Composed under the editorship of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja
A recipient of the Lord’s unprecedented mercy
The śāstras state, “ante nārāyaṇa smṛtiḥ—in the end, one ought to remember Nārāyaṇa.” Thus, the fact that pūjyapāda Śrī Bhakti Prakāśa Araṇya Mahārāja, while manifesting his disappearance pastime, used his last breath to utter the verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.9) beginning tava-kathāmṛtam, which was spoken by the gopīs when they were overcome withseparation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, illustrates that he was the recipient of the unprecedented mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His associates.
A living mṛdaṅga
Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja, a divine personality infused with the potency of his most worshipful śrī gurupāda-padma, was one of the principal champions —a living mṛdaṅga, so to speak—in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s śrī caitanya-vāṇīsaṅkīrtana-yajña, the ceremonial and congregational propagation of ŚrīCaitanya’s divine message.
A preacher of pure devotion
Although he did not receive much in the way of formal education, he has become immortalized in the esteem of learned society, for until the last moment of his life, he helped revive the purest form of knowledge through his dauntless conviction in śrī kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, which gives life to its bride, spiritual enlightenment. Even highly educated and authoritative graduates, teachers and administrators were mesmerized by his unprecedented and specialized explanations of pure devotion, which is devoid of all pursuits of erudition and fruitive action. As a result of hearing his bhāgavata-kathā, many persons— whether rich, aristocratic, noble and highly intellectual or ordinary, destitute, and uneducated—attained the rare fortune of taking shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s most worshipful lotus feet. He was also a recipient of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s supreme grace for his tremendous assistance in collecting funds on behalf of Śrīla Prabhupāda for accentuating the magnificence of Śrīdhāma, the maintenance of maṭhas and temples, and facilitating the printing of many books and magazines.
A fearless and impartial speaker
His hari-kathā, which teemed with the terminology used by Śrīla Prabhupāda, stunned and delighted those who had taken shelter of pure devotion. He was a fearless and impartial speaker when it came to refuting non-devotional notions and establishing the conclusive truths of pure bhakti. Verily, he was a blazing, deadly sun to all darkness that attempted to obscure the true conception of śuddha-bhakti. Additionally, he astonished all by his unparalleled powers of memory, which he gloriously retained right up to his final moments.
His exemplary conduct
Originally, his home was in a village called Gaṅgārāmapura in the district of Yaśohara, West Bengal. He was a householder at the time he became attracted by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the founder of the Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha institution. In a short time, he renounced his householder life in an act of exemplary conduct that is echoed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’s description of Jaḍa Bharata:
yo dustyajān dāra-sutān
suhṛd rājyaṁ hṛdi-spṛśaḥ
jahau yuvaiva malavad
Although he was in his youth, he gave up all that is difficult to renounce—his wife, children, friends, kingdom and everything else dear to him—as if it were stool, for he longed to perform bhajana of Śrī Bhagavān, who is glorified by the choicest of hymns.
Our prayers to him
Pūjyapāda Mahārāja displayed genuine camaraderie and constant good willtoward not only Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples and grand-disciples, but also those who found Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings and conduct to be favorable.
Today, having lost such a bosom friend and an ideal Vaiṣṇava, we are all deeply afflicted. Our prayer is that while he is forever absorbed in the service of his eternally cherished śrī gurupāda-padma, he may bless us to attain the unique services for which we yearn.
Excerpts from articles published in
Śrī Caitanya-Vāṇī (Year 6, Volume 12)
1 Viśiṣṭe parama-puruṣe rāga, or a special attachment to the Supreme Person.
2 Vigata-rāga, or the absence of worldly attachment.
3 A grain-less, milk-based sweet dish.