Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
This is in continuation of the previous offering, transcribing the wonderful offering by H.G. Devakinandan Prabhuji on the occasion of the memorial service for our beloved Guru Maharaj held in Sydney, Australia on 24th April 2010.
6.Unparalleled austerity and unmotivated devotion: When we came to Dwaraka, there was nothing there. Maharaj did not go to any of the ashramas to stay. He said we will just stay in the outskirts. It was just open grassland. Maharaj said, "You just set up a tent, put some sheet over and we will sleep there." We were completely flabbergasted. Because when you travel with sannyasis, the idea in our rascal mind is, at least there must be some benefit somewhere in terms of material comfort, but Maharaj did not think of that. I said, "Maharaj, there is no toilet, nothing." Maharaj said, "You go to the ashram, take bath and come back here." That was it. There was nothing else to do. Dina Prabhu and Taral Prabhu were cooking outside in the open air. Maharaj, every morning, after taking bath, he would sit there and we would read Srimad Bhagavatam. We told, "Maharaj, maybe we should move around?". Maharaj said, "No moving around. We sit here and do Bhagavatam first. Bhagavatam will attract everything to come. Krishna is Dwarakadish. Why won’t He like to hear Bhagavatam? Let us just glorify Bhagavatam and become satisfied." So we tried to be satisfied. It was very difficult with thorny bushes and grass and the heat of the sun. But Maharaj never stopped. There is a famous picture of Maharaj lying down and an umbrella being held by one of the brahmacaris and that was his afternoon nap. He will just sleep on the ground and his sannyas top cloth was his pillow. For two or three weeks, he did that non-stop, unmotivated and on the fourth week, one man came to see us and he said, "You know Maharaj, my mother had a trust. In that trust, we have a ten-room guest house and now that my mother has left, she wanted me to give it to some charity. I heard the news that there is a sadhu in Dwaraka who is just sitting down and reading Bhagavatam and does not want anything. So I thought you should be the right person; because you do not want anything, you should get everything." When we heard that, we thought it is amazing because this is exactly what Maharaj told us two weeks back to do. He had so much faith in Bhagavatam and Krishna who will build the temple. It is not anything else; least of all it is Lakshmi. Money will never build temples. It is devotion that will build temple.
7.Unique service: When Maharaj was in London in the earlier days, Maharaj told me that he was useless in the temple. Maharaj said, "I was more than fifty years old. My legs could hardly balance because I had a very bad back and I could not do washing because, after a while, I would slip and fall. I could not go up and down and do book distribution because I could not balance myself. My walking was not good. I could not do Deity worship because of balancing problem also. After a while, the Pujari said, "You better not do the Arati because the Arati plate may fall also." So the temple president was asking, "What are you going to do? You can’t do anything." Maharaj said, "I can do one thing if you want. I can sit and study Bhagavatam" and the Temple President said, "No one had ever told me this! I never thought that there is a service like that which you can do here." So he said, "You sit in one corner and you study Bhagavatam." Maharaj sat under a pillar in Soho street temple and it became famous as Mahavishnu Goswami pillar and today if you ask any of Srila Prabhupada’s disciple there who knew Maharaj, then they would point that this is Mahavishnu Goswami pillar. This way he sat for 8 years, not speaking but studying and studying and studying.
Maharaj said, "I used to be surprised why when people would walk by and see me, they would bow to me." Maharaj asked, "Why you are bowing to me?" They said, "We are bowing because we can’t do what you are doing. We can do all the seva but we can’t sit and read Bhagavatam. So we bow to Bhagavatam and to you."
8. Touching the hearts by pure preaching: So the day came when just by the providential arrangement of the Lord, there was no one to give the class and at that time the temple president looked around and said, "Yes. Mahavishnu das vanachari. He is there. He is reading. Let us just put him on vyaasaasana and fill up the gap." But on that day, everything changed. Because, the moment the devotees heard Maharaj, they thought that he should become the permanent speaker in Soho Street temple and after a while, the news spread to Bhaktivedanta Manor and from Bhaktivedanta Manor, two devotees from Belgium came and asked whether Maharaj can come to Belgium to speak and Maharaj started speaking in Belgium and then Holland and then he had preaching tours in Europe and after a while, after he took sannyasa, he was giving classes in Mayapur. One day, one devotee from Singapore, HG Dinanukampan Prabhu, he met Maharaj when Maharaj was giving Sanskrit classes and Maharaj started the class by saying that "I am here to share with you devotional service. Do not think you are learning Sanskrit." Then Dina Prabhu called us in Singapore and said that there is a very unique sannyasi and it is a good thing to find out whether we can arrange to bring him to Singapore and we all thought it is very exciting. In Singapore, the devotees bought him the first world ticket and thus Maharaj started in Singapore.
Krishna willing, the other transcendental qualities of Maharaj which just captivate all our hearts, so lovingly remembered and described by Devakinandan Prabhu, shall be posted in the ensuing mail.
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
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