|A brief introduction of Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Gosaiji)|
Shree Shree Radha Shyam Sundarji
(Family Deity of Gosaiji)
Sadguru Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Gosaiji)
Shree Shree Mata Yogamaya Devi
A brief introduction of Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Gosaiji)
The advent of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took place in 1486 A.D. in Navadwip Dham of Bengal. According to accomplished vaishnava mahatmas, Lord Shree Krishna’s incarnation as Shree Gouranga Mahaprabhu for preaching naam keertan, was the result of intense austere practice by Shree Adwaitacharya of Shantipur. Shree Gouranga’s life was one of non-attachment. He directed that in Kaliyuga the only route towards achieving loving devotion was through the naamsamkeertan of God. Those who came to the forefront in preaching naam are Shree Adwaitacharya and Shree Nityananda Prabhu. Sadguru incarnate Prabhupada Shree Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami was born in the famous lineage of Shree Adwaitacharya.
About three hundred years after Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent, the Vaishnava path of religion had undergone a gradual decay. In the garb of religion various anti-scriptural paths were formed. The consequences were particularly unwelcome for Bengal. Five hundred years of repressive muslim rule followed by the rule of the authority monger Britishers and the tendency of the Indians to imitate them by immersing themselves in luxury, were destroying the ancient civilization and culture of our country. Around this period were born Shree Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev and Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami for the welfare of Bengal.
Shree Ramakrishna Dev preached in simple language the harmony of all religions which is the central theme of the eternal religion (Sanatan dharma). Shree Ramakrishna mission has propagated service with the idea that all human beings are the embodiments of Narayana.
Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami, while preaching the eternal scriptures, has also revived the vaishnava religion propagated by Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The ultimate aim of human life is to acquire divine love and devotion. It is possible only by the grace of the Sadguru. Repeating the powerful name of God given by the Sadguru and observing the rules of good conduct enable a devotee to achieve divine love. Goswamiji spent his life just preaching this truth.
Shree Anandakishore Goswamiji was the ninth generation decendant of Shree Adwaitacharya. His wife was Swarnamoyee Devi. The daily routine of Anandakishore Goswamiji was service to the household deity Shree Shyamsundar, aarati (worship with oil lamp) and reading Shreemad Bhagavat. While reading that holy book tears used to roll out continuously from his eyes and drops of blood used to ooze out of his skin pores colouring his entire body. Because of this the residents of Shantipur and those in the nearby villages held him in high esteem.
Sometimes after the birth of his first child Brajagopal, Ananda Kishore had a keen desire to see Shree Jagannath Dev. Approximately in 1838 AD after the Diwali celebration (celebration of lights) he took the shalgram shila, (small spheical piece of black stone considered to be a holy idol of Lord Narayana) hung it around his neck and started his journey from Shantipur to Puri, by prostrating repeatedly (instead of walking) all the way. He used to worship this deity regularly. He was accompanied by his aunt and a servant. The distance between Shantipur and Puri is about 400 miles. The road to Puri was impassable in those days. Thus while continuing prostration, he reached Puri after one and a half years in 1840 A.D. during the months of May-June. Anandakishoreji had a vision of Jagannath Dev, he went into a state of trance. Jagannath Dev then appeared before him and said, “Go back to Shantipur, I am coming to you as your son.”
Anandakishoreji wished to stay the rest of his life at Puri dham, but under instruction from Jagannath Dev he returned to Shantipur after staying there for some days.
On the 2nd of August 1841 A.D., the day of ‘Jhulan Poornima’ (day of Raksha Bandhan) Bijoykrishna, the second son of Anandakishore was born. Mother Swarnamoyee Devi used to have vision of Shree Radhakrishna before the child’s birth.
Following the birth of the son, the father consulted an astrologer and came to know that this son would be a lover of the divine and the country would be blessed by his preaching of devotional religion.
Bijoykrishna was prevented from going to Puri by his mother as long as she was alive. She used to say, “Bijoykrishna has come from the house of Jagannath. He will leave his mortal frame there if he goes to Puri.”
On the day of Akshay Tritya in 1844 A.D. while reciting Shree mad Bhagvat, Shree Anandakishore went into a state of trance and in that condition itself he left his mortal frame. Bijoykrishna was approximately three years old at that time.
