Monday, April 30, 2007

Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj (Presentation, links, blog archive)

(On Srila Sridhar Maharaj's appearance day 2012)
By Sevananda das

Today is the appearance day of one of the greatest Vaishnavas of recent time, the sannyasa guru of our guru Srila B.A. Paramadvaiti Maharaj, and a great favourite in Nimaihuset: Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. 

Srila Prabhupada himself maintained the highest respect and confidence in Srila Sridhar Maharaj (at one time he wanted him for president of ISKCON but Srila Sridhar Maharaj declined), and there is a famous quote by Srila Prabhupada to one of his disciples, recommending him to take direction from Srila Sridhar Maharaj when his own direct guidance was not possible: "I consider Srila Sridhar Maharaj to be my siksa guru, so what to speak of the benefit that you can have by his association." He sang the glories of Srila Sridhar Maharaj by saying "Jaya Om Vishnupad Paramahamsa Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj ki jay!" – a glorification that is only ever offered to one's guru.


His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the founder of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, was born in India in 1895, in a respected Brahmana family of the Bhattacarya order, at Hapaniya in West Bengal, the very lands where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His divine pastimes on earth.

The pastimes of his youth were spent in learning, and he naturally excelled in every subject that he took up. From his childhood, his tendency was towards the culture of faith in God and the study of the VedasUpanisads, and other scriptures. He received the sacred thread according to his family tradition when fourteen years old, and his affinity for the divine world kept on increasing. In his early years he was especially attracted to Lord Rama, but later, when he came in contact with the doctrine of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he began to read Bhagavad-Gita and developed an attraction for Lord Krishna.

After completing his primary and secondary education, Srila Sridhar Maharaj entered Krishnanath College in Berhampore, Bengal. After four years of study, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy.  This period is also where his initial conversion to Chaitanya Vaishnavism took place, described as a big turn in his life. In his own words:

When I was a student of the fourth year in Krishnanatha college, I came into the connection of a younger boy. One day when we two were going on a morning walk, he referred to his father with the expression “that gentleman”.  I took exception to that.

“Why do you use this expression for your father?”

“He is a gentleman, and in this life I came to him and he has protected me for some time, and in the next life I shall go to some other place; in this way we are moving hither and thither, coming to some gentleman and from there to another gentleman…

That point hit me very hard. “Yes, it is true. We are in the midst of father, mother, brother, or, as he said, ‘that gentleman’. What real connection have I with them, or they with me? We are all almost like strangers!” Thinking and thinking on this point the whole world became as vacant. I felt a furious atmosphere, with no shelter to take anywhere. A chaotic position, and no position of stability. “Wherefrom am I coming, where to go, how long am I to stay here — this is a point in the infinite. I am an uncertain point in the whole of the infinite.” A great shock came to me in this way.

And that was the great turn in my life. The worldly achievement has no value.

At that time, my friend gave me some literature on Mahaprabhu’s life and teachings, and I devoured it like nectar. I found some position there — it is not that I am nowhere. Here is the support — the basis, the foundation; I found here the sustenance, hope and shelter I needed.

For some time Srila Sridhar Maharaj was searching for a sadhu from whom he could take initiation, but could not find anyone to his liking, until he met his eternal guide and preceptor Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (1874-1937), the founder of the Sri Gaudiya Math. In 1926, Srila Sridhar Maharaj joined the Sri Gaudiya Math and became his initiated disciple. In 1930 he accepted the holy order of sannyasa. His Spiritual Master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura saw in Srila Sridhar Maharaj a faithful, reliable and unrelenting preacher of the pure precepts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism with the ability to perfectly protect it from misrepresentation and misconception, and gave him the name "Bhakti Rakshak," which means "Guardian of Devotion”. He also gave him the Tridandi-Sannyasa title of "Sridhar", echoing the great Vaishnava preceptor Srila Jiva Goswami, who in his Sanskrit writings referred to Sri Sridhar Swami, the renowned commentator of Srimad Bhagavatam, as bhakti eka raksaka (Supreme Guardian of Devotion). Thus, he became Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj. 

