Essence Of Pure Devotion

by His Divine Grace

Srila Bhakti Promod Puri Goswami Maharaja

The Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library,, is happy to present this first of ten articles written by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Gosvami Maharaja

From his book:

Essence of Pure Devotion

Printed by Srila B.B. Bodhayan Maharaja,
Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha

This book was printed on the conjunction of the 100th Advent Day of Sri Gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Gosvami Maharaja

18 Padmanabha 512 Gaurabda
7 Aswin 1405 Bangabda
24th September 1998 Kristobda

Since this 150 page paperback book has only been available in India I thought to share the wonderful nectar it contains with the internet reading public. My beloved gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, said: 

“Gentlemen, the offering of such an homage as has been arranged this evening to the acaryadeva is not a sectarian concern, for when we speak of the fundamental principle of gurudeva or acaryadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discriminating my guru from yours or anyone else’s.

There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you,
me and all others.

 In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12) it is said:
                   tad-vijnartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
                    samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham

"In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth."

Thus it has been enjoined herewith that in order to receive that transcendental knowledge, one must approach the guru. Therefore, if the Absolute Truth is one, about which we think there is no difference of opinion, the guru cannot be two. The acaryadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us, the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly.”

Abhay Charan Das

[early name of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada]

Given originally as an address before the Members of the Sri Gaudiya Math, Bombay Circa February l936 on the appearance day celebration of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura Prabhupada.

In the same non sectarian spirit, with due appreciation of all of the pure devotee disciples of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, our spiritual uncles, the Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library (BVML)  begins its presentation of ten articles written by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Gosvami Maharaja,
and published in the paperback book,  Essence of Pure Devotion.

your servant,
Puru das adhikari
Curator and Librarian
The Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library

Sri Srila Prabhupada
H.D.G. Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Gosvami Maharaja

The most worshippable Sri Srila Prabhupada is the dynamic manifest form of the merciful potency of Lord Gauranga Deva.  I have heard that in his childhood he used to be referred by his Spiritual Preceptors-who were self-realized souls- by the name Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.  Later in the year 1918 when he entered into the renounced order of life, he used to be called Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. .  Hereafter, in different Holy pilgrimage places he used to identify himself as Sri-Varsabhanavi Dayita Das. He is the non-different expansion of Srimati Radharani Herself, always joyfully exhibiting the nature pleasing to Srimati  Radhika which is the mood of service to Lord Krishna. The verses of the devotional song “Vilapkusumanjali”. expressing lamentation in separation to Srimati Radharani, was known to him by rote. In the description of the glories of Srimati Radhika, or sometimes at the very mention of Her name, he would be overcome by emotion and tears would stream profusely from his eyes.  He would become transfixed in overwhelming emotions on hearing certain popular verses of the song “Vilapkusumanjali”, like ‘vairagya-yug bhakti-rasam, asa bharair-amrtasnidhymayaih’  or the verse ‘yasyah adapi vasunancha lakhelanotha’ from ‘Sri Radharasa Suddhaniddhi.’  He frequently used to sing lyrics of the song below:

radha dasye rahi chada bhoga ahi
pratisthasa nahe kirtanangorava
radha nityajan taha chadi mana
kena va nirjana-bhajana-kaitava

One should remain the servant of Srimati Radharani giving up all sense of material enjoyment and try to humbly preach the glories of the Name. The pure devotees do not merely practice solitary bhajan, which is a form of cheating.

His last words at the time of passing away into his eternal pastimes were: “All of you, with the objective of satisfying the transcendental senses of the Supreme Absolute Truth, should cooperate with one another in obedience to the most surrendered counter-part of the Supreme Lord.  That most surrendered soul to the Supreme Lord (asraya vigraha) is Srimati Radharani.  You re all present here with one purpose: that is to obtain the qualification of service to Srimati Radharani” and Her most beloved associate which is the spiritual master.

