Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Disappearance (Lecture by SP)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Disappearance
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
(Delivered on December 9, 1968, Los Angeles)
So today is the Disappearance Day of my guru maharaj. As I told you, that sadhava jiva ma maro va. There was a nice story, the other day I told you that a sage is giving different kinds of blessings to different types of persons. So to a king’s son, a prince, he blesses: raja putra ciran jiva. You are a king’s son, a prince. You live forever. And muni putra. A son of a saintly person, he blesses him: ma jiva ma jiva. You don’t live. Raja putra ciran jiva muni putra ma jiva. And sadhu, devotee, he blessed him: jivo va maro va. Either you live or you die, as you like. And there was a butcher, he blessed him: ma jiva, ma mara. you don’t die, you don’t live.
These words are very significant. That I have already explained, and still I am explaining. The prince is enjoying sense, that is all. He has got enough facility for sense enjoyment. So his next life is hellish because if you indulge in sex life then Krsna will give you facility to have sex life three times in the hour. Just like the pigeons, the monkeys, the sparrows, they are very sexually strong. You have seen it, so that facility is given. So, the princely order are after sense enjoyment; so his blessing is that better you live forever because after your death you do not know what is going to happen to you — you are going to get a hellish life. Better you live for some time. Go on with your enjoyment.
And muni putra ma jiva — brahmacari working under strict disciplinary guidance of his spiritual master, he is blessed: ma jiva. You better die because you are so trained to enter into the kingdom of God, so why should you take so much trouble? Better you die and go back to Godhead.
And a devotee he blessed: jiva va maro va. My dear devotee, either you live or die, the same. And the butcher he blessed him: ma jiva ma mara. Don’t live, don’t die. What is he to do? His living condition is so abominable; from the morning, he has to slaughter so many animals — the blood stains, the ghastly scene. That is his livelihood. So what a horrible life this is. So, don’t live. And don’t die also, because after death, he is going to be in so much hellish condition. Nobody can describe. So both lives — living condition and death, after death, his condition is very horrible.
Anyway, apart from others, the devotee — appearance and disappearance — the same thing. Just like when my spiritual master appeared at Jagannatha Puri, he was the son of a very big government officer, Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was a magistrate, government officer. In those days a magistrate was a big officer in the government — practically next to governor. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura was in charge of the Jagannatha temple. That is the system in Jagannatha Puri. The manager in charge of the temple is the district magistrate.
So, there was a Rathayatra festival, and the cart was passing in front of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house. Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s name was Kedaranath Datta. When he was magistrate, he was known as K.N. Datta. Kedaranath Datta. So the cart stopped before his house, and at that time, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a child in the lap of his mother — the mother took the opportunity of rising on the cart. She was magistrate’s wife, so she had the facility. Immediately people gave way for her to go on the top of the cart and place the child on the lotus feet of Jagannatha. And there were many garlands. One garland fell upon him, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati… blessings.
This was one thing. There are so many things. When he was a child, two or three years old, he ate one mango fruit which was kept for offering to the Deity. So his father mildly rebuked him: “You have done very wrong thing. This was meant for Deity and you have taken it. You should not have done it.” The child was two or three years old; he took it so seriously that never after that he took mango. Whenever we offered him mango he said: “No, I am offender. I cannot take mango.” He was thinking like that, you see. Never in his life he took a mango. He was thinking that, “I have offended in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity.” This is the characteristic of the acarya. They teach by their life action that one should be so much determined, that one should not be… a child took the mango, there was no offense, but he took that vow.
Another instance, in my presence. At that time, we were also young men, and one of my Godbrothers, his name is Dr. Kapoor. He is now retired in Vrndavana last time I saw him. He was also young man, and his wife was also young. So, we were sitting together talking to guru maharaj, and the girl proposed, “My dear master, I want to speak with you.” So, guru maharaj said, “Yes, you can talk whatever you like.” So, she said, “I want to talk with you secretly, not in the presence of everyone.” Guru Maharaj said, “No, I cannot talk with you secretly. You can talk in the presence of my all other disciples.” So, that girl was just like his grand-daughter by age calculation, but he refused to talk with a young woman in a secret place. These are the instances.
So, his life he was lifelong brahmacari. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had many other sons, and he was the fifth son. And some of his other brothers did not marry, and my guru maharaj, he also did not marry. From the childhood, he is strict brahmacari, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. He underwent very severe penances for starting this worldwide movement. That was his mission. Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to do this. In 1896, Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to introduce this Krsna consciousness movement by sending this book, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts. Fortunately, that year was my birth year, and by Krsna’s arrangement, we came in contact. I was born in a different family; my guru maharaja was born in a different family. Who knew that I would come to his protection? Who knew that I would come to America? Who knew that you American boys will come to me? These are all Krsna’s arrangement. We cannot understand how things are taking place.
In 1936 — today is ninth December, 1969 — that means 32 years ago in Bombay I was doing some business. All of a sudden… but perhaps on this date, sometime between 9th or 10th December, at that time, guru maharaj was little indisposed, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri on the seashore. So, I wrote him letter: “My dear master, your other disciples — brahmacari, sannyasi, they are rendering you direct service, and I am a householder, I cannot live with you, I cannot serve you nicely. So I do not know how can I serve you?” Simply an idea. I was thinking of serving him. How can I serve him seriously? So the reply was dated 13th December, 1936. In that letter, he wrote: “My dear such-and-such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English.” That was his writing. And “that will do good to you and to the people who will help you arise.” That was his instruction. And in 1936, on the 31st December — that means just after writing this letter, he passed away.
