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    Vrindavan, 2017.09.29 (VT): Radha and Krishna are at the center of worship in Vrindavan, yet Devi, the Divine Mother, also plays a very important role in Braj lila. Devi as Krishna’s Sister The Durga Saptashati 11.42states: nanda-gopa-gṛhe jātā yaśoda-garbha-sambhavā I will be born in Nanda’s house from the womb of Yashoda. Katyayani Devi, Cheer Ghat After Shri Krishna was born at Kans’s prison in Mathura, his father Vasudev smuggled him out and took him to Gokul. The Bhagwatam says that by the power of the goddess Yogamaya, all the prison guards and all the residents of the palace were fast asleep when Krishna was smuggled away. The doors spontaneously opened to give them passage. Just as Vasudev was leaving Mathura, Yogamaya was born to Yashoda in Gokul. The two children were switched, and when Vasudev came back to the prison, he left baby Yogamaya on his wife Devaki’s bed. The demon king Kans tried to kill the baby by thowing her against the wall, thinking her to be Krishna. At that moment, the Goddess revealed her divine form and told Kans that the child he was looking for had been born elsewhere. sā tad-dhastāt samutpatya sadyo devy ambaraṁ gatā adṛśyatānujā viṣṇoḥ sāyudhāṣṭa-mahābhujā The infant slipped from Kansa’s hands and hovered in the air, revealing herself as the divine Goddess with eight arms, each holding a weapon. “O foolish Kans!” said the goddess. “The one who will be the death of you has already been born somewhere else!” Speaking thus, the Bhagwatam says that the Goddess took various forms with various names, in various places all over India. But having been born to Yashoda in Gokul, Braj remains the Divine Mother’s homeland. Devi as Paurnamasi Paurnamasi Devi, Seva Kunj In Braj, Devi is worshipped as Yogamaya, the one who brings together the Lord and his devotees. In Braj lila she is embodied as an elderly Brahmin lady named Paurnamasi, the mother of Krishna’s Guru Sandipani Muni, and the grandmother of Krishna’s sakha Madhumangal. As Paurnamasi, Yogamaya fills the role of the Guru of Shri Radha and the gopis, helping them in their efforts to attain Krishna. She knows many magical mantras and methods, which she uses to create the perfect circumstances for Shri Radha and Krishna’s lilas. In Vrindavan, there is a temple of Yogamaya at the Yogpeeth, in an underground grotto just next to the main altar of the old temple of Shri Radha Govind Dev. The deity is very small and beautiful, and the temple only opens a couple of times a year. There is also a Paurnamasi temple in Seva Kunj. The origin of this deity is shrouded in mystery. She used to be worshipped by a Brajwasi family, but the temple was recently taken over by the Gaudiya Math. Paurnamasi Devi is sitting in a padmasan, with one hand granting blessings and the other chanting on a 27-bead mala. Devi as Katyayani At Cheer Ghat, the gopis worshipped the Goddess in the form of Katyayani Devi, praying to get Shri Krishna as their husband. A beautiful deity of Katyayani Devi can be seen there to this day. Vrindavan is also one of the 51 shaktipeeths. It is the place where, after Goddess Sati immolated herself, her curly locks of hair fell on the ground. It is not clear where the Goddess’s hair actually fell, and several temples claim to be the original site. About a hundred years ago, a mahatma named Swami Keshavananda – a disciple of the famous Shri Lahiri Mahashay – came to Vrindavan from the Himalayas searching for the exact location of the shakti-peeth where the Divine Mother’s hair fell. According to his research and realizations, the place is what is known today as the Katyayani Temple, near Rangji’s Bade Bagicha in Vrindavan. The temple itself was built in 1923. Devi as the revealer of Vrindavan Chamunda Devi, Rajpur, Vrindavan Another important Devi temple of Vrindavan is the Chamunda Devi mandir, just off the parikrama marg towards Mathura. A story related to this temple is also told about Katyayani temple as well. According to legend, when Shri Roop and Sanatan Goswami came to Braj about 500 years ago, they wanted to find the places of Shri Krishna’s lila that had been lost over time, according to the order of their Guru, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. But they didn’t know where to begin; they were not even sure where Vrindavan was. The Divine Mother appeared to them in the form of a lali – a young Brajwasi girl – and told them that the land embraced on three sides by the Yamuna is indeed Vrindavan, thereby giving them the direction and inspiration to move forward with their mission. The connection of the Divine Mother with Shri Krishna and his lila is a deep one, and this article merely skims the surface. But we hope, by her blessings, that you may relish deeper and deeper realization of this sacred land of Vrindavan.
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    Today is the appearance day of Srila B.V. Sadhu Maharaja! The devotees have prepared a beautiful celebration program for this auspicious day in Munger Raj Mandir. Happy Birthday to our most beloved Gurudev! Dandavat Pranams! Jay Nitai!