At Puri Dham, a few days before his disappearance into his eternal pastimes, he chanted the verses of two well-known prayers in glorification of Sri Govardhana Hill.  They were Sri Rupa Gosvami’s ‘pratyasam me tvam kuru govardhana purnam’ and ‘Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami’s ‘nija nikata nivasam dehi govardhana tvam’. By means of these prayers he showed us by personal example the method of worship of Sri Govardhana Hill. Likewise, Sri Srila Prabhupada used to offer fresh water and tulasi leaves in worship of Sri Govardhana (Stone Deity) before taking, his meals in his rooms at the Chaitanya Matha, I personally had the chance of witnessing this event.  The scared Hill of Govardhana and the holy pond of Sri Radha Kunda used to be his highest objects of veneration and worship.  The Chattak hill is very near to the temple of Tota-Gopinatha, where previously Sri Gadadhar Pandita (an expansion of Srimati Radharani_ used to serve his Deities.  This Chattak hill is considered non-different form the Govardhana Hill and it was for that reason Sri Srila Prabhupada built his place of devotions on top of that hill.  In Vraja Mandala Sri Srila Prabhupada constructed the flower tomb (Puspa Samadhi) of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, named “Vrajasvananda Sukhada Kunja”, by the side of the existing Radha-kunda.  There he also exhibited a model example by practice of the remembrance of Sri Krsna’s pastimes during the eight periods of the day (asta-kaliya lila).  The personal associate of Lord Gauranga, Sri Dvijabaninatha, used to previously worship the Deities of Sri Gour-Gadadhara in Champahati, but the existing worship after this became temporarily abandoned for some period of time.  The worship of these Deities were again reinstated by Sri Srila Prabhupada.  By this gesture he established that the formal devotional practice to worship Sri Gour-Gadadhar with attachment, was more than essential for us.  Sri Srila Prabhupada used to view Sridama Mayapura, the birth place of Sriman Mahaprabhu as the original Gokula Mahavana of Vraja. Srivasangan, the place of congregational chanting was considered the loving playgrounds of devotional mellows of Vraja.  Chandrasekara bhavan or Sri  Chaitanya Matha was observed as the original Govardhana Hill.

Thereafter he constructed a tank by the side of this Govardhana Hill which he named as ‘Radha-kunda’. It was at this very place after building his place of devotions in the form of a small hut, by the side of this ‘Radha-Kunda’ that he began to exhibit intense renunciation. He then demonstrated the method of intense devotions by taking earnestedly three lakhs of Holy Names daily and completed the vow of chanting 1000 million Names altogether at that place.  Even after the successful completion of that vow Sri Srila Prabhupada maintained always the practice of chanting the Holy Names seriously intact. He especially gave stress to the process of chanting the Holy Names as top priority in devotional practice, being himself attached to this method. Wherever I would raise the proposition to Sri Srila Prabhupada whether I could reduce my chanting somewhat in respect of my schedule, he would reply insist instead that everyone should attempt to complete one lack of Holy Names as a daily function.  He used to remark gravely that Sriman Mahaprabhu would not even accept water from one who did not take to chanting one lack of Holy Names daily. Thus his counsel stood as all would have to find time irregardless, to complete this chanting one lack of Holy Names without fail as a daily practice.  He added however that to simply complete that amount was not the main factor, but one had to strive to remain attentive throughout such chanting and try to keep clear from the offences to the Holy Names.  Those who had really the slightest regard for Sriman Mahaprabhu would never in any way neglect His words.

In the manner Sri Srila Prabhupada exhibited model example and behaviour he would preach just as effectively.  He never did give support to preaching without the prerequisite proper behaviour.  He never did approve of pure devotional conclusions being adulterated in any way with the other processes and took pains to safe-guard them.  He would never dream of acting contrary to devotional etiquette (Vaishnava) at any cost just to acquire followers or to be part of the club, nor did he condone others doing so.  Sri Srila Prabhupada used to be phenomenal in the sense of personal charisma and strength of character, that whenever any great scholar of influential person came to see him, they would become humbled in his presence and offer their respects [to] him.  Sri Srila Prabhupada, accepting their courtesy in a neutral way, would immediately preach the pure conclusions of scriptures boldly.  He, Sri Srila Prabhupada, would never approve of people who would refrain or shy away from helping others to increase their devotions.  He sternly declared that to be miserly in the preaching of devotional service is tantamount to violence against living entities.  He mentions in his commentary

 (CC. M 12/135) that though killing of living entities is termed violence, not to distribute devotional messages to others, be impartial or give indulgence when dealing with the fruitive workers, impersonalists and gross materialists was indirectly violence because rather than contribute to the individual’s spiritual progress, instead this allows him to fall away.