As a prominent preacher in the Sri Gaudiya Math mission, he travelled extensively throughout India and preached fluently in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and English, spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on many levels in universities, public seminars, and sankirtan festivals.

Sridhar Maharaj was recognized for his vast understanding and realization of the scriptures, and thus his guru also awarded him the title sastra-nipuna, meaning one who is very expert or intelligent in understanding the meaning of sastras (scriptures).

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura also expressed high appreciation of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Sanskrit composition Sri Bhaktivinoda Viraha Dasakam, glorifying Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and considered it an omen of assurance that the grand ideals and dignity of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya would be perfectly upheld and preached by such a learned and sensitive devotee as Srila Sridhar Maharaj. After reading it he remarked, “Now I am satisfied that after I leave, there will be at least one man who can represent my conclusions.” As a testimony to this fact, just prior to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura’s departure from this mortal world, he had Srila Sridhar Maharaj sing, in his presence, the holy and by the whole Gaudiya Vaishnava community most venerated prayer Sri Rupa Manjari Pada.

Not only was Sridhar Maharaj recognized by his guru for his advancement in Krishna consciousness, but he was also recognized by many of his affectionate godbrothers for his seniority. Many of them, such as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaj, Bhakti Promoda Puri Goswami Maharaj and others, considered him to be their siksa guru.

After the passing of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in 1936, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's godbrothers, associates and the public naturally revered him as the senior-most representative of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya, although Srila Sridhar Maharaj himself was more inclined to anonymity as a humble Vaishnava. Nonetheless, by the call of divine duty and divine inspiration, he established his own temple, Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, on the banks of the sacred Ganges in Navadvip Dham, the holy land of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Having deeply assimilated the teachings of Sri Chaitanya, Srila Sridhar Maharaj began composing original texts. His first work, Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrita (Life-nectar of the Surrendered Souls), was a comprehensive scriptural study of saranagati, divine surrender, which has become a standard text-book for devotees everywhere.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj composed numerous songs, prayers, and commentaries in Bengali and Sanskrit. Among these important works are his commentaries on Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Saranagati, Bengali translations of Bhagavad-Gita and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, and his own original Sanskrit poem summarizing Chaitanya lila, Prema-dhama-deva-stotram. His works are hailed as gems of pure Vaishnavism by scholars, philosophers, and devotees worldwide. An outstanding contribution to the Rupanuga Gaudiya Sampradaya is his commentary on the Gayatri-mantra, Gayatri-nigudhartha, following the philosophy of Srimad Bhagavatam

Often thought even more amazing was his special ability to represent his thoughts in the international language of English. Upon reaching his eighties, not only Indians, but persons from America, Europe, and the world over, became attracted by Srila Sridhar Maharaj's teachings and personality. At this advanced age, in his fully matured stage of realization, Srila Sridhar Maharaj spoke extensively before the devotees who had come from around the world to hear the teachings of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and the great predecessor acharyas from him. These discourses and talks were recorded on audio and videotape, and a vast library has been compiled by his many disciples and affectionate followers and admirers. From such recordings many exquisite English books have been published, such as Search for Sri Krishna – Reality the BeautifulSri Guru and His GraceThe Golden Volcano of Divine LoveLoving Search for the Lost Servant, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's unique commentary and interpretation of Bhagavad-GitaThe Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute, and many more. More publications are also anticipated.

During the last days of his manifest pastimes, Srila Sridhar Maharaj remained always absorbed in deep moods of devotional separation and hankering for the divine service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.

