Chapter 32 Part 1 – The Hidden Acarya Gupta Acarya


Part I

This section deals with the apparent illness of His Divine Grace at Mayapura, in 1978, during the annual Gaura-purnima festival. This was the first Mayapura Festival held directly after the passing of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, from this mortal realm.

While some may not know how to deal with this section; in fact, it may well bewilder some, we humble ask that you understand that there is more to reality than can be experienced by the naked eye, blunt material senses and modern high technological gadgetry. We ask you to please bear in mind that the transcendental realm is captured in the vision only a very few rare souls in this mortal world.

“When you seea Vaisnava of the highest order who seems to be suffering from material misery, you should know for sure that he is really experiencing the highest ecstasy. Bewildered by sense enjoyment and puffed up with pride in their knowledge, education, birth, wealth, beauty, and so on, ignorant people cannot understand the activities or the position of a Vaisnava. A Vaisnava, by contrast, never considers birth, education, and wealth to to be important qualification, but distributes the Lord’s mercy to everyone, regardless of their social position.”

“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavour for perfection, andout of those who achieve perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”

“O best of the brahmanas, sukadeva Gosvami, out of many persons who follow religious principles, only a few desire liberation from this material world. Among many thousands who desire liberation, one may actually achieve liberation, giving up material attachment ot society, friendship, love, country, home, wife and children. And among many thousands of such liberated persons, one who can understand the true menaing of liberation is very rare.”

“O, great sage, among many millions who are liberated and are perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana or Krsna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare.”

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krsna Himself with inconceiveable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.”

“I worship that transcendental seat, known as Svetadvrpa where as loving consorts the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practise the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krsna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem; all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dacne, the flute is the favaourite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss the and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty; where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as goloka only to a very few self-realised souls in this world.”

The Mayapura Festival, 1978

The scene is Mayapura, the year 1978, the first after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada. His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja fell sick at the festiva. The disease? No one knew what it was. The doctors said that he was not sick. But he was sick! The doctors could not ascertain the problem; they did not know—no one knew.

Lagudi dasa had acted as Gour Govinda Maharaja’s servant for the period of four months—one month prior to the Mayapura Festival, two months in Mayapura and one month in Bhubaneswar—and had personally witnessed the different symptoms that developed in the body of Gour Govinda Maharaja.

Lagudi dasa had said, “I am very much indebted to Gour Govinda Maharaja, I know that I was offensive to him somehow or other when he was sick, but he did not take offence at me. I had the chance to be with him for all that time; he stayed in Mayapura for two months; he could not be moved, and then when he was better we put him into the bus and took him to Bhubaneswar. When we arrived at the Bhubaneswar land nearly everyone had left.”

Devadharma dasa was also in orissa at that time, serving the mission of Srila Prabhupada in cuttack, which is a twenty-five kilometers bus ride from Bhubaneswar.

Devadharma dasa: I was living in cuttack, where we collected funds and tried to make life members on behalf of the Bhubaneswar temple. We had some small success and it was a great privilege to meet so many nice, humble oriya Vaisnavas.

But even though Devadharma dasa was not too distant from Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, he still did not know how sick he had been, until he came to the Mayapura Festival and saw the condition of His Divine Grace. “His health was very bad and of course he never believed in taking medicine. He would say that the maha-mantra is the only medicine, and when other devotees would get sick or something would happen, he would say, ‘Chant Hare Krsna; thisis the only medicine’.

“But when Gour Govinda Swami came to the Mayapura Festival he had not been eating, he had been fasting and his health had become worse and worse until he actually became delirious. Generally when a person becomes delirious they just speak all nonsense, all sorts of rubbish things—they just go a little bit crazy. But Gour Govinda Maharaja was simply chanting, ‘Nitai-Gaura! Hari bol! ‘Nitai-Gaura! Hari bol!’ we would try talking to him but he would not respond, he would just look at us and say, ‘Nitai-Gaura! Hari bol! Nitai-Gaura! Hari bol!’ this was certainly an indication of his being fixed in Krsna consciousness.

“When we experience such bad health ourselves, we find it almost impossible to mentally recite the maha-mantra, not to speak of reciting it out loud. It is very, very hard to chant when you are in such a weakened state—half conscious—but he was still very Krsna conscious. So, because we could not communicate with him, we could not get him to answer any questions, whether he woud take some medicine, whether he would eat some food. We tried to get him to take some maha-prasada, some caranamrta. He would not take anything. But he was still very Krsna conscious. You could say that he was in samadhi, but the circumstances which brought about that state of consciousness were not the normal events. So technically speaking he was just delirious, but from the spiritual point of view, we thought that he was in samadhi. However, at the time we could not figure out what was really wrong with him.”

