Home

Sri Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj

Sri Bhakti Bibudh Bodhayan Maharaj

 

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai!



Though Krishna Das Babaji lived in one tiny corner of the world, his life offers a beacon-like example for all humanity, sending out the powerful message of how everyone can seek out and find happiness in the Divine through taking shelter of the Maha Mantra.


HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.


Srila Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj was born a little over a century ago in a respectable family in Bikrampur in the present-day Dhaka district of Bangladesh. He was related to Chittaranjan Das, a famous lawyer and activist for Indian independence. He himself graduated with honors from Dhaka University with a BA degree and seemed headed for an illustrious career in law.

However, Krishna Das had a strong thirst for spiritual life. His parents were very pious and made regular pilgrimages to the holy places along the Ganges like Prayag, Benares, Hardwar and Rishikesh. Krishna Das had himself been to Hardwar and Rishikesh several times, but each time returned home disappointed, for he had been searching for a satguru all his life and yet found no solace in the impersonalist doctrines taught by most holy men in these places.

In 1920, the founder of the Gaudiya Math, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada, visited Dhaka with his entire preaching party. Krishna Das came to Srila Prabhupada’s program, and as soon as he saw Srila Prabhupada immediately recognized him as his eternal spiritual master and decided to take initiation from him. It was as though his desires to find a genuine spiritual teacher were fulfilled at the very moment he was losing all hope of doing so. Saraswati Thakur’s discourses were for him like the final arrival of the rains after a long, parching dry summer. A year later, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur accepted him as his disciple and gave him the brahmachari name of Sadhikananda Das.

Sadhikananda had always been independent-minded and after initiation decided to commit himself fully to the practice of chanting the Holy Name, following the example of Lord Chaitanya’s associate Srila Haridas Thakur. He came to stay at the Chaitanya Math in Mayapur where he would remain in the brahmachari dormitory all day long to chant the mahamantra non-stop behind closed doors. All of this was, of course, in line with Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, but Sadhikananda was soon put to the test, not from outside forces, but from his own god-brothers.

Many of the other devotees felt that Sadhikananda was neglecting the other menial tasks around the Math usually given to the brahmacharis and thought that his imitation of Srila Haridas Thakur’s exalted example was artificial. Sadhikananda was eating the math’s food but not making a contribution to its upkeep. They complained to Srila Prabhupada and were surprised to hear the master defend his disciple. One day, after having heard these complaints again and again, Srila Prabhupada said, “If any of you are able to chant like Sadhikananda, you will get all your food and board without any other obligation. Krishna is the proprietor of all things. Taking complete shelter of His holy names means to take full shelter of Him. I want all of you to take shelter of the Lord and His name. If we can do this, then the Lord Himself will us send more of His servants to take care of the other aspects of temple service.”

On hearing Srila Prabhupada’s words, some of the complainers tried to imitate Sadhikananda, but none was able to match his natural enthusiasm for chanting. Within a few days, all of them had returned to their habitual service. As a result, all their criticisms stopped. Even so, Sadhikananda felt uneasy about staying in the math after this incident. Fearing that the master would again be pestered by those critical of his activities, he one night quietly paid his obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and set off on foot for Rishikesh.  His intention was to devote himself exclusively to the chanting of the Holy Name and set an example for the Mayavadis. His message was: “Give up your idea that worshiping the Lord is imaginary. The Lord has descended as His own holy name. So just take shelter of the Mahamantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This way you will achieve success in your efforts at perfecting spiritual life.”

In the meantime, Srila Prabhupada was distressed by Sadhikananda’s departure and asked his disciples to do whatever they could to bring him back. Srila Bon Maharaj, an unparallelled orator to whom Srila Prabhupada first confided the task of preaching Lord Chaitanya’s message in the West, went to Hardwar and told Sadhikananda that Prabhupada wanted him to come back to Sri Mayapur. Sadhikananda could not disobey and returned to Mayapur with Bon Maharaj.