On August 12th, 1988, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj departed from this world to enter the eternal pastimes of the Supreme Lord. A divine temple, "The Temple of Union in Separation”, was erected at his holy shrine at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Navadvip. Srila Sridhar Maharaj selected his most intimate and senior sannyasi disciple, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, as his successor, blessing him with the position of Acharya-President of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and its affiliated branches worldwide.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj was known as a pure saint of the most simple living habits. He was respected and loved for his saintly simplicity, and his affectionate nature and dealings. He was revered by his godbrothers, disciples, other devotees, and the general public, and was unanimously venerated for his formidable encyclopedic command of the revealed scriptures, and his unique and unprecedented style of casting newer and newer light upon the most internal philosophical and revelatory purports of pure Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta.

As acharya, Srila Sridhar Maharaj is an erudite philosopher and a sensitive poet; both deep-diving and high-flying, yet practical and down to earth. Speaking and writing, he is very soft and low-voiced, yet intense, concentrated, and exacting. His main teaching is surrender, unconditional, often expressed in radical phrasings (in spiritual consciousness language) such as “Die to live” and “Divine slavery”. Main focus is on beauty, with topics like “Search for Sri Krishna – Reality the Beautiful”,Beauty is the Autocrat”, and Slave to the Beauty.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj on the basis of his angle of vision:

My nature is non-interfering, from the beginning. So much so that I am called an ease-lover. I am not aggressive in a preaching mood, but only to know. The knowing aspect, the listening aspect, the aspect of inquisitiveness, predominates within me: to find new light from the scripture, from the words heard from my Guru Mahārāj. Every day, I can see, I can feel, new colour. Everything is infinite. Every word, every letter, is of infinite characteristic. I am internally busy with that in my last days.

My expressions (...) present an ontological conception based on pure chit-vilās [spiritual play]. That is, whatever I see, whatever I have in view, must cross the level of Brahmaloka [the highest material dimension]. I see things to be not of this world, but of the other world, as chit-vilās-lakṣaṇ [expressions of spiritual play]. The smallest things that we mention here are placed above renunciation and liberation. They are not of that side. Rather, they are śuddha-sattva, viśuddha-sattva [the quality of pure existence]. They are not related to liberation or emancipation, or to sattva-guṇa [the highest material quality]. They are viśuddha-sattva, nirguṇa, chit-vilās [pure, nonmaterial, spiritual play]. Every word, every syllable that I express and give out is from the plane of viśuddha-sattva. That is the special characteristic of my sayings. [–] They are ever-new. They are not a stereotyped thing. Whenever I approach, whenever I give an explanation of a particular verse, every time some new thing will come — not any mere repetition but something coming with some touch of the Infinite. Whatever I say must have some touch with conception of the Infinite. That is their peculiarity, and they are to increase faith. Faith, śraddhā, the basis, the foundation, always that will be more consolidated by my sayings. 



Blog posts

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Farväl / Farewell

SE: Nu far vi åter till Imlitala, men stannar där till onsdag, det är "Nrsimha Caturdasi" Nrsinmhadevas uppenbarelsedag, på tisdag då vi kommer ha en liten festival ute på landet. Om ni inte kan närvara på festivalen kan ni alltid titta in här för att se vad som händer.

EN: So, once again we are going to Imlitala, but this time we will stay until wednesday, because we are celebrating "Nrsimha Caturdasi" or the appearance day of Lord Nrsinmhadeva on tuesday with a small festival.
If you are unable to attend you can always check in here to see what is going on.

SE: Här kommer lite bilder ifrån gårdagens aktiviteter att titta på så länge.

EN: Here are som pictures from our activities of yesterday.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Harinambilder / Harinam Pictures

SE: Lite bilder ifrån dagens harinam. Tyvärr kunde vi inte filma idag.

EN: Some pictures of todays harinam, unfortunately no filming could be done today.

SE: Vi började smått.
EN: We started out small.

SE: Fick lite hjälp.
EN: Got some help.

SE: Och avslutade med en extatisk harinam genom Göteborgs gator.
EN: And ended up with an extatic harinam through the streets of Göteborg

SE: Imorgon är det lördagsfest klockan 17:00 som vanligt, syns då.

