We offer tarpana for Bhismadev in the Ganges. He was a brahmachari since his birth and did not marry and he had no children to do his tarpana. So we all accept him because he was a pure devotee of the Lord. Of course you could say that he doesn’t need tarpan, but it is to our benefit to do it.
There is one story from the Padma Purana, there was this devotee and he would go everyday to the Ganges and there he would bathe, recite his Gayatri, offer prayers and then take a bucket home and give to his wife and children. So this was his daily practice. He was a great devotee of the Ganges.
Actually, Prabhupad said that he wanted to go every day to the Ganges and that if he could do that it could extend his life. At that time, the Ganges was far away and there were many properties on the way. We were trying to buy all the properties but it was very difficult. Now the Ganges is very close. So, it is easy now but at that time it wasn't. Prabhupada said that as a child, he would go every day to the Ganges by the Howrah bridge. I don’t know if the Howrah bridge was built then or not but, that is where his house was at Mahatma Gandhi Road which was then known as Harrison Road. So, anyway, this brahmana was coming back from the Ganges one day and there was a politician but he was born in a Brahmin family– he had a Brahmin thread but he was a politician. He cheated, he lied and he was involved in so many wrong things, he had killed his father who was a rival for him in the court, but still was a very simple person. He[the politician] was very proud and came walking and saw a bull and he thought, "Why is this bull is blocking the road.?" He picked up a branch and started to hit the bull. Now, the bull is not a very wise thing. It got up and looked thinking, "Who is this guy?" Then the bull started kicking with his feet and then charged and gored him with his horns and the Brahmin flew in the air and he was pierced in the heart and he was thrown down and was lying on the road, spot dead! And the bull walked on. Meanwhile, this other Brahmin came from the Ganges and he saw a Brahmin lying dead on the road. And he said let me sprinkle some Holy Ganges water on him. He then walked on and after some time he saw some Yamadutas who were injured and one was carrying another. He asked them, what happened to you? They shouted and said, it is all BECAUSE OF YOU! YOU ARE THE ONE WHO DID IT!! The brahmana looked puzzled (Gurumaharaj shrugs his shoulders) and asked, "What did I do?" YOU SPRINKLED THE GANGES WATER ON THAT SOUL, on that person, he was a sinner, but because you sprinkled the Ganges water, these Vishnudutas(we did not know who they were) said we could not touch him.
The Vishnudutas came and said, "He belongs to us, as he has been sprinkled with Ganges water. So we are taking him! And they took our ropes and they took him. He was a sinner, a killer, a murderer, a thief but we don’t know who these Vishnudutas were who walked in and we attacked them and they said, "What is wrong with you? Don’t you know the Ganges is sacred?" And so they called for the Sudarshan Chakra and they asked Him to chop our hands and feet! So we had to retreat and it is all because of you! Why did you give that water to him? So this Brahmin went back to the Ganges and paid obeisances again and again and started saying his prayers to the Ganges. Ganga Mayi Devi ki jai! Ganga Mayi Devi ki jai! Ganga Mayi Devi ki jai! Like that he was praying and then Ganges being pleased with him, the Personality of the Ganges came out and gave darshan to him. As you saw today, she was on a crocodile, had a white flower and wore white clothes and she asked, "What blessing do you want? He said, "I would like to have two things. First thing is, when I die, I want to be touched by your waters. And the second thing is I could go back to the spiritual world; otherwise, if I cannot, at least I should be born in the family of a devotee. She said, "Thathasthu!" (So be it!) So the Ganges is very sacred and she is very much blessed by the Caitanya Lila, by the Gaura Lila and we are also blessed that we have the Ganges Bhagirati flowing right by us. So every year, we do this during the festival when we offer the Ganga Puja. Ganga Mayi ki jai!
Actually, I have seen Haridwar, Rishikesh, in Benares and few other places they do puja to the Ganges regularly. Here we should do puja to the Ganges regularly. They say we are doing once a year. Somehow it is not happening. But we hope that some time we are be able to do the puja to Ganges regularly, at least every week. The Ganges goes through the three worlds and purifies; it is the lotus feet water of Vishnu. So it is very sacred and you can call it the charanamrita from the Lord. Some kings used to carry only Ganges water. Ganges water day by day, gets more and more pure. Water from other sources gets contaminated day by day, but the Ganges water gets more and more pure! We also tested it and the everyday, it got 15% clearer and by the 9th day it was very clear. But garbage is being thrown into the Ganges, and that is unacceptable and unfortunate.
