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Gaurakisora Siromani (glory of SB - gauravandana between its lines, humility)

Page history last edited by Juan Castañeira 11 years ago

Gaurakisora Siromani (glory of SB - gauravandana between its lines, humility)

 

Venimadhava Thakura was a Vaisnava saint who enjoyed perfect bliss through Istagosthi. At his request, Gaurakisora Siromani once gave a daily three-hour recital of the sloka "Janmadyasya" for thirty-five days. Hearing his recitation, Venimadhava commented that Gaurakisora was certainly been blessed by the grace of the six Gosvamis.

 

Once Gaurakisora and his troupe paid a visit to the residence of the Banerjee family of Badograma, near Burdwan, to recite from the Srimad Bhagavatam. When they arrived in the village at around 2 pm. they found out that the village had neither a Visnu temple nor did anyone there follow the tradition of offering worship to Salagrama. Immediately Gaurakisora went to the brahmana Zamindar of the village and expressed his reluctance to even take a drink of water from a village where Visnu was not worshiped. Many came forward to try to change the mind of Siromani, fearing that the departure of the whole group of starving Vaisnavas would be inauspicious for their village. In utter helplessness, a messenger was sent on horseback to a village ten miles away with a note requesting the Zamindar's cousin to bring a Salagrama to the village. When the Salagrama was brought and food offered to it, Gaurakisora partook of Visnu prasada.

 

Once, in order to test the Vaisnava merit of Gaurakisora, some tantric brahmanas of Kagrama in the district of Mursidavad invited him to give a recital from the Srimad Bhagavatam in their village. After the recital had gone on for several days, the evil-minded brahmanas arranged to have animals slaughtered on the occasion of Kalipuja on the very same site as the Srimad Bhagavatam was recited. On receiving this news late in the evening, Siromani was greatly distressed and prayed desperately to Gaura Govinda. Thus when the slaughters attempted to sacrifice an animal with one strike, they were unsuccessful; they needed two strikes for all of the animals. The frightened slaughterers tried to invoke the grace of the goddess. Later the goddess chastised the priest in a dream saying: "All of you have humiliated a devotee of Visnu, hence you will be severely punished." Hearing this the mischievous persons rushed to the feet of Gaurakisora Siromani. Gaurakisora asked them first to take a dip in the Ganges and later converted them into Vaisnavas.

 

Meanwhile the long standing debate regarding the respective status' of the Gosvamis and the Vaisnavas continued to ensue. Eventually they decided that if Siromani would intervene and mediate between them, his verdict would be accepted by both sides. After Siromani listened to both sides of the argument he replied: "Please take me as your son; when a son becomes an adult then he is not expected to be present where his parents are quarreling. It should also be noted that marital love attains a new depth when the couple differs from each other." These words softened the hearts of both the disputant sides; they forgot their differences and chanted the holy name together.

 

The following is an excerpt about Siromani extracted from Sadgurusanga vol. 2 written by Kuladananda brahmacari: "Siromani was the senior-most pandita of the country; he had a sound command over the six systems of Indian philosophy, Smrti, and Purana. Once, in his native village, he attended a Srimad Bhagavatam recital held in the house of a brahmana villager. A large number of reputed brahmana panditas were also present for the session. The devotee brahmana who recited from the Srimad Bhagavatam first invoked the vandana of Lord Gauranga before beginning his recitation. This had been the prevalent custom everywhere, however, Siromani flew into a rage upon hearing Gauravandana. He called the brahmana reader to him and said, "What's the matter sir? Is this what is called Bhagavata-recital? You are ready to give a recital from Srimad Bhagavatam which lies open in front of you, directing your attention to the book, how come you go on chanting the glories of Lord Gauranga? Being in the presence of a gathering of brahmana panditas and keeping the Salagrama in front of you, you pledge to recite from Srimad Bhagavatam then you speak on an entirely different topic. Can you justify your action?"

 

The devotee humbly replied with folded hands, "Revered Sir, please believe me, I am truthfully reciting from Srimad Bhagavatam. Whatever I have chanted so far can be found in Srimad Bhagavatam. I have not told a single lie."

 

Siromani sprang from his seat and rushing towards the reciter demanded, "Look here, please show me where the verse "Anarpitacarim" is found in Bhagavatam?" The brahmana pointed his finger, indicating the blank space between every couple of lines. Siromani retorted, "What do you mean? You are pointing to blank white spaces."

 

The brahmana then spoke, "You don't have the right vision, how do you expect to see what I am showing you? Better cleanse your eyes first and then have a look."

 

Siromani was enraged, "How dare you insist on telling a lie in an unruffled manner in front of a Salagrama, and while touching the Srimad Bhagavatam, and in the presence of brahmanas?"

 

The brahmana at last firmly replied, "Please hold your tongue. In this gathering of brahmanas, while touching Srimad Bhagavatam, I swear that whatever I have said is truth. I can see Gauravandana written in the intervening space of every two lines of Srimad Bhagavatam. I advise you to first take diksa from a competent venerable Vaisnava saint, then practice for a week exactly as I direct you and then come here on the eight day. If you then fail to see the writing of Gauracandrika in the intervening spaces of the Srimad Bhagavatam, then I promise in front of everyone present here that I shall chop off the tip of my tongue."

