All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
By the devotees of Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, Mathura
Our humble obeisances to our respected readers.
For the pleasure of our beloved Srila Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, we humbly publish this web report on the observance of Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance day this year in Sri Navadvipa-dhama. May this be accepted by our revered Vaisnava family members all over the world as an expression of our desire to receive their causeless affection and blessings to continue to serve Srila Gurudeva and inspire others to do the same.
On January 3, 2013, just three nights before Srila Gurudeva’s Tirobhava-tithi, our group of about seventy devotees, under the guidance of Sripad Premananda Prabhu, started our journey by train from Sri Vrindavan-dhama to Sri Navadvipa-dhama. About sixty Chinese devotees had already left for Navadvipa on December 31.
Not even the prospect of a freezing overnight train journey in thick fog could check the intense desire of the devotees to present themselves before Srila Gurudeva’s Samadhi-mandira for his viraha-tithi. It was as if some unseen force was pulling them there.
Due to the thick fog, all trains in the region were delayed; ours was more than ten hours late. Taking advantage of the situation, a few devotees headed by Taruna-krsna Prabhu began to distribute books in the train and sometimes, during long stops, on the platform. The devotees’ mood was to distribute Srila Gurudeva’s gifts — his transcendental literatures — knowing that in separation, giving his teachings is the greatest service.
The blissful kirtana led by Vraja-mohana Prabhu delighted our fellow passengers. After more than thirty hours on the train, we arrived in Kolkata and proceeded to Navadvipa, finally arriving at Sri Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math just after sunrise on 5 January.
That day, devotees were busy from the time of our arrival till late at night, preparing the venue of the next day’s auspicious event. They nicely decorated Srila Gurudeva’s samadhi-mandira and bhajana-kutira, as well as the main temple hall, with colourful flowers, and they laid more bricks on the pandala grounds in front of samadhi-mandira.
On January 6, 2013, while remembering the most auspicious time of Srila Gurudeva’s entrance into the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, our devotees headed by Sripad Premananda Prabhu, assembled in front of Srila Gurudeva’s samadhi at 3:00 a.m. and began singing songs and prayers of deep separation moods from Sri Guru, as composed by Srila Narrotam dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other Vaisnava acaryas. Then, at 4:30 a.m. Sri Guruvastakam was sung at the samadhi-mandira, followed by Mangalarati in the main temple hall.
Srila Gurudeva’s disappearance day is also the appearance day of his dear godbrother nitya lila pravistha om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. So by around 7:30 a.m. the vyasapuja for Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja began with kirtana. Sripad B.V. Parivrajaka Maharaja, Sripad B.V. Madhava Maharaja, Sripad B.V. Bharati Maharaja, Sripad B.V. Nemi Maharaja, along with other sannyasis, performed gurupuja arati and the puspanjali ceremony to our guru-varga altar, which was installed within the pandala in front of Srila Gurudeva’s samadhi-mandira.
After this, on behalf of the Hindi and Oriya GVP, Sripad B.V. Madhava Maharaja, offered to Srila Gurudeva in his samadhi-mandir and in his bhajan kutir the newly published second anniversary special Tirobhava edition of Sri Sri Bhagavata Patrika, Srila Gurudeva’s monthly Hindi magazine, and two books translated into Oriya from Hindi – Sri Ujjvala-nilamani-kiran and Sri Bhagavamrta-kana.
Another significant feature of this most auspicious day was the inauguration of the newly built altar of nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja Prabhupada on the temple’s left side pillar, under the deity of Sri Madhvacarya. And on the opposite pillar, underneath the deity of Sri Ramanujacarya, an altar of our most worshipful Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja was inaugurated. This inauguration was performed by senior vaisnavas headed by Sripad Premananda Prabhu in the main temple hall of Sri Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math. They then performed arati and did parikrama around the deities.
Back in the samadhi-mandir of Srila Gurudeva, worship of vyasapancaka was performed by Sripad B.V. Parivrajak Maharaja and Sripad B.V. Nemi Maharaja.
