Distributing Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Message

Srila Prabhupada explains how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was anxious to spread Lord Chaitanya’s message all over.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura passed away1

The following article is based on a lecture given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in Los Angeles on December 13, 1973 – the Disappearance Day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.

nama om visnu-padaya krishna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktisiddhanta sarasvatiti namine

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura passed away from this material world on 31st December, 1936.

There are two phases, prakata and aprakata, appearance and disappearance. We need not lament on account of disappearance of spiritual master because Krishna and Krishna’s devotee never disappears. Not only devotees, even the non-devotees do not disappear. Krishna is eternal and every living entity is also eternal. It is confirmed in the Vedic literature: nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13). This is the description of the Supreme Lord. He is nitya, eternal, and the living entities are also nitya, eternal. But the Supreme Lord is the chief eternal. nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. Qualitatively, there is no difference between Krishna and the living entities. But quantitatively, there is difference. What is that difference? The plural number nitya (or the living entities) are sub-ordinate, eternal servants of the singular number nitya (the Supreme Lord) If you are serving someone who is also exactly like you – with two hands, two legs, and the same sentiments; he also eats; everything is same there; but there is a difference: one is the master and the other is a servant. That’s all. Otherwise, they are equal in all respects.

So spiritually, there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. But materially speaking we become happy when someone is born and become unhappy when he passes away. This is material. And spiritually, there is no such difference, appearance or disappearance. So although this is the disappearance day of Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, there is nothing to lament. Although we feel separation, that feeling is there, but spiritually, there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. There is a song, Narottama dasa Thakura’s song, ye anilo prema-dhana, karuna pracura, heno prabhu kotha gelo. That is our lamentation.

Sri-Chaitanya-Mahaprabhu

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura brought the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to distribute all over. Of course, that was the desire expressed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

He predicted that “All over the world, as many towns and villages are there, everywhere My name will be known.” The name of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will be known everywhere. We are attempting to execute that will of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He said personally,  [Cc. Adi 9.41]

bharata bhumite manusya janma haila yara
janma sarthaka kari kara para-upakara

He wanted His name to be broadcast all over the world in every town and village. And who would do it? He asked that anyone who has taken birth in Bharata-varsha, India, it is his duty: anyone born in India must first of all make himself perfect by understanding the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; then broadcast it, distribute it. This was the duty of every Indian.

So Indian, especially in India, they have got the privilege to take advantage of the Vedic literature. In other countries there is no such advantage. So if anyone wants to make his life perfect, then he has to take advantage of the vast treasure-house of Indian spiritual knowledge. A Chinese gentleman has written a book about religion. That is a course in New York University. He said that “If you want to know something of religion, then you have to go to India.” That’s a fact. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said there is a need of broadcasting this Krishna consciousness movement, all over the world and it is the duty of every Indian to first of all make his life perfect and then distribute this knowledge all over the world.

speech-by-prabhupada

Perfection means one must know his position and act accordingly. At the present moment, people do not know what they are; even great scientists, they are also failure. First of all one must know what he is, whether he is this body or something beyond this body. This is the beginning of spiritual knowledge. So that advantage is there in India, by culture, by education. Therefore Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu requested Indians, bharatiya, Bharata-varsha, those who have taken birth as human being in the land of India. He did not speak to the animals. bharata bhumite manushya janma. manushya janma means human being. Because without being a human, one cannot understand these things; the cats and dogs cannot understand. So one who behaves likes cats and dogs also cannot understand. Therefore He said, janma sarthaka kari. First of all make your life perfect and then distribute this knowledge. This is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was expecting that in later days His followers would do that. So that attempt was made by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura desired that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message should be accepted by East and West equally, and both the Indians and Europeans, Americans, should dance together in ecstasy. That was his desire. Bhaktivinoda Thakura simply expressed the desire, “When shall I see this happening, that both the eastern and western people are united on the basis of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission and dance together in ecstasy?” That was the ambition of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and that was the ambition of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. And Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took up this affair.

He requested every student, every disciple, especially those who are competent, that they should take up the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and preach in the western countries. That was Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s first attempt. Before that, even the acharyas, Rupanuga Gosvamis, they left literature, but they did not attempt to preach practically. But Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was very anxious to preach this message of Chaitanya in the western countries. This is Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s special contribution.

Srila-Bhakti-siddhanta-Sarasvati-Gosvami-Maharaja

One of my friends, dragged me to meet this sadhu. At that time, I was a nationalist and a manager in big chemical factory. I was about twenty-four years. My friend asked me that “There is a nice sadhu, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He came to Calcutta. Let us go and see.” But I was reluctant. I thought there are so many sadhus and I had very bad experience and so I was not very much keen. But he insisted.

Devotees: Jaya!

Prabhupada: So I went to see Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura on that day. On the first meeting, we offered our obeisances. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati immediately began his talking. He said “You are all educated young men. Why don’t you take up Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult and preach all over the English knowing public? Why don’t you take up this matter?” I argued with him in so many ways. I told “Who will accept our message? We are dependent nation. Nobody will care.” But he convinced me. I was defeated by his argument. I was very glad that this sadhu was trying to preach the message of Chaitanya. And then, when we came out, we were offered prasadam, very nice treatment, the Gaudiya Matha. And when I came out on the street, this friend asked me, “What is your opinion of this sadhu?” Then I said that “Here is the right person who has taken up Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message, and now it will be distributed.”

Devotees: Jaya!

(Read more about this first meeting of Srila Prabhupada with his spiritual master)

Prabhupada: I accepted him as my spiritual master immediately. Not officially, but in my heart. That was in 1922. Then, in 1923, I left Calcutta on my business tour. And I made my headquarter at Allahabad. Allahabad is about five hundred miles from Calcutta. I was always thinking that “I met a very nice saintly person.” In 1928, there was a Kumbhamela. At that time, these Gaudiya Matha people came to Allahabad to establish a center there. Someone informed them to go to Prayaga Pharmacy and meet Abhay Babu (name of Srila Prabhupada during his family life) My drug shop was named as Prayaga Pharmacy. So the Gaudiya Matha people, they came to see me. So “Sir, we have come to you. We have heard your good name. So we want to start a temple here. Please try to help us.” And because I was thinking of these Gaudiya Matha people that “I met a very nice, saintly persons,” and as soon as I saw them, I was very much engladdened: “Oh, here are these persons. They have come again.”

prabhupada_initiation

So in this way, gradually, I became attached to these Gaudiya Matha activities and by the grace of Krishna, my business also was not going very well. (laughter) (laughs) Yes. Krishna says yasyaham anughrnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. If somebody wants to be actually devotee of Krishna, at the same time, keeps his material attachment, then Krishna’s business is He takes away everything material, so that cent percent he becomes dependent on Krishna. So that actually happened to my life. I was obliged to come to this movement to take up this very seriously. And I was dreaming that “Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me, ‘Please come out with me!’ (pause) So I was sometimes horrified, “Oh, what is this? I have to give up my family life? Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is calling me? I have to take sannyasa?” Oh, I was horrified. But I saw several times, calling me. So anyway, it is by his grace I was forced to give up my family life, my so-called business life. And he brought me some way or other in preaching his gospel.

So this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me. So I have to thank you more. You are actually representative of my Guru Maharaja (Srila Prabhupada starts to cry) because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja.

Thank you very much. Chant Hare Krishna. (end)