On his return, Srila Prabhupada gave Sadhikananda a separate room and told him clearly that his only duty was to chant Hare Krishna. With Srila Prabhupada’s blessings, Sadhikananda would chant the Holy Names in kirtan for eight hours every day and then on his beads for the remaining sixteen. A few devotees did not believe that he was really chanting for all twenty-four hours of every day and decided to investigate; but were astonished to find that it was indeed true. Some others again tried to imitate his lifestyle, but were still unable to do so.

No one could understand how Sadhikananda could chant for twenty-four hours a day, but the mercy of the spiritual master is such that it makes all things possible -- the dumb become eloquent and the lame climb mountains. After reciting the Srimad Bhagavatam for a full seven days, Srila Sukdev Goswami asked Parikshit Maharaj whether he was hungry or tired. Parikshit replied, “The Srimad Bhagavatam is the wish-fulfilling tree of the Vedas, the essence of all Upanishads. Hearing it gives me the sweetest taste of nectar,rasa. By your grace, I have been drinking this rasa over the past seven days, so I am not feeling hungry at all.” The nectar of the Holy Name is such that when one gets a taste for it, one forgets even food and sleep.

Sadhikananda Brahmachari thus had no interest in eating fine prasadam or wearing opulent clothes. He used to wear a very short dhoti. He lived according to Mahaprabhu’s instruction to Raghunath Das Goswami: bhalo na khaibe, bhalo na paribe, which means not to eat or dress well. After initiation, Sadhikananda Brahmachari was ready to refuse any opulent food or dress for the rest of his life. Instead of seeking material comforts, he chanted very carefully, like Haridas Thakur, teaching us all that chanting the Holy Name is the essence of human life in Kali Yuga.

Approximately two or three months before Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure from this world, Sadhikananda had a very significant dream. He saw a great procession of devotees led by an elephant and followed by thousands of golden chariots, winding from Calcutta to Mayapur. Heading this procession was Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu, who sat on the elephant. Ananta Vasudeva was a learned scholar, known as Srila Prabhupada’s right-hand man. Srila Prabhupad called him Ganesh, because he served as Prabhupada’s amanuensis, copying down his lectures for posterity. In the dream, Ananta Vasudeva was being followed by the rest of his godbrothers on golden chariots. Everyone was engaged in an ecstatic kirtan. Before they passed through the Sri Chaitanya Math’s gate however, the elephant went mad and picked up Ananta Vasudeva with its trunk, threw him onto the ground, and crushed him under its feet. Panic spread through the other devotees and the joyful chanting was completely disrupted. Sadhikananda saw the same dream for two days at different times.

I heard about this dream from Sripad Hariprasad Das Babaji of Nandagram, a disciple of Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaj who was Babaji Maharaj’s personal assistant and served him during the last few months of his life. Sadhikananda recognized that the dream was warning him of what was to take place in the Gaudiya Math after Srila Prabhupada’s departure. While he was wondering what he would do in that eventuality, Srila Prabhupada did indeed enter the eternal pastimes of Sri Radha Govind on the morning of January 1, 1937. All the clocks in the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math in Calcutta miraculously stopped at 05:30 hours marking the exact moment of this divine soul’s departure.

In the turmoil following Srila Prabhupada’s entry into maha-samadhi, Sadhikananda kept aloof from all the politics and refused to join any of the various factions. He left Sri Chaitanya Math and began to wander throughout India, visiting many holy places and living on madhukari. For much of this time he was accompanied by my Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj. The two friends would joyfully engage in Harinam Sankirtan on their voyages.

Finally, Sadhikananda Das decided to settle in Vrindavan to continue the service of constant chanting given him by Srila Prabhupada. He chose Davanala Kund in Vrindavan to be his place of bhajan. He found a cave near the Kund for living and chanting, like Haridas Thakur when he resided near Shantipur in a cave inhabited by a poisonous snake. Similarly, Srila Sadhikananda Brahmachari gave us the same example by living in a cave near Davanala Kund for six years. While there, he used to take prasad from the nearby math of one of his god-brothers, Jachak Maharaj.

