Suhotra Maharaja: Vaishnava Poet Extraordinaire
By Patita Pavana das Adhikary
Shripad Suhotra Maharaja, who has departed for the Spiritual Kingdom as hinted in the following composition, was a prolific Vaishnava writer far ahead of is time. But while he walked amongst us prior to his remarkable ascension in 2007, he was known for his many talents. Of course, first and foremost he is remembered for the official post and position he held as a responsible GBC for Eastern Europe, and spiritual master in the great parampara descending from Shrila Prabhupada. Yet, he was also a fine bhajan singer, kirtan leader, transcendental psychologist, Gaudiya shastri, Vaishnava philosopher, scholar of ancient and modern history, engaging writer, intrepid preacher, razor wit, mystic yogi, songwriter, friend to all disciples and Godbrothers alike and one-man activist ever crusading for the cause of Krishna consciousness. In short, Suhotra Maharaja was a hard act to follow!
Thus, with the mind of a genius and soul of a bhakta, Suhotraji had the heart of a true poet. Recently I unearthed an unpublished masterpiece he wrote based upon the Purusha-Sukta verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam. The poem was found in a three-hundred page collection of letters he penned to his disciple Shrimati Abhaya Mudra devi dasi. Suhotra Maharaja knew by heart the Sanskrit verses of ShrilaVyasadeva from the Second Canto. Each day he sang those lovely hymns along with the Brahma Samhita prayers during his puja to his shaligram shilas. His understanding of those words from the Purusha Sukta Confirmed radiates from the strength of each verse he interpret for us in chaste English.
Here then is Shri Suhotra Swami’s personal and instructive…
“IMPRESSION OF THE PURUSHA-SUKTA HYMN”
The Lord of thousands did unfold,
His form as cosmos, making place,
For every creature that veils a soul;
He reached past matter and through space.
Throughout all time, ’tis only He,
This universe of species high and low.
Who are born to die in One who’s free,
For they who lust this world will know.
Universes past and worlds to be,
Are but one quarter of His might.
The rest displays eternity,
That shines beyond our covered sight.
Three quarters transcends time and space;
In the other fourth He went around,
To assume each form, to take each place,
Building blocks drawn from out of ground.
‘Tis called “Virat”, His creation wrought;
And into Virat, as Purush He took His birth,
To supply every form that each soul sought,
To lay the foundation of the Earth.
Rishis and devas called Him with their chants,
Sacred waters they sprinkled upon His form.
The total ingredients of this world in His glance;
Behold the Vitat from whom all things are born!
Pure milkfoods flowed from out of His flesh,
And winged creatures flew from out His smoke,
Beasts of the woodlands inhaled breath afresh,
There village animals followed duties bespoke.
And thus at this yagna they called “sarva hut”
All things were offered, and all things came,
From Sama came music, hymns came from Rig,
From Yajur came word, and Chanda meter from flame.
In that great mental sacrifice expanded Virat.
In each remote place the Purusha was spread,
The truthful Vedas explain to us what
‘Came of His feet, His thighs, His arms and His head.
Well-versed and enlightened brahmans: His face;
Kshatriyas, mighty and just, His arms;
Vaishyas, His thighs, the agricultural race;
Shudras, His feet to serve the uper swa-dharms.
Then His mind–the Moon; the Sun His eyes;
From His mouth Indra and Agni came out.
The wind-god Vayu came from His sigh;
For these are truths no wise man will doubt.
His great navel divided the earth from the sky;
And His head became the celestial vault;
His feet are the ground; and His ears became why
Sound echoes in space without any halt.
The Virat Purush Who shines like the Sun,
Beyond the shell of this cosmic egg,
Has given forms and names to everyone,
But He directs devotees who His favors beg,
These teachings Brahma gave the king of sky,
Then Indra taught others in hea’en and on earth,
For he who knows these things shall nevermore die,
Although in an earthly body did he take his birth.
Those who perform yagna will dwell in that place,
Where death cannot go: The immortal domain
Awaits souls who honor devotional ways;
And bow to the Lord from which everything came.
-Suhotra Swami 2002, Mumbai
Devotees interested in websites about the life, fascinating work and disappearance of our beloved Godbrother Suhotra Maharaja–including writings, akhand kirtans, prophetic songs and personal diaries–are invited to correspond with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (-PPd)