The following is a transcription of a discourse delivered by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja at Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Mathurā, India, on 16 July 2008, published in The Constant Stream of Nectar, First Edition

Śrīla Vyāsadeva, who is an incarnation of Lord Nārāyaṇa, was born on the full moon day of the month of Āṣāḍha.

In India, everyone worships their spiritual master on this day, which is celebrated with great honour and reverence as Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā, or Śrī Guru-pūjā. It is essential, however, that we understand the true significance of Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā. Merely placing a garland on the neck of śrī guru or offering at his feet a few flowers and fruits, some money, sweets or cloth does not mean that real worship of the guru has been performed. The real vyāsa-pūjā is to surrender oneself completely at the lotus feet of Śrīla Gurudeva and to fulfil his desires.

This means that one should completely offer one’s independence at the lotus feet of śrī guru in the mood of surrender: “O Śrīla Gurudeva, I am offering everything that belongs to me at your lotus feet.” At the time of His initiation from Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:

saṁsāra-samudra haite uddhāraha more
ei āmi deha samarpilāṅa tomāre
kṛṣṇa-pāda-padmera amṛta-rasa pāna
āmāre karāo tumi’— ei cāhi dāna

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.54–55)

“O Gurudeva, I have surrendered My body and everything that is Mine at your lotus feet. I shall follow your every instruction. My only wish is to receive your merciful benediction by which you kindly make Me drink the transcendental nectar of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet.”

If a person can selflessly surrender in this way, it does not matter whether or not he worships his Gurudeva with flowers and so forth, for such worship is just a symbolic act meant to instruct the common people. Real guru-pūjā cannot be performed until the mood of selfless surrender at the lotus feet of śrī guru appears in one’s heart. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī relinquished not only his home but also his post as prime minister, his abundant opulence, his servants and so on, specifically so he could fulfil the desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He approached Śrīman Mahāprabhu empty-handed, and feeling “Now I am Yours,” he completely surrendered himself to Him. This alone is real vyāsa-pūjā.

What is truly the most desired goal in the world? It is service unto the lotus feet of the Divine Couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Serving their lotus feet is undoubtedly our only purpose in life. Although it is extremely rare to achieve this, if one secures the shelter of the lotus feet of a genuine guru, this otherwise almost unattainable goal can be attained. In other words, if we surrender unto the lotus feet of the bona fide guru and practise serving the Divine Couple according to his teachings, instructions etc., we can attain the transcendental loving service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, very soon.

Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself is the origin of bhakti, śrī guru is His incarnation or manifestation. Therefore, unless a person sincerely and selflessly serves, he will not attain bhakti even if he makes millions of endeavours and even if Bhagavān Himself bestows mercy upon him. It should be understood that śrī guru is non-different from Bhagavān:

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.23)

[Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of the Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.]

The true import of the scriptures (śrutis) is revealed in the hearts of those great souls who have the same unflinching bhakti for their guru and the Supreme Lord.

The people of Bhāratvarṣa (India) are indebted to Śrīla Vyāsadeva. Śrīla Vyāsadeva first divided the Vedas and thereafter compiled their essence in the Vedānta-sūtra. After that he manifested the Purāṇas and the Mahābhārata, yet his heart remained dissatisfied. Later, in the Śrī Bhāgavata Purāṇa rīmad-Bhāgavatam), by the mercy of Śrī Nārada Muni, he described the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and narrated them to Śrī Sukadeva Gosvāmī. Śrīla Sukadeva Gosvāmī’s worship of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, his father and spiritual master, was the first vyāsa-pūjā. Śrī Sukadeva Gosvāmī was later worshipped by Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī. This was the second vyāsa-pūjā. In this way, the tradition of vyāsa-pūjā began. Therefore, vyāsa-pūjā, or guru-pūjā, has been practised since ancient times. Worship of the guru is performed even before the worship, or pūjā, of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Our great fortune is that we are coming in that very paramparā, or succession of bona fide gurus, that is comprised of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Prabhupāda and my Gurudeva (Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja) and his god-brothers. Only in this succession of bona fide gurus is the conception of service to Śrī Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, especially as a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, acknowledged as the topmost goal.

