Srila Bhakti Jivan Janardana Maharaja
Śrīla Bhakti Jīvana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja left home at the age of seven. His background remains mysterious. No one knows exactly the village where he took birth in the state of Orissa. During his life, he never revealed his parents' names.
From a young age, he received much affection from his spiritual master, Jagad Guru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, who named him Ananta Ram Brahmacari. He also had a very affectionate relationship with nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and upon his disappearance, Śrīla Bhakti Jīvana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja acted as the śikṣā-guru for the Gaudīya Vedānta Samiti, providing it with his affectionate guidance until he disappeared from this world in 1994.
He is considered a most elevated devotee who had boundless affection for Śrīmati Rādhikā and was famous for his great scholarship. Additionally, he established a Gaudīya Math in Kharagpur.
Glorification from other Vaishnavas
Nitya-lila Pravishtha Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Goswami Maharaja
Today is the āvirbhāva tithi of my śīkṣā guru, Śrīla Bhakti Jivana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The āvirbhāva and tirobhāva tithis of Vaiṣṇavas are both equally worshipable. From external vision, he performed the pastime of appearing in the district of Ganjam in Odisha. He would speak very sweetly. I had his first darśana at Śrī Syāmānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha [Medinipura].
Later he established a maṭha in Kharagpur at Śrīvasa palli. In a village nearby he also had a gośālā. He used to speak a lot of pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa from the Purāṇas. He spoke very slowly and sweetly. He would participate in Navadvīpa Parikrama and after the parikrama he used to stay in Navadvīpa itself. He would hold a grand festival on Rādhāṣṭamī and he would repeatedly chant 'Rādhe Rādhe'. Towards the end of his manifest pastimes, he awarded sannyāsa to Śrīla Bhakti Kamala Govinda Mahārāja and ordered him to become the successor of his maṭha. Śrīla Bhakti Kamala Govinda Mahārāja would also speak very sweetly.
THE SPECIALTY OF GANJAM
In Odisha, Ganjam is famous for Vaiṣṇavas. Vaiṣṇavas from this place visit Jagannātha Purī, throughout the year. Wherever these Vaiṣṇavas go for pilgrimage, they first have darśana of Jagannātha Deva and upon returning from pilgrimage, they again take darśana of Jagannātha Deva. This is the standard practice. People of Ganjam do not consume rice from any other place; this type of rice is called khanija rice and it is their specialty. First, they stuff the rice crop underneath the earth and after one year has elapsed, they extract that stored rice crop and use the rice which is called 'Khaṇi kā cāwal’. Some of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples such as Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhānas Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Ānanda-līlā-maya-vigraha Prabhu, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja came from that place.
Among the people of Odisha, those from Cuttack are addressed as atheists. When there was a Tsunami in Odisha, everything was destroyed by the flood, so much so that not even traces of the houses remained. That tsunami wrecked all four directions surrounding Puri and created much havoc, however, Purī itself remained unaffected. Nothing happened in Ganjam as well despite being near the ocean. People from Cuttack and nearby places came to Purī to take shelter. Hence it is observed from this instance that Jagannātha's sevakas are always protected by Jagannātha Deva.
‘RĀDHE RĀDHE’ TILL THE LAST BREATH
During the first tirobhāva festival of Śrīla Bhakti Jivana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja in Kharagpura, the organizers had distributed a tumbler to everyone who participated in the festival with his name engraved on it. I still have that tumbler I received. Śrīla Bhakti Jivana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja did not perform sickness pastimes much. He would always chant “Rādhe! Rādhe! Rādhe!” and uttering like this, he left his body.
BENEFIT OF REMEMBERING VAIṢṆAVAS
So what is benefit of remembering Vaiṣṇavas? Through their remembrance, our most formidable anarthas in the form of kanaka, kāmini and pratiṣṭhā are dispelled. My parama gurudeva referred to pratiṣṭhā as baghini, or tigress; as a tigress swallows [our devotion]. Pratiṣṭhā cannot be traced externally, it is situated deep within.
