All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga
All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Sri Bhakti Sundar Divya-vani
Sri Bhakti Sundar Divya-vani

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj's
Divine Message of Devotional Love and Beauty

Sri Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, 1996.05.09., Soquel

Issue Number II

The Name of Our Asram

Compiled from a lecture given on the evening of May 9th, 1996, in the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram in Soquel, California in which Srila Govinda Maharaj explains the meaning of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram's name.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram ki jaya!

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
chaksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

vanchha-kalpatarubhyas' cha
krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
patitanam pavanebhyo
vaisnavebhyo namo namah

By the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj and Mahaprabhu we have already passed a few days here with Krsna-sankirttan in the association of the devotees. Through this we have received what we need for our life. Our practicing life is very simple. Our asram's name is also very simple and simply identified-Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram. You know of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He appeared from Goloka Vrndavan as the non-different form of Sri-Sri Radha-Govinda. Why? Srila Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami has explained this and he has quoted some slokas of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu and Srila Svarup Damodar.

radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 1.5)

When the Sweet Absolute wants to taste His own super-sweetness, His own loving mood and the supreme loving expanses expanded from Goloka Vrndavan, He manifests in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the only way Krsna can taste Himself fully because Srimati Radharani alone has the highest mood of devotion and without Her mood He cannot taste Himself fully. So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Pastimes come as the next edition of Radha-Krsna's eternal Pastimes.

astavimsa chatur-yuge dvaparera sese
vrajera sahite haya krsnera prakase
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 3.10)

"At the end of the dvapar-yuga in the twenty-eighth millennium of Vaivasvata Manu Svayam-Bhagavan Sri Krsna appears with His eternal abode of Vrndavan."

isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
(Sri Brahma-samhita 5.1)

"Krsna is the origin of all, everything transcendental and mundane. He is the cause of all causes and He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." That Krsna appeared in this material world and showed His Pastimes to us and then again withdrew with His paraphernalia, abode, etc., to His transcendental abode. After the appearance of Krsna the time came for the kali-yuga-avatar, the incarnation to distribute the dharmma of the age of Kali - Hari-nam-sankirttan, congregational chanting of the holy Name of the Lord. At that time the Lord appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. But inside of Mahaprabhu there are two forms. One form is the yuga-avatar and the other is Krsna Himself. Krsna wanted to taste His own beauty, His own love, His everything. He Himself took the mood and color of Srimati Radharani and appeared in the form of Mahaprabhu as He merged into His yuga-avatar form. This was hinted to by Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami when he quoted this sloka,

radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 1.5)

"Krsna Himself took the mood and color of Radharani and appeared in the form of Gauranga Mahaprabhu."

That Gauranga Mahaprabhu is more merciful than Krsna! Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself appearing in the form of a bhakta, His devotee. A devotee's nature is to distribute Krsna. And when Krsna Himself is a devotee, then it is in such a merciful mood the He comes to bestow mercy upon the conditioned souls. In this way Kaviraj Goswami expressed that when Krsna wants to give Himself He appears in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The jiva-souls are so fortunate because they are receiving this special form of mercy in a very wide way. Otherwise it is very rare to get a connection with the abode of Krsna where He is playing with the gopis. Krsna has varieties of forms. We can see them everywhere: yuga-avataras, lila-avataras, manvantara-avataras, saktyavesa-avataras. Krsna so many forms. But to get a connection with Krsna in His original form, the ever-playful Sweet Absolute, where He is enjoying with the gopis, is very rare. But when Krsna wants to give Himself, then there is no question whether He can bestow His mercy.