Bijoykrishna was intelligent, truthful, kindhearted and fearless in his childhood but he was also very restless. Some small incidents of his childhood showed an indication of the elevated stature of his future life. Of all such incidents only one is mentioned below :
Kalna town is situated on the other side of the Ganga, opposite to Shantipur. Every night performances of Ramleela, Shree Krishnaleela etc. used to take place there. One night Bijoykrishna made a plan of going to Kalna along with his companions and accordingly took out a small boat belonging to a boatman and crossed the Ganga to reach Kalna. After watching the programme all of them returned to Shantipur ghat (wharf) in another boat, but the boat taken earlier remained at Kalnaghat.
The poor boatman not finding his boat at the ghat in the morning started crying. Bijoykrishna, unable to bear this suffering went to mother Swarnamoyee and reported the entire incident of the previous night. Then, his mother, having understood the whole thing, called the boatman, gave him some money and said, “Your boat is lying at Kalnaghat; my son took your boat to go to Kalna”. The other boys ran away at this time, out of fear, but the fearless and kindhearted Bijoykrishna stood there. The boatman brought back his boat and with happiness prayed for Bijoykrishna’s well being. Bijoykrishna too returned home cheerfully.
Bijoykrishna’s birth, impressions and education, everything enjoyed the grace of God. Manifestations similar to Shree Krishna’s childhood plays (leela) appeared in him too. Furthermore, the household deity Shyamsundar also appeared to him sometimes in form and played various games with him.
According to family tradition, Bijoykrishna was first initiated (given deeksha) by his mother. After his thread ceremony he studied in a sanskrit school in Shantipur. Having a strong memory he completed his studies in a short time. Subsequently he joined the Sanskrit College in Kolkata for further studies. During this period he studied a commentry of non-dualism of the Vedanta. He took attributeless Brahman to be true. The Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth, Knowledge, Bliss) attributed form of God appeared to be untrue to him.
At his mother Swarnamoyee Devi’s wish, Bijoykrishna got married to Jogmaya Devi, daughter of the Late Ramchandra Bhaduri. Following the death of Ramchandra Bhaduri, the financial condition of this family had become very weak. That is why the entire expenses of the marriage was borne by Bijoykrishna’s mother herself and subsequently Swarnamoyee Devi brought Jogmaya Devi’s mother and younger sister to her own house at Shantipur to live with her. All the people praised Swarnamoyee Devi for this matchless act of benevolence.
During his college days the sweet state of Bijoykrishna’s mind dried up owing to the culture of the formless Brahman. During such a dry state of his mind he heard a divine voice. “Think of the other world.” His mind became very eager for peace after getting this message. At this time the Acharya (preceptor) of the Brahmo Samaj was Maharshi Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore). The educated society was greatly influenced by his sincerity, sacrifice and lectures. The Brahmo Samaj did a great job in bringing the society immersed in luxury already inclining towards christianity back to the path of truth. Brahmo Samaj considered worshipping the formless Brahman as the only truth. Being influenced by the counsel of Maharshi Debendranath, Bijoykrishna accepted Brahmo dharma under him.
Following his adoption of Brahmo dharma Bijoykrishna was excommunicated by the brahmin society of Shantipur. But Bijoykrishna never flinched from the objective of truth and peace. By worshipping Brahman he achieved profuse peace.
Bijoykrishna took admission in the Medical College of Kolkata at this time. But before the final examination he gave up studies and devoted himself to the task of preaching Brahmo dharma. In those days Keshab Chandra Sen and Bijoykrishna Goswami were holding the position of chief preachers of Brahmo dharma. Along with the work of preaching he also used to render medical help to people. He used to buy medicines and even food himself and hand these over to poor patients. Once the river Ganga was in spate. Owing to the tide, the family members of some patients could not cross the river to collect the medicines. Later, considering the serious illness of the patient, Bijoykrishna himself went out with medicines, but, owing to the severe storm no one agreed to take him across the river. At last he swam across the river which had a strong current, taking the bottle of medicines and reached the house of the patient. Thus he rendered medical service to his patient risking his own life. People used to look upon him with great respect for his sacrifice, courage and kindness.
Bijoykrishna had no income; yet the responsibility of the preaching of Brahmo Samaj lay on him. Consequently he had to starve often along with his family. This apart he had to suffer insults too. Still he maintained his work of preaching Brahmo dharma with great zeal and reliance on God. During this period he used to engage himself in preaching and serving the distressed all through the day. During the night he used to spend a lot of time in deep meditation. All such hard work affected his health. At times he used to faint due to sharp chest pain. Following medical advice he had to take rest for some days and had to take medicines throughout his life.