‘kanaka-kāmini,’ ‘pratiṣṭhā-bāghini,’ chādiyāche jāre, sei to’ vaiṣṇava
[One is truly a Vaisnava who has given up the habit of falling victim to the ferocious tigress of wealth, beauty, and fame. Verse 11, Vaiṣṇava ke]
Everything can be utilized, Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura mentioned in one kīrtana [Prema Bhakti Candrikā]:
kāma kṛṣṇa karmārpaṇe,
krodha bhakta-dveśī jane lobha sādhu-saṅga hari kathā moha iṣṭa-labdha-bine,
mada kṛṣṇa-guṇa-gāne niyukta kariba yathā tathā
[I will use lust in the service of Kṛṣṇa, anger against those who are inimical towards the devotees and greed for associating with sādhus and hearing kṛṣṇa-kathā. I will become bewildered only when I cannot attain my worshipable Lord. Madness will manifest when I intensely glorify the divine qualities of Kṛṣṇa. In this way I will utilize all of these.]
Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura saw no use for matsarya in his bhajana. All the five enemies are contained within matsarya – kāma, krodha, lobha, moha, mada. Matsarya includes all [varieties of pride]. Hence, parama gurudeva said, ‘‘pratiṣṭhā-bāghini,’ chādiyāche jāre, sei to’ vaiṣṇava’ –The one whom this tigress in the form of pratiṣṭhā has left is a Vaiṣṇava.
HE WAS A NIRMATSARA SĀDHU
In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [1.1.2] itself, it is mentioned: ‘nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ vedyaṁ’, only nirmatsara sādhus [those who are a hundred-percent pure by heart] can understand the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it cannot be understood by those who merely accept a dress of a sādhu. ‘Matsarya’ refers to those who are incapable of witnessing the progress of others [those who feel happy upon seeing misery of others and miserable upon seeing their happiness]. Only those who do not possess matsarya are capable of understanding the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Similarly, it was observed that Śrīla Bhakti Jivana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja was a nirmatsara sādhu [Endnote 1].
PREREQUISITE FOR HARI-BHAJANA
Today is his āvirbhāva tithi, so we will pray for his mercy so that we become nirmatsara like him and perform hari-bhajana. Unless we become nirmatsara, hari-bhajana is not possible. And this is not possible without the mercy of Vaiṣṇavas.
That is the reason why Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī said [Śrī Manaḥ-śīkṣā, śloka 7]:
pratiṣṭhāśā dhṛṣṭā svapaca-ramaṇī me hṛdi naṭet
katham- sādhu-premā spṛśati śucir etan nanu manaḥ
sadā tvam- sevasva prabhu-dayita-sāmantam atulaḿ
yathā tām- niṣkāsya tvaritam iha tam- veṣayati saḥ
[Why is it that deceit still lingers in the heart despite one’s having given up all material sense enjoyment? This verse has been composed in order to answer this question.] O mind, how can pure divine love appear in my heart as long as the shameless dog-eating, outcaste woman of the desire for prestige is audaciously dancing there? Therefore, always remember and serve the immeasurably powerful commanders of the army of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the beloved devotees of the Lord. They will at once banish this outcaste woman and initiate the flow of immaculate vraja-prema in your heart.] GVP
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī pleads, ‘The cāṇḍālini in the form of pratiṣṭhā is dancing in my heart, so how can I contact that divine love?” What is the remedy? Sadā tvam- sevasva prabhu-dayita-sāmantam atulaḿ – you must forever take shelter of the beloved devotees of the Lord, who are incomparable (atulaḿ) commanders [in the army of Śrī Kṛṣṇa] and are immeasurably powerful. They will drive away the shameless outcaste woman in the form of pratiṣṭhā and make place for prema to reside in the heart.
We had no darśana of Śrīla Prabhupāda, but by having darśana of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples, we can estimate how incomparably influential and powerful Śrīla Prabhupāda was.
So Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī mentioned, ‘prabhu-dayita-sāmantam atulaḿ’, call out to the incomparably powerful commanders, the beloved devotees of the Lord, for they will prevent everything [all the impediments]. Bemoaning alone will achieve nothing, only by following the conduct [of always remembering and serving those powerful Vaiṣṇavas] and acting accordingly [one will be freed from impediments like kanaka, kāmini and pratiṣṭhā].
BEG FOR UNALLOYED DEVOTION
Today is his āvirbhāva tithi. On āvirbhāva tithis, people give charity and perform pious deeds. Everyone including the parents offer charity on their children’s birthdays, so do great personalities. By approaching these great personalities, we will receive mercy because they will offer charity on their āvirbhāva tithi, so what will we beg from them? May I possess unalloyed devotion unto Bhagavān.
Only they can banish this prostitute of desire for name and fame from our hearts and make place for divine love to reside there, then only will hari-bhajana be possible.
