All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

The Nectar in the Life of the Surrendered Soul 

 A Vyasa Puja Offering On 

                 The 114th Anniversary Festival of
            the Appearance of

Om Visnupad Paramahamsa Churamani Sri Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Content by Jagamohini Devi Dasi
Web-page by Vidya Sundar Das


                      devam divya-tanum suchanda-vadanam-balarka-chelanchitam
                      sandrananda-puram sad-eka-varanam vairagya-vidyambudhim
                      sri-siddhanta-nidhim subhakti-lasitam sarasvatanam varam
                      vande tam subhadam mad-eka-saranam nyasisvaram sridharam
~by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

                          “I fall at the feet of Srila Sridhar-Deva,
                          who with charming expression sings his songs of sweet nectar.
                          Dressed with fine garments like sun newly-risen,
                          he’s the true saint the devotees have chosen.
                          His detachment and knowledge are just like an ocean,
                          the treasure-house of complete, perfect conclusion.
                          Radiant in Pastimes of loving devotion,
                          the abode of pure ecstasy, bestower of good fortune;
                          foremost true follower of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta,
                          foremost great general of the whole renounced order,
                         my lord and my master, my only shelter,
                         I worship his feet, Srila Sridhar-Deva.”


Divine and Luminous Qualities03SGMsm

In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta it is said:                                                     

         sarva maha-guna-gana vaisnava-sarire                                   
         krsna-bhakte krsnera guna sakali sancare

                                      ~Cc. Madhya-lila 22.75

 “A Vaisnava is one who has developed all good transcendental qualities. All the good qualities of Krishna gradually develop in Krishna’s devotee.”

 One who is fully devoted and who has surrendered from the innermost corner of his heart to the transcendental loving service of the Lord develops many divine and luminous qualities. In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila 22. 78-80, in His talks with Srila Sanatana Goswami, Sriman Mahaprabhu describes twenty-six qualities of the pure devotee.

 One of those qualities is that a devotee is kavi or poetic. The principles of pure devotion are carried by our Gaudiya Sampradaya Acharyyas through a steady, exclusive and crystal clear flow of instruction and guidance. Our Spiritual Masters are drawing the sweetest nectar from above—from the highest plane--and delivering it to us—the conditioned souls—in the most sweet and heart-capturing manner.

Through the Heart of the Vaisnava

The Vaisnava is the true poet. It is through the heart of the Vaisnava that the Lord gives expression. We have heard many instances in which the genuine devotees have questioned their own writings and words. Srila Rupa Goswami wondered: how is it possible that I have written such extraordinary things? It is not possible. It is as if some divine force is driving my hand and forcing me to write these things.

 His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj has similarly commented about his compositions. When speaking of his introduction to the Bengali edition of Chaitanya Bhagavat he commented with surprise that this is not ordinary writing. During the period when His Divine Grace was composing the pranam mantra Sri Govinda Kunda Mahatmya he displayed such charming delight and awe as he recited a line of verse he had just composed. He seemed to receive the words, taste their sweetness and then shape and burnish them until they glowed like jewels.

  The devotional writing of Sri Rupa was so exquisite that it captured the minds and hearts of all the devotees. Having heard the lovely verses of Rupa Goswami, Sri Ramananda Raya wished to glorify them with ten thousand mouths. He said, “Your poetic expressions are like continuous showers of nectar.”

          “kahe,--tomara kavitva amrtera dhara”

                                        ~Cc. Antya-lila 1.172 

And to Mahaprabhu, Sri Ramananda Raya said:                                   

           tomara sakti vina jivera nahe ei vani

           tumi sakti diya kahao,—hena anumani”

                                               ~Cc. Antya-lila 1.196

 “Without Your mercy such poetic expressions would be impossible for an ordinary living being to write. My guess is that You have given him the power.”

Sriman Mahaprabhu also relished and praised the metaphors and other literary ornaments of Srila Rupa Goswami’s transcendental poetry. Without such poetic attributes, He said, there is no possibility of preaching transcendental mellows.

             “tomara krishna-rasa-kavya-sudha-sindhu”

                                                  ~Cc. Antya-lila 1.179

 “Your exalted poetic descriptions of the mellows of Lord Krishna’s pastimes are like an ocean of nectar.”   


Sri Rupa could simply reply:

            “ami kichui na jani yei mahaprabhu kahana, sei kahi vani”

                                                              ~Cc. Antya-lila 1.211

“I do not know anything. The only transcendental words I can utter are those which Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu makes me speak.” 

Inviting Higher Expression

It is the true humility of the Vaisnava that invites that higher expression, yet it is also the profound humility of the Vaisnavas that keep them feeling uncertain of their position, of their ability to offer meaningful service. Sri Jayadev Goswami, the author of Gita Govinda, was once writing such high and devotional words that he felt overwhelmed and stepped away from his writing. At that time Sri Krishna assumed the form of Sri Jayadev, took up his pen and wrote those divine sentiments that had overwhelmed His beloved devotee. Upon returning, Sri Jayadev knew that it could have been only the Lord of his heart who had penned such sacred words.

One name of the Supreme Lord is Uttamasloka. This indicates that He is can only be described with the most high, sublime and poetic expressions. He is the source of the most resplendent beauty. How can we find adequate words to express such beauty?


 Emerson once said a poem is a “confession of faith.” Another poet remarked that, “Poems are not just words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pocket of the hungry.” In the writings of a pure Vaisnava a poem is a prayer. Their poetry is not just an exercise in word jugglery. Whatever skill or beauty or lovely sound such poems contain, they also hold something beyond language devices. In the Vaisnava’s poetry there is a nourishment, a holiness. There is a brilliant and heartbreaking humility. Taking a quotation from Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, the devoted writer might say, “As I am engaged by a Deity within my heart, so do I act.”

Ever-fresh Spiritual Sustenance

Srila Govinda Maharaj has said that His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami M06Gurudevaharaj very much liked and appreciated many of the slokas and bhajans from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Saranagati. His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj also gives constant praise of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and his Saranagati prayers. Recently, His Divine Grace encouraged us to learn by heart these essential prayers.

   “In the book Saranagati there are so many songs which are necessary to translate. Whoever understands the meaning of the poetry of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur will understand what is dedication, what is renunciation, and what is devotion. Who is dedicated  with devotion will get so many qualities and qualifications. Who is fully dedicated must get progress in his spiritual life.” 

 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was paradukha dukhi. His compassion was so great and so wide that he could not tolerate seeing the pain and the suffering of the jiva souls. Out of concern and care for those who are struggling, as well as for those advanced souls who seek ever-fresh spiritual sustenance, he composed a stream of more than one hundred books, articles, commentaries and poems. He is renowned for his Vaisnava poetry Saranagati.

Saranagati is the Basis

This book of prayer-filled poems, Saranagati, was so dear to Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. In Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion, volume 3, he says, “When I left the association of the disciples of our Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupad to live alone, I felt some sort of helplessness within me. I knew that saranagati, or surrender, is the indispensable necessity in the life of a devotee, and felt, "I have left, or somehow or other I am excluded from the company of Prabhupad's association. I am helpless, but saranagati may come to my relief." So I especially came to think, "Saranagati is the basis, but what is saranagati?" On reading Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's book Saranagati, this point impressed me most. He wrote:

            sad anga saranagati haibe yanhara
            tanhara prarthana sune sri nanda-kumara

"If you want Nanda Kumar, you must have this six-fold saranagati."

Srila Guru Maharaj followed closely the compassion and the devotional mood in surrender of Thakur Bhaktivinoda:I wanted to culture that, so at that time, after coming to live alone I recollected all I had imbibed in my Math life, and also consulted about saranagati in Hari Bhakti Vilasa, in Srila Jiva Goswami's Bhakti Sandarbha, and in the Ramanuja Sampradaya's writings. I then tried to collect it all together and arrange it in a particular way as I thought best. In this way I began to write the book Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, that it may also help others who might come in such a position as mine. That was the real reason.”


Srila Guru Maharaj’s beautiful poetic writing style and deep understanding gave great pleasure and satisfaction to his Divine Master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur who commented on its happy style and devotional gravity. Like Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Guru Maharaj also expressed his brilliance, his pure devotional mood and vast scriptural knowledge with unique metaphors and other literary ornaments

Crown Jewel of Divine Literature

Inspired by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Saranagati prayers, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj composed what Vaisnavas consider to be the crown jewel of divine literatures and sacred writings.

Srila Govinda Maharaj has said, “This Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam is a very valuable book. Everything is covered in this book, and if you read it minutely you must stand in the plane of dedication. Many examples are given there from the scriptures as well as from the devotees' lives. It is not necessary to have gone through Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita before reading it. This is the first book of to read -- and it is also the last. Srimad Bhagavad Gita, of course, is also the first and last book to read, but there are many things in there that are mixed in with bhakti, or devotion.

