This "Sri Vyas Puja Homage" was read by Abhay Charan Das (His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami) before the members of the Sri Gaudlya Math in Bombay in February, 1936 on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of His Divine Grace Prabhupada Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. His Divine Grace Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was very fond of the poem by Abhay Charan and was especially pleased by the lines: "Absolute is sentient Thou hast proved, /Impersonal calamity/Thou hast moved." The speech was published later in 1936 in The Harmonist, the publication of the Gaudiya Math. It is noteworthy that the same spirit of preaching has been maintained by His Divine Grace over the past 33 years. This is testimony to the eternality of the message of Krishna Consciousness.
Sri Vyas Puja Offering
Adore adore ye all
The happy day.
Blessed than heaven,
Sweeter than May.
When He appeared at Puri
The holy place,
My Lord and Master
His Divine Grace.
Oh! my Master
The evangelic angel
Give us Thy light,
Lite up Thy candle.
Struggle for existence
A human race.
The only hope
His Divine Grace.
Misled we are
All going astray,
Save us Lord
Our fervent pray.
Wonder Thy ways
To turn our face
Adore Thy feet
Your Divine Grace
We fallen souls,
Paying most heavy
The illusion's toll.
The only hope
His Divine Grace.
Message of service
Thou hast brought.
A healthful life
As Chaitanya wrought.
Unknown to all
It's full of brace.
That's your gift
Your Divine Grace.
Absolute is sentient
Thou hast proved,
Thou hast moved.
This gives us a life
Anew and fresh,
Worship thy feet
Your Divine Grace.
Had you not come
Who had told
The message of Krishna
Forceful and bold.
That's your right
You have the mace.
Save me a fallen
Your Divine Grace.
The line of service
As drawn by you,
Is pleasing and healthy
Like morning dew.
The oldest of all
But in new-dress
Your Divine Grace.
Abhay Charan Das
Sri Vyas Puja Homage
Saksad haritvena samasta sastrai
Ruktastatha bhabyata eve sadbhih
Kintu prabhoryah priya eve tasya
Vande guroh Sri charanaravindam.
"In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the Spiritual Master should be worshipped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The Spiritual Master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the Lotus Feet of our Spiritual Master."
On behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of The Gaudiya Math, let me welcome you all, because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of Homage to the Lotus Feet of the world-teacher Acharyadeva, who is the founder of this Gaudiya Mission and is the President Acharya of Sri Sri Viswa Vaishnab Raj-Shabha, I mean my eternal Divine Master Paramhansa Paribrajakacharya Sri Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj.
Sixty-two years ago, on this auspicious day the Acharyadeva made his appearance by the call of Thakore Bhakti-Vinode at Sri Kshetra Jaggannathdham at Puri.
Gentlemen, the offerings of such a homage as has been arranged this evening to the Acharyadeva is not a sectarian concern, because when we speak of the fundamental principle of Gurudeva or Acharyadeva, we speak of something that is of universal application. There does not arise any question of discriminating my Guru from that of yours or of any one else's. There is only one Guru who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others. The Guru or Acharyadeva, as we learn from the bonafide scriptures, delivers the message of the absolute world, I mean the transcendental abode of the Absolute Personality where everything non-differentially serves the Absolute Truth. We have heard so many times that mahajana yena gatah sa pantha(Traverse the trail which your previous acharya has passed.), but we have hardly tried to understand the real purport of this sloka, and if we scrutiniously study this proposition we understand that mahajana is one, and the royal road to the transcendental world is also one. In the Katha Upanishada it is said,
Tad vijnartham sa gurumevabhigachhet.
Samit panih srotnyam brahmanistham.
"In order to learn that transcendental science, one must approach the bonafide Spiritual Master in disciplic succession, fixed in the Absolute Truth."
Thus it has been enjoined herewith that in order to receive that transcendental knowledge one must approach the Guru. Therefore, if the Absolute Truth is one, about which we think there is no difference of opinion, the Guru also cannot be two. The Acharyadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage, is not the Guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary He is the Jagatguru or the Guru of all of us; the only difference is that some obey Him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey Him directly.
In the Bhagavatam it is said
Acharyam mam vijaniyat navamanyeta karhichit.
Na martabuddhyayasueta sarvadeva mayo guruh.
"One should understand the Spiritual Master to be as good as I am," said the Blessed Lord. "Nobody should be jealous of the Spiritual Master or think of Him as an ordinary man because the Spiritual Master is the sum total of all demigods."
That is, the Acharya has been identified with Godhead Himself. He has nothing to do with the affairs of this mundane world. He does not descend here to meddle with the affairs of temporary necessities but to deliver the fallen and conditioned souls the souls or entities who have come here in the material world with a motive of enjoyment by the mind and the five organs of sense perception. He appears before us to reveal the light of the Vedas and to bestow upon us the blessings of full-fledged freedom after which we should hanker at every step of our life's journey.
The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas were first uttered by Godhead to Brahma the Creator of this particular universe. From Brahma the Knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhwa and in this process of disciplic succession the transcendental knowledge was being transmitted by one disciple to another till it reached Lord Gauranga or Sri Krishna Chaitanya Who posed as the Disciple and Successor of Sri Ishvara Puri. The present Acharyadeva is the tenth disciplic representative from Sri Rupa Goswami, the original representative of this transcendental tradition in its fullness from Lord Chaitanya. The knowledge that we receive from Him is not different from that imparted by Godhead Himself and the succession of the Acharyas in the preceptorial line of Brahma. We adore this auspicious day as Sri Vyas-Puja Tithi because the Acharya is the living representative of Vyasdeva, the Divine compiler of the Vedas, the Puranas, Gita, Mahabharata and theBhagavatam. One who interprets the Divine Sound or Sabdabrahman by his imperfect sense perception cannot be a real spiritual Guru because in the absence of the empiricist's proper disciplinary training under the bonafide Acharya, the interpreter is sure to differ from Vyasdeva (as the Mayabadins do), the prime authority of the Vedic Revelation, and therefore, such irrelevant interpreter cannot be accepted as the Guru or Acharya howsoever he may be equipped with all the acquirements of material knowledge. As it is said
Sampradaya vihina ye mantraste biphalamatah.
"Unless you are initiated by a bonafide spiritual Master in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might have received is without any effect."
On the other hand one who has received the transcendental knowledge through the bonafide preceptor in the disciplic chain by aural reception and has sincere regard for the real Acharya must needs be enlightened with the revealed knowledge of Vedas which is permanently sealed to the cognitive approach of the empiricists. As it is said in Shetaswatara Upanishada,
Yasyadeve parabhakti yatha deve tatha gurou.
Tasyaite kathitha hyarthah prakasante mahat manah.
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the Spiritual Master, simultaneously, are all the imports of Vedic Knowledge automatically revealed."
Gentlemen, our knowledge is so poor, our senses are so imperfect and our sources are so limited that it is not possible for us to have even the slightest knowledge of the absolute region without surrendering ourselves at the Lotus Feet of Sri Vyasdeva or His bonafide representative. Every moment we are being deceived by the knowledge of our direct perception they are all the creation or concoction of the mind which is always deceiving, changing and flickering. We cannot know anything of the transcendental region by our limited perverted method of observation and experiment. But all of us can lend our eager ears for the aural reception of the transcendental sound transmitted from that region to this through the unadulterated medium of Sri Gurudeva or Sri Vyasdeva. Therefore gentlemen, we should surrender ourselves today to the Feet of the representative of Sri Vyasdeva for the elimination of all our differences bred by our unsubmissive attitude. It is accordingly said in Sree Gita,
Tad biddhi prani patena pari prasnena sebaya
Upadeksanti te jnanam jnamna tatva-darsinah.
"Just approach the wise and bonafide Spiritual Master. Surrender unto him first and try to understand him by enquiries and service. Such a wise Spiritual Master will enlighten you with transcendental knowledge because he has already known the Absolute Truth."
To receive the transcendental knowledge we must completely surrender ourselves to the real Acharya in a spirit of ardent enquiry and service. The actual performance of the service of the Absolute under the guidance of the Acharya is the only vehicle by which we can assimilate the transcendental knowledge. Today's meeting for offering our humble services and homage to the Feet of the Acharyadeva will enable us to be favoured with the capacity of assimilating the transcendental knowledge so kindly transmitted by Him to all persons without distinction.
Gentlemen, we are more or less all proud of our past Indian civilization, but we actually do not know the real nature of that civilization. We cannot be proud of our past material civilization which is now thousand times greater than in the days gone by. It is said that we are passing through the age of darkness or the Kaliyuga. What is this darkness? The darkness cannot be due to backwardness in material knowledge, because we have now more of it than formerly. If not we ourselves, our neighbours at any rate have plenty of it, and therefore, we must conclude that the darkness of the present Age is not due to lack of material advancement, but that we have lost the clue to our spiritual advancement which is the prime necessity of human life and the criterion of the highest type of human civilization. Throwing of bombs from aeroplanes is no advancement of civilization from the primitive uncivilized way of dropping big stones on the heads of the enemies from the tops of the hills. Improvement of the art of killing our neighbours by inventing machine guns and by means of poisonous gases is certainly no advancement from primitive barbarism priding itself on its art of killing by bows and arrows, nor does the development of a sense of pampered selfishness prove anything more than intellectual animalism. True human civilization is very different from all these states, and therefore, in the Katha Upanisada there is the emphatic call
uttisthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata
ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya
durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti
"Please get up, awake and try to understand that boon of life which you now have in this human form of life. The path of spiritual realization is very difficult and is sharp like the razor's edge. That is the opinion of learned transcendental scholars."
Thus while others were yet in the womb of historical oblivion, the sages of India had developed a different kind of civilization which enables us to know ourselves. They had discovered that we are not at all material entities, but that we are all spiritual, permanent and nondestructible servants of the Absolute. But because we have against our better judgment chosen to completely identify ourselves with this present materialised existence, our sufferings have multiplied by subjection to the inexorable law of births and deaths and consequent diseases and anxieties. These sufferings cannot be really mitigated by any provision of material happiness because matter and spirit are completely different elements. It is just as if you take an aquatic animal out of water and put it on the land, supplying all manner of happiness possible on land. The deadly sufferings of the animal are not capable of being relieved at all till it is taken out of its foreign environment. Spirit and matter are completely contradictory things. All of us are spiritual entities. We cannot have perfect happiness which is our birthright, however much we may meddle with the affairs of the mundane things, unless and until we are restored to our natural state of spiritual existence. This is the distinctive message of our ancient Indian civilization, this is the message of the Gita, this is the message of the Vedas and the Puranas and this is the message of all the real Acharyas and of our present Acharyadeva in the line of Lord Chaitanya.
Gentlemen, although it is imperfectly that we have been enabled by His Grace to understand the sublime messages of our Acharyadeva Om Vishnupada Paramahansa Paribrajakacharya Sri Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, yet we must admit that we have realized definitely that the Divine message from his holy lips is the congenial thing for the suffering humanity. All of us should hear him patiently. If we listen to the Transcendental Sound without unnecessary opposition, he will surely have mercy upon us. The Acharya's message is to take us back to our original home and back to God. Let me repeat, therefore, that we should hear Him patiently, follow Him in the measure of our conviction and bow down at His Lotus Feet for releasing us of our present causeless unwillingness for serving the Absolute and all souls.
About this spiritual existence we learn from the Gita that even after the destruction of the body, the Atma or the soul is not destroyed; he is always the same, always new and fresh; that fire cannot burn, water cannot dissolve, the air cannot dry up or the sword cannot kill him; that he is everlasting and eternal and this is also confirmed in the Bhagavatam by the sloka,
Yasya atmabuddhi kunape tridhatuke
Svadhih kalatradisu bhouma ijyadhih
Yattirthabuddhih salile na karhichid
Janesu abhijnesu sa eva gokharah.
"Anyone who accepts this bodily bag of three elements (bile, mucous, and air) as his self and who has an affinity for an intimate relationship with his wife and children, and who considers his land as worshipable, and who accepts the waters of the holy places of pilgrimage but never takes advantage of those persons who are in actual knowledge, is no better than an ass or cow."
But unfortunately in these days we have all been turned foolish by neglecting our real comfort and have identified the material cage with ourselves. We have concentrated thereby all our energies for the meaningless upkeep of the material cage for its own sake, completely neglecting the captive soul within. The cage is for the undoing of the bird, and not the bird is for the cage. The poisoned shirt is for the death of the wearer who is never meant for wearing the coat. Let us, therefore, deeply ponder over the thing. All our activities are now turned towards the upkeep of the cage and the most we do is try to give some food to the mind by arts and literature. But we do not know that this mind is also material in a more subtle form. This is stated in the Gita
Bhumi rapoanalobayuh kham buddhi manoreva cha
Ahamkara iti ayam me bhima prakritirastadhah
"Earth, fire, water, air, sky, intelligence, mind and ego are all My separated energies.
We have scarcely tried to give any food to the soul as distinct from the body and mind, and therefore we are all committing suicide in the proper sense of the term. The message of the Acharyadeva is to give us a warning halt to the procedure of such wrong activities. Let us, therefore bow down at His Lotus Feet for the unalloyed mercy and kindness He has bestowed upon us.
Gentlemen, do not for a moment think that my Gurudeva wants to put a complete brake to the modern civilization, which is an impossible feat. But let us learn from Him the art of how to make the best use of a bad bargain and let us understand the importance of this human life which is fit for the highest development of true consciousness, and let us not neglect it. The best use of this rare human life should not be avoided. Says Srimad Bhagwatam
Labdhu sudur labhamidam bahu sambhavante
Turnam yateta napatedanu mirtyu yavat
Nisreyasaya visaya khalu sarvatah syat.
"This human form of life is obtained after very many births, and although it is not permanent it can offer the highest benefits. Therefore, a sober and intelligent man should immediately try to furfill his mission to attain the highest profit in life before another death occurs. He should avoid sense gratification which is available in all circumstances."
