The Full Moonrise After the Setting of the Sun
Published on October 12th, 2009 | by Harmonist staff2
With the setting of the sun of the manifest pastimes of our beloved preceptor, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world became dark. He had, with the intensity of the sun’s direct rays, illuminated the entire world with the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: Krishna As He Is, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. With his disappearance, the reality of the Personality of Godhead remained, yet for a few, in the shadows of the night, the reflected light of the moon-like discourse of Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja focused on another reality—sweet Krishna, lover of the gopis, Krishna As He Feels.
Certainly Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had this sweet Krishna in mind when he named his Deities “Radha London Isvara,” “Radha Paris Isvara,” and so on. He wanted that the people of the world would know that Krishna was the adi deva, the original, all-powerful God, as well as the playful (deva) lover of Radha. As London Isvara, Krishna was to be understood first as the Lord of London (aisvarya), and eventually as the Britts own Krishna (mamata/madhurya). That our Prabhupada wanted the people of the world to think of Krishna as theirs, the ultimate reality of Vraja as seen through the eyes of Radha, was to a large extent the emphasis of Sridhara Maharaja, the moon of reflective light. Thus he taught us to reflect deeply upon the light of Srila Prabhupada’s teaching.
Hidden in the selfless garb of disinterested nature, he shared his inner passion for the highest ideal with others only with considerable coaxing. As “Sri dhara,” he bore the love of Sri (Radha) within, and as “Bhakti Raksaka,” he kept that love hidden from those who were unfamiliar with love’s ways, guhyam akhyati prcchati. Only to those whom the saints reveal their hearts to is the secret truth of paro dharma known: dharmasya tattva nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Our beloved Sridhara Mahahaja is such a mahajana, a mahatma.
Mahatmanas. . .bhajanty ananya-manaso . . . and bhuda bhava-samanvitah. Those who are great souls worship Krishna without deviation, and moreover, with the knowledge (budha) that leads to feeling (bhava). This bhava is raga-samanvitah. Our Sridhara Maharaja served Sri Sri Radha Krishna with such feeling, the feeling that develops after knowing definitively that Krishna is the source of everything, in whom the fullest potential for loving reciprocation lies. Bhagavan svayam is akhila rasamrta murti. It is this loving Krishna, his potency, that comes to us as sri guru. There is no more dear friend than him/her, the servant-friend of Radha.
Oh, for the day when that inner wealth will be mine, to realize the import of the appearance of sri guru in my life. It is said in kavya (poetry) that if one sees a humming bird fly into the lotus, one will become wealthy. Such is our riches–yugal milan, to see to the union of the Divine Couple, as taught by sri rupanuga guru varga, and thereby reap the inner wealth of Sri Radha’s love for Krishna.
Who could speak of these things were it not for His Divine Grace. With towering stance and eyes of love, blind only to the faults of others, our Sridhara Maharaja lived in the reality of the poetry of the absolute, in the mythic reality of Vraja.
In poetry, one can do anything. Such is Vraja, where water turns to land and land into water at the sound of Krishna’s flute, tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo. This Vraja is not a fixed place, rather one that moves following the cowherd’s need for pasturing ground. And so our Sridhara Maharaja moved, never static, always dynamic, a great harmonizer of contradictions, a resident of that land of love.
In love all contradictions are resolved. In love one sees the faults of the object of one’s love as virtues. Such is the spirit of Vraja, and our Sridhara Mahahaja exemplified the implication of the appellation “Vraja,”—that land in which “all things are completely appropriate.” Sri Vraja dhama—the heart of religion—is, in the language of Saraswati Thakura, “proper adjustment,” that which Srila Sridhara Maharaja personified. May he graciously grant us residence therein, in the friendly service of the Sweet Absolute.
It is fitting Swami that you have poetically described the appearance of Srila Sridhar Maharaja in your life in poetic language, as his speaking–which was also recorded in his many books–is so extremely, and wonderfully poetic. You have described him as the reflected moon light of Prabhupada according to his own mode of humility (backward pushing), yet he is also a similar “sun” to Prabhupada (diksha and shiksha gurus being equal spiritually), though he had a different flavor. As you well know some devotees are not able to appreciate the shiksha of Sridhar Maharaja or why you or others have a need for anyone other then our Prabhupada. If only they could sympathetically hear your heart’s song about what you were going through after Prabhupada departed the world, and how you found the taste of the “fruit” coming from him of the same quality as from Prabhupada. This experience gave you the understanding that they were both taking (and tasting) from the same absolute tree of Shri Chaitanya and Vrindavana Krishna. Perhaps at some point you may tell that whole story for the benefit of the larger body of devotees, and to glorify Shridhar M., Prabhupada and their affectionate relationship. Unity in diversity, one and difference, are active in every sphere of our lives, not only in the scriptures!
Thank you for sharing such a personal reflection on Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja. I feel fortunate to know someone who knew him, who can help us see his heart.
While reading, I came across verses and Sanskrit terms that I did not understand. I thought maybe some other visitors might be unfamiliar with them too, so I have put the translations I found here.
Mahabharata (Vana-parva 313.117):
tarko pratisthah srutayo vibhinna
nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
“Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are vaiegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person. Consequently, as the sastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahajanas advocate.”
Bhakti Raksaka means Guardian of Devotion.
I think that raga-samanvitha means being full of spontaneous love.
akhila rasamrta murti means the embodiment of all rasas.
sri rupanuga guru varga refers to the sampradaya.
This line from SB 1.1.1 is standardly translated as: tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo: the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. I found a much more poetic interpretation from the commentary by Sri Jiva Goswami: “Land (mrt) turns into water and flows, while water (vari) takes on the character of land and becomes stunned upon hearing the flute of Sri Krsna, which He plays only to attract Sri Radha, whose effulgence (tejah) dims the light of the stars and moon, tejo vari mrdam yatha vinimayo. “