Nitya-lila Pravishtha Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja
Every year, without fail, he would attend the Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa parikramā conducted by Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti, as well as [the Samiti’s] parikramās of Vraja-maṇḍala, Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Dvārakā, South India and other places. He used to say, “The most worshipable Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja has given an invitation to me for all the time saying, ‘You must certainly come for all of our functions.’ ”
For this reason, even after my gurudeva entered aprakaṭa-līla, every year pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja would unfailingly participate in Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa parikramā and Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā. 1993 was his last Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā. When the parikramā arrived at Śrī Paiṭhā-grāma near Govardhana, he spoke about that place.
“This Paiṭhā-grāma is an extra special place for Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Nearby at Candra-sarovara, when, at the time of rāsa, Kṛṣna disappeared, Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds became maddened with feelings of separation from Him and searched for Him here and there. Some asked the birds and animals of Kṛṣṇa’s whereabouts, and some inquired from the trees and vines. Some vraja-ramaṇīs thought themselves to be Kṛṣṇa and others thought themselves to be Pūtanā, Śakaṭāsura, Aghāsura, etc. In this way, they would become maddened in the anubhāva named līlā [enactment of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes]. At that time, Kṛṣṇa manifested before them in the form of four-handed Vāsudeva. At first, the different gopīs who saw this form while searching for Kṛṣṇa offered Him praṇāma, understanding Him to be Nārāyaṇa, and then moved on, taking no notice Him. But as soon as Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw Śrīmatī Rādhikā, He became incapable of maintaining His Nārāyaṇa form. Upon seeing Her, He appeared before Her in His own svarūpa, that is, the svarūpa of Vrajendra-nandana. It was thus proven at this place that among all the gopa-ramaṇīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the topmost beloved of Kṛṣṇa. ‘Yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos, tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā / sarva-gopīṣu saivaikā, viṣṇor atyanta-vallabhā – Just as Śrīmatī Rādhikā is most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is equally dear to Him. Among all the beloved gopīs, none are as dear as Śrīmatī Rādhikā’ (Padma Purāṇa).”
Upon hearing this deliberation, everyone became charmed.
Defying the resident Rādhā-kuṇḍa bābājīs
When on this parikramā, we reached Rādhā-kuṇḍa he addressed the resident Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa bābājīs, saying, “You are all erudite persons, you have given up everything and have become penniless, and you are performing bhajana in Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Vṛndāvana. All of you please come [and speak with us]. Why do you slander and criticize the followers of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura? Why do you say that saffron coloured cloth, sannyāsa and so on are divergent from the bhajana of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas? We Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas garbed in saffron colour humbly desire to discuss this. All of you, please come here and discuss this topic with us.”
Quoting a verse and the commentary of Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta (2.7.14) he gave proof of the following:
karmāśayaṁ grathitam udgrathayanti santaḥ
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo ’pi ruddha-
sroto-gaṇās tam araṇaṁ bhaja vāsudevam
[Devotees of Śrī Bhagavān, who remain perpetually engaged in serving the toes of His lotus feet, can eliminate with ease the strong knot of yearning to enjoy the fruits of one’s prescribed duties. This task cannot be performed by those who are not devoted to Him, such as jñānīs and yogīs, despite their attempt to put an end to the swelling waves of sense enjoyment. You are thus advised to perform bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣna, the son of Vasudeva.]
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
jei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ‘guru’ haya
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.128)
[Whether one is a brāhmaṇa, a sannyāsī or a śūdra, if he is conversant with transcendental knowledge about Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he can become a guru.]
[He went on to say,] “The nine roots of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s wish-fulfilling tree of prema are all sannyāsīs who wore saffron-coloured cloth: Śrī Paramānanda Purī, Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, Śrī Brahmānanda Purī, Śrī Brahmānanda Bhāratī, Śrī Viṣṇu Purī, Śrī Keśava Purī, Śrī Kṛṣṇānanda Purī, Śrī Nṛsiṁha Tīrtha, and Śrī Sukhānanda Purī. Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu, Svarūpa Dāmodara and others were all sannyāsīs. Even sannyāsīs wearing saffron coloured cloth are seen among the Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa Gosvāmīs – both Gosvāmīs in times gone by and also in current times. Please come and speak with us; please deliberate on this. If we have any fault or defect, please explain it to us.”