Sometimes we see that when the government of a country changes or some very respectable persons come to a country, prisoners are given relief, sometimes thousands of prisoners are released. Like that, when Krsna Himself comes, there is no question whether He can bestow His mercy. He can give Himself and there can be no opposition to that by any law. So Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev is the supreme giver of His own Self.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted His flow of mercy to continue in this world after His presence here. By His grace we have the sad-goswamis and other Vaisnava Acharyyas representing His line and through them His mercy is continuing to flow. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself taught Srila Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami in Kasi Dham and Prayag. The Rupa-siksa and Sanatan-siksa are very famous chapters in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta. Mahaprabhu gave all His instructions on bhakti-yoga, ananya-bhakti (exclusive devotion), to Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami. Later, Mahaprabhu personally told all His devotees, "I have given everything to Rupa Goswami." In this way He identified Srila Rupa Goswami as His successor. So there is no question whether there is a continuation of the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Our asram, this asram, is following Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami. So the asram's name is very appropriate, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram. We are eager to serve the representatives of the preceptorial line of Srila Rupa Goswami who are headed by our Guru Maharaj. And we are also eager to serve those who are connected with Srila Guru Maharaj, may they be his god-brother or his disciple or his disciple's disciple. We are all the Saraswatas, the followers of Srila Saraswati Thakur. Srila Saraswati Thakur is our Guru Maharaj's guru, and also the guru of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. That is our main identification.

And who is Srila Saraswati Thakur? He is the rectifier of whole sampradaya of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Saraswati Thakur appeared at a time when varieties of apasampradayas (deviant sects) polluted Mahaprabhu's conception. We know he is a parsad (eternal associate) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He rectified everything and again established the pure conception of Krsna consciousness given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He tried to make his mission worldwide and by his grace we have our gurus, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. Now by their grace people all over the world are connected with the line of Srila Rupa Goswami. We are servitors of their mission.

'Asram', 'Math', 'Mission', all these words have different meanings. 'Math', means, mathanti vasanti chhatra yatra matha, "Where religious students are living, that is a math." And 'Asram', "Where service is going on continually for the Supreme Lord, that is an asram." In an asram anyone can live and engage in service. Our vision and intention is that everyone can live and serve here in Soquel. Anyone who wants to serve will have a space to live and be provided with all accommodations. And our mission here is growing day by day very happily and that happiness is not for only me, it is for everyone. Anyone who tries to understand our missionary work, our line of service, if they are a real searcher, if they are faithful and sincere, they will easily understand everything, what Krsna consciousness is and what the service of Krsna is. It is for the benefit of those sincere seekers that our asram is manifested here.

We are all servitors, from top to bottom. Our intention is to exclusively serve Sri-Sri Guru-Gauranga and we are so happy that day by day our mission is growing happily. Actually we are not so big, our numbers in this world are very small. But we have no shyness or unhappiness about this because we know Krsna consciousness is a very rare thing. In the Scripture it is said,

muktanam api siddhanam
su-durlabhah prasantatma
kotisv api maha-mune
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 6.14.5, Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 19.150, Madhya-lila, 25.83)

"If you search amidst millions of mukta-purusas, liberated souls, and siddha-purusas, mystically empowered souls, very rarely will you find a few devotees of the Supreme Lord." Many times Srila Guru Maharaj gave us this conscious reminder. He also reminded us that we need quality not quantity, that we should make our own selves devotees. We are always living within an examination hall and from top to bottom we will be examined by Sri Guru-Vaisnava. But we will not be hopeless in any way. "If ten persons will get a promotion, my name must be there. If one person gets a promotion, I must also be there." In this mood we shall try to offer ourselves for the service of Krsna. No doubt it is very rare to get this mood, but I am surprised to see that most of our devotees here are fully dedicated to Krsna. Not only are they dedicated, but they are overly dedicated sometimes. They have this type of mood of devotion and we are fortunate to have their association here.

There is no doubt that we are fortunate to associate with these types of devotees. This world is full of illusion. If somewhere within this illusory environment we will see the light of a perfect connection with Krsna, we must be happy. We must think that we will attain our goal happily and we must proceed on to our destination. The light shows us, "Yes, we are in the proper line." This type of service connection has been given by our Guru Maharaj and in his name we are trying to make this institution. Still it is under construction no doubt, but day by day it will develop and a very happy form will come.