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    Vrindavan, 2017.09.25 (VT): Yesterday was the disappearance day of Siddha Krishna Das Babaji of Govardhan. Krishna Das was from a wealthy family in Orissa. When his father died, his mother committed Sati. Just as she was about to climb on the funearal pyre, she blessed Krishna Das that he would become a great devotee of Radha and Krishna. This made a great impression upon him, and he left home for Vrindavan at the young age of sixteen. There he studied for two years before proceeding to Jaipur, hoping to serve Govinda Dev on the altar. The King of Jaipur granted his permission, and Krishna Das spent about ten years serving Govinda Dev. However, although Krishna Das was always absorbed in serving Radha and Krishna, he still had physical desires. From time to time, these desires distracted him from his seva, which hurt his heart greatly. He felt that this was happening because the prasad he ate was funded by the Maharajah. And so he left Jaipur for Vrindavan. In Vrindavan, Krishna Das took to a life of intense vairagya (renunciation). He lived in a dilapidated hut in the forest. He used to beg for flour and mix it with neem leaves. Sometimes he made dough out of this mixture and cooked flatbreads, and sometimes he ate it raw. Due to lack of nutrition, Baba became very week and eventually went blind. When his vision left him, he could no longer go to the village to beg. He only drank water from a nearby pond, until he became too weak even to leave his hut. Seeing his sorry state, Radharani felt compassion for him and sent her sakhi Lalita with a plate of her prasad. After feeding Baba the prasad, Lalita said, “Baba, why don’t you go for begging?” “Lali (little girl), I am blind! How can I go?” “If you could see, would you beg then?” “Of course I would, Lali. Why wouldn’t I?” “My father has a magic ointment. If I put it on your eyes, you will see again.” Lalita Sakhi touched Baba’s eyes and his sight immediately returned. But Lalita had disappeared. Baba immediately understood that something divine had just happened. Who was that little girl, and why had she left him alone? How did she disappear so suddenly? Would he ever meet her again? Baba was so distraught with separation and overwhelmed with thoughts like these, he simply remained laying in one place without moving for three days. On the third day, Radharani herself came and granted Baba her darshan. She instructed him to go to Govardhan and reside at Chakleshwar near the bhajan sthali of Sanatan Goswami on the bank of Mansi Ganga. Once Baba went to take a bath in Mansi Ganga and did not come back. Everyone was afraid he had drowned. But in reality he was lost in the jal keli lila of Radha and Krishna. After seven days, Baba was seen coming out of Mansi Ganga. When people expressed surprise, Baba said, “Why are you so shocked? I just went for a bath and now I am coming back! What is so unusual about that?” Shri Lalita Sakhi At Chakleshwar, Baba started learning Sanskrit because he wanted to read the books of the six Goswamis in the original language. But he found that he was unable to perform his devotional practice and study Sanskrit properly. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. He could not abandon his worship, yet his longing to read the six Goswamis’ books extremely intense. Unable to find a solution, Baba decided to drown himself in Mansi Ganga. At dawn, just as Baba was about to drown himself, Sanatan Goswami and Lalita sakhi appeared to him. They blessed him that all the knowledge of the scriptures would be manifest within him spontaneously. They also forbade him to ever contemplate suicide again and placed their feet on his head as a blessing. Krishna Das Baba became one of the greatest scholars of Braj and wrote many books, which served as a guideline for meditation on Radha and Krishna’s lilas. The most famous of these books is the Gutika. Siddha Baba’s festival is celebrated every year at Chakleshwar in Govardhan. Excerpts from Siddha Krishna Das Babaji’s Gutika: How Shri Krishna celebrates his birthday in Eternal Vrindavan The Yoghurt Fight: Part 2 of Shri Krishna’s Birthday Celebrations How Shri Radha celebrates her birthday in Eternal Vrindavan You can also read a more detailed biography of Siddha Krishnadas Baba of Govardhan here.
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    Sri Sri 108 Prana Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj appeared in a vaisnava family in the year 1918, in the village Dhaka dakshin (the holy appearance place of the Father of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu), near the city of Sri Hatta, in the present country of Bangladesh. He had 2 sisters (younger than him) and 2 brothers (elder than him). Only the sisters are still alive in Radhapur village, near the city Dharmanagar, in the state of Tripura. His father and brothers possessed a very suitable voice and were all proficient in performing kirtan. When the present state of Bangladesh became independent from India, he moved to the city of Dharmanagar were he completed his study and received the title of teacher. In the house of his relatives he made one small water pond which, even today is full of water even in the hot season. He spread profusely his love toward his brothers, often receiving them with kirtan. In Tripura several times his family performed harinam yajna at home, inviting more than 200 people to attend the program and honor the delicious dishes offered to the Lord. He worked in the railway office for