Anyway, at the house of Srivas Thakura I told one of the Parikrima groups –I didn’t know it was the Hindi parikrama– I told how Srivas invited Gauranga to come to his house and do kirtan because they are the denizens of KRISHNA PREMA!! Hari bol! So he was invited to the home and there the people were told that the people would not understand their ecstasy, so I will only bring very confidential devotees who know what these ecstasies are and know how to appreciate. So that is how the kirtan started. Because Lord Caitanya was chanting and He would faint and His hairs would stand on their ends, He would cry loudly and the people thought that He had some mental problem. They did not know that actually He was in ecstasy of love of Krishna. He came to the house of Srivas and there every night they would chant: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare! Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare! So like this, everyday, Srivas would have the kirtan of Lord Caitanya in his house. So people were wondering what is going on inside, but the doors were kept closed and only devotees were allowed and the others were outside and wondering, "What are they doing there? What are they doing? What is going on? Chanting Hare Krishna, yes. But what else?! Hari bol! Hari bol! So inside of course Lord Caitanya was dancing and chanting and His kirtan was very ecstatic and sometimes He would fall on the floor. Sachi mata, when she saw, because she was the mother, she would be worried thinking, "Has He got hurt, is He all right?" not knowing she disturbed His ecstasy. So she kept worrying. Lord Caitanya gave her the benediction that during the kirtan she was always in ecstasy and did not know what was happening. Otherwise she would just be like (Guru Maharaj poses as if dumbfounded). Ha! Ha! Otherwise she would have disturbed the kirtan. So like this, everyday, they had the kirtan.
One day Lord Caitanya stopped the kirtan, and said, "Today I am not feeling ecstatic! I don’t feel any ecstasy! WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? And everybody was thinking, "I must have committed some aparaadh. Lord Caitanya, Lord Gauranga, is not feeling ecstatic today. Lord Gauranga said, "Maybe somebody is watching, somebody WATCHING! WHO IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE! So Srivas looked everywhere in the house, and he couldn’t find anyone. No one is there and so they started kirtan again. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna….But Lord Caitanya again said, "I don’t feel any ecstasy. Who is responsible? Why am I not feeling any ecstasy, any bliss today? Again devotees were thinking, "What did I do?" Because a devotee naturally thinks of himself as the culprit. He doesn’t find fault with others and blames himself first. So each one was thinking, "Is something wrong with me? Then again Lord Caitanya said, "There must be someone here." After all, He is antaryami; He is Krishna. He is in everyone’s heart. So He knows who is there or not there. So they saw in the corner of the house, somehow the mother-in- law of Srivas was hiding under a basket and watching. She wanted to see Lord Caitanya dance. Srivas pulled her by the hair and threw her out! Now, Bengalis are very respectful to the mother-in-law! And they don’t do that! But Srivas had to do this. Then Lord Caitanya resumed chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna… Then Lord Caitanya asked Srivas, "Who was that?" Srivas said, "I don’t know!" Again Lord Caitanya asked, "Who was that?" Srivas said, "I don’t know!" (GM laughs) "Wasn’t that your mother-in- law?" Lord Caitanya now asked. "Yes," Srivas said(Gurumaharaj imitates a very straight-faced meek Srivas answering Mahaprabhu! and laughs) "Why did you treat your mother-in-law so badly?" To which Srivas replied, "Anyone who interferes with Your ecstasy My Lord will not be tolerated, I am simply made for Your service. So anyone who interferes with your ecstasy, I don’t know them!" Lord Caitanya said,"Srivas, you are too much!" (GM laughs) So Srivas was totally dedicated to Lord Caitanya.
Srivas went to the Bhagavatam class of Devananda Pandit and at that time Devananda Pandit had this class in Koladvipa on the other side of the river. So Srivas sat in the class and, hearing Krishna Lila, he felt ecstatic and started to cry in separation. But Devananda Pandit was basically a Mayavadi, and anyway useless for us. Anyway, Srivas was ecstatic and crying. So he said, "Who is this, causing disturbance? Throw him out!" They picked up Srivas and threw him out and he didn’t know what was happening when he got thrown out! Anyway, Caitanya Mahaprabhu picked him up and chastised Devananda Pandit. He said, "You have offended a pure devotee– you don’t have the slightest idea of the Bhagavatam and you are giving a Bhagavatam class! You are very offensive! And so on and so forth! He said so many things to Devananda Pandit and Devananda Pandit was very much offended and first he thought, "Who is this person who can insult me? He got upset. He was somehow related to Vakreshwar Pandit. So Vakreshwar Pandit came to him and said, "Listen, Lord Caitanya is actually Krishna Himself, but He came in a disguise as Nimai Pandit. Actually, you should understand that it was predicted that the Supreme Lord would come in a devotee form in Kali Yuga and give love of Krishna freely to everyone! And then they started to study the shastra and found out who Lord Caitanya actually was. And then Devananda Pandit came to Lord Caitanya, offered his obeisances to Lord Gauranga. Lord Gauranga told him, "You did not offend Me. You offended Srivas. So you please offer your obeisances to Srivas. So he went to see Srivas and he offered his obeisances to Srivas and begged for forgiveness. So he was forgiven. Srivas– we read in the Bhagavatam how by a little bhakti he is so great.
