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Suhotra Maharaja: Vaishnava Poet Extraordinaire

Saturday, 24 October 2009 / Published in Articles / 6,872 views

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 Recently I unearthed an unpublished masterpiece he wrote based upon the Purusha-Sukta verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam.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 dhimanakrishna@yahoo.com. (-PPd)

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3 Responses to “Suhotra Maharaja: Vaishnava Poet Extraordinaire”

  1. dhimana_krishna says :

    Hare Krsna Patit Pavana Prabhu,

    Dandavats Pranaam at your lotus feet.
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    Thank you very much for the articles you have been posting @ Dandavats. They have led into a transcendental glorification of the eternal associates of His Divine Grace so spritually uplifting for anyone who reads them.

    I got the wonderful ooportunity to associate with Srila Suhotra Swami when he started the website in2-mec… i would read all his posts which most of the time were of a different level altogether.. and one could make out that he was not an ordinary person even materially. Once in Pune Yatra (An annual congregational devotees festival in Pune) Srila Radhanath Swami while introducing Srila Suhotra Swami said that – He is the pandita of ISKCON.

    His kirtan style was also something unique in iskcon. And i an never forget when he mercifully chastised me for being inattentive in the SB class.

    Thank you very very much .

    All glories to Srila Suhotra Swami.
    your aspiring servant,
    vibhava krsna das

    My Dear Vibhava Krishna das,
    Dandavats at your feet. Thanks for the kind words, but the credit really goes to Suhotra Swami for the wonderfully metered poem in AB

  2. dhimana_krishna says :

    Hare Krsna Patita Pavana Pr,
    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All
    glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
    Thank you very much for your articles on different Vaisnavas written on
    dandavats. I am very much enlivened by these articles.
    I have a deep appreciation and respect for HH Suhotra Maharaj. In
    beginning of my KC, I got to hear Suhotra Mhj a few times and was deeply
    impressed with his intellectual presentation of philosophy. Marked with
    a superb wit, his classes were a pleasant boost for me to take up
    process of KC seriously. Later, I got to know about his books too and
    read ‘Substance and Shadow’ and became deeply impressed by his
    philosophical profundity. Since then, I have practically purchased and
    read all of his books and I very much relish reading those books, apart
    from Srila Prabhupada books.
    Please do share nectar about him and his sweet personality, his
    services, pastimes, writings etc because it’s very inspiring!
    Also, I heard one devotee saying that Srila Prabhupada once commented
    that Suhotra Mhj is the greatest philosopher in ISKCON(Of course, after
    Srila Prabhupada). Is this comment factual? I did not find any
    references about this, but just wanted to know, because it’s such a
    wonderful glorification of Maharaj then! Of course, I have no doubt that
    Suhotra Mhj’s philosophical acumen is one of rarest.
    Also, I am an avid reader of books by Srila Prabhupada disciples and
    have read a wonderful book called ‘Pushpanjali’. Please forgive me, but
    are you the author of the same book?
    Please forgive all my offenses, thank you very much for your time.

    Your aspiring servant,
    Kuldeep.

    Dear Kuldeep,
    Dandavats to you. Yes, I did write Shri Pushpanjali, I began it in 1969 nad published it after fifteen re-writes in the 90’s. I think you must have the Bombay edition. Thanks for the kind words about my beloved Godbrother Spd.Suhotra Maharaja. Yes, he left a long and lasting impression on many of us. His wiritngs can be accessed via a google search of Suhotra Maharaja Archives. His kirtans are on Radhe.net under HSSS. And there is a great Youtube video of a TV show with Suhotra and Kali Baba. Very classic. Let’s stay in touch.
    Your servant.
    Patita Pavana das

  3. ccd says :

    I was recently talking to a friend of mine, who was with Suhotra Maharaja in and around the last days or months. He mentioned that at the last lectures and in his last instructions Maharaja was really peaceful and resolved. His talent seems to be under-appreciated but clearly he is a glorious poet and a Vaisnava.

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