In spite of following the spiritual practice in the fold of Brahmo Dharma, his mental restlessness did not disappear nor was his want satiated. He did get happiness in meditation, but it was not lasting. During one such disturbing days he had a divine message, “No spiritual achievement can be attained while remaining in any type of bondage.”
According to the motto of the Brahmo Samaj, Truth alone has to be pursued by the mind, words and work. But Bijoykrishna found out that this was not possible from within the Brahmo Samaj. Then onwards he started associating and interacting with the great men of different communities. Notable among them were Shree Ramakrishna Paramhansa of Dakshineswar, the accomplished vaishnava of Nabadwip Shree Chaitanya Das Babaji, the great mahatma of Kalna (Bardhaman district) Shree Bhagwan Dasji, Shree Tailangaswami of Kashi Dham, Shree Gombhiranathji of Gaya. Seeing and receiving blessing of many mahatmas who chose to stay hidden, helped Bijoykrishna substantially in proceeding towards his objective.
Brahmo Samaj did not accept the concept of initiation by a Guru and worship of idols. But following his contact with the mahatmas he developed faith in the existence of God in form. He developed deep belief in the truth that achieving God is by no means possible without initiation by Sadguru. The Mahatmas were helping Bijoykrishna in various ways in his spiritual progress. But they could not initiate him with a mantra. They said, “Your Sadguru is predestined. In due time you will surely be initiated.”
Subsequently Bijoykrishna started roaming around various places with an extreme yearning for Sadguru. Out of frustration he attempted suicide several times. During such times mahatmas appeared before him miraculously and prevented him from taking his life. They said, “You are surely going to get Sadguru in due time. Hold your patience and wait for the right moment.”
In the course of his search for Sadguru he arrived at the Akashganga hill of Gaya in the province of Bihar and went to the ashram of Raghuvardasji. Mahatma Raghuvardas Babaji was a worshipper of Hanumanji. Attracted by his loving behaviour he stayed on at his ashram and spent his time in spiritual practice.
One day some cowboys came to him and reported of the arrival of a mahatma on the hill top. Hearing this and with a desire to meet the mahatma, he reached the spot with his heart filled with divine reverence and bliss. On being directed by that mahatma he retuned after a while. Second day he went to the mahatma in the morning with an eager heart, fell at his feet and started crying. Then the mahatma drew Bijoykrishna upon his lap and introduced himself saying, “I have come down from the Manas Sarowar of the Himalayas to initiate you.” Bijoykrishna then asked him, “Manas Sarowar is very far from here. How could you reach this place?” Then the mahatma explained, “This is not a difficult task for the Yogis. The five elements of the material body are mixed with the five elements of the earth and, it is possible, only with the help of the conscious soul, to travel to any place and to recreate the material body.” After saying all these he gave deeksha to Bijoykrishna with a power impregnated mantra. Just on hearing the mantra Bijoykrishna’s body manifested the eight pious signs. Soon after prostrating to his Gurudev the disciple fainted. On regaining consciousness he saw that his Gurudev had disappeared. Somehow he came down to the ashram of Raghuvardasji and went into a state of trance. During this period Raghuvardas Babaji took care of his body and protected it. Thus he remained in a state of trance for eleven days at a stretch. The atmosphere at Akashganga hill was very pleasant. Bijoykrishna engaged himself in intense spiritual practice and chanting of naam. Sometimes his Gurudev appeared before him in person and gave him necessary instructions.
While introducing his Gurudev, Bijoykrishna has said, “The name of my Gurudev is Swami Brahmananda Paramhansaji. He is a Brahmin from the Punjab and was a follower of Nanak earlier. Later he had done spiritual practice according to the Vedas. Still later he achieved Divine love after receiving deeksha and grace from Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The mahatma’s body is very old.”
After about three or four months, under instructions from his Gurudev, Bijoykrishna went to Kashi and met the famous ascetic Swami Hariharananda Saraswatiji for taking sannyas. Since he had discarded the sacred thread during his tenure in the fold of Brahmo Samaj, he was made to do penance before being given sannyas by Swamiji. Bijoykrishna’s new name after sannyas was Swami Achyutananda Saraswati. But he is better known by his premonastic name Shree Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami.
Following his sannyas he spent quite sometime at the Akashganga hill in spiritual practice. Swami Brahmanandaji showered him with special grace after his deeksha. He used to appear before his disciple often and give him due assistance for progressing in the spiritual path. By the grace of his Gurudev the disciple started experiencing the most rare stages of spirituality mentioned in the scriptures.