Sadhikananda Brahmachari then moved to Nanda Maharaj’s garden (Nanda Bagicha), halfway between Ter Kadamba and Nandagram, where he stayed for the next six years, continuing to follow the same lifestyle. After that, he established himself at Sanatan Goswami Prabhu’s bhajan kutir near Pavan Sarovar. This became his permanent base for the rest of his life, even though he frequently traveled to the various different holy places of Vraja and Gaura Mandal.

After many years of life in full commitment to the Holy Name, Sadhikananda one day had a dream in which Vamsi Das Babaji Maharaj ordered him to take the dress of a renunciate, or babaji. Sadhikananda followed Vamsi Das’s order and accepted the babaji dress at Sanatan Goswami’s bhajan kutir at Nandagram in front of a picture of Srila Prabhupada. After taking the renounced order of life, Sadhikananda adopted the name Krishna Das, servant of Krishna. By the grace of the Holy Name, he became well known throughout the whole of Vraja Mandal by this name. Even so, for a long time after taking the babaji dress, he hardly spoke at all with anyone except to utter the Holy Name. As a result, many of the villagers used to call him Mauni Baba.

Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj came to know of his original form as a sakha (friend) of Krishna through the chanting of the Holy Name. It happened in the following way: On one of his parikramas around Vraja Mandal, Krishna Das stopped at the Dauji temple near Gokul. Just like Madhavendra Puri in Remuna, Babaji Maharaj sat down to chant and was dozing off when he suddenly woke with a start and began loudly shouting, “Please take me with you! Please take me with you!” He then fell down unconscious. The Brahmin servants of Dauji saw Babaji Maharaj lying unconscious and took proper care of him, bringing him back to consciousness. When they asked him what had happened, he gave no answer. Later, however, he told some close friends what had transpired. He had seen Krishna and Balaram appear from the temple and head for the pasture with a herd of cows. But as they were leaving him behind, Krishna Das had started shouting to them to wait for him. After this incident, Babaji Maharaj always thought of himself as Krishna’s cowherd friend and preferred to sing kirtans connected to the mood of friendship (sakhya bhava). Not only that, but he also cultivated a mood of friendship with all of his god-brothers.

In keeping with this mood of friendship, Babaji Maharaj always moved between the two Holy Dhams, Vrindavan and Nabadwip, the Vrindavan in Bengal. He would spend six months of the year, from January to June, at different maths in Bengal. He mostly stayed at Sri Chaitanya Math, which had been established by his gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, and in other maths established by his god-brothers, such as Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, Sri Chaitanya Saraswata Math of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj, Sri Devananda Gaudiya Math of Srila Bhakti Prajnan Keshava Goswami Maharaj, the Gaura Nityananda temple established by Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj, and Sri Bhajan Ashram of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Hridoy Bon Maharaj. He would spend the other six months of the year in the different places in Vraja Mandal mentioned above.

While staying in the various maths of his godbrothers, Srila Babaji Maharaj would serve the Vaishnavas by leading the kirtans and playing the mridanga. The rest of time, he would chant the Holy Name on his beads. Through this service and his perennially joyful mood, Babaji Maharaj kept on friendly terms with all of his god-brothers. He had no adversary in the entire Vaishnava community. Everyone eagerly accepted his services; indeed, they all felt extremely fortunate whenever he came to stay in their math, even if it was just for a short while.

Through his constant chanting of the Holy Name, Babaji Maharaj was able to realize his original form as a cowherd companion of the Lord, associating with Him eternally in His abode, Golok Vrindavan.

Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj frequently travelled with his god-brothers when they called on him. In those days, my gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj, had no math or society of his own, so on occasion Srila Babaji Maharaj liked to go on pilgrimage with him, all the while maintaining his own bhajan practice. On one such pilgrimage, he accompanied my gurudeva and another god-brother, Srila Ratha Prabhu (who wrote many Vaishnava poems and was later known as Srila Bhakti Kamal Abadhut Maharaj) to Ayodhya, the land of Lord Ramachandra.

