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Mahanidhi Swami

 

In the last article, we heard about the glories of brahmanas.

Here Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura reminds us of the power and position of the saintly devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. May we always be blessed with the darshana, sanga and seva of the wish-fulfilling angels of mercy gracing this gloomy world in the form of Krishna bhaktas, the Vaisnavas.

 

“The lotus feet of the saintly Vaisnavas are the greatest wealth in this world. O my dear brothers! Please listen attentively. One who takes shelter of the Vaisnava and worships Krishna is never forsaken by Krishna. Others die without reason.

“The water that has washed the feet of a Vaisnava gives divine strength to a person engaged in loving devotional service. Nothing else is more powerful than this. The dust of the feet of the Vaisnavas upon my head is the only decoration needed at the time of death.

“The Puranas and bhakti discourses often mention the purifying power of tirtha jal. However, the water from the feet of a Vaisnava far surpasses the benedictory power of such sacred water. In fact, all of one’s desires are fulfilled by taking the water from the feet of a Vaisnava.

“One experiences great bliss in associating with Vaisnavas discussing hari-katha. Becoming impatient due to forgetfulness of Krishna, Narottama dasa thus laments. (Prarthana 5.44)

Satam prasangam ki jai! Koti koti bhakta gana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

In the last article, we heard about the glories of brahmanas.

Here Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura reminds us of the power and position of the saintly devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. May we always be blessed with the darshana, sanga and seva of the wish-fulfilling angels of mercy gracing this gloomy world in the form of Krishna bhaktas, the Vaisnavas.

 

“The lotus feet of the saintly Vaisnavas are the greatest wealth in this world. O my dear brothers! Please listen attentively. One who takes shelter of the Vaisnava and worships Krishna is never forsaken by Krishna. Others die without reason.

“The water that has washed the feet of a Vaisnava gives divine strength to a person engaged in loving devotional service. Nothing else is more powerful than this. The dust of the feet of the Vaisnavas upon my head is the only decoration needed at the time of death.

“The Puranas and bhakti discourses often mention the purifying power of tirtha jal. However, the water from the feet of a Vaisnava far surpasses the benedictory power of such sacred water. In fact, all of one’s desires are fulfilled by taking the water from the feet of a Vaisnava.

“One experiences great bliss in associating with Vaisnavas discussing hari-katha. Becoming impatient due to forgetfulness of Krishna, Narottama dasa thus laments. (Prarthana 5.44)

Satam prasangam ki jai! Koti koti bhakta gana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Sri Sri108 Siddha Manohara Dasa Babaji Maharaja of Govinda Kunda was a paragon of intense vairagya, japa and lila-smarana absorption. In 1847, he took birth in Madhavapura in Nadia Dt. He lost both his parents by the time he was thirteen, and thus became completely detached from material life. Leaving home, he went to Simuliya and took diksha from Advaita vamshacharya, Sripad Nandakishore Gosvami. While in Navadvipa, Siddha Baba studied Sanskrit grammar, alankara, and nyaya. After sometime, he accepted virakta-vesha [babaji initiation] from Sri Rupa dasa babaji, who was his siksha guru.

In 1881, at the age of 34, Manohara Dasa moved to Vrindavana and spent five years learning bhakti-shastras from Sripada Gopilala Gosvami Prabhu, a sevait of Thakuraji Radharamana. Afterwards, he did bhajana in Kamyavana, Nandagrama and Kusuma Sarovara before coming to Govinda-kunda in 1915, where he stayed in a cave.

All day long, Siddha Baba did nama-japa and asta-kaliya smarana in his cave, and only came at night to beg some flour for making a few rotis. While doing lila-smarana, Siddha Baba often had sphurtis [deep visions] of Radha-Krishna’s pastimes which he recorded in his diary.

Many stalwart Vaisnavas studied Srimad Bhagavatam under Manohara dasa. He also taught smarana-anga bhajana to the famous siddha saint Sri Sri 108 Kishorikishorananda Das Babaji (Tin Kudi Goswami). With their thoughts, words, and actions, these two powerful siddha mahatmas showed the way of pure raganugiya bhajana.

Despite Siddha Baba’a elevated birth, erudition and detachment, he considered himself to be very fallen and destitute. In this mood, he always criticized himself, offered dandavats to everyone, and never allowed anyone to touch his feet. He lived alone oblivious to his surroundings. He slept and spoke very little so he could spend all his time in bhajana.

