by Sripad Madhava Maharaja
om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakayaA dark age came to the Gaudiya Matha after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This is common occurrence. When an influential acarya disappears from this world, those followers who are not qualified are bound to quarrel with each other. It happened in this case also, and therefore, being harassed by others, many qualified disciples of Srila Prabhupada could not stay at his Matha. Under the guidance of our param-gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, many disciples of Srila Prabhupada left the Caitanya Matha. Among them were: Narahari prabhu, whom Prabhupada addressed as 'the mother of the Gaudiya Matha,' Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, and Pujyapada Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja.
caksur-unmilitam yena tasmai sri-guruve namah vancha-kalpatarubyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah
The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was thus established by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja in 1941. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja joined in 1946, and he received first and second initiation from param-gurudeva on Gaura Purnima in 1947.
When Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja joined, his Gurudeva engaged him in the service of prapujya-carana Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja. In Chinchurah our Matha is situated very near the Ganges. When Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja would go to the Ganges to take bath, Srila Narayana Maharaja would go with him, carrying his fresh, dry cloth. Then, after Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja's bath was completed, Srila Narayana Maharaja would give him his fresh cloth, wash his worn cloth, and carry it back to the Matha.
This relationship is similar to what we have heard about ancient times, when Narada Rsi was a small boy serving the four Kumaras. Narada Rsi would go with them when they took bath in the river, carrying their dry cloth, and then after their bath he would wash their worn cloth and carry them back to the Kumaras' ashram. Also, we have seen that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in South India, He resided at the home of Venkata Bhatta, Tirumalaya Bhatta, and Prabodhananda Sarasvati. Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, the son of Venkata Bhatta, was at that time only a small boy. He used to carry Mahaprabhu's dry cloth and, washing His worn cloth, he would carry it back for Him. Similarly, Srila Narayana Maharaja used to do the same thing for Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja everyday.
When Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja joined the Matha, he brought with him one lota from his purvasrama, the village in which he previously lived. One day, when prapujya-carana Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja and Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja went to take bath in the Ganges, a high-tide came suddenly and took Srila Narayana Maharaja's lota. Why did she take it? The Ganges is very dear to Sri Krsna, and she therefore thought, "He has come to do bhajana under the guidance of his Gurudeva. Why should he keep any attachment from his previous village?" She thus mercifully took the lota away.
When we went to meet with Prapujya-carana Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja in Jagannatha Puri and another time in Mayupura, Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja asked Srila Maharaja, "Do you remember your lota? Once when you went to take bath with me, your lota was taken away by Ganges." Srila Maharaja began to smile and said, "Yes, yes." And he shared so many remembrances of how he used to serve him.
Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja then told him, "I am very happy. From the beginning I have seen your service mood and how surrendered you are to your Gurudeva. Whenever you write a book, please present it to me."
From that time on, whenever Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja would publish any book, either in Hindi or English, he would always present it to Srila Puri Maharaja. Srila Maharaja would sometimes take it to him himself, and sometimes he would send it with other devotees.
When Srila Narayana Maharaja began preaching in the Western countries, Pujyapada Puri Gosvami Maharaja would send letters to him, and Srila Narayana Maharaja kept correspondence with him. Srila Narayana Maharaja also kept correspondence with Prapujya-carana Bhakti Kumud Santa Gosvami Maharaja, with my Guru Maharaja, that is, Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, and also with Parama pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. Srila Maharaja would write to them and they in turn used to reply to him. Especially, Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Gosvami Maharaja are Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's guru-varga, and they would always send him blessings saying, "Your Gurudeva will give you more and more blessings, and Srila Prabhupada will bless you that you can preach without any impediment in the Western countries."
Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja said in one of his classes, "Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja is a pure devotee. Wherever my disciples or other devotees are in Western countries, if they want to advance in Krsna consciousness, they must listen to Srila Narayana Maharaja's classes." He also ordered many of his disciples to hear from him.
Nowadays Srila Narayana Maharaja is preaching very strongly all over the world by the causeless mercy of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja, and especially by the mercy of Srila Narayana Maharaja's own guru, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He also has the special mercy of my guru Maharaja, and also Prapujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. Also, it is by the mercy of the guru-parampara, and especially by the causeless mercy of his siksa-guru, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, that he is preaching so strongly throughout the world.
Before Pujyapada Puri Maharaja left this world, he would always bless Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja by his letters and through other Vaisnavas. Unless one receives the mercy of his guru-varga he cannot preach. When his guru-varga is happy, then Mahaprabhu is also bound to be happy, and then they will bestow all of their mercy enabling one to preach and advance in Krsna consciousness. Sripad Madhava priya prabhu will also say some words in this regard.
[Sripad Madhavpriya brahmacari is a diksa disciple of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja and is presently serving in Srila Narayana Maharaja's Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha:] I have been associating for some time with Srila Narayana Maharaja. When I had first asked my Guru Maharaja if I may take the association of Srila Narayana Maharaja he said, "Yes. Why not? You can go to each and every Gaudiya Matha. Wherever you like, you can associate with higher Vaisnavas in our guru-parampara, in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. And what to say about Sri Narayana Maharaja; he is a pure Vaisnava and sincere guru and Vaisnava sevaka.
My Guru Maharaja stressed on the point that the important thing is to be in association with some high-class devotee. He used to say that if we are not in such association, we cannot advance. Therefore, wherever we can get that association, wherever we are getting good instruction, we should go that place, wherever it is. My Gurudeva was very clear on this point. I have also heard this from him so many times.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Whenever I would go with Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja to Jagannatha Puri and Mayapura to see Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja, he would always put much emphasis on sadhu-sanga. He would say, "Wherever you can get good association, please go there and take advantage of sadhu-sanga."