vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhakti-yoga-śikṣārtham ekaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-śarīra-dhārī kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye
“Let me take shelter of that Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who has descended in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service and detachment from whatever does not foster kṛṣṇa-bhakti. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me surrender unto His lotus feet.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 2, 54 quoted from Kavi Karṇapura’s Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭakam)
vairāgya vidyā nija bhakti-yogam apāyayan mām anabhīpsu andham
śrī purī bhakti pramoda nāma kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye
“Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja is an ocean of mercy and I offer my respects unto him. I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of renunciation, but out of his causeless mercy, he made me drink it, even though I was otherwise unable to do so.”
In this mundane world, conditioned souls cling to their ignorance and laziness thinking it to be the highest bliss, but such laziness and ignorance will not save them at the time of death. Only when they are blessed by the grace of a sādhu of the highest order, a pure devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, are they able to accept the chanting of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa with all sincerity and determination. Then only are such souls able to transcend birth and death, and attain the blissful abode of Goloka Vṛndāvana and Śrī Navadvīpa eternally. Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was such a sādhu, a nāma-ācārya in the truest sense of the word. He selflessly chanted the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa in the ecstasy of kṛṣṇa-prema both day and night, and he encouraged all those who took shelter at his lotus feet by his personal example to pursue the path of śuddha-bhakti, abandoning all false pretence and cheating propensities.
Woes of Kali-yuga
andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti ye ‘sambhūtim upāsate
tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u sambhūtyām ratāḥ
“Those who are engaged in the culture of nescient activities shall enter into the darkest region of ignorance. Worse still are those engaged in the culture of so-called knowledge.” (Īśopaniṣad 9)
In times of great need, the Lord Himself descends or sends His bona-fide agent.
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānam sṛjāmyaham
“O descendent of Bharata, whenever there is a decline in dharma and a rise of adharma, I personally appear.” (Bhagavad-gītā 4.7)
brahmaṇḍa bhramite kona bhagyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prāsade pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona-fide guru by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the guru, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.151)
We live in Kali-yuga, and among the many faults of Kali-yuga (kaler doṣa-nidhe rājan) the “cheating-guru” must be added to the list. At present cheating-gurus, the likes of the witch Pūtanā, poison their followers with numerous misconceptions and fanciful ideas thus polluting the devotional atmosphere. At such a time the appearance of a true sādhu to guide and teach śuddha-bhakti by his personal example is very, very rare – sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ.
Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was such a sādhu, a real guru, (sad-guru) in the truest sense of the word. He stood firm in the conceptions of Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakura and Śrī Bhaktivinoda, and he broadcast the necessity of humility as the quintessence of chanting the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Purī Gosvāmī descended to this world on the order of the Supreme Person to humbly accept the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakura Prabhupāda as his life and soul and to broadcast the glories of śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana.
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
“The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the fire of misery in the forest of birth and death. As the evening lotus blooms in the moon’s cooling rays, the heart begins to blossom in the nectar of the Name. At last the soul awakens to its real inner treasure: a life of love with Kṛṣṇa. Again and again tasting nectar, the soul dives and surfaces in the ever-increasing ocean of ecstatic joy. All conceivable phases of the self are fully satisfied and purified, and at last conquered by the all-auspicious influence of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa.” (Śikṣāṣṭakam 1)
While the primary purpose for the appearance of Kṛṣṇa as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was to taste the ecstatic pleasure of serving Himself (Kṛṣṇa) in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, His secondary purpose was the spreading of the saṅkīrtana movement for the benefit of humanity at large. Śrī Caitanya has given the prediction that the chanting of Kṛṣṇa’s Name will be heard in every town and village of the world.
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khāṇḍa 4.126)
The Lord’s pure devotees are always eager to fulfil the Lord’s desires and thus they engage in the saṅkīrtana movement with heart and soul to assist the Lord in delivering the fallen souls of this age through the saṅkīrtana of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Such service often requires personal sacrifice and is sometimes even dangerous. But the pure devotees have no fear because they know that their worshipable Lord is always there to protect them. Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was such a sādhu, a pure devotee, a śuddha-bhakta, in the truest sense of the word. His devotional practices were strictly regulated, but were permeated with the sweetness that characterized the devotion of Śrī Uddhava.
Purī Gosvāmī Vijaya
ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ mad-bhakteṣv-abhidhāsyati
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā mām evaiṣyaty-asaṁśayaḥ
“One who teaches this supreme secret of bhakti-yoga to others, advances to the highest platform of devotion and attains full consciousness of Me. Of this there is no doubt.” (Bhagavad-gītā 18.68)
na ca tasmān manuṣyesu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād anyaḥ priyataro bhuvi
“There is no one dearer to Me in this world than such a devotee. Nor will there ever be anyone dearer to Me than one who teaches this supreme secret.” (Bhagavad-gītā 18.69)
Those who dedicate themselves selflessly to the service of the Lord and His saṅkīrtana movement are without a doubt very dear to the Lord and are always victorious. Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was such a sādhu, a fearless preacher of Bhagavat–dharma. I offer my most humble prostrate obeisances million and millions of times in the dust of the lotus feet of Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, our guide and eternal shelter.
nāma-śreṣṭhaṁ manum api śacī-putram atra svarūpaṁ
rūpaṁ tasyāgrajam uru-purīṁ māthurīṁ goṣṭha-vāṭīm
rādha-kuṇḍaṁ giri-varam aho rādhikā-mādhavāśāṁ
prāpto yasya prathita-kṛpayā śrī-guruṁ taṁ nato ’smi
I am fully indebted to Śrī Guru, Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, because he has given me so many valuable things. He has given me the highest conception of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, the highest form of sound which contains the highest form of thought, aspiration, ideal, everything desirable. Next he has given me the mantra. He has given me the service of that great saviour, the son of Mother Śacī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is like a golden mountain standing to show the direction of kṛṣṇa-līla. Śrī Guru has brought me to the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu’s most favourite personal assistant, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, who is the representation of Lalitā Devī, the most favourite friend of Śrī Rādhikā. Śrī Guru has brought me in connection with Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda, who was ordered to distribute the highest kinds of devotional lave, rasa. By his grace, I have achieved the association of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmīpada, who adjusts our position in relation to rāgānuga-bhakti, spontaneous love divine. He explains the path of vaidhi-bhakti, and gives us sambandha-jñāna. Śrī guru has given me Mathurā-maṇḍala, where Rādhā and Govinda have Their pastimes; where the forest, the hills every creeper, shrub and grain of sand, everyone is bearing the acquaintance of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa līlā, and wherever I shall cast my glance they will help me in my remembrance of Rādhā and Govinda. I have received all these things from Śrī Guru: Vṛndāvana, where the cows and milkmen have their village constructed. I am becoming acquainted with their association, their nature and their feelings of love for Kṛṣṇa. By the grace of Śrī Guru, I have become acquainted with Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the favourite place of Rādhā and Govinda for Their pastimes, and this great Govardhana. Lastly, Śrī Guru has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhikā and Mādhava. I have been given all these assurances by Śrī Guru, so I bow my head with all my respects to his lotus feet.” (Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s Muktā-caritram, Verse 2, translation by Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī)
Pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja vijaya!