The son of Śaci-devī, Gaurahari Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is none other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa but with the mood and complexion of Śrī Rādhā, appeared in this world to bestow this most auspicious gift. Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself did not preach this doctrine but inspired it in the heart of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and manifested it in this world through him. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s gift is service to the Divine Couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, in pursuance of the moods of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī is solely what He came to give. Although we are so fortunate to be in this paramparā, to truly imbibe the concepts of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī requires sincere and honest effort.

Many people who come forward to perform sādhana-bhajana, to lead a life of devotional service, become trapped by the illusory potency of the Lord and become attached to māyā in her feature as a woman. In this way they entrench their life in misery. We should be ever alert to this. The Gauḍīya Maṭha is not an establishment intended to facilitate this. What is the purpose of the Gauḍīya Maṭha? It is to sincerely and purely follow the teachings of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. The Gauḍīya Maṭha’s very existence is based on one objective alone: to follow the instructions of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī by becoming acquainted with their teachings and performing bhajana accordingly.

One who leads such a life by remaining under the shelter of a genuine guru actually performs vyāsa-pūjā. Such conduct alone signifies fitting worship of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and our entire guru-paramparā.  If one wishes to perform sādhana-bhajana by following such rules and regulations then one may stay in the maṭha, but there is no place in the maṭha for those nurturing worldly (asat) propensities.

You all should clearly understand that the maṭha is not a place for arranging and celebrating marriages. If one wants to practise bhajana in its purest form, then one should reside in the maṭha and serve Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, even though one may receive chastisement from them. Śrī Nārada’s curse upon Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva proved to be extremely beneficial for them. In the same manner, the chastisement of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas is also highly auspicious. If a person tolerates their chastisement and continues to reside in the maṭha, then he alone can truly understand their mercy.

This Āṣāḍhī Pūrṇimā also celebrates the disappearance day of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. For us, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is like an incarnation of Śrī Vyāsadeva because he has written a commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and has manifested the great gem-like scripture, Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta. Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta alone is the main foundation of all the scriptures written by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Rāghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and so on. In other words, all the other books of our Gosvāmīs manifested from this one book alone.

That is why Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is even the guru of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. On the other hand, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has accepted Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as his guru. Such are the considerations of guru-tattva. If someone feels proud, thinking, “I have become a guru,” he is not a guru. A guru never makes disciples; rather, he transforms others into gurus. One who is a real guru does not even try to become a guru.

bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 9.41)

[One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varṣa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.]

One who has taken his birth as a human being in the holy land of India (Bhāratvarṣa) should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people. In other words, he should himself perform the sādhana of śuddha-bhakti by accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru and inspiring others to do the same. This alone is the highest form of benevolence.

All of the sādhakas, or practitioners of bhakti, coming in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu should first become acquainted with the teachings of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and the principles of the guru-paramparā, and then they should preach to others. It is necessary to both practise and preach. For this end, the effort of all brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs will need to be at least a thousand times greater than the effort a householder makes to maintain his home. Throughout the day, not even a single moment can be spent making any other endeavour. One will have to engage his mind full-time in the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

It is necessary that one understand Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s special contribution to our sampradāya and why Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in this world. In essence, it was to specify our life’s highest and most prominent goal: to become a particle of dust at the lotus feet of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, to become a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā under the guidance of Śrīla Rūpa Mañjarī. This is the sole cherished aspiration for all our previous guru-varga.

May you all be blessed with this conception in your heart, and may your life thus become successful. All those who have left their homes to perform devotional service or those who are performing it at home should perform vyāsa-pūjā after having become acquainted with these teachings and principles. In this way, one should try to please Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Gurudeva, and under their guidance, try to please Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the original Vyāsa. This alone is the true meaning of vyāsa-pūjā.


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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Prabhupāda (

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