H G Hari Vilasa Prabhu gave the lecture yesterday (9th February) on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Appearance day. Below is the transcript of the lecture.

So I am very humbled to be here in front of so many exalted Vaisnavas, my Godbrothers and Godsisters, and of course Srila Prabhupada, especially today, on the appearance day of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Today I am going to talk about of course Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and his glorious disciple Srila Prabhupada and read some things that Srila Prabhupada has written about his wonderful Gurudeva.

Srila Prabhupada has quoted part of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s pranama mantra:


Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was strict follower, integral follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami. He wouldn’t tolerate anything that deviated from his instructions. And Prabhupada says that he strictly followed the rupanuga principle. That principle Prabhupada says, Srila Rupa Goswami write in the Bhakti Rasamrtasindhu – you somehow engage people in Krishna consciousness. yena kena prakarena manah krsna nivesayet

So he (Srila Prabhupada) says that, “Some of our friends criticize that I have done this or I have done that. Swami Maharaja, he is doing like this he is doing like that.”

Prabhupada says, “Yes, we are doing everything but our main business is just to inspire people to take to Krishna consciousness. That is the secret you have to inspire people. Then even if there is some discrepancy in the rules and regulations it does not matter. Rupa Gowami has said, sarva vidhi nisedha syur etayor eva kinkarah

So he means that somehow or other you bring people to Krishna consciousness. Some things can be changed Prabhupada says according to desa, kala, patra- the place, the time, the circumstances. But the principle is phalena pariciyate, we must judge from the result whether one has become Krishna conscious or not. Then we say that is what we want, this is the rule. Once you become Krishna conscious then we can say -this is the rule, so you do things like this, you don’t do things like that.

Prabhupada has said that in the beginning one must be very tolerant, but as people begin to understand Krishna consciousness you tighten the screws.

dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah notpadayed yadi ratimsrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8)

That is that even if you follow all the rules and regulations at the end you don’t become Krishna conscious it is useless.

When Prabhupada came to the United States in the beginning nobody knew what a pure devotee is, no one knew how to treat a genuine guru. But he established his authority not by dictate. He didn’t come with a paper and say, “I am guru. You have to listen to what I say.” He established his authority by affection and love:

dadati pratigrhnati guhyam akhyati prcchati ( Nectar of Instruction Verse 4)

He exchanged things with his devotees, giving and receiving prasadam, giving and receiving gifts and sharing endearing thoughts about Krishna. Prabhupada says in the beginning there are many difficulties because we go to places where people’s behavior, people’s culture, is completely opposite to Krishna consciousness. But we have to find a means, a strategy to bring them to Krishna. Prabhupada says that is my first business. That is the secret.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also followed strictly Rupa Goswami. He introduced that a sanyasi can go begging in a motorcar. He introduced that sanyasi can even live in a palatial building. But Rupa Goswami lived under a tree! But we cannot imitate that. Therefore here in Mayapur there are palatial buildings and devotees are going around in buses and nice cars and preaching Krishna consciousness. In Vrindavana there are many babaji’s they just have a little loin cloth on, but many of them are doing nonsense.

Prabhupada said imitation is not required. The real thing is required. So he says, what is the purpose of a goswami? Somehow or other engage people in Krishna consciousness. Prabhupada said, “That is my Guru Maharajaa. That is my Guru Maharaja’s gift. He first of all stated that there is no need to go to Vrindavana and imitate the Goswamis. You can live in big cities, you can live in palatial houses, but preach Krishna consciousness. So therefore give the people a chance to understand Krishna. He opened many centers in big cities.” (He is speaking about his Guru Maharaja). He says, “We are also doing that because we are strictly following the principles of Rupa Goswami.”

Prabhupada said, “Somehow or other everything is coming out successfully. Krishna consciousness should be pushed forward according to this principle or rupanuga principle.”

On Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s Thakura’s appearance day in 1975 Prabhupada said:

“In front of Lord Caitanya and by the grace of Lord Krishna and in the presence of my Guru Maharaja you are chanting Hare Krishna. You are chanting Hare Krishna maha mantra very seriously. So my Guru Maharaja will be very very pleased upon you. He will bless you with all benefits. He wanted this. It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even an ordinary being doesn’t die. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. What to speak of such an exalted authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhuapda. He is seeing you.”

Prabhupada now says, “I never felt that I am alone. When I came to United States like a pauper, like a poor man, no friends, no money but I was full of faith that my Guru Maharajaa is with me. I never lost this faith.”

I have an experience of this. In France we were very poor also. So Prabhupada wanted us to open a temple. So somehow or other by a miracle we opened a temple. And we invited him to come. So first he went to Moscow from India and then from Moscow he came to Paris. The day before he came I was in deep, deep anxiety. We didn’t have any money, we couldn’t buy flowers, we couldn’t buy bhoga, we didn’t have a car, we couldn’t even rent a taxi. That night I could hardly sleep. I woke up very early in the morning, went down to the temple room, I started chanting. I was thinking what are we going to do? We are going to hitchhike to the airport, but we can’t hitchhike back with Prabhupada! Now this is a true story. I am not making anything up, I am not elaborating it or. . . .

While chanting I noticed there was a brown bag in the temple room. It was a brown paper bag. So I picked it up, I looked inside it was full of money. More money than I had ever seen in my life! So immediately I put it under my arm and covered it with a chadar. (claps) and I started to sweat thinking what will I do if someone comes looking for the bag? (laughter) So I just started chanting, we had mangala arati. It wasn’t really a temple room, it was a room with a very small little altar, with small picture of Panca tattva and few pictures of the parampara. By 11 o’clock in the morning no one had asked me for the bag. We had to pick up Prabhupada at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

So I accepted this as Krishna’s mercy. I gave people money to buy flowers, to buy bhoga, we got a taxi, and we went to the airport.

vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (BG 2.41)

One must have resolute unflinching faith in the spiritual master and in Krishna. Somehow or other by the goodwill of Krishna everything will work out.

Srila Prabhupada has written a letter to a bhakta. He said:

“The spiritual master is present wherever his sincere devotees are trying to serve his instructions. This is possible by the mercy of Krishna. In your attempt to serve me with your sincere devotional sentiments I am with you just as my Guru Maharajaa is with me. Always remember this.”

So in this way we have to have faith

Guru mukha padma vakya cittete kariya aikya

My only desire is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from the lotus mouth of my guru.

‘sraddha’-sabde – visvasa kahe sudrdha niscaya krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya (CC Madhya 22.62)

You must have faith but faith means you believe in something sublime, you may not see it but you know it is there. Prabhupada said, “My Guru Maharajaa is with me. I never lost that faith.”

There is vani, the words of the guru, and there is vapu the physical presence, Srila Prabhupada said the physical presence will disappear but the vani will stay. If we keep the vani the words of the guru and spiritual master then we remain fixed up. Just like the Bhagavad Gita was spoken five thousand years ago but if you keep the words of Krishna then it is always fresh. It will guide you. Then you should know that Krishna is present with you. That means spiritual realization. It’s not a mundane history.

So in 1996 for Prabhupada’s centennial I organized a program in San Jose, California. The guest speaker was Govinda Maharaja, the disciple of Sridhar Maharaja. And he said, “Today my dear friends I have come to make a confession. I think in your religion you make confession, is it not?” He said, “My Guru Maharajaa and I were sitting in Navdvipa. And we were getting news that your Gurudeva, your Swami Maharajaa, was succeeding in the United States in spreading Krishna consciousness. We could not believe it!”

Now the question is why did they not believe it?

Because in 1933 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura sent his best man, the most eloquent, the most refined, the most intelligent member of the Gaudiya Math to preach in England and the Gaudiya Math sent him every month 700 Rs, which might be like I don’t know, 7000 dollars or something today. After four years he called him back to Calcutta. He wasn’t able to make one devotee and when he met him, the ultimate insult was, he said to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, “Your process doesn’t work!”

That was an insult!

Two weeks before Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura disappeared Prabhupada sent him a letter and he said – “Gurudeva, is there any service I can do for you?” r And Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura immediately replied, “Yes it will be very nice for you, you try to preach this gospel amongst the persons who speak English.”

So Prabhupada said, “Sometimes I was dreaming that my Guru Maharaja was coming to me and calling and saying that I must leave my home and follow him, leave my children, leave everything and follow him. My Guru Maharaja wants me to give up my home, give up my family and take sannyasa. So I was thinking, Oh, this is horrible! How can I leave my home! That is maya!”

