by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
All the top sages and saints were assembled there; and Pariksit Maharaj put the question, "Death is sure for me within seven days. How can I utilize my time? You are so many authorities, and by the grace of the Lord you have fortunately assembled here. I am at your disposal. Help me, that after this certain death I may attain blissful life."
Then according to their stages of realization, they gave advice. Some said yoga (or meditation), some recommended tapasya (religious penance), some danam (charity), and so one.
But Pariksit Maharaj again very humbly submitted, "You, of course, please give some unanimous verdict so it will be easy for me to follow your advice." They were discussing and consulting amongst themselves, but differences were going on in their opinions. At that very time, Sukadev Goswami appeared.
A young man of sixteen, without any dress - quite naked - but a good figure. Beautiful, stout and strong. Appearing as though half-mad, he entered the assembly. Some boys ran behind him, throwing dust and this and that, just as to a madman. The whole assembly stood in respect. The boys disappeared. All conjectured, "This must be that Suka about whom we have heard, but not had the chance of seeing. Perhaps that boy has come?" So all rose in respect, and then they could recognize him. Vyasadeva was also there. So Sukadev Goswami was welcomed, and unanimously he was given the chair of the speaker.
Then all the leading gentry of religious India of the time unanimously said, "We are all very eager to hear from this your. Maharaj, you are greatly fortunate. Your fortune has attracted him; so put questions to him, and let us all hear submissively. We have got a very good opportunity, and we want to hear him speak. We have waited for a long time to know his realization. In his eyes there is no distinction of man or woman. Women do not see anything in his eyes that they feel the necessity of shyness - such is his vision, which is not fixed in any worldly plane. There is no charm of any worldly thing in his heart.His eyes, his everything is meant for something transcendental. So we are very eager to know his realization. Put your questions to him."
Sukadev Goswami also gave his own introduction. He expressed his own position: "parinisthito 'pi nairgunye - I was standardly trained in transcendental knowledge, and I am established there. But, uttamah-slokalilaya grhitaceta - my attention has been forcibly snatched to some higher cosmos, above the transcendental impersonal conception."
Generally, the philosophers of this world take the transcendental to be impersonal. Infinite and zero are of the same characteristic. So it is an area in which we cannot have any entrance as a subject for investigation. The subject has its stand far below; he can only conjecture some hazy thing. This is the position of the jiva-soul. So his view is only something cloudy, like sky. So the spiritual sky is also seen as one sees an infinite blue sky, that is, Brahma. Non-differentiated, non-specified, infinite space, which we cannot have any practical experience of. Nirguna. That is the summation of all negation. To us, the positive experience is confined only to this world. This ear-experience, this eye-experience, touch-experience, etc. Our property here is the sum total of these experiences and something drawn from the mental world. This is saguna. And all this experience fails to have any conjecture of that background, so that is nirguna. All experiences are absent there. The positive knowledge of our experience is completely absent there. So that is nirguna. Or so we are told by the philosophers of this world.
"Parinisthito 'pi nairgunye - I am well established there. Pari - means sampurna-rupena, 'perfectly' I am established there, always in connection of what you call negation of all these positive things we experience in this world. Uttamah-sloka-lilaya grhitaceta rajarse - "But Oh Kind, here I give vent to my real stage: uttamah sloka-lilaya. Some extraordinarily higher wave, current, has carried me to some other world, and that cannot be a part of this world of experience. Uttamah - ut means udgatah tamo, urdhvde tamo. No nescience is to be traced there, no darkness, no ignorance. Of that I am sure. That sphere is all light, all knowledge. All else is below. That is rather the foundation.
He is all consciousness, pure consciousness. Nothing mundane is to be traced there. This is beyond all conceptions of ignorance, beyond misconception. Uttamaih slokyate and uttamah slokah. Sloka means charitra, 'conduct.' A flow of life is be traced there which cannot be compared with anything of this mundane jurisdiction. A higher conception of life, rather the highest conception of life. I am captured totally by the charm of that sort of life, that sort of Pastimes, that sort of flow of nectarine activity. I have come in connection with this; grhitaceta rajarse - my understanding has been forcibly carried and engaged there. I can't come away, I can't come down from that charming land. Ukhyanam yad dhitavan - So I had to come to my father Vedavyasa. Before this, he tried his best to take me to that direction, but I didn't care to know about it. I had to return to my father, and as a regular student I had to study the ways and nature of that Higher Entity.