Let us not misuse it in the vain pursuit of material enjoyment, or, in other words, for the sake of only eating, sleeping, fearing and sensuous activities. The Acharyadeva's message is conveyed by the words of Sri Rupa Goswami
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
vairagyam phalgu kathyate
"One is supposed to be situated in the full renounced order of life if he lives in accordance with Krishna Consciousness. He should be without attachment for sense gratification and should accept only what is necessary for the upkeep of the body. On the other hand one who renounces things which could be used in the service of Krishna Consciousness, under the pretext that such things are material, does not practice complete renunciation." ( Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255-256)
And the purport of these slokas can only be realized by fully developing the rational portion of our life and not the animal portion. Let us try to understand from this transcendental source of knowledge as to what we are, what is this universe and what is God and what is our interrelation, at the Feet of the Acharyadeva.
The message of Lord Chaitanya is the message for the living entities and the message of the living world. Lord Chaitanya did not bother Himself for the upliftment of this dead-world which is suitably named as the Martyaloka or the world where everything is destined to be dead, but He appeared before us 450 years before to tell us something of the transcendental universe where everything is permanent and everything is for the service of the Absolute. But recently Lord Chaitanya has been misrepresented by some designing persons, and the highest philosophy of the Lord has been misinterpreted to be the cult of the lowest type of society, and we are glad to announce tonight that our Acharyadeva with His usual kindness saved us from this horrible type of degradation, and therefore, let us bow down at His Lotus Feet with all humility.
Gentlemen, it has been like a mania for the cultured or the uncultured society of the present day to accredit the Personality of Godhead in His mere impersonal feature and to stultify the Personality of Godhead as having no sense, no form, no activity, no head, no leg, and no enjoyment. This has also been the pleasure of the modern scholars due to their sheer lack of proper guidance and true introspection in the spiritual realm. All these empiricists think alike, as if all the enjoyable things should be monopolised by the human society, or by a particular class only, the Impersonal Godhead being a mere order-supplier for their whimsical feats. We are happy that we have been relieved of this horrible type of malady by the mercy of His Divine Grace Paramahansa Paribrajakacharya Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, our eye-opener, our eternal father, our eternal preceptor and our eternal guide. Let us, therefore, bow down at His Lotus Feet on this auspicious day.
Gentlemen, although we are like ignorant children in the knowledge of the transcendence, still His Divine Grace my Gurudeva has kindled a small fire within us to dissipate the invincible darkness of the empirical knowledge, and we are so much so on the safe side that no amount of philosophical argument of the empiric schools of thought can deviate us an inch from the position of our eternal dependence on the Lotus Feet of His Divine Grace and we are prepared to challenge the most erudite scholars of the Mayavada school on this vital issue that the Personality of Godhead and His transcendental Sports in Goloka alone constitute the sublime information of the Vedas. There are explicit indications of this in the Chhandyogya Upanishada especially in the text
Syamatsavalam prapadye sabalatsyamam prapadye.
"For receiving the mercy of Krishna I surrender unto His energy (Radha), and for receiving the mercy of His energy I surrender unto Krishna."
and in the Rigveda Samhita
Tadvisnoh paramampadam sadapasyanti surayah
Diviva chahsuratatam visnoyat paramam padam.
"The Lotus Feet of the Lord Vishnu are the Supreme Objective of all the demigods. These Lotus Feet of the Lord are enlightening as the sun in the sky."
This plain thing so vividly explained in the Gita, which is the central lesson of the Vedas, is not understood, nay even suspected, by the most powerful scholars of the empiric schools. Herein lies the secret of Sri Vyasa Puja. We are glad to meditate on the transcendental Pastimes of the Absolute Godhead; we are proud to feel that we are His eternal servitors which make us jubilant and dance with joy. All Glory to my Divine Master for it is He Who has, out of His unceasing flow of mercy, stirred up within us such a movement of eternal existence. Let us bow down at His Lotus Feet.
Gentlemen, had he not appeared before us to deliver us from the thraldom of this gross worldly delusion surely we should have remained for lives and ages in the darkness of helpless captivity. Had he not appeared before us, we would not have been able to understand the eternal truth of the sublime teaching of Lord Chaitanya, had He not appeared before us, we could not have been able to know the significance of the first sloka of Brahmasamhita,
lsvara parama Krishna sachchidananda vigrahah
Anadivadir govindah sarva karana karanam.
"Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the Origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the Prime Cause of all causes."
Personally I have no hope to have any direct service for the coming crores of births of the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore, let me with all my earnestness pray at the Lotus Feet of my Divine Master to let me suffer the lot which I am destined to do for all my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection, that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realised through the unflinching mercy of my Divine Master. Let me, therefore, bow down at His Lotus Feet with all the humility at my command.
ABHAY CHARAN DAS
For Members, Sri Gaudlya Math, Bombay.