Previously, when he was in good health, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja would walk twenty miles at a time and when he was sick he would just fast. The devotees would ask him, “Are you sick?” and he would reply, “No, I am fasting.”
During this Mayapura Festival, one of Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers, madhava Maharaja, passed away. Many sannyasis from ISKCON had been inivited and so they assembled at his matha in Mayapura for the ceremony. Gour Govinda Maharaja went with them. Whilst the kirtana was going on, Gour Govinda Maharaja fell to the ground and began to moan and roll around in the dust. No one knew what the problem was. Two sannyasis brought Gour Govinda Maharaja to lagudi’s room; they said, “He should only go to lagudi, he should not go to anyone else.” Everyone thought that he had some type of tropical fever, but no one knew what, so they felt it best that he be with his friend lagudi dasa Brahmacari.

Lagudi dasa: I was invited to the ceremony for Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, madhava Maharaja, but I did not go. There i was inmy room and there was a knock at the door and two sannyasis were there holding Gour Govinda Maharaja. They said to me that I should look after him, and I thought that it would only be for a few days. I thought that it would be temporary because he had never been sick in his whole lilfe. He had never had any real illness!

No sooner had Gour Govinda Maharaja been taken to lagudi’s room, than bhagavata dasa turned up. He was the president of Bhubaneswar temple at that time. To try and cure Gour Govinda Maharaja’s illness bhagavata brought many doctors and kavirajas—all he knew of—yet none were successful, none could bring about any improvement of his condition. Bhagavata dasa was very concerned for Gour Govinda Maharaja’s health, so he was bringing anyone he could find whom he thought might help.

Some of the devotees in their concern for Gour Govinda Maharaja began to wonder if he was ghostly haunted (possessed by a ghost), so they sent a devotee to Navadvipa to bring an exorcist. The exorcist came, and examined Gour Govinda Maharaja and said, “No, no, this is no ghost. This is definitely no ghost.”

Bhagavata dasa: Then I brought two godbrothers and we looked at him….i said to them, ‘what should I do? I am worried.’ They said, ‘Let’s bring that astrologer who made all the predicition about Prabhupada. Let him examine Gour Govinda Maharaja.’ We took Gour Govinda Maharaja to the astrologer and he told us that Gour Govinda Maharaja was in bhava—the advanced stage of ecstatic love of Godhead. But I knew that no one was going toaccept the astrologer. I too was convinced that he was experiencing ecstatic symptoms, but I was concerned as to how I would be able to convince others about his conditon. I believed it but I knew others wouldn’t.

….One Ayurvedic doctor came and after examining him he said, “I do not know, if appears as though he has some sort of madness, but I cannot ascertain it.” I became very depressed because I wanted to certify his condition, but I thought only Prabhupada could do that and Prabhupada was not there, he had left the world.

Later that day I was on the verandah feeling dejected. Lagudi was in the room with Gour Govinda Maharaja. Suddenly I saw akincana krsnadasa Babaji—Prabhupada said he was a pure devotee of Krsna. It is said in the sastra that when you are sinless, you can jump and dance before the deity, because it is by the sins that you are weighed down. Well, krsnadasa babaji did not jump, krsnadasa babaji used to fly. He was always laughing and chanting, ‘Hare Krsna! Hari bol!’ he would make these bumper stickers with the Hare Krsna maha-mantra on them, in hindi and Bengali. He had no home, he simply had bumper stickers, and he was going around and putting them up everywhere. He put them up at train stations and market places. He would collect some donations, print more bumper stickers, and put them up everywhere.

When I saw him, I became somewhat enthused. I went to him, and asked him to come and help me to ascertain the condtion of Gour Govinda Maharaja.

Devadharma dasa: So then we asked krsnadasa babaji, Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrother, to come and see Gour Govinda Maharaja. He came and very casually said, “O, this is Krsna-prema.”

Bhagavata dasa: Krsnadasa babaji came into the room, took one thread from his dhoti and put it under the nose of Gour Govinda Maharaja. I was familiar with this technique because it describes in Caitanya-caritamrta how sarvabhauma bhattacarya did the same thing. Babaji Maharaja felt Gour Govinda Maharaja’s pulse, looked at his eyes, and felt his head. Then he rose, and turning to me he laughed and said, Bhava, bhava’, indicating to me that Gour Govinda Maharaja was experiencing krsna-prema….

Lagudi dasa: Yes, bhagavata dasa came and brought a lot of people; then krsnadasa babaji*, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, came and started speaking in Bengali to Gour Govinda Maharaja and to another sannyasi who was also present. This other sannyasi was interested to find out from Gour Govinda Maharaja what Srila Prabhupada had said as to who would be the next acarya ISKCON. He was interested to know who Srila Prabhupada’s successor would be. He wanted krsnadasa babaji to ask Gour Govinda Maharaja. When Krsnadasa babaji said that Gour Govinda Maharaja was not sick, this sannyasi said, ‘Ask him now, ask him now. Ask him who will be the next leader of ISKCON.’ The sannyasi felt that Gour Govinda Maharaja knew who would be in charge. Then krsnadasa babaji said that Gour Govinda Maharaja was saying that we should all go away. Gour Govinda Maharaja said, ‘Leave me alone.’ Gour Govinda Maharaja wanted to know why we were all bothering his service to Krsna. Krsnadasa babaji said to us, ‘He is in the spiritual world; he is in Krsna’s pastimes.’ Then the babaji left us.

