(Please note that due to a poor recording a lot of the lecture was indistinct and it ends abruptly.)
Date: February 15th, 2010 Topic: Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. Srila Tamal Krsna Goswami. Speaker: HH Bhakti Caru Swami
Hare Krishna! So today is the disappearance day of Srila Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj; Srila Rasikananda Prabhu and Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj and because of this occasion we are going to sing a special song, which is the lamentation between separation from the ward and his superiors. It is written by Srila Narottam Das Thakura. We chanted this song in the morning after mangal arati so in the class also because of the day also of celebrating the disappearance of the three very exalted devotees, acaryas we will sing the song. And that is why today also because it is the disappearance day of these personalities we don’t have any particular verse. We will speak on each of these diffferentpersonalities. In the translation of this song – it goes like this –
je anilo prema-dhana koruna pracur heno prabhu kotha gela acarya-thakur
He who brought the treasure of divine love and who was filled with compassion and mercy — where has such a personality as Srinivasa Acarya gone?
As I mentioned it was written by Narottamma Das when Srinivas Acarya left the planet. They were very close friends, very intimate associates of each other and when Srinivas Acarya left Narottama Das Thakur’s heart was broken. He expressed his agony through this song.
kaha mora swarup rupa kaha sanatan kaha das raghunatha patita-pavan
Where are my Svarupa Damodara and Rupa Gosvami? Where is Sanatana? Where is Raghunatha das, the savior of the fallen?
kaha mora bhatta-juga kaha kaviraj eka-kale kotha gela gora nata-raj
Where are my Raghunatha Bhatta and Gopala Bhatta, and where is Krsnadas Kaviraja? Where did Lord Gauranga, the great dancer, suddenly go?
pasane kutibo matha anale pasibo gauranga gunera nidhi kotha gele pabo
I will smash my head against the rock and enter into the fire. Where will I find Lord Gauranga, the reservoir of all wonderful qualities?
se-saba sangira sange je koilo bilas se-sanga na paiya kande narottama das
Being unable to obtain the association of Lord Gauranga accompanied by all of these devotees in whose association He performed His pastimes, Narottama das simply weeps. [Saparsada-bhagavad-virahajanita-vilapa (je anilo prema-dhana)]
As I mentioned earlier today is the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj, Srila Jagannath Das Maharaj and Srila Rasikananda Prabhu. I will briefly speak on Tamal Krishna Maharaj and then I will try to discuss the glorious lives of two acaryas in our sampradaya Srila Jagannath Das Maharaj and Srila Rasikananda Prabhu. Today also we will have a memorial ceremony of Tamal Krishna Maharaj starting at 10am. We are very fortunate to have amidst us Tamal Krishna Maharaj’s younger brother Carl and his wife and son. And Carl will speak on Tamal Krishna Maharaj’s glories and many other senior devotees will speak on Tamala Krishna Maharaj. After Tamal Krishna Maharaja’s disappearance we had a memorial ceremony of Tamal Krishna Maharaj Govardhan memory where Maharaj used to spend a lot of time. Carl was also there at that time and he gave such a moving description of his relationship with Tamal Krishna Maharaj and how Tamal Krishna Maharaj affected his life that I couldn’t resist but run up the stage and just embrace him. So I am sure we will also have such a wonderful experience today.
I am sure in Iskcon everyone knows Tamal Krishna Maharaj. He was very, very special devotee. I am sure that those who met Tamal know that when Srila Prabhupada came Sriman Mahaprabhu had sent many devotees to assist Srila Prabhupada. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had planted these devotees in different parts of the world especially in America. Srila Prabhupada even said that, that Mahaprabhu sent the devotees to assist him in his preaching mission to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world fulfilling Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction. And Tamal Krishna Maharaj undoubtedly is one of the leading ones of those associates, eternal associates of Srila Prabhupada.
Tamal Krishna Maharaj was born in 1946 in New York City and he grew up like another American at that time. From his childhood he stood out as a very strong personality, very special and like other American youth thoughtful, intelligent American youth of those days in the ’60s Tamal Krishna Maharaj also became delusioned with the existing American society, intensely materialistic American society. In .. the youth of American were disillusioned with their materialistic way of life and decide to search for a positive alternative and counter culture. And like many other youth Tamal Krishna Maharaj left home and went to San Francisco which was the THE place for young Americans at that time. And like the other ordinary Americans he was hanging onto then Golden Gate Park in Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco. But Tamal Krishna Maharaj actually went to the big forest and he was living there with a group of young boys and girls. He lived in a hole of a .tree. A .tree is huge. Sometimes when there is some cavity in the tree he was living there. And Srila Prabhupada went to that when he was invited to that community.
