The Festival of His Lotus Feet

This post is the start of a series of posts about the poetry which adorns the Temple of Love and Affection.

In total one hundred and eighty-six verses are inscribed on the marble walls and pillars of the temple. The criterion by which the verses were selected had two primary elements: verses which served as the bases of prominent themes within the overall compass of the preaching of Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj and verses which Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj personally relished and had special affinity for. The collection of verses was also compiled with reference to the verses which adorn the Temple of Union in Separation and effort was made to avoid any repetition of verses on both temples, with a few noteworthy exceptions.

Starting from the following verse which Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj identified as his most favourite of all verses, we plan to gradually present all the verses which adorn the Temple in Roman transliteration, and English translation for the satisfaction of all the devotees who pray over the  expressions of devotion which animate the heart of our beloved Gurudev. Also, when it is possible, we will include explanations and commentaries on the verses by Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj.

śrī-śrīmad-bhagavat-padāmbuja-madhu-svādotsavaiḥ ṣaṭ-padair
nikṣiptā madhu-bindavaś cha parito bhraṣṭā mukhād guñjitaiḥ
yatnaiḥ kiñchid ihāhṛtaṁ nija-para-śreyo ’rthinā tan mayā
bhūyo-bhūya ito rajāṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣāṁ bhaje
(Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam: 10.14)

During the grand, eternal festival of relishing the honey of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, drops of that honey (inevitably) fall from the mouths of the bees (devotees) and become strewn in all directions as they go about humming the glories of the Lord in an intoxicated mood. For my own supreme benefit, I have gathered with great care some of those drops of honey herein. In this way I serve the dust of the lotus feet of those great souls (those bees in the lotus feet of the Lord) again and again.”

An example of Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj expressing his appreciation for this śloka is excerpted below from the upcoming release Revealed Truth, a compilation of lectures and teachings of Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj.

Singing, Dancing, and Spilling Nectar Everywhere

Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed a śloka that beautifully explains how we connect with the Lord and His service through the sādhu. This śloka is the very, very dearest and highest śloka for me in life. Still so much light comes to me from this śloka and I am fully satisfied with this śloka.

śrī-śrīmad-bhagavat-padāmbuja-madhu-svādotsavaiḥ ṣaṭ-padair
nikṣiptā madhu-bindavaś cha parito bhraṣṭa mukhāt guñjitaiḥ
yatnaiḥ kiñchid ihāhṛtāṁ nija-para-śreyo ’rthinā tan mayā
bhūyo-bhūya ito rajaṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣaṁ bhaje
(Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam: 10.14)

When Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed and finished his Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam, he wrote this śloka confessing, “What I have presented in Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam is not my own property. I have actually only collected this ecstatic property from the devotees.”

His expression is: “Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam, the cause of all causes, who is the Parameśvar, the Supreme Controller, who is the Anādi-ādiḥ, the Origin who has no origin, and whose Name is Govinda—the super devotees are like bees always tasting the ecstatic, honey-like nectar of the lotus feet of that Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Just as a lotus is always full of nectar, the bee-like devotees are always collecting the nectar from the unlimited ocean of nectar that is the Lord’s lotus feet and tasting that through their super mood of devotion. As they taste that nectar they sing the glories of that nectar and they sing the glories of their Master Lord Kṛṣṇa. If anyone will taste honey and also sing at the same time, then naturally a few drops of honey must fall down from his mouth as remnants. So the devotees who ecstatically glorify their Lord, who are always drinking, drinking, drinking and intoxicatedly glorifying their Lord—so, many drops of nectar must fall from their mouths in all directions as they dance, drink, and sing.

Here in this book, Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam, I have collected those many drops of eternal, transcendental ecstasy that are falling from the mouths of the Lord’s devotees as their mercy. For both myself and you all I have collected those falling drops of nectar and made a nice plate for everyone who has a tasting mood to taste that nectar and be supremely benefitted. I am so grateful and indebted to all the devotees who glorify their Lord and taste the nectar of His lotus feet that here at the conclusion of my work, Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam, I now bow down to all of them again and again.

Bhūyo-bhūya ito rajaṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣaṁ bhaje, again and again I glorify the lotus feet of all of these devotees: the devotees who collect nectar directly from the Lord’s lotus feet, the devotees who drink the nectar collected from the Lord’s lotus feet, the devotees who catch and distribute the drops of nectar which fall from the mouths of the devotees drinking the nectar collected from the Lord’s lotus feet, and the devotees who accept that nectar which is offered to them after it has been collected, tasted, dropped, caught, and distributed. I take upon my head the dust of the feet of all of these devotees who are sincere and whose hearts are filled with divine hankering.”

In this way Śrīla Guru Mahārāj finished his composition, Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam. More explanation of this śloka is possible, but shortly I have explained something. Through this you can understand the explanation of śaraṇāgati Śrīla Guru Mahārāj has given in his book as well as the conclusion of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu in His conversation with Rāmānanda Rāy—jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām—that surrendered devotional life means always living on the remnants of the devotees who themselves live on the remnants of the Lord; always living on the mercy of the devotees who live on the mercy they receive from the Lord.

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