Saturday, December 16, 2006

HH Niranjana Swami remembers HH Sridhar Swami, Part 2

One day one doctor came and actually extracted seven litres of fluid. So it was quite exhausting for him. But still every day he would go to the Ganga to take bath. He also took part in the abhiseka ceremony, bathing the new Panca Tattva deities that were installed in Mayapura. He told me personally that this was the only thing he had left to live for. When we heard him say this, we all became a little bit worried, because after the Panca Tattva installation we were afraid that maybe now he would just decide to leave.

This Panca Tattva installation was probably the most amazing event I've ever participated in in my whole life. We can probably speak a little about this, too, because the Panca Tattva consists of also Srivas Thakur, whose appearance day is today. But, anyways, Sridhar Maharaja very enthusiastically participated in that abhiseka ceremony.

So as is appropriate on appearance or disappearance days of great Vaisnavas, we should speak a little bit about their lives. And as I said, when we speak about the activities of Vaisnavas, we should somehow try to see how the Vaisnavas activities are connected to the service of the Lord and therefore they are connected to the Lord.

Sridhar Maharaja joined the Krsna consciousness movement, I believe it was in 1969. And in 1971 he went to India at the request of Srila Prabhupada to go and assist in establishing Krsna consciousness in India. He began working on the project in Bombay. Those devotees who know a little bit about the Bombay temple, you know that the conditions were extremely austere at that time. Many devotees were living in a rat-infested tin shed. And Sridhar Maharaja was also staying there at that time. Gradually, he became very instrumental in establishing and maintaining our Bombay temple. He served and preached in India practically right up until the present day. Although most of his preaching was in India, he later traveled and preached in so many other cities throughout the world. Sridhar Maharaja took sannyas in 1975 from Srila Prabhupada and he continued to preach very vigorously to this day.

Although I knew of Sridhar Maharaja in the very early years, I really didn't get to know him personally until I took sannyas. When I accepted the renounced order of life in 1986, that same year I traveled with Sridhar Maharaja for some time in America. At that time I got the opportunity to appreciate many of his wonderful qualities.

Sridhar Maharaja always referred to himself as a "company" man. It almost sounds a little bit impersonal. He wore a cap that said "Prabhupada's dog". So that may give you a little idea of what Sridhar Maharaja meant by being a "company" man. Prabhupada used to say that these beads on our neck are our dog collars. He said that when you put these beads around your neck it means that you've accepted a master. So Sridhar Maharaja considered himself to be "Prabhupada's dog". Although he referred to himself in that I way I appreciated just how much depth there was in that conviction, because a dog is always known to be very faithful to his master.

Prabhupada even told a story once describing how faithful a dog is to his master. I'm not sure where it's from. Neither can I remember the whole story. If somebody does, maybe you could help me.

One time this man had to go out for a short while and left his dog with his child. When he returned he saw that the room was empty, the child was not there and there was a trail of blood leading outside. He rushed outside and saw the dog coming from the bushes it's mouth covered with blood. The man was shocked and assumed that the dog had killed the baby and brought it outside into the bushes. He pulled out his gun, called the dog, and told the dog to sit down in front of him. The obedient dog sat there while his master pointed the gun to his head. He didn't move. He just accepted the order to sit. Then the man shot him and killed him. At the sound of the gun shot, he heard a baby crying inside, ran inside and found the baby lying under the bed. He decided to go back and follow the trail of blood and saw that the dog had killed a fox and dragged the fox out behind the bushes. He then realized that in actuality what had happenned is that the dog put the child under the bed for protection, and then fought with the fox who had entered the house and endangered the baby.

The point is that Prabhupada told this story how the dog is always faithful to his master and it helps us to understand a little bit the meaning of the cap that Sridhar Maharaja used to wear which said "Prabhupada's dog". He was always a faithful servant for his master and he was ready to do anything for Srila Prabhupada. He demonstrated that by his life in this movement. He would say, "I'm a company man. I've given everything to this movement. Whatever Krsna provides I will accept and if He doesn't I will go on serving Srila Prabhupada."