by Swami Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja | 2010 | 179,005 words
This page relates ‘Preface’ of the book dealing with life and teachings of Srila Gurudeva, otherwise known as Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. Srila Gurudeva is a learned and scholar whose teachings primarily concern the spiritual beauties of Bhakti—devotional service and the qualities and pastimes of Shri Krishna.
Following the spiritual hierarchy of India, I first offer my prostrated obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating Gurupādapadma, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṃ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja and I offer my prostrated obeisances at the lotus like feet of my instructing Guru, oṃ viṣṇupāda parivrājakācārya aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
It is on the order of my godbrothers, godsisters and other Vaiṣṇavas, that I completed and submitted this doctorial thesis, ‘The Supreme Treasure Śrīla Gurudeva’, in 2009. I achieved this PhD degree from Florida Vedic College, united States, on 26th May, 2010.
On the inspiration and order of the Vaiṣṇavas, I took this service as a challenge because it is a very hard task. I think that by the causeless mercy of Śrīla Gurudeva, our guru-paramparā and all the Vaiṣṇavas, I will be successful in this subject matter.
Since 1996, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja has been continuously traveling around the world. So far, he has travelled more than thirty-five times around the whole world. He is always giving discourses on bhakti, or selfless devotion to the Supreme Lord. He regularly had me give lectures on the subject of guru and the disciple in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition, and particularly on guru-sevā. Wherever I travel with Śrīla Gurudeva, on his order, in my first class among the many classes that I give wherever we stay, I have tried my level best to discuss śrī guru, the relation between śrī guru and disciple, and how to perform guru-sevā. In this way, I am bound to say something about both my dīkṣā-guru and śikṣā-guru. I collected in note form what I have heard at different times from my śikṣāguru, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, my dīkṣāguru, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and parampūyjapāda Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and also what I have heard from different Vaiṣṇavas and then tried to make them into a book.
For the past thirty years, I have gathered different quotations and subject matter. When I first started this work, I requested Śrīla Gurudeva to check my work to see if these points were okay or not. At the time I started this book I was in Cebu in the Philippines.
When I told Śrīla Gurudeva two or three of the points, he humbly said, “No, I should not listen.”
I requested, “Why not?”
Śrīla Gurudeva replied, “It is not good for me to listen to my own glorification.”
I said, “If you don’t tell me if this is correct or not, then who will rectify me? Who will correct me?”
Gurudeva said, “No, I’m sorry, I cannot help you with this.”
Two days later, I requested Śrīla Gurudeva, “If you think that to listen to your own glories is not good for you, whenever it is your vyāsa-pūjā, different devotees are glorifying you. At that time, are you putting in earplugs, or are you listening to their offerings?”
The second argument I gave was as follows: “At the time of the vyāsapūjā of our beloved Parama-gurudeva , Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, yourself, my Guru-pādapadma , Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja and param-pujyapada Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja, used to glorify our Param-gurudeva. At that time, did Param-gurudeva listen to his glories from all of you or not? At that time, did he put in earplugs or not?”
My third argument was, “When Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda was present in this world, he had so many qualified disciples and at the time of vyāsa-pūjā, they also glorified him. At that time, did he make any objection, or did he allow them to speak about him? If Prabhupāda allowed his disciples to glorify him and if Parama-gurudeva allowed all of you to glorify him and at the time of your own vyāsa-pūjā, you allow all disciples and devotees to glorify you, if I glorify you and request you to check if this point is okay or not, then what wrong am I doing?”
Śrīla Gurudeva became speechless and could not refute my arguments. After that, he listened to everything thoroughly and told that, “Yes, this is very nice. It will be very good.” And then I got blessings from Śrīla Gurudeva to compile this doctoral thesis. A relevant selection of these points is presented in this work.
This treatise serves toward the fulfillment of a Ph.D. in Vaiṣṇava Philosophy from Florida Vedic College. Since the GVP is exclusively for the publication of Śrīla Gurudeva’s books, this book is not printed under the GVP logo. However, it is with much gratitude that I have completed this work using the valuable materials published by GVP, from which, I have extensively made excerpts and quotations in many important sections of the book.
I would like to thank the individuals who have encouraged and assisted me in one way or another. I pray to the lotus feet of Śrīla Gurudeva (who has captured Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the Divine Couple in his heart, and is serving Them continuously, twenty-four hours a day) that he blesses whoever has helped me in any way to bring forth this book, to progress rapidly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
May Śrīla Gurudeva, who is the embodiment of the Supreme Lord’s compassion, shower upon me abundant mercy by which I can attain ever-increasing qualification to serve his innermost desire. This is my humble prayer at his lotus feet, which can bestow prema.
