). Even today, the kalevara (transcendental body) of Śrī Rāmānujācārya, in jñāna-mudrā (with thumb and forefinger together) is there, and it continues to inspire all Śrī Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Gurudeva told me, “I will keep preaching till my last breath.” These words indicate his mercy, care, concern, urgency, and commitment to conditioned souls, and they inspire us to unconditionally tread his path.
During his asvastha-līlā in Delhi at Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa-viharī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Śrīla Gurudeva had stopped talking to devotees. When I went for his darśana, he asked me how the candana (sandal-wood) trees at the maṭha were. At that time, I could not understand his concern. Only later, after his entering nitya-līlā (eternal pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa), did it occur to me that he had been remembering candana service:
“I will anoint dark Śyāma (Kṛṣṇa) and golden Gaurī (Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī) with sandalwood paste scented with cuwā.”
(Sakhī-Vṛnda Vijñapti, Siddhi-lālasā of Śrīla Narottama Ṭhākura)
Like our previous ācāryas, he has transferred all concerns to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and all service to Śrī Yugala, the Divine Couple. It is very amazing to see how his teachings matched his ācaraṇa (practice).
Our begging prayer at his lotus feet is to bestow his empowerment of his ideals, unflinching faith in paraṁparā (disciplic succession), and conduct of simplicity and purity.
In the humble service of Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga,