HH RADHANATH SWAMI
Today is the last day of our Yatra. On the request of devotees we have come to this place. It is much unknown part of Vrindavan. This particular temple is not to be found in any of the Parikrama books. We only are aware of these deities Shri Shri Radha Gopijana Vallabha due to the mercy they have personally bestowed upon me. Yesterday devotees had a vote and by that democratic process the conclusion was that we come here today.
We can understand Krishna by the grace of His devotees:
We understand Krishna by the grace of Krishna’s devotees. We cannot approach Krishna directly. It is by His own sweet will that He has arranged it in this way. Krishna wants to give credit to His devotees. He wants to bestow His mercy through His devotees. It is only through the mercy of the vaishnavas that we can understand what is Krishna, what is the holy name, what is Vrindavan, what is the purpose of life beyond just greed and egoism.
I would like to briefly narrate a few personal encounters in my life in relationship to Shri Shri Radha Gopijana Vallabha with your permission.
Maharaj’s journey from Pashupatinath to Amarnath in a crowded train and how he was left at an unknown place:
In 1971 I was a devotee of Lord Shiva. I was travelling from the area of Pashupatinath to Amarnath for a pilgrimage in the month of August. I was in a very crowded third class train. I did not sit down for about 40 hours. Finally the train stopped. And I just wanted somehow or the other to move. So I crawled over people’s heads and somehow just pulled myself out the window just to breathe and to move because I had these attachments. And train started moving. And I tried to get back in but it was so very crowded that no window could even fit a human being inside. So the train left and I was in this unknown place.
Maharaj realizes that the place is Mathura and it was Janmashtami:
I asked a sadhu on the railway platform where is this. He said this is Mathura. Today is Janmashtami. So he took me to Janmasthan where I spent the whole day. It was very crowded and very joyful. Although I really did not know who is Krishna and what is Krishna so much. And then at midnight everyone went to Dwarkadish temple and bathe in Vishram Ghat. So actually that night although I was in Mathura I stayed in the temple of Lord Shiva with a Babaji named Shivananda.
Maharaj goes to Vrindavan from Mathura and according to his tradition decides to bathe in Jamuna:
And I was thinking I will go to Vrindavan for about three days then I will go to Amarnath. So I started walking down the road and a bus saw me on the road between Vrindavan-Mathura and it stopped and picked me up. He said I don’t have to pay anything. So I went on the bus. And then I arrived and I just asked someone is there a river here Jamuna. So they just pointed and I started walking towards Jamuna because that was my tradition. Whatever holy place I would just go to whatever holy river was there and just sleep under tree and do meditation.
Maharaj was invited to a Vrijbasis house where they offered him food and a place to stay:
So as I was walking one Vrijbasi approached me and said to me that oh you have come from a foreign land because foreigners were very rare at the time. There was no ISKCON here at that time. He said you have come to Krishna’s home and we are Krishna’s family. So you are our guest. Let me give you some food. So he took me to some Vrijbasis house and I had Prasad, nice Prasad. And then he said where you are staying. I said on the river. Then he took me to an ashram of one blind sadhu. And I met him and he said let him stay here. He said yes. But still I went to the Jamuna.
Maharaj had to stay in Vrindavan for two months because of Typhoid:
So on the third day when I was going to leave in the morning for Mathura to the railway station I woke up with typhoid fever. So I was very very sick. And some of Srila Prabhupada’s God brothers were very kind to me. And after that I was in this Ram-Krishna charitable hospital for about two weeks lying in a room with forty dying people. They gave me shelter in one Gaudiya Math for some time. And I was studying there. The doctor told me that I have to wait at least two months before I can travel or I would die because my body was so weak and emaciated from the way I was living.
By the end of those two months Maharaj developed Krishna bhakti and decided to spend the rest of his life in Vrindavan:
By the end of the two months I came to the conclusion that of all the theologies, philosophies, religions and spiritual paths that I have experienced there is nothing higher, nothing sweeter, nothing more beautiful than the religion of Vrindavan, devotion to Shri Shri Radharani and Lord Krishna. So I decided to spend the rest of my life in Vrindavan and never leave.
Maharaj’s life at Vrindavan:
So after sometime I was living on bank of Jamuna, sometimes going to Govardhan, Nandagaon, Barsana and various places. I would usually sleep under trees near Chira Ghat here in Vrindavan. So we would go to Mangala-arti whenever in Vrindavan at Radha Raman temple and then Radha Vallabha temple. And go to a Mangala-arti at Seva-Kunj. And Banke Bihari gets up quite late, sometimes to Radha Damodar temple. So what happened is some sadhu, one very nice sadhu he got to know me. I would go every night few sadhus and I we would go around Vrindavan, Vrindavan Parikrama. We did this every night for the whole month of Karthik. We used to sing bhajans on the bank of Jamuna. One of the sadhus was a musical God brother of Ravi Shankar. He played sitar. But he considered Ravi Shankar to be so much in maya because he played ragas without Krishna’s names. He would play ragas and only chant Krishna’s name. So he was a fantastic sitar player. We would sit on bank of Jamuna and just chant and he would play, just about three, four, five of us. And we would go around Vrindavan every night in the moonlight when there was a moon.
One sadhu brought Maharaj to the temple of Shri Shri Radha Gopijana Vallabha:
And one of these nice sadhus told me that I want you to meet a very very very simple and pure soul. When you meet him you will understand what bhakti is. So I thought he was going to bring me to some nice temple. He took me in the Radha Vallabha temple area down this very isolated little alleyway where there was an open sewage gutter just flowing like anything, black sewage. And I had to step over that sewage gutter to get in the door. And it was someone’s house, very very simple and small house. And a family was living in that house. And in one of the hallway of their house there was a closet. And everybody is passing walking through that hallway. It was kind of an open hall. And in that closet were the deities of Shri Shri Radha Gopijana Vallabha.
Maharaj was introduced to Ghanshyam Baba and got to know everything about his past:
And then he introduced me to the poojari. His name was Ghanshyam and how gracious and how kind he was. He had such pure love and devotion for the deities. I was told that many years before when he was a young man he came from a very wealthy family. His father, mother and all other family members they came on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. They spent a few days and what the dham of Vrindavan did to his heart was something wonderful. He became so deeply attached to Vrindavan. Just by being here he became completely detached from everything in life. He saw no other purpose or meaning to existence except for surrendering to Shri Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan. So when it was time to go he said I will stay here. I will not leave. So his parents thought this is ridiculous. So they said alright you come a little later. So they went back. The parents came back again and said now you must come. He said I will not leave. So they told him we will take away all your property, all your money everything unless you come back. We will not in any way support your behavior. He considered the only real treasure and wealth in life is residence in Vrindavan in the service of Radha and Krishna. So they left. From a very wealthy family he was in total poverty. In the summer which is very hot, in the winter it’s extremely cold he would just sleep in the dust of Vrindavan on the ground in various places. He would go and do some Madhukari and get some roti. At that time Vrindavan was a very very quite place. He hardly knew anyone. He would just be immersed in the chanting of the holy names and praying.
How Ghanshyam Baba found the deities of Shri Shri Radha Gopijana Vallabha:
One day he was just sitting in the dust all day long just chanting the holy names. And you know what his duty was. In the Sanskrit alphabet he just wrote Shri Radha in the dust with his finger and he would just worship that. And at the end of the day he would erase it so that nobody would step on it. So when he erased he saw some gold. He rubbed the ground and he felt something there. He started digging in and there was a piece of gold. So he was thinking what this is. So he dug into the ground and what he found was something extraordinary. It was the top of the head of Shrimati Radharani’s deity. And next to her underground was a beautiful blackish deity of Lord Krishna. And it was written underneath them Radha Gopijana Vallabha. So he had these deities.
Ghanshyam Baba would worship the deities under a tree as he had no place to stay:
These deities you see they are quite big deities. He absolutely had not one paisa. He only had one torn up set of clothes, he had no residence. And here are self manifesting deities of Radha Gopijana Vallabha. So he felt that they have somehow put themselves under my care. I cannot leave them. So he would just sit there with them and would just chant. And sometimes people would come by and put some Madhukari, he could not walk. He could not go to homes because he can’t just leave the deities in a field. He was worshipping them literally under a tree even in the rainy season. And people would sometimes come by and give some roti and he would offer it. This went on for some time.
A Vrijbasi family impressed by Ghanshyam Baba’s sincere devotion offered him to place the deities in their hallway:
And this particular family of Vrijbasis they saw his genuine and sincere devotion. So they said you can put your deities in the closet of our house near our hallway. Those deities remained there for about the next fifty years. And he worshipped them there. This is where we met him. He would never leave the deities. He would just only at one time of the day he would go to the Jamuna because he had no one to help him. He would go to the Jamuna to collect water. He would bathe in Jamuna and bring a bucket of water back to bathe the deities.
Ghanshyam Baba’s qualities and how he lived in the little hallway:
Now when I met him he was an old man, perhaps in his eighties. And he had a certain mood about him. It was that he was the most fallen insignificant servant of Gopijana Vallabha, most unqualified and that anyone who came to that temple he would consider that was Gopijana Vallabha’s very special guest, Gopijana Vallabha’s friend who was personally invited and he would give his life and soul, his everything to serve anybody who came. He was one of the simplest people I have ever met. He was really living in poverty. You know where he slept for fifty or sixty years? He slept in the hallway where the family would just walk by practically stepping over him. The deities were in tiny little closet. Below that closet was a much tinier where just whatever the deities’ belongings were within there. And he just slept in the hallway on the floor. So I started coming there by about 9 o’ clock every morning after about five different Mangal-aarti’s that I would attend I would go to Gopijana Vallabha.
Ghanshyam Baba invited Maharaj to his place every day at noon to take Prasad:
And one day I just went there because I just wanted to be with Ghanshyam. So one day he told me come today at noon and I will give you Prasad. So I was thinking how I can refuse this. So I came at noon and all he had was three rotis and nothing else. So he said you must come every day, Gopijana Vallabha and Radharani want you to come every day to take Prasad with them.
One sadhu informs Maharaj that Ghanshyam Baba has not eaten anything since four days as he is offering all his rotis to Maharaj:
So after about three days this one sadhu that brought me to his house he told me that do you know Ghanshyam has not eaten anything since four days. I said why? He said because you are eating all his rotis. He said Ghanshyam doesn’t go out to beg, he can’t go far. There are three little houses right in that area and each one puts one roti and he goes to those three houses everyday to get one roti from each house and he brings it. That’s all he has. He offers them to Gopijana Vallabha. So he said he is giving you all of his food.
Maharaj refused to eat the rotis next day which left Ghanshyam Baba heartbroken:
So I came the next day and he just put down the rotis in front of me and I said Ghanshyam these are your rotis. He said no no these are your rotis. I said I already had Prasad. And he said doesn’t matter. Gopijana Vallabha wants you to eat these rotis. I said no I don’t want these rotis. He said you must, you must. He spoke nice English because he came from an educated family. I said Ghanshyam I have been told that you haven’t eaten in four days because I am eating all of your Prasad. He said no, who told you this? This is not true. I am eating so much. Gopijana Vallabha is giving me everything I need. Now you eat these rotis please. I said Ghanshyam I am not going to eat these rotis because these are your rotis. Literally he began to weep and tremble with folded palms begging me to eat the rotis. I said Ghanshyam unless you show me that there is more rotis in your house I am not going to eat these. He said I have so many rotis in the house. He said Gopijana Vallabha, his consort Shri Radharani is the Supreme Goddess of Fortune. You think there is no rotis in her house. I said Ghanshyam show me the rotis. He said no need to show the rotis they are here. You just take this Prasad. He became so conserved.
Maharaj requested Ghanshyam Baba to eat the only three rotis he gets because Maharaj can easily manage to get rotis from other places:
I said Ghanshyam I know that there are twelve places in Vrindavan that give madhukari to the sadhus at a particular time of the day. In those days every sadhu knew where to go, at what time to get free rotis. That’s the first thing the sadhus learn when they come to Vrindavan. They have the time schedule of roti distribution in different temples. I said I can go anywhere. You stay here and you are starving. He said no need. You take these rotis.
Maharaj stopped going to Ghanshyam Baba’s place at noon but Ghanshyam Baba would save the rotis knowing that Maharaj would visit him next day morning:
He started crying and pleading and praying to me. I understood that if I did not eat these rotis it would break his heart. So I was praying to Gopijana Vallabha what should I do break his heart or starve his body? He would not let me leave without eating the rotis. But I never came back at 12 o’ clock. He would always be inviting me. The next day he dint eat the rotis at 12 o’ clock. He saved them knowing that I would come the next day at 9 o’ clock. But we had a big fight and I refused to eat his rotis. This was his selfless service. He was so old and so thin.
Ghanshyam Baba did not allow Maharaj to help him carry bucket of water to bathe Gopijana Vallabha as it was his only service to them:
One day I saw him walking with his bucket of water to bathe Gopijana Vallabha from the Jamuna. He would walk about three steps and he would put it down and rest. Then he would pick it up strenuously, walk three steps and put it down to rest. At that time I was only twenty years old. So I took the bucket from him and I said I will carry it to the temple. He would not let it go. He said no need, no need. I said Ghanshyam let me carry it for you. I can carry it in three minutes. It takes you half an hour. I am young. So he said yes you are young so you should enjoy. But I am an old man. I am just a servant. My life is sacrifice. You are Gopijana Vallabha’s friend. You should not have to work for him. But I am just His fallen servant. It is my duty to serve him. He would not give me that bucket. I was walking alongside for about twenty minutes and we were having tug of war but he would not give me the bucket. And then finally he began to cry and with a choked up voice he said this service I have to Gopijana Vallabha is all I have in life. Please please do not take it away from me. I never tried to take that bucket away from him again.
Ghanshyam Baba fed Maharaj a whole cup of sweet rice without keeping anything for himself:
One day I happened to be there and it was some festival. So some Vrijbasi brought him a cup of sweet rice to offer to Gopijana Vallabha. Now please don’t imitate this spontaneous love of Vrijbasis or the residence of Vrindavan. But you can hear to understand its nature. He was just eating two-three rotis a day for how many years and here was a small pot of sweet rice in a clay cup that was brought. The way he offered it to the deities he sat me down in the little hallway in front of the closet. He put the spoon, one spoon in the cup and put it right to Gopijana Vallabha’s mouth and said a little prayer. And he put it to Shri Radharani’s mouth and said a little prayer. Then he came to me. I was only a few feet from the deities where I was sitting. He came to me and told open your mouth and put your head back. And I opened my mouth and put my head back and he just poured the sweet rice from the spoon in my mouth. And this is how he offered the entire pot of sweet rice. He just kept offering spoon by spoon to Gopijana Vallabha’s mouth, Shri Radharani’s mouth and just tossed it in my mouth. I said Ghanshyam save something for you. He said no need, no need. And with folded palms and tears in his eyes he said you are Gopijana Vallabha’s friend. I am only his insignificant servant.
Ghanshyam Baba would always be doing some service throughout the day for the deities:
One time in the month of January I happened to come by to visit him in the night time. So Ghanshyam and I were chanting together. Whenever I went I would come in all different time of the day just to visit him. And whenever I would come he was never idle. He was never sitting or sleeping. He was always doing seva. I would come in and he would be fanning the deities. He would just be standing and fanning and singing songs. Another time I would come and he would have some sandalwood and he would just be grinding it. But most of the time ninety percent of the time when I would come he would be sitting alone with harmonium and singing beautiful songs to Gopijana Vallabha. He was always busy doing something or the other. Sometimes he would be doing Pooja, doing offerings and aarti’s. Sometimes he would be dressing them.
One night Ghanshyam Baba insisted Maharaj to stay at his place as it was very cold outside:
So this night I came and we were singing nice kirtan together in this old broken down little house in a hallway. So then I said I am going. Now I must go. And Ghanshyam said where you are going. And I said I am going to take rest. He said where do you take rest? I said I always take rest in the bank of Jamuna. He said no no it is January, it is very cold. And you have no home and you have no proper clothes. You don’t have a blanket even. He said you stay here tonight. It’s too cold. I insist you must sleep here tonight. I said Ghanshyam I sleep at Jamuna every night. He said no no tonight you must stay here. You are Gopijana Vallabha’s guest. You must sleep nicely.
Ghanshyam Baba requested Maharaj to sleep with his blanket but Maharaj refused to take it and decided to walk out:
So I lay down on the floor next to him. And he came out with his old blanket. And put it on top of me. So I was thinking this is very nice blanket. And then he lay next to me. All he had is this thin dhoti and a little chadar. He just slept right on the bare floor he just had a little piece of burlap he would put on the floor. And he would lie on his arms. And it was trembling cold. I said Ghanshyam this is your blanket. You sleep with your blanket. He said no no, it is not my blanket. It is your blanket. He said Gopijana Vallabha wants you to have this blanket. You are his friend. I am only his fallen servant. You must accept this blanket. I said no it is your blanket. I will only stay here if you sleep with this blanket. So he was begging me again and weeping, begging that you take the blanket and sleep nicely. He said I am an old useless servant. What difference does it make if I suffer? But you are dear to the Lord. You must enjoy.
Ghanshyam Baba agreed to sleep with the blanket as he did not want Maharaj to walk out:
He was worshipping the deities for 50-60 years and I am just a new devotee. I had just arrived in Vrindavan and understood who Krishna is a couple of months before. So finally he surrendered because I was about to walk out. I said if you don’t take this blanket I am leaving to Jamuna. He said alright, alright. I will sleep in the blanket. You lay down. So I lay down. It was cold. Ghanshyam was under this old tattered blanket. But it was a little warm.
Sometime later Maharaj woke up and found the blanket on himself and tried to put it on Ghanshyam Baba again:
So sometime later I woke up in the middle of the night and mysteriously I was feeling a little warm. So leapt over and saw Ghanshyam. He was just laying there trembling like a leaf in a wind. And then I looked at myself and I saw the blanket was on me. While I was sleeping he put the blanket on me. So very very quietly I picked up the blanket and I wanted not to awaken him. And as soon as I touched his body with the blanket he just leapt up saying no need, no need. I said Ghanshyam you are not even sleeping, you are freezing. He said no need, no need. You are Gopijana Vallabha’s friend. I am his servant. The duty of the servant is to serve the friend. Gopijana Vallabha will never be pleased with me unless I sacrifice my life for the happiness of his guest and his devotees. You must accept this blanket. He said you take this blanket. You take it with you. I refused. So the actually I wasn’t yelling but I just told him that I am not going to sleep with this blanket and he was insisting, insisting and then I said I am going to the Jamuna.
The switching of blanket went on five to six times that night:
He said alright, alright I will sleep with the blanket. So I lay down, he lay down and I woke up few minutes later and I was warm. And I looked over and there he was just suffering miserably, freezing and trembling. So again I tried to really really secretly put that and as soon as I touched him with the blanket he said no need, no need no need. He said my life is to serve. He said you don’t understand. My happiness is to serve. My only function in life is to serve. Whether I suffer or whether I enjoy means nothing. The only meaning is whether Gopijana Vallabha and Radharani are happy with me. They are happy when I give everything I have to their devotees. He was so sincere. I would not accept. At least five or six times that night this happened, the switching of blankets. I never came back there at night in the winter. But then when it started getting warmer I started going there in the night.
Ghanshyam Baba had made a bed for the deities and he had been laying them on bed every night since many years:
And he was aging. Somehow or the other he had made this little bed for the deities. And every night whenever possible he would put the deities in the bed and lay them down and massage their feet’s and put a little blanket over them and then he would sing for them for hours while they were sleeping. He did this for many many years.
Whenever Maharaj visited Ghanshyam Baba’s place at night Ghanshyam Baba would request Maharaj to put the deities to rest as he could not lift the deities because of his age:
But in his old age he could not lift the deities to put them on the bed. So every time I would come at night he would ask me please help me put Radharani and Gopijana Vallabha in their bed. I wasn’t initiated. That time I did not even have a spiritual master. What to speak of being a Brahman. But he would have me lift because the feet are lighter he would take the side of Gopijana Vallabha’s feet and I would take his shoulders and we would carry Gopijana Vallabha and lay him in bed. And then take Shri Radharani. He was so happy. He would just be crying in joy that Gopijana Vallabha and Radharani tonight can sleep in their bed again. He would never ask me to please come every night and help me. If I happen to come at night he would very humbly appeal will you put Gopijana Vallabha in their bed? Otherwise he would put them to rest standing up. And he was so happy. I could see. It was like the most glorious festival, it was like the most glorious feast to his heart to see the deities laying nicely in a bed to take rest.
Ghanshyam Baba begins to cry when Maharaj tells him that he is going to Barsana because Ghanshyam Baba had not been there as he could not leave his service:
One day I came in the morning and said Ghanshyam that I am going to Barsana. He started to cry. He was so dedicated to those deities. As far as I know although he was living in the Vraj bhumi since he was 19 or 18 years old. He was there about sixty years. As far as I know he had never gone to Barsana. He had never gone to Nandagaon. He had never even seen Govardhan Hill because he felt so duty bound to his deities. He would never leave them. When I told him I was going to Barsana he began to cry. And with folded hands he said when you go to Shriji Mandir please please tell Shri Radharani that Ghanshyam is longing to come there to see her. But then I cannot come because I am only her servant. And I cannot leave my service.
Ghanshyam Baba begins to cry when Maharaj tells him that he is going to Govardhan because Ghanshyam Baba had not been there as he could not leave his service:
Another time I was going to Govardhan hill. I said I am going for Govardhan Parikrama. Ghanshyam again began to cry. He said when you see Giriraj tell him that Ghanshyam has been worshipping him and praying to him for many years and is longing to see him.
