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May 20, 2016

Srila Gurudev tells about his first visit to Navadvip Dham

Morning walk 
Rio de Janeiro
January, 31, 2014

Srila Gurudev: My uncle Madhusudan Maharaj, from Devananda Gaudiya Math (Krishna Kripa Brahmachari), actually, I hadn't seen him since I was small. He left house when I was 10 or 11 years old. I hadn't seen him. I just had heard his glories, from my mother and other relatives.

When I finished my University, I was thinking “Oh, I have to go to Nawadvip Dham, to take darsan.”

When I first came at that time, I met my uncle. I had not planned in staying in the temple. Nothing was planned. I was just thinking in visit Navadvip Dham. Not to stay in the temple. I just wanted to visit Navadvip Dham.

But when I came at that time, my uncle had so much love and affection with me, then I also stayed with the devotees who were there. At that time, when I came there, there were no sanyassis in Brahma Gaudiya Math. They mostly went out for preaching. Even Srila Vamana Goswami Maharaja was not there. He was in somewhere preaching. There was no sanyassi there, only brahmacharis.

One most senior brahmachari gave us class about Brihad Bhagavatamritam.

At that time I knew that I could not understand everything. What is their philosophy, what are they speaking. Just I give attention. But at that time I was not satisfied with brahmachari´s Hari katha. I was not satisfied. Then one devotee told me “Ok, (there is a) very elevated vaisnav, (who) is disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupad”. Then he (devotee) came with me and we went (there).

In first, I met Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Goswami Maharaja and, at that time, he was very sick. When I met with him, at that time, I saw only a few western devotees, who surrounded him.


He was sitting on a chair and, in front of him, there was a microphone and he spoke Hari katha. The first Hari Katha I listened from his lotus lips was (about) Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (BRS 1.1.11), this sloka:
anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama

(Meaning: “One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service”.)

I was very impressed, especially because he was so much intoxicated with Gaura Nam. When a devotee asked any question in the middle he was chanting “Gaura, Gaura, Gaura, Gaura”. At that time I became very impressed because I had so much love and affection with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, since my beginning, my birth. At that time I was thinking:
“Oh, I have came in right place, because (here there is) one who chants Goura Nam!” I was so impressed.

So, at that time also I cannot understand everything, his language. Because Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaja's English language was a very high level, not a simple English. I could not understand all his English words. I forgot (to tell), at that time there was one American devotee who had so much love and affection with him and who also explained very nicely (the katha).

For this regard, every day I used to go to his Temple. In this way, about two months had passed. And Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaj had so much love and affection with me. He gave me blessing.

Then, after two months, Srila Narayan Maharaj, Srila Gurudev, came from Mathura to Devananda Gaudiya Math. Then, it was the first time I met with him. I also had heard glories about him, because many devotees used to come to Navadvip Parikrama and they glorify him: “Narayana Maharaja gives a high level Hari Katha, Vraj Katha!”

So in the first I met Gurudev, when I enter into his room, at that time, Gurudev asked me: “Where are you from?”, and one devotee told him: “He is the nephew of Krishna Kripa Brahmachari”. And Gurudev told: “Ok. Good.”

Gurudev asked me: “Are you chanting the holy names?”, I told him “I am chanting the holy names in my mind”. And Gurudev told me: “No, no, no. You have to chant the holy names on a japa-mala”, then I very clearly asked: “Maharaj, but where do I get the japa-mala?”

At that time Gurudeva's servant was Navin Krishna brahmachari. And Gurudev told him: “Hey, bring one japa-mala!” This is the japa-mala (showing his own japa-mala) that Gurudev gave me at the first.

(Devotee: This is your first japa mala?)

Srila Gurudev: Yes. This is the japa-mala that Srila Narayana Maharaja gave me. In his room he gave me and said “Chant the holy names”. So I chanted on my japa-mala every day. Then, after one month, Srila Gurudev Vamana Goswami Maharaja came. According to the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti´s rule, (there was) only one Acharya. So, everybody first took harinam, then took second initiation (diksa). These are the rules of the Gaudiya Math.

I was sitting and he was giving harinam to everybody, then I was sitting and in my hand it was this japa-mala. Then Srila Vamana Goswami Maharaja asked: “Who gave you this japa-mala?”, I told: “Narayana Maharaja gave me it”. Then he took it, did pranam on his head and again returned it back to me. Then my mind became very disturbed: “That mean that he did not give me Harinam!?” (laughing)

And he told me: Ok, now you chant the holy names”. Then I returned to Narayana Goswami and I told him: “O, you gave me the japa-mala but Gurudev did not gave me harinam…” At that time he told me: “Do you know? Vamana Goswami Maharaja is always very humble. He is thinking that I am non-different from him. Ok? Don't worry. Don't worry.

Then, after 6 months in Gaura purnim, in the beginning of 1982, Srila Gurudeva Vamana Goswami Maharaja gave me diksa. At that time, Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja did not used to give diksa, only harinam.

(Devotee: When you took Harinam, did you receive any name?)

Srila Gurudev: In the Gaudiya Math, in the beginning, for Harinam they did not giving any name because Indian names are already spiritual names. My name is Subal Sakha. So no need to give another one.

(Devotee: And when you took diksa, did you receive any name at that time?)

Srila Gurudev: At that time also Gurudev gave me the name Sudan Brahmachari. Then Gurudev Narayan Maharaj told: “No, this name is not a Vraja Nam. Your original name ‘Subal Sakha’ is a very nice name”.

(Devotee: Who gave you the sanyassi mantra?)

Srila Gurudev: My mantras actually it was Srila Narayana Maharaja who gave me. Narayana Maharaja gave us sanyassi mantra. In 2000.

(Devotee: Then, did you start to living in the temple?)

Srila Gurudev: Since I listened the Hari Katha from Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja, I never went back (to anywhere), also, I never returned back to my home.

(Devotee: Gurudeva gave you Gopi mantra. It is the same Radhika´s?)

Srila Gurudev: This is confidential. Chant the holy names and you will understand. Slowly, slowly. Not in one day. Gopi mantra means that manjari bhava is there. Actually, this is the essence of Gopala mantra and Kama-gayatri mantra. Gopala mantra and Kama gayatri have everything inside them. The same things, but elaborately manifested, are also in the sanyassi mantra, the Gopi mantra.

Mahaprabhu told: “Sloka from C.c." Gopi Mantra means how to perform bhajan and sadhan and how to be absorbed into the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika.

Hare Krsna 
Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna 
Hare Hare
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare
(… japa…)

Then, after one year I went to Mathura and I stayed with Gurudev. In the end of 1982.

Transcribed by Sriman Krsnananda Prabhu, from Armenia.