46 years of Gratitude

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Sri Krishna, the most merciful master and friend of one and all, the attractor of the hearts of the pure souls, the relisher of all the different rasas and the performer of wonderful pastimes in Vrindavan’s groves, is completely transcendental and therefore imperceptible to the mundane senses of the fallen jivas. It has been said in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.234) and quoted in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 17.136) 

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi

na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ

sevonmukhe hi jihvādau

svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through one’s materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.

Not only is devotional service to the Lord the goal, it is also the means to reach that goal. But how does one perform service to the Lord if one cannot perceive the Lord with one’s contaminated senses? It is for this reason that, being causelessly merciful, Sri Krishna appears before us in his archavigraha form and accepts our service. The shastras also say that there is no difference between the Lord and the deity form of the Lord in the temple. Th deity form of the Lord does not manifest from the imagination of a conditioned soul but by the devotees of the Lord who are able to directly perceive him, their eyes forever anointed with the salve of their pure love for Sri Shyamsundar. It is therefore Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas who are the true well-wishers and benefactors of the conditioned living entities, for they make the Lord appear in the archavigraha and accept service from unqualified and insignificant jivas such as ourselves. It is Sri Guru who engages the devotees in the service of the Lord and thus purifies their hearts, making them worthy of being offered at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar. It has been written by Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur in Sri Guruvashtakam:

yuktasya bhaktāḿś ca niyuñjato ‘pi
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

The spiritual master is always engaged in the temple worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He also engages his disciples in such worship. They dress the Deities in beautiful clothes and ornaments, clean Their temple, and perform other similar worship of the Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.

We have just recently, on the 21st of April, celebrated the 46th Brahmotsava (installation day) of our Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir. The 46 years of service, 46 years of purification, 46 years of dedication, and 46 years of love and devotion, to Their Lordships has only taken place by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. It is by his mercy only that we have the good fortune of practicing Krishna consciousness in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, following the footsteps Sri Rupa Goswami. It is by his mercy that we can be hopeful of receiving the mercy of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. It is by his mercy that true good fortune awaits us, if just we can surrender ourselves at his lotus feet. No amount of gratitude is sufficient and no words can properly describe the causeless mercy we have been showered with, yet it is the duty of us all to realize our good fortune and strengthen our determination to continue serving Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Sri Krishna Balaram and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar, in whatever capacity we may be able, for the pleasure of our Guru Parampara.