Well-wishes and Words of Affection from Godbrothers
Well-wishes from Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[On the occasion of Śrīla Gurudeva’s – Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s – first journey to Western countries for the purpose of preaching the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the President Ācārya of ŚRĪ GAUḌĪYA VEDĀNTA SAMITI (Regd.) conveyed his good wishes.]
All Glories to Śrī Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga
SHRI GOUDIYA VEDANTA SAMITI (Regd.)
SHRI SHYAM SUNDAR GOUDIYA MATHMILANPALLY
P. O. Siliguri-734405 • Dist. Darjeeling(North Bengal)
Dated 25th, April, 1996.
śrī vaiṣṇava-caraṇe daṇḍavan-nati pūrvikeyam
I bow down like a stick at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas,
Yesterday, I received your merciful letter dated 12th April 1996, after considerable delay. I hope that by the causeless mercy of our most worshipful Śrīla Gurupāda-padma, you are well in all respects.
I became extremely gladdened and enthused to know that on the repeated insistence of the foreign devotees, you are preparing for an auspicious journey to Western countries, with the objective of preaching the prema-dharma of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in the lands of Holland, England, America and Canada. I came to know that devotees from those countries are bearing the travel expenses for three people, and that your visa and tickets have been duly arranged. But why should the lands of Singapore and Hong Kong be deprived of the prema-vāṇī of Śrī Gaurasundara? [Singapore and Hong Kong are places of entry into China. Thus, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja was indirectly indicating that according to the desire of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the message of prema-dharma of Mahāprabhu would also be spread in China. ]
You are going abroad solely to preach the message of pure bhakti (śuddha-bhakti kathā), and therefore, I am not at all concerned about your profit or loss, for I consider that for the inhabitants of those countries, your travels are a golden opportunity and exceptional good fortune. May the causeless and auspicious blessings of Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga-Rādhā-Vinoda-bihārī, Śrī Nṛsiṁhadeva, and he who is topmost among those who fulfil all desires – Śrī Girirāja Mahārāja – forever shower upon you. By your preaching of their message, their inner heart’s desire (mano’bhīṣṭa) will certainly be protected. This is indeed my firm belief. At an elderly age, your enthusiasm and patience to preach the message of Śrī Gaura in the West is undoubtedly true bravery. To label this ‘bravado’ would be a denial of the truth.
May you be victorious, along with your associates. I have come to know that the day of your auspicious journey is fixed for May 5th 1996. Kindly accept my sāṣṭāṅga daṇḍavat-praṇāmas.
I will conclude here.
Humbly bowing down,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
[Translated from Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā, Year 48, Issue 4]
A Heartly Welcome
Originally written in Bengali by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the occasion of Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti’s vice-president parivrājakācārya tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s return to India from preaching the message of Śrī Gaura in Eastern countries.
O dīna-vatsala, you who are affectionately disposed to the fallen! My heartly welcome, upon your return to your own nation after extensively preaching the message of Śrī Gaura in the prominent Eastern countries of Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and so forth. Your preaching travels are in every way distinct from the leisure travels of ordinary people. Mahāntera-svabhāva ei tārite pāmara nija kārya nāhi tabu yāna para ghara. [The magnanimous nature of the saintly persons is that they always deliver the fallen and sinful souls. They have no personal business of their own, nor do they seek self-profit. Still for the benefit of the living entities, they visit their homes for the sole purpose of delivering the fallen souls.]
The sādhus’ travel is solely for this reason. Sādhavo dīna-vatsalāḥ. The sādhus are the friends of the fallen and become distressed at the suffering of others. Their hearts naturally melt with compassion upon seeing the incredible misfortune of the conditioned souls as a result of their forgetfulness of Bhagavān. The kindness they bestow upon such souls is not ordinary or mundane; the supremely compassionate sādhus awaken in them a yearning to develop their ātma-dharma, the constitutional occupation of their very self.