Being a confidential associate of the Lord, we can see from his childhood the natural attraction to the Holy Names and attachment to the worship of the Deity.  In Rampur, when he was only seven years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, seeing his intense eagerness to perform devotional practice, awarded him initiation into the Holy Names and Nrsimha Mantra.  The Tulasi beads were specially brought from Puri by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to be given to him.

In 1881, during the excavation works for the building of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house called ‘Bhakti bhavan’, a Salagram Deity of Lord Kurma was found.  His father, seeing the enthusiasm of his eight-year old son, began to encourage him by teaching him all procedures of worship with the corresponding ‘mantras’ (holy formulas).  Sri Srila Prabhupada would maintain his daily worship faithfully, and kept all the regulations intact, such as wearing of Tilak etc.  This worship of the Salagram is still being maintained faithfully at ‘Bhakti bhavan’ up till now.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, prste bramyad amanda mandra  giri (Bhag 12/13/2), Sri Srila Prabhupada comments:

The Vedas instills truth in the heart of the living entity during the breathing of Lord Kurma (Turtle) and removes all ignorance.  The breathing of the Supreme Lord in the form of the turtle in His state of slumber is analogous to the enjoying and rejecting mentalities of all living entities. Notwithstanding, if the Supreme Lord Kurma becomes merciful to the living entity, He can save the living entity from these two opposing mentalities of acceptance and reactance by His transcendental breath. May the transcendental breathing of Lord Turtle save those fortunate living entities form material illusion!  The Lord Turtle, in order to remove the itching sensation on His back, moves His body against the mountain on His back to relieve this itching.  This itching is an analogous to the opposing devotional conclusions of the dissidents who do not accept the transcendental form of the Lord.  Thus, because the lord is unable to sleep because of this itching, the living entities are left breathless.  May the wind of the pure breath of Lord Turtle pacify such fallen living entities form their deviant opinions!  The pastimes of the Lord Turtle including His appearance, serves to provide the favorable wind that relieves the desires for material enjoyment in the heart of the perverted living entity.” 

Sri Srila Prabhupada always used to stress the rejection of both of these contrasting enjoying and rejecting mentalities.   In this context the verse beginning with ‘Isavasya’ is significant, meaning that everything is the property of the Lord, and we have no right to enjoy this property in an unauthorized manner.  Similarly, as it does not belong to us we have no right to reject it either.  Whatever the Supreme Lord in His infinite compassion have given us for our daily sustenance should be gladly accepted, after firstly offering this to the Supreme Lord, and then honouring the remnants of that offering as sacrifice. 

This is the only way we can conquer or rid ourselves of the insurmountable illusory energy.  This is the purport of the verse ‘Isavasya’ as originally uttered by Svayambuva Manu.

In actual fact, in the pastimes of the Turtle Incarnation, the incident of the churning of the Milk ocean took place all by the potency and will of the Supreme Lord, while the Demigods and Demons as agents were just present in name only.  In this way too, the Supreme Lord churned the Vedic scriptures through the pure devotees Vyasa-deva and Sukadeva Gosvami, producing the nectar of devotional mellows.  Just as the Mohini Incarnation deprived the demons of the ambrosial nectar and delivered it to the demigods, similarly the pure devotional essence became the monopoly of His own devotees by His grace while the non-devotees were denied such ecstasy.  This is the blessing of Suta Gosvami towards the devotees.

Sri Srila Prabhupada had very high regard for the main holy Dhamas like Puri, Navadvip and Vrindavana and exhibited great reverence for the predominating Deities of each of these holy places.  He is the ocean of the highest auspicious qualities which I have only managed to describe   in a very small measure.  Only direct obedience of his instructions will make my human life perfect and enable me to receive his mercy.


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