This book, Śrī Guru Darśana, is a revelation or darśana of the life of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, an eternal associate of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa sent from Vraja, as well as his darśana or teachings to the world. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja came in an unbroken succession of divine masters, descending from the Supreme Lord Himself, the original Divine Master. Such a spiritual lineage is considered a prerequisite for a bona fide guru by religious authorities throughout India.
Every page of this biography, written by one pure Vaiṣṇava about another, offers enthralling information about the lion-like ācārya, Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. It not only describes his glorious life, spotless character and courageous preaching but it also details his lucid and penetrating delivery of Gauḍīya philosophy.
Within these pages, Srila Narayaṇa Gosvami Maharaja gives a brief but comprehensive description of Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja – his life, his dedication to his gurudeva, his service to Mahaprabhu’s mission, his beautiful example of Vaisnava behavior, and his inner absorption. It also contains some of and some of his Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja’s highly instructive writings.
Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja was a very qualified Vaiṣṇava. When our guru-mahārāja was in charge of publications, he put Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja in charge of organizing all the preaching. His services included sending other preachers to various districts of Bengal. Śrīla Trivikrama Mahārāja would personally go out collecting and preaching, especially in the district of Bardhamāna.
What are the meanings of the praṇāma-mantra of the world famous ācārya, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja (Śrīla Prabhupāda)? Only one who has deeply understood the mission of Śrīla Prabhupāda can explain this. With utmost respect entwined with sweet affection, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja offers explanations of this mantra that reveal Śrīla Prabhupāda’s heart’s desire and exalted position in our paramparā.
Some of the letters Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja (Śrīla Prabhupāda) wrote to his dear friend, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s first few years in America comprise this tasteful presentation. “Our relationship is certainly based on spontaneous love. That is why there is no chance of us forgetting one another.” [Letter dated September 1966.]
This booklet is a collection of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārājas remembrances of his instructing spiritual master and dear friend, Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda. It is a deep and revealing account of the intimate relationship between the two, from their first meeting in 1947 until Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure from this world in 1977.
Controversies arise in the Vaiṣṇava community to clarify important philosophical points for the benefit of all concerned. Some persons claim that there are differences in the conclusions taught by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayaṇa Gosvami Maharaja and Śrila A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda. These authoritative responses to many of the objections will help the reader understand the unity of Srīia Narayaṇa Gosvami Maharaja’s and Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.
We should see that all devotees are in one family, Lord Caitanya’s family. If we do not think in this way, we cannot be devotees. We should think that we are in one family, and there are so many hands. Krsna, Sri Caitanya Mahaaprabhu, and Srila Svami Maharaja have thousands and thousands of hands, and we should honor all their hands; we should honor all those who are chanting the name.
O Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, you deliver śrī rūpānuga-bhakti, which is enriched with ujjvala-mādhurya-prema. You are the embodiment of the mercy potency of Śrī Gaurāṅga. I offer praṇāma unto you. You deliver the fallen and remove the darkness of philosophical misconceptions which are opposed to the precepts taught by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
I worship my eternal master, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who is the crest-jewel of supremely pure avadhūtas (personalities transcendental to society). He is the crown-jewel of all the vrajavāsī- bhaktas. He is conversant with all the intimate services rendered unto the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Being continuously established in vraja-bhāva, he is constantly absorbed in the practices of rāgānuga-bhakti.
When will that divine personality, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who has propagated the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu throughout the whole world, who has proclaimed the glories of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and who has demonstrated the exemplary method for chanting Śrī Nāma, forever be remembered in my heart?
Jagannatha Dasa Babaji leapt high in the air and began chanting and dancing at the discovery of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Yogapitha. Out of compassion for all the conditioned souls Jagannatha Dasa Babaji transferred his power of bhajana, knowledge of the sastras, and prema bhakti directly into the heart of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Following in the footsteps of Sri Gurudeva, they engage themselves in the mission of delivering the world, considering it their prescribed service. Incompetent people should perform japa of krsna-nama in solitude. In that kind of worship, one does not associate with others. Only a competent person will not be adversely affected by association with the public; rather, the outside community will be able to obtain the mercy of the Holy Name…
Rūpa Gosvāmī manifested bhakti-rasa-śāstra, unprecedented spiritual books describing the divinely sweet affairs of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and the method of entrance into them. He was especially qualified for this task owing to his stature in transcendental Vraja as the most intimate maidservant of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Through his instructions, Rūpa Gosvāmī helped the jīvas attain their spiritual bodies…
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is the embodiment of pure character and the saintly nature of a sādhu. He is completely immersed in his transcendental service to Madana-mohana in parakīya-bhāva, and he can bestow this perfection to others. He is therefore known as the sambandhadeva-ācārya. By his mercy, the sādhakas realize their eternal svarūpa and achieve sambandha-jñāna.
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī wrote prayers like Vraja- vilāsa-stava, Vilāpa Kusumañjali, and Mukta-caritā on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. In order to bring the loving moods of Vraja into this world, Dāsa Gosvāmī requested Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī to write Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. He told him everything he had collected from Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī’s notes and helped him realize everything.
Upon hearing the name of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the hearts of the Vaiṣṇavas dance in joy. By Mahāprabhu’s desire, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī appeared to bestow mercy upon all the jīvas. His dissemination of bhakti-siddhānta is unparalleled. Therefore, he is known as the tattva-ācārya of the Gauḍīya sampradayā. At all times, he was under the discipline and care of Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī.
In Vṛndāvana, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī nourished everyone with pure love for Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He established many temples and gave shelter to countless living entities. He took responsibility for the spiritual development of all souls. He concluded his pastimes on this Earth in the transcendental abode of Śrī Vṛndāvana and re-entered the eternal pastimes of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
When Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī arrived in Vraja, he continuously engaged himself in chanting the holy names of the Lord. Daily, he performed mantra-japa, meditation and kīrtana in the company of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana and the other Gosvāmīs. By his chanting, he manifested the very life and soul (ātmā-svarūpa) of the holy name, the beautiful form of Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa.
Why is Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura heralded as nāmācārya (one who, by example, teaches the world to chant the holy name)? Because his blissful absorption in chanting, even in the face of severe adversity, does not waver for a fraction of a moment. This small book, compiled for our eternal benefit by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, consists of eighteen pastimes of Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, as narrated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata and other books.
What did Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī come to give? Because he understood the heart’s desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he was able to establish Mahāprabhu’s mission on this earth. Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, whose heart and soul are the teachings of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, distils the essence of those teachings in this nectarean monograph. From parakīya-bhāva and bhakti-rasa to the characteristics of uttama-bhakti and prema-bhakti, all are explained and defended.
This book is a compilation of essays which illuminate the subject of Sri Guru-tattva and glorify Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta. The real guru is an uttama maha-bhagavata – like Narada Gosvami and Sukadeva Gosvami. They can hold up their hand to bless you with the words, “Bhakti should come at once.” And bhakti will come. There are three kinds of uttama bhagavats. The first is Narada in his first stage (in his previous birth, after Lord Visnu gave him His momentary darsana). He realized Krishna in his heart, and at once all kinds of anarthas and imperfections disappeared. He realized Krishna, his relationship with Krishna, and his service to Krishna.
This is a series of seven discourses on guru-tattva, in which Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja discusses the importance of accepting a bona fide guru as more dear than life itself and the absolute necessity of receiving initiation from such a guru. These discourses were based on verse 11.2.37 from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. “Therefore an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipful deity and as his very life and soul.”