Dear Bimal Prasad: Not a day goes by that I don’t think you. And on some days I cry remembering our deep friendship and the service we did together for Srila Prabhupada. Myself, Alalanath prabhu, Gaura Shakti and your good wife, Lalita devi, talk about you all the time. I long for your association again one day!
“If tears could build a stairway
and memories a lane,
I’d walk right up to heaven
and bring you back again.
Few farewell words were spoken,
so little time to say goodbye,
you were gone before we knew it
and only God knows why.
Our hearts now ache in sadness
as tears begin to flow,
what it meant to lose a friend like you,
no one will ever know.”
[ Anonymous ]
April 26, 1951 – February 5, 2014
As promised, we returned to the town of Bharatpur, one hours drive from Vrindavan, with with a large harinam party. Bharatpur is famous as the “Iron Fort.” Due to it’s heavy defenses it was never conquered by Muslim invasions or during British rule. Not conquered that is, until we flooded the town with the nectar of the holy names of the Lord! People we initially stunned to see us, but were soon waving and smiling as we passed by. A number of citizens joined our chanting party and danced with us in great happiness. We distributed many books and thousands of pieces of prasadam. Afterwards we visited a newly opened museum in the King’s Palace. What a joy to spread the holy names here, there and everywhere!
One way of entering into the dhama is to visit lilasthans; holy places where the Lord performed His transcendental pastimes. For the last couple of days I have been taking a group of devotees and some very fired-up gurukula boys to a few of my favorite places in Mayapura; such as the samadhi mandir of Srila Bhaktividnode Thakur, Nrsimha-pali –
where Lord Nrsimha rested rested after killing Hiranyakasipu and Hari Hara ksetra.
The village of Srikhanda, a 3-hour scenic drive from Sridham Mayapura, is mentioned many times in Caitanya Caritamrta. Yesterday we spent 5 hours exploring the village where a number of Lord Caitanya’s personal associates resided 500 years ago. We had kirtan and katha at the exact place where Locan das Thakur wrote Caitanya Mangala. We also visited numerous temples where we had darsan of historic deities connected to the lila’s of Lord Caitanya. The highlight of the day was an exuberant kirtan we held through the entire village. The local people were in bliss seeing us. Here in the holy dhama of Mayapura we are trying our best to follow in the footsteps of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, who wrote:
“In the company of intimate and beloved devotees, I will go to all the places that Mahaprabhu joyfully visited.”
(Suddha-Bhakata, verse 3)]
Ever since taking sannyasa in 1979, I have had a strong desire to visit the town of Katwa, where Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa 500 years ago.Today my wish was fulfilled when myself and 60 devotees made the 2 hour journey from Sridham Mayapura to Katwa. Naru Gopal prabhu took us to the exact spot where Mahaprabhu was shaved up by a barber and where He took His sannyasa vows from Kesava Bharati Maharaja. He expertly described the pastime in great detail. Afterwards we took darshan of the samadhi where Lord Caitanya’s hair is kept, as well as the samadhi of Kesava Bharati Maharaja. We prayed at the historic tree under which Lord Caitanya’s beautiful long hair was shaved and also bowed down to the samadhi of Das Gadadhar. Naru Gopal explained that Lord Caitanya had kirtan where we were for 3 days straight after taking sannyasa. Following in His footsteps we chanted and danced for hours in front of a beautiful deity of Lord Caitanya in a large temple on the grounds. It was a most wonderful day! All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
The Chariot of the Mind – By the medieval poet, Govinda Das
śrī-vigraha-guṇa-gaṇa kari gāne
anubhavi kata bhela prema-taraṅgī
By drinking the nectarean honey of the lotus feet of Sri Gaura, by singing the glories of Sri Gaura’s deity, by listening to the instructions of Sri Gaura, and by associating with devotees who follow his instructions, so many fortunate individuals experienced the joyous waves of prema.
re mana! kāhe karasi anutāpe
pahuṁka pratāpa-mantra karu jāpe
O mind! Why do you keep burning repeatedly in the fire of worldliness? Simply keep chanting the mantra of your dear Lord.
yo kichu vicāri mano-rathe caḍabi
pahuṁka caraṇa-yuga sārathi karabi
Think carefully about the ultimate aim of your life and then climb on the chariot of the [purified] mind. Make the feet of Lord Gaura your charioteer.
ratha-rohana karu prāṇa-turaṅga
āśā-pāśa jori naha bhaṅga
Engage your five life-airs (prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vayāna and samāna) as the five horses driving this chariot. Let āśā, the hope of attaining the Lord, be the strong rope controlling these horses so that the chariot may never break down.
