A Letter from Bhaktivinode

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura

In the meantime Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura was very concerned that pure Vaiṣṇavism was being overshadowed by many other wrong concepts and also by imitators. He felt that among all his sons and disciples, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura was the most qualified per­son to preach pure Vaiṣṇavism; he had more enthusiasm, courage, and qualification than anyone else. Therefore, Ṭhakura Mahāśaya wrote him a letter:

Saraswatī!
People of this world who are proud of their own aristocratic birth cannot attain real aristocracy. Therefore they attack the pure Vaiṣṇavas, saying, “They have taken birth in low-class families because of their sins.” Thus they commit offenses. The solution to this problem is to establish the order of Daivi-Varnāśrama Dharma—something you have started doing; you should know that to be the real service to the Vaiṣṇavas. Because pure devo­tional conclusions are not being preached, all kinds of superstitions and bad concepts are being called devotion by such pseudo-sampradayas as sahajiyā and atibāri. Please always crush these anti-devotional concepts by preaching pure devotional con­clusions and by setting an example through your personal conduct.

Please make great effort so you can start the parikrama [circumambulation] of Śrīdhām Navadwīp as soon as possible. It is by those actions that everyone in this world will receive Kṛṣṇa-bhakti [devotional love for the Lord]. Please try very hard to make sure that the service to Śrī Māyāpur will become a permanent thing and will become brighter and brighter every day. The real service to Śrī Māyāpur can be done by acquiring printing presses, distributing devotional books, and preaching congregational chanting (not reclusive bhajan). Please do not neglect to serve Śrī Māyāpur or to preach for the sake of your own reclusive bhajan.

When I am not present any more, please take great care to serve Śrī Māyāpur Dhām which is so dear to you. This is my special instruction to you. People who are like animals can never attain devotion; therefore, never take their suggestions. But don’t let them know this, directly or indirectly.

I had a special desire to preach the significance of such books as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Ṣaṭ Sandarhha, and Vedānta Darśan. You have to accept that responsibility. Śrī Māyāpur will prosper if you establish an educa­tional institution there. Never make any effort to collect knowledge or money for your own enjoy­ment. Only to serve the Lord will you collect these things. Never engage in bad association, either for money or for some self-interest.

All the Vaiṣṇava devotees who were in contact with Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura and Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura knew that the rela­tionship between them was not mundane, like that between an ordinary father and son. Their relationship with each other was completely transcendental, like that between Guru and disciple, as is evident in this letter.

Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura became more enthused now to preach pure Vaiṣṇavism.

Apart from delivering Hari-kathā and leading congregational chanting, he also started col­lecting facts about the four Vaiṣṇava sampradayas (branches of disciplic lineage). He start­ed writing and publishing articles about Vaiṣṇava āchāryas in Sajjan Tosanī.

In 1906, one gentleman called Śrī Rohinī Kumār Ghosh came to visit Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura. He was the nephew of a High Court judge, Śrī Chandra Mādhav Ghosh of Barishal. Rohinī Bābu gave up his home life to have a devotional life in Navadwīp. He found a guru from the Bāul apasampradaya (one of the pseudo-Vaiṣṇava groups) and started residing in his āśrama. One afternoon he came to Śrīla Saraswatl Ṭhakura and heard some invaluable devotional instruc­tions from him. Rohinī Bābu was deeply touched by this discussion, and when he came back to the āśrama that night, it was all he could think about. Without taking his meal, he went to bed. That night, he had a dream in which that Bāul Guru and his female compan­ion came as tigers to attack him, hut Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura came to rescue him from this danger. The next morning when Rohinī Bābu was awakened by the sunlight streaming through his window, he immediately left that āśrama and set off for Māyāpur to beg Śrīla Saraswatī Thakura for shelter at his lotus feet. He was the first disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda (Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhakura was thus addressed by his disciples).

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