If any devotee wants to reproduce or translate this work, or portions of the work, then they are advised to contact the author.
Source of Inspiration
The main source of inspiration in this book is paramārādhya Śrīla Gurudeva, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja.
Many others have kindly encouraged and supported me such as: B.V. Tīrtha Mahārāja, Premānanda dāsa, B.V. Parivrajaka Mahārāja, B.V. Padmanābha Mahārāja, B.V. Sajjana Mahārāja, B.V. Nemi Mahārāja, B.V. Śrīdhara Mahārāja, B.V. Tridaṇḍi Mahārāja, B.V. Dāmodara Mahārāja, B.V. Govinda Mahārāja, B.V. Harijana Mahārāja, Brajanātha dāsa, Mādhava-prīya dāsa, Kṛṣṇa-kṛpā dāsa, Amala-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Vijaya-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Dvija-kṛṣṇa dāsa, rāmacandra dāsa, rohininandana dāsa, Sañjaya dāsa (Sr.), Hare-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Balarāma dāsa, Sañjaya dāsa (Jr.), Subala-sakhā dāsa, Śyāmarāṇī dāsī and Vṛndā-devī dāsī.
Brajanātha dāsa, Pūnama dāsī, Paṅkaja dāsa and Acyutānanda dāsa
Anantācārya dāsa, Madhuvrata dāsa, Gaurāṅga dāsa and Sañjaya dāsa
Chief editor–rūpa-raghunātha dāsa, under the direction of Śrīman Brajanātha Prabhu
Diacritics and Proofreading
Layout & Design
Anupāma dāsa, Anaṅga-mohana dāsa, Kṛṣṇa-karuṇya dāsa
Legal Consultation and Copyright Permissions
Ann Mueting, Vaṃśīvadana dāsa and Mukunda dāsa
Public Relations & Communication
Brajanātha dāsa and Vṛndā-devī dāsī
Mukharā-devī dāsī, Tamopaha dāsa &; Campakalatā dāsī, Vrajeśa dāsa &; Kṛṣṇa-bhāminī dāsī, Narahari dāsa &; Bhavatārinī dāsī, Ariṣṭanāśana dāsa, Dr. Parameśvara dāsa &; Mālā dāsī, Taruna-kṛṣṇa dāsa &; family, Nandana dāsa &; Sāvitrī dāsī, Sundarānanda dāsa &; Gītā dāsī, Indirā dāsī, Nandana dāsa, Kṛṣṇa dāsa, Dharmarāja dāsa, Vinaya-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Hemant dāsa, Janārdana dāsa, Sarvamaṅgalā dāsī, Lalita-prīya dāsī, Yaśodā dāsī, Vṛndāvana dāsa, Viśvambhara dāsa, Vṛndāvana-bihārī dāsa &; Pramila dāsī, Dhanañjaya dāsa, Mahāmantra dāsa, Yamunā-jīvana dāsa, Jagamohinī dāsī, Yaśomatī dāsī, Prāṇavallabha dāsa, Vinīta dāsī, Amala-kṛṣṇa dāsa, ramaliṅgam dāsa, rāma dāsa and Śyāma dasa.
Chief Of Financial Board–Mukharā-devī dāsī (China)
Many others eagerly provided their assistance in various capacities. I cannot list everyone but I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all of them, especially Acintya-gaura dāsa, Jñāna-śakti dāsa, rāma dāsa, rādhā-priyā dāsī, Govinda dāsa, Bhakta Svarūpa dāsa and Binaya Kṛṣṇa dāsa.
By the causeless mercy of Śrīla Gurudeva, guru-paramparā and all Vaiṣṇavas, I have tried my level best to present the readers the teachings and biography of Śrīla Gurudeva. First of all, I beg forgiveness for not putting all the events in regular historical sequence. I could have done so but this is to ensure that appropriate philosophical truths and incidents are presented timely to the readers. In this way, I have recorded many of these pastimes from memories that came first in my mind, inspired by the style of Paṇḍita Jagadānanda who wrote the pastimes of the Lord in Prema-vivarta according to his loving remembrances and not according to the standard sequential order. This book is therefore by no means an attempt to narrate the pastimes of Śrīla Gurudeva in chronological sequence
Śrīla Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja has written in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.2.85, “prabhur yei ācaraṇa, sei kari varṇana, sarva-citta nāri arādhite–Some may complain that I have been unduly harsh and perhaps others may object that I have been overly mild. However, I am only trying to describe the truth.”
I think sāragrahī Vaiṣṇavas will understand these teachings by overlooking the faults and accepting the good qualities.
I offer homage at the lotes feet of all Vaiṣṇavas holding a blade of grass between my teeth. I humbly beg for their mercy.