I must confess that I have hundreds of friends here and they are all dedicated to Krsna. Some have a little fault, some have a little more fault and that is natural. But they are dedicated.

jata-sraddho mat-kathasu
nirvinnah sarva-karmasu
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.20.27-28)

They are sraddhalur evam sampattivan, faithful and wealthy, rich in Krsna consciousness. Actually they left their own habits and happiness for the service of Krsna. Yesterday I heard one lecture of Srila Swami Maharaj. He was giving a lecture in Bengali, he said, "You try to see these people who have come from the Western world. For me they have left so many things. They left intoxication. Normally they are taking intoxication. It is natural in their country. They left drinking, meat-eating, illicit sex, gambling; they left all these habits. With that sort of material enjoyment they were living in their own country but they left everything for me. Then how dedicated are they? And how much can you expect from them? Whereas in the Indian section, who has done this for their guru? Is there someone present here who can show that they have left everything for their guru? So the Westerners are exemplary! They are showing their devotion. How much more you can expect from them? I have allowed some relaxation in their lifestyle and I think it is appropriate for them." In this way Srila Swami Maharaj gave support to the Westerners and Srila Guru Maharaj was happy. But the word 'happy' is not sufficient. Srila Guru Maharaj very highly appreciated the missionary activity of Srila Swami Maharaj.

When Guru Maharaj's Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, wanted to make a student home in London there was a conference and Srila Guru Maharaj was present during that consultation. Srila Saraswati Thakur said, "So many students are coming to England to study. We will make one student home there and we will give free shelter to the students. From there we can collect good souls and in the future we will get them as our students even though they will read and study mundane things, such as engineering and law. They will stay with us, they will see us, and then some of them will get our religion. If it is necessary, we will not disturb them so much, and if necessary, we can serve them their own food from a hotel." Srila Guru Maharaj objected, "It will bring a very bad name to our mission if we serve them this sort of food." But Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur said, "I decided this a thousand births before. Vaikuntha-vrtti hote habe, for the service of Krsna we must be ready to do anything. We know they are suffering from Maya. Birth after birth they are here suffering. They are all our friends, all our brothers. So we must help them in this way." When Srila Saraswati Thakur used this phrase, vaikuntha-vrtti hote habe, Guru Maharaj said, "I now have the clear idea that for the service of Krsna we must do everything. That is the vision of Srila Saraswati Thakur." In this way Srila Saraswati Thakur inspired his disciples and now his mission has spread in the world in a very big form and we are happy that we are a part of the institution of Srila Saraswati Thakur.

Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur bestowed his mercy upon whole world and now in the Western world they are dancing, chanting his name, and glorifying his divine grace. And how happy are Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj! I must take the name of Srila Swami Maharaj because there is no other way to conceive of things. We are all so surprised that everything has happened within only a few years. Srila Saraswati Thakur disappeared in 1937 and after that there were a few years of unrest. Then Srila Swami Maharaj started in 1965 and within 10 years people all over the world understood Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, the Hare Krsna Mahamantra and became cultured in Vaisnavism more so than Indians.

I have witnessed one Western lady devotee worshipping Tulasi-devi everyday. Tulasi was living with her in a clay pot and somehow she fell down and broke. Tulasi was hit and maybe injured. That lady devotee was crying and crying for her Tulasi-devi. She did not take prasadam for the whole day and she gave so much nourishment her Tulasi. In this way she served her Tulasi. We cannot easily see this type of affection for Tulasi-devi within the Indian section. Many times I have seen her affection and it is unbelievable. I can also say, one of our devotees, Daru Brahma Didi, in Govarddhan, I saw that she was very scrutinizingly looking at some ornaments being made for her Deity and she found some fault in them and she began crying. "I am leaving tomorrow, how will I get this ornament for my Deity? This ornament in not appropriate for my Deity." She was crying. And money is not a question for her. I saw how much affection she had for her Deity. It was unbelievable. Seeing her crying, I thought, "Krsna has not given that type of love to me. So how much love does she have for Krsna!" I was surprised by her.

When the question came to me, "Can ladies serve the Deity when necessary," I immediately replied, "Yes. They are not ladies actually. They have a lady form but they are devotees. One who is devoted does not have a caste or any mundane form or qualities. We must be conscious about our mood of devotion. The rules and regulations are for us (the Indians), not for them (the Westerners)." This type of feeling came to me and I have also seen that in Srila Swami Maharaj's mission many ladies are serving the Deities. That is difficult in India but in the West it is not difficult.