Then a group of boys and young girls were there. Srila Prabhupada accepted the invitation and went there. And just look at it. It was good enough to attract Tamal Krishna Maharaj, Visnujana Maharaj and Gaura Hari Prabhu. Three of them were attracted to Prabhupada and they left the community and went to Los Angeles and joined Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada recognized him right at that beginning. Tamal Krishna Maharaj became a very intimate associate of Srila Prabhupada. Tamal Krishna Maharaj became the president of. [Unclear]
Prabhupada had sent him on various missions. Like when the movement started to develop in London due to the wonderful endeavor of Mother Maliti and her husband Syamsundar Prabhu, Gurudas Prabhu, Mother Yamuna and Mukunda Maharaj and Mother Janaki. These three couples actually went to London and started the movement there. It is due to their intense sincerity the movement started to flourish. George Harrison became attracted to this movement and he became a follower of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada sent Tamal Krishna Maharaj to London to establish sankirtan because Tamal Krishna Maharaj was an outstanding sankirtan devotee. He was an exceptional organizer. Then he went to France, he went to Britain and then Prabhupada sent him to India.
And from here Tamal Krishna Maharaj was GBC of India I think from ’70-’74 – Tamal Krishna Maharaj was GBC of India. And it was Tamal Krishna Maharaj who actually acquired this piece of land here in Mayapur were we are sitting. It was not easy to get that because some individuals were against Srila Prabhupada coming to Mayapur and establishing Krishna consciousness over here. Many devotees tried and failed. It was very difficult. We did not really have any set up here until Prabhupada enthrusted tamal Krishna Maharaj with this assignment. In Mayapur no one was supporting Srila Prabhupada. Rather they were against him.
Tamal Krishna Maharaj was so intelligent. He got one person and made a separated arrangement with him without letting anybody know and came here sat under the banyan tree. Outside here on the property there was one banyan tree. He sat there and signed the contract and that is how our land was acquired. And he mentioned to me he arrived in Calcutta late in the night after he completed this assignment and Srila Prabhupada was still awake. Prabhupada was waiting for him. And Prabhupada was so pleased when he told him that he had got the land.
In this way Tamal Krishna Maharaj had so many wonderful achievements and that way he pleased Srila Prabhupada and it is a pity that when our movement is really craving for his involvement Tamal Krishna Maharaj just left. It appears that Tamal Krishna Maharaj left by an accident. No. It was not that he left in the accident. Tamal Krishna Maharaj actually left by his own will. Many devotees actually had experience and I also relate what experience I had that Tamal Krishna Maharaj being aware of his departure from this world when he wanted to leave his body but before I also get into that I shall also mention Visvambara Prabhu who is also here. He mentioned he was packing Tamal Krishna Maharaja’s suitcase before leaving that morning. At night he was packing and Tamal Krishna Maharaj told, emphasizing that he was leaving as if he knew he was leaving not to come back. I will request Syamlall Prabhu to narrate that anecdote when we get together for Tamal Krishna Maharaja’s memorial ceremony.
I also had a similar experience – actually the day he left in the morning I didn’t meet with him. I didn’t see him. The day before that we went to Calcutta, Jayapataka Maharaj, Gopal Krishna Maharaj and myself. We were in Calcutta to meet the police commissioner captain. So we had a very important meeting. Devakinandan Prabhu was also with us. So we came back very late. When I woke up Tamal Krishna Maharaj had already left. He left right after mangal arati.
Three days before that I was chanting with him. He was pacing up and down and I was chanting with him and at one moment he just told me take care of these boys in Calcutta. He had some disciples, very young boys took initiation from Tamal Krishna Maharaj and Tamal Krishna Maharaj was telling me again, “Please take care of them.” So I said, “Yes.” He said, “You are their father.” I said, “No you are their father.” Then he said, “No you are their father.” Generally there is the statement that the spiritual master is the father and his god brothers are the uncle but he just kept insisting that I am the father. I told, “Why you are speaking like that!
And then there was the accident in which they lost their lives. Tamal Krishna Maharaj left this world. Also another important information regarding this is that the autopsy report actually mentioned that Tamal Krishna Maharaj left already before the accident took place.
