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Puja in Mayapur
by Tusti Mohan Krsna dasa and Tusti devi dasi
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Today 28-6-02 is the Sri Vyasapuja celebration of HH Tamal Krsna Goswami, the first after his physical departure in Gaura Mandal. His samadhi is beside Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi in Mayapur, and we are attaching few pictures that were taken recently so all of you can see how it looks like at this moment.
Today, disciples, well-wishers, and devotees in general celebrated the Sri Vyasapuja of HH Tamal Krsna Goswami in his quarters in the Conch Building in Mayapur, and yesterday was the adivas ceremony (later we will post most details). This morning there were homages from Godbrothers, disciples, and well-wishers, and after that there were aratis simultaneously in the quarters as well in the samadhi. After that, there was a big feast for all the devotees in the big kitchen arranged by HH Tamal Krsna Goswami’s disciples. We will be sending pictures soon about this celebration.
The samadhi of HH Tamal Krsna Goswami is under the care of Her Grace Tusti Devi Dasi and His Grace Baladeva prabhu from the Philippines, who are doing the complete service for the samadhi and Goswami Maharaja daily from mangala arati till 9:00 pm.
A few days back, I requested Tusti dd to write something about her service to HH Tamal Krsna Goswami and here (below) is her realization about her service:
Written by Tusti devi dasi
Dedicated to My Dear Siksa-Guru, My Loving Father Tamala Krsna Goswami.
I was requested by Tusti Mohan Prabhu to tell a story about the samadhi in Mayapur of His Divine Grace Tamala Krishna Goswami, my dear siksa guru. My memory again brought me back to that tragic day on March 15, when Tamal Krsna Goswami left us to join the eternal sankirtana movement of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As was admitted by many Godbrothers and Godsisters of Goswami Maharaja, he was ahead of his time. He proved it even at death. Tamal Krsna Goswami opened a new page in the history of ISKCON: "samadhi in Mayapura," the first samadhi of the spiritual master in the line of the Founder -Acharya His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Tamala Krishna Gosvami is one of the most beloved sons of Srila Prabhupada. He was always next to him during his life, and he expressed a desire to be next to his spiritual master after leaving his body if this happened in Mayapura.
By some special arrangement, unknown to me, I became a witness of the future samadhi from the very beginning. After the announcement after mangal-arati that HH Tamal Krsna Goswami had left his body in a car accident, I still could not believe it, that it was a reality. I was fully devastated and became extremely weak, tears flowing from my eyes like a river. I was waiting for the body of Guru Maharaja to be brought, but as a child always believes in a miracle, I kept in my heart a small spark of hope that this is not true. In this mood, I went home to take a short rest, but was unable to do anything. I sat down and looked through my window at Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi, located very close to my building. In that direction, I saw a group of people gathered in the spot next to the pushpa-samadhi.
There were some Mayapur authorities and local laborers. I tried to understand what they were doing on that wasteland, full of stones, bricks, and garbage. Previously, there had been a workshop complex in that area for Prabhupada’s samadhi construction. One year ago it had been demolished. Suddenly I noticed six or seven big bags. The thought struck my mind that this was the salt for the samadhi. At that time, the laborers began their job. I ran like the wind away from my house, not caring that I was the only lady there. I looked at them working at digging the earth covered by dried grass into a deepening pit.
My last hope was fully broken along with my heart. Who will give me relief from this unbearable suffering? Where shall I go? What shall I do? The whole world became empty. Only Prabhupada’s lotus feet could be the balm for my swollen eyes and grief-stricken heart. I went to his samadhi, and after having darshan, continued watching as the pit for my spiritual master become wider and deeper.
I remained till the end of the samadhi ceremony, when there were only a few people left. The husband of Prabhupada’s granddaughter had made a shape over the burial site. The next morning, I found that a fence and small saffron canopy had been added. Soon, we had a short meeting on that spot. Most devotees were leaving to go to the puspa-samadhi ceremony in Govardhan. Gaura Narayan prabhu requested the remaining devotees to do Gurupuja daily.
On the 17th of March, Hayagriva prabhu and I carried out the first arati after our spiritual master’s departure. I am very thankful to the pujaris and devotees of Prabhupada’s samadhi. We did not have sufficient paraphernalia, and they lent us items like a fan and a camara. On the 19th, we began to offer Srila Prabhupada’s mahaprasad and do bhoga arati. The pujaris continued to encourage us and saw to it that we had anything we required.
This was not so easy to do it in the hot sun in an open place, while curious people stared at us. Mayapur’s dogs liked to come and sleep and pass in this area. The wind and dust were very destructive for the burial site too. It was a busy time for Mayapura managers— preparation for the Gaura-Purnima festival, Navadvipa-Mandala parikrama. Everybody was engaged in their respective business. I use to come to the samadhi every evening and sit down under a tree — a witness of this sad event — to chant and cry.
It was a time of great desperation, but it seems that my guru saw my condition. Once a devotee approached the samadhi and asked me, " Do you thinking the guru knows you are staying here and crying?"
I was surprised to see and hear from this prabhu, whom I had never met before. The time was so late for anybody to walk around. What could I say to him? "I do not know" was my reply.
Suddenly he began talk about Tamal Krsna Goswami in a very intimate manner. He arrived in Mayapura the same day the accident took place, carrying his letter with the expression of gratitude for the association with Goswami Maharaja. This devotee had been doing some service for him in England. While he was speaking, I felt as if Gurudeva had sent him to give solace to my heart. Then he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared. It was mysterious, like a dream.
The devotee came at evening on the next day, and we again had a talk. Finally I asked his name. It was Sachinandana prabhu from Bhaktivedanta Manor, a disciple of HH Sivarama Swami. I was so thankful to him for his support and care in that hard time. The grave was covered with many maha garlands, offered out of respect for Guru Maharaja by the Mayapura devotees.
Still the general impression was quite pitiful. I began thinking that something should be done for now. I got some ideas and requested Hayagriva prabhu come with me to Niranjana Swami. On the way, we met Nrisimha Maharaja and expressed our concern to him, but he said that gradually things would be arranged. Still we did not agree with this explanation. I knew the storm season was coming soon and some protection should be done before that.
Niranjana Swami only just now was back from the Navadvipa-Mandala parikrama, where they were doing bajans in Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s house in Godrum all day long. He was tired and had not taken any prasadam yet, but I begged him to receive us as an emergency case, and he did. Guru Maharaja supported my idea to build a temporary samadhi as a simple bamboo hut, and at the end of our conversation, he said "Just do it," but we had no laxmi. Than he took an envelope with an enclosed donation and passed to Hayagriva Prabhu. This is how Niranjana Swami is.
In that the late evening we again met Nrisimha Maharaja as if he had been waiting for us to find out Niranjana Swami’s opinion on this subject matter. I did not know the nature of H.H. Nrisimha Swami. To my surprise, at 10.30 P.M., I noticed from my room two devotees dressed in saffron near the samadhi. Who it could they be? The next morning I was told that it was H.H.Nrisimha Maharaja and His Grace Jananivasa Prabhu. I explained my desire to Jananivasa prabhu and he accepted it very seriously.
Thus we started put this idea into action. Together with few devotees, we were working very hard to clean a side from stones, bricks, grass etc. Then we brought soft earth and finally fixed the samadhi with cow dung for one day. Practically the whole time, Nrisimha Maharaja was watching how we were doing this. I met him in the late afternoon on my way to the Ganges. I felt fatigued, but the appreciation of Maharaja uplifted my spirit. "Well done!" he said.
So many different pandals, exhibitions, and stages had been built in that time. Only four days left for Gaura-Purnima. What about the samadhi? A strong desire was born in my heart: Finish everything by Gaura Purnima and make a nice pandal for bhajan as well. The laborers said that this was impossible, but I was sure that this is what should be done. Finally, I convinced them accomplish it on time.
I went to the temple to pray to Lord Nrisimhadeva to take away all obstacles. Then I approached the pujari of Lord Nrisimha, HG Pancajangri Prabhu, asking him to pray that the sanadhi could be done quickly. I fed the labors with mahaprasad, and they liked this very much. I told to them briefly about Guru Maharaja to make them aware of the importance of service for a sadhu. I pushed the workers to fix the roof in one day, and the same night, a great storm accompanied with thunder, lightning illuminating all around, and torrents of rain fall on Mayapura, but not one drop have fell on the samadhi. It seems as if Indra had been waiting for this protection and then let the elements to do their job.
During this construction HH Jayapataka Swami came with his innumerable disciples and was very happy to see what we were doing. One day before Gaura Purnima, the samadhi was completed. At that time I did not know that Tamal Krsna Goswami had recently expressed to some of his disciples that if he lived permanently in Mayapur, he would like to be in some quiet, peaceful place in a simple setting rather than amid the bustle of the guesthouse, which was ideal for an office. The bamboo hut we constructed seemed like such a residence.
Together with devotees from Fiji, the Philippines, and Calcutta, we decorated the samadhi and pandal with the bananas trees, painted pots with coconuts on top, flowers, garlands, and leaves of ashoka and bakul trees. A pleasing fragrance of chintamani incense made the whole atmosphere especially pleasant. The Kolkata devotees brought an enlarged photograph of Tamal Krsna Goswami from the cover of the Vyasa-Puja book of 1991. The expression on the face of Tamal Krishna Goswami on this picture is very significant, with deep emotion. I found this a most appropriate one to be placed in the samadhi. I invited Niranjana Swami come and do bajan on Gaura Purnima. He came exactly on time and began with "Guru Vandana." It was best performance I have ever heard, sweet, soft, and filled with the mood of great separation. The tune touched the core of the heart of the devotees. The eyes of almost present were filled with tears. To cry for a great Vaishnava is the greatest benefit one can gain. It was very profound experience.
Talking with Niranjana Swami after that I expressed my feeling that his bhajan was in touch with the mood of Tamal Krishna Goswami. He replied that he felt indeed as if Tamal Krishna Goswami had been sitting beside him and playing his karatalas. He was very happy to see this newly built samadhi. It was very beautiful and seems a most peaceful place in Mayapura but after sometimes we began feel an inconvenience with the cow dung. One more subtle reason pushed me to think what else can be done. Whenever I entered in the samadhi, the shape of the grave, although decorated with big Vaishnava tilak, made my heart wince again and again.
Crying within my heart day and night I was externally doing all necessary things for the samadhi, but it become very hard to bear it longer. Another consideration — the rainy season and probably a flood. By the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Guru I was able to go to Puri for few days together with HH Jayapataka Swami and Safari devotees. There I visited the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura, his bhajan kutir, the famous bakul tree, and the legendary Gambira. Gurudeva continued to guide me. He reciprocated my service with a very precious gift — the special mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Kanta deities in Gambira.
On his behalf I made some gifts to pujaris and donated a deep blue sari for Radharani. Narottama das, pujari of Mahaprabhu, first offered everything I gave for him to the Lord and only after that he accepted it. Gambira is like my home now, and I wish to do some service there in my next visit. I had no doubt that everything happened only by the mercy of guru.
In Bhubanesvar, I saw the samadhi of Gaur-Govinda Swami, who left his body in Mayapura in January, 1996. The disciples had moved his body here to the place of his bhajan kutir. The murti of Maharaj and a standard of worshiping had a very good impression on me. There I met Gaura Narayan prabhu, who is living in Govardhan. During our important exchange he said that HG Keshava Bharati prabhu had been thinking of Tamal Krishna Goswami’s samadhi— that it may need to be built on a platform in case of flood.
The visit in Jagannatha Puri had a very positive effect on me. I got practical realization that Guru eternally resides in his samadhi. Now when I enter inside I feel that Guru is here with us. He is sitting, smiling, watching what we are doing with Baladeva prabhu, a disciple of Gurudeva from the Philippines, who very sincere assisst me in my service. Guru is not heavy any more as he sometimes was but a loving father willing to forgive the small mistakes of his children. You can talk with him and ask your questions. He will answer within your heart. In the samadhi you can find great peace and harmony. This is a very intimate and private place, most suitable for bhajan.
The samadhi is my happy home now. Devotees notice that I am looking happy. It is so. I am happy because Guru allowed me to render a very personal service for him. Baladeva is also very satisfied. Living in Philippines he felt separation and Guru told to him, "You are missing me very much. I promise, you will never separate from me." He keeps his promise.
I hope Baladeva will stay in Mayapura to be together with his beloved spiritual master and render service for him as he did this in Guru’s presence. We have both the same intention to do samadhi more beautiful and attractive. This is one of expression of our love for Guru. Once I returned to Mayapur, I knew the next step that had to be made. With a new design I began reconstruction for a cement floor and the platforms. Because everything happened so quickly and smoothly I could understand that it was the blessing of Gurudeva. As the work was going on inside the samadhi, we transferred everything to my home, and all the puja was done there. I felt the presence of Guru very strongly, as if he accepted my invitation to be my dear guest for some time. I invited his Holiness Jayapataka Swami to take darshan, with all of his disciples. Upon seeing this arrangement he was astonished and happy.
On June 1st, Gurudeva came back to the renovated samadhi and sat down on his new, beautifully carved vyasasana. We had placed marble on top of the samadhi platforms. The cow-dung floor period had changed to one of marble, cement floor, brick pathway for parikrama, etc. Mayapur devotees appreciated the development, which now includes some landscaping using beautiful bushes and a seat. For this we try to co-operate with the developers of Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi grounds. One significant event is that we planted a Tamal tree brought from Vrindavan. It’s young at the present moment. The leaves are so tender and soft to touch, as Krishna’s skin. We call him our Tamal. We hope it will grow together with samadhi.
I would like to tell briefly what our service is. As I mentioned above we like to make samadhi very attractive. Baladeva prabhu goes to help dress Sri Sri Radha-Madhav in the evening and collects as many garlands as possible. We also collect from Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi. We offer these and whatever we sew ourselves, to the pictures of Srila Prabhupada, disciplic succession, and Lord Chaitanya in the samadhi. So every day samadhi looks like it is decorated for a festival. We always offer Gurudeva’s garlands first to Srila Prabhupada, because he never liked to be offered anything that first his spiritual master had not received.
Our program is that we try to do those things we know he used to do. In the morning we wake Gurudeva for mangal arati, then he chants japa in front of Tulasi Devi, then we do guru puja, a breakfast offering, and then darshan until lunch time. After this offering, he is resting until afternoon, when we wake him. We put on a tape of kirtan from his room in the last few days before his departure. We soon begin a program of chanting very sweetly kirtanas in the evening, This is followed by a drink of hot milk and rest. Thus our evenings we hope are pleasing to Gurudeva, being filled up by Harinam.
Bhakti Caru Maharaj, the intimate friend of Tamal Krishna Goswami, said, " For those who are already within ISKCON, for those who already accept Krsna consciousness, it is time for them to take shelter of the Holy Name by going deep into the Name by tasting the Name. The nectar is there, all the rasas. Now it is up to us to pursue that taste. Tamal Krsna Maharaj indicated this direction for us, so now we have to take this vani, focus on it, and take that direction. This will be the most sincere way to glorify Tamal Krishna Goswami." It is such an important step to take next.
It was explained by the remembrances of many God-brothers and sisters, that Tamal Krishna Goswami was a very prominent figure after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada. It looks like his samadhi in Mayapur should have an influence for the spiritual development of this society. Already samadhi is an important part of a Society in this Holy Dhama, the heart of ISKCON.
Many devotees come to conclusion that this "accident" was not by chance, but was a divine arrangement by Prabhupad and Krsna. It seems as Srila Prabhupada wanted his dearest son next to him to help lead this movement to a highest level of love of God, Krsna prema, through developing a deep attachment to the Holy Name. This is the time for all of us to become mature and develop a new stage of spirituality. We know that whenever there was an impossible task that others could not take up, he called Tamal Krishna Goswami, because he knew that there was nothing impossible for him. In this time that the movement is going through so many crises, Tamal Krishna Goswami is showing a direction for perfection.
We hope the samadhi/bhajan kutir will unite devotees independently of where they are from and whose disciples they are. We invite all serious devotees who want to taste the real nectar of the Holy Name by absorption in soft melodious chanting, as it was in the final days of Goswami Maharaj in Mayapur. Come and join us in service to a great mahatma. How greatly he appreciated this service, and how greatly appreciated this service is by those who perform it, we can see by the loving exchange between HH Niranjan Swami and Tamal Krishna Goswami, my most beloved Diksa and Siksa gurus.
Tamal Krishna Goswami "I have a debt to you that I can never pay back. I am so thankful that you come everyday to my room and chant."
NS "How is it possible to feel a debt to me? I am indebted to you because you encouraged me to come and chant.
Tamal Krishna Goswami" No, I have a debt that I do not know how I can repay. Tell me, please!"
Recently NS commented on this exchange, "There is no debt, whatsoever. I just am very grateful that he allowed me to render a service that was pleasing to him. I will remember it for the rest of my life. He was teaching by example how we can achieve association with the Lord by absorption in kirtan. Whenever we take part in kirtan we will remember that this was something very pleasing to him, because it is pleasing to Srila Prabhupada and because it is pleasing to Lord Chaitanya. In this way we will always remember the lesson he taught us in the final days: to take shelter of the Holy Name of the Lord.
One day before his departure, Tamal Krishna Goswami said to Kesava Bharati prabhu, that he wished he did not have to go to England. Lokanatha Maharaj commented that Krsna took notice of this wish and fulfilled it. He did not let him leave Gaura Mandala. He was about to cross to Phuliya, where Haridas Thakur chanted 300 000 Names. He was just returning here. He was given shelter by Srila Prabhupada. He arranged for Tamal Krishna Goswami to take rest in the Holy Dhama on an adjoining piece of land. For all that Tamal Krishna Goswami had done, Prabhupada reciprocated by giving him eternal rest in Navadwip Dham right next to his own samadhi.
We hope that the Mayapur authorities will take notice of the statement of H. H Lokanatha Swami, that it was Prabhupada’s desire to have his dear son next to him, and that they will grant sufficient space to construct a modest but well-designed permanent samadhi in harmony with that designed for Srila Prabhupada.
If somebody will get even small inspiration for service he is most welcome and we will consider our presentation of samadhi of His Divine Grace Tamala Krishna Goswami in Mayapura successful. I hope that after this information devotees will get some idea and a more clear understanding what samadhi in Mayapura is about. Please contact with us for any information We also will be happy accept any help from you.
Your humble servant,
© CHAKRA 2 July 2002
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