One day, Ratha Prabhu got very hungry and bought a few guavas in the market for the three of them to eat. There were many Ramanandi sages in the same place, each of whom had his own kamandalu (a water pot with a spout). Unaware that the Ramanandi sadhus prohibited anyone else from touching their water pots, Ratha Prabhu quite innocently took one of them to wash his guavas, without first asking for permission. As soon as he touched the kamandalu, however, its owner rushed up to him, snatched it and began to rebuke him in the most rude language. The other assembled Ramanandi sadhus surrounded Ratha Prabhu and threatened to beat him up for his action. However, Srila Gurudeva and Srila Babaji Maharaj’s spiritual power took effect. They asked the sadhus why they were so angry. The Ramanandi answered, “If you fish-eating Bengalis touch my pot, it becomes contaminated and that will ruin my spiritual practice!” My spiritual master said, “You are mistaken. This man is our god-brother and a saintly man who strictly follows a vegetarian diet. No harmful effects will come from his touching your water pot.”

Some of the Ramanandis said, “Maybe he doesn’t eat fish, but his father surely did.” Guru Maharaj and Babaji Maharaj began to quote from various scriptures to prove that such an understanding was completely false, but they did it in such a humble and polite way that the Ramanandis calmed down and forgot their complaint. The spiritual strength of Srila Prabhupada’s three disciples and the scriptural arguments of Srila Puri Maharaj defused the situation and the Ramanandis left them alone.

This anecdote illustrates how Babaji Maharaj preached the glories of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and how he chanted the Holy Names purely. It also reminds us of how Sriman Mahaprabhu converted the Kazi and the victory of Srila Haridas Thakur over his oppressors. Similarly, Babaji Maharaj’s pure devotional attitude had a transformative power over negative energies like anger.

By the grace of Srila Prabhupada and the Holy Name, Srila Babaji Maharaj was totally free from any kind of mundane attachment. He once bought a piece of land in Raman Reti in Vrindavan in order to establish his own preaching centre or math for the benefit of devotees. He had received some financial support from a householder devotee and began to buy building materials like bricks and sand, which were meant for a wall and a small building. When Babaji Maharaj went to his plot with a surveyor, however, he saw that the owner of the neighboring property had encroached on his land, appropriating about a foot of it from one side. When Babaji Maharaj complained, his neighbor would not agree to give up even an inch of the land he had taken. Babaji Maharaj became downcast to see such mundane aggressiveness and realized that the desire to own property was at the root of so many problems in life, especially if one wants to engage in bhajan. He immediately told the person, “My land and whatever materials are stored here are yours. I don’t want to get involved in mundane quarrels. Please take it all and do whatever you like with it.” The greedy neighbour was astonished to receive the magnanimity of Babaji Maharaj, and indeed was shamed by it. With this action Babaji Maharaj demonstrated the futility of fighting for acquisitions like land and buildings. The real value in our short lifespan comes from engaging in Hari bhajan.

Though Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj never swerved from Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to live simply and in full commitment to hearing, chanting and meditating on Lord Krishna, one cannot say that he did not serve his spiritual master’s preaching mission. I heard the following story from Sri Banwarilal Singhania, a businessman devotee based in Calcutta. Banwarilal and his entire family were very much drawn to Babaji Maharaj’s perfect vaishnava humility and desired to render some service to his lotus feet. Babaji Maharaj repeatedly refused to take any form of service from them in accordance with his lifelong vow. Nevertheless, when Banwarilal approached him one day in his bhajan kutir at Pavan Sarovar and asked him once again how he could serve him, Babaji Maharaj replied that he would certainly engage him in his most worshipful spiritual master’s service when his gurudeva inspired him. This opportune moment did indeed come a short time thereafter.

