Ananda Sambada

Some Iskcon Sadhus

On this page, I’d like to offer my respects to those godbrothers of my most worshippable Gurudeva, Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami, who, during his presence in this world, were his good friends and supporters. (We will be adding more devotees along with more photos and details.) 

H.H. Partha Sarathi Goswami

Chatsworth, Durban Temple 1994

Chatsworth, Durban Temple, 1994

Sripad Partha Sarathi Goswami wrote, in the Ananda Sambada newsletter –

"In January 1995 Gour Govinda Maharaja came to South Africa, and I really wanted to speak with him, wanted his association. So I went into his room in Durban – I started asking the Maharaja about the different levels of bhakti, and he gave a nice example that will always stay in my mind; that bhakti is like an ocean and those persons who are deep will dive deep to get the jewels at the bottom of that ocean, whereas those persons who are not so deep, more shallow, will play around in the shallow parts of the ocean. Then he started quoting verses from the Goswami’s books, especially from Raghunnath dasa Goswami’s vilapa kusumanjali – verses that I knew, that I’d read. When he started quoting those verses I was very impressed. I specifically recall him quoting text 72

ha modatah kanaka-gauri padaravinda-
samvahanani sanakais tava kim karisye

I felt, here’s a person who’s very deep, who has something very valid in Krsna consciousness; something that I don’t have, but that I want. I was very impressed – I was looking for that kind of association.

Afterwards I felt that I should try to get more of his association, but that was his last day in Durban. So I went to the airport with him. He carried on talking about uttama-bhakti, quoting Rupa Goswami and Raghunnath dasa Goswami, especially more from Vilapa kusumanjali (I don’t know why that book in particular, it is a very esoterical sastra.) In the airport, Maharaja was aloof. It was like he was in a different world – he was, in the spiritual world. I guessed he was internally meditating on Krsna. Then he left, flew off on his whirlwind tour of Africa, something which I could never do, and I am 20 years younger.

What really impresses me so much, I have faith he was on an advanced stage – I believe he was on at least the stage of bhava-bhakti, quite possibly beyond that, and yet he remained faithfully preaching within the Iskcon institution and serving Srila Prabhupada’s instruction; which I believe is the best and most admirable example."

H.H. Subhaga Maharaja

H.H. Bhakti Swarupa Damodara Maharaja

My association with Gour Govinda Maharaja was primarily in 1977 when I was with Srila Prabhupada in Bhubaneswar for laying the foundation stone of the temple. I saw Maharaja staying in the hut, which is still there. He was serving Srila Prabhupada by doing translation work. He was humility personified. I always liked him, but our responsibilities were in different fields. So we didn’t get to often meet. But in the GBC meetings we always sat together. I invited him to Manipur in 1981 when we opened a small temple and installed the deities there. We arranged for his ticket a one hour flight from Calcutta. I was told it was the first airplane journey in his life. We organized a Krishna conscious debate competition between students and I requested Maharaja to be a judge. The subject was how Krishna consciousness is the only solution to the many problems of this world. He was very happy to be a judge.

We had a very informal relationship. When I was the GBC in France he came there a number of times. He liked South France, with its climate, landscape, architecture, geography, and the mountains on the Spanish border, it is very attractive. We had a small preaching project there - a quiet place, far away from the cities - situated in the forest, by a small lake. One evening, we had dinner together and I asked Maharaja, “It seems like you have some difficulty with your body. You cannot walk freely. Doesn’t this journey give you some problem?”

He replied, “So long as I can preach; I can speak on Srimad Bhagavatam, it gives me unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness.”

I told him that he had been given some special blessings by Srila Prabhupada. I admire your courage and your determination in order to carry out Prabhupada’s order in order to please him. Our exchanges were very informal. When we joined at the festival for Srila Prabhupada’s centennial in 1996. The year that Maharaja passed away, he did a very good festival in Bhubaneswar. I didn’t go to the festival, but we were informed that Maharaja was speaking like a lion at the pandal.

