Chapter 22 – On The Land In Bhubaneswar

Devotee: When you reached Bhubaneswar were you still translating the books into Hindi?
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: No.
Devotee: Had you been translating into Oriya?
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Yes. The time I left Hyderabad, the Hindi translations finished. I had told Srila Prabhupada that my mother tongue was Oriya, but Srila Prabhupada was appreciative so I was doing. But Gopala Krsna and Yasomatinandana, they said that my Hindi was not good; Gopala Krsna was a grhastha at that time. Then I stopped and came to Orissa and started the Oriya translations.
Devotee: What was the first book you began to translate?
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja: Perfection of Yoga.

(From a darsana with His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja)

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Then Prabhupada told me, “All right, now you go to Bhubaneswar and open a center.” I said, “I’ll go. Will you kindly give me some money, some books and some devotees.” Prabhupada said, “No.” then he narrated his own story to me, how he had gone to the west—his Guru Maharaja told him to go to the western countries, foreign countries—with no money, no men, no friend, no acquaintance, nothing. “I went there and started the whole movement.” So for me to go to Bhubaneswar Orissa which was my home, was not such a great problem for me; so I came alone. Anyway it is all the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada. He said to me, “Orissa is your place of birth, original place; go to that place. What need of men and money? What need, a Vaisnava is not alone, Krsna is with you.” And he gave me nothing.

The property (The Bhubaneswar donated land) was a dense bushy jungle full of poisonous snakes, scorpions, insects, ghosts and dacoits (Thieves and bandits). Even in the middle of the day rickshaw wallahs and taxi drivers feared to venture there. Gour Govinda Swami stayed there alone. Years later he would tell devotees that there were many ghosts on the property and how, by his chanting Hare Krsna, all the ghosts fled. From the very first day he arrived in Bhubaneswar he chanted one chapter of Bhagavad-gita a day, and on Ekadasi he would fast and chant all 18 chapters of the Gita.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Then I came alone, no men, no money. Prabhupada didn’t give me anything. “No, what is needed?” Prabhupada said, “My Guru Maharaja sent me to the west, I was a complete stranger there. A complete stranger! No friends, nothing! I went with only forty rupees and started my business for Krsna and now it is more than forty crores of rupees! Orissa is your place, why you need money and men? Go! Go!” He cited his own example; “A Vaisnava is not alone, Krsna is with him.” He told me that time, yes, “Why do you want money and men—a Vaisnava is not alone—Krsna is with him.”

I thought, “O, my Guru is a Vaisnava, I am not a Vaisnava!” “All right,” My Guru Maharaja said; “Well that’s alright”, I thought in my mind. “All right Krsna is there, I can go.” But always day and night I was thinking, “How can I do it?”

Bhupati dasa: …Prior to 1980 this area was a jungle, tigers and elephants roamed here. Building in the Bhubaneswar area began in a large way around 1985, 1986 to 1987; it was a very dangerous place—snakes, cobras, scorpions, tigers and elephants inhabited this place; no one would come here. Who would want to?…

The Second Trip Back to Bhubaneswar

Devotee: You built this hut by yourself, Gurudeva?
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Yes. First I built this.
Devotee: By hand, everything?
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Yes.
(From a darsana with His Divine Grace)

On his return, Gour Govinda Swami first stayed in the city of Cuttack. Then after a few days he came to Bhubaneswar and stayed at different times in two dharmasalas which were very close to the Lingaraja Mandir. They were called Dudwala and Dhalmia. He spent one week in each; they would not allow more than one week in each, and at the end of the two weeks he was out. Then some gentleman gave him a room, and he stayed there for about a week. This is how Gour Govinda Swami came to Orissa, to Bhubaneswar, with two tasks to perform; one was to establish the land and build a temple there in amongst the jungle, and the second was to translate Srila Prabhupada’s English translations of the ancient Vedic scriptures into Oriya. He had no men, no money, no books; he had nothing—only the direction of his spiritual master.

A Greatly Saintly Person

In that year, 1975, Gour Govinda Swami paid a visit to the office of the D.P.I. (Director of Public Instructions)—regarding the translation of Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriya. There was one gentleman there, Mr.Mishra who was former student of Gour Govinda Swami and a very sincere friend as well; he had a tremendous depth of knowledge of the Sanskrit language and Gour Govinda Swami wanted to enlist his assistance in the translation of Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriya.

