A Tribute To Gopiparanadhana Prabhu
By Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Goswami, (ACBSP), formerly Makhanlal das brahmachary
“Gopi”? (Gopiparanadhana prabhu). Oh, no! Surely there is some terrible mistake! Not Gopi! Oh no; surely it is just a nasty, irresponsible rumor—that Gopi has left us! But no; only about an hour after receiving this terrible news, it is confirmed. Gopi has left us! Oh Radhe! Oh Krishna! Oh, why? Why do you take away such a sweet and valuable devotee from our association? Oh why? Oh, why not someone else? There are others you could take that would not so pain our hearts! Oh, Gopi was such an important contributor to Srila Prabhupada’s movement? “Was?” How can I say “was”? Yet I have no choice; you have taken him away, to enter into your nitya lila. Certainly there is no problem at all for him! He has joined your eternal pastimes. You would have taken your dear devotee even if he didn’t leave his body at Goverdan; but just to show his greatness, you took him from Vraj, just before he was to leave for China for preaching. He was one of the original pioneers of preaching in China, though less known for this than Tamal Krishna Goswami, but an equal contributor. Oh yes, he was a preacher, though he is famous in ISKCON for his spotless translations of the shastra and for his Goverdan institute. Who will take the helm now of this wonderful school? Such scholars are few and far between in ISKCON. Actually he was (“was”? Oh, the pain!) unique, one of a kind. There will never be another devotee exactly like him, though in 10-20 years there may develop other Sanskrit scholars in ISKCON; but will they have the big heart of Gopi paranadhana, the spiritual advancement, the love, the kindness, the compassion? He was more than a scholar—he was a saintly person, an ocean of good qualities: humility, pridelessnes, tolerance, always (not sometimes) ready and willing to offer all (not some) respects to others, never expecting honor for himself, devoid of all sense of false prestige, exactly as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu declares in his Sikshastika that all Vaishnavas should be like. He had no taste for politics, back biting, vaishnava aparada (did he ever offend even a germ?) and other garbage that the Bhagavatam refers to as the “pilgrimage of the crows”—“pilgrimage” meaning the favorite taste, way of being, method of acting, preference for subject matter, etc). Rather, Gopi was always interested only in the “pilgrimage of the swans”—the path of goodness, gentleness (he was the proverbial “gentle Brahmin”), sweetness, adhering only to the path of Hari katha, devotional service, and positive endeavors.
But now we will never again see his smiling face in this lifetime. Oh, what a loss! Oh Radhe! Oh Krishna! Oh, why did you take him? But you are supremely independent. We cannot speculate about your inconceivable plan. Please do not take any more of our beloved God brothers, at least for some time! Let them stay for anther ten or maybe even twenty years to continue developing the foundation of this movement, for indeed, it is not yet complete. Besides, we need their association, as does the entire mission of Srila Prabhupada. Oh Radhe! Oh Krishna! Please, don’t make us have to hit our heads against the wall again and again, as Narottama das Thakur laments in his “ye anilo prema dana” prayers. Lost in separation, we keep Gopiparanadhana always as a beloved friend and saint in our saddened hearts.
Respectfully submitted to Sri Sri Radha, Krishna and the host of Vaishnavas,
Your eternal servant,
Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Goswami