Hearing Hari-Kirtan from the Mouth of Literature

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Sep 06, 2016 — SRIDHAM MAYAPUR (SUN) — A letter from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.

Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga Jayatah
[All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga]


Sri Chaitanya Matha, Sri Mayapur, 22nd December 1927:


Yesterday I received a letter from you. Many days prior to this I received another letter from you before I went to the western states of India. Because I was travelling to different places I could not reply to you timely.


From the Gaudiya magazine or from the devotees you may have heard about the festivals we held in the western states. Everywhere, good people are becoming joyful just by hearing the glories of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Sri Nabadwip is the most worshipable place for the devotees. Any place in this dhama awakens remembrance of the Lord. Therefore I desire to stay for a few more days. For the purpose of serving Lord Hari I go to Calcutta and different places. Because Sriman Mahaprabhu is supremely merciful, He arranged for many devotees even in a place like Calcutta.


In the Gaudiya Math, hari-katha is always going on and everyone is completely absorbed in hari-seva. I wish to have their association in my last days, just as Pariksit Maharaja was absorbed in hearing Bhagavata.


In my last days, even if I am surrounded by relatives and well wishers in a comfortable situation, if there is no hari-katha there, I consider such a place and such association to be unnecessary. I see that by the mercy of Bhagavan the inclination of service to the Lord is present in all of the maths, thus I’m meditating upon Mahaprabhu’s munificence. Where I was previously spending my life in luxurious enjoyment of material objects, instead of that association today I am traveling to different places serving the Lord and associating with the devotees of the Lord. If we can spend our last days in this way then we will not lead miserable lives in forgetfulness of Hari.


You are not hearing enough hari-katha from devotees of Hari, who are always eagerly engaged in serving the Lord. Because of that, you have not had the good fortune of being engaged every moment in service to the Lord. However, your propensity for serving the Lord is keeping you far away from others’ association. Always study Gaudiya literature and literature written by devotees. Doing so you will get the same benefit of hearing hari-katha from a devotee’s mouth.


Although in this material world we are not meeting many devotees who are from the spiritual world, still, even today the discussions and pastimes of the devotees from the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu are eternally present in the form of literature and sound. Therefore we don’t feel any material distress. If we live here according to the principles of the spiritual world, then that consciousness will keep us separate from material miseries.


Wherever you may be, bhagavata-katha will not leave you. Even in the midst of all kind of mundane talks you will be able to remember the Lord and the words of his devotees. If God desires, then the opportunity will again arise for you to return back to this place. At that time you will again get the opportunity to hear hari-katha. For his own pleasure, God puts his devotees into a particular situation. By accepting that situation one will forget their miseries.


Common people in material society are not able to understand topics of the Lord, topics of Sriman Mahaprabhu, and the transcendental characteristics of devotees. If the propensity to serve the Lord appears in one’s heart then in all circumstances one can remember Lord Hari.


You are always trying to make spiritual advancement. Therefore, in the form of literature God is enlightening you from within all about His katha.


It is written in Caitanya Bhagavata:


yata deklia vaisnavera vyavaliara-duhkha
niscaya janiha sei parananda sukha


“When you see a Vaisnava who seems to be suffering material misery, you should know that he is actually experiencing the highest ecstasy.” [CB. Madhya 9.240]


To test us, God is always residing within everything. If we can come to the realization of observing the presence of God everywhere then our self-conception becomes less.


adyapi sei lila kare gaura-raya
kona kona bhagyavan dekhibare paya


“Even today, Lord Gaura Raya is enacting his pastimes, but only fortunate souls are able to see them.” [Adapted from CB. Madhya 10.283]*


* adyapiha caitanya e saba lila kare
yakhane yahare kare drsti-adhikare

sei dekhe,¬ara dekhibare sakti nai
nirantara krida kare caitanya gosani


“Lord Caitanya performs these pastimes even today. Only when the Lord gives the ability to see these pastimes can one see them. Others have no ability to see Lord Caitanya’s eternal pastimes.” (Cb. Madhya, 10.283-284)


When will that fortunate day arise when all of us pursue the essence of Sri Gaurasundara’s teachings and thus actually traverse on the path of bhakti?


This world of birth and death is the place where the Lord tests everyone. To pass this test one should hear kirtana from the dear devotees of Lord Hari. You are hearing the same from the mouth of literature, so you should not feel that you are lacking anything.


Once, Hiranyakasipu decided that there is no God in this world. Trying to prove his point, he put forward many arguments to Prahlada Maharaja. However, Lord Nrisimhadeva appeared from a pillar and made everything auspicious for Hiranyakasipu and the whole world. Devotees of the Lord see the Lord everywhere, but those who are envious of the Lord cannot even realize that He exists.


We are situated in the middle ground [being neither pure devotees nor materialists], and are showing our taste for serving Lord Hari. However, the next moment we are busy trying to enjoy sense gratification. By the desire to serve Hari we become detached from sense enjoyment. Materialistic life is the cause of immediate happiness and distress, while eternal devotional service to the Lord brings the Lord pleasure. For that satisfaction of the Lord we are always engaged in devotional service.


I don’t know if you will get immediate benefit by reading this long letter. My use of language is extremely incompetent. I am unable to convince everyone and explain every topic. For that reason, many times I maintain silence.


All of the arrangements for the upcoming festivals have been made here at the Chaitanya Math. The accommodations are ready at Sriman Mahaprabhu’s house [the yoga-pitha temple in Mayapur where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared], between Gaura-kund and the Hon gate.


nitya-asirvadak — your ever well-wisher, Sri Siddhanta Saraswati


— Translated by Sri Madhavendu das and Sri Bhakta Pradosh Kumar Sahoo, from Prabhupadera Patravali, Sri Chaitanya Math, Mayapur, 1991, Bengali, pages 43-46






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