On the Holy Occasion of Guru Puja

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

Srila B. B. Tirtha Maharaj spoke about himself with great humbleness and showing mercy on us:

Now I am going to tell you about my condition when I first took shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Gurudeva. I was staying with my brother-in-law who was an officer, and I used to go to Calcutta University for study. At my first meeting with Srila Gurudeva, I told him, "I have had indifference to the world for a long time. I feel that the world is not eternal and that one day, my mother, father, brother, sister, and all others will be gone. All will be over. I become sad by thinking like this and feel like renouncing the world. But I have lust and a desire to enjoy; therefore I am afraid of the thought of renouncing the world. If I somehow renounce the world but then have to return to it later, friends will make fun of me and people of this world will laugh at me. So now, please tell me, will it be good for me to renounce the material world or not?"

In reply, Srila Gurudeva explained to me with great affection, "All right, you may lack something, but the Supreme Lord does not lack anything. He is infinite; his mercy has no limit."

After that I told Srila Gurudeva, "Seeing my innocence, my father has more affection for me than for my brothers. He has raised me, educated me, and has many expectations of me. I now have a chance to earn money and serve him. Will I not incur sin if I leave him at this time?"

Srila Guru Maharaj then recited this sloka of Bhagavad Gita:

sarva dharman parityajya
mamekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarvapapebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

(BG 18.66)
He explained to me with great affection, "If you come here by giving up all of your responsibilities, Sri Krsna will free you from all sins. You need not worry about it or have any fear. I will further say that it will be a service to your father."

After hearing his advice I felt that Srila Gurudeva liked me. I further inquired, "How should I leave home? If I take my bedding, they will catch me."

Srila Gurudeva replied, "Yes, very good, don't come with your bedding. Bring only your clothes."

I went home, and was leaving with some clothes when my father asked me, "Where are you going with your clothes?" I replied, "I have one friend. We will be benefited by meeting him; that is why I am going to meet him." My father thought that I had a friend who I would get some material benefit from. He did not know that only the sadhu is the true friend. So he happily gave me his permission to leave. In this way, I came by running away from home.

After I had joined the Math, I saw that sannyasis perform Guru puja on the appearance day of their gurudeva. Therefore our Gurudeva also performed worship of Srila Prabhupada on his appearance day. On Utthana ekadasi also, Srila Gurudeva used to worship Srila Prabhupada, and then we would perform Srila Gurudeva's worship. Srila Gurudeva was a personal associate of the Supreme Lord. Prabhupada also was not an ordinary human being. He shook the whole world. Our Gurudeva was serving the Supreme Lord 24 hrs a day. He had a most ideal character. He even chastened a rascal like me. Do you know why Srila Gurudeva made me an acarya?

He thought, "He has so many faults. He cannot be rescued unless he serves the vaisnavas. If I make him acarya, he will have to take care of all the vaisnavas, he will have to serve the vaisnavas, and in this way he will be rescued." Thinking like this, Srila Gurudeva appointed me acarya. In our system, becoming President or Math-in-charge does not mean becoming the master of the organization. I was appointed acarya so that I may serve Gurudeva's dependents. I have become acarya; this does not mean that I have become a big person, a worshipable person, and everybody should serve me. Such thinking will open the door to hell.

Today is the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra. I wanted to speak about Him, but there is little time left. It will be difficult to speak more, but I will still speak about one of His pastimes. This happened after Lord Ramacandra had returned to Ayodhya from exile. With great honour, He was appointed as king. After becoming king, He gave a standing order to Laksmana to check if there was any hungry man at the door before taking meals.

One day Laksmana told Sri Ramacandra that He had just made a call to check, and nobody was hungry. Lord Ramacandra asked Him to go again and make a loud call to check if there was anyone remaining who was still hungry. Obeying the order of Lord Ramacandra, Laksmana went outside again and made a loud call. He did not see any men, but He saw a dog weeping there. Laksmana went back inside and told Lord Ramacandra that there was no one outside but a weeping dog. The Lord called for the dog. The Supreme Lord is the knower of all languages, so He asked the dog, "Why are you crying?"

The dog replied, "One brahmana has beaten me with a stick".

The Lord called for that brahmana and asked whether the dog was telling the truth. The brahmana replied, "Yes, this dog was sleeping on my path; that is why I beat him. These dogs sleep anywhere and everywhere; they should be beaten with a stick."

Lord Ramacandra understood that the brahmana was at fault, but what can you say to a brahmana? So, He asked the dog, "This brahmana beat you with a stick; now what do you want?"

The dog replied, "My Lord, let him become a math-in-charge."

On hearing the dog's reply, the Lord smiled and asked the dog, "This brahmana beat you with a stick and you want him to be appointed as a math-in-charge? He will get lots of service and many disciples by becoming a math-in-charge. What benefit will you get by this?"

Then the dog replied, "I was also a math-in-charge earlier. I did some wrong deed because of which I am now in the body of a dog and being beaten with sticks by everyone. If he becomes a math-in-charge, he will then become a dog and will be beaten with sticks. In this way his punishment will be complete." That is why there is a big risk in becoming a math-in-charge.

Srila Gurudeva's personality was completely unique. He used to execute even impossible tasks with the greatest of ease. The task of Srila Prabhupada's birth-place in Jagannatha Puri had been declared impossible by everybody, but he made it possible. Once, he went to the house of the Governor of Orissa for the work of Srila Prabhupada's birth-place. When we reached there, the Governor was leaving in his car. However, Srila Gurudeva's external appearance was so attractive that when the Governor saw Srila Gurudeva from a distance, he stopped his car. Srila Gurudeva was getting out of his car at that time. The Governor got out of his car, approached Srila Gurudeva, and offered his pranams. After talking for a while, he enquired about the reason for his coming.

Srila Gurudeva briefly told him about the birth-place of Srila Prabhupada. With great attention and faith, the Governor listened to Gurudeva and asked him to come inside. My point is that Srila Gurudeva was so attractive, even externally, that even an unknown person would become attracted by seeing him. I have all kinds of bad qualities in me. For my emancipation, Srila Gurudeva placed me in the midst of vaisnavas. Just so that if I start to fall, they will save me. Now everyone is sending me to the foreign countries. I think to myself, what is there in the foreign countries? I am not emancipated myself, how can I emancipate others? Here, there are Vrindavan dhama, Puri dhama, Ayodhya dhama, Mayapura dhama, and many other dhamas. Vaisnavas are all around to save me. Srila Gurudeva is not present, but it is the order of his elder godbrother that I should go abroad. Being very merciful towards me, he wrote me a letter in which he said that I must go to the foreign countries. If I disobey his order, I will be committing an offense. I asked him, "What will happen if I have a spiritual fall there? Falling down means, I will get thoughts other than that of the Supreme Lord. Then what?"

He replied, "Don't fear, that is our responsibility, you go." So now to follow the order of the vaisnavas, I am going abroad. It's getting very late now, some sankirtana should be performed.

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