Also in the office of the D.P.I. was a young man named Srutidhar Das, who was interested in finding a spiritual master, but so far had not had any success in finding one. Mr.Mishra, his colleague, who knew that he had visited many spiritual leaders, introduced him to Gour Govinda Swami. Mr.Mishra knew what Srutidhar desired, so when Gour Govinda Swami paid a visit to the D.P.I Office, Mr.Mishra brought them together. Mr.Mishra knew Gour Govinda Swami because he had been Gour Govinda Swami’s student at Angul High School, (Which is in the Dhenkanal District). That is how he knew the great spiritual strength of Gour Govinda Swami. So he said to Srutidhar, “Since you want so much and are so anxious to meet a great saintly person, and a great saintly person has just come to the D.P.I. office, I will take you to him; I know him, he was a former teacher of mine. That is how I know of his greatness.”

At the first sight of Gour Govinda Swami, Srutidhar was impressed. “I found him very innocent and very straightforward and his explanation of Krsna consciousness was without any contamination. On first meeting Gour Govinda I was immediately inspired by his expression and his appearance because he was very straightforward and did not speak anything making his own speculation but straight, he spoke directly from sastra and narrated to me the eternal knowledge given in the sastra and he very much insisted that he should depend on what the Supreme Lord says Himself rather than listening to what others had to say, which could be merely speculation.

I also remember that he further told me that we should accept the path that descends from the Supreme Lord Himself. This is what he said to me at the first meeting.”

At every opportunity, Gour Govinda Swami preached to whomever he met and would try to encourage them to take up Krsna consciousness. His words inspired this young man at the D.P.I. Office.

Srutidhar Das: When I first met Gour Govinda Swami I was very inspired. I was very much inspired at the first sight of him; then I tried to find out where this saint was residing. I was told that he was residing close to the temple of Ananta Vasudeva. I had a bicycle then, and went to the area but I found that he was not there. Then went to another place, but I was told he was not there and had gone to a place called Bhubaneswar Patna. So I went to this place and there I found Gour Govinda Swami.

Gour Govinda Swami was living in a house owned by the proprietor of the Krishna Tea House (He was living in the tea dealer’s store room). When he arrived there, Srutidhar was told that Gour Govinda Swami had gone to the Ananta Vasudeva Mandir for prasada, so he set off for the Ananta Vasudeva Mandir, and while Gour Govinda Swami was returning from there, Srutidhar met up with him.

Srutidhar Das: It was very, very interesting meeting him again. I found out from Gour Govinda Swami that he had to go to the D.P.I. office once again. So when he visited the office for the second time I had the chance to see him again.

Srutidhar remembered, after that second meeting, that as he and Gour Govinda Swami were walking back to the Bhubaneswar bus stand through a field known as the Sectariat Ground, Gour Govinda Swami was talking him and gave an example in regard to the Sun-god, the sun planet and the sunshine. This example was in regard to the realization of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan—Sri Krsna. This example of the three levels of God realization impressed Srutidhar greatly. This was also in June 1975.

Srutidhar Das: Well, as I saw him, I could find, that Gour Govinda Swami had no other interest than to serve the cause of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and Krsna. The third meeting that I had with Gour Govinda Swami was in the same month at Brahmeswar Patna, where he was residing at the time; it is in Bhubaneswar some twelve to thirteen kilometers from the Nayapalli village. It is towards Puri, east direction!

Gour Govinda Swami wasn’t living on the donated land at this time. This is an interesting incident which shows the depth of devotion that Gour Govinda Swami held towards his spiritual master. When Srutidhar met with Gour Govinda Swami for the third time, he wanted to know the reason for his coming to Bhubaneswar. He said to Srutidhar, “I have only come to serve the wish of my Gurudeva.” Srutidhar asked him, “Who is your Gurudeva?” and he told him about Srila Prabhupada and described his greatness of Srila Prabhupada to him. Then Srutidhar wanted to know what exactly was his Gurudeva’s wish, and he told him, “Srila Prabhupada has instructed me to come to Bhubaneswar and to develop a piece of land at Nayapalli which was donated to him by Srimati Kanungo, the daughter-in-law of the Governor of Bihar State, Mr.Nityananda Kanungo.”

He had also told Srutidhar that the other wish and instruction of Srila Prabhupada to him that he should translate Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriya. So when he first met him, Srutidhar found that Gour Govinda Swami was exclusively engaged in these two missions.