several years, always wearing dhoti (traditional dress of Hindu religion). During this time his family wanted to arrange for his marriage. When the preparations were going on, he confided to one of his friend that his inner desire was to reside in Vrindavana. The same night he left home. Later on he went to live in the state of Assam, in the city of Karimganj, 100 km from Dharmanagar, residing in a devotee’s house and spending his time travelling to numerous villages nearby, performing Kirtana and japa. Since childhood he possessed a very sincere attachment and deep taste for Harinam, thus revealing his previous samskara (activity of his past life) as an exemplary devotee. After some time the householder devotee who hosted him suddenly passed away, leaving his wife alone with 5 daughters and one son. Aggrieved by the great disgrace fallen upon her due to the death of her husband, the lady faced numerous difficulties and became mental insane. The local villagers were incredulous about the cause of the event, and many local residents of that village advised Praphullo (the previous name of Baba) to abandon that house to avoid criticism upon him. Not caring about the opinion of ordinary people he granted his unconditioned compassion towards the innocents and the helpless, offering his help in many ways to the entire family of his departed dear friend. Finally he inspired them on the path of Divine love through chanting the Holy names of Sri Hari. Due to the uncommon spiritual power of Praphullo the lady regained her mental peace and developed a sincere desire to spend the rest of her life together with her children performing bhajan. Her increased devotion towards the Lord, who is the ultimate shelter of the suffering souls, impressed the heart of the villagers. Surprised by observing her fast recovery, and convinced by her truthful words eulogizing the grace she received from Praphullo, the local residents started to consider the fact as a miracle, honoring him as the saint and savior of that village. They praised him just like they revered Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and when Praphullo used to visit their house they felt like a divine personality was honoring their abode. Praphullo never revealed this story to anyone, being in his heart free from the desire to receive honor and fame. Instead, he was always greedy to serve others with utmost humility. Recently Baba went to visit that village again with one of his disciples, who heard for the story of that miracle narrated by one of the daughters of the departed friend for the first time. Once, in another village, Praphullo gathered some devotees and ordered them to perform kirtan until he would come back. Kirtan started and Praphullo left, returning several hours later, carrying with him an incredible quantity of rice, many vegetables, beans and a great variety of other food stuffs. He also brought a lot of money with him to distribute in donation the day after. The kirtan was performed for 24 hours continuously, and the next morning prasada (excellent spiritual food preparations) was distributed to many people. In the same way he performed kirtan in different places. Later on Praphullo went to reside in Nabadweep’s Madan Mohan mandir, where he spent many years in the ashram of his Guruji, Jadu Gopal Goswami. His Guruji was a very tall and powerful man. Somehow Praphullo was timid to approach him due to his strong bodily constitution so he could not receive his close association. Instead he received more instructions from Madan Gopal Goswami (the son of Jadu Gopal Goswami), with whom he closely associated to perform bhajan (devotional prayers), kirtan, katha and prasada distribution. In those days Praphullo regularly circumambulated the holy land of Nabadweep, chanting japa. After Jadu Gopal Goswami departed from this world he received complete siddha pranali from his son. Praphullo and Madan Gopal Goswami travelled together frequently; one time during a journey by bus they had a very terrible accident – every passenger was seriously injured. Only Praphullo and Madan Gopal Goswami were completely safe. Another time they were passing through a narrow cliff between two mountains when suddenly the bamboo trees on both sides of the road bowed down completely to pay them their obeisances and went back straight. On that occasion Madan Gopal Goswami revealed to Praphullo that they were special bamboo trees offering their respectful homages to a descendent of Lord Nityananda (M.G.G. himself). On another occasion, after a long trip, they arrive at one place where a group of devotees were reciting katha (narration of holy teachings- and stories). Upon meeting Madan Gopal Goswami, the organizer invited him to talk to the community. He then asked Praphullo to choose a subject for the katha, and Praphullo suggested his guruji narrate Guru Vandana (prayers to Sri Gurudev). In this way the Katha continued and Guru Mahima (the glories of Sri Guru) was elaborately described. In the beginning Praphullo frequently visited Radhakund and Vrindavana with devotees from Nabadweep. In Vrindavan he resided at Kesi Ghat, sustaining himself mostly with water and madhukari roti (Indian bread received by begging from the local residents of Vraja) which he ate in a secluded place on a boat in the Yamuna (Holy River). Since 40 