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Appearance of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

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bhaktivinoda.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
September 19, 2002
Vienna, Austria

[This lecture was delivered by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on the Appearance Day of Shri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur, at the Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mission in Vienna, founded by Prapujyacarana Shri Shrimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja, on September 19, 2002. Shrila Narayana Maharaja and the 150 devotees in attendance were extremely pleased by the exceptional degree of hospitality exhibited by the devotees from this matha. Shrila Maharaja remarked that these excellent displays of Vaisnava etiquette, and the beautiful, well-organized facility, are ideal examples for all Vaisnava preaching centers.

In this lecture, Shrila Maharaja tells about the life and character of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, and explains the essence of the teachings in the Thakur's writings. To listen to the audio version of Jaiva-dharma, click here: http://srilanarayanmaharaja.com/jd/; or http://srilanarayanmaharaja.com/jaiva-dharma-audio-in-spanish/]

I offer millions of dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, Nitya-lila-pravista Om Visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. My dandavats to Paramapujyapada Prapujyacarana Om Visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja, and to our guru-parampara.

Today we are observing the auspicious Appearance Day of Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He is considered to be the Saptama (seventh) Gosvami, and he has written more than one hundred very authorized books in many languages. He has especially given us two very important gifts. He discovered the birthplace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he gave us Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada.

I want to tell you about an extraordinary kirtana that he wrote and sang; Harinama Tuwa, Aneka Swarupa (O Harinama, You Possess Unlimited Forms). Perhaps we have no idea of the very deep meaning of this kirtana. The analogy is given of a mango seed; we don't see that within the mango seed there is a tree, full with branches, leaves and fruits. The entire tree exists within that seed. If you plant that seed in the earth and water it properly, a very beautiful tree will gradually grow from it.

A large tree with many branches, leaves, beautiful sweet fruits, and manjaris will emerge. Cuckoo birds may sit on the branches and sing; "cuckoo, cuckoo." Everything is within that seed, but when it is still in a seed form, all this is not apparent to us. It will take some time for us to see the complete tree.

Similarly, guru gives sabda-brahma (transcendental sound, or Bhagavan in the form of sound) in the holy name, Hare Krishna, but we have not realized anything yet. We chant because Gurudeva has told us to do so. After some days, if we don't see any result, we become disheartened and give up our chanting. We think, "Oh, there is nothing there." On the other hand, if a sad-guru gives harinama to any strong devotee, that devotee will have so many realizations by following the process of bhakti. He will see Krishna's pastimes in the seed of the holy name and think, "Oh, Krishna is taking birth from Yasoda". He will think, "Nanda Baba is supporting and nourishing Krishna. Krishna is very restless. He is stealing butter from different gopis and is wrestling with Baladeva Prabhu."

All the pastimes of Krishna are present in the holy name, and a pure devotee can see them all. If the disciple can realize the meaning of this kirtana, he will develop a real taste and never fall down. But he must develop some taste.

A devotee may receive harinama from his gurudeva and begin chanting, but if one is not becoming free from anarthas and is not developing a taste, he will give up chanting and his devotional service as well. There are many examples of persons who have been renounced sannyasis for 20 or 30 years; such persons may even have initiated disciples. However, after years of service to his gurudeva, he may conclude, "I'm in a dilemma; I have not realized anything. Everything that I believed to be true is false. I'm giving up my sannyasa and my chanting and remembering; I will no longer cheat others. I'm going to marry and start a real life."

Many have fallen because they have no faith in their gurudeva or the holy names. Without this faith, one cannot realize that Shrimati Radhika, Krishna, and rasa are all present in the seed of this name, Hare Krishna. All the pastimes of Krishna described in this song (Hari Nama Tuwa...) are present within it; all the vraja-lila, mathura-lila, dvaraka-lila, and goloka-vrndavana lila are there.

Moreover, new pastimes, which have not been written in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, can be discovered in this song. Our Gosvamis discovered so many pastimes, and other Gosvamis, like Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, may come and reveal more and more.

You should aspire to be like our Gosvamis. Have full faith in your guru and continue chanting. Don't be satisfied with chanting only 16 rounds. This is not sufficient to control your restless mind, which is wandering here and there and thinking of worldly things. Chant 64 rounds or 128 rounds with strong faith, and then you will realize all these truths. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has said that very strong faith is required.

