Shri Brajgopal Das Agrawal ↓
Vrindavan, 2017.04.01 (Vishakha Dasi): Last week I sat down with Shri Brajgopal Das Agrawal to hear about his memories of his Guru, Shri Gauranga Das Babaji, whose tirobhav tithi (disappearance day) was in December.
My Guru and his Guru were godbrothers, which makes Brajgopalji and me god-siblings in spite of the difference in our ages: I thirty-three and he seventy-eight.
Brajgopalji is a prolific writer, and has translated many of Shri Ananta Das Babaji’s books, like Vilap Kusumanjali and Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi, into Hindi. He’s also worked on the Hindi version of Amiya Nimai Charit and many biographical books about his guru-lineage, which is that of Shri Radharaman Charan Das Babaji Maharaj. His English and Hindi articles have appeared in many publications such as various newspapers, Nilachal Madhuri, and Nityananda Janmasthan’s annual magazine, Dheemahi. He is quite eloquent in spoken English as well as Hindi, and it’s always a joy to hear him speak.
Brajgopalji’s guru, Shri Gauranga Das Babaji Maharaj (1887-1953) was a Bengali saint who came to Braj and did bhajan with true vairagya. His diksha guru was the great kirtanacharya Shri Ramdas Babaji, and in Braj he studied under Siddha Pandit Ramkrishna Das Babaji, Siddha Jagdish Das Babaji and other spiritual luminaries of his time. Although he was Bengali he used to speak only in pure Braj Bhasha, and remained immersed in the lilas of Shri Radha and Krishna.
Brajgopalji knew his guru from the time of his birth in 1939. His family was blessed to have Shri Gauranga Dasji come often and stay with their family in Mant village, which is across the Shri Yamuna River from Keshi Ghat in Vrindavan. Brajgopalji’s father, Jyotiram Ji, was a lawyer at the Tehsil there. Brajgopalji said that once, when his father was ill and was about to die, Shri Gauranga Dasji went to see him along with “Rajani Kaka” and “Ganga Bibi.” Jyotiram Ji recovered soon after. Later Shri Gauranga Das Babaji said, “Yamraj [the god of death] came to take him, but I didn’t allow him to.”
Shri Ramdas Babaji Maharaj ↓
Shri Gauranga Das Babaji’s life was filled with miracles, but the most important is the miracle of Love (prem) that lived in his heart. And Shri Gauranga Das Babaji’s connection with his gurus was extremely deep in nature.
Brajgopalji recalled –
Once many years before, my father had asked guru maharaj, ‘I took initiation from [Ramdas] Babaji Maharaj, but I learned everything from you. What should be my attitude towards you? How should I look at you?’ Guru Maharaj replied, ‘We are one. No difference.’ Now, the result was: my father used to keep charanamrit in two bottles – one with Babaji Maharaj’s charanamrit and one with guru maharaj’s charanamrit. My father went back to the village and what did he do? He mixed the two.
He continued –
One day when my guru maharaj was staying in our house at Mant Gaon, there was a amazing incident. Generally it so happened that my father took his meal and then he went to the Tehsil [his workplace]. And guru maharaj, he would complete his daily routine, nitya niyam. And then he would take his meal. So one day after he took his meal, guru maharaj was taking rest on the cot. A wooden cot. Suddenly, he felt that the cot was moving, just as it happens during an earthquake.
Gauranga Das Babaji Maharaj ↓
In the evening when my father returned, guru maharaj said, ‘Today there was an earthquake.’ My father said ‘Maybe… I didn’t notice as I was busy at the Tehsil.’ After some time, my guru maharaj went to Bengal or Orissa. There he met a lady, and that lady was a blessed lady. Blessed by Boro Baba [Shri Radharaman Charan Das Babaji]. She was known as pagli [madwoman]. And maybe, just possibly she was Boro Baba’s disciple. Boro Baba had already disappeared – he had left for his dham [passed away]. But from time to time Boro Baba would enter her body — just like we say, avesh. So she had Boro Baba’s avesh from time to time. When my guru maharaj went and met that lady, she had Boro Baba’s avesh. My guru maharaj asked, ‘Have you forgotten me?’ And she replied, ‘Forgotten? No. Don’t you remember I shook your cot that day in Mant, at Jyotiram Babu’s house?’ Guru maharaj was surprised, and when he returned he told my father, ‘It was not an earthquake, it was Boro Baba.’
So, Boro Baba is famous for doing all these things. Very usual for him, all. So you can imagine that my Guru Maharaj had full blessings of Boro Baba. And in an indirect way, we can say that Boro Baba blessed my father also, blessed his house… he comes from nitya lila to such a small village and there he plays with my guru maharaj like this.
I tell you we never felt that he [Shri Gauranga Das Babaji] was our guru, and he never let us feel that he was our guru. We always felt he was a member of our family. Or we can say, the head of the family rather.
Brajgopal Dasji received diksha from Shri Gauranga Das Babaji in 1951, and in 1953, Shri Gauranga Das Babaji Maharaj’s guru, Shri Ramdas Babaji left this world for nitya lila. After Shri Ramdas Babaji left, Shri Gauranga Das Babaji went into a state of extreme anguish in separation. He laid in bed without eating or drinking. Eleven days later, he also left his body.
In December of 1953, [Ramdas] Babaji Maharaj left us. When the news came to Vrindavan, my father went to the ashram to visit guru maharaj. There he stayed for ten to twelve days and witnessed guru maharaj’s anguish of separation. On chaturdashi [Ramdas] Babaji Maharaj left, and on ekadashi my guru maharaj left.
Our kaka guru Braj Kishore Baba told me once, that one day he was sitting by the side of the cot on which my guru maharaj was laying early in the morning, sitting on the floor and keeping his head on the side of the cot – very sad that Babaji Maharaj had left, and thinking ‘Now [Shri Gauranga Das Babaji] is in such a condition. What will happen?’ Just at that time, even before daybreak, he saw a lady in that room where the samadhi is today. He saw a lady in white clothes and Braj Kishore Baba couldn’t recognize her. She moved forward and she kept her hand on the head of my guru maharaj. Just for a moment, Braj Kishore Baba could recognize that she was Babaji Maharaj in his manjari swaroop. And then she disappeared. Braj Kishore Baba told me, ‘I am sure that Baba will leave today.’ This was an indication that Baba would leave that day. So the same day, in the afternoon, it happened.
Brajgopalji was there in 1953 for his guru’s virah-utsav, the celebration of his entrance into nitya-lila, and he still attends the festival every year. This year Shripad Rajendra Dasji, Shri Vaishnav Pad Das Babaji, Shri Premdas Shastri and others spoke at the utsav. Brajgopal Ji also spoke that day. I hope he will continue to speak, and write, and share with us about his guru, the saints of Vraj, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for many years to come.