Govardhan Puja 2015

Finishing Construction goes on - October 2015

Matha Vasi - Resident of the Monastery

Matha is a Sanskrit and Bengali word referring to monastery, temple, cloister, hermitage, school or college. The following essay speaking about the qualifications, activities and attitude of the residents of the Matha is translated from a Bengali article that first appeared in an issue Nadiya Prakasa, the daily devotional newspaper started by Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. As was common practice for the journals started by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupad, no name was given for the author of this article. Nor did the book we found it published in give a date of publication. However, it is clear that it was written some time after the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupad.

Sri Gaudiya Math; Bagh Bazar, Calcutta

Mathanti vasanti chatra yasmin iti mathah – the term “matha” implies a place where students reside under the subordination of an acarya. A general house is for sense enjoyment, but a matha is an institution for the service of The Supreme Lord Hari. A general house is a place where the mood of enjoyment is very prominent, where everyone is busy trying to establish their superiority, and where the residents are full of anxiety how to become lords of others. In contrast to that is a matha a place of non-duplicitous topics of service to the Lord where the principal of subordination is fully present and everyone is trying to be good.

For the service of the Supreme object of devotion Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupad the follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami, has established mathas or missions under the subordination of the personifications of devotion, the Gaudiya vaisnava followers of Sri Krsna Caitanyadeva, the inaugurator of the sankirtana movement. In the sense that a word referring to a container also designates that which is known to be contained, since the word matha indicates the abode of the Lord, and since the Lord is always surrounded by his devotees, matha therefore also refers to the pure devotees, the personifications of the Lord’s shelter, that reside there. Thus matha is a place where the Lord’s deity form is surrounded by many pure-hearted devotees who are always engaged in discharging loving service under the guidance and instruction of their spiritual master. It is a regular, permanent, assembly or mission of devotees where everyone is engaged wholeheartedly in the congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Lord Hari. Following the instructions of their spiritual master, the resident devotees engage twenty-four hours a day in preaching the Holy Name, and thus maintain perfect transcendental harmony, enjoying themselves along with others in loving devotional service to the deity of the Lord. Even in ancient times, Visnu temples were called mathas. Subservience is the very life of the matha. The principle of anugatya – subservience, fidelity, or obedience – is the backbone of devotional service and is another name for bhakti. The residents of the matha render non-duplicitous devotional service to the spiritual master twenty-four hours a day. Unless one’s anugatya is genuine, one cannot be addressed as a matha-vasi, a resident of the matha. The word “matha-vasi” can also be taken to mean “ante-vasi” one dwelling in the guru’s asrama or “siksarthi” one who is desirous of learning, or “sisya”, a student or disciple. The matha-vasi strives to understand the desire of his guru by rendering menial service unto his lotus feet. To fulfill the guru’s desire is the only duty of a matha-vasi.

One who is artificial or duplicitous in the service of the acarya is not eligible to live in the matha. Such artificial behavior leaves the religion of brahmacarya, sannyasa, vana-prastha, and grhastha unprotected. The extent that one is actually a matha-vasi can be determined by one’s pure love and devotion to the lotus feet of the acarya of the matha.

In spite of unbearable troubles, severe calamities, and immense humiliation, a real matha-vasi will never give up the service of his guru. He never feels discouraged to see the reluctance of the common masses of people of this universe to accept non-duplicitous devotional service. Rather, he remains steady in his own sadhana. Considering himself lower than the straw in the street and being more tolerant than a tree, in order to satisfy the transcendental senses of the absolute truth such a devotee always engages in the kirtana of Hari under the guidance of the asraya-vigraha.

Asraya-vigraha: The technical term asraya-vigraha, when used in Gaudiya Vaisnava literature, refers to a dear devotee of the Lord. This is because the quality of bhakti, love of God, has taken up residence (asraya) in the body (vigraha) of such a dear devotee.

He knows that life after life the dust of his guru’s lotus feet is his eternal position and his everything. He is not attached to anyone in this material world. “So much danger may come. Everyone in this world may selfishly declare their independence. Still I will not give up my vow of serving Sri Guru and Gauranga.” That kind of sincerity and determination will always be present in the heart of a real matha-vasi.

A matha-vasi should always consider himself as fully under the maintenance and protection of his guru. Considering himself lower than the straw in the street, his attitude is, “I am the property of my spiritual master.” He is always hankering for mercy and is more tolerant than a tree. He is forgiving. He has neither enemies nor friends in this material world. He sees everyone equally. He considers any kind of danger and distress to be the mercy of the Lord, and he remains undisturbed. Considering himself a wretched beggar, he is always praying for mercy. He is always free from desires for false prestige and position. Knowing that guru and Krsna reside in every living entity, he respects everyone accordingly. Carrying on his head the order of Sriman Mahaprabhu, he chants the Holy Name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street, being more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In this state of mind, he chants the Holy Name of the Lord constantly.