Ghanshyam Baba could clearly see Govardhan and Barsana than anyone else because he truly lived by the principle of servant of a servant of a servant:
He could see Barsana. He could see Govardhan much clearer than so many thousands of pilgrims that walk around on Parikrama of these places. Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur taught us do not try to see Krishna. Try to serve Krishna in such a way that he would be pleased to see you. When I heard this statement of Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur sometime later the remembrance of Ghanshyam came very intimately into my heart. He truly lived by the principle of servant of a servant of a servant.
Ghanshyam Baba and few other sadhus suggested Maharaj to stay in Nepal for a month as his visa had expired:
It was actually in that little closet temple that I was with Ghanshyam with two or three other old sadhus that would come to meet him in the mornings. And I had to leave India because my Visa had expired. So they gave me two suggestions in the presence of Gopijana Vallabha. One suggestion was that if you have to leave India go to Mithila, Janakpur. It is the Barsana of Ram Sita. And it’s in Nepal. So it’s out of India. So I went there. I was in Nepal for about a month or something.
Maharaj returns to India just for two weeks:
And then my Nepalese visa expired. Then I only had a two week transit visa in India just to go through when I have to depart. So from Pashupatinath I went to Ayodhya and Prayag and then I came to Vrindavan. I spent about ten days in Vrindavan. On my last day I did Govardhan Parikrama and then departed.
Ghanshyam Baba and few other sadhus suggested Maharaj to go to New Vrindavan in America:
But the day before that Govardhan Parikrama I visited Ghanshyam Baba. And he and couple others were saying if you have to leave Vrindavan because I was crying as I had to leave Vrindavan. They said if you have to leave Vrindavan you should go to New Vrindavan. I asked what this New Vrindavan is. They said Swami Prabhupada when he was here in Vrindavan you went to see him because I had already accepted Prabhupada as my guru by that time in Vrindavan. He said your Gurumaharaj Swami Prabhupada he was telling us that he has created a Vrindavan in America called New Vrindavan. And he told us that it’s non different from Vrindavan. So you should go there. That way you will never leave Vrindavan until you can come back. And he said you should be poojari when you go there.
Maharaj visited the first ISKCON temple in London:
So I had to leave. And I went to Amsterdam. And that was the first ISKCON temple I ever saw. I was with Prabhupada when he came to Vrindavan; I was with Prabhupada in Bombay for sometime before but I never saw an ISKCON temple. And except for about ten days when Prabhupada was doing Parikrama in Vrindavan there were never any ISKCON devotees here. So then I went to the temple in London on Berry place and stayed for some time.
Maharaj visits his parents:
Then I visited my parents because they were severely heartbroken by of my spirit of attentive renunciation. So I visited them for some time and then I got the news that Prabhupada was coming to New York. So immediately I went to New York and I was with Prabhupada for about a week there.
Prabhupada visits New Vrindavan:
And the day he was leaving there was an announcement that Prabhupada is coming to New Vrindavan. And he is going to give seven days lecture series on Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is going to be called The Bhagvat Dharma discourse and he is going to celebrate Janmashtami there and Vyas Pooja and we need people to help prepare for the festival because devotees from all over the country are coming. So whoever can come please come and help to serve Prabhupada there and be there for this festival. So when I heard that I was thinking in Gopijana Vallabha temple I was told that I should go to New Vrindavan that Prabhupada is going to be there. So I went to New Vrindavan. And my intention was only one thing. Just to stay there till six months expire then I can get the visa to come back to Vrindavan, India. That was my only intention.
Prabhupada inspired Maharaj to surrender to his service wherever he was and help Prabhupada in his mission:
So when Prabhupada came and I heard him preach I realized that we really see Vrindavan through serving the spiritual master, through serving the Supreme Lord. As long as we have any selfishness in our heart
Vishaya chadiya kabe shuddha ha’be mana
Narottam Das Thakur says as long as we have any material desires within our hearts we can’t really see what Vrindavan is. By Prabhupada’s mercy he inspired me that you should just surrender to your service where you are. You are here now just surrender to your service. Surrender to serving, helping me in my mission. So I was in charge of looking cows and doing some other simple works.
The temple president of New Vrindavan asked Maharaj to become the poojari of Radha Vrindavannath:
And then the poojari of the brahmachari ashram got married. That happens sometimes. I was just a simple new devotee. I was thinking how it is possible. He is serving Radha Vrindavannath, he is bathing Radha Vrindavannath, he is dressing them, and he is feeding them. Why in the world would anyone who has such a wonderful service wanted to marry. It’s inconceivable. So I went to that devotee and I said if you want female association come and help me look cows. It was the safest way to associate with the opposite sex. But he did not accept my advice. So he got married. Then the temple president said you should be the poojari. I said who is going to take care of the cows. He said you, you do both. So I was poojari for Radha Vrindavannath.
Maharaj served in New Vrindavan for eleven years:
And I remember one day I was putting the dress on Shrimati Radharani and something wonderful happened. I remembered then that Ghanshyam Baba told me that I should be the poojari of New Vrindavan. So for eleven years I was not allowed to come to India because in those days devotees were really in a sense of surrender and they were very duty bound in the way they render their service. They would never ever ever act outside of authority or blessings. So for eleven years I remained there worshipping the deities.