On another occasions, Srutidhar had put this question to Gour Govinda Swami, “How do you imagine that a temple will develop on this site that is so far away and is just like a jungle?” Gour Govinda Swami just smiled and said, “Srutidhar, do not be surprised that crores of rupees will be invested to make a very nice temple here, because Laksmi Devi, who is the controller of all wealth, is a sincere servitor of Lord Krsna, so for Krsna’s temple and the desire of His pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, money will not be a problem for the building of this temple.”

The Preaching Begins

Gour Govinda Swami went out everyday trying to find anyone at all who might be interested to help with the building of the temple. For this purpose he wanted to print a money receipt book, showing that donations were the purpose of establishing a temple at the land donated to ISKCON, at Nayapalli. Srutidhar was a student at that time and he was also working part time, so he invested what he had, and a receipt book was printed, so that donations could be collected.

Daily by 6:00 a.m. Gour Govinda Swami would set out on foot distributing a small leaflet with the holy name which he had printed himself. He would visit house after house, office after office, in and around Bhubaneswar; sometimes walking, sometimes riding on the carriage rack of a bicycle pedaled by Srutidhar. Once a day he would take prasada at the ancient temple of Ananta Vasudeva. After his return by 9:00 p.m. he would translate Srila Prabhupada’s books into the Oriya language. The translation would continue till midnight, after which he would rest for barely two hours, and rise again at 2:00 a.m. to begin his chanting and writing. On some occasions Srutidhar would spend the night with Gour Govinda Swami. At six o’clock Gour Govinda Swami would wake him up, calling out, “How long will you sleep in the lap of Maya? Rise and chant Hare Krsna!” Srutidhar would reply, “Sir, just kindly let me asleep half an hour more.”

The Move Close to the Land

Gour Govinda Swami would continuously walk for many miles at a stretch from door to door to preach hari-katha and collect donations for the development of the donated plot of land. He and Srutidhar would walk for miles together.

Also Gour Govinda Swami would, with great pleasure, sit on the carrier of Srutidhar’s bicycle, and some days they would travel this way for thirty to forty kilometers. That is how they would get around from house to house, preaching hari-katha and collecting donations for developing the land as desired by Srila Prabhupada. This went on for at least one and half to two years. He was constantly thinking that he must get to the Bhubaneswar land in Nayapalli and build a cottage.

Srutidhar Das: Then once he told me, “Srutidhar, it would be somewhat difficult to develop the land remaining at such a distance (Brahmeswar Patna) from the land itself, so if you can find out a place closer to the land that would be very good.” This was around the year 1975.

To find a place closer to the land, Gour Govinda Swami and Srutidhar approached the Nayapalli village leaders. One of Srutidhar’s relations lived there, his uncle, Vasudeva das. When they arrived there all the village leaders of Nayapalli were gathered together discussing some problems of village. Srutidhar waited for the opportunity to introduce all of them to Gour Govinda Swami, and particularly to his relative Vasudeva Das. There were two other gentlemen who later became disciples of Srila Prabhupada—they were Digambar Pattanaik and Choudhury Jagannatha Prasada. Srutidhar introduced them to Gour Govinda Swami and Digambar Pattanaik expressed his joy, “Yes, yes, we will help.” It is not everyday that a sadhu comes to your place of residence and explains his mission to build a temple directly across the road from where you are living. In India, the understanding is that if a person can perform some service for a sadhu, he or she will gain great spiritual merit for this act, hence they were only too happy to help.

A Vaisnava Cooks His Own Food
and Offers it to Lord Krsna

There was a cottage close to the roadside on land directly across the road from the donated land. Some laborers were living there and they were using this cottage while they did road works, melting tar for the roads etc. behind this cottage there was a small hut, and a pump which used for collecting water for bathing and cooking. Gour Govinda Swami stayed in this small hut. He expected to cook for himself; Srila Prabhupada had said to him, “Cook your own meals and don’t eat elsewhere. A Vaisnava cooks his own meal and offers to Lord Krsna.” He was doing this as well as having kirtana with the road workers and also giving them some prasada. So at last he went there and stayed in a small hut nearby the land, but he was still not living directly on the donated land, which was his main aim.