Matha-vasis never speak gossip or frivolous talks unrelated to Krsna. They always practice yukta-vairagya, engaging everything in the service of the Lord. They are loyal servants and are decorated with humility. They never consider themselves the lord of anyone, but rather see everyone as guru. They always recognize the sincere service attitude of those vaisnavas who are rendering non-duplicitous service at the lotus feet of Sri Guru as the hladini-krpa-vrtti, the mercy of the Lord’s internal potency. As such, the matha-vasi offers sincere respects to them while he himself, decorated with a mood of non-duplicitous humble servitorship, always remains eager to follow the ideal constant service attitude exhibited by his spiritual master. He never criticizes or talks about others. Since his heart is always strongly searching for the absolute truth, the faultfinding nature does not touch him. Concentrating his mind upon the Lord, he is always chanting the Holy Name of Krsna. He is determined to give up materialistic association and is always associating with and hankering for more association of devotees. He remains in anticipation of the mercy of the Lord.

Based on his internal realization, he has strong faith that there is no recourse other than getting the mercy of sadhu-guru. A beggar of mercy, he is always engaged in loving service with his body, mind and speech. He always offers respect to others with folded hands. The consideration, amara saman hina nahi e samsare — “no one in this world is more fallen than myself,” naturally arises in his heart. He never forgets the lotus feet of the Lord even for a fraction of moment. In happiness or distress, good fortune or danger, in all situations, he is always absorbed in devotional service. He considers everyone his guru. He never acts for himself. He is always engaged in the service of guru and Krsna. Sri Guru and Gauranga are the objects of his love, and he considers them his own. He is affectionate and clever, krsna krpa karibena drdha kari jane — “He has full faith that Krsna will shower his mercy.” He is always connected with His worshipable deity.

Describing Srila Raghunath Das Gosvami, Sivananda Sena said (Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 6.253):

ratri-dina kare tenho nama-sankirtana
ksana-matra nahi chade prabhura carana

“He chants the hare krsna maha-mantra all day and night. He never gives up the shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu even for a moment.”

There is a difference between the matha-vasi and the niskincana nirjana-vasi—those who have no material possessions and stay in a solitary place, or the vrksatala-vasi—those living under the shade of a tree. The matha-vasi follows certain rules and regulations under the guidance of a bona-fide acarya and thereby obtains the most auspicious thing. The niskincana nirjana-vasi does not act under anyone’s guidance.

Ekadasi 12 Hours Kirtan October 2015

Finishing the Temple Construction

Sri Krsna Janmastami 2015

Inside: Editorial - Srila Prabhupad * Saranagati - Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur * Amrta Vani - Srila Prabhupad * Opening of the New Temple - Srila BR Sridhar Maharaj * Matha Vasi - Resident of the Monastery * Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, Adi-khanda 2, (195-234) – Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur * Srimad Bhagavatam 11.27.48-53 (Uddhava gita) (with Commentaries by Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur) * From Sadhaka’s Notebook – Srila Bhakti Sadhak Muni Maharaj

Amrta Vani
Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

Why were the mathas established?

The mathas were not established to favor ordinary people but to help pure devotees advance in spiritual life. We serve Lord Gauranga simply by performing sri-krsna-sankirtana. The Bhagavatam verse, yajnaih sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah, supports this idea. The example set by Sri Krsna’s Gaura pastimes is the only auspicious way to perfection for the jivas. The mathas have not been established to please bhogis or tyagis (enjoyers or renunciates). They have been established to preach pure devotional service. We receive blessings as we serve Hari by establishing mathas. Our intention is not to collect one or two rupees to benefit the matha. We should not be eager to take help from unscrupulous people. Rather, if we can benefit anyone by speaking the bold truth, then the matha’s purpose is served. People will often play tricks on us. We should consider such tricks the Lord’s test. It is difficult to cross beyond insurmountable maya unless we are greatly fortunate. Mayavadis and bhogis are both conditioned souls. By the mercy of Krsna’s devotees, persons who surrender to Hari can discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong. Know for certain that being drawn by the enjoying spirit, many people cannot realize the Absolute Truth.

Is it our business to build a matha and live there?

