A letter to HH Mahavisnu Gosvami

BY JANANANDANA GOSVAMI

Dear Devotees

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Mahavishnu GosvamiMany have heard by now that His Holiness Mahavisnu Gosvami peacefully passed away on Monday the 25th January on the auspicious day of Madhvacarya Tirobhava at around 3.00 pm Indian time. In the month of Magh when the auspicious movements of the sun have begun the day after Bhisma’s departure he left. He was surrounded by devotees at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai His eyes opened and  with perfect clarity he gazed at those around him as he mouthed the holy names with the last breathe. Till the last day he was preaching Srimad Bhagavatam and was totally unattached to the bodily condition. At 91 years of age he has taught us the most important lesson in life – how to prepare for the inevitable time of death. For 30 or 40 years hardly a moment has passed for maharaja without Bhagavat katha. He lived breathed, rested, ate travelled, ane everything else for the sole purpose of propagating the Srimad Bhagavatam.

His Samadhi will be on Wednesday the 27th January in the holy city of Nasik.

Mahavishnu GosvamiThe following are comments by HH Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura upon the departure of his gurus, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Gaura Kishor das Babaji.

“Today is one of great happiness and not the slightest grief.  Today our master has re-entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord.   Now it is our duty to remember his eternal position , name, qualities, form and pastimes.

Henceforth we will follow in his footsteps even more concentratedly.”

Upon Babaji Maharja’s disappearance, Sri Siddhanta Saraswati stated:

“Now who will chastise me, to make me understand the truth as it is?” To whom will I show my articles and books? who will take pleasure in hearing about the preaching work and the increasing splendour of the dhama and our service to it?”

Dear Maha Visnu Maharaja

Mahavishnu GosvamiPlease accept my humble obeisances and ecstatic embraces. All glories to Srila Prabhupada who brought us together and has now separated us at least for a while. But not really. I cannot but remember many wonderful times together laughing and laughing. You were just like my favourite uncle. I love your sense of humour. Right from the first time I saw you, maybe back in 1974, I was naturally attracted to you.  You used to roll up to Bhaktivedanta Manor in that little old car – what was it? After your work you would come. I remember you sitting in  Prabhupada’s room quietly studying his books – practically unseen by the “busy” devotees who had “things to do”. At that time you hesitated to heed Prabhupada’s call to join him and preach.

Mahavishnu GosvamiBut it wasn’t long after that the call came – I was fortunate to be in Soho St. Temple when you made the move to give up you job and family life and join the temple – You were already old by our calculations– around 60. What could you do?  Study and chant and pass your days away preparing for death. You could have done that but that was not your purpose. One day the devotee meant to give the class couldn’t give it and someone suggested you give. Wow – a bomb had dropped,  as you unleashed oceans of transcendental nectar . That was it. Everyone knew you were alive or a very live wire. When the GBC and local Guru changed you like many were put on the line. Follow me or move along was the ultimatum. You wisely chose the second. Packing your bags with nowhere to go you stood at the homeless office in London asking for shelter. “No way” they said but in your unrelenting, yet sweet, determined mood you did not budge and when the office closed you were still there – not going anywhere. They relented and found a place for you to stay or should I say Krishna arranged it. That was a blessing in disguise. For the coming years you buried yourself in the study of the Bhagavatam.

Mahavishnu GosvamiAfter a few years a change again in the leadership saw you back on the battlefield – “armed with yoga stand and fight”. A living, talking Bhagavat. Never a moment passed by without a verse from the spotless Purana. Sannyasa came naturally, as did devotees inspired by your jolly, pure, uncompromising, witty, knowledgeable and deep preaching. No one inspired me like you to study Bhagavatam and whenever I was fortunate to meet you Bhagavatam became the priority. Have you left that one volume Bhagavatam behind or have you taken it with you to the spiritual world? It was your constant companion. Is it going into Samadhi with you or will it be enshrined before us.

Mahavishnu GosvamiFearless, yet humble, depending always on Krsna you travelled as much as your health would allow.  Many approached you for initiation and guidance. You gave shelter to all devotees. Your simple, loving dealings always inspired me. Spending time with you on several trips to Dvaraka was a highlight. To sit, reading Srimad Bhagavatam and discussing in that simple little ashram you had there. And the farm and how you were embarrassed when I went there on the back of that motorbike to find not much development but it was great. Taking breakfast prasadam together – as that was your only meal. How I wish I could have spent more time with you but such is the nature of fate in this world that we have our own paths to tread. Sometimes our paths would cross but not nearly enough. I never did get to your project in Rajkot but I hope I will one day

The last time I had the pleasant surprise of a short union was last February in Nasik –my one and only visit there. You came over despite ill health to see us – Immediately you started quoting the Bhagavatam and teaching all those around you verses from the Bhagavatam. You had not changed,  just become even more sweet and attractive, Laughing, smiling, puffing for breathe. A walking encyclopaedia of Bhagavatam. You so much wanted that everywhere the holy name and Bhagavatam would be recited constantly. You knew this was the only remedy for the souls’ anomalies.

In the Bhagavatam it states that for most people old age brings misery and fear, but for a devotee it brings happiness and fearlessness. I see you as a living example of this.

I will sorely miss you as will the whole world and especially your disciples. My heart goes out to them and I pray you will empower them more and more to carry on the divine legacy of Bhagavata katha and preaching its message.

Thank you for your most loving association and I pray that I will be able to get much more of it in the future.

“The world is now bereft of a most valuable gem”

“He reasons ill who tell that vaisnavas die whilst thou art living still in sound

A Vaisnava dies to live and living tries to spread the holy names around.” (Srila Bhaktivnode Thakura)

Your eternal friend and servant

Janananda Gosvami