After the Disappearance of Sri Guru
Part One: The Greatest Sorrow
By Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja - 12.1 2017
Edited by Madhavananda Das
In Caitanya-caritāmṛta, madhya 8.248, it is mentioned how once Mahaprabhu asked Ray Ramananda, duḥkha-madhye kona duḥkha haya gurutara?— “Which sorrow is the most intense?” Ray Ramananda answered, kṛṣṇa-bhakta viraha-vinā duḥkha nāhi dekhi para — “Being separated from akṛṣṇa-bhakta, a dear devotee of Krishna, is the most grievous sorrow and unhappiness.” If someone becomes separated from a dear devotee of Krishna, he will experience acute pain. No other kind of sorrow can be compared to this. This is like kṛṣṇa-viraha-duhkha, the pain of separation from Krishna. This is what Uddhava is feeling after the Krishna sun has set, after Krishna has disappeared. Uddhava has been put into such painful grief, a most sorrowful condition. And similar to this is kṛṣṇa-bhakta-viraha, separation from a dear devotee of Krishna, who is always with Krishna. If someone is separated from such a dear devotee, that is like being separated from Krishna. There is no other sorrow like that.
Mahaprabhu said this when Haridas Thakur disappeared. Haridas Thakur, who is known asnāmācārya, was day and night, twenty-four hours, engaged in chanting the holy name. Not sleeping, not eating. That means he was always with Krishna. When he disappeared, Mahaprabhu cried piteously, because such a dear devotee, who was always with Krishna, has left. That is the most acute pain. Mahaprabhu cried and said:
kṛpā kari’ kṛṣṇa more diyāchilā saṅga
svatantra kṛṣṇera icchā, — kailā saṅga-bhaṅga
haridāsera icchā yabe ha-ila calite
āmāra śakati tāṅre nārila rākhite
icchā-mātre kailā nija-prāṇa niṣkrāmaṇa
pūrve yena śuniyāchi bhīṣmera maraṇa
Krishna was so merciful to Me that He gave Me the association of such an elevated devotee, paramahaṁsa, such a dear devotee of Krishna, who was always with Krishna. Getting His association, I felt that I was with Krishna. Now Haridas Thakur has disappeared. And the pain in My heart is most grievous.
The disappearance of such a dear devotee is very inauspicious. Therefore, Mahaprabhu cried. So one must cry because it is the most grievous pain, the most grievous distress one can feel. But us, foolish conditioned souls, we cannot cry for it. We have only developed attachment for this body and bodily relations. If we lose some of our near and dear ones, we cry and feel sorrow. “Oh, my dear friend died.” “My wife died.” “My father died.” “My mother died.” He feels sorrow and cries. Such a foolish person. But who is crying when a dear devotee disappears? Who cries for that? Only the vaiṣṇavas cry. They never cry for material separation — if they lose their materially near and dear ones.
If you want to cry, cry for Krishna. Krishna is our nearest and dearest one. Krishna is our object of love. Krishna is the sole life. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.9), jīvanaṁ sarva-bhūteṣu — “I am the life of all living entities.” And Mahaprabhu was crying, hā kṛṣṇa prāṇa mora — “Krishna is My life. Now My life has gone out. I cannot see Krishna, I cannot find Krishna.” He cried piteously when Haridas Thakur disappeared. “Krishna is so merciful. He gave Me the association of such a dear devotee who was always with Krishna. But now he disappeared, so I cannot feel the presence of Krishna who is My life. I am without life, I am without life.” That is how one should cry.
Krishna is svatantra. His will is supreme. Similarly, whatever a dear devotee of Krishna wants, Krishna grants. And Haridas Thakur wanted that, “I’ll leave this planet.” And Krishna granted that to him. Although Mahaprabhu is Krishna, He said, “Haridas Thakur is such a dear devotee of Krishna, I have no power to check him. “Don’t go, don’t go. Stay with us.” When such a dear devotee develops the desire that, “O Krishna, please take me. I don’t want to live here.” Krishna grants it, and he leaves this planet. Such was the case with Haridas Thakur. Mahaprabhu cried and picked up the transcendental body of Haridas Thakur. Chanting, “ hare kṛṣṇa”, while shedding tears, He danced. This is what Mahaprabhu has taught us.
Cry for the Sun
A dear devotee of Krishna, who is an ācārya, comes here to give us Krishna. kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra, tomāra śakati āche — “O vaiṣṇava Thakur! Krishna belongs to you because you have bound up Krishna in your heart with the rope of love. Only you can give me Krishna.” Ācāryas like my revered spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, come here to give us Krishna, to spread Krishna consciousness throughout the world. He did such good to us. When such an ācārya disappears, such a dear devotee of Krishna, we should cry because this is the most acute pain for us. When the ācārya leaves, a dark period comes. The sun sets and darkness comes. Here, Uddhava says that the Krishna sun has set, so darkness is prevailing. We are in darkness. What auspiciousness is there for us? Similarly, when such a dear devotee of Krishna, an ācārya, disappears, there is a dark period, a most inauspicious period. We are in such a most inauspicious dark period. Groping in the darkness. Now that such a dear devotee, ācārya, has gone. As the effulgent sun may be covered by a patch of black cloud, similarly such a dark period has come. After the disappearance of my revered spiritual master, a dear devotee of Krishna, Gaura, such a dark period has come. Definitely we are in a dark period. We are suffering and crying, groping in the darkness. What auspiciousness is there? So, we must cry for that effulgent sun to again rise. Let that patch of dark cloud disappear! We must cry for it.
We are spending the dark night in a motel. But we should not just sleep and snore. We should cry and cry, anxiously waiting for the rising of the effulgent sun. Let the darkness disappear and the effulgent sun rise, so that I can catch up the road to Purushottam Dham. I am just a traveler spending the dark night in this motel. This illusory material world is like a motel. The illusory energy of the Lord is like darkness, whereas Krishna is like the sun — kṛṣṇa sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakara. Those who are covered by this illusory energy are in darkness. We must cry for the effulgent sun to rise. Don’t forget this. This is such severe grief for us. We have to cry and then pray for the effulgent sun to rise. Then all happiness, auspiciousness, and enlightenment will come. Then we will catch up the road leading to Purushottam Dham, the abode of Lord Jagannath. I am just a traveler going there. Otherwise, where is there any auspiciousness for us if we are bereft of devotion, Krishna, and such a dear devotee?
— Excerpted from the booklet After the Disappearance of Sri Guru. Published by Gopal Jiu Publications. Bhubaneswar Orissa.