Śrīla Bhakti Vallabha Tīrtha Mahārāja: Today is the appearance day of Lord Rāmacandra. I wanted to speak about Him, but there is little time left. It will be difficult to speak more, but I will still speak about one of His pastimes. This happened after Lord Rāmacandra had returned to Ayodhyā from exile. With great honour, He was appointed as king. After becoming king, He gave a standing order to Lakṣmaṇa to check if there was any hungry man at the door before taking meals.
One day Lakṣmaṇa told Śrī Rāmacandra that He had just made a call to check, and nobody was hungry. Lord Rāmacandra asked Him to go again and make a loud call to check if there was anyone remaining who was still hungry. Obeying the order of Lord Rāmacandra, Lakṣmaṇa went outside again and made a loud call. He did not see any men, but He saw a dog weeping there. Lakṣmaṇa went back inside and told Lord Rāmacandra that there was no one outside but a weeping dog. The Lord called for the dog. The Supreme Lord is the knower of all languages, so He asked the dog, “Why are you crying?”
The dog replied, “One brāhmaṇa has beaten me with a stick.”
The Lord called for that brāhmaṇa and asked whether the dog was telling the truth. The brāhmaṇa replied, “Yes, this dog was sleeping on my path; that is why I beat him. These dogs sleep anywhere and everywhere; they should be beaten with a stick.”
Lord Rāmacandra understood that the brāhmaṇa was at fault, but what can you say to a brāhmaṇa? So, He asked the dog, “This brāhmaṇa beat you with a stick; now what do you want?”
The dog replied, “My Lord, let him become a maṭha-in-charge.”
On hearing the dog’s reply, the Lord smiled and asked the dog, “This brāhmaṇa beat you with a stick and you want him to be appointed as a maṭha-in-charge? He will get lots of service and many disciples by becoming a maṭha-in-charge. What benefit will you get by this?”
Then the dog replied, “I was also a maṭha-in-charge earlier. I did some wrong deed because of which I am now in the body of a dog and being beaten with sticks by everyone. If he becomes a maṭha-in-charge, he will then become a dog and will be beaten with sticks. In this way his punishment will be complete.” That is why there is a big risk in becoming a maṭha-in-charge. (Droplets of Nectar)
Devotee: Is it correct that the in-charge of a Vaiṣṇava Maṭha or like is called Mahārāja? A word that denotes aiśvarya and is mainly used in relation to tantric gurus or non-Vaiṣṇava gurus instead of Gosāis as seen in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: The difference between Mahārāja and Gosāi is that the person raised to the position of the highest āśrama (the sannyāsa āśrama) is a Mahārāja. A person is a gosāi who has conquered all of his senses. The first verse of Upadeśāmṛta* explains who a gosāi is. A Mahārāja may not be a gosāi but a gosāi can be a Mahārāja.
So we use the term Mahārāja for all the in-charges of a Vaiṣṇava Maṭha and gosāi or gosvāmī for the ācāryas.
*vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a self-controlled person.
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