Govardhana Fakir Mohan gave class

October 26th, 2000

Govardhana

Fakir Mohan gave class again. Before class he paid dandavats to each and every sannyasi and, when they returned his obeisances, he affectionately and softly grasped their hands humbly, almost crying, “Bless me, I know nothing!”

I again did not take notes, but one point stuck in my mind: He gave an analogy comparing a guru to a cow, milk to the knowledge he gives, and a proper disciple to her affectionate calf. His point was that unless the guru sees the disciple with affection, like a respectful son or daughter, knowledge does not naturally flow, just like a cow cannot be milked unless it sees its affectionate calf. Still, to get milk, something else is needed?grass. Harinama is the grass. Even if one hears from the guru, unless he offers harinama, knowledge will not manifest.

Went on parikrama to Radha-kunda with Indradyumna and Fakir Mohan. Fakir Mohan sang bhajans the whole way and also translated them to English. He mostly sung the songs of an Orissan Vaishnava, Devakinanda dasa, that expressed his mood:

vrndavana-basi jata vaisnavera gana Prathame vandana kari sabara carana

First I offer my obeisances at the lotus feet of the dear devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu residing in Vrindavan. Falling flat on the ground at their lotus feet, I offer my obeisances to the associates of Mahaprabhu residing in Sri Nilacala, Jagannath Puri Dhama. I offer my obeisances at the lotus feet of one and all of the dear devotees of Mahaprabhu residing in Nabadwip.

nilacala-basi jata mahaprabhura gana Bhumite padiya vandan sabara carana

I offer my obeisances unto the lotus feet of all the dear devotees of Mahaprabhu residing in Gaudadesh. Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s dear devotees may be residing in any corner of the world. Wherever they reside I offer my obeisances unto their lotus feet. I offer my obeisances unto the lotus feet of all those persons who will become Mahaprabhu’s dear devotees in the future. Catching straw in my teeth, I offer obeisances at their lotus feet.

While walking to Radha-kunda we stopped at Uddhava-kunda. Uddhava, the best devotee of Lord Krishna outside of Vrindaban, prayed there to be manifest as just a clump of grass so that the dust of the brajabasis? feet would grace his head.

A very saintly and humble brahmana pujari in his late sixties runs Uddhava Bihariji temple. He has been there, at least, since I first came to Vrindaban 25 years ago. Whenever one stops there you will find him in the same place doing the exact same thing?sitting peacefully in front of Uddhava Biharaji handing out caranamrita. His nature, his countenance, his pleasant dealings, everything about him exudes simplicity and goodness. It must be, otherwise how could he be so satisfied sitting in such a simple and lonely place for the rest of his life?

Our party reverentially stood for several minutes before Uddhava Biharji. Then suddenly, to our surprise, Indradyumna Swami spoke to the gentle brahmana. “Ten years ago I had asked you for one of the salagram silas on the altar [there were about fifteen] and you told me to come back in ten years. Ten years have past and I have returned to fulfill your promise.”

The gentle smile dropped from the pujari’s face. You can read the heart of a simple man by viewing his pure countenance. “I never expected this Maharaja to return. I am very attached to Thakurji [his sila], but I gave my word. How to keep my vow and keep my beloved Thakurji at the same time? O Krishna, protector of Your servants, please save me!” The pujari remained in deep thought for some time. He then spoke gravely to Maharaja. “I will give Thakurji, but he must take his bhoga first.” I surmise he was hoping that, like most pilgrims, Indradyumna Swami would be too impatient to wait. Unfortunately, Indradyumna Swami calmly replied, “I waited ten years, so I can wait a few hours. After bhoga, my desire will be fulfilled.”

The humble pujari again became silent and grave. After some time he spoke: “You may take one sila, but you must leave an equal amount of gold.”

“I am a sadhu and have nothing,” Maharaja replied. “I can only give the devotion in my heart.”

Maharaja is not easily discouraged and he had an intelligent answer for every obstacle the humble brahmana put forth. The simple brahmana was feeling pressured?”going through changes,” as we sometimes say in English?and it was breaking my heart. It got to a point where I even tugged the cotton chadar which was wrapped around Maharaja’s head like a sheik to shade him from the sun, indicating for Maharaja to stop. Not only did Maharaja not stop, but now Fakir Mohan, who was serving as Maharaja?s translator, was also begging for one sila on Maharaja’s behalf.

This simple brijabasi could no longer withstand the pressure, and he had given his word. He began to walk slowly towards the altar just a few feet behind him. We watched with expectation as his hand reached slowly towards one of the silas, but just as he was to grasp one small sila, his hand suddenly froze. It was as if, at the last moment, his heart had triumphed over his conscience, the part of him impelling him to be true to his word. He was a real brahmana, however, and ultimately nothing is too difficult for a man of character in pursuance of his duty. He moved reluctantly forward again, gently picked up a beautiful sila, slowly turned, walked toward us, and handed it to Maharaja who touched the sila reverentially to his head and placed him carefully in his bead bag.

I didn’t hear it clearly, but the pujari told Maharaja something about the sila being very old, and that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw it when he visited Uddhava-kunda. He begged him to worship Him carefully and with devotion. Surprisingly, he then smiled blissfully. It was as if, internally, he was satisfied that this was Krishna’s will. His son and grandson had also now come over. They were also beaming. I am not sure what to make of the whole thing, only that you judge a thing by its results. Maharaja then promised them that he would buy them a generator and help fix up their temple.

Indradyumna Swami always tells amazing adventures stories about his preaching. I will longer doubt them.

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