One day Gurudev appeared before him and said, “Dear child! Never renounce the family life. Like the great saints of yore, apply your life of renunciation for the welfare of living beings. You will still have to remain in the Brahmo Samaj for some more time to come. In due time the bondage of the Brahmo Samaj will tear off automatically.”
As instructed by his Gurudev, Bijoykrishna returned to the Brahmo Samaj in Kolkata. He went to meet Shree Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev at Dakshineshwar. Just on seeing him Shree Ramakrishna Dev said, “Bijoy, have you booked your shelter? See, two ascetics in the course of travelling came to a town. One of them was looking at the market, buildings, shops with wonder. At this time he met the other ascetic who asked him, “You are looking at things in wonder. Where are your belongings?” The first one replied, “I have fixed my shelter, kept my luggage there, locked it and am now going about seeing the various colours of the town.” That is why I am asking you, have you fixed your shelter?” (looking at master etc). See so far Bijoy’s fountain had remained plugged, now it has opened.”
—Shree Shree Ramakrishna Kathamrita
One does just that work which the Almighty makes one do. (To Bijoy) “Now you have reached the time. You now say, “Dear mind, now is the time when you and I alone shall be seeing; no one else will. Surrendering yourself to God give up shame, fear and all. Give up feelings like, what will people say if I dance in the name of Hari, – give up all such thoughts. To be a lover is a distant matter. Shree Chaitanya Dev had developed divine love. When one develops love for God, then one is left with no love for the worldly life leave alone the dearest body of oneself,” Saying this Shree Ramakrishna started singing –
When will such a day come
—Shree Shree Ramakrishna Kathamrita
Seeing the elevated state of Bijoykrishna’s spirituality, people from various communities thronged to the Samaj Mandir.
Owing to some differences with Keshabchandra in Kolkata, Bijoykrishna went to Dhaka and started work of Brahmo Samaj there.
From this time he started having various supernatural divine visions. He then started giving deeksha to people at the behest of his Guru.
There was some speciality in his method of initiation. He used to seek the sanction of his Gurudev when he was approached by somebody for deeksha. Only on being directly granted permission he would give deeksha. During the time of deeksha some fortunate persons had a glimpse of Swami Brahmananda Paramhansa, Goswami Prabhu’s Gurudev.
He used to ask his disciples to follow good conduct rules along with Ajapa sadhan (repeating the naam with each inhalation and exhalation without counting) and to practice pranayam (breath control) for purifying the body. He accepted both the formed and formless state of Brahman as true. That is why the members of the Brahmo Samaj were unable to accept his unbiased and non-communal outlook. Members of the Brahmo Samaj started to ridicule him out of their ignorance when they saw his state of trance during naam samkeertan. That is why he established an ashram in a jungle named Ganderia near Dhaka. Following his arrival at the ashram Goswamiprabhu had a vision of God and achieved the supreme spiritual state. His divine body used to glow with wonderful divine light.
During this period he had undertaken ‘akash vritti’ (i.e. not to make any effort to earn, beg or borrow, to depend completely on God’s mercy). He used to accept as alms whatever came without asking. He was accompanied by his wife Jogmaya Devi, son Jogjivan and two daughters. Some sadhus who were seekers of salvation and some householders, were his regular companions. The boarding and lodging of all these people used to be provided by the ashram. But the ashram had no means of any permanent income. The sadhaks had to spend their lives being totally dependent on God.
Gradually Goswami Prabhu’s fame spread all over as an accomplished mahatma. People from various communities started coming to him seeking initiation. As regards eligibility for initiation he used to say, “This initiation is absolutely causeless and a gift of grace by God.” He used to initiate anybody who was blessed by the grace of God, under direct order of his Gurudev. At this time he was honoured as Sadguru by the accomplished mahatmas like Swami Bholananda Giri of Haridwar, Ramdas Kathiababa of Shree Vrindavan, Gambhirnathji of Gorakhpur. Some aspirants for deeksha were sent by Shree Ramakrishna Dev also to Goswami Prabhu.
The daily routine during Goswami Prabhu’s stay at Ganderia ashram was as fixed as the timing of a clock. Every work had a definite time. After morning ablutions and drinking tea he used to sit in his hut. From then till 11 o’clock, religious books like Shree Chaitanya Charitamrita (Bengali), Shree Guru Granth Sahibji, Shree Ram Charitmanas written by Tulsidas, and Shreemad Bhagavat used to be read daily. On completion of reading and after bathing and lunch he used to sit under a mango tree in the ashram and sing bhajans. People seeking his darshan used to visit him at that time, and he used to answer their various queries. During this time the Mahabharat also used to be read a little. The ashram resounded in the evening with the sound of aarati and samkeertan. The devotees considered themselves blessed on seeing tears rolling out of his eyes and pious signs like vibrations of thrill on his body out of joy. During the state of trance at times his matted hair would stand erect. Following samkeertan he would meditate for some time along with his disciples. After having dinner at 9-30 p.m. at night, he used to go inside his prayer hut and spend the whole night in a state of trance sitting on his asan. Towards the end of the night he used to sleep for a little while and get up to start early morning keertan. He spent the last fourteen years of his life without sleep. During this period disciples who had themselves witnessed many supernatural incidents have described them in their books. Out of these, some are mentioned below from the descriptions in ‘Shree Shree Sadguru Sanga’ written by Brahmachari Kuladananda.
“Honey used to drop from the leaves of the mango tree under which Goswami Prabhu used to sit. At times honey used to ooze out of his matted hair too. Divine perfume pervaded the ashram area. A poisonous snake used to live in a hole inside his prayer hut. It was often fed with milk. During the night when he remained in a state of trance, sometimes that snake would come out of the hole and climb on top of his matted hair and stay there. In this regard answering the query of a disciple Goswami Prabhu said “When the pranayam continues smoothly through the central nerve of the spinal cord (sushumna) it generates a pleasant sound. Snakes love to hear this sound. A snake can hear this sound from wherever it is during this time. It is attracted by this sound. Gradually in its effort to catch this sound it climbs on to the head. It spreads its hood near the nose or above the forehead and listens to the sound quietly. At times it draws pleasure by mixing its own whistle to that sound. The snake that you see on the neck and head of Lord Mahadeva is nothing unusual. If similar spiritual practice is performed snakes would climb on your head too. These snakes never cause any harm. On the contrary substantial help can be drawn from them. They do not bite but keep whistling. As and when the pranayam discontinues, they go away.”
The pictures of descriptions found in different spiritual books used to appear on his body and clothes. The pranab mantra Omkar used to appear on his hands, legs, head and disappear and reappear. In reply to questions about this, Goswami Prabhu while describing the unlimited glory of God’s name said, “God’s name gets imprinted on the flesh, blood, bones, bonemarrow of the devotee. Name gets imprinted on the clothes of the devotees. Even the tree under which he sits and repeats naam, gets embossed with naam on its leaves, branches and trunk. So is the case with the house in which he stays; it develops the print of naam in its bricks, joints, rafters. In the river Jamuna of Shree Vrindavan, a human bone was found which had the name of Hari on it.”
Goswami Prabhu wrote with his own hand the following sermons on the walls of the prayer room in the Ganderia Ashram.
Om Shree Krishna Chaitanyaya Namah
The supernatural power of Goswami Prabhu used to deliver courage to his disciples and protect them from danger. Once a disciple named Mahendranath Mitra had come to Burrabazar in Kolkata on some work. Being hungry he felt like buying some milk to drink. Just at that time a sadhu came to him and begged for something. Mahendranath gave away all his money to the sadhu. As soon as he returned Goswami Prabhu told him, “You did a good thing by handing over your money to that sadhu. I sent that Sadhu and got him to beg money from you to prevent you from drinking milk. Because had you taken milk that day, you would have had cholera.”
Mahendranath was astonished to see his Gurudev’s kindness for him. Kiranchandra (Shree Darveshji Maharaj) came to Kolkata with a yearning to get deeksha from Goswami Prabhu, but he found that Goswamiji had left for Vrindavan. Hearing this he concluded, “An ordinary person like me can never get deeksha from Goswamiji, therefore there is no need for me to hold on to this body; it is better for me to give up this life.” Prompted by this thought he went to Jagannath ghat and walked into the Ganga to drown himself. Just then Goswami Prabhu appeared before him in person and directed him to come to Vrindavan. After getting this instruction from Goswami Prabhu, Kiranchandra started for Vrindavan and partly by walk and partly by train reached Vrindavan. He got deeksha after this.
Being inspired by Goswami Prabhu, his disciples Deshnayak Bipin Chandra Pal, founder of Dawn Society Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay, Jewel of Barishal Ashwini Kumar Datta, Manoranjan Guha Thakurata and others dedicated their lives for the freedom of the country. One has to remember their names first, in the history of the country’s freedom.