The devotees at New Vrindavan would always ask Maharaj about Vrindavan because they had never been there:
And afterwards I was given sanyas. Actually I did not want to take sanyas. But the leader of New Vrindavan Kirtanananda Maharaj, I would be always talking about Vrindavan. In those days nobody had ever been to India except a few devotees. When I was in London at Berry place I had this old thin chadar but it was really an old one. Some sadhu wore it for years and then gave it to me. And I had it on when I was in London. And the devotees at Berry place where gathering around me and they said that it’s just like Prabhupada’s chadar. They had never seen a chadar except on Srila Prabhupada. They were like from where did you get this chadar? It’s like Prabhupada’s chadar. I said a sadhu gave it to me in Vrindavan. Vrindavan! You have been to Vrindavan? People would be very interested to know what Vrindavan is. They would read about it in Krishna book but they wanted to know what it is like today. So when I came to New Vrindavan only the leader had been to Vrindavan. Nobody else had ever been. So everyone wanted to know about Vrindavan. And after I would tell them everyone wanted to go.
Kirtanananda Maharaj made a rule that Radhanath Maharaj should not speak about Vrindavan as the devotees would talk about it all day:
Kirtanananda Maharaj made a rule that I was not allowed to speak about Vrindavan. But that rule was very very difficult to follow. Sometimes devotees would come way up to the old mountains farm house where Radha Vrindavannath was and it would be just me and them. And after the offerings and the aarti’s in between they would ask me to tell about Vrindavan. I used to tell them about the places of Govardhan and places of Vrindavan and the places of Nandagaon, Barsana. I would tell them about the Vrijbasis. And would tell them about the different sadhus I know and telling them about my meetings with Prabhupada here. And then they would start telling everybody. And temple president would say he was a brahmachari; he would say Radhanath is in maya. He wakes up at one in the morning and chants all rounds and works all day then how is he in maya because he is talking about Vrindavan. And he would come all the way up I told you not to talk about Vrindavan. You are agitating our community.
Kirtanananda Maharaj was trying to convince Radhanath Maharaj to take sanyas for a very long time and finally Radhanath Maharaj agrees:
One day he said Prabhupada said New Vrindavan is non-different from Vrindavan so you just talk about New Vrindavan. So when he was trying to convince me and he would say I will never ever in your life let you go back to Vrindavan because I know if you go you will never come back. So he was trying to convince me to take sanyas in 1982 and I was refusing, refusing. He was pushing and pressurizing and he had the whole community and he preached to whole community to not give me any peace of mind till I took sanyas. Everyone would be harassing me. So finally he said to me you take sanyas I will let you visit Vrindavan. But I still refused. Finally it was too much. I had to surrender. And after I surrendered I decided I want to be unconditional and I knew I had to do it anyway. But still I get to go to Vrindavan.
Maharaj returns India after eleven years:
So eleven years later 1983 I returned to Vrindavan first time. I remember I came on Gaur Poornima. First time I ever went to Gaur Poornima in Mayapur 83 because when I was living in India I don’t even think they had the land in Mayapur. So then I took a train from Calcutta to Delhi and I took the Taj Express to Mathura. And I decided to go according to my old tradition. I went to Vishram Ghat to bathe and I walked along Jamuna from Mathura to Vrindavan. But things really changed at that time. There were a lot of obstructions in that walk.
Maharaj meets Ghanshyam Baba after eleven years:
So I came to Vrindavan and I will never forget. This is eleven years later. You know Radha Vallabha temple there is the old temple and there is the new temple where the deities were. Now that old temple was right very close to Ghanshyam Baba’s house. So I came and I happened to see Ghanshyam sitting on the steps outside the old temple. And now he was eleven years older. He was in his late eighties or nineties. I don’t know. And he looked at me. When I lived in Vrindavan I wore this simple white lungi. It was kind of torn out and I had a little chadar and I had a long matted hair that I never shaved. Because I was young it did not make lot of difference. And now here I am a sanyasi with a danda, with shaved head. So he was looking at me. One sadhu living in Vrindavan had given me a name when I was living with him, Ratim Krishna Das. I never got initiated but he gave it out of affection. So Ghanshyam always called me Ratim which means Krishna the chariot driver of Arjuna. So he looked at me. And he was just looking. And I bowed down to him. And he got up. And he was just looking. And then he said like a father to long last son. He said Ratim. And then he started to weep, he started to cry and he embraced me. He said Radha Gopijana Vallabha has been waiting so long to see you. And he took me by the hand and brought me into that same little hallway where the closet was. And he started taking off the jewelries of the deities and started giving it to me saying Radharani wants you to have this. He is giving me rotis.
And I came that night to Krishna-Balaram temple secretly. I secretly left Krishna-Balaram temple that night to help him put Gopijana Vallabha into the bed eleven years later. I even brought a couple God brothers to the temple. And he was taking off; he was just giving them whatever he could give them he would give them. Bow down to each Vaishnava.
Ghanshyam Baba was no more when Maharaj visited Vrindavan next time:
And the next time I came I came to the door and I walked into that little temple and there was no Gopijana Vallabha. There was no Ghanshyam. So I asked family members Ghanshyam, Ghanshyam? And the person with tears in their eyes smiling he said Golok. He was so old. But he knew that if he had to die there would be no body to take care of the deities. That family had nothing to do with the deity worship. They were just working people. So even though he was really aged and in poor health he just lived to take care of the deities.
