On 3rd of March we arrived in Kolkata from Kuala Lumpur. On the flight we met with our devotees Lalita Krsna prabhu from Australia and Krsna Kana prabhu from Bali. It was a pleasant surprise to see these devotees in the airplane and speak with them about their spiritual impressions and their plans to participate in Sri Navadvip Mandal Parikram.
Sripad Purandar prabhu picked us up from the airport and brought us to our devotee – Kanaya prabhu – home nearby. I was amazed at the standard of their devotion. Mother Radharani dasi, father Gaurahari prabhu, son Kanaya prabhu, and servant were engaged in serving their Thakurji with utmost care and affection throughout the day. They looked after us with similar affection and care.
We left for Navadvip on March 5th morning. On the way we stopped in Devapalli and offered prayers to Lord Narasimhadeva, sincerely petitioning for protection and removal of any obstacles in our bhajana and for the upcoming parikram.
Shortly after this we arrived in Sri Kesavji Gaudiya Math, situated in Haritala, Koladvipa, just on the outskirts of Sri Navadvip town. We were received by many happy devotees. At once we proceeded to Srila Gurudeva’s Samadhi Sthali and offered our dandavats pranams. After this we settled into our rooms nearby Srila Gurudeva’s Bhajan Kutir.
On 6th morning, after mangala arotika, we went for morning walk, first to Devananda Gaudiya Math and next to Panchaveni. We paid our respectful dandavats pranams to Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja in their respective Samadhi Sthalis; we offered prayers to both of them and prayed for their blessings. Next we visited Pujyapada Bhaktivedanta Madhusudana Maharaja. This great Vaisnava is Srila Gurudeva’s god brother and is most dear to Srila Gurudeva; he is always full of transcendental affection for our devotees. He is the uncle of our Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja. He became very pleased to see us and profusely blessed Sripad Madhava Maharaja and ourselves. Arriving in Panchaveni we did achamana and offered prayers to Yamuna Devi and Ganga Devi. We remembered how we used to come here with Srila Gurudeva. On the next morning we visited the Samadhi Sthali of Param Pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja; we prayed for his causeless mercy to bestow unalloyed bhakti within our hearts and protect us from the powerful influence of the material world.
During the day we made preparations for the parikram and met with the devotees in our Math. In the evening Sripad Madhava Maharaja lectured from Sri Navadvip Dhama Mahatmya about the glories of Sri Navadvip and Sri Navadvip Mandal parikram. On 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th we followed the same schedule. Some days we visited local devotees and performed a small program in their homes.
On 12th afternoon a meeting was held by the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti Trust executive members. This is the legal entity that looks after many of the preaching responsibilities in India. The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti Trust was established in 2000 and came with us after Srila Gurudeva left Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti 2004. The responsibilities of GVST are to look after and train – according to the principles of pure bhakti – the devotees that reside in most of the established Maths in India, to assist in publishing books in Hindi and Bengali, to organize yearly parikrams in Vraja Mandal and Navadvip, to support their preachers all over India and the rest of the world in their efforts to speak powerful Harikatha. GVST is an important Seva Team within the International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society.
Its members are the most senior followers of Srila Gurudeva:
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Parivrajak Maharaja – joined 1970
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaja – joined in 1974
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Janardan Maharaja – joined 1976
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja – joined 1979
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja – joined in 1981
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Harijana Maharaja – joined in 1983
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bharati Maharaja – joined in 1983
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Govinda Maharaja – joined in 1984
- Sripad Bhaktivedanta Sridhara Maharaja – joined in 1984
- Sripad Purandar Prabhu – joined in 1984
- Srimati Umarani didi – joined in 1984
All the above members, except for Sripad Sridhara Maharaja and Srimati Umarani didi, are the Trustees of GVST. Observing their service record we are very happy and feel fortunate to have such illustrious spiritual guardians. These devotees have received personal training from Srila Gurudeva and Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and rendered intimate services to both of them over many, many years.
Up till now Srila Gurudeva was the President of GVST. In the meeting Sripad Madhava Maharaja was approved unanimously to be the new President, and with the same unanimous approval Sripad Tirtha Maharaja was selected to be the new Vice President.
After this proposals were discussed for the responsibilities for the upcoming parikram and for future parikrams, for initiating new devotees, for looking after the existing devotees in the different Maths, and for book publishing.
After receiving this news, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas in Navadvip, in Vrndavan and in Jagannath Puri, they all became very pleased and expressed their happiness by discussing with each other the outcome of this meeting. They were relieved that this was accomplished with harmony of all members and without any difficulties.
On 13th morning the many pilgrims and devotees started for parikram. You may read the report about the parikram and the successful meetings that took place after by clicking on the following web links:
During the day that we visited Antardvipa Sri Mayapur, Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Tirtha Maharaja received profuse blessings and Vaisnava Krpa from Srila Bhakti Vallabha Tirtha Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja and Srila Bhaktiprajnana Yati Maharaja. One afternoon Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja visited our Math and gave darshan to all assembled Vaisnavas. He is a very kind and compassionate well-wisher of our devotees.
