Chapter 11 – Rama-Navami, 1974

On the occasion of the Rama-navami festival of April 1974, (Rama-navami is the celebration of the appearance of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Krsna who appeared many millennia ago) Brajabandhu had invited Subhash to come to Gadai Giri, in the Balikuda area, to the Gopala Jiu temple, to listen to him speak on the Ramayana. Brajabandhu walked from Kujang to the village of Gadai Giri, a distance of twenty-eight kilometers.* The distance was actually forty-two kilometers, but Brajabandhu knew a short way which was only twenty-eight kilometers. It took him through the middle of the land that was under cultivation and it was by that way Brajabandhu went to Gadai Giri from Kujang.

The Order to Leave

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: I gave myself a new name Gour Gopalananda—Gour and Gopala my deity, that name I had. I was a wandering sadhu, so I was not telling my karmi name, I had thrown it away. At the age of 45 I gave it up. The reason that I gave it up was that I was no longer interested in Material things. I was telling you that story, that I was teaching that blind boy; I was teaching, and it was all blind boy teaching. “No sun—I cannot see it!” they could not see God, they were all blind. I am teaching this thing. I should give it up and be an actual teacher, a teacher of God. That was there in my heart. At last I gave it up and left home in 1974.

In the meanwhile I gave an education to my younger brother. I also gave him marriage. I took care of him; he is still now a veterinary doctor, he is still serving. I gave him the full responsibility of my family and left home.

Brajabandhu and Subhash both arrived in Gadai Giri before the Rama-navami day, and they both bathed in nearby river called the Alaka River. Whilst they were bathing Brajabandhu quoted a Hindi saying: calate hue sadhu vahata hua pani. This means; “That sadhu who is moving all along, not attached to any place, and the water which is flowing all along are both pure.” In other words as long as the water keeps flowing it will remain pure and as long as the sadhu keeps moving from place to place, going out and preaching, he will also remain pure, he will not become attached to any place.

The next day was Rama-navami and Brajabandhu read the Ramayana and after sometime Subhash was asked to read the Ramayana. He was reading that section of Ramayana where Rama is banished to the forest by His father, on the orders of His stepmother, and says to His father Dasaratha, “Going to the forest will enrich our lives because we will meet many sadhus there.”

Directly after this reading Brajabandhu started asking for bhiksa (donations) from the audience; he held out his saffron coloured dhoti and asked for bhiksa from the people who were present. And whilst doing so he was chanting the verse from the Ramayana:

vane gale muhin muni-gane bheti
krtartha karibi prana
tenu pita-ajna sada hita mora
tava adesa pramana

“Sri Ramachandra told His stepmother Kaikeyi, ‘By going to the forest I will meet many sadhus, and I would benefit from that. So what you have persuaded My father to do will be beneficial to Me.’’’

Then Brajabandhu began to clap his hands and chant this verse:

bhaja rama rama rama
kaha syama syama syama
rama laksmana janaki
jaya vira hanuman-ki

As he continued to ask for bhiksa, he began clapping his hands in an ecstatic mood and saying, “I will go to the forest, I will go to the forest, I will go to the forest; please give me bhiksa, please give me bhiksa.”

After the Ramayana speech there was nice prasada: dalma and anna; and Brajabandhu encouraged to Subhash to take more prasada because he had worked hard that day. That night Subhash slept in one room and Brajabandhu in another. There was a wall in between the two rooms and in the wall a small window. Subhash could see that Brajabandhu was burning a pile of straw in his room to protect them from the mosquitoes as the smoke from the burning straw filled both rooms.

They went to bed a about midnight, and at two o’clock in the morning Brajabandhu called Subhash to the stairs of the temple and they sat there; then Brajabandhu revealed to Subhash that he wanted to renounce, to leave family life and go to the forest and live like a sadhu—a renunciant—so he asked Subhash to give him bhiksa.

Subhash then asked him, “Why do you want to retire to the forest, when your family members are here—your sons, your daughters and your wife? You have so many responsibilities and liabilities. Why do you want to retire to the forest? Why must you take to a life of renunciation?” Brajabandhu replied, “This order has come from a higher platform—from above. I received this order whilst the Ramayana discourse was going on and I was begging for bhiksa, at that time I got this direction. Therefore I will not stay in family life with its material affairs. I will have to renounce. You are the man—you will give me bhiksa and I will go to a life of renunciation.” Subhash could not believe what he was hearing. …give up family life….!

The Kick of Lord Nityananda

Brajabandhu was always praying to Lord Nityananda that He would give him a good kick, so that this family life would end for him. He would say, “Lord Nityananda is so merciful, so merciful, how will the husband be finished—how will this family life be finished—unless he gets kicks! So merciful, Lord Nityananda, so merciful; yes, very merciful—finished! This side that side—no direction—finished! All family life finished.”

*Author’s Note. As a point of interest His Divine Grace had never used a bike, bicycle, scooter, car or any form of personal transport. He walked everywhere, and Subhash noted that he was such a brisk walker that sometimes people could not keep up with him.