“In Prapanna Jivanamrtam only bhakti is found and nothing else. But in the Gita there is description about karma, yoga, jnana, and many other things; that is why everybody likes it. The karmis like it, the terrorists it, the yogis like it, Mahatma Gandhi liked it, Jawaharlal Nehru liked it -- everybody likes the Bhagavad Gita! The reason is that they each receive something from it to fulfill their own purpose. But in Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, everything that is included is only for the purpose of devotion -- the relationship between Krishna and the jiva. It is a very pure devotional book. We must take this scripture into our hearts and then we shall be able to understand the other things. The first stage for us has been given by Srila Guru Maharaj there. Everything is there, including the very highest things, but mainly there is one theme: saranagati, or surrender.”

Srila Guru Maharaj said the title Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam means, prapannanam, jivane, amrta-svarupam: "The nectar in the life of the surrendered souls." This was my conception from the beginning: prapanna-jivanamrta. Those who have come to take this, to feel it, this will be like nectar to them. To those who have surrendered, it will be nectar to them, but others, the ordinary people, may not appreciate it.”

As in Thakur Bhaktivinoda’s Saranagati, Srila Guru Maharaj decorates the various chapters of his book with the six limbs of saranagati, spiritual surrender. He illuminates them with the many verses that are like touchstone—filaments of divine light--the transcendental conceptions of our Vaisnava preceptors.



Anukulyasya Sankalpah – 
Acceptance of the Favourable

          krsna-karsnaga-sad-bhakti-, prapannatvanukulake

          krtyatva-niscayas-canu-, kulya-sankalpa ucyate  [1]


Everything should be done that encourages the service of Sri Krishna and His devotee, and whatever is conducive to the state of exclusive surrender must be executed: such a firm conviction is called anukulyasya-sankalpahAcceptance of the Favourable.


          maj-janmanah phalam idam madhu-kaitabhare

          mat prarthaniya mad anugraha esa eva

          tvad bhrtya-bhrtya-paricaraka-bhrtya-

          bhrtasya bhrtyam iti mam smara lokanath  [13]

                                                     ~Sri Kulasekharasya


Devotional service rendered to the devotee bestows the highest fruit—

    O Supreme Lord of all beings, O slayer of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, this is the purpose of my life, this is my prayer, and this is Your Grace—that You will remember me as Your servant, a servant of a servant of a Vaisnava, a servant of a servant of such a servant of a servant of a Vaisnava, and a servant of a servant of the servant of the servant of a servant of a Vaisnava’s servant’s servant.



Pratikulya-vivarjjanam – 
Rejection of the Unfavourable

          bhagavad-bhaktayor bhakteh, prapatteh pratikulake
          varjjyatve niscaya prati-, kulya-varjjanam ucyate  [1]

The principle to reject everything opposed to the service of the Lord and His devotee, and to similarly abstain from everything opposed to an attitude of surrender, is known as pratikulya-vivarjjanamRejection of the Unfavourable.

    ma draksam ksina-punyan ksanam api bhavato bhakti-hinan padabje
    ma srausam sravya-bandham tava caritam-apayanyad-akhyana-jatam
    ma spraksam madhava! Tvam api bhuvana-pate! Cetasapahnavanam
    ma bhuvam tvat saparyya-parikara-rahito janma-janmantare ‘pi  [6]

                                                                                    ~Sri Kulasekharasya

The resolve to reject everything unfavourable, by means of all the senses—

    O Madhava!, let me not see the the unvirtuous persons who are devoid of devotion for Your lotus feet, and let me not hear the narratives which do not describe Your divine personality. O Lord of the universe, may I never have any contact with those bereft of faith in You, and moreover, lifetime after lifetime, may I never be without the company of Your associates who are devoted to Your loving service.                                                                                             ~Sri Kulasekhara


Raksisyatiti Visvasah
Full Confidence in the Lord’s Protection

          raksisyati hi mam krsno, bhaktanam bandhavas ca sah
          ksemam vidhasyatiti yad, visvaso ‘traiva grhyate  [1]

  ‘Certainly Lord Krishna will protect me, because he is the friend of the devotees. He will definitely bless us with all auspiciousness and success.’

          tamasi ravir ivodyan majjatam aplavanam
          plava iva trsitanam svadu-varsiva meghah
          nidhir iva nidhananam tivra-duhkhamayanam
          bhisag iva kusalam no datum ayati saurih  [17]


The revealed sweetness of confidence in the Lord’s protection—

     Like the sun ascending through the darkness,
              Like a boat for the helplessly drowning,
     Like a raincloud of sweet waters for the parched;
              Like atreasure ofr the impoverished,
     Like physician for the deadly afflicted—
             The Lord Sri Krishna is now coming to bless us             
                             With all good fortune.

