Lose yourself in Sri Nam

21 10 2009

Nitai Gaura s02The kundalini rises in the yogi by means of asana, mudra, and pranayam. The yogi penetrates each plexus (chakra) one after the other and unites Shakti with Shiva. Streams of nectar flow constantly from that sweet communion. The yogi drinks it and becomes liberated. But if one chants the Maha-mantra without a break, one will not need any yoga. Mother Kundalini will arise on hearing the Name. Chant the Name both day and night. All austerities come with folded hands and place flower-offerings at the feet of the chanter of the Name. Don’t listen to, look at, or think of anything else. Lose yourself in the Name and be blessed. Day after day your life wears off. Chant the Name at all times.


Disappearance lila of Siddha Sri Ramhari Das Babaji

23 08 2009

Jai Nitai!

Today is the day of the disappearance lila of Siddha Sri Ramhari Das Babaji. He is one of the 12 great Mahatmas that are connected with our param-gurudeva Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj. In any festival connected to Ramdas Babaji these 12 Mahatmas are served along with him.

Ramhari Das Babaji took birth in 1847 in Sripat Shantipur. Even as a child he exhibited strong spiritual tendencies and renunciation. As so often happens in these situations his parents thought to marry him to take his mind from his spiritual practices. But he just took complete shelter of Sri Nam and left home and went to Nabadwip hoping to get the kripa of the Vaisnavas there.

By good fortune he met Siddha Jagannath Das Babaji and took his shelter and guidance. Jagannath Das Babaji could understand that he was very serious and determined in his sadhana and arranged for him to receive diksha from Sri Radhikavilasa Thakura of Sri Khanda who was then staying in the kutir with Jagannath Baba.. Then Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj himself gave him veshashraya and named him Ramhari Das. Since his home and family were not far away his family members continued to give Ramhari trouble so he decided to go to Braja to do his bhajan. He stayed at Kesi Ghat, Radhakund, and Lala Babu’s kunja in Vamsivat for 12 years

He was a very loving and affection soul and treated all equally. He was especially fond of Gaura kirtan and instructed his sisyas to read Locana Das’s Dhamali as part of their daily sadhana. He was so attracted to Gaura Nam that if anyone said the name of Gaura he would embrace them with love. His favorite Vaisnavas to associate with were the sisyas of Jagannath Das Babaji and he also loved to do kirtan with our param-gurudev Sripad Ramdas Babaji which they did regularly.

It is so sweet to mention that when anyone would come to visit him from Nabadvip he would immediately welcome him with a garland of  fresh flowers and some cooling sandalwood paste.  He would then take that person on his lap and ask some philosophical questions about Gaurahari. If he didn’t get answers that pleased him he would ask the person to quickly go back to Nabadwip and have darshan of Nitai and Gaura and to get the association of the Gaura bhaktas there.

Rajarshi Banamali Bahadur, a close associate of Madhava Das Babaji came to stay at Lala Babu’s kutir. One day after honoring the prasad of Sri Radhavinod he became so overwhelmed in rapture that he began to dance and yell out, “Gaura, Gaura!” Sri Bijoy Krsna Gosvami’s disciple, Sri Brajabala Mahasaya, Sri Giridhari Das Babaji, Sri Madhava Das Babaji and many others came to join in the kirtana and they all danced in complete ecstacy!

On one day in 1907 at around noontime. he told his disciples, “Sri Gaurhari and His companions are performing kirtana and are dancing in ecstasy in Srivas Angan. I have to go there immediately.  Please bathe me and decorate me with tilak.”  After his sisyas carried out his orders, he sat in meditation with his eyes closed and entered nitya-lila.

Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar Pt. 5

18 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Well, here we are at the final mandir of the visit, Sri Sri Gaura Madan Gopal Mandir.  This is where the Goswami’s live with their families, and this is the birthplace of Sri Raghunandan Thakur. The sign above the entrance says that Narahari’s bhajan kutir was here, but it was not shown to us. Also the famous Gopinath is located on the altar in this mandir. Dilip Raya Goswami introduced us to his brother Banku Vilas Thakur Goswami and their wives. Dilip wanted his brother to speak Gaura Narahari katha to us, but I think he felt a bit uneasy about his English language skills and declined, asking Dilip to just continue speaking. From what I gathered his brother Banku Vilas is a very learned Vaisnava and knows all the lilas pertaining to Narahari, Raghunandan and the other Sri Khandavasis. Tea was served and Dilip Raya told us the lila about Raghunandan and Gopinath in English. He showed us a picture of their gurudeva, Sri Balaram Vilas Thakur, and pointed out a verse which was written around the picture–ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirtha gaNan | sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa || “O Brother! The most excellent of all the tirthas within the unlimited universes is the lotus-feet of Sri Guru.” He liked that verse a great deal. I posted this photo in Pt.1 of this series. After that we all climbed back into the Sumo and headed off to Ekachakra. Dilip Raya Goswami was going to show me his library and answer some questions I had, but before I knew it, the time ran out and we had to go. On the way out I did get to see the room my gurudeva would stay in when he came to Sri Khanda to perform bhajan and do kirtan. The Goswami’s were very cordial and invited me to come back and stay for a while to do bhajan. I certainly intend to take them up on their offer. Jaya Gora! Jaya Narahari!

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirth agaNan
sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa

Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu

7 06 2009

On a Vaisnava forum that I am a member of someone asked in a general way, who is Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu? I am reproducing my reply here.

Bandhusundar Prabhu

Bandhusundar Prabhu

The followers of Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu worship him as the combined form of Nitai and Gaurahari. Radha and Govinda combine as Gaurahari. Gaurahari then expands Himself as Nitaichand. Gaura and Nitai combine to form Bandhusundar Hari. His followers also consider his essence to be Hari Nam. He asks to be kept alive by constant recital of Hari Nam. Another way he is viewed is as the combination of Braja and Gaura lila.

brajalIlA gauralIlA mahAsanmilan haripuruSa jagadbandhu mahA uddhAraNa

He came to give Maha Uddharan, or universal emancipation. You can read some words about it from Mahanambrata Brahmachari:

¨To the query how can we realise that stage in the transcendental world of Love, Maha-uddharana is the reply. The word ´Maha´ means the Great, but I cannot translate the word ´Uddharana.´ You are familiar with terms like release, salvation, emancipation or ´Mukti´ as the Hindus call it, or ´Nirvana´ as the Buddhists call it. ´Uddharana´ is a term like them but it has a totally different connotation. All those terms – salvation and the like – are negative, while ´Uddharana´ is positive. ´Uddharana´ begins after salvation. We are said to have salvation when we free ourselves from bondage getting rid of limitations. ´Uddharana´ means something beyond that. ´Uddharana´ is positive realisation of ‘Hari’. This idea of positive and negative freedom can best be explained by showing the difference between work and play. Work is disciplined habit; play is free impulse. When we work in an office, which is like a big machine we do our parts mechanically. We are free of course, but negatively free. In work we are only partially personal, really impersonal. While we play and enjoy leisure in the association of friends we are fully personal.
Each member adapts himself to the thoughts and sentiments of the other. Each regards the other as a unique individual to whom he adjusts himself in a special way. The complete individuality of each is evolved. We are completely free – this is positive freedom the free play of the total personality. In an office or an impersonal group – for example, the Bell Telephone system, or a life insurance company, there is no such recognition of individuality, nor is individuality evoked. Each may respond to some act on the part of the other, just as one would respond to some physical object or mechanical signal. But in play, in the family circle or among friends, we spontaneously bring into operation the full personality of each. There exists an easy interplay of sentiments.
Salvation or Emancipation is to get a job in God’s office – to work in harmony with the world-order. But ´Uddharana´ is more than that. It is the enjoyment of God in His family Circle. Who constitute this family of God? Each unit of being – each unit of consciousness. Herein lies the significance of ´Maha.´ We need a circle, we need an association of friends. We depend upon playmates for the fullest realisation of one another’s individulity. So long as one friend is absent, the enjoyment is not complete. A single man remaining in bondage cannot be tolerated by a true lover of freedom. So long as there is one soul left outside, there will be no ´Maha-uddharana.´… Pray for all, take all home and make the family circle complete and truly enjoyable. Suns, moons and stars are workers in God’s office; we are players in God’s family.¨

If you wish to read the chapter about Jagadbandhu Sundar from The Saints of Bengal by OBL Kapoor, click here.

I am a follower of Dada Mosai (Radharaman Charan Das Dev) and we do not worship him in that way. He was the guru and dearmost associate of my param gurudeva, Sripad Ramdas Babaji in his youth. When Ramdas Babaji Maharaj left this world he called out the names of Bandhusundar and Radharaman Charan Dev. We consider Bandhusundar as our guru. Personally speaking, I do occasionally relish the bhav of worshipping him as Bandhu Hari, though as I said this is not the mood of our lineage.