All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Celebrating the Sri Vyasa Puja
of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Ashram, Soquel, California
December 28, 2004
By Vrndavanesvari Dasi
There was magic in the air on Srila Gurudev's auspicious Vyasa Puja celebration at the Soquel Seva Ashram. Evergreen boughs hung from the ceiling and adorned the walls. Elaborate flower arrangements featured saffron-colored roses, and a canopy of carnations hung above the Vyasasan. Diksavati Didi and Vaishnavi Didi, assisted by several devotees, put their love and energy into decorating the temple for this festive occasion.
Their Lordships, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari, presided over the program in a dazzling new outfit created by Swarnangii Didi and her assistants. While I do not have the eyes to properly see Their splendor, I was awed by the elegance of Their attire: a white, yellow and gold combination accented with sparkling jewels. The Deities were also wearing garlands made with Hawaiian plumerias (courtesy of Sunanda Didi).
At least 200 devotees were present to honor the Appearance Day of our beloved Gurudev. As Devamayi Didi commented, all of the servitors of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math are Srila Govinda Maharaj's “living glories." More so than any building or property, she said, they represent his opulence.
For about three hours, many sannyasis and devotees spoke about Srila Gurudev's remarkable qualities, achievements, and dedication to his Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Sripad Giri Maharaj said this day could also be called Sri Rupa Puja because the Rupanuga Sampradaya is present within the divine grace of Srila Govinda Maharaj. “He is distributing mercy to the sincere seekers from Srila Guru Maharaj's storehouse," Sripad Giri Maharaj continued. “We serve the conception that he has maintained."
Sripad Ashram Maharaj also extolled the glories of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. He explained that Srila Gurudev is laying the foundations for the future care of his Mission. Through his devotion, he has gone to practically every part of the world with Srila Guru Maharaj's banner. Now the flag of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is on every continent.
“He's been around the world twenty-one times; nothing can keep him down," Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj said. “He will never stop because he has the nature of a real fighter on the front lines. He's prepared to die in the saddle. We are very fortunate to be in his army."
Devamayi Didi praised the affection that Srila Gurudev sheds on his disciples, particularly among the ladies. “He is not afraid to break any tradition to give honor to the lady devotees," she said. “He sees every soul as a devotee of Krishna and does not see whether our bodies are male or female, black, white or brown."
Mathuranath Prabhu also continued in this line. He said that Srila Gurudev has compassionately engaged us in his service retinue, and the ladies receive so much affection because they are “experts at detecting service necessity."
He recited one verse, which summarized in English means: people think it is a good day when is it sunny and warm, and a bad day when it is cloudy and rainy (the weather was quite wet on this December day). But actually we can tell a good day by whether or not we get Hari-katha.
This verse perfectly indicated the special appearance that happened in the middle of the program. Srila Gurudev had been feeling ill that morning and many thought he wouldn't be able to attend his birthday celebration. But he delighted us all when he came down from his house to speak briefly and sweetly to the assembled devotees.
“By the grace of Lord Krishna I am present here, where you are all celebrating my birthday," he said. “I am also worshipping my Gurudev."
In regards to his illness at that time, he explained how birth, death, old age, and disease are always with everyone and cannot be avoided. Then he smiled and continued, “I am giving association and taking association of the devotees, and I am aspiring for their merciful affection."
Srila Gurudev also mentioned the flourishing mission and how the sun never sets on Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. “Who has the capacity to give Krishna, then they can give. I have no capacity, but if Krishna wants to bestow Himself on all the sincere seekers, no one can control that," he said.
Then he slowly recited words of the bhajan beginning with “Emona durmmati." He returned to his quarters after about five minutes in the temple room, but left us all with the most fortunate benediction. “Sri Krishna is distributing mercy to all the conditioned souls, and you are one of them," he told us. “Everything I have I am giving to you all."
Afterwards, Pusta Krishna Prabhu (also a prominent medical doctor who is attending to Srila Gurudev) assured us that he would get better soon. Pusta Krishna Prabhu's wife, Daru Brahma Didi, gave a moving talk about the necessity to serve Srila Govinda Maharaj while he is on the planet. “Don't waste your time on unimportant things. I beg of you," she said with tears in her eyes, “realize how blessed you are to come into contact with him."
Sripad Goswami Maharaj ended the program on a warming note, saying that Srila Govinda Maharaj has filled our hearts with supernatural joy. The consistent thread in his teachings is love and affection, for he is the “textbook example of causeless mercy."
Following the discussion, devotees chanted and offered flowers in honor of Srila Gurudev. Behind the scenes, many dedicated servitors were busy making this grand festival possible. Sanatani Didi and Suresvari Didi led a team in the kitchen preparing an opulent feast. Hasyapriya Prabhu set up a tent in the backyard, which was strewn with hay to keep our feet dry and equipped with a powerful heater to keep our bodies warm. Certainly there are many people that I did not mention here, so I beg of you all to please forgive any offenses in this article.
Jai Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!