So atleast for me it is a clear indication that he left due to some divine arrangement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada. A person like this, being such an intimate associate of Srila Prabhupada must have gone back to Prabhupada to assist him in some other mission that Srila Prabhupada is involved in, in another planet or in the spiritual sky. His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj ki jai! Srila Tamal Krishna Maharaj’s thiro bhava tithi Mahotsava ki jai! Gaura premanande, Hari Haribol!
Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj is our Param Gurudev. Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s spiritual master was Srila Gaurakisora Das Babaji Maharaj. Gaurakisora Das Babaji Maharaj’s siksa gur was Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Bhaktivinode Thakur considered Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to be spiritual master. The actual date of his appearance is not known but he appeared some time around 1750. He was born in the eastern part of Bengal, which is now Bangladesh in the district Tepakhola. In the district Tepakhola there is one village called Tangail. So in that village he appeared in a very aristocratic family.
From his childhood he was very attracted to Krishna. When he grew up he left home and he used to spend to Vrndavan and he used to spend time as a recluse. From a young age he was a bajanandi – absorbed in chanting the holy name. There he came across Madhusudan Das Babaji Maharaj who was a disciple of Uddhava Das who was a disciple of Baladev Vidyabhusana. Baladev Vidyabusan is our prominent .. He has many wonderful achievements. Baladev Vidyabhusana’ disciple was Uddhav Das Babaji. Uddhava Das Babji was a disciple of Madhusudan Das Babaji and he was .that he gave him paramahamsa stage. In this way Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj spent many many years in Vrindavan and then in 1880 Bhaktivinode Thakur came to Vrindavan and there he met Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj, And right from the first meeting Bhaktivinode Thakur became extremely attached to him and Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj seeing his hearts desire to preachw as very inspired and he instructed him to take up after Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj came to a place . in Bengal. He left Vrindavan and he must have been over hundred and twenty years at that time. He was born around
1750 and it was around 1880. So he was almost a hundred years. very, very old and he came to .. And his intention was to come to Bhaktivinode Thakur because we see that Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj and Gaura Kishore Das Babaji Maharaj .. Vrindavan but at some point they left Vrindavan and came to Navadwip. And then in 1883 Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj came to Navadwip on the other side of the Ganges in place called .Actually his aspiration was to build a very prominent math over there. Jagannath Das Babji Maharaj did not want to go actually. His servant Behari was with him so he decided to stay under a tree. And he stayed there under the tree on the bank of the Ganges .
Then one very wealthy person .. when he met Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj he became so impressed that he bought that land and Bhaktivinode Thakur built two huts there for Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to stay so that is how they developed ways of presenting.. So Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj became very, very affectionate to Bhaktivinode Thakur. Bhaktivinode Thakur became very attached to Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj came to Bhaktivinode Thakuras house on this side of the Jalangi.
At that time Bhaktivinode Thakur discovered Mayapur. Originally those days people were under the impression that the birth place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur was on the other side of the river. Still today they make their claim that, that is actually Mayapur. They are called.. but this is Yogapith. It is not that. This is the original Mayapur. Bhaktivinode Thakur actually got a dream one night. He saw this actual Pith area on this side of the river Jalangi lit up with light and he saw a city there and he saw devotees from all different parts of the world chanting and dancing in ecstasy. So Bhaktivinode Thakur came the next morning and he actually found a Neem tree. and there were many tulasi trees around that Neem tree and he recognized that is the birthplace of Sriman Mahaprabhu. So he could discover the original birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and so he actually confirmed this is the birth place of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he brought Jagannath Das Babji Maharaj down there. At that time Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj was more than hundred and forty years old. He was about hundred and forty four years of age and he couldn’t walk. You can imagine a hundred and forty-four year old person who couldn’t walk. Beharie, he had a servant who was very strong. The way Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj used to go to some place Beharie used to put him in a basket and he used to carry him on a basket there. That is how he was carrying him from place to place. Beharie brought Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to the place that Bhaktivinode Thakur identified as the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj , he was old and bent with age, when he arrived there he just stood. It is described he was dancing in ecstasy jumping saying, “This is the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! This is the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! ..” That was Jaganath Das Babji Maharaj’s prayer is,
gauravirbhava-bhumes tvam nirdesta saj-jana-priyah vaisnava-sarvabhaumah sri-jagannathaya te namah
gauravirbhava-bhumes tvam, the personality who identified, nirdesta, he actually pointed it out that this is the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj identified the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and vaisnava-sarvabhaumah, he is the monarch of the Vaisnava world. In the kingdom of Vaisnava he is the sarvabhaumah. Sarvabhaumah means in Sanskrit – there are different definitions for a king. A superior king is a raj and then samraj and above the samraj is sarvabhaumah, who is the one predominating ruler of the others. So that is how Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj was identified.