years he has been living permanently in Radhakund. Due to his deepest humility and exalted bhakti (devotion to the Lord) Bhagavat das Babaji conferred on him the title of Babaji (renounced order of life), and granted him the opportunity to reside in a kutir located at the right side of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath mandir, where Sri Raghunath Das Goswami performed bhajan in Radhakund. Since that time Praphullo is known till today as Sri Prana Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj. One time Bhagavat das Babaji asked him to perform 24 hour kirtan in Raghunath das Goswami Samadhi. He agreed and many sadhus attended the kirtan. He was begging daily for providing various foodstuffs and milk for the temple of Mahaprabhu in Radhakund. He was very resolute in his daily parikrama of Govardhana (24 km by feet) and his prominent activity was kirtan. Once a young devotee whose name was Bhagavat das, who was living previously in Nabadweep came to live in Vrindavan in Giridhari Mandir after the departure of his instructing Guru Vinod Bihari Goswami. Later on this devotee took up residence in Govardhan, doing kirtan and performing dandavat Parikrama of Sri Govardhan. During that time he met Babaji near Anyor village. There Babaji asked him why he was performing dandavat parikrama and Bhagavat das replied that it was his inner wish. Babaji revealed him that in the Gaudiya tradition it was not recommended because when one pays his homage, bowing down, one’s body should stay at the right of Govardhana. Babaji explained that in this way he will receive the result of the parikrama but not of the dandavats. One should offer prostrated obeisances at one place. At that time Babaji invited Bhagavat Das to stay with him in Radhakund to perform bhajan. At Puchri ka lota (a holy place at the base of Mt. Govardhan), deeply impressed by the personality of Babaji, Bhagavat Das received harinam initiation from him. He decided to follow Babaji to Radhakund and later received complete Diksa, receiving the name Bhagavan Das. After living for 1 year in Kamyavan and Jatipura he came to live permanently at Radhakund. It has been 15 years since that he has been with Guruji. Just ten years back the temple of Sri Radhavinod was handed over to Babaji and Bhagavan das (the present pujari of the mandir). Previously this temple was in the care of another old Babaji. Several babajis were offering their service for some weeks or for some months. When the local society wanted to hand over the mandir to Sri Prana Krishna Das Babaji and his disciple Bhagavan das, its condition was terrible. Bhagavan das wanted to refuse but Babaji told him that the local society and Radha-Vinodji were unhappy not to receive proper care. Babaji promised that he would give his full support and that surely by the power of the extraordinary Divine Grace the temple would soon develop. Babaji then convinced his disciple to heartily accept the proposal to render service in the mandir. Madhusudhan babaji gave the key of the temple together with a little uncooked rice, beans and kerosene oil. When they arrive with these items the mandir was dirty, unclean and even utensils were missing or broken. There was one small pot where Bhagavan das gathered all the ingredients and cooked for the Lord. Behind the mandir there was a garbage belt. Three days later was the celebration of Sri Lokanath das Goswami disappearance. Slowly the temple and surrounding space were cleaned and the worship proceeded accurately. Lokanath das Goswami was a prominent Vaisnava and a storehouse of single-minded service to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda. He had a great desire to establish the worship of the deity and render service to the Lord of Vraja. Understanding Lokanath’s aspiration to serve Krishna, the Lord Himself appeared before him and offered Lokanatha Goswami a Vigraha, saying, "Worship this Deity here. This deity’s name is Radha-Vinoda." After giving him this beautiful deity, Krishna disappeared. In order to protect the deity, he prepared a cloth bag which was his temple. Sri Radhavinoda thus became like a jeweled necklace around his neck. The Deities were transferred to Jaipur later and the pratibhu murti is now present in Radhavinod Mandir. It is said that when Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami went to Lokanatha Goswami and asked his blessings to compile the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Lokanatha Goswami granted him his blessing, but prohibited Kaviraja Goswami from mentioning his name in his book. Kaviraja Goswami impressed by his plea as a symptom of unflinching humility had to accept his request. So it is not astonishing that Sri Radha-Vinodji desires to be worshipped in this present time by Sri Prana Krishna das Babaji, whose life is a transparent example of unalloyed devotion to the Lord and uncommon humility. The day of Adhivas (preparative ceremony for the next day celebration of Sri Lokanath das Goswami disappearance) arrived, and Guruji requested Bhagavan das to buy one kg of laddu (milk sweet) and offer it in two times to the Deities, so that the group invited for kirtan could receive some prasad. Bhagavan das started 24 hour kirtan and Guruji went outside. The next morning the feast of Lokanath das Goswami was celebrated in Radha-Vinod Mandir like never before. Fifty Babajis received Prasada. Since that time there is no scarcity, the worship is rendered with great care and lot of prasada was distributed till today. Everything is accomplished for the mercy of Guruji and Gauranga. At present the mandir is a simple, clean, most sweet and very suitable place were many dedicated Sadhus execute their bhajan. 