The Thakur has written thousands of songs like, "yasomati nandana vraja-varo-nagara, gokula-ranjana kana" and "bolo hari hari, mukunda murari, rama krsna hayagriva." All of the important pastimes of Krishna are within these songs, and if you sing them with faith and honor, these pastimes will be revealed to you. We should try to sincerely follow Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He gave us a treasure chest of realized transcendental literature, and that is why he is called the Seventh Gosvami.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur took birth in Ulagrama in the Nadia district, very near to Mayapura and the birthplace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His father passed away when he was very young, and he was raised in his maternal uncle's house in Ulagrama and later on he was brought to Calcutta. He studied in Calcutta and was brilliant from his boyhood. He began writing poetry when he was very young, and among his early books was Shri Prema-pradipa.

He was very friendly with the family of Rabindrinatha Tagore. The members of the Tagore family were very learned, but they became brahma-vadis, and joined the Brahma Samaja. They wanted to establish the philosophy of the Brahma Samaja, which was based on a mixture of beliefs from the world's major religions. In his book Prema-pradipa, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur opposed the philosophical principles of the Brahma Samaja.

During this time, the Thakur visited different universities in Calcutta, where he lectured and gave classes that were widely appreciated. He was also writing many articles about Shri Krishna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After some time, he left Calcutta and went to live at his grandfather's home in Orissa. His grandfather was a teacher, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur also became a teacher while living there.

After that he went to Jagannatha Puri and was appointed deputy magistrate for that district. The government, recognizing Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's abilities and high qualifications, assigned him the additional post of supervisor of the Jagannatha Temple. His management style was very strong and was appreciated by the inhabitants of Jagannatha Puri. Many significant events took place while Bhaktivinoda Thakur was there. The members of one group offered him a bribe of 300,000 rupees and told him, "We want to put a statue of a dog on the top of the Jagannatha Temple." They wanted to prove that there is no difference between Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subadra, and a dog or a cat. These people thought, "All living beings are Brahman and are equal. If Ganesh, Sakti, and Siva are Brahman and are worshipped, why not worship a cat, or a dog? They are all the same Brahman." To show that there is no difference between God and the ordinary jiva, this group wanted to put a statue of a dog on the top of the Mandira. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur refused to accept the enormous bribe and he forcefully rejected their request. To prevent the spread of this mayavada philosophy, he also instructed the residents of Jagannatha Puri about the life and teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In Orissa there was a powerful yogi named Bhibiksena, who wanted to enjoy rasa-lila like Krishna. He was a siddha yogi with long matted locks; and when he would shake his head from side to side, his locks would stand on end and flames would shoot out from his hair. He openly declared throughout Orissa, "I am Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I have come to enjoy my lila (pastimes)."

Many of the young ladies and girls of Orissa, beguiled by this yogi's display of mystic powers, desperately wanted to sing and dance with him on the Purnima (full moon) night. As a result, the husbands of these ladies, as well as many high class and educated people, filed a court case against the yogi. The government assigned Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur to manage the case.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur went to see that yogi, who, although he had not heard from anyone, knew who the Thakur was, and why he had come. The yogi calmly told him, "Oh, you are Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the deputy magistrate. You have come to file a court case against me, but you cannot, for I am Krishna Himself. I have come here to engage in the rasa dance, and during the next full moon night I will do so. No one, not even the government, can oppose me. Soon I will fight against the entire government and drive the British out of India. Then I will become the emperor of all India."

This was a very serious matter and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur replied sternly, "I know that you are a siddha yogi, but you are not God, and your powers are insignificant. I have come to tell you to renounce your false claims and give up your plans to engage in the imitation rasa dance. I am giving you seven days to retract your statements. If you do not, I will arrest you and file a case in court against you."

The yogi answered, "You cannot arrest me. Try to do what you can against me, but I will not change my plans to do the rasa dance."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur returned after seven days, accompanied by the police inspector and his men. He told the yogi, "I have come to arrest you if you do not change your plans."

The yogi replied arrogantly, "Oh, you still don't know me? I am the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. I must perform the rasa dance. I will not change my plans."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur ordered the police, "Arrest him!" When they tried to capture the yogi, he shook his head from side to side, and long flames flew from his matted locks. The police inspector and his men were very frightened and quickly ran away, dropping their guns and clubs in their haste to escape. Left alone to deal with the yogi, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur leapt forward, grabbed Bhibikasena by the hair, and forcibly cut off his matted locks with a pair of scissors. The Thakur subdued him and took him to the criminal court of Orissa in Puri, where a date was fixed for a hearing.