He lived there for about six months, right alongside the road workers, and he was really happy because he had come to a place close to the land and he could serve the cause of his spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, more directly.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: When I first came here you see, this was under repair so there was a diversion road like this way you understand when I came here. A contractor who was working here had employed some coolies; they were staying here—this house, this is a mud hut, my house was also there a very small humble mud hut, those coolies were staying there, the contractor’s coolies, I came and stayed there not with them, another mud hut a littler smaller one, that tree you see, there it was…These places were all vacant, so only this Nayapalli village was there, these were all vacant, (now some construction was there). All vacant with some jungle, no electricity, no water supply, no telephone, no nothing was there. So one mud hut was here and some coolies were staying and inside there was a smaller hut and that house is there you see inside. That well is there, smaller hut! I was staying there and in front closer to the road the coolies were staying. I stayed there, I cooked my own food, I ate once a day, once I cooked and slept then go out walking, walking, walking, collecting bhiksa (alms) doing some sankirtana and translating.

Srutidhar Das: Then that Vasudeva Das, he really helped a lot with the cottage. Vasudeva Das he helped Gour Govinda Swami a lot because he took the responsibility to erect a hut at this land for Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: I was living with these laborers who were building road until I erected that cottage—the one Srila Prabhupada stayed in. to build this cottage I collected donations everyday. I used to go out and collect donations and in that Nayapalli village I first made an acquaintance there, who was then called Digambar Pattanaik; he plays very nice mrdanga. He had taken hari-nama from Srila Prabhupada and he was the village chief (village head). So I made kirtana with him and four or five other people, who were interested in kirtana everyday, and some evening we would do kirtana; not daily, every two or three days, we would do kirtana in some gentleman’s house.

So it was one mrdanga player, and myself we would go from house to house in the evening and do kirtana. The person whose house it was would give prasada and give a donation and also during daytime I would go out and collect some donations, on foot. I did not know how to ride a bike. Walking. Walking.

Whilst living in the hut, one day he was paid a visit by Anapurna Das she was the wife of Vasudeva Das. On first meeting Gour Govinda Swami, at her very sight she desired to take initiation from him. Then with this desire she went to the hut, where Gour Govinda Swami was residing and when she expressed her desire before Gour Govinda Swami told her, “I am not empowered to give initiation. You will be given initiation by my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada come here.”

Anapurna Das: At the very first sight of Gour Govinda Swami, I developed a feeling as if Gour Govinda Swami was my very own master, something in me had developed this feeling. By looking at him I could see that he was a great saintly person, we were all greatly affected by his association.

Prior to meeting Gour Govinda Swami, Anapurna was keenly interested in taking initiation from a very, very pure sadhu, from a pure devotee of Krsna. Because all of her sisters were initiated by different Vaisnava-sannyasis she was very eager to take initiation from one Sri Baya-baba. Baya-baba was one of the renounced saints of Orissa, but he was from an apa-sampradaya. She was desirous to take initiation from him. But many times Baya-baba would say to her, “Initiation is no joking matter—that I can pick up anyone from the road and give them initiation.”

Gour Govinda Swami went several times to her house for the purpose of bhiksa and one day he went to her house along with Srutidhar. Many times when Gour Govinda Swami, after walking miles and miles in a day, arrived there his feet were terribly affected. His feet would swell up from the walking. Then he had to sit down and nourish his feet by rubbing mustard seed oil on them. So during these occasions he always inspired her to chant and to practice purity before taking initiation from Srila Prabhupada.

Once Gour Govinda Swami brought a big book, opened the page and showed her picture of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and then turned another page and showed her the picture of Srila Prabhupada and said, “This is our Guru Maharaja in disciplic succession.” She said, “I want to take initiation from a sadhu.” She was little worried about taking initiation from Srila Prabhupada because she had never met him. She first gathered this impression. But subsequently she was deeply influenced by Gour Govinda Swami who encouraged her to chant and gave her japa-mala with the advice to chant the holy name of the Lord without offence.

Anapurna Das: Once in the year 1975 I asked Gour Govinda Swami, “How will I take initiation, who will give me initiation and when?” Then Gour Govinda Swami told me, “Only a qualified sadhu can give you initiation and he is my Gurudeva Srila Prabhupada.” Then he said to me, “Take this japa-mala and chant the holy name offencelessly. Then when Srila Prabhupada comes you will get initiated.” I was somewhat unsure what to do but he convinced me to chant and to take shelter of his great and mighty guru Srila Prabhupada.
The Mango Grove

Then after living nearby the road workers on National Highway Number 5, Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja moved once again, 250 meters down the roadway from the temple land, where he lived in a small hut amidst mango trees. It was a mango grove, and had a well; he lived there for about six months. This area was directly next to the temple land and on the same side of the road. This was about the beginning of 1976. This hut had a very nice tulasi garden with approximately fifty tulasi plants.