Guru Maharaja, Prabhupada said, made me or obliged me to give up my home life. But his order and plan I gave up everything. I gave up a few children but now Krishna has given me thousands of children.”

And he came to the West and proved that his Guru Maharaja’s process works because he had absolute faith in the words of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

So when I was young devotee, I think it was 1973, I came for the first time to India and it was the time of Janmastami and then Guru [Vyasa] Puja. And on the occasion of Guru Puja the guest speaker, the honoured guest was the same person who had gone to England and failed. At that time the temple was not built yet. It was a construction site. I was sitting on a sand pile. There was no running water yet. You had to draw water from a well. But we were happy because we were with Prabhupada.

On that day Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasasana and we were trying to glorify him and four sanyasis came from Mayapur. And one of them got up to speak, Gargamuni, and he said, “Prabhupada is the only disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura who had so much faith in his guru that he was willing to risk everything, his life, his health, everything to please his guru. Not one of his Godbrothers was able to do this.”

I was a little embarrassed when he said it, I was looking at the honored guest. I was thinking why is he speaking so strong like this, it’s embarrassing. But the honored guest did not bat an eyelash. But when I looked at Prabhupada he was smiling, he was very happy. (laughter)

Gargamuni said, “Prabhupada did what his Guru and all the parampara of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas wanted:

prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama?sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

Again I looked at the guest, again he was stoic, he didn’t bat an eyelash, I looked at Prabhupada, he was beaming. Then I thought in my heart one day I want to speak like that to glorify Prabhupada. And then the guest was given a chance to speak and he said, “We cannot but accept the fact that your Swami Maharaja has done great service.”

Now we know how much Prabhupada loved Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “Even at the expense of all the properties of the Gaudiya Math, all the temples, all the mathas, all that I have, if I could convert even one person into a pure devotee, my mission would be fulfilled.”

Prabhupada is that one devotee, the absolute pure devotee who fulfilled the prophecy of Lord Caitanya. He fulfilled the prophecy of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, that one day the white brothers from the West will come to Sridhama Mayapur and dance with their Indian brown brothers in harinama sankirtana. These two prophecies plus the fact that the message of Lord Caitanya is spread all over the world.

So we cannot imagine how much Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is smiling right now. When Bhaktivinoda Thakura disappeared he went to see his mother and he was late so his father had already been cremated. His mother said, “Before your father departed he offered you many blessings. Bhaktivinoda Thakura repeatedly mentioned that your firm faith in suddha bhakti is fixed. And he instructed that you should serve Sridhama Mayapur and propagate the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

A few weeks before Bhaktivinoda Thakura had disappeared he expressed his mano abhista, his heart felt understanding that he wanted to convey to his son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He said number one, establish daiva varnasrama, preach suddha bhakti, develop Sridhama Mayapur and publish Vaisnava writings. He said most people commit many offenses against pure Vaisnava’s due to their false pride. He said the means to rectify this is to institute daiva varnasrma.

In 1956 Srila Prabhupada wrote an essay called ‘Gita Nagari Village’. And he outlined a four point process to spiritualize the whole world. The first point was harinama sankirtana. The second point was deity worship and establishing temples. He called these points movements. He said the third point was initiating devotees and training them to be pure Vaisnavas. And the fourth point was establishing daiva varnasrama so that there will be a classless society.

How it can be classless when you have varnas and asramas? Because if it is done correctly all the varnas and asramas will cooperate with each other and will become a classless society. No one will be in a ? situation. Everyone will attain the perfection of life by cooperating with each other.

In the beginning of time Krishna sent forth generations of men and demigods and gave them sacrifice for Lord Visnu. And he said by performance of these sacrifices you will receive all desirable things to live peacefully happily and prosperously. And at the end of life you will all go back to Godhead. This is the program for the Krishna consciousness movement. It was the point one of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his mano abhistam, his heart felt realizations that he wanted to communicate to his son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Second point was due to the the lack of preaching what pure bhakti is, all types of bad theories and instructions are being called devotion by false sampradayas like the sahajiyas. He said crush these anti-devotional conceptions by preaching what pure bhakti is. And always manifest the highest standard of Vaisnava sadacara by your behavior.

And he said begin the parikrama of Sridhama Mayapur as soon as possible then everyone in the universe will receive Krishna bhakti. Then he said, diligently endeavor that service to Sridhama Mayapur becomes permanently established and more resplendent everyday.