Tadaham te 'bhidhasyami mahapaurusiko bhavan - "You are a great personality, and it is befitting you have the highest prospect of life, the highest end. You are fortunate to receive that sort of attainment. I shall just try to give you the news of my experience of the Transcendental Lila of the Reality, the Beautiful. Divine Love."
With this introduction he began to deliver his lecture which continued for seven days. Through different questions and answers Krsna-lila was established, and all the religious authorities of the time very submissively gave their hearing to the Teachings of Sukadev Goswami, Srimad-Bhagavatam. Krsna-lila is meant for whom? The lila is transcendental. It has much similarity with the lustful movements of this world, but it is just the opposite.
atmendriya-priti-vancha - tare bali 'kama'
krsnendriya-priti-iccha dhare 'prema' nama
(Chaitanya charitamrta, Adi-lila, 4.165)
ataeva kama-preme bahuta antara
kama - andha-tamah, prema - nirmala bhaskara
(Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi-lila 4.171)
For the souls in bondage, their aspiration is mostly men for women, and women for men. Because we find there the most food for the senses. The food of the major portion of our senses is to be found there. So natural attraction is there, in all of nature, even in the trees, the beasts, human beings - we find this everywhere. But this is a perverted reflection. And just the opposite - like Sumeru and Kumeru - South pole and North pole - one is desperately searching after sense-pleasure, and another, the opposite: the highest dedication one can command for the satisfaction of the Centre.
In this plane there is provincialism, selfishness, and extended selfishness. But in the infinite, extended selfishness has no value. I may be self-interested, or have at heart the interest of the family members, or the society, or the country; or even the whole globe or the whole solar system. But that is only an infinitely small part. In comparison with the Infinite Existence it has no value. So what is the conception of the whole? We must dedicate everything. Even an atom of our energy should go to the Centre, and nothing less than that will do. And what sort of centre? In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna says to Arjjuna,
athava bahunaitena kim jnatena tavarjuna
visthabhyaham idam krtsnam ekam sona sthito jagat
"What more shall I try to enumerate to you Arjuna? I am here, I am there, everything is within Me; know in a nutshell that whatever you can conceive of is contained in but a fraction of Me." This is the conception of the Infinite.
We once read, 'Everywhere there is centre, nowhere circumference; this is the infinite.' This offers us some suggestion of the infinite. So whatever the smallest energy I can command, it must be directed toward the Centre who represents the Whole Infinite, and more - so many infinities constitute a part of Him. How to connect with that most difficult to conceive Reality?
It can only come down by the deductive method - Srauta-pantha, and never by the empirical method. He can come, be we cannot go there. We can only submissively accept. That is by our free will, and free will must be guided by sukrti, fortune, jnata or ajnata - knowingly or unknowingly. Then it comes to the level of sraddha, faith proper.
If I serve the Centre, everything is served, and perfectly. Otherwise if I serve anything else, that is like a conspiracy between two robbers or thieves. Nothing more than that. Misguided, they combine for a conspiracy. So the centre of welfare of the whole must be detected, otherwise our energy will be lost. How is it possible? Is it possible at all? The unknown and unknowable, the 'N'th degree. Can we reckon on entering the infinite?
The Infinite can be known by the finite?
I mentioned several times before, I was challenged by one 'Vedic' leader, "If the finite can know the infinite, He's not infinite." And I could reply, by the grace of my Guru Maharaj, "If the infinite cannot make Himself known to the finite, then He's not infinite. And we have to catch that. Only His agents can help us to catch the thread. This is the gist of the matter.
Every sincere offering will be considered when everything of high value is offered to the feet of God and Gurudev. For so long our minds have been captured by the charm of the beauty of this world. All of it should be dedicated to God and the Guru, and that way we can get relief from the charm of those bright things in this world. Everything considered to be good must be devoted to Them.
yat karosi ad asnasi yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva mad arpanam
Varnasrama-dharma is to dedicate everything to Krsna. But in an indirect way. So in the dialogue with Sri Ramananda Ray, Sriman Mahaprabhu said, "This is also superficial, go deeper."