 

Siromani was a deeply spiritual person and thus immediately approached Siddha Caitanya dasa Babaji for diksa. Then he contacted the brahmana reciter and received instructions, which he practiced diligently for seven days. One the eighth day he came before the brahmana reciter demanding that he be shown the script of Gauravandana in Bhagavatam. The reciter promptly opened the Srimad Bhagavatam and called Siromani to have a look. As soon as Siromani looked at the book he saw Gaura-vandana written in bright golden letters on the blank spaces preceding every couple of lines. With tears flowing incessantly from his eyes, Siromani rolled on the ground in repentance. Immediately he renounced everything and left for Vrndavana on foot. Since then he has been staying here. He can really be called a genuine Vaisnava."

 

During his stay at Katoa Siromani would give oral recitation from the holy texts, but he stopped doing this in Vrndavana. Only in the afternoon hours would he give lessons on Srimad Bhagavatam to Vrajavasi Vaisnavas. One day Siromani was giving a class on the fourth canto; the episode of Daksayajna, when a question came up from the students as follows: "How could Mahadeva possibly have danced, carrying the corpse of Sati which is stated to have been reduced to ashes by the sacrificial flames?"

 

Siromani waited awhile, wondering how to present a proper reply. Meanwhile, one Vaisnava listener, seated by the side of Siromani, who was regularly present at this class, looked up at the inquiring students and said, "Would you like a demonstration of the situation or would you be satisfied with an explanation?"

 

The students chorused, "Who cares to listen, when a demonstration is available?"

 

"Then come here and look", the Vaisnava said. He sat facing north in a yoga posture and passed into a state of meditation chanting "Jaya Gauranga". Shortly afterwards a speck of fire rose from the big toe of his right foot and soon his entire body was covered with raging flames. Siromani screamed, lamenting what had happened. The students tried to put out the fire by pouring water from the Jamuna but it was over by then. From that day Siromani gave up teaching Srimad Bhagavatam and resorted to more austere bhajan.

 

A number of well-known Vaisnava saints lived in Vrndavana during the time when Siromani was there; Srila Brahmananda Gosvami of Srngarvata, Srila Nrisimhananda Prabhu, Srila Nilamani Gosvami-descendant of Advaita Prabhu, Srila Haracandra Gosvami, Haradhan Maitra, the Zamindar of Talanda in Rajasahi (Bangladesh)-Gangaprasada Ray, the Zamindar of Tadas in Pabna (Bangladesh) with his family, Hajra Mahasaya-the reputed kirtana singer who was also the caretaker of Sri Madanamohana Temple, Vaisnavacarana dasa-the well-known kirtana singer, Sri Krsnadasa, Sri Gauradasa, Pranavandhu Nandi etc. All of the above mentioned persons showed great respect for Siromani.

 

Once Srila Brahmananda Prabhu invited Siromani to partake of prasada in his house at Govindaghat. Brahmananda offered prasada such as rice and various other dishes served in silver plates and vessels in front of a special seat for Siromani to sit on. Siromani felt extremely embarrassed and refused to sit at the arranged place and asked that prasada be served to him on a leaf plate and leaf bowl. He urged Brahmananda to take prasada on the special seat instead of himself. Brahmananda was aware of Siromani's noble lineage and referring to that repeatedly requested Siromani to accept the food and the special seat. Siromani replied as follow: "Prabhupada (Brahmananda), if you think you have invited me here because of my social background, in that case I shall surely lose my caste-status if I partake of prasada with you here. But you are my "prabhu" and I am your "dasa"-this relationship of our is highly adorable." Saying this Siromani made Brahmananda sit on the special seat and himself took prasada on a leaf plate. This incident occurred prior to Siromani's embracing bheka.

 

Siromani knew perfectly well how to uphold the dignity of bhakti. He showed respect to infants in the same manner as he would to the descendants of acaryas and those senior to him. During his stay at Thaura, he arranged for a chosen reciter to give daily classes on sastra. One day in the midst of such a session, Siromani suddenly stood up; giving everyone the impression that some distinguished acarya descendent had appeared there. What had actually happened, however, was that a certain disciple of Siromani was standing in the corner carrying the infant daughter of Radhikanath Gosvami, the descendant of Advaita Prabhu. When that disciple with the child was asked to sit down, Siromani also sat down.

 

The following is an extract from Sadgurusanga: "One day Sridhara, a disciple of Vijayakrsna Gosvami, went to Siromani's kutir to have darsana. Upon arriving he found Siromani asleep, thus he offered his obeisances keeping some distance from the feet of Siromani. To his surprise, the devotee noticed that Siromani's feet turned to another direction. Every time Sridhara tried to offer his obeisances the same thing happened. Sridhara finally left the place in bewilderment. No one could ever touch the feet of Siromani or offer their humble obeisances. Even when Siromani was at a distance no one could offer his pranamas before Siromani had offered them first. He would offer dandavats lying prostrate to one and all. In fact it was a problem to walk on the road with Siromani, because along the way he repeatedly offered dandavat pranamas to cats, monkeys, cows, women, men and deities on both sides of the road. All the men and women of Vrndavana revered Siromani as a venerable saint. Thakura (Vijayakrsna Gosvami) said that one should meet Siromani in order to realize the true meaning of the verse "trinadapi".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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