The Thakur was accustomed to awakening in the night at about 12:00 am, performing bhajana, and writing transcendental poems until 4:00 am. He would sing and recite slokas from Gitavali, Saranagati Kalyana Kalpataru, Shrimad Bhagavatam, the writings of Rupa Gosvami, Yamunacarya (the guru of Ramanujacarya) and other Vaisnava authors. Deep in the night he would recite and sing these slokas, totally absorbed in his bhajana, and after that he would write his decisions and judgments for various cases.

Early in the morning of the day that he was to hear the case, the Thakur was beset with severe stomach pains that were so intense that he could not do his work. His wife was alarmed and exclaimed, "Why are you giving trouble to that yogi? By his curse, you may die!" The Thakur answered, "Oh, I will not die. The pain is here only for the moment. It will pass."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur went to the court that morning and summoned the yogi to appear. Bhibikasena was insolent and spoke a warning to the Thakur: "Do you remember last night? I sent you so much pain." The Thakur dismissed him saying, "I know what you did, but your powers are insignificant. You cannot intimidate me." After that, the yogi was not able to do anything to harm him. By his example, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur demonstrated that if anyone is chanting the holy names of the Lord, all kinds of disease, magic, and other negative influences can be checked.

He then addressed the yogi: "If you decide not perform the rasa dance, and if you behave like a common citizen and renounce your claim to be Krishna, I may be lenient in my judgment. Otherwise, you will have to spend six months in prison, doing hard labor. That puffed up yogi would not comply, and thus, he was sent to prison, where he died from a self-imposed fast. This is an example of how Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur expertly administered in the district; and there were many other incidents while he was in Puri.

Over time, the Thakur was transferred to many other provinces. He was sent to Krishnagara, Bihara, and also served in Vrndavana. While in Vrndavana, he went to Radha Kunda and Surya Kunda. At Radha Kunda, he met Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, who was 144 years old at that time. He was so old that the lids of his eyes would droop over his eyes in heavy folds. In order to see, he would lift the skin from over his eyes, and peering at someone from beneath these folds, he would say, "I am like an old turtle." Despite his apparent aged condition, he could dance with great energy when he sang devotional songs, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur would associate with him whenever he could.

While Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was at Radha Kunda, the disciples of Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaja complained to him about the instructions they were receiving from their Gurudeva. They told him, "We have given up our houses, our children, fathers, mothers, wives, and our positions. We have left everything to do bhajana and to remember asta-kalya-lila. We have left everything, but our Gurudeva is telling us to grow brinjals (eggplant) and other vegetables and flowers for Thakurji. We did not come here to grow vegetables, flowers and fruits. Sir, should we return to our homes? We don't know what to do."

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur told them, "You should try to serve your Gurudeva and follow his orders. You are chanting Hare Krishna, but you are full of anarthas (impurities) and cannot chant suddha-nama (the pure name). You may chant for thousands and thousands of births and not accomplish anything. It is good and proper that you follow your Gurudeva's instructions. You cannot remember the pastimes of Krishna while you are contaminated by these anarathas. If you try to remember the asta-kaliya-lila before you are purified, the desire for young women and other material things will rise in your heart. You will soon give up your bhajana to become involved with women and you will return to worldly life. Most Radha Kunda babajis are doing just that, mixing illicitly with widows and having children with them; they are not doing any real bhajana.

"Do not fall down like them. You should follow your Gurudeva's orders; engage your energy in growing fruits and vegetables to offer to Thakurji or to a pure Vaisnava. You should also chant the holy name, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Real paramarthika (transcendental) impressions and sukrti will come into your heart, and you will be able to truly follow your Guru. Then, as chanting, remembering, and performing kirtana cleanse these anarthas, all the pastimes of Krishna will automatically enter your hearts. Don't follow the example of the Radha Kunda babajis. They don't know Vaisnava etiquette. They don't even know how to clean themselves after using the latrine. They certainly don't know any krsna-tattva, maya-tattva, or jiva- tattva. Ignorant persons who have left their homes arrive here knowing nothing about siddhanta. These babajis will cheat them, and for only two rupees, give them a false siddha name and a false siddha-deha. They will say, 'Now you are a gopi; your name is Lalita or Vishaka.' This is abominable."