Ramananda Ray said, "We must be fully conscious that all the activities of Varnasrama have not indirect, but direct connection with Krsna." If the fruits of all work are offered with a mantra like etat karma-phalam sri krsnaya samarpitam astu, that is only the indirect way to 'touch the nose' as such. But directly, everything is meant to satisfy Krsna. We should discharge any sort of duty in this world, merged with that consciousness. With Krsna consciousness at heart. So everything considered charming and beautiful must be devoted to the Service, and then only can we get out of the charm of those things. By the utilization of the present environment for the Service of the Lord, we can cross this world successfully and go up towards a more conscious and spiritual area - the soul area. Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahara, Janar, Tapo, Satya - these are the planes (lokas) of this world.
I asked Swami Maharaj to construct a Temple where the whole Gaudiya Vaisnava Philosophy will be demonstrated. I had a mind to construct such a Temple here, but that was too ambitious and I could not do it. When I was told that he would build a Temple there (in Mayapur), I humbly put forward my desire. I wanted a Temple to be built according to the Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam of Srila Sanatan Goswami. The whole structure of Gaudiya Vaisnava Philosophy will be represented there in that Temple. Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapo and Satyaloka will be shown in a spiral way, and then Viraja, Brahmaloka, Paravyoma, Goloka-Vrndavan. The idea is to demonstrate the structural position of Gaudiya Vaisnava Theology, and from where Krsna has come down to this world to very kindly give us the clue to how we can be uplifted there, to the highest place. That should be dealt with in a scientific way.
Whoever comes to have the darsan of the Temple will leave with an idea of the whole structure of all the religious conceptions to ever come into the world. The development is in a scientific basis. What is Bhurloka? The land of experience of the five senses. Bhuvarloka? Without this body, the mental experience world, and there are further gradations Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapo. Bhurloka is somewhat Prthviloka (Earth); there is also Pretaloka, the world of the dead; there is Devaloka or Svarloka, heaven; above Devaloka is Maharloka where resides Bhrgu and other Rsis. Then there is Tapoloka where the Chatuhsana reside, and then Satyaloka of Lord Brahma.
Then Viraja, the highest position aspired for by the Buddhists, prakrti-laya. And above that, brahma-laya, the end aspired for by the Sankarites; then Sivaloka, Bhakta-Siva, and Vaikuntha, the Land discovered and made known to the world by Sri Ramanuacharya. In that Area of Paravyoma, there are so many Vaikunthas in so many different phases of the Pastimes of Lord Narayana who resides in the centre. Then above is Ayodhya with Ramachandra with the first introduction of Vatsalya Rasa (Divine Parenthood). Then there is Krsna with many Queens in Dvaraka, and Krsna in Mathura. Again, in the Mathura Sphere is Vrndavan, Govardhan, Radhakunda. From what standpoint does the Theistic Conception develop higher and higher - this is to be depicted.
He accepted this plan and asked his followers to construct such a Temple. But I am too old. He could not see it fulfilled, and perhaps I too may not see it. Still, (addressing Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupada's visiting disciples) your combination is greatly encouraging, and what you are doing is a very big thing beyond our expectations. We could not imagine the success as was attained by my revered Godbrother Swami Maharaj. So much so, that I cannot but think of him as Saktyavesavatar. Some higher power came and inspired him and worked for him. Otherwise such a tremendous action in the plane of such a high degree of Theology can never be expected to happen. Some super, higher Divine power worked in him. There is no doubt of this.
muktanam api siddhanam narayana-parayanah
sudurlabhah prasantatma kotisv api maha-mune
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.14.5)
tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogi jnanibhyo 'pi mato 'dhikah
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi tasmad yogi bhavarjuna
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah
Wealth from the highest plane was taken in and distributed so lavishly in the world. It is a supernatural activity of supernatural power. You all represent him, and you are present before me today. I am so happy, and think myself fortunate to be in your midst. As Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur told, "In the near future the Westerners will join the Indian here under the common banner of Lord Chaitanya, and go on with Krsna-kirtan." And Prabhupada - our Guru Maharaj - began, and what was half fulfilled was completed in a great magnitude by Swami Maharaj. This is unbelievable for us! Hare Krsna, Gaura Hari bol, Nitai Chaitanya, Dayal Nitai, Gaura Hari bol!