24 hour Kirtan has been carried out in Radhavinod mandir for the last 5 years. In the beginning it started with one month, then six months and nowadays is still going on along with Prasada seva for many sadhus. This service is kindly supported financially by a devotee living in Agra. As an exemplary follower of Lord Mahaprabhu, Babaji possesses a singular love for harinam and Kirtan. One time, during his Giriraja parikrama, he was carrying a small cloth bag that contained a little madhukari roti and one chadar. Near Daan Ghaati, where there used to be a large forest a long time ago, one thief approached him to ask what the bag was containing. Babaji, understanding his intention, spontaneously consigned the bag to him. Another time he was walking doing japa near Anyor village late at night where he met one small boy who told him to chant loudly together with his bela (musical instrument). Then the little boy disappeared. From that time Babaji started chanting and playing his bela as he was instructed probably by Lord Gopal Krishna Himself during his parikrama. Since that time he is famous as bela baba. Guruji is loved by everyone, even in Tripura they are carrying him on their shoulders when he visits, just as the Vrajabhasis do in Radhakund during the kirtan even now. Baba used to attend Hari katha, listenening with rapt attention, although the speaker may be someone younger than him in all respects. Even until today Sri Prana Krishna das Babaji wakes up every day at 3 a.m. and takes his bath in Radhakund, even in the cold and hot season, offering his worship to his Giridhari in his kutir and attending mangal artik at Radha-Gopinath mandir. After 4.30 a.m. he arrives in Radha-Vinod mandir for mangal artik, where he performs more puja. In the morning he executes his daily parikrama of Sri Govardhana and then comes back to Radhakund at approximately 9 a.m.. Then he offers 108 dandavats to numerous deities of Radhakund. After that he sits in his kutir for meditation and comes back to Radha-Vinod to help cook and perform bhoga artik. Then he serves prasada to the sadhus, to the guests, to his disciples and to all the devotees. Finally he respects a little amount of simple food, boiled rice with fenugreek, avoiding sweets and palatable fried dishes like rasa or fried vegetable. Immediately after his lunch he reaches for his kutir to recite prayers and meditate further. He also daily attends the kirtan at Raghunath Das Goswami Samadhi. In the evening he comes back at Radha-Vinod mandir for the sandhya (dusk) artik, and then leaves again for kirtan and parikrama. In this way he performs 7-8 parikramas of Sri Radhakund daily. Sometimes he falls asleep in the kirtan at Raghunath das Samadhi and goes to rest only for a few hours in his kutir till 3 a.m. Nowadays he wakes up at 11 at night, joins the 24 hour kirtan again and returns to sleep at 1.30 a.m., resting only till 3 a.m. Today, at the age of 93, Babaji is fixed in his daily routine of Bhajan with great devotion, and is inspiring more and more devotees to surrender to the lotus feet of Kundeshwari Radhika by his unflinching bhakti and humility. Through his blessings many souls, totally unualified, like myself, received the rare grace to reside at Swamini’s blissful kunda. Since a few years also many young Vrajabhasi boys accepted Babaji as their beloved Guruji and created a kirtan group with extremely contagious enthusiasm for harinam. Hearing such kirtan (impregnated with the immense mercy of a sat guru) has a very soothing effect on the mind and confers an unlimited sweet happiness to the heart of the listener and to whoever has the opportunity to follow them in parikrama even once. One can find their spectacular stories as a video in the Gallery. Babaji’s agility and alertness is amazing. Once the bone in his hip was displaced. The doctor strictly told him “bed-rest”, but after less than a week he was sitting on the back of a bicycle driven by one of his disciples, doing Radhakund-parikrama and after 17 days he was up on his feet again, singing as usual. Sometimes he sits alone at Tamal-tala singing Mahamantra, not caring for anyone giving him company or not. He doesn’t care whether the devotees sing properly or not – as long it is the Mahamantra he is happy if you join in. Sri Prana Krishna das Babaji belongs to a perfect disciplic succession descending from Janava Mata (the wife of Lord Nityananda). He received special mercy from his Guru and other illustrious Vaisnavas from his parampara line (see in the path of divine love, our Parampara). In the Holy scriptures the Guru is mostly compared to a spiritual father who instruct his disciple just like a physical father guides his son. Babaji, however, is more compared to a loving mother who grants her tender affection and singular care to his son and daughters, easily forgiving their offenses. His prayers for his disciples unfolds an undefeatable power against the illusory energy of this material world. In