                                                 ~Srimati Draupadi


Embracing the Lord’s Guardianship 

          he krsna! Pahi mam natha, krpayatmagatam kuru
          ity evam prarthanam krsnam, praptum svami-svarupatah [1]
          goptrtve varanam jneyam, bhaktair hrdyataram param
          prapatty ekarthakatvena, tad angitvena tat smrtam [2]

 'O Krishna, please protect me! My dear Lord, kindly accept me as Your own.’
      Such a prayer, as well as a prayer to obtain Sri Krishna as one’s lord and master, is the supreme solace to the hearts of the pure devotees, and is known to them as goptrtve-varanam—Embracing the Lord’s Guardianship. Because it expresses one and the same ideal as unconditional surrender, goptrtve-varanam is accepted as the chief of the six limbs of surrender.

        jivasya bhagavat-palyatvam svarupata eva siddham—
        tad aham tvad rte na nathavan, mad rte tvam dayaniyavan na ca
       vidhi-nirmmitam etad anvayam, bhagavan palaya ma sma jihaya  [1]


It is proven to be perfectly natural for the soul to be sustained by the Lord—
     O lord, without You, I cannot have a guardian, and without me, You cannot have a fit recipient for Your mercy. This is our relationship as the creator and the created. Therefore, please take my charge, O my Master, and never leave me.
                                                                            ~Sri Yamunacharyya


  Atma-niksepah—Full Self-surrender

         harau dehadi-suddhatma-, paryyantasya samarpanam
        eva nihsesa-rupena, hy atma-niksepa ucyate [1]                                            atmartha-cesta-sunyatvam, krsnarthaika-prayasakam
        api tan nyasta-sadhyatva-, sadhanatvan ca tat phalam [2]
        evam niksipya catmanam, svanatha-caranambujat
         nakarstum saknuyac capi, sada tanmayatam bhajet [3]

To summarily offer everything—from body and its paraphernalia up to pure soul—unto the lotus feet of Sri Hari, is known as atma-niksepah, or Full Self-Surrender. 
     All selfish pursuits are abandoned and every endeavour is for Krishna alone, and that too, up to the point of completely depending on Krishna for one’s personal means and ends. Having thus cast oneself unto the holy lotus feet of one’s Lord, one can never be swayed from that position, and he engages in pure devotional service with all his heart forever.

     anugraha-nigrahabhedena sevyanuraga eva atma-niksepah—
          viracaya mayi dandam dinabandho dayam va
          gatir iha na bhavattah kacid anya mamasti
          nipatatu sata-kotir nirbharam va navambhas
          tad api kila payodah stuyate catakena  [21]


Genuine self-dedication is deep attachment for one’s Master, considering reward and punishment equally—
     O friend of the needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh water shower down, the Cataka bird (who drinks only falling rainwater) perpetually goes on singing the glories of the rain cloud.
                                                                               ~Sri Rupa Goswami 



 Karpanyam -- Surrender in Humility

          bhagavan raksa raksaivam, artta-bhavena sarvvatah
         asamorddhva-daya-sindhor, hareh karunya-vaibhavam  [1]
         smaratams ca visesena, nijati-socya-nicatam
         bhaktanam artti-bhavas tu, karpanyam kathyate budhaih  [2]

 ‘O Lord, please protect me, protect me…’
     Such an internal sense of heartbreak in the the devotees, which causes their remembrance in love, in all circumstances, of the extension of grace from the unequalled and unexcelled ocean of compassion, Sri Hari, and which characteristically causes them to ever remember their feeling of most lamentable destitution, is known by the learned as karpanyamSurrender in Humility.

   gauravatarasyaty-utkrsta-phala-datvam-aty-audaryyatvan ca vilokya
            vancito ‘smi vancito ‘smi, vancito ‘smi na samsayah
            visvam gaura-rase magnam, sparso ‘pi mama nabhavat  [19]


 Seeing the Lord’s most munificent descent as Sri Gauranga who is the bestower of the paramount gift of love divine, the devotee, feeling insatiable desire for the mercy of this Lord, considers himself to be drastically deceived—
     Deceived, deceived, no doubt, deceived am I! The wholw universe became flooded with the love of Sri gauranga, but alas, my fate was not to get even the slightest touch of it.
                                                        ~Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati

Collecting Drops of Ecstasy

Srila Guru Maharaj wrote, "Ihave collected those drops of ecstasy in my Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam You take it and taste for yourself what this is."

       sri-srimad-bhagavat-padambuja-madhu-svadotsavaih sat-padair
        niksipta madhu-bindavas cha parito bhrasta mukhat gunjitaih
        yatnaih kinchid ihahrtam nija-parasreyo 'rthina tan maya
        bhuyobhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje
                                          ~Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam 10.14

In The Divine Servitor Srila Govinda Maharaj has commented, "I think that this is the highest sloka I have received in my life, and I shall try to explain the meaning.

'In the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is honey. The devotees in a very glorifying way are tasting that; and it is not a mere drop of honey, rather it is an ocean. They take that and become very intoxicated. They chant and glorify their Lord, and that honey overflows. A few drops of that come down into this world and I am quickly collecting those drops of honey and keeping them in a pot: that is Sri Sri Prapann Jivanamrtam. For my benefit and the benefit of the searchers, I am presenting this in book form. You take this and bless me.'

"This, in a simple way, is the meaning of that sloka, and I think that this is the highest sloka I have heard in my life. I am always quoting this."


Poems of Saranagati

Srila Govinda Maharaj asks, “What is saranagati? It is bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam. It is not even necessary to serve any other god or demigod, but only through service to Krishna we can get everything. Therefore we must take shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Service to Krishna can give us everything, and this type of faith is called saranagati. If you can memorize just one sloka, or verse, and put that in your heart, then from this one sloka you will get everything ever given in any scripture.”

Srila Guru Maharaj has also given the meaning of saranagati in his book. In verse 1:35 in particular, he says:

            bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam / ity utsrjya vidher api
            kainkaryam krsna-padaika / srayatvam saranagatih

"Being governed by the faith that all success is achieved by serving the Supreme Lord, to abandon servitude even to scriptural injunctions and take exclusive refuge in the lotus feet of Sri Krishna in every time, place, and circumstance, is known as saranagati -- unconditional surrender."

Grace Comes from Above

Sometimes we are blessed to visit the holy Dham of Aparadha Bhajana-pat—the residence of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in Sridham Nabadwip. At night the devotees gather in the nat-mandir before Their Lordships Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvva Govindasundarjiu and sing the divine songs of our acharyyas. At times, the power goes out and there, in the darkness, with indescribable sweetness, the singing continues and the grace, the heartfelt poems and prayers of Saranagati float through throughout the Dham and pour into our hearts.

On our own we cannot do anything, but if grace comes from above, from Sri Guru and Vaisnava, then there will be some sweet hope. If we can attract that grace with such sincere, heartbreaking mood of unworthiness, of sheer surrender, then we may have some great expectation. The negative mood can invite the Positive. And Sri Guru, like the Supreme Lord, is kind and loving. He is won over; His heart is melted, captured by the sweet affection and self-forgetfulness of his devotees.


Inexhaustible Mercy

The faithful, in order to worship to Mother Ganges, gather handfuls of water from her ever-pure source to offer back in devotion to Her Grace. Similarly, on this most holy and auspicious occasion of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s blessed appearance, having nothing worthy to offer, I take one of his prayerful and poetic verses to offer back to his lotus feet.

       visve ’smin kiranair yatha hima-karah sanjivayann osadhir
        naksatrani cha ranjayan nija-sudham vistarayan rajate
        sach-chastrani cha tosayan budha-ganam sammodayams te tatha
        nunam bhumi-tale subhodaya iti hlado bahuh satvatam  

                                              ~Srimad Bhaktivinoda-viraha Dasakam (5)

As the universally cooling moon is beautified by diffusing its nectarine rays, nourishing the plants and inciting the twinkling of the stars, your Holy Advent in this world is similarly ascertained as satisfying the pure devotional Scriptures (through profound study) and blessing the learned with full-blown happiness (by the perfect axiomatic conclusions descending in Divine Succession). With your appearance, the ecstasy of the devotees knows no bounds.

On this holy day may that rising moon of Srila Guru Maharaj’s inexhaustible mercy bestow upon us all good fortune.

I offer my humble obeisances again and again to Sri Guru and Vaisnava.

“I am very low, and You are so high. You can purify me, take me and utilise me for Your higher purpose. Be pleased. Otherwise I am helpless, neglected.”

Seeking your gracious glance,