The rest of the assembled devotees performed kirtana, singing bhajanas in separation from Sri Guru. Devotees were tearful while singing these kirtanas silently weeping while remembering Srila Gurudeva. Their moods of separation was further swelled as they sang, to the tune of Nityanandastakam, Srila Narayana-gosvami Viraha-astakam, the beautiful heart-wrenching Sanskrit prayer in separation to Srila Gurudeva composed by Sripad Vansivadana Brahmacari. They also sang, to the tune of Nadiya-udgaya-giri (sung every Gaura-purnima at the appearance time of Mahaprabhu) the Viraha-socaka, a Bengali song written in remembrance of Srila Gurudeva’s pastimes, by Sripad Dvija-krsna Brahmacari.* During these two kirtanas, devotees were seen to be tearful, some sobbing and some bursting out in loud cries.
*These two kirtanas can be found in the Tirobhava Edition of Rays of The Harmonist (2011).
Devotees from Gaudiya Mathas all over Navadvipa, Mayapura, Godruma and other islands were invited to this festival. After the viraha-kirtanas, all assembled in the temple hall to listen to the many glorifications and remembrances of Srila Gurudeva, along with discourses about separation from guru and Vaisnavas, by the many wonderful speakers. In the midday assembly, the assembled invited Vaisnavas spoke mainly on viraha-tattva and its significance in the life of the aspiring devotee. And in the evening session the devotees of our sanga spoke about Srila Gurudeva’s glories and speciality of his teachings.
At the end of the midday assembly, Sripad Madhva Maharaja requested all of the assembled sannyasis and Vaisnavas to continue to bless us every year on this most auspicious occasion by making us hear about viraha-tattva and the glories of Srila Gurudeva.
Just as every year on Srila Rupa Gosvami’s disappearance day, Srila Gurudeva would take us to Srila Rupa Gosvami’s samadhi, and make us hear his glories, similarly, it is good if on the disappearance day of Srila Gurudeva, who is the best of rupanugas in present times, we make a point of assembling at his Samadhi, to worship and glorify him.
After the midday assembly was over, at around 1 pm, all again went to Srila Gurudeva’s samadhi-mandira to attend his arati. And then the noon arti in the temple hall.
After then remembering the pastimes of the passing of Srila Haridasa Thakura, when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself arranged for a prasadam feast in honour of his great devotee and gave blessings that whoever participated in that separation festival and took prasadam would attain prema-bhakti, the devotees, after bhoga-arati, became very eager to partake the sumptuous prasadam.
First, the senior Vaisnavas and guests from other mathas were served prasadam in the prasadam hall. They were then presented with warm clothes, some pranami (donation) and a copy of our beautiful Smaranika, a special Bengali magazine in glorification of Srila Gurudeva. Many many thanks to GVP sponsorship programme headed by respected Syamarani Mataji, Vasanti didi, Anita didi, and the kind hearted sponsors who facilitated, on this most auspicious occasion, this magnanimous distribution of the glories and message of Srila Gurudeva in the Vaisnava community.
Just as the prasadam hall was full, our temple grounds, also, were filled with devotees and local visitors eager to partake of prasadam, thus knowingly or unknowingly making themselves a recipient of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s gift of prema.
This festival was sweet, overwhelming and inspiring in the sense that through it, devotees felt more connected to Srila Gurudeva and to the speciality of his gifts, and more committed to serving his unprecedented mission.
Furthermore, on this occasion, some wonderfull
We would like to express our appreciation to all those whose selfless efforts made this day truly meaningful and memorable. May this day of Srila Gurudeva’s separation continue to touch and inspire us in our daily lives and therefore bring us closer to him and his family members. For this we remain forever grateful and indebted to all Vaisnavas whose association prompts sweet memories of him and the desire to one day be fully absorbed in his service.
Nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Gurudeva ki jaya!
Srila Gurudeva’s Gaudiya Vedanta Publications ki jaya!
Transcendental book distribution ki jaya!