O Keśavānuga-jana, dear follower of Keśava! For the purpose of fulfilling the inner heart’s desire (mano’bhīṣṭa) of paramārādhyatama (supremely worshipful) jagad-guru Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Prabhu, you, not caring for your own happiness or distress, took a vow to preach the message of Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta. Our unlimited gratefulness is to you. Śrī Gaurasundara, has said, “jagat vyāpiyā mora habe pūṇya-khyāti, śūkhī haiyā loka mora gāhibeka kīrti.” [My virtous glories will pervade the whole world, and with untold satisfaction, people will sing of My fame.]
In order to actualize His prophecy, Śrī Gaurasundara transmitted both inspiration and ability into the hearts of His anugata devotees, His keen followers; otherwise, without surmounting the obstacle of old age and with a bodily condition that is not stable, it would have been entirely impossible [for you] to preach the message of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s prema-dharma with such irrepressible vigour.
O Vaikuṇṭha vārttā-vāhaka, messenger bearing news of Vaikuṇṭha! The original founder of the worldwide Gauḍīya Maṭha and Mission, jagad-guru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, declared himself to be the messenger of Śrī Caitanya. This means that to uphold, carry and distribute the message of Śrī Caitanya as it is, is indeed the distinctive feature of Gauḍīya preachers. They never tamper with the divine message of Godhead, as heard from authentic sources (śrauta-vāṇī), by altering it, rejecting it or speculating about it, to achieve their own comforts, out of fear of their own weakness being exposed, or for the enhancement of their own prestige. All the associates and followers of Śrī Keśava are extremely joyful by your resolve to preach the non-deceptive Gaura-Sārasvata message, without the slightest alteration.
O Conqueror of the East and West! By inundating and nourishing the whole world with a flood of prema, Viśvambhara Śrī Gauracandra, the maintainer of the entire universe, bequeathed a code of conduct. By following that code, you have conquered the Eastern and Western countries.
In the past, many persons from India crossed the great ocean, with the doctrines of karma and jñāna in hand. The heroes of the path of karma, who dutifully perform their religious activities for the purpose of enjoying the fruits, proclaim that one can attain eternal peace through the performance of karma, yet this is only cheating. And the cultivation of impersonal knowledge [by jñānīs] paralyzes the existence of Supreme Absolute Entity. Persons adhering to this philosophy claim that it brings peace by bringing about the absolute cessation of misery, but this is completely illusory.
The living entities are eternal servitors of Śrī Bhagavān, and He is the eternal object of their service. This platform of causeless service encompasses the fifth and final goal of human life, kṛṣṇa-prema. You have conquered the native persons of those countries by shining upon them a new light containing that very message (vāṇī) of prema-prayojana. Consequently, all the devotees of Śrī Gaura are filled with bliss.
O beneficiary of all living entities! Bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra, janma sārthaka kari’ karo para-upakāra. [One who has taken birth as a human being in Bhārata-varṣa (the land of India) should make his life successful by performing acts to eternally benefit others.] The land of Bhārata, alone, is the birthplace of true welfare workers.
In the above statement, Śrīman Mahāprabhu specifically confers upon the residents of India the responsibility to truly benefit others. Para means ‘topmost’. Since Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī established the mano’bhiṣṭa of Śrī Gaurasundara in this world, the conception of highest welfare is expressed solely in his guidance. You indeed proclaim, with great specificity, the attributes of a true and topmost beneficiary, as displayed by Śrī Rūpa Prabhu and his followers on this earth, who illuminated the most confidential truths (tattva) and service to Śrī Gaura-Rādhā-Vinoda-bihārījī.
O best of those who preach āmnāya-vāṇī, the immaculate instructions received through the succession of bona fide gurus! The residents of Bhārat, India, who are paropakārī, great benefactors, possess an abundance of wealth to bestow upon the inhabitants of the West, but they having nothing worthwhile to take from them. For the devotees of Sarveśvareśvara, the Lord of all Lords, there is never any worldly dearth that makes them dependent on inhabitants of foreign lands.
According to the statement, “sarvaṁ khalvidaṁ brahma – every thing belongs to brahma,” every being in the universe and everything within the universe are servants of Bhagavān and instruments to be used in service to Him. But because a certain group of foreign devotees are not established in this statement’s meaning, solely due to fearing a loss of profit, adoration and prestige, they are creating obstacles to your preaching of Śrī Gaura’s divine message. “Karīndre bhrājamāne ’pi stūyamāne supurūṣeḥ, vukkanti sārameyāśca kā kṣatiśtaśya jāyate – What harm can the barking of the street dogs do to a person who is brilliantly situated upon a royal elephant and extolled by virtuous persons?”
