Tribute to Srila BV Vamana Gosvami Maharaja

Vyasa Puja Srila Param Gurudeva Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja, 2016

Guru Tattva

(Gurudeva and devotes sing āsraya koriyā vando)

āsraya koriyā vando srī guru carana
jāhā haite mile bhāi krsna-prema dhana (1)

Taking shelter of Sri Guru, please worship his lotus feet, by which, O brother, the wealth of prema for Sri Krsna is attained.

jīvera nistāra lāgi nanda-suta hari
bhuvane prakāsa hana guru-rūpa dhari (2)

To deliver the living entities, the son of Nanda Maharaja, Sri Hari, has manifested on this world by accepting the form of Sri Guru.

mahimāya guru krsna eka kari jāna
guru ājnā hrde saba satya kari māna (3)

Know that guru and Krsna are one in their glories. Accept in your heart the order of Sri Guru as the complete truth

satya-jnāne guru vākye jāhāra visvāsa
avasya tāhāra haya vrajabhume vāsa (4)

Whoever in true knowledge has faith in the words of Sri Guru, certainly attains residence in Sri Vraja-bhumi

jāra prati gurudeva hana parasanna
kona vighne seha nāhi haya avasanna (5)

One with whom Sri Guru is pleased does not become wearied by any obstacle.

krsna rusta ha'le guru rākhibāre pāre
guru rusta ha'le krsna rākhibāre nāre (6)

If Krsna becomes angry (with you) then Guru can save you, but if Guru becomes angry then even Krsna cannot save you.

guru mātā guru pitā guru hana pati
guru vinā e samsāre nāhi āra gati (7)

Guru is mother, Guru is father and Guru is lord and master. Without Sri Guru there is no shelter in this world.

guruke manusya-jnāna nā kara kakhana
guru-nindā kabhu karne nā kara sravana (8)

Never consider Sri Guru to be an ordinary human being and never bear any criticism of him.

guru nindukera mukha kabhu nā heribe
yathā haya guru-nindā tathā nā jāibe (9)

Never look upon the face of one who criticises Sri Guru. Do not go to any place where criticism of Sri Guru occurs.

gurura vikriyā yadi dekhaha kakhana
tathāpi avajnā nāhi kara kadācana (10)

If you ever see (apparently) aberrant behaviour in Sri Guru, still do not neglect him at any time.

guru-pādapadme rahe jāra nisthā bhakti
jagat tārite sei dhare mahāsakti (11)

One whose devotion remains fixed at the lotus feet of Sri Guru, holds great power to deliver the universe.

heno guru pādapadma karaha vandanā
yāhā haite ghuce bhāi sakala yantranā (12)

Worship the lotus feet of such a guru's lotus-feet, O brother, as they destroy all suffering.

guru pādapadma nitya ye kare vandana
sire dhari vandi āmi tāhāra carana (13)

I take upon my head in adoration the feet of one who always worships the lotus feet of Guru.

sri guru caranapadma hrde kari āsa
sri guru vandanā kare sanātana dāsa (14)

Aspiring within the heart to attain Sri Guru’s lotus feet, Sanatana dasa makes this prayer to him.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja speaks:

‘The advent and disappearance of eternally perfected souls are not material. Such personalities are not bound in the cycle of birth and death by their activities, and the results of those activities. Those who are eternally perfect and eternally liberated automatically achieve a destination that lies wholly beyond the reach.

If ever the question should arise whether or not Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas deceive us, the scriptures will confirm in a way what they are doing. They accept the various hardships of this world just to assist those who are sincere in their efforts to practice Hari bhajana or sadhana bhajana.

And to those who avoid sadhana bhajana and engage in whimsical activities, Guru and the Vaisnavas remain somewhat indifferent. This is especially to be understood. Qualified guardians assume the role of well-wishers even in this world; what then to speak of our spiritual guardians, in whom we witness a far more exalted conception of guardianship’.

Who is Gurudeva? He is our eternal best friend. He is our eternal well-wisher who offers shelter to the shelter-less. In relation to Guru, people often think, this person is my Guru that person is your Guru, and that other person is his Guru, but the scriptures present a different conception

Manathaha Sri Jagannatha Madguru Sri Jagadguru Madatma Sarvabhutatma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha

My Lord is the Lord of the Universe. My Guru is the Guru of the whole world. My Self is the Self of all beings, therefore I prostrate to my Guru who has shown me this.

That person who is my Guru is the Guru of all fourteen planetary systems and therefore he is jagad guru, Guru of the entire universe. This is a scriptural truth, not a mere fantasy.

Having reflected on the living entities in plight, Sri Radha and Sri Krsna personally appeared in this world in Their combined form of Gaurahari, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and assumed the role of jagad guru to instruct
all humankind. Many people raise the doubt; is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu still bestowing his mercy today? After all, are there not numerous examples to show that only his personal associates received his favour?

It is the conditioned souls doubting nature to always seek defects in others, be they Vaisnavas or Bhagavan Himself. His mentality is like that of an ant which tries to find a hole in a temple composed of gems. This is his great misfortune. The scriptures instruct us to care for our own well-being and the well-being of others, but we are unable to understand what this means. Our crippled nature blights everything and our useless fault-finding mentality takes us nowhere.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

One who feels lower than a blade of grass and who is more tolerant than a tree; and who expects no honour for himself but is able to give due respect to others is qualified to perpetually chant the Holy names of Sri Hari.
(Śikṣāṣṭaka Verse 3, CC17.31)

The scriptures describe how one can become amānī mānada, free from the desire to receive honour and be able to offer all respect to others. Our Guru Varga, or line of previous acaryas have beautifully elaborated upon this point.

amānī mānada, hoile kīrtane, adhikāra dibe tumi
tomāra caraṇe, niṣkapaṭe āmi, kāńdiyā luṭibo bhūmi (5)

If I renounce the desire for honour for myself and instead offer respect to others, you will give me the desire to perform kirtan. Without duplicity, I shall cry and roll on the ground at your lotus feet.
(Krpa Karo Vaisnava Thakura Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

My prayer is that when I have abandoned the desire for honour and I am able to offer respect to others you will bestow upon me the ability to perform kirtan.

What does this mean? If I can become amānī mānada I may actually achieve something in spiritual life. But if instead I nurture desires unfavourable for bhakti, I will never attain any success. My devotional practices will merely deceive me and others.

What will allow us to understand this? By sarangati, dedicating ourselves completely to the lotus feet of Sri Guru, there is hope that we may make advancement. Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas only wish to see us to advance spiritually but we do not realise this.

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has written vando muñi sāvadhāna mate, I bow to the lotus feet of my Sri Gurudeva with great care and attention. What does ‘care’ refer to here? The scriptures instruct us to be attentive and not to commit offenses. One should always keep this in mind.

Once, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada said with deep regret, ‘those who think they must have a Guru to live in this world, just as a person who wants to cross the river must procure a boatman, or a person who wants his clothes washed must locate a washer-man have been cheated. Such persons, who try to understand Gurudeva’s actions with their material intelligence, have never once seen or met me, nor with this attitude will they do so’.

The eternally liberated souls always speak the message of Vaikuntha. They never utter anything for their selfish interest but nonetheless, we see faults in them. In doing so we create problems for ourselves and are simply being betrayed form all directions.
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja from Gaudiya Patrika, Year 55 Issue 10.

Jaya Sri Guru Parampara. Jaya Srila Param Gurudeva Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja ki jaya!