He came to the GBC meeting late. The very day that he passed away, I came from the top floor downstairs and we met halfway. I said, “Maharaja how are you doing? I heard you had a wonderful festival in Bhubaneswar.” He was laughing joyfully and looked very healthy. He was going up the steps to the GBC room. We had a friendly chat and I went downstairs for a meeting. He had a separate subcommittee meeting so we didn’t sit together that day in the GBC.

Later after the meetings were over, I was in Nabadwipa. Some of Maharaja’s disciples had brought his car up to Mayapur. They parked it at my place in Nabadwipa. The driver of the car came to me that evening and told me, “Our Guru Maharaja seems to be having some heart problem; I want to take the car. However, he had lost the keys to the car. He was running here and there looking for the keys and was in a very depressed sorrowful mood. He said that Gour Govinda Maharaja was sitting unmoving in his bed and may leave his body. Finally the keys were found and I came with him to Mayapur in a hurry to see Maharaja. When we arrived we found that he had left his body and was in the room surrounded by many devotees. That moment was very painful. We didn’t expect that Maharaja would depart so soon.

One can say many things about Maharaja. He was a greatly advanced soul. One of the most qualities that I remember of Maharaja was his humility and his great attachment and determination to execute the orders Srila Prabhupada gave him. Following Prabhupada’s instruction he was continuously translating his books from English into Oriya. Because of his work, most of Prabhupada’s books are available in Oriya. These books are a very big source of inspiration for the Oriya devotees. When I’m traveling around the world today it’s very wonderful to find so many devotees reading the books, beautiful printed magazines, and email magazines that the devotees at Gopal Jiu Publications have been producing based on Maharaja’s lectures. These are an important source of inspiration for many, even for those who never met Maharaja. Just by reading these books they get inspired. Maharaja’s disciples who are carrying out his desire to make these lectures available are giving a very important contribution to our Krishna consciousness movement.

We are very happy that our Guru Maharaja Srila Prabhupada produced wonderful great souls like Gour Govinda Maharaja. All of us have to leave this world one by one. In the last few years we have lost many of our godbrothers. Try to see that life in this material world is very temporary. Maharaja was saying that we have to cry for Krishna. If, in this lifetime, we can develop this culture of crying for Krishna and the blessings of guru. If we develop this culture and culture of humility and one-hundred percent dependence on the blessings of the spiritual master and the supreme lord and the vaishnavas and vaishnavis we can make the best of this temporary human form of life. That way someday by the blessings of guru and Krishna we can go back to Godheard.

Maharaja left on the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. We are certain that Gour Govinda Maharaja got all of the blessings of our Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada and Krishna. Gopal was very dear to Gour Govinda Maharaja.

Spoken at Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja’s disappearance festival, Mayapur 2006

H.G. Bhurijan das Prabhu

H.H. Krishnadas Swami

At South London Temple, 1994

Sripad Krishna das Swami Maharaja was very appreciative of our Gurudeva, having met with him several times at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Soho Street and the South London Temple in the 1990s. During one of his classes in Iskcon Durban in 2005 he commented how three personalities have greatly affected the course of modern Krsna consciousness; Srila Prabhupada, Srila Gour Govinda Swami and Sri Hari Nama. 

(we will add more soon...)

H.H. Radha Govinda Swami

H.H. Radha Govinda Maharaja revealed that , "Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja is the pride of Iskcon. We are blessed by the association of Srila Gour Govinda Swami." 

Sripad Radha Govinda Maharaja was present when Srila Gurudeva first arrived at Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet in Vrndavan in 1975. The respected Maharaja commented, "Very intimately he was talking, and Prabhupada was relishing his association. Just in their first meeting."

"In his heart there was natural devotional service, natural devotion to Jagannath. If we remember Gour Govinda Maharaja, and if we remember his attachment for Krsna katha, surely our heart will be purified... we will be able to understand Lord Krsna and Srimati Radharani."

H.H. Sivarama Swami

At Bhaktivedanta Manor 1991

At Budapest Ratha Yatra 1995