Gour Govinda Swami was happy to live anywhere, as long as in the end he was living on the land in some sort of dwelling.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: That mango grove you see! In that mango grove there was another hut, a mud hut was there; that belongs to some person, you see he was from Cuttack. That was a longer house, long house, and mud hut. He had kept one servant there and he had some stones for building, for erecting houses; a paid servant he had kept there. But that servant sold some of the stones to get money, so the owner became very angry, he came here and drove the servant out. Then he had to find someone to stay here. So he went to Nayapalli village and met Digambar Pattanaik (Dikpati dasa)—he is the village chief you see, the owner he told this thing. Then Dikpati dasa said, “A Vaisnava Maharaja has come here, he was staying there so you please keep him there so you please make that house and let him (Vaisnava Maharaja) stay there.” So I stayed there, in that longer mud hut. There was one room for living, one kitchen, etc. I stayed the hut on the land was built.

Once while having kirtana with Digambar Pattanaik, a large black snake crawled onto Gour Govinda Swami’s lap. In his own words Gour Govinda Swami said, “It was very dangerous place. That was at the mango grove. Before erecting the hut on our property I was staying there. There was a mud hut which belonged to someone else, some other man. This was directly next to the Bhubaneswar land. I was living there by myself, I moved there after living in that hut with the workers. Then to the mango grove and then onto the property.”

Gour Govinda Swami without stopping the kirtana threw the snake from his lap whilst still holding onto the karatalas and still chanting Hare Krsna, and that black snake slithered off into the jungle. He was a fearless personality; otherwise he could not have stayed in that area, it was such an out-of-the-way place.

Srutidhar Das: There is one incident that comes to my mind. Mr.Vasudeva Das, who built the hut on the Bhubaneswar land for Gour Govinda Swami, explained to me that while he was coming back from his house to the ISKCON land where he was looking after the preparation of the hut which was going on, he came across a very poisonous snake, that was black cobra—very poisonous. The snake was about to attack him and he was very much afraid of this but he just remembered the Lord and Gour Govinda Swami had said, “You have assigned me the responsibility of building the hut on the property, so you please protect me.” Immediately the snake changed its course and took off in a different direction. So that helped to strengthen the faith of Vasudeva Das. Thereafter he was more devoted and the progress of the work of making the hut went fast, i.e. it was doubled and then completed.

When Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja first began work on the land there was nothing there but a cleared plot of approximately one acre. He personally fenced the whole area with the help of some of the local villagers and his relatives, and planted may nice banana palms, paw paw trees and other trees to beautify the area, and the effect was very nice.

Choudhary Jagannatha Prasad: I first met Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja in July of 1975. When we were asked to help on the property we immediately agreed. It was an immediate reaction by the village leaders. The very next day we found out the location of the plot of land, it was not marked out, it was a jungle. We cleared the plot of land; it was Digambar Pattanaik, Vasudeva Das, Sruti and myself, and finally the cottage was completed.

The Move Onto the Land

Just prior to moving onto the land and after the completion of the hut Srila Prabhupada wrote to Gour Govinda Swami and said:

12th February 1976

My dear Gaura Govinda Swami

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 8 February 1976.

It is very good that you have completed one cottage. We are trying to send one man, but in the meantime just think that Krsna is with you and there is no need of disappointment.

Now that you have your cottage, you may remain there and Krsna will help you. You have my full blessings and you try your best and you will be successful. There is no need of coming to Mayapura now. If you can come for the festival, that will be nice, but it is not compulsory.

If you are not getting reply from Gopala Krsna then you may write direct to me. I am also writing Saurabha to send you a plan.

If you publish some book in Oriyan language, that book will give you good support. So now you have an opportunity, you are there and Krsna will help. Gradually we will help. Krsna is so kind, He is always ready to help. “Dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te.”

I hope this meets you well.

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

© 1991 by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

The hut was finally finished by Rama-navami, 1976 and Gour Govinda Swami moved onto the land. This he felt was another success, as he would always say that Rama-navami was a special day for him; on Rama-navami, 1974 he left family life; on Rama-navami in 1975 he took sannyasa from Srila Prabhupada; and now on Rama-navami, 1976 he moved onto the ISKCON land.*

He was now situated on the ISKCON land, and at last ready to begin his mission. He couldn’t begin to develop the project unless he was living on the property. So in that far away place, that out-of-the-way place, that place where no one would visit, he was now living and villagers were coming to him to help and to associate with him, a sadhu—a saintly person. And of course the young student was coming too.