A trust requested Ghanshyam Baba if he could allow to place the deities of Radha Gopijana Vallabha in their temple and Ghanshyam Baba accepted their proposal:
For many years I was asking people where is Gopijana Vallabha. Nobody knew. Even that family did not know. Then I met one very dear brother and friend named Azim Krishna Das Prabhu who during the time I lived in Vrindavan we would often go together to see Ghanshyam Baba. And he told me that Ghanshyam Baba was just living because there was no one else to do the seva of the deities. But then one trust built this temple. But they had no deity. So they were looking for a deity to put in the temple. So someone told them about the beautiful self manifested deities. So they asked him. And he was so happy. After sixty years in his closet, Gopijana Vallabha may be seventy years in this closet, Gopijana Vallabha will finally have temple. So he came here when the temple was built. It was somebody else’s temple, somebody else’s trust. But he was just the poojari.
As soon as Ghanshyam Baba realized that the deities care would be taken nicely he gave up his body as he had no other reason to remain in this world:
The trust would supply another poojari. So as soon as he saw that Gopijana Vallabha had a house and some other trained poojari will take care of them, sooner he saw that the deities care would be taken nicely he gave up his body. A young person will serve the deity better than me so he had no reason to remain in this world. When we read about the qualities of selfless service, the principle of the servant of a servant of a servant, when we contemplate actual humility of heart Shri Gopijana Vallabha empowered him to be a very wonderful wonderful example.
Very few people knew Ghanshyam Baba and his only prayer was that people should visit his place just to see the deities:
But only a few people in the whole world ever saw him or knew him. He was just totally unknown person. But his life and soul, his prayer was that the people should just come to see the deities. Probably no more than six or seven different people a month would come to see his deities. But anybody who came they would be the joy of his life to serve Gopijana Vallabha’s friend, his special invited guest.
So I think today Ghanshyam Baba is very happy that all of you have come to see the beautiful form of his beloved Lord. And what a mystery life is that at a time I was just insignificant little beggar sleeping on bank of Jamuna. And I have been given the wonderful fortune of now helping to bring thousand devotees for the darshan of Gopijana Vallabha.
Selfless service attitude of Srila Prabhupada:
Our beloved Srila Prabhupada was truly an embodiment of selfless service. Srila Prabhupada left Vrindavan. He left his beloved Radha Damodar. He suffered heart attacks, strokes, poverty, sea sickness, persecution to give us Krishna. Srila Prabhupada told he saw us as the representatives of his Guru Maharaj. And how he served and gave his life to give us Krishna. It is by Srila Prabhupada’s selfless compassion that my insignificant self has been spiritually sustained and nourished to whatever extent year after year. It is by his selfless service attitude based on pure love that is sustaining all our spiritual life.
Srila Prabhupada has given us the complete unadulterated mercy of the parampara:
And actually it is Srila Prabhupada, his act of such humble devotion even to wretched materialistic people that has brought all of us to Vrindavan. It is actually Srila Prabhupada who has fulfilled the spiritual desires of millions of people throughout the world. And even it is Srila Prabhupada who has actually fulfilled Ghanshyam Baba’s great desire that thousands of sincere souls would come to take blessing of his beloved Lord. So we should know with great conviction that His Divine Grace A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the ultimate manifestation of the highest teachings of the Vaishnava scriptures, he has given us everything. He has given us the complete unadulterated mercy of the parampara. And what is he stressing. He puts such great great emphasis on the spirit of service throughout his lectures, throughout his books. And manifested by his life how much emphasis he has put on developing a proper service attitude. What is a service attitude?
Selfless service attitude of Ghanshyam Baba and Srila Prabhupada:
Service doesn’t simply mean doing something for someone else. That is a very superficial understanding. But real service is selfless, unconditional, uninterrupted by various obstacles that may come in our path. Ghanshyam Baba longed to visit Barsana, Govardhan, and Maha-van. But there was no consideration because his service was to his Lord. Srila Prabhupada could have been living here in Vrindavan happily. He probably would have lived to over 100 years but he sacrificed his health, he sacrificed the peace of mind of the holy dham. He sacrificed everything selflessly to give you the opportunity to love Krishna.
The doors to Golok have been opened for millions of people like us because of selfless service attitude of Srila Prabhupada:
Prabhupada taught us this principle and he lived by this principle. It is the principle we read on every page of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, unconditional selfless service. It is the principle that is broadcasted throughout the entire Srimad-Bhagvatam from the first verse to the last, unconditional devotional service without ego. That is the pleasure of the Lord; that is the pleasure of His devotees. That is my duty to him. Prabhupada knows the will of the Lord comes from Guru, sadhu and shastras. His Guru told him to spread the holy name all over the world. It became his life and soul. It doesn’t matter what obstacles, what inconveniences it brings. It doesn’t matter whether it brings life or death. Because he had that selfless humble attitude of service all of us have been saved. The doors to the spiritual world of Golok have been opened to millions and millions of people.
Śrī Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka verse three:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told us to string this verse on the thread of the holy name and to wear it always. It is our life. We can evaluate how we are successful and how we are pleasing Krishna. We can evaluate how we are pleasing Krishna by studying our hearts, our intentions and our words and actions in relationship to this teaching.
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Be humble like a straw in the street and tolerant like a tree ready to offer all respect to others and expect none in return. If we live by this verse then we can actually follow Prabhupada’s teachings and broadcast the glories of holy name always.
Purpose of Yatra:
Today is the last day of our Yatra. This is the last meeting we will all have together. The purpose of this Yatra is not sightseeing. Not just to come to a holy place and become purified by that which I hear many confirmations of this. The purpose of this Yatra is to inspire us to dedicate our life and soul to the selfless service attitude to serving Srila Prabhupada and his mission because he has given us his life and his life’s contribution to the parampara was the society he created.