līlā-jaladhi tīre calu dhāī
prema-taraṅge aṅga avagāī
Using this chariot, go quickly towards the shore of the unlimited ocean of the Lord’s loving pastimes. Having reached there, bathe thoroughly in the waves of this ocean of prema.
rasa-taraṅgī saṅgī hari-dāse
rati-maṇi deī puraba abhilāṣe
In this ocean, you will swim along with other servants of Hari who are delighting in the waves of bhakti-rasa. These servants of Hari will fetch you the rare jewel of prema from the depths of this ocean and will thus fulfil your most cherished desire.
so rasa-jaladhi mājhe maṇi-geha
tahiṁ rahu gori suśyāmera deha
In the middle of that ocean of bhakti-rasa is a house decorated with precious jewels in which brilliant complexioned Radha and dark complexioned Shyam reside.
sārathi leī milāyaba tāya
govinda-dāsa gaura-guṇa gāya
The charioteer, Lord Gaura’s lotus feet, will help you meet these two, Radha and Shyam. It is for this reason that Govinda Das sings the glories of Gaura.
[ Translated by Hari Parshad Das from Vaiṣṇava-padāvalī, fourth edition, April 2010. Compiled and edited by Hare Krishna Mukhopadhyay. Published by Shishu Sahitya Sansad Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata. Published in Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, Issue no. 418, under the direction of Sriman Madhavananda das Adhikari, disciple of HH Gaura Govinda Maharaja. ]
Yesterday we took a large harinam party of international devotees through the streets of Navadwip in Mayapura. Remembering that Lord Caitanya Himself chanted and danced through the same town 500 years ago the devotees were in ecstasy. The people of Navadwip loved our harinam. We also took darshan of the famous deity of Lord Caitanya worshipped by Visnupriya after the Lord took sannyasa. There we had kirtan for hours! We ended the day by visiting the samadhi of Srila Jagannatha das babaji. Indradyumna Swami was so happy to be in the land of kirtan!
Yesterday we took a large group of devotees to Santipura. There in the temple of Madan Mohan we had darshan of the original salagrama- sila worshipped by Advaita Acaraya to invoke the advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By some incredible and causeless mercy the pujari kindly placed that most worshipable salagrama-sila on my head for several minutes as I prayed feverishly for more service in spreading the holy names of Krsna all over the world. It was an amazing experience and a highlight of my visit here in Mayapura. Afterwards, we had a roaring kirtan in front of the temple and later drove to Phulia to see the bhajan kutir of Haridas Thakur, where we heard his glories from Naru Gopal prabhu.
Yesterday I left Mayapura for a two-week preaching tour in South Africa. On the way through Kolkata I stopped by the Bhaktivedanta Research Center. The BRC is a project started by my godbrother Hari Sauri prabhu for the purpose of gathering, preserving and disseminating the works of our previous acaryas on Gaudiya Vaisavism and other Vedic literatures. At present the library has over 20,000 books, including a hand-written autobiography by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. BCR has the backing of many important scholarly institutions and world renown professors. Please visit BRC at: www.brcindia.com and donate to this important project that was originally inspired by Srila Prabhupada himself.
Dear disciples and friends: Yesterday during a routine medical exam here in Durban, South Africa, doctors discovered a large renal stone ( kidney stone ) in my left kidney. This afternoon I’m going into the hospital for a 90-minute procedure under general anesthesia to remove it. The procedure is called Lithotripsy, wherein a laser is used inside the body to destroy the stone. During the operation a stent is placed near the kidney to facilitate drainage. It is removed 2 to 3 weeks later in another operation. This is not major surgery and I’ll stay just one night in the hospital and be back to normal in a day or two, if there are no complications. Sorry for all the details, but I didn’t want the news to get distorted. I’ll be fine.
Dear disciples and friends: My kidney stone operation was successful. So much so, that they didn’t have to insert a stent. I am out of the hospital. It may even be possible for me to attend the premier of Yadubara’s new film here in Durban tonight. I want thank everyone for their prayers and best wishes.
I recently learnt that some of my disciples have taken up the service of regularly posting my Facebook updates, information on new classes and other news related to my travels on Twitter. For those of you who use Twitter please check out.
My Dear Mahamaya dasi, Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter undated, and have noted the contents carefully. I am very pleased by your attitude to surrender yourself completely by engaging cent per cent in Krishna’s service. Somehow or other always to be thinking about Krishna, that is the goal of Krishna Consciousness process. So now you please help me to spread this information all over this earth planet, especially by helping to distribute my books and literatures, as many as possible. Then you will get the credit, and know it for certain that very soon you will go back to Home, back to Godhead.
I hope this finds you in good health and cheerful mood.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
November 23, 1971