Dasa Babaji Maharaja
Once, a lawyer named Bhattacarya came to visit Srila Gaurakisora in Kuliya, Navadvipa. He was living nearby and was renting a room from a certain caste gosvami on a monthly basis which included his meals. When the gentleman approached, Srila Gaurakisora asked him, "What arrangement have you made for your meals?" The lawyer replied,"I have arranged to take my meals in the house of a certain gosvami who is a Vaisnava brahmana." Srila Gaurakisora then instructed, "Kindly give up eating cooked rice from his hand. Cook for yourself and accept that. Those so-called Vaisnavas from whom you are accepting your meals are fish-eaters, and they maintain their 'service' to Lord Caitanya by various deceptive ways. Their activities are the most offensive because of being in knowledge of what they are doing. Such rascal persons who do not fear committing offenses to the Supreme Lord should never be spoken to, for by speaking with them, one's devotional service will be destroyed."
Some time later, the lawyer brought several sweets he had offered to Lord Caitanya, and he prayed to Srila Gaurakisora to please accept his offering. Srila Gaurakisora then told him, "I never take sweets." The lawyer replied, "But there is nothing higher than accepting prasadam offered to the Lord." Immediately, Babaji Maharaja said, "Lord Caitanya does not accept foodstuffs from the hands of deceitful fish-eaters or others who make devotional offerings in name only. Such foodstuffs can never be considered the Lord's remnants. Whoever has no attachment for real saintly Vaisnavas can never distinguish between a devotee and a non-devotee. When such a person, who lacks the ability to properly discriminate, brings foodstuffs before Lord Caitanya, they are not accepted.
"If someone offers banana flowers because he likes the taste, his offering is not accepted by the Supreme Lord. Offering foodstuffs to the Supreme Lord that have been contaminated by one's lusty desires is considered a great offense. However, if a self-realized soul is offered his favorite preparation, the Lord accepts the offering. Krsna tastes foodstuffs that have been tasted by the lips of His pure devotees. But when you accept the grains of a sinful person, your mind becomes impure. With a repentant heart, one should feel that his worship to the Lord has not fructified, and consider how he can serve the pure devotee of the Lord. Then, when banana peels and the discarded skins of eggplants are boiled without salt and offered with a sincere, anxious heart filled with an attitude of full surrender, such foodstuffs become mahaprasadam. The pure devotees of the Lord accept the nicest foodstuffs. But what will happen to one's devotion if one continues eating nicely and wearing such nice clothes?"
Srila Gaurakisora's Love for Sri Mayapura Dhama
The pure character of Srila Gaurakisora remarkably harmonized everything opposing the real conclusions of pure dedication, bhakti. If one does not faithfully follow in the footsteps of the followers of Srila Gaurakisora, and lead a life of only pure bhajana, then all attempts to understand the inconceivable personality, example, and teachings of Srila Gaurakisora will meet with frustration. Some persons approached him hundreds of times and received no blessings, whereas others experienced his mercy abundantly.
One day, a householder devotee from Mayapura went to Kuliya for the association of Srila Gaurakisora. At that time Srila Gaurakisora was inside his grass hut. When the householder devotee approached him, Srila Gaurakisora closed and fastened the door. From outside the hut the person prayed to Srila Gaurakisora for the opportunity just to see him. Srila Gaurakisora replied, "If you want to have a glimpse of me, you must give two rupees." A resident who lived nearby collected the money from the visitor and then informed Srila Gaurakisora that he had the two rupees in hand. Babaji Maharaja then opened the door of his hut and said, "Kindly have a look." Remaining some distance from the grass hut, the gentleman offered his obeisances. Srila Gaurakisora allured him closer and took the man's hands within his own and said, "You have just come from Mayapura, the place where my supreme Master, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has sent you here, so I will speak to Him on your behalf. Sri Caitanya will certainly listen to this wretched beggar. For your part, you should always take shelter of Krsna's holy name by always chanting. Then there will be no further obstruction in your life."