Krishna won’t be pleased with us unless we acknowledge what Prabhupada has done for us and be grateful to him:
If we are not grateful to him for saving us will Krishna be pleased with us? However knowledgeable we may become in various high topics will Krishna be pleased with us if we are not grateful to his pure servant who sacrificed his life to take us out of the ignorance of Kali and give us the path of perfection. So let us pray here with very sincere hearts that through this wonderful Yatra that we have participated in over the last 15 days. We may pray that this wonderful Yatra we have participated in the last 15 days will bring us much deeper sense of dedication, humility to really do whatever we possibly can to assist Prabhupada and his mission of pure compassion and following his teachings to humbly serve the vaishnavas, to help give his compassion to suffering conditioned souls by reading his books, by speaking from his books, by distributing his books. By helping him in what other way and ultimately we should pray that we can sincerely, wholeheartedly understand the importance of chanting the holy names and making it the first priority of our lives. The more love we have the more love we can give. That love comes when we gratefully serve those who have given us so much. And we can really reciprocate with Srila Prabhupada by taking shelter of the holy name and that is the ultimate gift that he has given us. Prabhupada wanted us to remain united to cooperate with each other and spreading the glories of chanting of the holy names.
Maharaj expresses his gratitude towards devotees for their outstanding service to Vaishnava community during Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance festival:
I wish to thank all of you very much for your outstanding service to Vaishnava community during Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance festival. It was a feast from our heart to see all of you serving so nicely. Very great benediction that was to have the opportunity to perform the sacred service of giving Prasad to Srila Prabhupada’s followers from all over the world in honor of Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance festival. I think some causeless mercy has descended upon us. I think because all of you are so very very sincere in your efforts Srila Prabhupada has rewarded you by giving you the chance of serve his devotees. We must be convinced not only theoretically but practically that happiness is never acquired by illusory moorages of this world. Real happiness can only come through service, through giving.
Real happiness is in selfless service:
Thakur Bhaktivinod said the sufferings and miseries I endure in my service to Krishna are the source of my greatest joy. Getting prestige, popularity, followers, getting money, beautiful family, nice home, good health these things give a very temporary superficial external sense of happiness or pleasure. But in service even if none of those things we just stated are there in service we gain actual inner satisfaction. Let me ask you were you happy in seeing how blissful all the devotees were getting served Prasad. Hari Bol. Who do you think was getting more inner joy those being served and eating or those fasting for so long and rendering service? Would you have been happier sitting there and eating? This is Prabhupada’s mercy, this is really Srila Prabhupada’s and Shri Radharani’s mercy that we can understand this principle practically that our real happiness is in sacrifice of service. And the more that service is unconditional and selfless the more it is a service of love of pure love.
Every soul is longing for pure love for Krishna:
It is that pure love for Krishna that every soul is longing for and nothing can replace it. We must long for that love. But we have no qualification. We are so far away from that standard of unconditional love. But if we serve sincerely with humility and we are desperately desperately desperately trying to chant the holy names properly then Krishna will see our efforts like the little sparrow trying to dry up the ocean and Krishna sees how sincere and determined with the right purpose he will bestow that love upon us with the mercy of guru and the vaishnavas. Actually your service to the devotees during Prabhupada’s festival will perhaps give faith and happiness to people all over the world, even those who are thousands of miles away when they hear about it. It is preaching.
Maharaj expresses his gratitude towards all the devotees for their incredible enthusiasm throughout the Yatra in spite of all the discomforts they faced:
If we become proud we have served nicely then that pride neutralizes the effect of the great benediction we received but if we feel ourselves unqualified but grateful for the causeless mercy that one is allowed to serve amongst other vaishnavas soon Krishna will bestow the prime benediction of pure love within our hearts. So I know all of you worked very hard to do this and on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and on behalf of all the leaders of the International Society for Krishna consciousness and all the devotees who have given their lives I very grateful thank all of you very much. Let this be a lesson of what is of real value to the heart. I would also like to thank all of you for your incredible enthusiasm throughout this festival. Many of you have got sick physically and of course many poring on your feet, much dust in your lungs. But still I dint hear anyone complaining. Everyone is just trying to get purified and trying to help all the other devotees to be happy in Vrindavan.
Maharaj expresses his gratitude towards devotees:
And especially thank you for tolerating me. I honestly and sincerely do not know how you do it or why you do. But you do it and that is some special magic of Srila Prabhupada if you can somehow or the other see his eternally splendid divine mercy through a little piece of garbage on the road like me that is his inconceivable power. So I thank all of you very very much and pray that when you return to your homes you bring the real spirit of Vrindavan, selfless service and longing for complete attachment for Shri Shri Radha Gopinath. And complete determination to glorify them by hearing chanting the holy names.
Maharaj glorifies Dina Bandhu Prabhu and expresses his gratitude towards him:
And in this Yatra we had very wonderful souls come and join us and speak to us. Amongst them the shining jewel of all Vrijbasis has come to be with us today, Dina Bandhu Prabhu. What would be Vrindavan Yatra without Dina Bandhu Prabhu? His spontaneous devotion and his enthusiasm to preach the glories of Vrindavan dham through his incredible knowledge and realization has always been profound inspiration for us. At the same time he is very much endowed with performing great sacrifices in Prabhupada’s service to make Vrindavan temple what Prabhupada wanted to be. So my gratitude to you Dina Bandhu Prabhu! I learn so much from him. I hope you are all happy. If you are happy then my insignificant life has served some noble purpose. I am grateful that you have given me that.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!!!!!!!