EN: Tomorrow we have the saturday feast 17:00 as ususal, see you there.

Sen uppdatering / Late update

SE: Igår var det Bhagavad-Gita kurs med Maha-Hari som vanligt på torsdagar. Lite ovanligare var att Krishna kom till Nimai-Huset. Här följer lite bilder.

EN: Yesterday was Bhagavad-Gita class with Maha-Hari as usual on thursdays. A bit more on the unusual side was Krishnas visit at the Nimai-House. Here are som pictures.

SE: Idag är det harinam i Göteborg följt av filmkväll, och som vanligt kommer det bilder och filmklipp senare ikväll.

EN: Today we have harinam i Göteborg followed by the movie-night, and as usual we will publish pictures and some video clips later tonight,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

cArt Launch

SE: Idag startades gruppterapi-projektet som använder medveten konst för att hjälpa oss förstå våra inre värderingar och mål. Dagens "terapi" var "färg- och karaktärsterapi"

EN: Today the group therapy project, using conscious art to define to us our inner values and goals in life, was launched for the first in reality. Todays therapy was "the colour and character therapy"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SE: Dagens matlagningskurs blev inställd och byttes ut emot en krasch-kurs i laddhukokning.

EN: Todays cooking class was cancelled and exchanged for a crash-course in laddhu-cooking.

Monday, April 23, 2007


SE: Bilder ifrån Imlitala denna helgen.

EN: Pictures from Imlitala this weekend.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


SE: Idag är det söndag och då åker vi till Imlitala som vanligt, medan ni väntar kommer här en väldigt speciell liten film ifrån igårkväll.

EN: Today is sunday and we'll be going to Imlitala as usual, while you wait for more updates, here's a very special clip from last night.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lördagsfest / Saturday Feast

SE: Lite blandade bilder ifrån lördagsfesten och förberedelserna.

EN: Some mixed pictures from the saturday feast and the preparations.

Harinam Film / Harinam Movie

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bilder och film / Pictures and video

SE: Bilder ifrån dagens harinam, som utlovat. Filmen kommer uppenbara sig imorgon.

EN: Pictures from todays harinam, as promised. The movie will appear tomorrow.

Sen uppdatering / Late update

SE: Till sist så var flytten till vårt nya ashrama klar. Idag är det harinam i Göteborg och filmkväll som vanligt.

EN: Finally the move into our new ashrama is finished. And today is harinam i Göteborg and movie night as usual.

SE: Mer och bättre bilder ifrån ashramet kommer senare när möblering, städning och inredning är 100% klart.

Film och bilder ifrån dagens harinam kommer publiceras ikväll eller imorgon förmiddag.

Tanken med att publicera morgonlektionerna och andra föredrag som ljudfiler på bloggen skjuts på framtiden på grund av tillfälligt bristfällig utrustning.

EN: More and better pictures from the ashrama will be published later when decoration and cleaning is 100% complete.

Movie-clip(s) and picures from the harinam will be put up here tonight or tomorrow morning.

The idea about publishing the morning classes and other lectures as audiofiles on the blog is postponed due to lacking equipment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Matlagningskurs / Cooking Class

SE: Tisdag är matlagningskurs med Maha-Hari, en given dundersuccé som vanligt.

EN: Tuesday means cooking-class with Maha-Hari, always a popular event.

SE: Maha-Hari gör noggranna förberedelser för kvällens kurs.
EN: Maha-Hari is making minute preparations for the evenings class.

SE: Kursdeltagarna är djupt engagerade i studier av vedisk kokkonst.
EN: The students are deeply engaged in studies of the vedic art of cooking.

SE: Och så här nöjd blir man bara om man äter vegetarisk mat som offrats till Krishna först.
EN: This kind of satisfaction you can only get from eating vegetarian food offered to Krishna.