Even while he was so very much incapacitated, he was extremely humble. He would apparently come to a little and would say that he had offended this devotee, so please bring this devotee. When others brought the devotee he felt he had offended, Gour Govinda Maharaja would just fall down flat on the floor, offering prostrated obeisances, and then he would touch the devotee’s feet and say, ‘Please forgive my offences; I have offended you so much.’ And of course the devotee, whoever he might be, would say, ‘Maharaja, how oculd you offend me, you are so saintly; you have not done anything to offed me, Maharaja.’ Then after a time, he would again say, ‘O, I have offended this devotee; please bring him here,’ and again the devotee would be brought, and Gour Govinda Maharaja would do the same thing, saying, ‘O, please forgive me for all my offences.’

Devadharma dasa: ….Yes, he was acting very humbly. And he even did it to me, he paid his obeisances to me and said that he had offended me, which was extremely humble of Gour Govinda Maharaja.

After a couple of days he started to calm down a little. But even as he was becoming a little more normal he would not talk very much; we really could not get much information out of him. I mean, none of the devotees who had been present, nor anyone else—no one thought that there was anything wrong with his behaviour. Well I guess it was very good that krsnadasa babaji was living there, somewhere around Mayapura, and he was able to confirm that it was krsna-prema—ecstatic symptoms—and that it was not just material madness.

Lagudi dasa: We called other doctors, but we were advised not to give medicine if he did not want to take it; do not force him, they said, and if he does not want to eat, then do not force him. He neither ate nor drank, he was in krsna-prema. this is what the babaji had told us. The babaji believed that he was a maha-bhagavata.

Krsnadasa Babaji was invited to come by this one sannyasi who was present and by bhagavata dasa the president of Bhubaneswar temple at that time. They wanted to talk to him because they wanted to question Gour Govinda Maharaja as to who would replace Srila Prabhupada. They wanted to find out through the Babaji, because he was a very special personality, so the Babaji asked him. They knew that Srila Prabhupada liked the Babaji because he was maha-bhagavata, and a paramahamsa, (not a parivrajakacarya). Everyone knew that he knew Krsna and they wanted to ask him to ask Gour Govinda Maharaja if he knew what Krsna wanted with ISKCON, now that Srila Prabhupada had left. They wanted to figure it out, they could not understand what was going on.

When they started to put all their questions to Gour Govinda Maharaja, he said, “Why are you bothering me? I am serving Krsna.”

Lagudi dasa: He was developing his internal relationship, so he did not like to hear all these questions.

When the Babaji asked, “Who will now replace Srila Prabhupada?” Gour Govinda mahraja replied, “No one!” then krsnadasa Babaji turned to the devotees in the room and said, “We should not disturb him.” Then added, “Let us leave him; he is not sick, he has entered into his rasa with Krsna. Do not bother him; he is maturing his relationship with Krsna.”

Lagudi dasa: From what I can understand. The Babaji was very encouraged that Srila Prabhupada had one disciple like this—a maha-bhagavata. I was there in the room when he (Krsnadasa Babaji) paid his obeisances to Gour Govinda Maharaja and said, ‘He is a maha-bhagavata, do not disturb him.’

Then for the welfare for Gour Govinda Maharaja, the devotees took him to a kaviraja (ayurvedic doctor) whose name was Narayan Ramanuja Das. The kaviraja observed Gour Govinda Maharaja and said, “He is maturing his perfection, then he will be able to drop down to the madhyama-adhikari platform, he will mature this prema-bhkati.” The kaviraja said, “In four years he will either disappear, because he has matured his relationship with Krsna, or Krsna will let him stay and preach. It is up to Krsna. These are the symptoms before entering into prema-bhakti—perfection, and one cannot go back if he is too far gone.”

Then the devotees asked the kaviraja, “Srila Prabhupada was matured, he could play at madhyama-adhikari; but if one is not matured, how can he play it both ways?” the kaviraja said to them, “If he does not disappear, if Krsna does not take him, the he will become a rare personality, a great preacher—an acarya! Everyone will see.”

* With reference to the section where krsnadasa babaji appears, lagudi dasa said, “krsnadasa babaji was speaking in Bengali to Gour Govinda Maharaja and the sannyasi who was there also knew Bengali, and he translated it to us in English I remember this.”

Leave a Reply