Goswami Prabhu lived in Vrindavan for about a year. He had travelled around Vrajamandala and stayed for some days at Radhakunda. He had a vision of the divine sweet leela of Vrindavan. Once he was meditating under a tree at Radhabag when suddenly the tree appeared in the form of a vaishnav mahatma and gave him some instructions. The following day he disclosed this incident to the famous vaishnav mahatma of Vrindavan Shree Gourshiromoni. A vaishnav present there at that moment, made fun and said that this was the delirium of an insane person. When Goswami Prabhu returned to Radhabag that mahatma in the form of a tree appeared to him again in human form and told Goswami Prabhu, “That faithless vaishnav will die within three days.” Goswami Prabhu never wished pain to opponents; so he repeatedly begged forgiveness from the vaishnav mahatma to save the life of that vaishnav. But the mahatma did not forgive that vaishnav who was disrespectful of truth and hostile to religion. Consequently that vaishnav died within three days.
Goswami Prabhu used to say that Shree Vrindavan is a supernatural dham. To get rajo (sand dust of Vrindavan believed to contain Shree Krishna’s presence) of this place continuously Vaishnava mahatmas who are no longer in their mortal frame assume the body of trees and creepers in order to stay here. That is why it is considered a great offence to cut trees here. He asked his disciples that if they wanted to experience the significance of this place, they should observe the following rules without break.
“In this dham one should:
During Goswami Prabhu’s stay at Shree Vrindavan, Jogamaya Devi, his wife of premonastic period, left her mortal frame. Following his directions his son Jogjivan took some of her ashes, went to Dhaka and built a temple on her samadhi and installed Naam Brahma over there.
The method of worshipping Shree Naam Brahma lay hidden in the scriptures. Goswami Prabhu was the first to start the worship of Naam Brahma. One day Shree Chaitanya Dev and Shree Nityananda Prabhu appeared before Goswami Prabhu and gave the following instructions–
Worship of Naam Brahma and that of Acharya (Guru) will be established in every house in the Kaliyuga. People of all castes and creed have a right to the worship of Naam Brahma. Rice offered to Naam Brahma is considered to be mahaprasad. Rice offered by a low caste person or the prasad touched by a low caste can be taken by those of the higher caste like brahmin. It will be a sin if a person belonging to a higher caste refuses to take this mahaprasad. Worship of Naam Brahma is complete just by prostrating with devotion once everyday. If the door of the temple remains closed for some reason, no offence is made, even when no worship is performed.
Goswami Prabhu has said that seeing the weakness of the people in Kaliyuga, Shree Mahaprabhu has made this simple arrangement. If Naam Brahma is installed just by writing it on a piece of stone, paper or cloth and keeping it in the prayer room, no other rule or ritual is needed.
Shreemad Bhagavat mentions the worship of stone or wooden images, drawn pictures written on sand or mental images.
Naam Brahma mantra is given below :–
Harernama Harernama Harernamaiva Kevalam
Kalou Nastiyeva Nastiyeva Nastiyeva Gatiranyatha
In Kaliyuga worship of God can be done even by repeating the naam and by the yajna of samkeertan. There is no other easier route. While preaching this truth disclosed by Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Goswami Prabhu said–
“Chaitanya leela (divine plays of Shree Chaitanya) has not ended as yet. They had come only for a few days and disappeared. Just see how the mridangas (drums) are being played in all the communities. A day will come when mridanga will pervade everything.”
After his return from Vrindavan, Goswami Prabhu stayed for some days at Ganderia ashram and then went to Kumbha mela at Prayag in 1893 A.D. The door of his tent in the mela was open to all. None of the seekers would return disappointed. As far as possible each one was helped with food and clothings etc. Goswami Prabhu observed a difficult vrata during this period. All supplies arriving on a day were used up within the same day. It was forbidden to save any food articles or money for the next day. He had about a hundred disciples and devotees with him. He used to have regular visitors like sadhus, ascetics who stayed with him. Thus he set a matchless example of total reliance on God. During this period thousands of people of different communities took deeksha in ajapa sadhan from him. Goswami Prabhu also gave Akashvritti * to some of his fortunate householder disciples. The principal rules of this vrata are :
1. You will not try to earn money.
Many fortunate ones among Goswami Prabhu’s disciples have been blessed with the vision of the supernatural plays of God by his grace.