Whenever Srila Gaurakisora would see the residents of Mayapura, he would very affectionately say, "These are the residents of my Lord's sweet home." Srila Babaji Maharaja, who had an extremely independent nature, would often refuse people who tried to donate wealth or other articles. Then again, he would often personally beg in order to render service to the Vaisnavas in Navadvipa. Of course, he never accepted anything for himself, but used everything in the service of the Lord's devotees.
Superficial Symptoms of Ecstasy
Once, in Navadvipa, Srila Gaurakisora was sitting where he performed his bhajana, chanting Hare Krsna very loudly. Other devotees who had also assembled there were chanting with him. Just then, someone came and began to display different emotional symptoms such as crying with their hairs standing on end. Some devotees began to say, "Just see! He has attained the highest mood of devotional ecstasy by chanting the glories of the Lord." Srila Gaurakisora immediately requested the visitor to leave the area. Several devotees assembled there became disturbed upon seeing this and also left. Srila Gaurakisora then said, "One who has actually attained love of Godhead will never display it to anyone. An advanced soul will always keep any advanced symptoms hidden, just as a chaste wife always keeps her body carefully covered out of natural shyness, and feels embarrassed to show her body."
The Devotee's Disturbing Explanation
Srila Gaurakisora always gave beneficial instructions to all the faithful living entities. One person regularly came to Srila Gaurakisora to hear topics about the Supreme Lord. One day he heard Srila Babaji Maharaja speak in a very harsh manner. This disturbed him at heart so he decided to stop coming. Afterwards this same person suddenly appeared one day and it was obvious he was in mental anguish. Srila Gaurakisora realizing this, asked him, "Leaving the association of the devotees, where topics of the Supreme Lord are discussed, are you living in a solitary place, carrying on your own worship? When one hears the topics of the Supreme Lord in the proper association of the devotees of the Lord, maya, the illusory potency, can no longer cause any hindrances on the path of devotion. But if one performs his bhajana in a solitary place, without proper association, he becomes more entangled by the illusory energy. Consequently, instead of spiritual topics glorifying the Supreme Lord in your heart, materialistic subject matters will rule over and possess you."
The person explained to Srila Gaurakisora, "I thought it was better to live in a solitary place and perform my own private worship rather than become disturbed at heart by hearing another sadhu's sharp words." Srila Gaurakisora replied, "Those devotees who speak sharp words to drive away the witch of the illusory energy are actually the only real devotees and the true friend of the conditioned living entities. The miserable living entity hears the harsh words of his wife and abusive language of his relatives until the end of his life, yet he never desires to leave their association. On the other hand, he absorbs himself in trying to please them by offering his service. But when a devotee of the Lord, who is always desirous of the living entity's ultimate welfare, speaks just one instruction to drive away the illusory energy, maya, that same conditioned soul immediately makes plans to abandon the devotee's company for the rest of his life. If you want to perform proper bhajana, then you must accept the harsh language of the devotees as the curing medicine by which maya can be abandoned. Then you can become advanced enough to purely chant the Holy Name."
The Householder Vow
One newly-married devotee and his wife once came to pray for the mercy of Srila Gaurakisora . Srila Gaurakisora said to the husband, "If you actually want to perform devotional service, you must live separately from your wife. Not depending on each other you can chant the Lord's holy names." After hearing the instructions the newly-wed devotee left and did as he was instructed A few days past, and he came again to Srila Gaurakisora, who asked, "Are you and your wife taking your meals together or separately?" The husband told him, "We are living separately and carrying on our worshop as you instructed, but we take our meals together." Srila Gaurakisora then asked him, "What foodstuffs did you have today?" The newly-wed man answered, "We had very nice vegetables, the tastiest dhal, and fried eggplant." Srila Gaurakisora added, "It is not enough to only give up your external connection with your wife, because you are internally associating with her. You have not been able to give up the finest tasty dishes prepared by your wife so how will you be able to worship the Lord? Your wife is communicating with you through the medium of the tasty dishes she has prepared. Shame on you! Although you are pretenciously acting as if you are chanting the Lord's holy name, still you are desiring to taste the finest vegetables. Do you think that after a person suffers a loss of one million rupees, he will be satisfied by accepting only a handful of rice? Although he may gradually become accustomed to accepting the rice as a daily practice, he will always think about the money he lost. Even if you give such a person the nicest rice he will have no taste for it due to being in anxiety over what he has lost. Similarly, you have lost the most precious jewel of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. So, how can you become absorbed in simply eating nice foodstuffs? Externally you are disassociated from your wife yet you are maintaining internal attachment for her !"