In his Jaiva Dharma, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has written everything about the authentic process to become a paramahamsa. Jaiva Dharma is the essence of the Vedas, Upanishads, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and the writings of Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Ragunatha das Gosvami and our guru-varga. Asta-kaliya-lila is described for those that are advanced, but how does one become qualified to understand it? One must systematically study Jaiva Dharma from beginning to end, starting with the first part where there is a description of the material world, and proceeding through a study of Dasa-mula and all the tattvas.

By following Jaiva Dharma properly, your anarthas will gradually disappear and you will be able to practice bhakti as exemplified by the two disciples, Brajanatha and Vijay Kumara. They practiced first in Nabadwipa and then in Puri, and they were completely conversant with all the teachings of the important literatures by our guru-varga, including Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujvala-nilamani. They had realized all the stages of prema: vibhava, anubhava, sattvika, vyabhicari, etc. Thus they received real diksa, and they were blessed with a vision of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, dancing with Lord Nityananda and all of their associates.

Brajanatha's uncle, Vijay Kumar, was a paramahamsa who had renounced his worldly life and was remembering asta-kaliya-lila on the seashore. As unlimited waves appear one after another on the seashore, so it is in the ocean of rasa. Krishna is that ocean of rasa, and the innumerable waves are the different bhavas (spiritual emotions) experienced by the devotee, such as: bhava, anubhava, sattvika, vyabhicari, uddipana, and alambana.

Anyone can become qualified to understand asta-kaliya-lila by attentively and respectfully hearing Jaiva Dharma. Without this knowledge, one cannot become qualified – but one must start from the beginning. Hearing with honor will help one to develop strong faith in gurudeva and to follow his instructions. We should be eager to do so. Don't jump to the top of the rasa tree; begin from the root. Follow the process Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has given in Jaiva Dharma. Serve your gurudeva; have strong faith in sad-guru and Vaisnavas; and always be in good Vaisnava association.

Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur has written that the ultimate goal of life is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam:

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita
srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah

["The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is to be worshiped along with His transcendental abode, Vrndavana. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrndavana. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything, and pure love of God is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We are not interested in anyone else's opinion."]

Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur says that Vrajendranandana Shri Krishna is complete. He does not refer to Krishna as Vasudeva-nandana or Devaki-nandana. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as He is supreme, Vrndavana is also supreme. Vrndavana is not made of earth or clay or any material elements; it is cinmaya-bhumi, a fully transcendental place.

The aradhana (method and mood of worship) of the gopis is extremely high. Among Krishna's associates in Vrndavana, the aradhana of the gopis gives Krishna the highest pleasure. The mood of the gopis is supreme, and supreme amongst the gopis is Radhika. Radhika's mood is so high that even Krishna cannot experience or understand it. To relish the mood of Radhika, and to taste radha-pranaya mahima (the excellence of Radha's love for Krishna), He came in the form of Shri Sacinandana-Gaurahari.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the highest pramana (evidence) that explains the love of the gopis for Krishna. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that krsna-prema is the highest goal. The goal of our life should be to achieve prema, transcendental love and affection for Krishna. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that the prema of the gopis is the highest and that we should aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has written Dasa-mula, which is an elaboration of the above-mentioned verse by Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur. It contains ten ontological truths in condensed form. By understanding these truths, one can realize the true meaning of Lord Chaitanya's teachings:

amnaya praha tattvam harim iha paramam sarva-saktim rasabdhim
tad-bhinnamsams ca jivan prakrti-kavalitan tad-vimuktams ca bhavad
bhedabheda-prakasam sakalam api hareh sadhanam suddha-bhaktim
sadhyam tat-pritim evety upadisati janan gauracandrah svayam sah

Pramana: The teachings of the Vedas received through guru-parampara are known as amnaya (meaning that which is committed to memory). The infallible evidence of the Vedas, of the smrti-sastras headed by the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, as well as evidence such as direct sense perception (pratyaksa) that concur with the guidance of the Vedas, are all accepted as pramana (evidence). This pramana establishes the following prameyas (fundamental truths):

  • Parama-tattva: Shri Hari alone is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
  • Sarva-saktiman: Shri Krishna is the possessor of unlimited, multifarious saktis.
  • Akhila-rasamrta-sindhu: He is the ocean of nectarean mellows.
  • Vibhinnamsa-tattva: Both the mukta (liberated) and baddha (conditioned) jivas are His eternally separated parts and parcels.
  • Baddha-jivas: Conditioned souls are covered by maya.
  • Mukta-jivas: Liberated souls are free from maya.
  • Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva: The entire universe, consisting of conscious, sentient jivas (cit) and non-sentient matter (acit), is Shri Hari's acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa, that is to say, it is His manifestation which is inconceivably both one with and different from Him.
  • Suddha-bhakti: Pure devotional service is the only practice (sadhana) to attain perfection.
  • Krishna-priti: Transcendental love and affection for Krishna is the one and only final object of attainment (sadhya-vastu).