spite of being in the position of a Gurudev, just like a mother he often cooks and serves prasada with his own hands to the Vaishnavas. After he has fed everyone, included matajis and children, he partakes of whatever is left. He covers his spiritual children with unlimited warmth, protecting them from all miseries and placing them at the Lotus Feet of Radhaji. We heard many stories from his disciples of how they became free from material bondage and incurable diseases too, only by the extraordinary grace of Babaji. Being free from any unwanted selfish desire, he treats everyone with the same love. Babaji cannot speak much English but somehow, due to his rare qualities, many western devotees recently surrendered at his divine feet. In Radhakund especially those who know him since long consider him as a real saint who with his infinite sweetness can perform the miracle of turning our miserable life in a jug of unlimited joy. Not only he loves everyone but he is also greedy to serve everyone. His weapon to correct his followers is not heavy scolding or hard discipline like a father would do to his naughty son. Instead Babaji teaches with his perfect example, granting his affectionate shower of unconditional mercy and tender affection. Babaji is truly a marvelous Vaisnava and his splendid smile reveals the heart of whom has found happiness within himself. His main instruction is :"Incessantly chant the Mahamantra, and never be without seva, doing so Maya (material illusion) will not be able to enter you." Infinitely indebted to Sri Gurudev I sincerely express my gratitude to Sudamsu Das, Bhagavan Das and all the Vrajabasi disceples of Babaji, who provided us the detailed information to compile the above biography. With their charismatic enthusiasm and unlimited sweetness they are always a source of inspiration on our devotional path.
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    [September 23 and 24, 2017, around the world is the Divine Appearance day of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja. In 2001, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja dictated this presentation in Hindi for his disappearnce day, and it was translated by Sripad Madhava-priya brahmacari.] All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga The following is a holy heartfelt offering (puspanjali) at the lotus feet of Parampujyapada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja in his divine remembrance: In November of 1946, I left my home and came to Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha in Sri Dhama Navadvipa. After a short time, in 1947, at the end of Sri Navadvipa Dhama Parikrama, which was held on the occasion of the divine appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I took shelter at the lotus feet of my most beloved om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He made my life successful by initiating me with harinama and diksa initiations. After celebrating the holy festival of Gaura Purnima and Sri Dhama Parikrama, I accompanied Gurudeva to one of the branches of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, namely Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha in Chinchurah. It was there, at Sri Uddharana Gaudiya Matha, that I had the audience of Parampujyapada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami's lotus feet for the first time. He had already accepted the renounced order on March 3, 1947 at Sri Gaura-Gadadhara Matha in Campahatti, from nitya-lila pravista om visnupada astottara-sata Srila Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanas Maharaja, one of the prominent sannyasa disciples of jagad-guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. I was very impressed by my meeting with him, and my most beloved Gurudeva, Sri Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, engaged me in his service. Every day I used to go with him to take bath in the Ganges nearby, carrying his outer garment, kaupin and kamandalu (water pot). After bathing, I carried his wet clothes and kamandalu, now filled with water, back to our Matha, and then I fed him prasadam. Moreover, I obeyed the many instructions he used to kindly give me on various occasions. I submissively put so many questions before him, and he used to reply to all my inquiries with great affection. During our discussions in those days, he used to tell me some things about his life history. His name was previously Pramoda Bhusana. His parents were religious and from the brahmana (Cakravarti) caste. He took birth on October 8, 1898 in the village of Gangananda Pura in the district of Jessore, in the present-day Bangladesa. From his very childhood he was fond of hari-kirtana, chanting the Lord's holy names. He felt so much pleasure in hearing hari-kirtana that sometimes he would become forgetful of his bodily condition. During his student life, he met a Gaudiya Vaisnava named Sri Bhaktiratnakara Thakura. Sri Bhaktiratnakara Thakura was the first person to introduce him to the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After receiving the books he studied them thoroughly, and then he began to read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in the association of that Vaisnava. After completing his B.Sc. degree at Calcutta University, he wanted to continue his education, but the burden of maintaining his family fell on his shoulders. He unwillingly left his studies and accepted employment at the Post Commission in Calcutta. It was during that period that he met jagad-guru nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada and was deeply influenced by hearing his powerful hari-katha. In 1923, on the auspicious occasion of Sri Krsna Janmastami, he received diksa from Srila Prabhupada at Ultadanga Gaudiya Matha and was given the name Sri Pranavananda Brahmacari. Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura was immensely satisfied by his steadiness, full surrender, loving service endowed with bhava, and especially his art of writing. Therefore, he gave him the responsibility of managing sankirtana, preaching, hari-katha, publishing the Dainika Nadia Prakasa, and writing articles for Sri Gaudiya Matha's journals. For the service of the brhad-mrdanga (book publication), Srila Puri Maharaja stayed in various places like Calcutta, Krsna Nagar, and Mayapura. For the sake of preaching gaura-vani, the message of Gaurasundara, he traveled not only throughout Bengal, but also to many places throughout India, and he met with great success. He sometimes traveled with his Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, and sometimes with the senior intimate sannyasa disciples of Srila Prabhupada. In this way he served his Gurudeva by internal, mano'bhista seva, fulfilling his innermost cherished desires. After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja stayed for a few months with my beloved Gurupadapadma Sri Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja, and other god-brothers. I had a wonderful opportunity to serve him and hear his hari-katha during that period. He had so much affection for me that he used to consider me his disciple, and I used to respect him as I respected my Gurudeva. On numerous occasions he blessed me with abundant kindness. Once, when we were at Chinchurah Matha, we went together for bathing in the Ganga. I was carrying his cloth and water-pot, and also my own lota (cup) that I still had from my previous home life. I put them down on the ghata and we both entered the water of Bhagavati Bhagirathi for bathing. After bathing I found that my lota was gone. It had been carried away by the waves of the Ganga, which was very near the ocean at that place. Pujyacarana Puri Maharaja smiled and said, "You left your home, family, wife, son and wealth to become a renounced Vaisnava, so what need is there to be attached to a lota?" I was also smiling. Taking his wet clothes and water-pot, we returned to the matha. As long as he was present, every time we met he used to remind me of this pastime, and I also cannot forget the mercy he showed to me throughout my life. After a long time, Prapujya-carana Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja was given the responsibility of serving the Deity of Sri Ananta Vasudeva of Kalna. The King of Vardhman was unable to serve this Deity. When he observed the pure disposition and devotion of Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja, he was immensely impressed and offered the service of Ananta Vasudeva to him. Later, Srila Puri Maharaja took charge of the temple along with his disciples. I also went to have his audience there many times at Kalna. I always saw him busy in writing. His pen never stopped. He used to spend every moment in writing articles about pure bhakti, whenever a chance came after completing his fixed number of rounds of harinama, serving the Deity, and studying the sastras. He also used to submit many articles to the journals of different Gaudiya Mathas. Especially, he was the editor-in-chief of "Sri Caitanya Vani", the journal of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja's Matha. In the last years of his life, he stayed in Sridhama Mayapura, where he established Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha at Isodyana. In the last stage of his life he stayed at Bankim Muhana Cakratirtha in Sri Purusottama Dhama. Finally, he entered into nitya-lila on November 22, 1999, at 2.07 am. Whenever I used to go to Sridhama Vrndavana, Sridhama Mayapura, or Calcutta, I had the good fortune to have the audience of his lotus feet. At that time I used to present to him whatever new publications we had produced from our Matha in the Hindi language, such as Jaiva Dharma, Caitanya Siksamrta, the Teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Bindu, Kirana and Kana, Upadesamrta, Manah Siksa, Raga Vartma Candrika and also some English publications. He was delighted to receive all these books from me, and in return he inspired and instructed me to publish more books of the Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy. Whenever we would meet he would ask, "What new publications are coming in Hindi?" He was present to pacify us at the time our beloved Gurudeva entered into nitya-lila and also when the Samadhi Mandira was established at Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha. During his visit, he told us with a melting heart, "Vinoda Da (Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja) was very affectionate to us. Whenever we knew that Vinoda Da was not in Mayapura, we would also cancel our scheduled program to visit Mayapura." He said that there was no one as warmly affectionate as