Unforgettable gems

BY SRIDEVI SRINIWASS

uttama_caitanya_dasa-_argeKLANG, MALAYSIA – Like everyone else, I was shocked and deeply saddended to hear about His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Bramachari’s sudden passing. But I know that it is Krsna’s divine arrangement. Although I have known UCD for only three and a half years, my association with him albeit briefly has inspired me in my spiritual journey, my love for God strengthened. His words have indeed left an indelible mark in my life. I have had the wonderful honor of listening to UCD’s scholarly lectures.

I would like to pay tribute to UCD by sharing with you the gist of UCD’s lectures delivered in Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Radha Govinda Madir, ISKCON Klang when he participated in three Vedic festivals.

23 December 2007

His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s murthi installation ceremony

I particularly remember with great fondness a lecture he gave us during Srila Prabhupada’s murthi installation in our temple. It was entitled “How can we realize HDG Srila Prabhupada in this world?” He sang the glories of Srila Prabhupada and said that Srila Prabhupada is present whenever his devotees follow his scriptural instructions with unity, and lovingly co-operate with each other. He stressed that the most favoured activity of a preaching movement like ours is the book distribution. He echoed Srila Prabhupada’s words: “Books are the basis, preaching is the essence.” He also cautioned us that should any harm befall ISKCON, it will be like harming Srila Prabhupada. He also reminded us to wake up from the slumber on Maya’s lap.

He took pains to make us understand and emphasize with the extreme hardships Srila Prabhupada underwent to start the Back to Godhead magazine and to build the spiritual organization of ISKCON. He told us that although each avatar had special qualities, eg. Ram to protect dharma, Krsna has extra special qualities that surpass those of Vishnu’s: sweetness of flute (veenur mathura), sweetness of form (rupam mathuram), sweetness of love, (priti mathuram) and sweetness of pastimes (leela mathuram). He also reminded us that we can’t get Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy directly; it has to be through Srila Prabhupada. He also told us how Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in the 1800s compiled all the books of the acharyas, found the place where Mahaprabhu was born, established a small printing press and gave his son, Vimal Prasad who was to become Srila Bhaktisidantha Saraswati Goswami Maharaj ( Srila Prabhupada’s Spiritual Master in the disciplic chain of great saints and sages).

He also told us what Srila Prabhupada used to say: “I only have one qualification. I have full faith in the words of my Spiritual Master.” His parting words at that lecture were “We are eternally indebted to Srila Prabhupada. We must first pay obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and remove obstacles in our spiritual practices.”

23 March 2008

Gaura Purnima Celebrations

In this lecture UCD started off by saying that Srila Prabhupada attained victory by always serving his Spiritual Master. He asked us to reflect on what the difference was between Hare Krsna and religion. He urged that religion can change but spirituality was for all. He also reminded us that no matter how many births we take, our relationship with Krsna can never change, Astivaram. He vividly described Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as being a very attractive personality with a small waist, broad shoulders and hands reaching up to the knees like a lion – Simhachaitanya. UCD also urged us to serve Krsna as those who surrender will get Krsna prem.

15 March 2009

Gaura Purnima celebrations

UCD began the lecture by informing us that it was a smaran (rememberance) festival. 523 years had passed so it was Gaurabda 523. He told us that Krsna appeared once and Mahaprabhu also appeared once. Mahaprabhu’s expansion appears in every Kali Yuga. The complete potency of Mahaprabhu, Purna Avatar of Mahaprabhu, appeared in this Kali Yuga.  Mahaprabhu will bestow Krsna prem in the mood of Vrindavan, Maha bhava, the highest level of love one can obtain for Krsna or the supreme object of our love. He told us that in Kali Yuga, Krsna appeared in a non blackish form and will spread his holy name. He explained that the first expansion of Krsna is Balaram who descended as Nityananda to serve Mahaprabhu. He illustrated the other expansions: the personality who serves Mahaprabhu is Advaita, an expansion of Sada Shiva, Srivas Thakur is an expansionn of Narada Muni and Gadadara is an expansion of the sakthi of Srimati Radharani. The point he wanted to make was the reasoning behind the worship of Mahaprabhu and what the difference was in being a Vaishnava without worshipping Mahaprabhu. The mood of love for Radha and Krsna is best exemplified by the Gopis of Vrindavan. Therefore, only followers of Mahaprabhu obtain love for Krsna and Radha in the mood of Vrindavan. This knowledge is absent in other sampradayas. Sadhu gurus are representatives who can awards us Krsna Prem in the mood of Vrindavan. Vrindavan Krsna has special traits – flute, peacock feather, buffalo horn, bugle – not found in Krsna of Dwaraka. He told us of the plea and cry of Bhaktivinoda Thakur that only one who has got pure love for Krsna can give Krsna Prem.

UCD also asked very philosophically: Is Mahaprabu a God, or a devotee or a combination of both? How shall we perceive him and worship him?” The answer is that Mahaprabhu must be worshiped as God equal to Krsna. He said that Mahaprabhu was God himself who came in the form of a devotee; it was ‘Krsna looking for a Krsna in the mood of Radharani’. He told us not to disturb the mood of Mahaprabhu. Only the mission of Mahaprabhu can save humanity. He ended the lecture by urging us to chant the holy name of Krsna and worship Gaura Nitai deities with kirtan and that arati alone was not enough. He also told us to sing the song Parama Koruna and know its significance. He enlightened us with all these gems.

I will surely miss UCD very deeply. The Vedic knowledge he presented in such a graceful and lucid style captured the audience comprising devotees and those new to Krsna Consciousness. This kind of truth revealed by a sadhu practitioner of Krsna Consciousness is essential so newcomers can understand and be convinced what the Pancatatva worship is all about, especially for those who’ve been exposed to Laxmi-Narayan worship devoid of Pancatatva. Surely the transition to Krsna Consciousness is smoother.

On a personal note he inspired me to chant nice rounds and complete the sixteen rounds everyday. He strongly said that I must always hear when I chant as I am the audience of my own chanting. This would also prevent the mind from wandering. He emphasized that the chanting was for none other than for the self to hear and be purified. These words of encouragement I will never forget. Like many others whose lives he touched, I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for contributing to my spiritual advancement. I will always honor UCD. He will always have a special place in my heart.

May Lord Sri Krsna, Srimati Radha Rani and their Lordships and HDG Srila Prabhupada always shelter His Grace Uttama Caitanya Dasa Bramachari and keep him in their nectarine pastimes in the beautiful fragrant eternal abode of Goloka Vrindavan. I am very sure one as pure as he is in the soft embrace and blessings of Krsna. I also thank His Divine grace Srila Prabhupada for sending his dear devotee to teach us about everlasting spiritual happiness. May we also seek the shelter of the lotus feet of UCD for spiritual blessings.