Chapter 30 – Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai Come to Bhubaneswar

Many times His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja used to relate the story of how Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai came to Bhubaneswar. It was in connection with Lokanatha Maharaja’s bullock cart—the cart that came from Vrndavana to Mayapura, from Mayapura to Jagannatha Puri, and from Puri to Bhubaneswar. On the way, in Bhadrack, in the Balasore district, one bullock was sick, and they stayed in Bhadrack for some days. Then they left for Bhubaneswar. By the time the bullock cart arrived at the ISKCON land in Bhubaneswar, most of the devotees had left, and only three remained with Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja. But a very interesting and mysterious incident happened which was evidence—more than evidence—Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai’s wish to stay in Bhubaneswar and to accept the loving service of His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja.Srutidhar Das: Lokanatha Maharaja, along with a group devotees, had come on padayatra to Jagannatha Puri by bullock cart along with Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, out of Their causeless mercy, wished to come to Bhubaneswar, and this They did. His Divine Grace Srila Gurudeva, with great pleasure, was rendering services to and taking care of Gaura-Nitai.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: They stayed here; and at that time Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Let the bullock cart stay in Bhubaneswar. Let Gour Govinda Maharaja take charge of it and he may go out and preach in the bullock cart.’ So when they left here. They left the bullock cart and the deities.

Unfortunately, whilst the bullock cart and the deities were in Bhubaneswar the sick bullock died. Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja said that he personally buried the dead bullock with the help of brahmacari. From then on, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja would daily cook for Gaura-Nitai and offer arati to Them. Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja said at that time he only knew how to cook khicari, dalma, rice and capatis. Whoever tasted those offerings was amazed by the sweet flavour.

But the problem was how to replace this bullock; they were very big animals—they were big, big bullocks. One bullock remained, and Gour Govinda Maharaja had to replace the bullock that had died, but he could not find a bullock of that size in Orissa. So the bullock cart program was disbanded, and in His Divine Grace’s own words. “The deities did not seem to want to move from the land in Bhubaneswar.” This was in 1977, after Srila Prabhupada had left Bhubaneswar, in the middle of the year. Lokanatha Swami was in charge of the bullocks, and when he came back to the Bhubaneswar land he wanted to take charge of deities. He wanted to move the deities to Bhadrack. Gour Govinda Maharaja asked, “Why do you want to move the deities to Bhadrack? There is already a matha there with deities.” There was a Vaisnava babaji in charge of that temple. He was very old. He had handed over this matha to Lokanatha Swami. Lokanatha Swami accepted it and it became an ISKCON temple.

Lokantha Swami wanted to take Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai to that temple. And Gour Govinda Maharaja explained to him, “There are already deities there. Radha-Krsna and Gauranga Mahaprabhu deities are there.” Gour Govinda Maharaja then went to the deities and prayed, “Lokanatha Swami wants to take You.” The deities answered him, “We will not go.” So Lokanatha Swami could not take Them; the deities did not want to go, so how could he take them? Lokanatha Swami left Bhubaneswar without deities, much to his dismay.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: The deities were directly speaking to me, my hairs were standing on end. The deities were in the next room. The same small Gaura-Nitai deities as now (1991). I said to Them, “Do not go.” And They said, “No, We will not go. We will not go!” this is a very confidential thing.

In 1991 on the appearance of Lord Nityananda, these deities were installed on the altar with larger deities of Gaura-Nitai, in the magnificent temple that His Divine Grace had built for Them. This will all be explained in detail in volume four of the life story of His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja.

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