Visiting devotee: I am very grateful to you for reminding me of Prabhupada, and enlightening me further about His Divine Grace.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes, around 1944, he was in business. Whenever he had some money in his hand, an issue of Back to Godhead would come to us. And every now and then he would say, "Oh, let us go and attack Jawaharlal and Gandhi! What are they doing? If they really want to do good for the people why don't they take the line of Mahaprabhu, the line of Gaudiya Math? They are wild-goose chasing and getting so much name and fame - let us go and attack!" And he wrote letters to them now and then. Sometimes he received a reply, sometimes not, but he wouldn't let up. He also had to fight with his worldly life as well, not only in the matter of property, but the characteristic of his family was not very favourable. yasyaham anugrhnanami harisye tad dhanam sanaih (Bhagavatam, 10.88.8) - to attract one wholesale to Himself, Krsna arranges things in such a way that the environment may not be favourable for worldly life.
He also had some original thinking in the business line. He created, from oil, some medicine for injection. One doctor told him that oil could never be injected, but he replied that milk could whereas ghee couldn't. His logic was that ghee comes from milk, so although oil cannot be injected it has a more fundamental state from which it may be prepared for injection to give the result of that particular oil. That was his original conception, as a chemist - to harness oil for injection.
And when he was an agent of Bengal Chemicals he came into real connection with Prabhupada, his Gurudev. Before that he had, with his friend, only a cursory view of Prabhupada in Calcutta once only, perhaps for an hour or so. But he actually came to connection with his Guru in Allahabad. Just before that, Sripad Tapasvi Maharaj (at that time Sri Atulananda Brahmachari), was the Math-command at that Allahabad Math, and I visited there for some particular devotional activity. He took me to Swami Maharaj (later initiated as) Sri Abhaya Charanaravinda Das. Then I arranged for one evening of Bhagavata-patha (recitation) of the Bhagavatam). It was also arranged for us to take prasadam there. His father, Gour Mohan, was living, and he also was very happy to see us. From that time was the beginning of his permanent connection with Gaudiya Math.
Guru Maharaj came back to Allahabad from Vrndavan after the completion of the Vrndavana parikrama, and that was when Swami Maharaj took initiation and came into closer connection. Perhaps that was in 1933 or so, when the foundation was laid by the governor of Allahabad for the Rupa-Gaudiya Math Lecture Hall. Then Swami Maharaj went to Bombay, leaving that previous service, and took the business line independently. I was in his association there as well. Then later he left Bombay and came to Calcutta, and there we were his sub-lessee and next-door neighbour. There were four rooms. The ground floor was his laboratory. So, I had closer connection with him than any other Godbrothers. We also had deep discussions - about Bhagavad-Gita, the Gaudiya Math principles and Mahaprabhu, all these things.
Once I remember he sent a postcard from Allahabad to me, in which he said, "I am disgusted with human society. Rather the birds and the beasts seem to be very friendly to me, but I am disgusted with human society." Then, after he took sannyasa, he devoted himself totally to his Bhagavatam translation, and gradually Prabhupada's (Prabhupada Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur's) inspiration came and he went to your land.
Prabhupada had sent his men to England, but he wrote in Gaudiya, "Markin-muluk - the country of America - has not yet been attempted for Mahaprabhu's service." And he expressed his heartfelt desire that Mayapur, the land of Mahaprabhu, must be decorated with gold and diamonds. When Prabhupada had acquired some land for constructing Gaura-Kunda, one of his old disciples arranged an exchange of that land for another piece of land nearby just on the East side, where presently Nitai-Kunda is situated. Then Prabhupada told him, "I asked you to purchase the land, not exchange it for another, because the land you are offering for a swap is also necessary for a future purpose of mine."
In this way, a little heated discussion came up, and in the course of that Prabhupada said - a very transcendental sentiment arose in him and he said, "The land of Mahaprabhu, the Temple - super-consciously higher materials - will all be transcendentally decorated with diamonds and gold. I shall discover the whole of the Dhama, and reveal it to the eyes of the people of the world. So much so, that if I need money, just by selling one brick of the Temple I shall get millions, and with that I shall restore the whole Dhama and show to the people what sort of opulence and majesty the Dhama has." So feelingly he expressed this. Madly he expressed such a desire to reveal the land of Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev in a golden colour. "What was He?
"Radha-Govinda-milita-tanu - Radha-Govinda combined in One - the Lustrous Expression of the Land of Love and Beauty - and who was so magnanimous He came to distribute Himself to the people at large. That highly valuable thing was arranged to be given to the people at large. So magnanimous, so kind, it must be brought to the consciousness of the people that they may have such a prosperous prospect, and that they can attain that. And that is being distributed from here." That was his feeling.
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