Hearing his loud roaring in this way, not a single bābājī came before him. The approximately six to seven hundred people who were listening to his excellent conclusive statements, deeply understood in truth and essence that the conceptions of the Sarasvata Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas [the line of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda] alone are immaculate and fully and perfectly conclusive.
Gopīśvara Mahādeva awards kṛṣṇa-prema
One time, on Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā at Nandīśvara Parvata in Śrī Nandagrāma, there was an iṣṭa-goṣṭhī on the topic of śiva-tattva, and it was apparent that devotees held different opinions. In that assembly, I had said that Śrī Sadāśiva is viṣṇu-tattva. His non-different form in Vṛndāvana is Gopīśvara Mahādeva; in Govardhana it is Cakleśvara Mahādeva; in Nanda-grāma, it is Nandīśvara Mahādeva and in Kāmyavana it is Kāmeśvara Mahādeva. All of these forms of his are completely identical, divine existential reality (tattva). Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says in reference to Śiva, “vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhu – Śrī Śiva is the greatest Vaiṣṇava.” He is the greatest friend of Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, who, in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, has even given the process for worshipping him. Even his praṇāma-mantra says:
vṛndāvanāvani-pate jaya soma soma-maule!
prema prayaccha nirupādhi namo namas te
[O protector of the land of Vṛndāvana, O husband of Umā, O Soma-mauli, you who carry the moon on your head! O you who are worshipped by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, and Nārada! O Gopīśvara, please bestow upon me unconditional prema for the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, who perform loving pastimes in Vraja.]
“Therefore, Gopeśvara Mahādeva is worshipable for the Vaiṣṇavas. By his merciful blessing, one is able to obtain vraja-bhakti.”
Hearing this, a few Vaiṣṇavas present took a contending stance. “There is no place in the Śrī Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya to worship Śaṅkara” they said. “He cannot give vraja-prema.”
In that assembly, pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja quoted the following śloka from Śrīla Raghunātha Gosvāmī’s Śrī Vraja-vilāsa-stava (87):
sphurad-gopī-vṛndair yam iha bhagavantaṁ praṇayibhiḥ
bhajadbhis tair bhaktyā svam abhilaṣitaṁ prāptam acirād
yamī-tīre gopīśvaram anudinaṁ taṁ kila bhaje
[To obtain the jewel of being embraced by the arms of Vrajendra-nandana Śyāmasundara, the gopīs, who possess firm, loving, intimate attachment for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, joyfully worshipped Gopīśvara Mahādeva (Sadāśiva) with great devotion and had all their internal desires fulfilled without delay. Daily I worship that Gopīśvara Mahādeva who resides on the bank of the Yamunā.]
In this way, he cleared any confusion on this topic. “The vraja-gopīs pray to Gopīśvara Mahādeva to obtain kṛṣṇa-prema, and that Gopīśvara Mahādeva awards this kṛṣṇa-prema. There is therefore no more room to doubt that Gopīśvara Mahādeva bestows the cherished objective of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. For this reason, each and every one of us pray to him for his mercy.”
Both parties were satisfied with his conclusion.
His niṣṭhā in Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupāda
On the day of Śrī Māyāpura parikramā during Śrī Vedānta Samiti’s Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā, pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja would arrive at the samādhi of his most worshipful nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Śrīla Prabhupāda and extol Śrīla Prabhupāda’s glories. As he would do so, his throat would choke up, he would become overwhelmed with emotion and unable to speak further. He could only weep, tears flowing from his eyes. Beholding such bhāva and guru-niṣṭhā, the audience would become overwhelmed.
In this way, many divine memories of him are appearing in my heart, but I fear increasing the length of this essay. I therefore offer hundreds and hundreds of flowers from my heart at his divine feet. My only prayer at his lotus feet is that he may cleanse my hundreds and hundreds of faults, shortcomings and offences and thus count me among the recipients of his mercy.
Praying for a particle of mercy from Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas,
Tridaṇḍi-bhikṣu Śrī Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from the Viraha-smāraka-prakāśana
A rasika and bhāvuka bhakta
I first had the darśana of pūjyapāda Mahārāja in 1947 when I came to Śrī Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha, the main maṭha of Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. Then, he was a naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī. It was around that time that he established his illustrious maṭha in Khaḍagpura. He came to perform Śrīdhāma Navadvīpa parikramā under the guidance of my guru-pādapadma, bringing with him some faithful pilgrims from Śrī Śyāmanānda Gauḍīya Maṭha, Medinipura. While on the parikramā, Śrīla Guru-pādapadma would occasionally order him to speak hari-kathā, and as he would listen to that hari-kathā, Śrīla Guru-pādapadma would become supremely elated.