On the 23rd morning, we left by car for Ekachakra with a small party. We were very fortunate to have Sripad Premananda Prabhu with us. Under his guidance we visited all the Holy Pastime Places in Ekachakra, in Katwa, in Srikhanda and along the way. It was a most wonderful day which made a deep impression in my heart. It was the first time that Sripad Madhava Maharaja and myself were visiting these sacred places for during Srila Gurudeva’s physical presence we were not able to move about so easily.
After the parikram we resumed our morning walk routine until the 29th of March. In the evenings Sripad Madhava Maharaja would give class on Sri Caitanya Bhagavat. During the day we reflected upon the plans for Srila Gurudeva’s Samadhi and finalized all accounts.
On 29th morning we left for Kolkata where we stayed with our dear devotees, the Gautama family. They have rendered a lot of seva to Srila Gurudeva. Whenever we would visit Kolkata and Navadvip, their car and their home was at our disposal. With much affection they looked after us.
On 30th morning we arrived in New Delhi and stayed with Mr Somnath prabhu and his good wife. They arranged for our pick up from the airport in Srila Gurudeva’s car. They are also very, very dear to Srila Gurudeva and to us, always ready to render any seva. Srila Gurudeva used to stay in their home whenever he visited Delhi. Their whole family is so much devoted to Srila Gurudeva’s mission.
In Delhi Math Sripad Madhava Maharaja shared for 2 evenings with a large audience the glories of Srila Gurudeva. All became very inspired and some aspiring devotees received Harinama and Diksa on the morning of the 31st of March.
On 1st of April, in the afternoon, we left for Sri Kesavji Gaudiya Math in Mathura. After an emotional arrival – all devotees welcomed us with kirtan, flower petals, garlands and we and them remembered how we used to arrive with Srila Gurudeva – we settled and prepared for evening class. Again Maharaja spoke about his favorite topic, the glories of Srila Gurudeva. After class Sripad Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaja and his party arrived. With loud kirtan and happy faces he was welcomed by the Math Vasis. Some naughty boys threw colors on both Madhava and Tirtha Maharajas to increase the happiness. It sure created an extra smile and a lot of running around, trying to escape the color throwing.
Over the next few days, Sripad Premananda Prabhu, Sripad Tirtha Maharaja and Sripad Madhava Maharaja spent time discussing all that had happened during the last few months and their new responsibilities. They expressed how to please Srila Gurudeva by serving his mission and maintain harmony amongst each other. They promised that they will remain in contact always and will give extra attention to book publishing, and to be physically present in India for big festivals and parikram.
The 3 of them are extraordinary in many ways:
Sripad Madhava Maharaja is expert in all services, especially his intimate service to Srila Gurudeva. Often times Srila Gurudeva mentioned that he is purchased by Madhava Maharaja and if it was not for this he would have left long, long ago. Only because of the astonishing service that Madhava Maharaja rendered was Srila Gurudeva able to accomplish everything that he desired. Moreover, Sripad Madhava Maharaja is always concerned for the spiritual welfare of all.
Sripad Tirtha Maharaja is an unbelievable example of service. Non-stop he speaks Harikatha, leads Parikram, cooks big feasts, translates authentic scriptures and avails himself to any and all devotees that approach him. Always happy and dedicated to inspire others to make progress on the path of pure bhakti.
Sripad Premananda Prabhu is like the mother of all the devotees that somehow have come in contact with him. He nourishes all with transcendental affection, with beautiful Harikatha, with Parikram and with sumptuous Mahaprasadam. He is a reservoir of Pure Bhakti. Wherever he is it is a transcendental festival.
Srila Gurudeva often mentioned that if these 3 stalwart devotees will be in harmony with each other, we can conquer the whole world. Let us all try our level best and offer our assistance to make this most auspicious desire of Srila Gurudeva happen.
Sripad Tirtha Maharaja gave a wonderful class on the 2nd April in the evening on the first sloka of Srimad Bhagavatam. On 3rd and 4th April Sripad Madhava Maharaja spoke on the glories of Srila Gurudeva.
On 5th of April we left for Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Math in Govardhan. Here Sripad Madhava Maharaja was welcomed with kirtan and flower garlands by the resident Math Vasis. All became very pleased to see us. During the day Maharaja is editing and writing the second volume of Srila Gurudeva’s Biography and in the morning he is giving class from Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Upadesamrta. On 6th and on 9th we performed parikram of Sri Giriraja under the guidance of Sripad Madhava Maharaja.
Today we are observing Sri Rama Navami in Mathura amidst a very happy crowd of hundreds of local devotees. Harikatha and kirtan are going in most festive mood.
Very soon we will be leaving on our preaching tour. The schedule is as follows:
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We look forward to meet with you again, either in one of the places that we visit, or in India for Sri Vraja Mandal parikram.
Aspiring for the seva of Sri Guru and Vaisnavas