Srutidhar Das: …From the first day that I met him I associated with him as much as possible and did what I could for this saintly personality…

The hut was just that, not a well-built building; it had holes in it, and when it rained it leaked, but it was a residence of sorts that Gour Govinda Swami could work from. He was not worried about the inconveniences; to move onto the land was the wish of his spiritual master and this was now accomplished, and he had a permanent place to work from and his translation. By and large, externally at least he was alone, but he did not mind. Many years he would say to his disciples, “…You must undergo hardship for the Guru, and sometimes you may even suffer…” This of course, His Divine Grace did, he was a perfect example.

The holes in the hut and the leaky roof were a problem in the rainy season. On one occasion when it rained very heavily the entire area was flooded and rain ran through many holes in the roof. His Divine Grace couldn’t go anywhere, so he sat down inside the hut, put up his umbrella and chanted Hare Krsna until the heavy rains subsided, and then he went about his usual routine. This heavy rain went on for some days.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: At that time it was all vacant land—nothing was there. I first bought electricity here, first when Prabhupada was coming here, because he needed electricity; I brought first and then electricity came to this area. I brought first water pipe here, one pipe and from that has allowed three pipes and at that time it was twenty-four hours water supply. So when Prabhupada came there was water supply. I first bought telephone, not when Prabhupada came, that was after.

Srutidhar Das: So Guru Maharaja was very much devoted to the cause of Srila Prabhupada and didn’t care for the inconvenience at that place, amidst mosquitoes and a dangerous environment from snakes, cobras, scorpions, etc. guru Maharaja was not very much worried, he just wanted to carry out the order of his spiritual master to develop the land.

The Daily Activities of Gour Govinda Swami

Gour Govinda Swami would, for the cause of the Supreme Lord, cover about thirty to forty kilometers each day either by bicycle or on foot. By bicycle meant that he would sit on the bicycle rack of the young student who was helping him. Sometimes he would spend the night at Srutidhar’s parents’ house in Bapuji Nagar, as it was too far to go back to the hut or the mango grove. So he would bless the house of Srutidhar Das and stayed there, and head back to the land next day.

Everyday he would wake by 3:00 or 3:00 a.m.; he would get up from bed and bathe, put on tilaka and then say hi gayatri-mantra. After that he would begin to recite the holy name of the Lord, completing seven to eight rounds. His early devotions completed, he would begin work on the translation of Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriya for about two hours. After that, he would cook his breakfast, make the offering to the Lord, and then take prasada and distribute the food to whoever might come by. By 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. he would be finished and then he would prepare to go out preaching. He would begin walking to wherever he was going to preach. If it were a holiday the time would differ—he would start about 10:30—but normally between 8:30 and 9:00 o’clock. He would go walking with Srutidhar from door to door; then again at midday, he would walk alone and preach alone; and then in the late afternoon—5 to 7:30 or 8 p.m.—he would walk from door to door to preach and sell books. This program started in June 1975 and he continued in this way until Srila Prabhupada visited Bhubaneswar in 1977.

Gour Govinda Swami was translating Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriya, and selling the books by way of collecting donations wherever he preached all the time. He would go to Puri by train—about a twenty-five kilometer journey from Bhubaneswar—and distribute books there. He would catch the train in the morning and come back in the afternoon, spending nearly the whole day walking the streets and going door-to-door. Whatever had to be done to carry out the order of his spiritual master, that he did. Once he was asked, “How can you stay in this place?” His Divine Grace replied with a big wonderful smile, “Whatever Krsna has placed me to stay, I must accept that situation with love in order to serve the cause of guru. Krsna’s will is supreme, and we must accept it with joy and without the least hesitation.”

Choudhary Jagannatha Prasad: We were always associating with Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja; he was holding kirtana in my house, in Dikpati’s house, at nighttime, nearly every night. Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja would speak from the Gita or the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Also he would have kirtana outside Nayapalli, different people’s houses, and in Puri. Program and prasada and they would give donation. We would also go door to door in Bhubaneswar with Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja, myself, Sruti, Dikpati, Vasudeva Das and others—five to ten people.

Against great odds Gour Govinda Swami stayed in that out-of-way place and studied, translated, preached, collected donations, printed books and had kirtana regularly, whilst also trying to develop the donated land amidst a veritable jungle. All for the service of Guru and Gauranga. Many said it could not be done, no one could stay there—no one! But he did it.

* Author’s comment: In volume two well also see that His Divine Grace Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja, first accepted disciples on Rama-navami, 1985.

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