Navadwip, India — Saturday, March 27th

Srila Gurudeva enters samadhi

Srila Gurudeva left us early this morning, in Calcutta, during the brahma-muhurta, at about half past four...

Shocked devotees gather around to chant the maha-mantra until mid-morning, when Srila Gurudeva's body is transported to Sri Navadwip dham, to be interred next to Srila Guru Maharaj's samadhi mandir.

I have never witnessed a ceremony like this before — placing the guru in samadhi — and I am a little uneasy, but the procedure is surprisingly brief, simple, and beautiful.

In the afternoon Srila Gurudeva is lowered into his newly excavated resting place on a stretcher, and then seated in the lotus position on an asana in the center of the square pit, facing the nat mandir.

And suddenly Srila Gurudeva's comments about Srila Rupa Goswami's samadhi mandir take on a new relevance and significance:

Srila Gurudeva recently explained that it is not that Srila Rupa Goswami is buried here, in samadhi, but he is living here, in a meditative mood, in samadhi. Srila Rupa Goswami's samadhi mandir is not a shrine or the tomb of a saint; rather, Srila Rupa Goswami is dwelling within, engaged in intense bhajan, absorbed in a deep state of profound meditation.

His Divine Grace looks so serene with his regal head held high, back straight, and hands clasped in his lap as he prepares to begin his meditation.

After receiving numerous garlands, Srila Gurudeva is covered with a saffron cloth, salt is packed around his holy body, and the excavation is filled by hundreds of hands, devotees and villagers alike, eager to do one last service for this venerable Vaishnava saint.

As the light begins to fade, it starts to rain...

Tags: Gurus & Guardians

Navadwip, India — Wednesday, March 31st

Test of fire

[In this excerpt from Chapter Five of Sri Guru and His Grace, Srila Sridhar Maharaj gives us pertinent advice for the predicament in which we now find ourselves.]

Devotee: After the disappearance of the spiritual master, how should the disciples continue the mission?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: You must not neglect your conscience. Otherwise you have no faith in your own cause. There may be disturbances but we should not leave the preaching of Mahaprabhu, despite all differences. Disturbances must come, and we must undergo them. Still, we must remain sincere; we must face the difficulty in a proper way. It has come to train us to go in the right direction.

What we have received from our spiritual master we understood only in a rough estimation. Now, things have come in such a way that we have to scrutinize ourselves in every position. We have to analyze ourselves. Atmaniksepa, self-analysis has begun. We are under trial. What we have received from our spiritual master, in what way have we received it? Properly, or only showingly [externally, superficially]?

The time has come to purify us, to test whether we are real students, real disciples, or his disciples only in face [on the surface, superficially] and confession [through mere lip-service or verbal allegiance]. What is the position of a real disciple? If we live in a society, what is the depth of our creed? In what attitude have we accepted his teachings? How deep-rooted is it within us? The fire has come to test whether we can stand. Is our acceptance real? Or is it a sham, an imitation? This fire will prove that.

So, this is the real field of sadhana, or practice. Our practice, our advancement needs these difficulties. Otherwise, we may not know what is progress, and we will become hypocrites, and give the adulterated thing to others. So, to purify ourselves, it is necessary that so many disturbances come...

Tags: Introspection | Books & Reviews

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Layout by iMonk — March 31st, 2010.