Wise persons are gradually becoming enlightened regarding the essence and purpose of your preaching of āmnāya-vāṇī, so the hubbub raised by those opposing you is proving to be fruitless.
To conclude, may your life be long and may you remain in excellent health, so that you can preach the eternal message of the Śrī Brahma-Madhva-Gauḍīya-Sārasvata sampradāya, as it is, all the over the world. This alone is my fervent prayer at the lotus feet of Śrī Gaura-Rādhā-Vinoda-bihārī, Śrī Girirāja and Śrī Lakṣmī-Nṛsiṁhadeva.
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
5 March 1997
Śrī Vinoda-bihārī Gauḍīya Maṭha
[Translated From Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā Year 49, Issue 2]
Cordial Reception To His Holiness parivrājakācārya tridaṇḍī-svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja
[Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja penned this letter in English]
Śrī Vinod-bihāri Gauḍīya Maṭha,
28 Halder Bagan Lane, Calcutta, 700004
9 March 1997
My heartiest congratulations to you at your happy return to India after completion of your successful preaching tour of Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore. A few months ago you had to pay a visit to the West in response to the calls of devotees in Holland, England, America and Canada.
Your preaching tour is far different from that of the excursion made by the people for sensual pleasure or that of loitering about by worthless vagabonds. It is because the Vaiṣṇavas are causelessly merciful to all enfettered souls and alone grieved by their misery – misery due to indifference towards the Transcendental Truth. In spite of having no business of their own, they roam about to relieve humanity from the terrible afflictions of births and rebirths.
Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura left us an invaluable prediction made by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Original fountainhead, that His name would be introduced in every town and village on Earth. And again Śrīla Saccidānanda Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, the greatest pioneer of the movement of pure unalloyed devotion in the modern age, professed that the movement of pure devotion would soon be broadcast all over the world by a specially powerful individual. This prophecy is found to be fulfilled in the divine personage of Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who at that time moved heaven and earth to establish pure theism in large scale. He time and again employed his Gauḍīya expounders of extraordinary merit to dispel all nescience prevailing in the lands of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the most affectionate disciple of Śrīla Sarasvatī Prabhupāda, had founded the world-reputed Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti to preserve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message of unflinching devotion. Knowing his inner desire, you stepped forward to carry the responsibility of conveying the Gauḍīya Vedānta expositions beyond the seas, ignoring the bondage of your old age. Such is your benevolence.
India has always been the homeland of spiritual movement. In times like the present, when the minds of men were distracted by multiplicity of material considerations, it has become the utmost necessity for mankind to be spiritually awakened. No other doctrine can really bring eternal bliss to the distressed souls, but the divine message of love, propounded by Śrī Caitanyadeva, who has appointed Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as the Original Apostles. You, being the worthy messenger of them, would certainly be successful in imparting the true spirit of their teachings to fallible beings, by the divine grace of Śrī Guru-Gaura-Rādhā-Vinoda-biharī, Śrī Lakṣmi-Varāha-Nṛsiṁhadeva. I earnestly pray to Them, so that you remain hale and hearty and be blessed with long life to broadcast the sublime message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu all the world over.
[From Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā, Year 49, Issue 2]
Excerpts from Letters by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
“You are indeed the executive of the management committee and sub-committee of the maṭhas. Therefore, in regard to those servants who are trying to see and create a difference between you and me, identify them and, immediately after reading this letter, expel them from the maṭha and the mission. Let the point be made that such persons have no place in the Samiti or any of its branch maṭhas.”
Letter to Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa
Gosvāmī Mahārāja, dated 4 November 1994
“It is particularly essential to publish Hindi editions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Bhagavad-gītā and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.”
Letter to Śrīpad B. V. Govinda Mahārāja (previously Satyarāja Brahmacārī) in reference to Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, dated 29 January 1994.