So actually in the Padma Purana it says:

naham tisthami vaikunthe yoginam hrdayesu va yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah tatra tisthami narada

“Narada, I am not in Vaikuntha, (Lord Visnu is speaking to Narada) I am not in the heart of the meditating yogis, and but whenever My devotees are chanting My glories, speaking about My katha, describing My form, My pastimes, that’s where I am.”

This is what Mayapur is all about. In Mayapur you will see the best and the worst because everything is amplified here. But our motto should be “Take the best and leave the rest!” This is not a place for nonsense. This is a place where you can actually become a pure devotee.

tasmat sarvesu kalesu mam anusmara yudhya ca mayy arpita-mano-buddhir mam evaisyasy asamsayah (BG 8.7)

“At all times Arujna think of Me and do your duty with your mind and intelligence fixed on Me I guarantee you, you will come back to Me.”

So why are we here? We are here because thousands and thousands of people are coming here almost every day and it will be millions when this temple is built. This is perhaps the greatest place in the world to preach. This is where Lord Caitanya preached, this is where Lord Nityananda preached, Srivas Thakura, all of the greatest devotees in the history of the world, they were preaching here. This is not a place for visayis, for sense gratifiers. This is a place where you can actually attain Krishna prema and share it with hundreds and thousands and millions of people. When we actually take that seriously Srila Prabhupada becomes very pleased. That’s why he went through so much trouble to build this place.

So I will finish with one letter that Srila Prabhupada wrote. He wrote this to his devotees in 1967. He says:

“I always think of you because you are my heart and soul. I am so pleased in your association. I am always thankful to my spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, for his favor by sending you to me, such sincere representatives of him to help me in my missionary activities in this part of the world. I consider you all as representatives of my Guru Maharaja to help me in my helpless condition. My Godbrothers did not help me but my spiritual master helped me. So I do not think that I can ever forget you even for a moment. I pray to Krishna for your more and more advancement in Krishna consciousness. Be happy and execute more and more service for Krishna and Krishna will accept you in His association.”


Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada ki jaya! Sridhama Mayapur ki jaya! Gaurpremanande Hari Haribol!


Devotee: Could you please give the fifth point from this book “Gita Nagari Village”. You mentioned four.

HG Hari Vilas Prabhu: There are four points. Fifth point is everyone will become happy and go back to Godhead.

Ekalavya Das: Hare Krishna Prabhu. Thank you for a wonderful class. Prabhu you quoted one sloka from Padma Purana which states that “I am not in the heart of the yogis but I am where My devotees are chanting My glories.” So Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto (BG 15.15), that “I am in everyone’s heart.” So what is it meant by this Padma Purana verse.

HG Hari Vilas Prabhu:

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis atrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah (Siksatakam )

That Krishna has so many names Krishna, Govinda. He is present in His names. All His potencies are in His names. And there are no hard and fast rules for chanting that. We have to understand what Lord Caitanya did. He did something unbelievable. Hinduism was ensconced in a lie. catur varnyam maya srstam guna karma vibhagasah, this is what Krishna says. But the Hindu Brahmans were saying catur varnyam maya srstam janma karma vibhagasah. So they created this false caste system. And it caused havoc.

So Lord Caitanya He did not come to be a politician that creates friends and enemies. He came and in a very wonderful way elevated everyone regardless of their caste, regardless of their birth, they could be Muslims, they could be Jain, they could be Buddhist, they could be atheists, doesn’t matter. They can all join the sankirtana movement and become purified. And there are three methods to this yoga system: chanting, dancing and feasting. You don’t have to be a rocket engineer to do it. A child can do it and a person on a death bed can do it.

Now the 50th anniversary of ISKCON is coming up. We should cause a tsunami of the holy name. We want minimum one million people in Calcutta on harinama sankirtana for the 50th anniversary, we want minimum half a million people in Delhi, half a million people in Bombay and in Washington DC we want at least a hundred thousand people.

Let’s do this! Let’s glorify Lord Caitanya! Let’s glorify Prabhupada! Let’s have Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura smiling. The entire sampradaya and gurus should be smiling. You can do this! Let’s work together!

Hare Krishna! Thank you very much! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!


[Kindly transcribed by Suvilasi Madhavi DD]

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