But I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously, but I did not think that I will have to do such-and-such thing. I was at that time a householder. This is the arrangement of Krsna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master — his order — then Krsna will give us all facilities. That is the secret. Although there was no possibility, I never thought… but I took it little seriously by studying a commentary by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita, the verse vyavasayatmika buddhir/ ekeha kuru-nandana. In connection with that verse, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives his commentary that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master, very rigidly, without caring for our personal benefit or loss.
So, I have tried a little bit in that spirit, so he has given me all facilities to serve him. Things have come to this stage, that in this old age I have come to your country and you are also taking this movement seriously, trying to understand it. We have got some books now, so there is little foothold of this movement. Now on this occasion of my spiritual master’s departure, I am trying to execute his will; similarly, I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will.
I am an old man. I can also pass away at any moment; that is nature’s law, nobody can check it, so that is not very astonishing. But my appeal to you on this auspicious day of the departure of my guru maharaj, that at least to some extent, you have understood the essence of Krsna consciousness movement. You should try to push it on. People are suffering for want of this consciousness. As we daily pray about devotees: vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca/ krpa-sindhubhya eva ca/ patitanam pavanebhyo/ vaisnavebhyo namo namah. The Vaisnava, a devotee of Lord, his life is dedicated for the benefit of the people. You know, most of you belong to the Christian community, how Lord Jesus Christ he says that for your sinful activities he has sacrificed himself. That is the determination for the devotee of the Lord. They don’t care for personal comforts because they love Krsna or God. Therefore they love all living entities because all living entities are in relationship with Krsna.
So similarly, you should learn. This Krsna consciousness movement means to become Vaisnava and feel for the suffering humanity. But to feel for the suffering humanity, there are different angles of vision. Somebody is thinking of the suffering of the humanity from bodily conception of life. Somebody is trying to open hospital to give relief to the diseased condition. Somebody is trying to distribute foodstuff in poverty-stricken countries or places. These things are certainly very nice, but actual suffering of the humanity is due to lack of Krsna consciousness.
These bodily sufferings, they are temporary; neither they can be checked by the laws of nature. Suppose if you give some distribution of foodstuff in some poverty-stricken country, that does not mean that this helps make solution to the whole problem. The real beneficial work is to invoke every person to Krsna consciousness.
As soon as he comes to Krsna consciousness — the same example I have given several times — that a rich man’s son is loitering in the street forgetting his father’s opulence and property. And somebody, out of sympathy, is giving him some food. But other person comes to him and says, “Oh, my dear boy, I know you. You are the son of such-and-such rich man. Why you are loitering in the street? Come on, I shall take you to your father.” So, if that gentleman takes that loitering boy to his father, the father is glad and the boy inherits his father’s property, and his whole problem of life becomes solved. This is a crude example.
Similarly, all living entities are loitering within this universe in different bodies, in different planets, from time immemorial without knowing that he belongs to the kingdom of God. He is the direct son of Krsna or God. Krsna is the provider of everything, and he can enjoy his father’s property, and these problems of material conditioned life will be automatically solved. Just like if you become a rich man. If you can possess millions of dollars, then your poverty is automatically solved. Similarly, if you become Krsna conscious and if you act in that way, then all other problems in the material life — solved. So, this is such a nice movement. Aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. The Bhagavad-gita says, the Lord says, that peoples’ sufferings are due to sinful activities. Ignorance is the cause of sinful activity. Just like a man does not know. Suppose a foreigner like me comes in America and he does not know, because in your country the car is driven on the right side. In India, I’ve seen in London also, the car is driven from the left side. Suppose he does not know. He drives the car on the left side and incurs some accident, and he is taken by the police custody. And if he says, “Sir, I did not know that here the car is driven from the right side,” that does not make him excused. The law will punish him.
So, ignorance is the cause of breaking the law of sinful activities. And as soon as you commit some sinful activity, you have to suffer the result. So, the whole world is in ignorance, and due to ignorance, he is implicated in so many actions and reactions, either good or bad. There is nothing good within this material world. Everything is bad. So, we have manufactured something good and something bad here, because in the Bhagavad-gita we understand this place is duhkhalayam asasvatam. This place is one of misery. So in miserable condition, how you can say that this is good or this is bad? Everything is bad. But those persons who do not know the material condition of life, they manufacture something — this is good, this is bad, because they do not know everything here is bad, nothing good.
One should be very much pessimistic of this material world; then he can make advancement in spiritual life. Duhkhalayam asasvatam. This place is full of miseries, and if you study analytically, you’ll find simply miserable condition. Therefore, the whole problem is that we should give up the material condition of life, and in Krsna consciousness, we should try to elevate ourselves to the spiritual platform and thereby be promoted to the kingdom of Godhead — yam prapya na nivartante/ tad dhama paramam mama — where going, nobody comes back to this material world. And that is the supreme abode of the Lord.
So, there is a description in the Bhagavad-gita… So this Krsna consciousness movement is authorized, very important. Now, you American boys and girls who have taken to this movement, please take it more seriously. That is the mission of Lord Caitanya and my guru maharaja and we are also trying to execute the will by disciplic succession. You have come forward to help me. I shall request you all that I shall go away; but you shall live. Don’t give up pushing on this movement, and you will be blessed by Lord Caitanya and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada.
Thank you very much.
[END OF LECTURE]
Original posting: THE PRABHUPADA CONNECTION: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s Disappearance