SE: Och, som en extra överraskning; Syamananda Das har äntligen gjort iordning en ny omgång med sina berömda carob-bollar.

EN: And, as an extra surprise for all who have been waiting; Syamananda Das has finaly prepared a new batch of his famous carob-sweets.

Tisdag / Tuesday

Nu är vi alla tillbaka, men vad som händer på Imlitala är en hemlighet mellan oss och alla andra som hälsar på.

EN: Now everybody is back and the Nimaihuset is open as usual, but what is going on in Imlitala is a secret between us and all our guests.

Så länge kommer här en liten bonusfilm från den senaste lördagsfesten.

EN: While you wait for more updates, here is a short clip from the last saturday feast.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


SE: Idag åker gänget till Imlitala, och kommer tillbaka imorgon eftermiddag, på tisdag är det öppet som vanligt igen.

Tills dess, på återseende.

EN: Today the gang goes to Imlitala, we will be back tomorrow afternoon and on tuesday we're open as usual.

Until then, goodbye.

SE: ps. Vi har också en väldigt speciell morgonlektion ifrån idag som kommer publiceras senare om vi lyckas besegra de tekniska problemen. Kika tillbaka då & då. ds.

EN: ps. We also have a very special morningclass recorded today that will eventually be published later if we manage to overcome our technical difficulties. Check back from time to time. ds.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

SE: Fasta & Fest EN: Fast & Feast

SE: Här är dagens vers ifrån Srimad Bhagavatam
EN: Here is todays text from Srimad Bhagavatam

Canto 1, Kapitel 10
Vers 31
evamvidha gadantinam
sa girah pura-yositam
sasmitena yayau harih

SE: Medan kvinnorna i huvudstaden Hastināpura var i färd med att lyckönska honom och tala om honom på detta sätt, mottog Herren leende deras vänliga hälsningar, och med ett nådigt ögonkast mot dem gav han sig iväg från staden.

EN: While the ladies of the capital of Hastināpura were greeting Him and talking in this way, the Lord, smiling, accepted their good greetings, and casting the grace of His glance over them, He departed from the city.

Vers 32
SE: Fastän Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira inte hade några fiender, lät han fyra försvarsdivisioner [hästar, elefanter, stridsvagnar och fotsoldater] åtfölja herren Kṛṣṇa, asurernas [demonernas] fiende. Maharajan arrangerade detta med tanke på fienden, men också på grund av kärlek till Kṛṣṇa.

EN: Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, although no one's enemy, engaged four divisions of defense [horse, elephant, chariot and army] to accompany Lord Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of the asuras [demons]. The Mahārāja did this because of the enemy, and also out of affection for the Lord.

SE: Ändring: På grund av tekniska problem kommer inte dagens lektion kunna publiceras.
EN: Change: Because of technical difficulties todays class will not be published.

SE: Lite bilder & film ifrån kvällens fest. EN: Some pictures and video-clips of the saturday-feast.

SE: Vasudeva Das och Bhaktin Eva engagerade i matlagning. EN: Vasudeva das and Bhaktin Eva engaged in cooking preparations


Friday, April 13, 2007

SE: Harinam, Filmkvälloch nytt Ashrama. EN: Harinam, movie night and new Ashrama

SE: På väg till stationen. EN: On the way to the station

SE: Uppslutning på Nordstan. EN: Gatherning at "Nordstan"

Harinam & Sankirtan video & pictures

SE: Smygtitt på nimaihusets nya ashraam. EN: Sneak peak of the new Nimai house ashrama

SE: Fredagskvällsnektar med Mahabharat-filmen EN: Friday night nectar with Mahabharat, the motion picture.

SE: Ljuv kvällsbhajan EN: Sweet eveningbhajan

SE: Imorgon är det Ekadasi (Fasta ifrån spannmål och baljväxter) och lördagsfest på Nimaihuset.


EN: Tomorrow is Ekadasi (fasting from grains etc.) and saturday feast in the nimaihus