At that time Subhash was a teacher so he had to leave Brajabandhu and go to open the school that he was working at that morning. Brajabandhu told him that he must come to Kujang again. He also asked him to accompany him and enter a life of renunciation. He asked Subhash, “How many members are in your family? How many sons, how many daughters do you have? What are your responsibilities and liabilities?” Subhash was a family man; he had many responsibilities, and he later said, “I left Brajabandhu that morning and returned to my place of residence and then went on to work. I could not think of a life of renunciation; I had many family and occupation responsibilities.”

Brajabandhu did not go back to his native village after the Rama-navami festival. He went to the place where he was living; at the time he was staying with his eldest daughter and his niece near the Kujang High School where he was teaching. They had set aside a room for him. The rest of the family was staying in the village of Jagannathpur. This Rama-navami day signified the day that Brajabandhu cut himself off from the family life altogether because during that festival he had been given direction from above to withdraw from material affairs and begin his life as a preacher. His mind was fixed.

Brajabandhu’s Resignation

So he wrote an application to the head of the school and in it he said, “Just accept my resignation. I do not want to stay a teacher any more.” He also sent a copy to the Instructor of Schools and then he left! The date of Brajabandhu’s resignation from teaching was the eighth of April 1974.

In the interim, Subhash returned to Kujang eight days later to see Brajabandhu; he visited him, they had prasada and kirtana, and then again Subhash returned to his home. Before he left, Brajabandhu asked when he would come again. Subhash told him he would come again in a week. When he returned after that week, Brajabandhu had already resigned from his teaching position.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja:….Not theoretically but practically, I kicked if after twenty five years of government service. I gave it all up. I am not saying it theoretically. I did it. I could have had the money; I was earning twenty five rupees a month when I began government service, and when I left I was earning four hundred and fifty rupees a month—but I kicked it.

Mr. Choudhary: when Brajabandhu finally left the school it was a great and grand gathering where he was staying in that matha, everybody went. The gathering continued for two three days, then he left that matha for good. He had little relations with his village, all his family were here; the reason that everyone went there was to see him, have a darsana, and some others went there to persuade him to come back to material life, but he was fixed!

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: yes, all knew that I was leaving. My wife and my children, my friends, all knew; I told them that I was going! Yes. Everyone was trying to stop me, that is natural. But who can stop? That is natural.

When Brajabandhu resigned from his service the news spread quickly and his family members came to Kujang. They started crying after hearing the news, but Brajabandhu was not there; he was in a matha named Kakudia Math, in the nearby area. He was no longer in the house where he had previously stayed. He had left that house and gone to Kakudia Math. Everybody was in distress and weeping.

All the students and all the teachers from the Kujang High School came to see Brajabandhu and asked him to withdraw his resignation. When he said he would not, they replied that they would wait one month before they would take any action on his resignation. But Brajabandhu was very fixed and determined. He said that he would not withdraw resignation, “I will not stick on any revenue stamp, make any signature to withdraw money, or anything else from today onwards.”

Subhash came to know of this and went to the Kakudia Math. He asked Brajabandhu, “Why have you left Kujang and come here? Why have you left your job? Everyone is crying!” Brajabandhu explained to him, “Because on that day I received this direction.” Subhash said, “Which day?” and Brajabandhu replied, “On the Rama-navami day. I received the direction, the instruction, to leave my house and go to the vanaprastha-asrama.”

Then Brajabandhu offered Subhash some prasada, bananas, milk and flat rice. Subhash noticed that Brajabandhu was worshipping a picture of Gopala Jiu. So he took the prasada and stayed there. In the meanwhile Brajabandhu’s wife arrived; with her she had a photo of Gopala Jiu. Looking at the photo she said to Gopala, “Why are You doing this to me? Why are You creating these painful events?”

When she arrived at the Kakudia Math, Brajabandhu said to Subhash, “Maya is coming! Maya is coming—do not allow her to come.” When Vasanti Devi heard this she collapsed.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: When I left home I had one Gita with me and I always shaved my head completely. I was wearing wooden peg shoes (katthao) and I had one begging bag (bhiksa-jhuli). I was wearing one bahir-vasa, a top cloth, and one lungi, all saffron coloured. In this dress I left home; my family members thought that I was abnormal and had become mad but I explained to them that I was not mad, I was very well! They all gathered with many of the people from my village. The villagers tried to persuade me to return home.

Mr. Choudhary: His family reacted when he left his job, left the school. It was like a bolt from the blue. Because there was no one to support them, his younger brother, who was a veterinary surgeon, had to maintain them to some extent. Even after his departure people ran to him to sign some papers, official papers, so that he could get all his money from the government superannuation. Like a general provident form. But he did not sign, so all the money could not be refunded. And he told his family, ‘If I sign it would not be as Brajabandhu Manik but as Gour Gopalananda dasa!’

The signature would not be the same so how could they give the money? So Gour Gopalananda dasa totally renounced everything. Brajabandhu Manik was lost in the spirituals… he had suffered. His material life was a difficult one! Yes!

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