In addition to the above, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has given us a practical means to achieve our goal of krsna-prema in two lines. He has encapsulated all the truths of the Vedas, Bhagavatam, Upanishads, etc., in two lines:

krsnera samsara koro chadi anacar
jive doya krsna-nama­­—sarva-dharma-sara

["Carry on your worldly duties, but in relation to Krishna, and give up sinful behavior. Show compassion to all fallen souls by loudly chanting the holy name of Krishna. This is the essence of all forms of religion." (from the song Nadiya-Godrume)]

What is the meaning of this verse? This verse is meant for both tyagis (renunciates) and grhastas (family men). Whatever you do, do it to please Krishna. Krishna manifests as diksa-guru, siksa-guru, Vaisnava, and all of the associates of Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We must not neglect others while serving Krishna. If you have honor for Krishna but not for Baladeva, not for diksa-guru, and not for siksa-guru, your bhakti will be diminished. So the word Krishna in this verse has so many deep meanings. It means Krishna and all of His associates and tadiya-vastu (those persons and things that have relation to Him), like Tulasi-devi, hari-nama, mahaprasada, etc.

mahaprasade govinde nama brahmani vaisnave,
svalpam punya vrtam rajan,visvaso nava jayate.

["Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in mahaprasada, in Shri Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaisnavas." (Chaitanya Caritamrta Antya-lila 16:96 purport from- Skanda Purana)]

These are all Krishna, but some are visaya Krishna (Krishna as the object of love), and some are asraya Krishna (the servant of Krishna who is the abode of that love). We offer more honor to asraya Krishna than visaya Krishna. If we serve Mother Yasoda and the gopis more than Krishna, Krishna will be pleased.

yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadanna-gatih kuto 'pi
dhyayam stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyam
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

["By the mercy of the spiritual master one is benedicted by the mercy of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master no one can make any advancement. Therefore I should always remember the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master." (Shri Gurvastakam)]

You should worship your guru, but the guru should be a genuine guru, not a garu (an animal). A guru should follow all the rules and regulations of the Vaisnavas. He should chant the holy name and have love and affection for his disciples. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur states that to please Krishna, one must behave like a Vaisnava. All advancement in bhakti depends on pleasing Krishna and his associates. This means to serve guru, Vaisnava, the dhama, the holy name, and all that are related to Krishna.

"Krsnera samsara koro chadi anacar." This means that one will have to renounce anacara, that which is unfavorable to the Vaisnavas, and one must follow Vaisnava acara (proper conduct). Shri Sanatana Gosvami has elaborately delineated the principles of proper conduct in the Hari-bhakti-vilas.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has also written about the ten kinds of nama-aparadha, and 64 kinds of other aparadha, including dhama-aparadha and seva-aparadha.. These aparadhas must be avoided. Follow the 64 angas (limbs) of bhakti. Among them, nine kinds of bhakti are considered more important: sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, pada-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam,dasyam, sakhyam, and atma-nivedanam. Among these, five are more important: sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavat-sravana, mathura-vasa, and sri murti-sraddha sevana. Of these, three – sravanam, kirtanam and smaranam – are most important. Among them, kirtana is the best; "param vijayate rri krsna sankirtana." Sankirtana is the essence of bhakti.

Jive doya means to have mercy upon the living entities. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has ordered us: Tell them that they are spirit souls; they are not this physical body. They are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, but they have forgotten this. Now they should engage in the process of bhakti-yoga and be happy. To turn anyone's interest or tendency toward Krishna, is more valuable than establishing thousands of schools, hospitals, public gardens and performing charitable works. We should try to help others.

Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written in Shri Upadesamrita:

tan-nama-rupa-caritadi-sukirtananu-
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram

["The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time—twenty-four hours a day—in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja (Goloka Vrndavana dhama) and serve Krishna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service." (Upadesamrita, verse 8)]

This is the essence of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's life and teachings.

Gaura premanande.

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