Here is another example of a very good disciple. Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was doing Navadvīpa parikramā along with thousands of pilgrims. On the third day he came to Navadvīpa town, in front of the Prauḍhā Māyā temple, which was surrounded by a large gathering of people. All the so-called brāhmaṇas and caste gosvāmīs there were opposed to Śrīla Prabhupāda, because they thought he felt himself superior to brāhmaṇas.* They made a conspiracy: “We will punish and kill him.” About a thousand of these brāhmaṇas took sticks, bricks, stones, soda water, and hot water, and threw them at the devotees. They wanted to kill many devotees along with Śrīla Prabhupāda. All the devotees ran away, ‘keeping their feet on their head.’** They were running here and there, wherever they could. This incident was reported to the police, but the police were silent, and suppressed news of this event; they favoured the caste brāhmaṇas.
There was no way to escape. Śrīla Prabhupāda was alone; all his senior disciples had fled. One brahmacārī – in white cloth, not saffron – was with him. He at once signalled to Śrīla Prabhupāda and they both approached a house. The brahmacārī begged the householders, “Oh, please open the door. We want to stay for a moment. [Inside the house] he immediately gave Śrīla Prabhupāda his own white clothes and took his sannyāsī clothes and daṇḍa. In this way he actually took sannyāsa there, and then he somehow sent Śrīla Prabhupāda, in white cloth, to Māyāpura. No one knew about this, and the crowd surrounded that house.
They thought, “Oh, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī is here; we must take him.”
That brahmacārī knew this was a dangerous time. He was Vinodabihārī Brahmacārī. He was young, perhaps only twentyone years of age, but he was bold and strong; he had no fear at all.
Some police came and after some time, and the gathering dissipated. After a while, Śrī Vinodabihārī Brahmacārī also went to Māyāpura, and everyone saw that he was now a sannyāsī; he was not Vinoda Bābū. That night he changed his cloth back again, but Śrīla Prabhupāda had accepted him as a sannyāsī disciple.
Now you should consider who Vinodabihārī Brahmacārī was. He was my gurudeva, Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. We should try to be disciples like Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. He left his mother and so much wealth. He was a landlord, and at the age of only sixteen, he was in college. He left everything and went to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda in so many ways you cannot imagine. Everyone wanted to give him sannyāsa. Three times it was delcared, “Tomorrow he will take sannyāsa.” Prabhupāda wanted it, and everything was ready – the daṇḍa, saffron cloth, and so on. However, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s secretary, Śrīla Bhakti Vilāsa Tīrtha Mahārāja, who at that time was a gṛhastha named Kuñjabihārī Vidyābhūṣaṇa, requested Prabhupāda, “If you give sannyāsa to Vinoda, everything will be ruined. There is no one who can manage like he can. We cannot do it, so please wait. If we can find another who can manage, then you can give him sannyāsa.” Three times everything was prepared for his sannyāsa ceremony, but each time it was checked.
After Śrīla Prabhupāda disappeared from this world, he told Vinoda in a dream, “Even now you have not taken sannyāsa. You must take sannyāsa. My preaching has collapsed, so you should at once take it.” After that Vinoda took sannyāsa. At that time the three, four, or five magazines [publications established by Śrīla Prabhupāda] had been stopped. There was no Navadvīpa parikramā or any other parikramā. All were stopped, and the preaching was also stopped. My gurudeva, however, with the same spirit [as Srila Prabhupāda], again started everything. His first three sannyāsīs were Vāmana Mahārāja, Trivikrama Mahārāja, and me. I was so junior, so junior. But even though I was not qualified, even without his order I always used to jump to follow him. Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja kī jaya! Gaura premānande! Hari Haribol!
*Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda preached that Vaiṣṇavas are the real brāhmaṇas, superior to caste brāhmaṇas. He was also giving sacred thread (dīkṣā) to those who were not brāhmaṇas by birth. The caste gosvāmīs believed that only if one is born in a brāhmaṇa family one is a brāhmaṇa.
** This is a Hindi expression meaning ‘running at great speed.’
―Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja