The Inauguration of Puṣpa-samādhi Mandira & Śrī Vigraha Installation of nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Last Kartika, on 2 November 2016 a grand festival was held at Śrī Giridhārī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Govardhana, for the opening of the puṣpa-samādhi temple and śrī vigraha installation of our most worshipful Śrīla Gurudeva, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, an intimate associate of jagad-guru nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The day chosen was the auspicious occasion of the disappearance day of his senior godbrothers, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja and nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The ceremony was conducted under the auspice guidance of Śrī Sārasvata-Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas and in accordance with the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava customs.
The manifestation of the śrī vigraha, or mūrti form, of Śrīla Gurudeva in the puṣpa-samādhi temple in the garden of the maṭha is like a soothing balm for those who have memories of him walking in the lawn here.
This garden is that very same area where Śrīla Gurudeva stayed for some time, and performed intense bhajana some 50 or 60 years before. He would also regularly perform Govardhana parikramā and read Bhāgavatam.
Being foremost among those who propagated the teachings of Śrī Śrī Rūpa-Raghunātha through his precepts and practices, Śrīla Gurudeva would always perform kīrtana and smaraṇa of prayers such as Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī’s prayer nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi govardhana! tvam! (O Govardhana, please give me residence by your side) and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s prayer govardhano me diṣṭāmabhīṣṭam (May that Govardhana fulfill my desire), and he had the devotees do the same.
Śrīla Gurudeva’s incessant inner-heart’s desire was to always serve Yugala-kiśora in Śrī Govardhana. For this reason, Śrīla Gurudeva’s puṣpa-samādhi-mandira and his śrī vigraha have been manifested at Govardhana by the combined efforts of his sannyāsī, brahmacārī, gṛhastha followers and of his darling daughters, from around the world. And Śrīla Gurudeva’s original samādhi mandira is in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma in Koladvipa, which is non-different from Govardhana.
On the morning of November 2nd, 2016, all the ceremonies such as vaiṣṇava-homa, the bathing (abhiṣeka), food offering and ārati of the śrī vigraha of Śrīla Gurudeva – were executed in the auspicious presence of parama-pūjyapāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Vaiṣṇavas from various Gauḍīya maṭhas, and about 2000 Indian and Western devotees. Śrī Acyutalāl Bhaṭṭajī, an erudite scholar from Vrindavan for whom Śrīla Gurudeva had so much affection, was also present. Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja then delivered a speech on the purpose of the puṣpa-samādhi-mandira and the śrī vigraha of Śrīla Gurudeva.
[Below is the essence of his speech.]
One meaning of the word samādhi is ‘to adopt complete silence’. Just as Bhagavān becomes Mukeśa1, the silent Lord, and accepts the service rendered by His devotees, when śrī gurudeva adopts silence, while still accepting service rendered by those who have taken shelter of him, it is known as the stage of samādhi. The place where he is in samādhi is called the samādhi-mandira.
1 Mūka–silent; īśa–Lord
After śrī gurudeva enters nitya-līlā, the place where his transcendental body is placed is called the mūla (original) samādhi-mandira. And that place where various objects that had contact with his transcendental body (such as cloth, flowers etc.) are placed is called the puṣpa-samādhi-mandira.
Śrī gurudeva’s deity form is established in the samādhi-mandira for the purpose of keeping alive our remembrance of him and performing service to him. During his manifest pastimes, it is possible that some devotees were unable to have the chance to directly serve his transcendental body (vapu-sevā), though they may have had a strong desire to do so. The deity manifestation of śrī guru in his samādhi-mandira gives that devotee the opportunity to serve him as he or she desired. This is why, in some places, it states that the deity form is even more merciful than the original form.
Once, a lady disciple of my gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja asked him, “Gurudeva, I want to serve your vapu (you directly).” To this my gurudeva replied, “When I am in samādhi, you can serve my second [my deity] form. At that time, there will not be any prohibition or objection to your doing so, and your desire will be fulfilled.” This means that just as a woman is able to worship the śrī vigraha of Bhagavān, she is able to worship the śrī vigraha of gurudeva.
The śrī vigraha of śrī gurudeva, just like the śrī vigraha of Bhagavān, can be in any one of eight forms, such as carved from marble or stone (śailī), painted or written (lekhyā), and made from clay (lepyā). Lekhyā also refers to the written name of śrī gurudeva. One can worship that.
nāma, vigraha, svarūpa, tina eka-rūpa
tīne bheda nāi, tīna cid-ānanda-rūpa
The name, form and deity are all one. They are spiritual, and there is no distinction to be made between them.
This verse fully applies to śrī gurudeva as well.
It is to give these most important teachings that there is an arrangement for gurudeva’s śrī vigraha and samādhi.
On this auspicious occasion, Śrīla Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja offered a copy of the newly published part three of the Hindi edition of Śrī Vyāsadeva’s Vedānta-sūtra, which was edited by Śrīla Gurudeva, to Śrīla Gurudeva’s vigraha. At the end of the festival, a wonderful feast of mahāprasāda, along with Śrīla Gurudeva’s Hindi translations of some of the works of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, were distributed to around 1000 devotees.
In his revolutionary preaching, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has combined in an unprecedented way, the process of pāñcarātrika and the process of bhāgavata. The pāñcarātrika process involves construction of temples and service to the deities, and the bhāgavata process involves printing and distribution of transcendental literature.
Some devotees were fortunate to have contributed towards the construction of Śrīla Gurudeva’s puṣpa-samādhi-mandira and the manifestation of his śrī vigraha. By this, they have served Śrīla Gurudeva’s deity form (vapu-sevā). And for this grand festival, several devotees from all over the world were able to participate, even if they were not present personally, by contributing to the GVP book sponsorship program and thus helping to the distribution of Śrīla Gurudeva’s books (vānī-sevā).
So, even in Śrīla Gurudeva’s adopting silence (samādhi), he is speaking through the distribution of his books.
All glories, all glories, all glories to Śrīla Gurudeva and his transcendental associates!
All glories to GVP book sponsorship program and the devotees contributing to it!
Praying for a speck of mercy from the devotees, the foot-dust of śrī guru,
The Hindi GVP team