All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
All Glories to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Celebrations with Srila Gurudev
March 12, 2005
Srila Gurudev's glorious stay
at the Soquel Seva Ashram came to a close last week. Nearly fifty
devotees saw him off with a tearful good-bye at the airport. They
chanted the Holy Name for an hour while many offered him daksina,
flowers and dandavat pranams. Despite the pangs of separation that
many of us are feeling, we can't help but dwell upon the amazing
times that we shared with our beloved Gurudev. Included here are
two summaries of devotional holidays that we celebrated with His
Prabhu's Appearance Day
By Vrindavanesvari Dasi
On this special occasion, a
small gathering of devotees had the great fortunate to receive darshan
from Srila Gurudev. After several weeks of rain in Soquel, the sun
had finally come out and was shining through Srila Gurudev's windows
that morning. He spoke with a very happy expression on his face
about Nityananda Prabhu. Here is a summary of what His Divine Grace
said that day:
Nityananda is the divine incarnation of Lord Balaram. He can go
anywhere, do anything, and He is highly respected. Even if He were
to walk down the street with a woman under one arm and holding wine
with the other, Lord Brahma would fall down at His feet if he saw
Him. This is because Mahaprabhu Himself praised Nityananda Prabhu.
He is avadhut. The Chaitanya Bhagavat can also be called the Nityananda
Bhagavat because of the extreme glorification that Vrindavan Das
Thakur gives to Him. In one Pastime, Abhiram Thakur told Nityananda
Prabhu that He was not Balaram, and Nityananda Prabhu responded,
"I will give you one slap." So to test Him, Abhiram Thakur
said Nityananda Prabhu would have to catch him by the time he ran
two and half steps forward. So he went, and just after the second
step, Lord Nityananda caught him. Srila Gurudev said this last line
with an animated gesture, reaching his arm forward as if to snatch
something from the air. Then he added that at this point, Abhiram
Thakur realized Nityananda Prabhu was the Lord of his life.
that morning, a program was held for Lord Nityananda. Puspanjali
Didi brightened the temple room with tropical flowers brought from
Hawaii. Devotees chanted many bhajans and heard from several sannyasis,
including Sripad Goswami Maharaj. In glorifying Nityananda Prabhu,
Maharaj spoke about His charming Pastimes:
a child, Nityananda Prabhu was always the coolest kid in the neighborhood.
He would use leaves and bamboo to make a figure of Kaliya. To reenact
Lord Krishna's Pastime, Nityananda Prabhu's friends would pass out
by the lake and He would revive them. Lord Nityananda would also
steal butter and yogurt from local households, but no one was upset
because they loved Him more than their own children.
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's
By Vaidehi Dasi
Around the world, devotees
celebrated Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's Appearance
Day by recollecting his teachings and offering their respects to
his magnanimous personality. On this auspicious day, the devotees
at the Soquel Seva Ashram had the special opportunity to hear Srila
Gurudev speak about the life of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati
His Divine Grace came down to the temple room in the morning. The
devotees gathered before his lotus feet as he recounted his Pastimes
with Srila Saraswati Thakur's greatest servant, Srila Bhakti Raksak
Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Through Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Govinda
Maharaj got to know how Srila Saraswati Thakur blessed the fallen
souls with his shelter and wisdom.
Srila Gurudev spoke beautifully about Srila Saraswati Thakur's life.
He mentioned the many ashrams that Saraswati Thakur established
in India. The Gaudiya Vaisnava leader had a strong desire to preach
in the West and at last, his disciple Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupad took the initiative to fulfill that desire.
Gurudev graced the devotees with his darshan for forty-five minutes,
ending with the bhajan "Sri-Dayita-pranati-panchakam."
After he returned to his quarters accompanied by Srutasrava Prabhu,
the program continued with Sripad Goswami Maharaj, Sripad Janardan
Maharaj, and Sripad Ashram Maharaj heading the discourses in honor
of Srila Saraswati Thakur.