Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja November 9, 2002
Today is a very auspicious day. It is the appearance day of param-pujyapada nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Srila Bhakti Sri Rupa Siddhanti Gosvami Maharaja. He was born and brought up in East Bengal. He was a learned scholar and a good writer. When he first came to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he saw that all the brahmacaris in the temple were very learned, and he thought, “I am not learned, so I should return to my home. There I will study Sanskrit, law, and other subjects, and then I will join and serve Srila Prabhupada.”
He returned home and began to study law; but our Guru Maharaja, his elder god-brother and also like his father, went to his home and inspired him, “Oh, what will law do for you? Law cannot give you love and affection. At once return to the matha and study love and affection under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada. You are wasting so much time, and perhaps you will die in the meantime. Please come at once.” By the inspiration of our Gurudeva, he returned to the matha.
The name given to him by Srila Prabhupada was Bhakti Siddha-svarupa brahmacari, meaning “the personification of perfected bhakti.” Srila Prabhupada selected a very good name for him.
Bhakti Siddha-svarupa brahmacari was so bold – very, very bold. He once went to preach in East Bengal, in Dhaka, with pujyapada Nemi Maharaja. Nemi Maharaja was an extremely learned person and an excellent scholar. Srila Prabhupada used to send him to learned circles. He inspired all audiences to laugh and weep, and he inspired all by his scholarship. Nemi Maharaja was giving class there in Dhaka, and because Siddha-svarupa brahmacari was a good speaker, he called out to him, “Oh, Siddha-svarupa brahmacari, please speak something.”
Bhakti Siddha-svarupa brahmacari began to speak boldly, saying that, “Vivekananda is not vivekananda (meaning “one who has knowledge and a sense of discrimination).” In other words he saw the real meaning of the word in connection to that person and proclaimed, “Vivekananda has no knowledge at all. Vivekananda went to Western countries like America and gave a class on zero, saying that the world is zero. In other words, he was speaking Buddhist and mayavada philosophy. So he is Vi-ve-ka-nanda, not Vivekananda.”
He added that Rabindranath Tagore, who had received a nobel prize, was nothing more than a ramachagal, a goat with a long beard. He should be in the kitchen where people who are interested only in cooking and not in hearing elevated hari-katha will hear him, but those who want pure bhakti will not be able to do so.
Hearing this, the people in the audience became upset and left that assembly, and they turned against the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Nemi Maharaja sent a telegram to Srila Prabhupada in Mayapura complaining that, “My whole preaching has been spoiled by this boy. Please call him back to you. I cannot preach here because no one is willing to listen anymore. All are against us.”
Prabhupada at once answered in a telegram, “Oh, Siddha-svarupa brahmacari is very bold. He has preached what I personally wanted to tell. I am coming just now, and I will prove that he is correct. He has done billions of rupees worth of preaching here – not small scale at all. The right audience is attracted. Those who are sincere and know how to discriminate – they are attracted. I am very, very happy. I am coming immediately.” Prabhupada then very soon came to Dhaka, where he called the entire assembly. He proved that the words of Siddha-svarupa were true to the highest extent, and everyone became very inspired.
Siddha-svarupa brahmcari had great regard for his god-brothers, and in fact he used to refer to my Gurudeva as his siksa-guru. Gurudeva and he sometimes went to markets together with him to collect vegetables. At that time our Gaudiya Matha was very poor. The devotees used to take spinach and a few other varieties of bhoga, but they had no rice at that time. It wasn’t until Bhakti Saranga Gosvami Maharaja came that everything changed.
Siddha-svarupa brahmacari used to go to Howrah market, very nearby to the train station, two or three miles from Ulta Danga. He and Guru Maharaja would collect vegetables and put them in two big bags, one being heavier than the other. Siddha-svarupa prabhu used to run after the heavy one. My Gurudeva also used to run after that one, saying, “I will take the bigger one,” and he would say, “No, I will take the bigger one.” Guru Maharaja told him, “Why should you take it?” “You are my senior, so I must take it.” Guru Maharaja replied, “I am elder than you; I am stronger, so I should take it.” Thus they quarrelled like this — a prema-kalaha, or loving quarrel.
Nowadays we see the opposite. Now, what to say of god-brothers, even the relation between disciples and Gurudeva has been changed. Gurudeva now has to see, and to fulfil, all the desires of his disciples, otherwise the disciples may leave him. Gurudeva is serving according to the wish and desire of his disciples, while the disciples don’t care for Gurudeva. Nowadays they don’t think about the desire of Gurudeva, but at the time of Prabhupada the only thought was, “How to serve Gurudeva.”
They used to keep their lives in their hands for their gurudeva, as my gurudeva did for Srila Prabhupada at the time of Navadvipa parikrama. At that time disciples did not quarrel among themselves, whereas nowadays we see the opposite. A guru has to be very careful that, “How can I fulfil all the desires of my disciples so that they may not give up bhakti?”
I see and realize this. Very few disciples want to offer their lives and souls for Gurudeva; one can count their names on one’s fingers. So, I request you all to follow your Gurudeva, the other disciples of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and Sri Srimad Bhakti Sri Rupa Siddhanti Gosvami Maharaja.
Follow parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. He risked his life and went by boat to America. He was very ill, performing an illness pastime, but he was not concerned with this. Rather, he was praying to Krsna, “What service can I do for You there?”
So many of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s disciples were like that. This was Srila Bhakti Sri Rupa Siddhanti Gosvami Maharaja, a perfect example of disciple. He did what his Prabhupada wanted, and what my Gurudeva wanted.
He wrote a commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam, establishing the link between Srimad-Bhagavatam and Brahma-sutra. He also published two Bhagavad-gitas – one with the commentary of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura compiled by Srila Bharati Maharaja, and the second with the commentary of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. Also, Sri Isopanisad and the books of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura: Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Ujjvala-nilamani Kirana and Brhad-Bhagavatamrta Kana.”
Srila Sri Rupa Siddhanti Maharaja was also a very strong ruler, so bold to speak the truth. He was a good controller and manager too. He was also a kavi, or poet. He had all good qualities.
I am giving puspanjali in the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Sri Rupa Siddhanti Gosvami Maharaja. I pray that he should be pleased to give us his causeless mercy — that we can follow his footprints.