Srila Kesava Maharaja Bestowed Boundless Mercy

By Devadatta Das

From "Srila Prabhupada's Letters from America to Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja", published by Gaudiya Vedanta Samhiti:

All Glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga

Seattle, Washington
October 22, 1968

I offer my humble prostrated obeisances at the lotus feet of all the Vaisnavas.

Sripada Trivikrama Maharaja,

Yesterday I received your letter dated October 12, and its contents were heart-breaking. Kindly inform me of the details of the sudden disappearance of Pujyapada Maharaja (Srila B.P., Kesava Maharaja). I had a very long-standing, intimate relationship with Srila Maharaja. When I used to visit Sridhara Mayapura, I was taken care of by Sripada Narahari Dada and Sripada Vinoda Dada with great affection. They were my extremely loving friends. Also in Calcutta, the senior Tirtha Maharaja, Professor Nisikanta Sannyal and Vasudeva Prabhu, were very dear to me. Afterwards I used to visit and associate freely with Sripada Sridhara Maharaja as if we were the closest of family members. Except for Sripada Sridhara Maharaja, all of the above-mentioned Vaisnavas have gradually disappeared. Our time is also approaching, so it will be best to have the opportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada as long as possible.

I have a very close connection with Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Yourself, and particularly Sripada Vamana Maharaja, are well aware of the fact that I am one of the three persons who founded Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. We had conceived the idea of the formation of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti at Bosapada Lane, Calcutta, even before Srila (Kesava) Maharaja accepted sannyasa. Within a few days of the formation of the Samiti, Sri Narottamananda Brahmacari (presently Tridandi Swami Sri Srimad Bhakti Kamala Madhusudana Maharaja) separated himself from the Samiti. At that time Sripada Vamana Maharaja, who was then a brahmacari, visited our home at Sitakanta Banarji Lane; He made me the chief editor of the Bengali magazine, Sri Gaudiya Patrika.

Respecting the order of Srila (Kesava) Maharaja, I started writing articles for the Gaudiya Patrika regularly. Srila Maharaja greatly appreciated whatever I wrote. Thereafter, I was also appointed as the president of the Hindi magazine, Sri Bhagavata Patrika, and many of my articles were published in that. Afterwards I could not submit articles due to lack of time. Now I have become a resident of foreign lands and I have to travel twenty thousand miles every year. The greatest compassion of Srila Kesava Maharaja was to make me a sannyasi. I had taken a vow that I would never accept sannyasa, but Srila Maharaja forcibly gave it to me. He would certainly have been most pleased today to see the success of my preaching. Last year I visited him in Calcutta along with my disciples, and despite being bedridden, he was very pleased to receive us. I have complete confidence that both in his manifest presence and after his disappearance, he must be very pleased to see my widespread preaching of the message of Sriman Mahaprabhu in Western countries like America, Canada, England, Germany and Hawaii (Honolulu), situated in the pacific ocean, as well as eastern countries like Japan (Tokyo! and so on.)

I was a staunch grhamedi (one whose thoughts are absorbed in household affairs). Srila Prabhupada used to come to me in dreams from time to time and call me to renounce family life and come along with him. The dreams would frighten me and make me think that I would have to accept sannyasa. I didn't have any desire to take sannyasa. But upon the repeated insistence of Sripada Narayana Maharaja, Srila Kesava Maharaja bestowed boundless mercy upon this unwilling and blind person, by forcibly giving me sannyasa. It seems that this desire of Srila Prabhupada's was transmitted into his heart, and it was thus that my sannyasa was accomplished.

So I am eternally indebted to Srila (Kesava) Maharaja. Therefore, immediately after receiving your letter, I organized a viraha-sabha, an assembly at the Seattle temple to honor his disappearance. I am sending the condolence resolution of the meeting along with this letter. Kindly accept it as our Sraddhanjali, or humble homage. In my other centers (the list is enclosed), particularly London, Hamburg and Honolulu I have given instruction to arrange a viraha-sabha and offer Sraddhanjali homage likewise.

You will be glad to know that under my guidance I have formed three sankirtana parties comprising American youths and couples. One such party is currently traveling to all cities in America and I am also with this party. The second party of six devotees is performing kirtana at different places in London. The Indians living there are amazed to see them. They have given up their home land and come all the way to the Westen world to attain wealth and reputation, but the Americans are performing harinama-sankirtana. Somehow the preaching activities are going on very nicely. I am interested to know what kind of constitution you are forming. In this matter you will receive my complete cooperation, because I am a man of constructive ideas. I do not like destructive policies.

It was the desire of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura that Americans perform kirtana in Sridhama Mayapura, and that opportunity has now come. Unfortunately, those who have intruded into Mayapura consider it to be their personal property.

These days others are restricted from visiting that place. Srila Kesava Maharaja used to deal with these guru-tyagis (those who renounce their guru) and guru-bhogis (those who enjoy the property of their guru) with sword in hand. Anyway, last year he mentioned that he would arrange five acres of land for me in Sridhama Mayapura. You were present at that time. If you help me in this matter, I intend to make an asrama in Mayapura.

American boys and girls can visit and stay there and receive proper training. By our cooperation, preaching activities can be done very nicely. Therefore, I am eager to know the details of your constitution.

I am going to Montreal tomorrow. From there I will go to Santa Fe (New Mexico) and then to Los Angeles. I am sending the addresses of our various centers along with this letter. We are executing a plan to build New Vrndavana on three hundred acres of land. Kindly reply to the Los Angeles-Hollywood address as I will be staying three days in Montreal, seven days in Santa Fe and almost one month in Los Angeles.

pythivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

Preaching can be spread extensively throughout the world on the basis of this system. I think that you will make your constitution directly in accordance with the above prediction. I hope your bhajana is going on nicely.

Your obedient servant,
Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami

P.S.: If you have any nice photograph of Srila Maharaja, then kindly send it to me. I will get a life size oil painting made of it and along with a picture of Srila Prabhupada, I will place it in my prominent centers, particularly New York, Hollywood, London and so forth.

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