One time Lord Caitanya had tested Srivas. He told Srivas, "Why do you let this mendicant Nityanada into your house? You don’t know what family He comes from, and what He does. He is like an avadhoot. Sometimes He acts like a child, sometimes He swims in the Ganges! You don’t know much about this person. I think you should drive Him out of your house for the sake of your family. Please don’t keep this Nityananda in your house! And then Srivas said, "Lord, why, why are you testing me? I know that Nityananda is non-different from You and Nityananda is very dear to You. Even a devotee with a little devotion is pleasing to you; what to speak of Lord Nityananda who is Your counterpart! So even if I see Nityananda wandering or acting strangely I know that He is transcendental. So I cannot ask Him to leave because I have all respect for Nityananda. And Lord Caitanya then said, "Yes, I was testing you and you have passed the test!" And Srivas, you are so dear to me that even if Lakshmi Herself has to beg out in the street, even if the Goddess of Fortune goes broke, you will never be broke, you will always have plenty of everything in your house– even the dogs and cats, even the insects in your house will have pure devotion! Hari bol! Hari bol! Hari bol! So we are like the dog in Srivas’s house. Hari bol! Hari bol! Hari bol! So Srivas is so dear to Lord Caitanya, so we worship him on the altar as the representative of all the devotees. Sri Krishna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadaadhara, Srivas Adi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda! So Srivas adi means and all the other devotees. Like Srivas, following Srivas.
I will tell you one more Srivas story and then we will give our prasad. I think our seven days of parikrama and the prayaschit morning that my speaking ability has come down a bit. I hope tomorrow I would have a little more rest and speak a little better. Srivas was a very simple soul, he would believe whatever people told him. Some of the people told him that if he had kirtan in his house the Hussain Shah would send the troops and would harass all the Hindus in Navadweep, all because of you! You Srivas! It was only a routine change of troops and nothing special but Srivas thought that just because of me they are sending some extra troops and will cause some trouble. He was too simple a person and could not think that people would just make up things and come and tell him. So he decided to worship Lord Nringhadev who protects all the devotees.
So while he was offering his puja to Lord Nrsinghadev, Lord Caitanya knocked on his door, knock! Knock! Knock! Srivas! Srivas! The person who you are worshipping is here! Srivas open up! The Person you are worshipping is here! Srivas thought, "I am worshipping Nrsinghadev!" He opened the door and there he saw Lord Caitanya with His four handed form. Hari bol! He looked at Srivas and said, "You have nothing to worry about, Srivas! Nothing to worry about! Hari bol! Hari bol! Hari bol! So Srivas Thakura… So many pastimes happened at Srivas Aangan. I only told a few. Srivas is Narada Muni who came down to participate in Lord Gauranga’s pastimes. So if we are fortunate we can also participate in Lord Gauranga’s pastimes. How many of you would like to participate in Lord Gauranga’s pastimes? Hari bol! He had so many devotees who were doing kirtan – He did kirtan in the street – there were so many people who were doing kirtan in Navadvipa and they came to the house of Chand Kazi. Like that, there are so many pastimes where Lord Caitanya came and He engaged all the residents of Navadvipa. So this Navadvipa Dham is also known as, and non-different from Vrindavan and it is also in its spiritual form in the spiritual world as Shwetadvipa. In Goloka Vrindavan there are four sections – Vraja, Mathura, Dwaraka and Shweta. So this land of Lord Gauranga is also there in the spiritual world and most of the devotees who are there in Gaura Lila are simultaneously there in Krishna Lila as well. Hari bol! Hari bol! Hari bol! Are there any questions regarding Srivas?
Question: Srivas was Narada Muni. Narada Muni was a naishtika brahmachari. How did he accept the role as a grihastha in Gaura Lila?
GM: You see, Narada Muni is a liberated soul. So when they come down to participate in the pastime of the Lord they can accept any role. So he came down as Srivas and he accepted the role. So that is in Gaura Lila. So it is another birth and not the same. So like Lord Brahma, he came down as Haridas Thakura. Brihaspathi, he came down as Vaasudev Sarvabhauma. So they came and participated. So what if they were in the other lila? Now they have no connection. That is how the Lilas work. Once you are in a lila, you are under the control of Yoga maya. So you are in that Lila until you are required.
GM: Did you all hear?
GM: Also we have Marici das making an announcement about…
Question: What is the example that devotees can take from Srivas Thakura’s life?
GM: He is asking what are the examples we can take from Srivas Thakur’s life as a grihastha? (Guru maharaj in the meantime cuts a cake.) Hari bol! (A devotee brings a basket of cookies and guru maharaj takes one and says Aha!).
GM: Caitanya Chandra Charan please come forward.
Hari bol! GM does aarti with a candle in the middle of the cake with the devotee and his wife. Then the devotee takes the cake and shows arti to guru maharaj. Devotees sing Hare Krishna….Guru maharaj gives a cookie and a cake to Caitanya Chandra Charan das. Devotees then come for mahaprasadam from guru maharaja! Jai Gurudev!