Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja
by Sripad Madhava Maharaja
Sripad Madhava Maharaja is the diksa-disciple of
Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, the present acarya of Sri Gaudiya
Vedanta Samiti. By his order, Sripad Madhava Maharaja has been performing the
function of personal servant to Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
for the last 21 years. He continues to serve Srila Maharaja as he would his
diksa-guru. At the present time it is very, very rare to see a disciple serve
his guru as his heart and soul, and therefore Sripad Madhava Maharaja will be a
light-post for all guru-sevakas in the future.
|om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur-unmilitam yena tasmai sri-guruve namah
vancha-kalpatarubyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah
A dark age came to the Gaudiya Matha after the disappearance of Srila
Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This is common occurrence. When an
influential acarya disappears from this world, those followers who are not
qualified are bound to quarrel with each other. It happened in this case also,
and therefore, being harassed by others, many qualified disciples of Srila
Prabhupada could not stay at his Matha.
Under the guidance of our param-gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava
Gosvami Maharaja, many disciples of Srila Prabhupada left the Caitanya Matha.
Among them were: Narahari prabhu, whom Prabhupada addressed as 'the mother of
the Gaudiya Matha,' Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, and Pujyapada Bhakti Pramoda
The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was thus established by Srila Bhakti Prajnana
Kesava Gosvami Maharaja in 1941. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
joined in 1946, and he received first and second initiation from param-gurudeva
on Gaura Purnima in1947.
When Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja joined, his Gurudeva
engaged him in the service of prapujya-carana Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami
Maharaja. In Chinchurah our Matha is situated very near the Ganges. When Srila
Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja would go to the Ganges to take bath, Srila
Narayana Maharaja would go with him, carrying his fresh, dry cloth. Then, after
Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja's bath was completed, Srila Narayana Maharaja would
give him his fresh cloth, wash his worn cloth, and carry it back to the Matha.
This relationship is similar to what we have heard about ancient times, when
Narada Rsi was a small boy serving the four Kumaras. Narada Rsi would go with
them when they took bath in the river, carrying their dry cloth, and then after
their bath he would wash their worn cloth and carry them back to the Kumaras'
ashram. Also, we have seen that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in South India,
He resided at the home of Venkata Bhatta, Tirumalaya Bhatta, and Prabodhananda
Sarasvati. Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, the son of Venkata Bhatta, was at that
time only a small boy. He used to carry Mahaprabhu's dry cloth and, washing His
worn cloth, he would carry it back for Him. Similarly, Srila Narayana Maharaja
used to do the same thing for Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja
When Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja joined the Matha, he brought with him
one lota from his purvasrama, the village in which he previously lived. One day,
when prapujya-carana Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja and Srila Narayana Gosvami
Maharaja went to take bath in the Ganges, a high-tide came suddenly and took
Srila Narayana Maharaja's lota. Why did she take it? The Ganges is very dear to
Sri Krsna, and she therefore thought, "He has come to do bhajana under the
guidance of his Gurudeva. Why should he keep any attachment from his previous
village?" She thus mercifully took the lota away.
When we went to meet with Prapujya-carana Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami
Maharaja in Jagannatha Puri and another time in Mayupura, Srila Puri Gosvami
Maharaja asked Srila Maharaja, "Do you remember your lota? Once when you
went to take bath with me, your lota was taken away by Ganges." Srila
Maharaja began to smile and said, "Yes, yes." And he shared so many
remembrances of how he used to serve him.
Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja then told him, "I am very
happy. From the beginning I have seen your service mood and how surrendered you
are to your Gurudeva. Whenever you write a book, please present it to me."
From that time on, whenever Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
would publish any book, either in Hindi or English, he would always present it
to Srila Puri Maharaja. Srila Maharaja would sometimes take it to him himself,
and sometimes he would send it with other devotees.
When Srila Narayana Maharaja began preaching in the Western countries,
Pujyapada Puri Gosvami Maharaja would send letters to him, and Srila Narayana
Maharaja kept correspondence with him. Srila Narayana Maharaja also kept
correspondence with Prapujya-carana Bhakti Kumud Santa Gosvami Maharaja, with my
Guru Maharaja, that is, Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, and also
with Parama pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. Srila Maharaja
would write to them and they in turn used to reply to him. Especially, Srila
Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Gosvami
Maharaja are Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's guru-varga, and they would always
send him blessings saying, "Your Gurudeva will give you more and more
blessings, and Srila Prabhupada will bless you that you can preach without any
impediment in the Western countries."
Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja said in one of his classes,
"Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja is a pure devotee. Wherever
my disciples or other devotees are in Western countries, if they want to advance
in Krsna consciousness, they must listen to Srila Narayana Maharaja's classes."
He also ordered many of his disciples to hear from him.
Nowadays Srila Narayana Maharaja is preaching very strongly all over the
world by the causeless mercy of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja, and
especially by the mercy of Srila Narayana Maharaja's own guru, nitya-lila
pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He
also has the special mercy of my guru Maharaja, and also Prapujyapada Srila
Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. Also, it is by the mercy of the
guru-parampara, and especially by the causeless mercy of his siksa-guru,
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, that he is
preaching so strongly throughout the world.
Before Pujyapada Puri Maharaja left this world, he would always bless Srila
Narayana Gosvami Maharaja by his letters and through other Vaisnavas. Unless one
receives the mercy of his guru-varga he cannot preach. When his guru-varga is
happy, then Mahaprabhu is also bound to be happy, and then they will bestow all
of their mercy enabling one to preach and advance in Krsna consciousness. Sripad
Madhava priya prabhu will also say some words in this regard.
[Sripad Madhavpriya brahmacari is a diksa disciple of Srila Bhakti Pramoda
Puri Maharaja and is presently serving in Srila Narayana Maharaja's Sri Kesavaji
Gaudiya Matha:] I have been associating for some time with Srila Narayana
Maharaja. When I had first asked my Guru Maharaja if I may take the association
of Srila Narayana Maharaja he said, "Yes. Why not? You can go to each and
every Gaudiya Matha. Wherever you like, you can associate with higher Vaisnavas
in our guru-parampara, in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
And what to say about Sri Narayana Maharaja; he is a pure Vaisnava and sincere
guru and Vaisnava sevaka.
My Guru Maharaja stressed on the point that the important thing is to be in
association with some high-class devotee. He used to say that if we are not in
such association, we cannot advance. Therefore, wherever we can get that
association, wherever we are getting good instruction, we should go that place,
wherever it is. My Gurudeva was very clear on this point. I have also heard this
from him so many times.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Whenever I would go with Srila Narayana Gosvami
Maharaja to Jagannatha Puri and Mayapura to see Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri
Gosvami Maharaja, he would always put much emphasis on sadhu-sanga. He would say,
"Wherever you can get good association, please go there and take advantage