A few days ago we had the fortune of celebrating two great vaishnavas appearances say at the same time. HH Gaura Govinda Swami Maharaj and HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. Many senior devotees came to share their realizations and glories of these great souls. Following the glorification was bhoga offering, aarati, and pushpanjali. Everyone then sat for a beautiful feast in Gada Bhavan.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami was born in Bengal in 1945, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami spent most of his early life in the city of Calcutta. In 1970, he left India to study in Germany. Coming across Vedic literatures while in Germany, he discovered the richness of India’s spiritual heritage. In 1975 he returned to India to wholeheartedly pursue the spiritual path.
After thoroughly studying the Vedic scriptures, His Holiness became aware of the need to find a spiritual master who could lead him on a sound spiritual course. After searching for one year without coming across a spiritual master to whom he could fully surrender, he felt despondent and disappointed. When he almost gave up his hope to find his spiritual master, he came across a book called The Nectar of Devotion by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Becoming engrossed in the depths of that literature, he realized that he had found his spiritual master and the path for which he was searching. As he continued to read Srila Prabhupada’s works, his conviction grew stronger, as did his desire to meet Srila Prabhupada. At that time, Srila Prabhupada was in America. His Holiness joined the temple in Mayapur and became more involved in devotional service to the Lord, all the while awaiting Srila Prabhupada’s return to India.
When Srila Prabhupada returned to India at the end of 1976, the meeting between His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami and Srila Prabhupada finally took place. From their very first meeting, Srila Prabhupada gave His Holiness the assignment of translating his books into Bengali and made him his Secretary for Indian Affairs. Within only a few months, Srila Prabhupada gave him initiation into the disciplic succession and soon thereafter, awarded him the order of Sannyasa.
Along side his official responsibilities, His Holiness translated all of Srila Prabhupada’s works on major Vedic literatures, consisting of more than fifty volumes of books, into Bengali, as Srila Prabhupada had instructed in their very first meeting. Subsequently, he became a member of the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and served as the Chairman of the Governing Body in 1989.
In 1996, His Holiness took on the mammoth task of making a biographical video epic on the life of his spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. This video series, entitled Abhay Charan has been seen all over the world, as well as on Indian National Television. At present His Holiness is currently developing projects in Ujjain, India. In February 2006, His Holiness constructed a beautiful temple in Ujjain. The temple has three huge alters for the worship of Sri Sri Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Krishna Balaram and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. (Source www.bcswami.com)
Srila Gour Govinda Swami made his appearance into an ancient Oriya Vaisnava family famed for their devotional kirtans. He grew up surrounded by devotees, worshipping Sri Sri Radha Gopaljiu, chanting the holy names and reading Srimad Bhagavatam. Later in life, after becoming a wandering sadhu, he met Iskcon’s founder-acarya His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada and instantly surrenedered at his lotus feet, recognizing him to be the topmost of Lord Krishna’s dear devotees.
Srila Prabhupada himself later commented about his disciple Srila Gour Govinda Swami, that ‘Krsna has sent him’.
Srila Gour Govinda Swami fully dedicated his life to fulfilling his revered Guru Maharaja’s instructions – vigorously preaching the Gaudiya Siddhanta around the world; translating Srila Prabhupada’s books from English into Oriya, also preaching widely throughout Orissa State in the local Oriya language: and building the stunning Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Temple in Bhubaneswar.
In the year 1996, at the International Head Quarters of Srila Prabhupada’s iskcon movement in Sri Mayapur Dhama, Srila Gour Govinda Swami left this world.
In the evening of the 9th February two disciples of Srila Prabhupada came to Maharaja’s room and asked him to explain why it was that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in Sri Jagannath Puri Dhama. He began to explain the confidential significance of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Puri. He described the pains of separation felt by Radha and Krishna when Krishna was away from Vrindavan.
He blissfully unfolded the pastime to the point where Radha and Krishna were finally reunited after Their long separation. He described how Krishna became so ecstatic upon seeing Radharani that He manifested a form with big round eyes and shrunken limbs (Lord Jagannatha).
At that time the devotees noticed that tears had come to his eyes and his voice had become choked up. Barely audible, he said, “…after a long separation Krsna came back to Vrajabhumi and then the eyes of Krsna fell on the eyes of Srimati Radharani – Eye to Eye union.” Unable to continue, he apologized with folded hands, “Please excuse me. I cannot speak.” Overwhelmed with ecstatic love and unbearable separation from Srimati Radhika and Syamasundara, he could speak no more and gave his final instruction: “Nama koro! Nama koro!” (Source www.gourgovindaswami.org)