Babaji Maharaj happened to be visiting Calcutta on a day when the Vaishnava calendar reported a total solar eclipse. He was staying at a householder Vaishnava’s temple and had committed himself to performing kirtan throughout the duration of the solar eclipse as is recommended in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Banwarilal heard about this and went to the temple with two friends to join Srila Babaji Maharaj in the kirtan.

When the eclipse and the exhilarating kirtan came to an end, Srila Babaji Maharaj went to take a shower, chanting the prayers to the lotus feet of his Gurudeva composed by Srila B. R. Sridhar Maharaj (sujanArbudArAdhita-pAda-yugam). When he returned, he stood before Banwarilal and his friends with folded hands and said, “According to Vedic tradition, it is very auspicious to give in charity to a poor Brahmin. Although I am not a Brahmin…” Before he could finish his sentence, Sri Banwarilal got up, very excited and full of anticipation, asked what he, an ordinary businessman, could possibly give in charity to a great devotee like Srila Babaji Maharaj.

Maharaj humbly replied that whereas all his god-brothers had over the years rendered valuable service to his worshipful spiritual master and his transcendental preaching mission, he himself had spent his days as a parasite, simply eating and sleeping at the expense of his Gurudeva’s mission. On this day, however, he had been inspired by his spiritual master to be instrumental in whatever way he could to assist his god-brother Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj in recovering the birth site of his spiritual master on the Grand Road in Jagannath Puri and building a monument there.

Banwarilal was so overwhelmed by Srila Babaji Maharaj’s humility and the wonderful opportunity to serve an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord that he immediately fell down at Babaji Maharaj’s lotus feet. He committed himself to becoming one of the most important contributors to the construction of the temple and sankirtan hall on the site. The cornerstone was laid on March 24, 1980 and the beautiful skyscraping temple, which houses Sriman Mahaprabhu and Jagannath Deva, was officially consecrated on February 5, 1982, the holy advent anniversary of Srila Prabhupada.

To this day Banwarilal is ever grateful to Srila Babaji Maharaj for having engaged him in this transcendental service. It may be said that all Gaudiya Vaishnavas who are spiritual descendants of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the Sri Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Saraswata Sampradaya, are today able to offer our respect and obeisances to his lotus feet on the site of his birth through the direct mercy of Srila Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj.

Towards the end of his sojourn in this world, Babaji Maharaj manifested the pastime of appearing ill and was so taken by his well-wishers to the Agra Hospital. When the doctor examined him with his stethoscope, he was astonished to hear the Holy Name vibrating in the stethoscope instead of the sounds of Babaji Maharaj's breath and heartbeat as expected. All he heard was the sound of the Mahamantra:

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.

The doctor was puzzled and examined him again, with the same results. He then called his associates to also examine Babaji Maharaj, but everyone heard same holy sound emanating from his chest. Unable to find any illness, they released Babaji Maharaj and he returned to Pavan Sarovar.

Through this and other pastimes Srila Babaji Maharaj personified Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s teachings, as found his kirtan, Jiva jago

jivana anitya jAnaha sAr
tAhe nAnA vidha vipada bhAr
nAmAzraya kori yatane tumi
thAkaha Apana kAje

Life is temporary and full of so many dangers. The body will be fall either today or tomorrow, so don’t waste all your time in mundane work. We have to do our eternal duty in order to reach the ultimate goal of life. Chanting the Holy Name alone is eternal in the universe. So please take shelter of the Holy Name and engage peacefully in service connected to the Holy Name.

The Supreme Lord decided to withdraw him from our mortal vision and take him to His own bosom. On Monday, April 12, 1982, at 9:00 in the morning, Srila Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj entered the Lord;s cowherding pastimes, casting us all into an ocean of bereavement.

Many devotees still make the trip to Pavan Sarovar just to see Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj’s samadhi temple, which is being taken care of by some members of the Gaudiya Math in the renounced order. We also pray for his blessings: May he grant us love for the Holy Name and affection for the association of Vaishnavas.

 

Sri Sri Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj ki Jai!!

Jai Guru !!

Jai Jai Shri Radhey!!