Pūjyapāda Śrīmad Janārdana Mahārāja’s name at that time was Śrī Anantarāma Brahmacārī. It was from my spending that time in his company that our relationship gradually began to thicken. He was endowed with all the qualities befitting a Vaiṣṇava. His natural disposition was to be sweetly-spoken, humble, tolerant, never wanting respect for himself and always ready to give respect to others. He was well-versed in scriptures like Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, Bṛhad-bhāgavatamṛta, Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Lalita-mādhava, Vidagdha-mādhava, Stava-māla, Stavāvalī, the “Śrī Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī” and “Sārārtha-darśiṇī” commentaries on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, respectively], and Śrī Baladeva Vidyabhūṣaṇa’s Govinda-bhāṣya, and he was firmly established in the perfect conclusions (siddhānta) of Vaiṣṇavism. He was perpetually engaged in speaking hari-kathā. Notably he was a rasika and bhāvuka bhakta. As a regulation, he would daily worship tulasī, behold ārati, mark his whole body with the name of his worshipable goddess, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and lovingly recite stavas and stutis.
His exclusive mood of service to Śrī Rādhā
In his hari-kathā, I have particularly observed that he was a śrī rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava ācārya. On the aforementioned vyāsa-pūjā festival, daily at the time of brāhma-muhūrta, I noticed how he would recite, with intense love, stavas and stutis like Śrī Rādhikāṣṭakam, Śrī Gāndharvā-saṁprārthanāṣṭakam, Śrī Viśākhānandadābhidha-stotram, Śrī Utkaṇṭhā-daśakam, Śrī Cāṭu-puṣpañjali, Śrī Kārpaṇya-pañjikā-stotram, Śrī Utkalikā-vallariḥ, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍāṣṭakam, and Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam. When I heard him do this, extreme faith in these stavas and stutis arose within me, and from then on, following his footsteps I began to recite them. By constantly being in pure association (sat-saṅga), my faith in them increasingly developed.
I had heard that among Kṛṣṇa’s rāgātmika associates, the gopīs are topmost. Among them, some have the same affection (sama-snehā) for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, some have more affection for Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-snehādhikā) and others have more affection for Śrī Rādhā (śrī rādhā-snehādhikā). Among the śrī rādhā-snehādhikā, the gopīs headed by Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī are foremost. And the rāgānuga-sādhakas under their guidance are foremost among sādhakas. I have observed this mood in pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja. When he would explain the following verses in his hari-kathā, his internal exclusive mood of servitude to Śrī Rādhā (rādhā-dāsya) would thoroughly manifest.
hā devi! kāku-bhara-gadgadayādya vācā
yāce nipatya bhuvi daṇḍavad-udbhaṭārtiḥ
asya prasādam abudhasya janasya kṛtvā
gāndharvike! nija-gaṇe gaṇanāṁ vidhehi
Śrī Gāndharvā-samprārthanāṣṭakam (2)
"O Devī Gāndharvikā! Today, in utter desperation, I throw myself on the ground like a stick. Filled with great distress, I implore You with a choked voice to be merciful to this fool and count me as one of Your own."
tavaivāsmi tavaivāsmi / na jīvāmi tvayā vinā
iti vijñāya devī tvaṁ / naya māṁ caraṇāntike
Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (96)
"He Devī Śrī Rādhike! I am Yours, I am Yours! I cannot live without You. Knowing this, please give me a place at Your lotus feet."
āśā bharair amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathañcit
kālo mayātigamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi
tvaṁ cet kṛpāṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me
prāṇair vrajena ca varoru bakāriṇāpi
"O Varoru Rādhā, it is as rare to fulfil my hope as it is to attain an ocean of nectar, but I pass my days, greatly longing to fulfil it. Now You must give mercy to this poor, unhappy person. What to speak of my life, everything – my residing in Vraja and even my service to Kṛṣṇa – is useless without Your mercy."
bhajāmi rādhām aravinda-netraṁ
smarāmi rādhāṁ madhura-smitāsyām
vadāmi rādhāṁ karuṇā-bharādraṁ
tato mamānyāsti gatir na kāpi
Śrī Viśākhānandadābhidhā Stotram (131)
"I worship Śrīmatī Rādhikā who has lotus-petal eyes, I remember Śrīmatī Rādhikā whose face is sweetly smiling, and I speak of Her whose heart is melting with compassion. My life has no other purpose than serving Her."