An exchange of letters between oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja & oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[Editor’s note: Although mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas are fully conversant with tattva-siddhānta, to teach the sādhakas how to make proper inquiry and in what mood, they sometimes ask questions of each other, as if ignorant. In such exchanges, the love and intimacy they have for each other, the humility of their dealings, and their regard for each other as guru, is most apparent. By their exemplary behaviour, they clearly show that it is imperative for one on the spiritual path to lead a life full of anugatya, taking guidance from a superior Vaiṣṇava, and to continue this until the end of one’s life.
With the loving purpose of revealing to others, for their eternal benefit, the deep philosophical understanding of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta within the heart of his Godbrother (Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja), Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja wrote the following letter, just one year before his disappearance from this world. This exchange of letters reveals something of the intimate transcendental affection these two Godbrothers have for each other.]
Śrī Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha
8 September 2001
I bow down like a stick at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas,
Pūjyapāda Śrīla Mahārāja!
I offer unlimited daṇḍavat-praṇāmas unto your feet and pray to you that you mercifully accept them. I hope that by the causeless mercy of Śrī Gurupāda-padma, your bhajana is continuing in a most prosperous way. It is likely that you have returned from your preaching engagement in Jaipur. Thinking this, I am addressing this letter to you in Mathurā. I hope that your bhāgavat-saptāha and preaching there was conducted beautifully and was most successful.
Being incompetent in, and incapable of, practising sādhana-bhajana, I cannot understand the true meanings of a few siddhāntas, at this time [in my old age]. I am therefore writing this letter to you, with the desire to inquire about some siddhāntas from you. Upon your illuminating me with the proper understanding, I shall be ever grateful to you and will be blessed.
There is a distinction between the body and the embodied, namely, the corporeality and the soul, of the bound jīva. But would you mercifully explain if there exists a difference between the body and embodied (the soul) of the sādhana-siddha- or nitya-siddha jīvas [sādhana-siddha-jīvas – those souls who successfully performed spiritual practice to attain perfection; nitya-siddha-jīvas – eternally liberated and perfected souls], or not?
“Muktāpi vigrahaṁ kṛtvā bhagavāntaṁ bhajante – even those who are liberated accept a form, worship and serve the Lord.” This description is found in śāstra. Accordingly, do the liberated living entities (mukta-jīvas) obtain a perfected body (siddha-deha), or not? There is a kīrtana [of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura] that states, “siddha deha diyā vṛndāvana mājhe sevāmṛta karo dāna – please bestow upon me my eternal spiritual form. Place me in the midst of Vṛndāvana, and shower upon me the nectar of Your devotional service.” Here, we find a description of the sādhana-siddha-jīvas obtaining a perfected form, also. Would you also mercifully clarify this point?
Is the aṇu-caitanya jīvātmā (the atomic portion of consciousness known as the living entity) a portion of the Entity (vastu) – Paramātmā – or a portion of the śakti of that Entity? Is there absolutely no distinction between the body and the soul of both Paramātmā and the liberated soul?
According to Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā (5.32): “aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti – each and every limb or sense of His [Śrī Bhagavān’s] transcendental body is inherently endowed with all the functions of all the other senses.” Does this consideration only apply to Govinda or is it also applicable to His tad-ekātma-rūpa (expanded forms of the Divinity, who are one in tattva), His līlā-avatāras (pastime incarnations), His aṁśa-avatāras (partial incarnations), and also to His vibhinnāṁśa-rūpas (separated expansions), the liberated jīvas? Are the limbs of the eternally perfected jīvas also endowed with potency (śakti) like those of Bhagavān? Like Him, can any of their limbs perform the activities of any of their other limbs?
My body is not well, and moreover, my mental faculties and my memory are almost non-existent. Therefore, if there are any errors found in this letter, kindly forgive them by dint of your good qualities. This is my prayer.
A lowly servant.
Trivikrama Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s Response
Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha
Mathurā, 29 October 2001
śrī śrī vaiṣṇava caraṇe daṇḍavat-nati-pūrvikeyam
I bow down like a stick at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas
I pray that you accept the daṇḍavat-praṇāma of this lowly servant. I have received your merciful letter, dated 8 September 2001, and have noted the contents.