Renunciation for Krsna's Pleasure
A householder who was present during Srila Gaurakisora's conversation with the newly-wed devotee asked Babaji Maharaja, "We see there are many Vaisnavas living together with their wives who perform service unto the Supreme Lord. Won't there be any benefit for them?" Srila Gaurakisora replied, "The living entity is the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord Krsna, but in the conditioned state he cannot recognize this. He only sees the illusory form of his wife and children. If this is the case, then his vision is illusory. One who has no eyes to see through the medium of devotional service, can never realize his real identity as an eternal servant of Lord Krsna. The tendency to enjoy materialistically is always present in the association of one's sons and wife. These days the householders who do not hear the topics of the Supreme Lord in the association of the Lord's devotees, will become attracted to their wives and children and will not attain the spiritual energy revealed by the chanting of the holy name of the Lord."
"Then again, some persons, like falsely renounced monkeys, act unattached towards their wives and children. Such householders are only making a show of renunciation. An actual Vaisnava in married life never enjoys sense gratification with his wife in any way whatsoever. He will always see his wife as a servant of Krsna and respect her as the representative of the spiritual master. Those householders who actually desire to purely worship the Supreme Lord, yet are weak-hearted due to their attachment to wives and offspring should always associate with the advanced devotees, Maha-bhagavatas. By hearing the glories of the Lord they can quickly become free from their exploitative intelligence towards the family. Gradually they will realize that full surrender to Lord Krsna is the highest benefit for the spirit soul. Body consciousness obstructs self surrender and the causeless mercy of Lord Hari. An extended form of bodily awareness is depicted as attachment for wife and children."
The Highest Happiness
Once a person saw a follower of Srila Gaurakisora's begging in the scorching summer sun at noon, during the month of March. Approaching Srila Gaurakisora, that person asked him, "Why is your servant begging in the hot sun? Everyone begs in the morning so they can return to their residence early." Srila Gaurakisora told him, "Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura instructed his servant as follows:
tomara sevaya duhkha haya yata, seo
ta' parama sukha
'Whatever distress comes about in your devotional service, is actually the highest happiness for you. Both happiness and distress in devotional service are our real claim to wealth. Accepting both of these will destroy the suffering arising from ignorance." Srila Gaurakisora always instructed those persons who were desiring their highest benefit to accept and tolerate the difficulties which arise in devotional practices in order to benedict the soul. One should understand that tolerating the dualities of happiness and distress in ones service is the ultimate way to destroy miseries arising from ignorance. Therefore one should always remain engaged in the service of Lord Hari, the spiritual master and the exalted devotees of the Lord. Whoever comes to worship the Lord in search of a comfortable situation can never become delivered from the hands of ignorance. Rather he becomes further entangled in obstacles on the path of devotional service.