Vinoda Da. In this way, Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja was fully surrendered and one of the internal associates of Srila Prabhupada. At the time of performing kirtana and giving lectures he would close his eyes, which were brimming with tears, being incessantly immersed in the bhava of bhakti. He would express such deep realizations while discussing bhakti-tattva and rasa-tattva that his whole audience would be enchanted. He was the embodiment of Sriman Mahaprabhu's verse, "trnad api sunicena" (more humble than a blade of grass). He was a topmost self-realized devotee and always deeply appreciative of others' merit. Until this very day, I never saw him criticize anyone, and he even used to give inspiration and respect to this insignificant person who is thoroughly bereft of bhakti. I often saw him walking with his danda, traveling barefoot in Navadvipa Dhama and eighty-four krosa Vraja Mandala Parikrama. Even in his advanced age, I saw him doing parikrama, without eating and drinking, and always singing kirtanas and speaking hari-katha. I went to see him almost one month and fifteen days prior to his divine disappearance. At that time he was not speaking at all and he kept his eyes closed. I caught hold of his lotus feet and said, "I am your most insignificant servant, Narayana Maharaja." Upon hearing this, he caught both of my hands in his and gave me his blessings. Then he ordered his servants to give me prasadam. I do not know if he spoke to anyone else again after that moment. He entered into nitya-lila at the age of 101 years. He was expert in all siddhanta and a pure devotee in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, and I felt so much inspiration from his blessings and instructions. Now, after his entrance into the divine transcendental pastimes of the Lord, I am bereft of the touch of that hand which used to confer upon me profuse blessings and inspiration, and thus I feel a profound sadness in his absence. In this way I am offering sri sri puspanjali at the lotus feet of such a parama-niskincana (topmost renunciate) mahabhagavata (most superior devotee), Sri Sri Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja. May he be pleased to shower his causeless mercy upon me. Vaisnava krpalesaprarthi, Tridandisvami Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
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    В Гаудия-вайшнавизме мы читаем и слышим объяснения о взаимосвязи Враджа-лил Кришны и Гаура-лил в Навадвипа-Дхаме. Говорится, что эти лилы неразрывны, что они вечно дополняют и насыщают друг друга событиями и чувствами. Есть мнение, что во Враджа-лилы Радхи и Кришны можно попасть только через Гаура-лилы. Поэтому некоторые гуру учат, что необходимо сначала родиться в Гаура-лиле среди спутников Махапрабху и только потом, переняв их настроение и желание идти во Врадж, можно родиться во Врадже. Но другие вайшнавы считают, что мы уже находимся в Гаура-лиле, получая учение Махапрабху от гуру в Его парампаре.. И поэтому нет необходимости рождаться в вечных лилах Гауранги только для того, чтобы захотеть попасть в духовный Врадж. Достаточно уже сейчас развить желание служить Радхе и Кришне во Врадже. Если суммировать описания обеих лил, то действительно получается, что они обе образуют собой нечто единое целое, одну многоуровневую Кришна-лилу. Те, кто Гаура-лилу воспринимают как путь во Врадж, объясняют, что когда Кришна захотел исполнить три своих сокровенных желания (познать всю глубину любви Радхики к Нему, познать своё очарование глазами Радхики и подарить манджари-бхаву всем живым существам), то весь Врадж создал свою отдельную экспансию в виде спутников Гауранги, а это Кришна в объединённой форме Радхи и Кришны. Все спутники Гауранги - это экспансии жителей вечного Враджа, друзей и подруг Радхи и Кришны, а Гаура-лиле все они вечно стремятся войти во Враджа-лилы, обучая нас, как это можно сделать. Есть версия, что те, кто входят в Гаура-лилы, становясь спутниками Махапрабху, обретают вечное духовное тело и будут вечно мечтать о том, чтобы попасть вместе с Гаурангой во Враджа-лилы..., но никогда не попадут в них, ибо будут вечно сопровождать Махапрабху из одной материальной вселенной в другую. Хотя, конечно, у Гаура-лил есть и своя часть на вечной Голоке Вриндаване - Аударья-дхама. Но есть и другой взгляд: следуя по стопам Госвами, спутников Гауранги, человек обретает васту-сиддхи, вечное духовное тело, для вечного служения во Врадже, а затем, если ему (уже во Врадже) очень захочется сопровождать Кришну в Гаура-лиле, то его экспансия тоже может устремиться в Гаура-лилу, где так много особого экстаза в медитации Гауранги и его спутников на Враджа-лилы, где так много сладкой Кришна-катхи, мощных киртанов и божественных игр. Известно мнение Шрила Бхактивинода Тхакура в "Джайва Дхарме" о том, что те преданные, кто развил самбандху, отношения, и любовь к Гауранге, получают вечную форму в Гаура-лиле, а те, кто развил любовь и самбандху с Кришной, отправляются во Врадж. А те, кто развил любовь одновременно к Кришне и к Гауранге, получают сразу две духовные формы и отправляются в обе вечные лилы. Интересно, что лично Вы думаете о взаимоотношениях Враджа-лил и Гаура-лил? И какая из них привлекает вас больше? Почему? Было бы интересно узнать мнение практикующих преданных.
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