There are several anecdotes of Srila Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj life. One important thing is when Srila Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj came here Bhaktivinode Thakur was a young man at that time and Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj did not know that he was a very accomplished astrologer. He was a very well known scholar of astrology. The astrological society of India gave him the title of .. Surya. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s title .Siddhanta Sarasvati but then it was an astrological consideration. Later on his name had been identified as Vaisnava Siddhant Sarasvati which is the .. So Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj actually told Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur to write a … a Vaisnava calendar… He had already give smart calculation, . The calendar that we have is according to his instructions(?)
Then Hari Sauri mentioned one or two anecdotes. One anecdote is very beautiful. One day some very rich man came to see Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj along with his family. His name was Srinath Rai. He was king of his land and very big landlord. So he came to see Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj here in Koladvip, Navadvip. He was impressed to see Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj being so humble he came and asked him, he addressed him as siddha baba – perfected soul, which at that time Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj was known. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj response was, “No, no, no I am just an ordinary person.” But he was very impressed. Then one time he told Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj to perform some yajna. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj said. “Look I can’t go any way. I am old.” But then something happened Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj picked a stick and with the stick he started to hit the ground. The person became very worried. He thought that Babji Maharaj was so upset with him so he reacted in this way. So he started to beg apology from him. He said, “Forgive me if I have wronged.” He said, “No. It is not that. One goat wanted to enter into Lokanath Goswami bhajan kutir and is eating the tulasi so I am actually chasing it away.” So that man out of curiosity he sent a telegram to Radhakund and .. said I walked really into Lokanath Swami’s bhajan kutir asrama and it was eating the tulasi plants there. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj was hitting the ground to drive out the goat from Lokanath Goswamis bhajan kutir in Vrindavan
Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj was very old and he could barely… When Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj used to eat the puppies used to come and surround his plate. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj used to give them food. So Biharilal Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj servant became very concerned about that. He did not like this dogs and Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj was reacting to them in such a way. Dogs are considered to be.. animals. So one day he took those puppies away. And at Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj’s prasadam time Jagannath das Babaji Maharajsaw that the puppies were not there he just called Bihari and said, “Take this plate away! Take this plate away!” Bihari said, “What happened?” Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj said, “Where are the puppies? Where are the puppies?” (Laughter.) So the servant went and brought the puppies. Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj told him that, “These are not ordinary dogs. These are the dogs of the holy dham.” Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj ki jai!!!
Rasikananda Prabhu was an exceptionally brilliant personality. He was born in Royni in a place Royna, which is in the Medinipur district in southwest Bengal. He was an extremely handsome person and extremely learned and he became interested in spiritual life from a young age. Bhakti-ratnaka describes that he became so intensely interested in spiritual life that there was a divine voice from the sky that announced, “Don’t worry. Soon your spiritual master will come and save you.” And due to that divine celestial voice he saw a great Viasnava came to that place in Royna. That was Syamananda Prabhu. Symananda Prabhu was a disciple of Hridaya Caitanya Prabhu and he was a siksa disciple of Jiva Goswami.
Srinivasa Acarya, Narottama Dasa Thakura and Syamananda Prabhu – these three personalities were the stalwart acaryas after the Goswamis. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left and Nityananda Prabhu continued preaching in Bengal and this part of India and the Goswamis were writing books and absorbed in bhajan in Vrindavan. After Nityananda Prabhu, Jahnava Matta was preaching. She became the head of the community of the Vaisnava path. Then the Goswamis were considered to be THE stalwart acaryas and these three personalities were also prominent – Srinivasa Acarya, Narottama Dasa Thakura and Syamananda Prabhu. So Syamananda Prabhu just as they met – Syamananda Prabhu met Rasikananda Prabhu they became very. just waiting for each other. Immediately Rasikananda rendered service to Syamananda Prabhu and he gave initiation and told him.. friends.., but he was not at all interested in friends.. He was an exceptionally brilliant preacher. Many became affected by his preaching even the king became Rasikananda Prabhu’s disciple. Not only the king but even the dacoits became his disciple. Muslims became his disciple. So many people became his disciple. And … culture was at that time prominent in Bengal…[End of recording!]