From 1989-1992, we lived in the Radha-Damodara Mandira, and had close association with Acharya Sri Nirmal Chand Goswamiji. Sometimes, I would sit with Goswamiji, and he would tell me about his plans and ideas for developing the mandira and improving Thakuraji’s seva. At that time, Goswamijis sons were small and Goswamiji had no money. So I really wondered how Goswamiji would ever realize his dreams for improvement.
I will cite an anecdote to show how scarce the money was at that time. Just before Kartik in 1989, Goswami met me in the courtyard and greeted me with his usual full-hearted, deep sounding, “Joi Damodar!”
Up until this time, kheer bhoga was not being offered to Thakuraji. Goswamij said, “Listen, maharaja. I have no money, but for this Kartik I really want to offer daily kheer to Damodara. Can you help,” he humbly asked. He said the cost was about Rp. 1100 for the month. I agreed and for three consecutive Kartiks, Damodara got His kheer bhoga. Joi Damodara!
In the mornings, I used to see Goswamij taking darshana at mangala aratika. When Kartik came, however, everything changed and I was pleasantly surprised. Goswami himself was personally offering the mangal aratika to Damodarji.
Up until this time, I never saw anyone sitting inside the bhajana kutir of Srila Rupa Goswamipada. One day around 5 a.m., I saw someone inside the kutir, sitting very straight with his back toward the door. Every day during Kartik that person sat there without moving from 5 am until 10 am chanting, meditating, and reciting stotrams and other prayers. I asked Kanika who that was, and as a loving son proud of his father he replied, “That’s my father inside the kutir observing his niyam seva vrata for Kartik!”
During our three years together, Goswami would often sit with me revealing his plans. He told me that if he ever gets any money, he would like to: widen the darshana doors of Damodar’s altar; offer a new granite altar with nice chatris above Thakurji; widen the doorway from the samadhi courtyard to the mandir; remove the broken old stones and make a smooth safe parikrama marga; erect a new samadhi for Srila Rupa Goswamipada; install murtis of Sri Jiva and Sri Rupa in their kutir and samadhi; establish murtis of all six Goswamis in a small temple; repair and make new temple entrance gate; cover the darshan mandap with monkey cage; protect entire parikrama marga with monkey cage; build a hari-katha hall before the samadhi; establish goseva; start distribution of kitri bhog to the poor neighbors; start a monthly spiritual magazine glorifying Damodarji; improve Thakurjis bhoga standard, dresses, decorations, lighting and decorations; and build nice guest rooms in the temple for yatris and devotees.
After these meetings, I used to sit in Srila Prabhupada’s kitchen and think, “Here is one devotee who lives and breathes, dreams, thinks and talks only about the seva of his most beloved Thakurji, Sri Damodarlal. I was very, very impressed with the depth of Goswami’s attachment to Damodarji, and his burning desire to please the Lord of his life in every possible way.
Even though Goswami had no money and a family of some playful boys, still he always talked about his plans. Nirmal Chandji or “Panchu” as he was affectionately addressed, always spoke with great enthusiasm about his plans. Goswamiji overflowed with confidence and hope, knowing in his heart that surely in time, Damodar would do everything.
And now twenty-seven years later in 2016, we can all clearly see how Lord Damodar has fulfilled every single plan of Shri Nirmal Chand Goswamiji for Thakurji’s seva. This is a miracle of devotion! The grand success of the magnificent Radha-Damodar Mandir clearly shows the amazing bond of love between Lord Damodar and His dearest eternal sevait, Shri Nirmal Chand Goswamiji.
The full moon is cooling, soothing and very beautiful, but flawed by the presence of spots. The full moon of devotion for the Lord, however, the Damodar Bhakti Chandra, is both beautiful and also spotlessly pure. And that Damodar Bhakti Chandra is none other than Shri Nirmal Chand Goswamiji. Joi Damodara! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!