Different Forms of Maya
Once during the rainy season, Srila Gaurakisora left the grass hut he was residing in and moved to a nearby lodging house. He began to reside on the outer veranda there. One day when prasadam was being served to Srila Gaurakisora a poisonous snake slid up the veranda near the plate, touched it and slithered away. Seeing the snake, an old widowed woman nearby came running and yelled, "A snake has bitten Babaji Maharaja!" Srila Gaurakisora, who was blind, beat his hand upon the ground and asked, "Where is the snake? Where is the snake?" By that time the snake had gone. The woman exclaimed, "Babaji Maharaja, have you gone mad? That snake could have bitten your hand. He passed just next to your hand. If you had moved your hand just a little more to the right the snake would have bitten you. We are not going to let you remain here on this veranda anymore." Babaji Maharaja told her, "Please don't stand there any longer. You are inconveniencing yourself by standing so long." The old woman refused to go, saying, "As long as you do not go to a room, I will remain here." Srila Gaurakisora said, "First I am going to honor prasadam and go to my room later. Still, the old woman persisted, "That prasadam you are about to take might have been touched by the lips of the snake. You cannot accept it because if it is poisonous, you will die. Wait, I will bring you some more offered foodstuffs right now." Then Srila Gaurakisora remarked, "I never accept foodstuffs that have been offered to the Deity in the temple but only prasadam that has been obtained through begging." Turning to a nearby servant, the old woman instructed, "Please go and arrange more rice for Babaji Maharaja." Srila Gaurakisora then told her, "My dear mother, if you do not leave here now, I will not listen to anything else you say." Feeling obliged, the woman left. After some time, Srila Gaurakisora asked a nearby servant, "Has she left yet?" When he knew that she had left, he told the servant, "Did you see the illusory energy, maya acting? Just see how the illusory energy tries to gradually enter, using her different deceptive ways. Accepting different forms she knows many different ways to trick the living entity. She never lets the living entity serve the Supreme Lord. Look at how maya is speaking: "Go to your room, that snake will bite you, don't take that prasadam or you will die." If I would have died it would have been better. What is the use of my body remaining alive if I cannot worship Lord Krsna?" Then Srila Gaurakisora began to sing the following song:
gora panhu na bhajiya mainu
Srila Gaurakisora and the Supersoul
One night, at about ten o'clock, Srila Gaurakisora suddenly woke up, shouting, "Did you see that? Did you see that? A professional Srimad Bhagavatam reciter just went to the district of Pavana and spoiled the chastity of a widow who lives there! This is abominable! These rascals are performing so many scandalous activities in the name of religion." Srila Gaurakisora spoke as if he were directly witnessing the lecturer's mischievous activities. Srila Babaji Maharaja continued, "Caitanya Mahaprabhu reveals many things to me. There is one so-called scholar who often comes here and travels to other places establishing himself as being very learned. In the name of giving Srimad-Bhagavatam class, he simply collects money to support himself. The ordinary people do not know his real devious nature. He always keeps a widow with him and whenever anyone asks him if she is his wife, he says yes. The money he earns by 'preaching' the Srimad-Bhagavatam is used to purchase bracelets, oils, and so forth for her. Is there any greater offender and hypocrity than him?"
One day Srila Gaurakisora wrapped his feet and body with a cloth. Covered by the shawl he said, "Many persons, having been informed by others, come here to collect the dust from my feet. I tell them, 'I am not a Vaisnava. But if you go to a place where there are Vaisnavas who openly extend their feet to everyone, and are ready to give their foot dust and water used to bathe their feet, caranamrta, then won't you get more foot dust?
At that time, a person named Bhattacarya came from Vrndavana with his friend to see Srila Gaurakisora. Approaching Babaji Maharaja, he said, "You are my spiritual master. Please be merciful unto me." Srila Gaurakisora told him, "I have no rasagullas, sandesha, luci, puris, money, sweet rice, or sweet words. So how can I bless you? Those spiritual masters who can nicely feed their disciples lucis, sandesa and pretentiously praise them by telling them they are advanced devotees are fit to become gurus and benedict their disciples. Present-day learned persons define the word anukulya (favorable) as receiving wealth, a beautiful wife, and complimentary words." Bhattacarya then remarked, "Our minds are filled with different misconceptions. Whatever you instruct, we will follow." Srila Gaurakisora replied,"I can see what is most favorable for your devotional worship. You should eat chipped rice soaken in water and live in a straw hut. You should eat food that even a dog would not accept. You should wear clothes that even a thief would hate to wear. You must remain in the association of devotees and always chant the holy name of the Lord. However if you become a monkey like renunciate then your devotional service will be spoiled. Monkeys sometimes sit in one place and remain quiet. But as soon as they get a chance they steal something from someone else. As long as one acts like a monkey, his devotional service will never become resolute."
A so-called Gosvami approached Srila Gaurakisora to learn the most intimate pastimes of the Lord, called Astakala Lila, so that he could systematically worship the Lord at given periods during the day and night. The first day he came, Srila Gaurakisora told him, "Right now I have no leisure time at hand. When I find the opportunity I will explain it to you." Whenever the caste Gosvami would come, he would get the same answer. Finally the Gosvami became disturbed and stopped coming. That night at 10 o'clock Srila Gaurakisora said to himself, "Will a person who becomes impatient over losing a false coin learn the most intimate pastimes of the Lord? The pastimes of Krsna cannot be realized simply by reading a book. One may understand the literature but from where will he secure his spiritual body? You cannot realize your spiritual body simply by theoretical understanding. When the Lord's intimate pastimes are printed in ordinary books it causes turmoil in the material world. The ordinary people are building a high wooden platform, two stories high. Afterwards they climb to the top of the platform and simply pass stool. Many different persons come to see me, but they all come to deceive me. Before one can learn about the most intimate pastimes of the Lord, he should abandon all bad association and continuously chant the holy names of the Lord in the association of pure devotees. If one wants to worship the Lord according to his own whim in a solitary place, he becomes strangled by the witch of the illusory energy. The name, form, and pastimes of the Lord are revealed in the heart within the association of devotees. Unfortunate persons who do not have full faith in the divine potency of the holy name create an inauspicious situation for themselves because they nourish their corrupt intelligence with some misconceived understanding of the Lord's intimate pastimes."
Householder Life and Goloka Vrndavana
Once Srila Gaurakisora said, "If one remains in contact with stool, then worship of the Supreme Lord will not be possible." Srila Gaurakisora, after remarking in such a way, saw that the persons present before him could not understand exactly what he meant. He explained, those different households that are filled with the sounds "Eat and Drink" and where various lusty activites are performed may externally appear to be fit for the demigods, but are not suitable for the Lord's devotees. Although persons may pretend they are living in the heavenly planets, they are actually residing within a deep pool of excrement.
However, if one very seriously worships the highest, subjective reality, taking full shelter of the Supreme Lord, then wherever he resides, will be the same as Sri Radha-kunda." Several days later, a man named Girisha Babu, who was the owner of the lodging house and landowner in Navadvipa came to Srila Gaurakisora with his wife.The wife of Girisha Babu sadly asked Srila Gaurakisora, "Please instruct us how we can assist you in your personal bhajana. We wish to construct a small grass hut so you can perform your worship. You pass through the rainy season, and hot summer, with almost no shelter. You must be suffering very greatly. We have felt this within our hearts." Srila Gaurakisora then replied,"I am feeling no anxiety whatsoever, living in my small hut. I have only one problem, if both of you could just tolerate hearing of it. Many persons come to me and deceptively again and again ask, 'krpa kara.krpa kara (Bestow your mercy upon me)' In this way my worship is interrupted. They are not interested in their own real benefit, and their presence here simply disturbs my solitary worship to Lord Krsna. If both of you could just give me some of your stool, placing it where I perform my worship of the Lord, that would be very favorable. Then I could chant Hare Krsna day and night. No-one would want to come here. If you can't do this, then don't come here and waste the human form of life by speaking so much nonsense."
Upon hearing this, the wife of Girish Babu said, "Oh Babaji Maharaja, we should certainly take to heart the instruction you have given us, but if we pass stool and offer it to you in the place where you perform worship won't that result in unlimited sinful reactions?" Srila Gaurakisora then said, "I am not a devotee. Those devotees who are the owners of large temples, and who wear long matted hair, are actually devotees. I haven't realized anything tangible from the performance of my devotion. Thus, the place where I reside is fit to receive your stool. If both of you could just offer me your stool, then please speak up. Otherwise I have nothing to say to either of you."
Girish Babu and his wife, agreed to his
proposal not to build a straw hut, but said, "Even
if you won't stay in a new hut, if we can construct
two other huts, then your servants can stay there."
Having no other alternative Girish Babu and his
wife then cleansed an area and arranged for a carpenter
to come and build some new huts. When Srila Gaurakisora
realized what they had done he refused to set foot
in the new huts Girish Babu had constructed. Srila
Gaurakisora wanted to point out that the stench
of false prestige, lust for women, and desird for
wealth under the pretense of service rendered unto
the Lord emits a more impure odor than ordinary
stool. Babaji Maharaja relayed this message when
he began to reside in a latrine ditch behind a nearly
lodging house where people would urinate and defacate.
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