It is more intelligent to create a living matha rather than to build a matha for comfortable living. Creating a living matha means to attract faithful persons to surrender at the lotus feet of the spiritual master. The highest welfare activity is to attract living entities to serve the spiritual master’s lotus feet by describing to them the spiritual master’s glories and service. For this we spend gallons of blood. Such preaching will please both guru and Krsna. Therefore to dedicate body, mind, and speech to such philanthropic activities is the perfection of life.

“Devotees who are fully dedicated to their spiritual master are the living source, and we are to hear from such living sources so that we too can become dedicated devotees. People devoid and bereft of service to the spiritual master
are dead even as they breathe.”

Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

A matha surcharged with talk of Krsna’s glories and service is non-different from Vaikuntha. Thus living in a matha is just like living in a dhama. Hari-katha must be prominent in the matha. There is no use in building a matha simply to facilitate eating and sleeping. Mathas should be built only to spread hari-katha. This will benefit ourselves and others. Devotees who are fully dedicated to their spiritual master are the living source, and we are to hear from such living sources so that we too can become dedicated devotees. People devoid and bereft of service to the spiritual master are dead even as they breathe. Do not associate with such non-devotees if you do not want to harm your spiritual progress.

Move of Sri Sri Gauranga Radha Govindaji Jagannathdeva

Inside: Editorial - Srila BR Sridhar Maharaj * Saranagati - Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur * Amrta Vani - Srila Prabhupad * Qualifications for Chanting the Name - Srila BR Sridhar Maharaj * Ahaituki Bhakti - Srila BV Puri Maharaj * Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, Adi-khanda 2, (169-178) – Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur * Srimad Bhagavatam 11.22.43-47 (Uddhava gita) (with Commentaries by Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur) * Face the Truth – Srila Bhakti Sadhak Muni Maharaj

The Royal Road
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaj

It is very easy to feel and understand, that we can’t serve Hari, Guru, Vaisnava. But “I’m serving, I have got,“ to say this that is most difficult. The nature of our acquirement is such. We are going to capture those that are higher in all respect than we and that also in infinite degree. Then how it is possible?

We must be conscious, we want to be connected with the superiors. The superiors whom it is impossible to control. Only the love, the affection – no right, no force – that is the plane of approach. And love and affection mean sacrifice. Sacrifice, self-sacrifice that is the royal road. Self-sacrifice. By sacrifice no undesirable things can enter. Sacrifice of selfish ideas – and it has got no end.

We must not be afraid of any dejection. From the beginning we are to promise, we are to sign a creed that we not require any result, any consequence. That is with Him, that is with Infinite. That is with Infinite! Only the part of duty – which may be insignificant – attached to my position, my concern is only with that. The rest is in His hand, we must not bother about that. Only we shall concentrate ourselves to that one point – what is my duty, to ascertain that and to accept that. The rest will come out of its own accord. I won’t go to bother about that. With this spirit we are to begin any endeavor. Gaura Haribol!

I’m going to take a bath in the ocean of sacrifice. Sacrifice – die to live. In Hegel’s very good expression – die to live. That is the process of living – to die. What we are at present, die. Die! Put your whole self as a weight for the sacrifice. The weight is your wholesale ego.

Die, and you don’t die. At the same time it will be clear that you want to die but you can’t die. Your inner acquaintance will come out that you don’t die. You don’t die, you are eternal. You will be able find out: “At every moment I try to do that thing at the cost of my death but death is not coming. Why? I’m trying to embrace death but death not come. What’s the matter?” Then: “I won’t die. I won’t die! I’m eternal!” Then the power and the courage became more and more, bigger and bigger.

Die to live, sacrifice, ahuti. Yajna, this word yajna means ahuti, put into fire. You put yourself into the fire. Your dearest thing put into the fire. Yajna means sacrifice.

yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah

“Selfless duty performed as an offering to the Supreme Lord is called yajna, or sacrifice. All action performed for any other purpose is the cause of bondage in this world of repeated birth and death.”

(Bhagavad-gita 3.9)
aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca

“I’m the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices.“

(Bhagavad-gita 9.24)

“I’m the master, the controller and enjoyer, the recipient of the sacrifice whenever it occurs. The recipient is Myself. The only beneficiary in the world is Myself.” Krsna says, “I’m the only beneficiary, no other. All transmitted, all transmitting agents, but the ultimate beneficiary is Myself. aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta ca prabhur eva ca, but that Myself, that I is friendly to you, not foe. suhrdam sarva-bhutanam (Bhagavad-gita 5.29) “I’m your best friend.”

That is proper adjustment which we hanker after. The Absolute Guardian, the Owner is my friend. He is my friend, we are to realize that and do accordingly with “Heart within, and God o’erhead!”

Gaura Haribol, Gaura Haribol !

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Sri Sri Radha Govinda Gaudiya Math