After returning from Kumbha mela Goswami Prabhu visited Kolkata, Shantipur, Nabadwip etc. and went back to Shree Vrindavan for some days. Then he went to the Ganderia Ashram of Dhaka via Kolkata. During this period, on the occasion of the birthday of Shree Adwaitacharya and Shree Nityananda Mahaprabhu he observed ‘Dhulot’* celebration. This great celebration involved mainly moving around the town singing naam samkeertan and feeding guests. As such a samkeertan had never taken place before in Dhaka or other cities, thousands of people came to participate in it. The ashram made arrangements for everyone’s fooding (prasad) and lodging. Clothes, blankets were distributed among the seekers according to demand. The divine feelings that were experienced in the keertan at this time is extremely rare. The sweet atmosphere created during keertan reminded one of the divine samkeertan of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Many disciples acquired land around Ganderia ashram, built houses and started living there permanently. Once, about this time Goswami Prabhu remarked, “See how beautifully keertan takes place and what joy abounds here today. But one day blood will flow here; muslims will become the rulers of this place.” He had foretold this around 1895 A.D. Following the partition of Bengal when the muslims started killing the hindus, then everybody realised the truth of Goswami Parbhu’s forecast. Muslims have destroyed that place.
Goswami Prabhu came to Kolkata from Dhaka and lived there for some months. Being attracted by Goswami Prabhu’s divine emotions, visitors started pouring in from different places. The disciples of Shree Ramakrishna namely Swami Vivekananda, Master Mahashaya, Nag Mahashaya came to meet Goswami Prabhu. Goswami Prabhu visited Belur Math on an invitation from Swami Vivekanandaji. The renowned personalities of Kolkata, namely, Justice Gurudas Bandopadhyay, Ramesh Chandra Mitra, Brajendranath Seal, Kalikrishna Tagore—all gained Goswami Prabhu’s company.
Goswami Prabhu became very eager to go to Puri and see Lord Jagannath during 1897 A.D. Remembering the words of his mother Swarnamoyee Devi, the disciples became frightened. Devi had foretold that Bijoy would never return if he went to Puri. Some of the devotees tried to prevent him, but he was so eager to see Lord Jagannath that the devotees had to relent at last and arrange for his visit to Puri.
In those days ships and steamers used to go only up to Cuttack from Kolkata. A train used to ply from Barang situated at a distance of 9 miles from Cuttack, to Puri. For the trip to Puri, an arrangement of travelling by steamer from Kolkata to Cuttack was made. The disciples said just before the departure of the steamer, “We were so happy, now what shall we do?” Goswami Prabhu replied, “Continue naaam samkeertan at home daily and serve Guru, vaishnav and guests.” This was his last sermon to his disciples before leaving Kolkata. He also asked the disciples with profound earnestness, “You all bless me so that I may achieve Jagannath dham (leave my mortal frame at Puri).” The disciples started crying on hearing him say this.
On reaching Puri dham, Goswami Prabhu saw Jagannath Dev and visited Gambhira Math, Siddhabakul, Tota Gopinath, Loknath Mahadev etc. He asked his disciples to offer mahaprasad as food (‘pinda’) to their forefathers. The scriptures specify offerings of ‘pinda’ to the forefathers at Gaya and Jagannath dham. This brings welfare to the householders. He himself used to take Mahaprasad daily at Puri and asked his disciples to do likewise. Regarding the glory of mahaprasad he used to say, "Mahaprasad is a supernatural thing, it is never contaminated by touch, oral or otherwise. Daily intake of mahaprasad erodes burden of karma. The daily routine for the one living in Puri dham is first, bathing in the sea, second, seeing Shree Jagannath Dev and worshipping him and third, taking mahaprasad."
Samkeertan used to be performed at his residence in Puri daily. Some disciples too had accompanied him to Puri. He lived in Puri for little more than a year. Goswami Prabhu used to say, “Money is a deadly poison! Never store it at home. Earn money and spend according to necessity. If anything is left over, consider it as trust money belonging to God. If he sends somebody (one in want or in dire straits) then give it away immediately. The matter is different for those who want to be rich, but those who seek spirituality, it is enough if somehow they can pass the days.”
Under instruction from Shree Jagannath Dev, Goswami Prabhu started a daan yajna (offering of gifts) in Puri. Once he said, “It is the order of Jagannath Dev that whoever comes, ascetic, renunciate, brahmin, pandits, poor and destitute, everybody has to be fed to their full satisfaction and a monetary gift also has to be given. And according to needs, water pot, blankets, clothes are to be distributed.” Following this order, the offering of gifts was started by borrowing. More than fifty thousand rupees were spent in this manner. The value of rupees fifty thousand more than a hundred years ago may be calculated by today’s standard. And even before repayment was completed further borrowings were made. This situation caused anxieties to many. But Goswami Prabhu assured all and said, “Do not worry. The entire loan will be paid back. Just wait and watch. This is the gift of Lord Jagannath. This cannot be understood by anybody. After all we are not going away from here. We are not moving out of this place till a single paisa remains to be returned.”
Under orders from Jagannath Dev he had appealed to all his disciples and devotees to help with money and within a short time the entire loan was repaid. “God carries the entire load of the devotees.” The life of Goswami Prabhu is a bright example of this truth.
At this time under orders from the chairman of Puri Municipality killing of monkeys started in Puri. Whenever monkeys were noticed, on the road or elsewhere, they were shot-dead. Goswami Prabhu protested against this cruel action taking place in the holy place. But as the municipal authorities ignored his protest, he sent some of his disciples to Kolkata, made the general public aware of this happening and with the help of notable citizens, had this cruel killing of monkeys stopped by the orders of the Governor. The religious people profusely praised him for this.
People used to come to Shree Jagannath Puri dham from far off places to get a glimpse of Goswami Prabhu. Everyday during samkeertan he used to shed tears, felt great emotion, thrills and went into trance. Visitors considered themselves blessed to see him during such moments.
Goswami Prabhu’s (popularly called Jatia Baba) unprecedented recognition made some local people and heads of one or two ashrams jealous. These jealous people planned to kill Goswami Prabhu. They sent a person with a sweet ball of mahaprasad (laddoo) mixed with strong poison, who handed it over to Goswami Prabhu. There was no attendant by his side at that time. The omniscient Goswami Prabhu immediately knew on touching the sweet ball that it contained poison. It was also not unknown to him that he had to quit his mortal frame by eating the poisoned laddoo, as this was predestined. At this time that assasin said, ‘’According to scriptures mahaprasad should be taken as soon as received.” On hearing this he ate the poisoned mahaprasad. As soon as his objective was fulfilled that assasin ran away. Within a shortwhile Goswami Prabhu fainted. On regaining consciousness he told his disciples about the entire incident. As his disciples became excited, he made their tempers cool down by saying, “I am not displeased with those who have poisoned me. May God do them good. You too do not foster any hostile feelings towards them.”
As a reaction of poisoning, his body gradually became lean and weak. Just one month after taking poison he entered his eternal abode in Jagannath dham in the month of June, 1899 A.D. (22nd Jaishtha, 1306 Bengali Calender, 9.20 p.m.) at the age of 58. Everybody then believed his mother Swarnamayee Devi’s words. “Bijoy has come from Jagannath dham. So he will not return once he goes to Puri.”
Subsequently his disciples buried his mortal frame in the land adjacent to Narendra Sarobar in Puri dham. Later a beautiful temple was built over there, which is known as the ‘Samadhi mandir of Jatiababa’ and is recognised as a famous spot for pilgrimage.
Somedays before his death he had told his disciples, “The initiation that you have got is accessible with difficulty even to the gods. One gets this because of a special grace of God. Only those who were seekers of initiation during the time of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, have been given deeksha now. Those receiving deeksha were present in the divine samkeertan of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Once while answering the query of some devotees he said that the flow of samkeertan preached by Shreekrishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will contnue unabated even now and a day will come when the entire world will be filled with the music (full of samkeertan) of mridanga (drum). This meant that only by naam samkeertan alone people will worship God and achieve divine love. Even today some fortunate ones feel or see his presence in samkeertan. His divine play in the formless state is still seen by the fortunate ones.
The method of spiritual practice laid down by Shree Goswami Prabhu is known as ajapa sadhan. Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had given this initaiation to a few fortunate disciples. Guru Nanak Dev, Bhakta Kabirdas and some such mahatmas had accomplished ultimate goal through such spiritual practice. Many details of ajapa sadhan are available from their writings. With voice full of devotion they have described the superiority of this sadhana.
Only the one receiving orders from the Sadguru, can give this sadhan with power to others. There is no way of knowing about this process of ajapa sadhan without Sadguru. Depending on the gradual improvement of the disciple, Sadguru helps him to progress further in his path of spirituality by giving him timely advice. Sadguru can appear before him with an astral body, or can directly give instructions. Even after having left his physical body, Sadguru can appear in human form before the disciple and give instructions.
Ajapa Sadhan is the process by which repetition of naam continues automatically. It is not required to repeat the naam consciously in this sadhan. With the practice of the powered mantra given by Sadguru, it gets interlinked with the breathing process. Therefore repetition of the naam consciously is not needed. Goswami Prabhu received this sadhan through succession (Guru parampara).
- Swami Amalananda Saraswati