A New Sanskrit School

by Srimati Jadurani devi dasi [Syamarani didi]

Vrndavana Report: April 21, 2000

In a room near the upstairs Seva-kunja altar at Sri Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha, about fifty devotees, mostly brahmacaris and sannyasis, joined Srila Narayana Maharaja for a historical meeting. Distinguished members of many of the Gaudiya Mathas in Vrindavana were present. Of special note was the honored presence of Sripada Bodhayana Maharaja, successor of Nitya-lila pravista Sri Srimad Bhaktipramoda Puri Maharaja. Before arriving at Sri Rupa-Sanatana Matha that morning, Srila Narayana Maharaja had gone to Paramapujyapada Bhaktipramoda Puri Maharaja's temple at Kesi-ghata, whereupon Sripada Bodhayana Maharaja had generously offered the temple building for use as a new school.

In his opening speech Srila Narayana Maharaja explained that for a long time he had wanted that there be a bonafide Sanskrit school, where interested devotees of all temples and mathas of the Gaudiya Sampradaya in the Saraswata line could get an education in Sanskrit. He expressed that he had always wanted all Gaudiya Vaisnavas to be united. For example, they should all observe holy days, such as Ekadasi, on the same day. He said that since the departure of Srila Saraswati Thakura there have been differences of opinion in regard to this and other spiritual considerations.

After the various devotees present spoke about their thoughts and appreciations of the school in relation to the conceptions of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, Srila Narayana Maharaja arranged the mangalacarana, a puja to invoke auspiciousness for the inauguration of the school. Arati was performed to the books, Srimad Bhagawatam and Sri Harinamamrta Vyakarana, by Pujyapada Krsnadasa Pandit, the school's newly-made head pandit. Tulasi worship was also performed, and then all the devotees chanted in unison consecutive slokas from the first Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

The following is taken from Sri Uma didi's summarized translation of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's discourse in Bengali:

There should be a Sanskrit school in the pure line of bhakti, following the thoughts and teachings of Srila Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. Their conceptions are all written in Sanskrit, not in Bengali or Hindi. We have always wanted to create this school, and it is our hope that it will one day become a large university. In this institution we will be able to give the meanings of the Sanskrit words according to the teachings of Srila Jiva Goswami. He wrote a transcendental grammar book called Sri Harinamamrta Vyakarana, in which he explained each and every Sanskrit word and syllable in relation to Krsna and Krsna bhakti. By reading and studying this book, Sri Jiva Goswamipada's line of thought can be awakened in the heart. [For clarity, an example is given in the biography of Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja: "An important sutra in this vyakarana is 'narayanadudbhuto 'yam varnakrama.' There is no difference between the varna (letter) of a word and the varna (caste) of the jivas. Therefore creation and destruction and so forth are explained by namavadi or sphotavadi words. In the visuddha Saraswata conception (coming from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada) even those who are born in low and untouchable families can become perfect and qualified to perform transcendental seva for Sriman Mahaprabhu."] While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was teaching His students His course in vyakarana, He explained the transcendental glories of Sri Krsna. He explained the aphorisms of grammar to be eternal, like the Holy Names of Krsna. All His explanations ultimately referred to Krsna, and His students were easily able to understand them.

If one is serious about studying Sanskrit, he must first learn grammar. Although the completion of the study of Sanskrit grammar takes many years, once he knows the rules well, all the Sanskrit scriptures become easy to understand. In this way, Sanskrit grammar is the gateway to education. At the present time there is no Sanskrit school following the line of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. At present only the sahajiya philosophy of the Radha-kunda babajis and the offensive apasiddhantic statements of those who openly reject the disciplic succession as coming through Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura are taught. The prakrta-sahajiyas are offenders at the feet of Sri Jiva Goswami, and they are enemies of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as well. The establishment of this Sanskrit school will facilitate and establish as a solid fact the actual teachings and moods of Sri Jiva Goswamipada, as well as those of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana Goswamis.

By understanding Sri Jiva Goswami's book, one can enter the line of bhajana, because he will be able to understand the books of the Goswamis. At that time his heart will be pleased and his life will be successful. The aim of this school is not to make learned persons. It is to train devotees to do bhajana. Simple knowledge of Sanskrit will not help one to understand the real meanings of the slokas. One must also be under the guidance of self-realized Vaisnavas. From a worldly person we can only obtain outer, material meanings. We may learn many meanings, but we will never learn the moods of our Goswamis.

The teachers of this school must be qualified to teach Vedanta and Srimad Bhagavatam in the line of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, and then the students will see what the difference is between the pure line and that of the sahajiyas. All Gaudiya Mathas [spiritual institutions within the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya] should be united and strong. Our Gaudiya sampradaya must be strong. We should forget our differences and see to our inner goal. We should be free from all unwanted desires and offenses. All Gaudiya Mathas must be in the same line. We should be so united that we have no difference of opinion. Then they may combinedly be the Saraswata Gaudiya Matha. So I want this school to gradually become a large university. I am now going to western countries, but you should try to begin developing it here. I will request the Bengal government to help. The teachers should get a salary. You should meet and decide who will take various positions-like principal, head pandit, secretary, teachers, and so on.

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