Siddha Manohara Dasa Babaji defined bhajana as: “A state of being mentally absorbed in meditating on Radha-Krishna, while rejecting any other thought as poison.”

Once a Vaisnava asked him, “How can we conquer the obstacles in performing bhajana?” He replied, “If one tries to do bhajana with all his heart and strength, Bhagavan Sri Krishna will become pleased with his earnest endeavor, and then open the gates of bhajana. Strong bhajana will gradually cleanse the mind and remove all hindrances. One must practice bhajana with eagerness, intensity, patience and determination.

“To purify the wayward mind one must give up all attachments to the material world. Pure bhakti will not appear in an impure mind. And without pure devotion, one will never attain realization of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

In 1917 a.d., Siddha Manohara dasa opened a temple of Sri Madana Mohana on the southern bank of Govinda-kunda near Madhavendra Puri’s Baithaka. He wrote two books titled Vaidagdhi-vilasa and Namaratna-mala. In 1947, after 66 years of doing ekanta-bhajana in Vraja, in Sravana month (July-August) on Sukla Trayodashi, Siddha Baba entered the eternal pastimes of Radha Madana Mohana. In nitya-Vrindavana, Siddha Baba is called Mani-manjari.

Siddha Manohara Dasji Maharaja ki jai! Ekanta-bhajana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The magnetic enchantment of Vraja Dhama first captivated my heart in 1977, when good fortune brought Her most rare and auspicious darshana. After lacs and lacs of births my undeserving eyes were blessed with the vision of the mind-stealing Thakuraji’s Radha-ramanji, Bihariji, Damodarji, Govindaji, Shyamasundaraji, and the enchanting vanas, kunjas and lila-shalis of Yugala Kishora. My useless hands attained worth touching the amazing ecstasy-twisted trees of Vrindavana. My feet found fulfillment in parikrama of Vrindavana and Giriraja Govardhana. Hearing the joyous parrots and midnight cries of the peacocks attracted my ears. Smelling Vraja’s exotic fragrant flowers of juhi, mogra, kadamba, kunda, parijata and rose gave purpose to my nose. The amazing remnants of the Goswami’s Thakurajis, and the cool Shyama-blue water of Yamunaji fully satiated and satisfied my sense of taste.

During that visit in 1977, I visited Radha Kunda and had a mystical experience. While gazing at the peaceful prema-filled waters and feeling the intense spiritual ambience of the place, a prayer spontaneously arose from my heart: “O Sri Radha! I don’t when or how it will be possible, but please Radharani let me live on Your banks and attain the service of Your lotus feet.”

The magic, the sweet attraction and the indescribable enchantment of Vrindavana had somehow captured my heart. The next ten years I spent traveling back and forth between America and Vrindavana, where I would pass the month of Karttika feeling, “Yes, Vrindavana is my home, now and forever!”

Finally in 1987—my feelings, my attraction, my attachment and my enchantment with Vrindavana fused into one sankalpa. I vowed before the Lord in my heart: “O Krishna, I want to go to Vrindavana and never, ever return to America again!” With this sankalpa as my only possession and a one way ticket, I came to Vrindavana.

Somehow by the causeless mercy of Srimati Radhika, Sri Krishna, the Thakurajis of Vraja, Giridhari Shyama, Vrnda-devi, Yogamaya Yamunaji, Gopishvara Mahadeva, Sri Guru, the Vaisnavas, the Vrajavasis, and the sacred dust of Vrindavana I was able to settle in Sridhama Vrindavana. By their mercy I received Indian citizenship in 1998, and have lived continuously in Vrindavana for the last twenty-seven years.

From 1987 until 2012 I lived in various places in Vrindavana. As per my guru’s order to his sannyasis, I lived three years (1989-1992) in Srila Prabhupada’s bhajana kutira at the Radha Damodara Mandir in Seva Kunja. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada and the divine presence of Srila Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Jiva Goswamipada, I started writing spiritual books. To date we have published twenty-six books glorifying Radha-Krishna; the most famous being Appreciating Sri Vrindavana Dhama, Art of Chanting Hare Krishna and Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhis. All books are available as E-books on Amazon.

In 2012, Srimati Radhika answered the prayer I offered to Her in 1977 while sitting on the banks of Radha Kunda. By Radha’s mercy, I moved from Vrindavana to Radha Kunda and remain here engaged in bhajana and writing. Our latest publication is titled Radha-Krishna Pastimes at Radha Kunda.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!