A Servant of the Ideal

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes his personal nature and steadfast conviction.

By the mercy of the Vaiṣṇavas, I have no ambition. In my life, I have no ambition in the world. This is my special nature. From the beginning, from my childhood, although one may not believe it, if anyone praises me, I feel some pain in my heart. I told one of my friends at that time that whenever anyone praises me, I feel some sort of uneasiness, but he did not believe it. Really, for pratiṣṭhā, for good name, I have no ostentatious hankering. At least, this is what I can say if I am to speak plainly.

I want the naked truth, and I want to submit to that. Internal realisation is the main feature within me. I want higher internal realisation, and for that, I have eliminated the company of so many of my godbrothers that are fond of me and tried to remain alone as much as possible and as small as possible, with a few helping hands. This is my nature. Still, because I am in the world, some troubles must come from outside, and by the grace of the Lord, I am to meet them in some way, in my way. Let Guru and Gaurāṅga save me so that I may remain strictly under their guidance.

I am unfit for any life of splendour and grandeur. From the core of my heart, I do not like grandeur. I prefer simple life. Sometimes complexity approaches me, but I try to eliminate that on the whole from my life. That is my tendency. Complexity comes, and I try to eliminate it, to be separate from it.

From the beginning when you came here in numbers, I said that you must maintain a separate concern, keeping connection with me. From the beginning, I had this conception. Sometimes I am giving hints about it, and sometimes I am clearly saying it.

Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Mahārāj made a remark, “Yes. We know that you have much affection for us. When birds are a little grown-up, their mother pushes them out of the nest so that they can learn to fly with their own wings. The birds are thrown out by their mother so that they may have the chance to fly.” This remark was made to me by Dhīra Kṛṣṇa Prabhu when I told him in the beginning that you must have an independent form, keeping connection with me. This is my nature. I cannot tolerate much splendour or a very grand environment.

Simplicity, that of a mendicant brāhmaṇ, easy life, plain life, not struggling for anything else—this is what I prefer, where as much as I can I save my time for internal realisations in poetry and also giving them out in poetry, Sanskrit or Bengali. Higher realisation is the aim of my life. I speak it plainly to you. I have no physical or expansive engagement. What I have, I can give you and nothing more. Some may think that I am cruel or unjust by always giving hints that you all must go and live separately. But this is what I am. It is my nature. I am a peace loving man who is busy for his own realisation, and with whatever I have, I may try to help those and only those who come to me. This I can do and nothing more. You may not believe it as you are all coming and seeing here houses being erected and all these other things. Sometimes, I feel very perplexed.

When I was in a thatched hut here some thirty years back, I wrote a poem which was published on the cover of Prapanna-jīvanamṛta in ‘43 or ’44 in Kolkata very near Swāmī Mahārāj on Sita Kanta Banerjee lane:

śrīmach-chaitanya-sārasvata-maṭha-vara udgīta-kīrtir jayaśrīṁ
bibhrat saṁbhāti gaṅgā-taṭa-nikaṭa-navadvīpa-kolādrirāje

The flag of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh flutters very high in Gupta Govardhan on the banks of the Ganges in Nadia.” Udgīta-kīrttiḥ jayaśrīṁ bibhrat: fluttering, the flag on the high announces the victory of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, and saṁbhāti, the Maṭh glitters on the banks of the Ganges in Gupta Govardhan.

What is the principle upheld by Śrī Chaitanya Saraswat Maṭh? What is its nature? What do they do there? Their internal aspiration is for Rādhikā and Mādhava strictly in the line of Rūpānuga. Yatra Śrī-Gaura-Sārasvata-mata-niratā: from Gaurāṅga to Saraswatī, Śrī Gurudev, this dhārā, current, the thought that was current from Gaurāṅga up to Saraswatī, they are engaged fully in that. They are fully engaged in cultivation according to the current that began from Śrī Chaitanya and ended in Saraswatī [Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur]. Gaura-gāthā gṛṇanti: their main business is to talk about Śrī Gaurāṅga, His greatness, His nobility, and His instructions especially. What is their aim? Śrīmad Rūpānuga-śrī-kṛtamati: what is recommended, given out, by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī and the Rūpānugas—Śrī Rūpa and his successors—that is their aim. Their mind is made up, dedicated, according to that principle. And what is their aim in that line regulated by Śrī Rūpa and his followers? Rādhikā-Mādhavāśām: Rādhikā and Mādhava. This is announced by Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, who is considered to be the Āchārya of our highest destination, who is to say, to fix, to recommend, what should be our highest goal:

prāpto yasya prathita-kṛpayā śrī-guruṁ taṁ nato ’smi

So, I am a declared man. From the beginning in that poem that was published in ’44 or ’43, I have written what I am. This is my object. This is my campaign. I am so and so. Swāmī Mahārāj was there, and his sister Piśimā, Madana’s mother, bore the cost to publish the book. There it is written that I am a servant of that ideal. Still now, I am there, and my Guru Mahārāj also posted me there. He called me from my sleep and asked me to sing this song. And anyhow, I find that I am always there. My aspiration is unchanged in all these long years. I am there, and I will not change my position.


5 February 1982