by Manju-medha devi-dasi

Vaisnava Siromani

nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate gour-govinda-svāmin iti nāmine

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
jñānāñjana śalākayā
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ

Dear Śrīla Gurudeva,

At this most auspicious day of your holy appearance, I offer my dandavat pranams over and over again at your divine lotus feet. To receive the opportunity to glorify your Divine Grace makes me feel very unqualified and dumb. I cannot find the words that come even close to describing your unequalled transcendental qualities. I am not a speaker, I have no flowery words, I don’t know any verses, I don’t know Sanskrit nor Bengali, my English is lousy and my Dutch has deteriorated over the years and above all I am not able to conceive even a fraction of your greatness. Therefore how is it possible for a lay-person like myself, to glorify your Divine Grace in an appropriate way? All I can offer you, my dearest Śrīla Gurudeva, is the language of my heart….

Prahlāda Mahārāja and Dhruva Mahārāja were only young boys, however by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead all Vedic knowledge was revealed to them. Thus, only by your grace there will still be hope, even for me. For just by your mercy you can turn the dumb into eloquent speakers and enable the lame to cross mountains.

Greatly distressed and suffering in this dreadful ocean of material existence I had the good fortune of you appearing into my life. You gave me shelter, you give me life, you gave me light and you gave me love. You are my haven. This is my only realisation because I am not able to comprehend your true greatness and magnanimity. I am the lowest of the low, I have nothing to offer, have no qualifications at all, and have nothing to give in exchange for everything you gave to me. In spite of all this, you were so merciful to accept me as your disciple. From all the corners of the world and from all areas of life, many came to see you and you changed everyone’s life. You never discriminated if we were either a very high born aristocratic person or born in a very low caste; after personal gain; difficult to deal with; puffed up or proud; in distress; looking for knowledge; educated or dumb; friendly or grumpy; tall or short; pious or sinful; or whatever it may be, you accepted us as your disciples and equally cared for us all.

You are a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of his students and who can guide us to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You are that ātma-vit guru, a self-realised soul who knows kṛṣṇa-tattva, and who every jīva must approach in order to understand the science of the Absolute Truth. By your personal example you have shown us the path, we only have to follow your footprints. Your path is safe, because you assured us that, “There is no danger in following the path shown by the sādhus, mahājanas”.

In the Eleventh Canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa enumerates to Uddhava the characteristics of a sādhu: dayālu—merciful, sahiṣṇu—tolerant, sama—equal, droha-śūnya-vrata—penance without injury to the body, satya-sāra—truthfulness, viśuddhātmā—purified, parahita-rata—engaged in the welfare of mankind, kāme akṣubhita-buddhi—intelligence free from lust, danta—restrained, akiñcana—devoid of concept of ownership, mṛdu—gentle, śuci—clean, parimita-bhojī—regulated eating and other habits, śāntamān—peaceful, anīha—apathy to materialism, dhṛimān—patience, sthira—steadiness, apramatta—attentive, alert, sugambhira—very grave, vijita-ṣaḍguṇa—conquering over the six gunas, (hunger, thirst, lamentation, envy, old age and death), amānī—not expecting honor from others, mānada—giving respect to others, dakṣa—skillful, avāñcaka—nonhypocritical, jñānī—knowledgeable of the scriptures.

You possess all these qualities and more. There is no doubt. Your outstanding unparalleled personality is a crest jewel among men. You are my “one and only” Vaiṣṇava Siromani.

There are three classes of transcendentalists, namely, (1) the dhīra, or the one who is not disturbed by being away from family association, (2) one in the renounced order of life, a sannyāsī by frustrated sentiment, and (3) a sincere devotee of the Lord, who awakens God consciousness by hearing and chanting and leaves home depending completely on the Personality of Godhead, who resides in his heart. (purport SB 1.13.27)
Furthermore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam states: “Persistently endeavouring on the line of self-realisation helps a person to rise to the conditions of a narottama from the stage of a dhīra. The dhīra stage is attained after prolonged practice of the yoga system, however by the grace of Vidura one can attain the stage immediately simply by willing to adopt the means of the dhīra stage, which is the preparatory stage for sannyāsa. The sannyāsa stage is the preparatory stage of paramahaṁsa, or the first-grade devotee of the Lord.” (purport SB 1.13.27) All these stages are preparatory stages to come to the level where you are on, my dear Gurudeva, you are that first-class devotee of the Lord, a paramahaṁsa.

Fire has propensity to burn within it, but that burning propensity is not harmed by fire. The burning propensity is inherent in fire. One cannot separate it from the fire, as it is one with the fire. Similarly, your intense love for your beloved spiritual master Śrīla Prabhupāda and Kṛṣṇa was very clearly exhibited. Prema-bhakti, or, in Vaiṣṇava language, mahābhāva-lakṣaṇa, is part of your very being, O Gurudeva. It is not something you have earned, but it is inseparable from you.

In one of your wonderful classes you asked, “when Mahāprabhu gives prema-rasa, what type of container is required to receive it? The proper receptacle is the heart. You cannot receive it with your hands or any container other than your heart. Only with that container you can receive the prema-rasa given by Mahāprabhu.
You should first examine your heart to check that there are no holes in it. Is it a pure heart? If there are holes or nasty things in it, how can you receive prema-rasa? Lust, anger, greed, pride, arrogance and envy are the nasty things. These are the holes in the container. Though Mahāprabhu gives kṛṣṇa-prema indiscriminately to one and all, why is it that not everyone is receiving it?”

I must admit that my heart has innumerable holes and is filled to the brim with filth. To examine it, I have pored my heart out here on paper, and as I was sorting through the grime I came across a precious jewel, which is you my dear Gurudeva, the Deity of my heart.

Therefore, once again I beg you, as unqualified and useless as I am, like a toddler just learning to walk, please hold my hand and be my guiding and chastising father on this, for me unknown, spiritual path as I still have a long way to go and I clearly realise that without your chastisement and loving care I will be lost forever in this dreadful ocean.

Please accept my dandavat pranams over and over again and please forgive all my offences at your lotus feet.

Your lowest trying to be disciple,
Manjumedha devi dasi