veṇuṁ karān nipatitaṁ skhalitaṁ śikhaṇḍaṁ
bhraṣṭaṁ ca pīta-vasanaṁ vraja-rāja-sūnoḥ
tāṁ rādhikāṁ paricarāmi kadā rasena
Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi (39)
"When, with rasa, will I serve Śrī Rādhā, whose arrow-like sidelong glance causes Śrī Nanda-nandana to faint, the flute to fall from His hands, the peacock-feather crown to slip from His head, and His yellow cloth to fall from His body?"
yat-kiṅkarīṣu bahuśaḥ khalu kāku-vāṇī
nityaṁ parasya puruṣasya śikhaṇḍa-mauleḥ
tasyāḥ kadā rasa-nidheḥ vṛṣabhānu-jāyās
Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi (8)
"O daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, ocean of rasa, that beautiful boy who wears a gracefully tilting peacock feather in His hair is actually the original Personality of Godhead. Still, He is always falling at the feet of Your maidservants and pitifully begging them with many humble words to gain entrance into Your kuñja where the two of You engage in Your playful loving pastimes. My life would be successful if I could even be one stick in the broom Your maidservants use to clean Your delightful kuñja."
His affection for Vaiṣṇavas and his cows
Almost fifteen years ago, at the special request of pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Vāmana Mahārāja and I went to see him at Śrī Gaura-vāṇī-vinoda Āśrama. We were all charmed by the way he served Vaiṣṇavas and the example he set by doing so. His darling Kālindī, Gaṅgā, Śyāmalā and other cows would be standing on the veranda, yearning for his affection. He had so much fondness for them.
Once my most worshipable guru-pādapadma, aṣṭottara-śata-śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, accompanied by five or six sannyāsīs and ten to twelve brahmacārīs, arrived at Śrī Gaura-vāṇī-vinoda Āśrama in Subhāṣpallī, Khaḍagpura [West Bengal]. Pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Mahārāja, pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Mahārāja and the prominent sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs of Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti were present with Śrīla Guru-pādapadma.
The founder of that āśrama, pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti Jīvana Janārdana Mahārāja, had made grand arrangements for the vyāsa-pūjā of his most worshipable gurudeva, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. Many Vaiṣṇavas gathered for the festival.
At the beginning of the function, the disciples of pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja came, on the order of their gurudeva, to offer flowers at the lotus feet of my gurudeva, aṣṭottara-śata-śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who was seated on a beautifully decorated seat.
Śrīla Gurudeva directed them to offer flowers at the lotus feet of their gurudeva, tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Jīvana Janārdana Mahārāja, saying, “In regard to worship, it is the injunction of the scriptures to first perform arcana-pūjā of the lotus feet of one’s own śrī guru-pādapadma, followed by worship of the feet of one’s param-guru (grand spiritual master), the guru-paramparā and then Śrī Bhagavān. Bhagavān has personally stated:
prathaman tu guruṁ pūjyāṁ
tataś caiva mamārcanam
kurvan siddhim avāpnoti
hy anyathā niṣphalaṁ bhavet
[One must always worship one’s guru first, and only then worship Me. If one follows this process properly, one will naturally attain all perfection. But if one neglects this process, everything will be fruitless.]
Therefore, it is inappropriate to transgress this traditional rule.”
After that, paramārādhya Gurudeva also instructed his most dear Śrīmad Bhakti Jīvana Janārdana Mahārāja to [first] receive arcana, pūjana, and puṣpāñjali[from his disciples]. Pūjyapāda Śrīmad Janārdana Mahārāja regarded my guru-pādapadma as his śikṣā-guru; therefore, without any hesitation, he followed his instruction. His disciples proceeded to joyfully and splendidly worship their gurudeva with sixteen articles (ṣoḍaśāopacāra) and offer puṣpañjali (flowers). Thereafter, in great jubilation, they all offered flowers at the feet of my gurudeva and received his merciful blessings.
Throughout his life, whenever pūjyapāda Janārdana Mahārāja remembered this incident, he would always mention, with tears in his eyes, my guru-pādapadma’s magnanimity, parental affection for his followers, his expertise in bhakti-siddhānta, and his guru-niṣṭhā.