It is the very good fortune of the Westerners that they have not heard so many things. They were in a relaxed mood enjoying mundane life in several ways. They did not know about God or anything. Sometimes they were Christian, sometimes they would go to church and pray to God, "Thanks!" And then go back to their house. For formality they would go to Church well dressed, sometimes search for some man or search for some woman, give thanks to God, and go back to their home. But the type of mood of devotion I have seen in the devotees here one will not get easily. But they have got it. And why have they got it? Behind them is good sukrti (spiritual fortune), they have not made offenses to their Lord, Krsna. They have not had the chance to make offenses to Krsna or offenses to the devotees because they have not heard the Name of Krsna before and they have not had association with devotees before. But suddenly they have seen open before them one big jewel treasury that anyone can enter who is sincere and who has hankering and love for the jewelry. One must be chaste and faithful, and then he will attain that wealth with no problems. The Westerners left many things and their mundane enjoyment. If you see this, you will feel it.

In our the asram gardens there are many tents. At night it is very cold. The devotees made a very nice room for me here but they are all staying outside. It is very good, there are maybe thirty or forty tents and they are sleeping there happily. Just now I asked Jagannath-Vallabha Prabhu, "Where is your tent?" He showed me, "This is my tent." I said, "You are not feeling cold at night?" He said, "Yes, at night I am feeling cold but I am happy to stay here. I have a good wrapper and with that I am living here. I have no problem." And I have heard about his very luxurious flat in New York. There he is sleeping, living, dancing, and enjoying with the devotees in a princely style. But here he is living very happily like a poor man. I have eye-witnessed this. I asked him about this and he said, "Yes, Maharaj, I am very happy." I did not tell him anything then but I am surprised how much devotion he has. With this mood the devotees are feeling happiness and a fortunate soul will fortunately get this type of devotees' association here. In this way I must say I am very fortunate that I have so many friends here by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj. What more can I say?

Jaya Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!
Jaya Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj ki jaya!
Jaya Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvva Govinda-sundarjiu ki jaya!
Samaveta Vaisnava Mandala ki jaya!
Samaveta Bhakta Vrnda ki jaya!
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Asram ki jaya!

Pusta Krsna Prabhu: One thing though Srila Govinda Maharaj, the feelings that you see in the devotees, they are emanating from you. That is the truth. Without your association the glow coming from your heart cannot reflect off of our hearts. We have no heart other than what you've given us.

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Hare Krsna. That feeling has also given me light and with that we will try to serve Sri-Sri Guru-Gauranga more and more. Just now I was saying upstairs, "How much have we given for the service of Krsna? We cannot claim we have love for Krsna." What did Mahaprabhu Himself say?

na prema-gandho 'sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
vamsi-vilasy-anana-lokanam vina
bibharmi yat prana-patangakan vrtha
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 2.45)

"Really I have no devotion for Krsna or love for Krsna. If I did have love for Krsna then how could I be alive? I am living without Krsna, so how then can I say I have love for Krsna?" This is the mood of the devotee. So how much are we serving Krsna? It is actually necessary to give more and more attention to our service. Service has no end and service gives us more service. That is nature of service. We know how true this is. We have this beautiful land. It was our land before but we did not know that and now we have entered this land and we are thinking about expanding it. So our service has no end. Krsna has given us this opportunity and it is so nice no doubt. So it is only necessary to our attention to service. That is for everyone. Then we will be rich in Krsna consciousness. The business of bhakti-yoga has no loss.

na hi kalyana-krt kaschid
durgatim tata gachchhati
(Srimad Bhagavad-Gita 6.40)

Whoever practices Krsna consciousness will never lose anything and he will never go back in any way. Even if he dies suddenly, he will start his practicing life again from a higher position. We will get this sort of opportunity only in bhakti-yoga. Hare Krsna. Now we can sing a little. I'll finish here.

Hare Krishna  Hare Krishna  Krishna Krishna  Hare Hare  Hare Rama  Hare Rama  Rama Rama  Hare Hare