Our nine-day preaching program in Jaipur was adorned with significant success. After that, our Puruṣottama vrata in Śrī Puruṣottama-kṣetra, at the lotus feet of Puruṣottama-deva Śrī Kṛṣṇa, was splendidly performed. Approximately 550–600 devotees from India and abroad were present, along with the sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs. I hope that you have come to know of this from the devotees in Navadvīpa.
I have always considered you my śikṣā-guru and will always continue to do so. You are completely full with and well-versed in every type of siddhānta. The intentions of your heart are deeply hidden, remaining unintelligible even to the demigods. Still, in your humility, you have presented some questions before me. In matters of siddhānta, I maintain a particular regard for saptama-gosvāmī (the seventh Gosvāmī) Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. He has expressed the most abstruse siddhānta in natural, simple and intelligible language. I will now try to present the answers to your questions.
In regard to the sādhana-siddha- and nitya-siddha-jīvas, who are also called parikāra-jīvas (companions of the Lord), there is no possibility of a there being a difference between their body and their soul. Just as there is no difference between gold produced from bell metal by means of a chemical process and the gold found in a mine. In the same way, for the sādhana-siddha-jīvas, who have attained the status of being parikāra-jīvas, or for the nitya-siddha-jīvas [who are already parikāras], there is no tripartite difference between the soul, the subtle body and the gross body. For them only one pure transcendental body exists, and with this transcendental (cinmaya) body, they perform service to Bhagavān. It cannot be found anywhere in śāstra that a subtle or gross body exists for a parikāra-jīva.
In reference to the vicāra (consideration) of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, in the description muktāpi līlayā vigrahaṁ kṛtvā bhagavāntaṁ bhajante, there is some limitation, due to the inadequacy of worldly vernacular. On the strength of one’s bhajana, one should accept the pure sentiment in the descriptions given by the śuddha-bhaktas. One should also understand the meaning of the kīrtana ‘siddha-deha diyā’ in the same way. But in relation to the parikāras, it is not appropriate to maintain the attitude that there is a difference between a sādhana-siddha [form] or a nitya-siddha [form]. The parikāras’ forms are completely absorbed in service to Bhagavān. It should be understood in this way.
Indeed, it is established that in any state [liberated or bound], the existence of the jīva, who is aṇu-caitanya (an atomic conscious particle) is that he is the aṁśa- or vibhinnāṁśa-tattva of the potency of the Supreme Entity, the vastu-śakti. Both the Paramātmā and the liberated jīvas, the parikāras, are principles, or tattvas, devoid of the difference between the body and embodied (soul).
Aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti. This vicāra (consideration) is not only for Śrī Govinda, but is possible for His tad-ekātma-rūpa, līlā-avatāras and even His liberated associates. For the nourishment of His pastimes (līlā-puṣṭi), by the influence of Krṣṇa’s own yogamāyā, the omniscience (sarvajñatva) and the wondrous capacity of the senses of those liberated companions, which can perform the activities of any of their other senses, remains covered. It is only under particular circumstances that this capability becomes manifest.
The innumerable vigrahas of Śrī Nanda Bābā, Yaśodā Mā, the sakhās, sakhīs and other dear associates situated in innumerable universes, or in innumerable prakoṣṭhas (sections of the dhāma) are described in Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta. Especially, having studied Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s Sanmodana-bhāṣya commentary on the Śikṣāṣṭaka and having listened to the vicāra (considerations) of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja presented in an assembly in Mathurā, which was attended by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas such as
pūjyapāda Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Bhakti Vicāra Yāyāvara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja and pūjyapāda Bhakti Kamala Madhusūdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, my doubts on the topic of jīva-tattva have been dispelled.
Certainly, you please read the Sanmodana-bhāṣya of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura on the first śloka of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka. By reading the portion of the commentary that begins from ceto-darpaṇa-mārjana, nityādinā jīvasya… up until gopikādehamapi prakaṭayati, all your doubts will be dispelled and your conceptions will become lucid. What more shall I write?
The rest is fine. I conclude here.
Your lowly servant,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa