जलजा नव लक्षाणी
कृमयो रुद्र सांख्यकाह
पक्षीनाम दश लक्षाणी
विवमसाल लक्षाणी पशुवः
चतुर लक्षाणी मानुष:
Acquatic – 9 lakhs,
Plant and trees – 20 lakhs,
Insect – 11 lakhs,
bird – 10 lakhs,
beast – 30 lakhs,
human – 4 lakhs
These are located in all over the universe in fourteen planetary system, whose name are
– Satyalok, Maharlok, Tapalok, Janalok, Svarlok, Bhuvarlok, burloka, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala, Patala.
Birth takes place through
1. Embryo e.g human,
2. Egg e.g hen
3. Perspiration e.g bedbugs
4. Seeds e.g Plants and trees
A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.
First one must control his speaking power. Every one of us has the power of speech; as soon as we get an opportunity we begin to speak. If we do not speak about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we speak about all sorts of nonsense. A toad in a field speaks by croaking, and similarly everyone who has a tongue wants to speak, even if all he has to say is nonsense. The croaking of the toad, however, simply invites the snake: “Please come here and eat me.” Nevertheless, although it is inviting death, the toad goes on croaking. The talking of materialistic men and impersonalist Māyāvādī philosophers may be compared to the croaking of frogs. They are always speaking nonsense and thus inviting death to catch them. Controlling speech, however, does not mean self-imposed silence (the external process of mauna), as Māyāvādī philosophers think. Silence may appear helpful for some time, but ultimately it proves a failure. The meaning of controlled speech conveyed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī advocates the positive process of kṛṣṇa-kathā, engaging the speaking process in glorifying the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The tongue can thus glorify the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord. The preacher of kṛṣṇa-kathā is always beyond the clutches of death. This is the significance of controlling the urge to speak.
Gopisvara Mahadeva dressed in a beautiful gopi’s attire (Above)
Bhuteshvara Mahadeva at Mathura
Four ancient deities of Lord Shiva residing at Mathura are known as dik-palas, “protectors of the directions.” They stay in Mathura to protect the dhama. Bhuteshvara Mahadeva protects from the western side.
The tradition amongst the vaishnavas is that when coming to Vraja one must first go to Mathura to take permission from him to enter the dhama. The reasons for this are described by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Mathura-Mahatmya (texts 234-238), wherein he has quoted the following verses from the Adi-varaha Purana recounting Krishna’s words about Bhuteshvara Mahadeva:
“O deva! You will be the protector of Mathura. O greatest of the gods! Whoever sees you will attain My abode. By seeing Bhuteshvara Mahadeva, all sins are destroyed. O Vasudha, one who sees him, achieves the land of Mathura. In Mathura is the deity of Lord Bhuteshvara, who grants liberation even to the sinful. This Bhuteshvara deity is very dear to Me.How is it possible for a sinful person who tries to worship Me but will not worship Bhutesvara shiva, to attain devotion to Me? Those who are bewildered by My maya, who are the lowest of men, will not meditate on, bow down before, or offer prayers to Lord Bhuteshvara.”
Also, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 17.191) by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes how Lord Caitanya visited Bhuteshvara Mahadeva in the following way:
स्वयंभू, विश्राम, दीर्घ-विष्णु, भूतेश्वर महाविद्या, गोकर्णादि देखिला विस्तार
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited all the holy places on the banks of the Yamuna, including Svayambhu, Vishrama-ghata, Dirgha Vishnu, Bhuteshvara, Mahadeva and Gokarna.
Gopeshvara Mahadeva at Vrindavana
Gopishvara Mahadeva is one of the most prominent deities in the Gaudiya-sampradaya and is mentioned in many Gaudiya literatures, being a very ancient protector of Sri Vrindavana Dhama. It is said that one cannot enter Vrindavana without his permission. His glories are sung throughout the Gosvami literatures:
श्रीमद–गोपीश्वरम वंदे शंकरम करुणामयम
सर्व–क्लेश–हरम देवम वृंदारण्य–रति–प्रदम
I offer my respectful obeisances to Sri Gopishvara, who is merciful Lord shiva himself. He removes troubles and grants spiritual love in Vrindavana. (Sri Bhakti Ratnakar 5.3741)
In the song Vraja-dhama-mahimamrta, the following line is sung:
जय जय गोपेश्वर वृन्दावन-माझ
“All glories, all glories to Gopishvara shiva, who resides in the holy dhama of Vrindavana.”
Kameshvara Mahadeva at Kamyavana
Kama means “desire”. It is said that Kameshvara Mahadeva is the fulfiller of one’s desires.
Srila Narahari Cakravarti has described Kameshvara Mahadeva in his Bhakti-ratnakara (5.841): See here the most powerful Shiva as Kameshvara.
Kameshvara Mahadeva resides in Kamyavan in the western part of Vraja-mandala. According to the tradition in Vraja, Vrishabhanu Maharaja worshipped Kameshvara to get a daughter. He already had a son, Sridama but now, he wanted a daughter. Kameshvara granted his desire and he obtained Srimati Radharani as is daughter.
Chakaleshvara Mahadeva at Govardhana Hill
On the northern bank of Manasi Ganga, by Govardhana hill is a group of five Shiva-lingas that are famous by the name Chakaleshvara Mahadeva. These five Shiva-lingas are considered to be Lord Shiva’s five faces. They protect the area of Govardhan. This part of Manasi Ganga is known as Chakra-tirtha and because he stays at this place, this shiva-linga was originally known as Chakareshvara, but now he is known as Chakaleshvara. It is said that this place is called Chakra-tirtha because when Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill, He requested the Sudarshana Chakra to appear above the mountain to dry up all the rain coming down on Govardhana, so that the Vrajavasis standing underneath would not drown. After Indra withdrew the Samvartaka clouds that he had sent to destroy Vraja, and the danger was over, Sudarshana requested Krishna to give him a place to rest. Krishna gave him this place on the northern bank of Manasi Ganga.
The present temple of Chakaleshvara Mahadeva is recent; the original one was destroyed by the Muslims. However, the deities here are very old and are said to have been installed by Krishna’s great-grandson Vajranabha.
Nandeshvara Mahadeva at Nandagaon
The palace of Nanda Maharaja is situated atop Nandeshvara hill in Nandagaon. This hill is a form of Lord Shiva, who performed tapasya for several thousands of years to enter into the Lord Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja. When the Lord was pleased with him Shiva asked for a boon of getting a chance to witness the Vraja pastimes of Lord Krishna by becoming a hill or a stone. Reciprocating with this desire, Lord Krishna granted him this form in Nandagaon.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes in Vraja-riti-cintamani (1.15):
तत-तच्छिरोभूतम अपार-शोभम नंदीश्वरम साधु-गण वदन्ति
नंदीश्वरम च यदीय-रूपं श्री-नंद-राजालय-राजमानम
The devotees declare that Nandisvara hill, the form of Lord Shiva now shining as Nanda Maharaja’s capital, is an endlessly beautiful crown decorating Vrindavana. Lord Shiva has stayed at Nandagaon in the form of Nandeshvara Mahadeva and even today, the carnamrta and maha-prasada of Lord Krishna is first offered to him.
The relationship between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu is one of achintya-bheda-abheda i.e. inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference. This inconceivability does not mean that we cannot use our intelligence to understand it, but our intelligence cannot understand it completely. The one absolute truth manifests in multifarious ways for uplifting the conditioned souls. The same absolute truth manifests to control the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance as Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva respectively. In this sense, the non-difference between these three exalted deities (the abheda part) is understood. For the bheda part, they have certain specific and distinctive functions of controlling the different modes.
In this regard, Srila Jiva Goswami states in his Bhakti-sandarbha (216):
शुद्ध भक्ता: श्री गुरो: श्री शिवस्य च भगवता सह
अभेद दृष्टिम तत प्रियतमत्वेन एव मन्यते
“Whenever the scriptures describe the spiritual master and Lord Shiva as being non-different from Krishna, pure devotees understand that this is because of their being most dear to Sri Krishna.”
After passing through the eight material coverings, and after crossing the Viraja (the river that divides the material world and the spiritual world) and the planet of Lord Brahma (the highest material planet), one comes to the planet of Shiva called Shiva-dhama one portion of which, called Mahakala-dhama, is enveloped in darkness; interpenetrating this portion of Shiva-dhama, there shines the Sadashivaloka, full of great light. This Shiva-dhama is situated on the boundary of material and spiritual worlds, its 3/4th portion lying in spiritual realm and 1/4th portion lying in material realm. Here Lord Shiva resides in his eternal form of Sadashiva.
Thus, when the material modes come into contact with Lord Vishnu, by his own sweet will, He takes on the quality of a demigod and also associates with the modes of material nature as Lord Shiva. Although ultimately He is the controller of the modes of material nature, He willingly accepts that contact and that influence. In each material universe, this manifestation of Lord Shiva, as the demigod in charge of mode of ignorance, is not eternal.
Sometimes there are statements from Siva-Sastras and Bhagavat-Sastras, that apparently appear to contradict each other. In this regard, Karttikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, says in Skanda-Purana:
शिव शास्त्र तत ग्राह्यम भगवत शास्त्र योग यत
परमो विष्णुर एव एकस तद ज्ञानम मोक्ष साधनम
शास्त्रानाम निर्णयस्तु एषस तद अन्यन मोहनाय हि
“Accept the verdict of the Siva-Sastras (like Siva-Purana etc) as long as it is in line and in accordance with the conclusions of Bhagavat-Sastras (Srimad Bhagavatam), because there is only one Supreme, Lord Visnu, the knowledge of whom is the only means for liberation. This is the conclusion of all the revealed scriptures and anything else other than this conclusion is meant only for the bewilderment of people in general.”
When Lord Chaitanya visited Lingaraja temple in Bhubaneswar, he danced ecstatically in front of the Shivalinga for the pleasure of His dear devotee and spoke eight beautiful prayers known as Shivastakam glorifying Lord Shiva. These prayers are recorded in Sri Chaitanya Charita Mahakavya, the diary of Srila Murari Gupta. Therein Lord Chaitanya addresses Lord Shiva as the Guru of whole world.
श्री नारद आद्य सततम सुगोप्य जिज्ञासतयाशु वरप्रदाय
तेभ्यो हरेर भक्ति सुख प्रदाय शिवाय सर्व गुरवे नमो नमः
I offer my respectful obeisances again and again unto you, who is forever enquired of confidentially by Shri Narada and other sages; unto you, who also grants favor to them very quickly; unto you, who bestows the happiness of hari-bhakti; unto you, who creates auspiciousness and unto you, who is the Guru of everyone.(Shivastakam 7)
The scriptures describe that to consider Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma on the same level as Lord Vishnu is an offense. At the same time, to consider Lord Shiva as different or independent from Lord Vishnu is also an offense. Therefore, vaisnavas offer Lord Shiva all due respect as the topmost devotee of Lord Vishnu. On the holy occasion of Mahashivaratri, devotees may pray to Lord Shiva to help them progress on the path of Krishna bhakti swiftly. This is the greatest benediction that Lord Shiva is very keen to offer to all living entities.
Gauridas Pandit was a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya that lived in Ambika Kalna near Navadvipa in West Bengal. Gauridas Pandit was Subal in Krishna-lila. From Puri, Gauridas had settled in Ambika Kalna.
Tradition reveals that Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai Themselves came to Ambika Kalna to pose for the deities that are to this day housed in the little temple. Pilgrims may also see Bhagavad-gita on palm-leaf there—verses that are said to have been written by Mahaprabhu’s own hand; the oar with which Mahaprabhu rowed to Kalna is still enshrined in that temple; and the tamarind tree still stands, under which Gauridas and Mahaprabhu are said to have discussed Vaishnava philosophy.
The Deities of Gaur-Nitai are made from pure neem wood, and, as it is said, bear an uncanny resemblance to Mahaprabhu and Nityananda. Once, while worshipping the Deities at Ambika Kalna, Gauridas observed the energetic kirtan that was raging around him. As the pujari [presiding priest], he could not participate but had to instead serve the Deities by offering the aratik ceremony of standard items with a steady hand. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prbhu were in the kirtan, and when it reached its climax, the Gaur-Nitai murtis on the altar, which were identical to Them, jumped off and joined the ecstatic singing and dancing.
There were now two Gaur-Nitai in the kirtan! Gauridas jumped in after Them, chasing Them with a stick. They became so afraid that one set of Gaur-Nitai (or according to some sources only Gauranga Mahaprabhu) leaped into Hridayananda’s heart; the other set sprang back onto the altar. From this point on, Hridayananda came to be known as Hridoy Chaitanya, for Mahaprabhu had frantically danced into his heart [“hridoy”].
Srila Rupa Gosvami was the leader of the six Gosvamis, who were the direct disciples of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When he first met Lord Chaitanya, Srila Rupa Gosvami was engaged as the finance minister of Nawab Hussain Shah ,the ruler of Bengal . He renounced his aristocratic position to serve the mission of Lord Chaitanya. Through him , Lord Chaitanya taught the world about the process to attain Krishna in Vrindavan.
Srila Rupa Gosvami has written many books & plays especially Bhakti-rasamrtasindhu, VidagdhaMadhav ,LalitaMadhava , Upadesamrta etc. Lord Chaitanya appreciated his poetry very much. By Lord’s mercy, he could understand the internal devotional mood of Lord. Mahaprabhu compared his handwriting to a string of pearls and requested all His associates to bless Rupa Gosvami.
The Deity of Govindaji revealed Himself to Rupa Gosvami. This deity was originally worshiped by Krishna’s own grandson, Vajranabha. Later on Raja Man Singh of Amber built a very beautiful sandstone temple for Govinda Deva.
In Vrindavan-lila, Srila RupaGosvami is known as Rupa-Manjari , the foremost assistant of Lalita sakhi.
Once Bhimasena, the younger brother of Maharaja Yudhisthira, asked the great sage Srila Vyasadeva, the, grandfather of the Pandavas, if it is possible to return to the spiritual world without having observed all the rules and regulations of the Ekadasi fasts. Bhimasena said, “O greatly intelligent grandfather, my brother Yudhisthira, my dear mother Kunti, and my beloved wife Draupadi, as well as Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva, fast completely on Ekadasi and strictly follow all the rules and regulations of that sacred day. Being very religious, they always tell me that I should also fast on that day. But, O grandfather, I tell them that I cannot live without eating, because hunger is unbearable to me. I give widely in charity and worship Sri Keshava properly, but I cannot fast on Ekadasi Please tell me how I can obtain the same result without fasting.”
Hearing these words, Srila Vyasadeva replied, “If you want to go to the heavenly planets and avoid the hellish planets, you should indeed observe a fast on both the light and dark Ekadasis.” Bhima said, “O greatly intelligent grandfather, please listen to my plea. O greatest of munis, since I cannot live if I eat only once in a day, how can I possibly live if I fast completely? Within my stomach burns a special fire named vrka, the fire of digestion.’ Only when I eat to my full satisfaction does the fire in my stomach become satisfied. O great sage, I might possibly be able to fast only once, so I beg you to tell me of an Ekadasi that includes all other Ekadasis. I shall faithfully observe that fast and hopefully still become eligible for liberation.”
Srila Vyasadeva replied, “O king, you have heard from me about the various kinds of occupational duties, such as elaborate Vedic ceremonies. In the Kali-yuga, however, no one will be able to observe all these occupational duties properly. I shall therefore tell you how, at practically no expense, one can endure some small austerity and achieve the greatest benefit and resultant happiness. The essence of what is written in the Vedic literatures known as the Puranas is that one should not eat on either the dark- or light-fortnight Ekadasis. One who fasts on Ekadasi is saved from going to the hellish planets.”Hearing Vyasadeva’s words, Bhimasena, the strongest of all warriors, became frightened and began to shake like a leaf on a banyan tree in a strong wind. The frightened Bhimasena said, “O grandfather, what should I do? I am completely unable to fast twice a month throughout the year! Please tell me of the one fasting day that will bestow the greatest benefit upon me!”
Vyasadeva replied, “Without drinking even water, you should fast on the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Jyestha [May-June], when the sun travels in the sign of Gemini and Taurus. According to learned personalities, on this day one may bathe and perform acamana for purification. But while performing acamana one may drink only that amount of water equal to a drop of gold, or that amount which a single mustard seed can be immersed in. Only this amount of water should be placed in the palm, which one should form to resemble a cow’s ear. If one drinks more water than this, he might as well have drunk wine.”One must certainly not eat anything, for if he does so he breaks his fast. This rigid fast is in effect from sunrise on Ekadasi to sunrise on Dvadasi. If a person endeavors to observe this great fast very strictly, he easily achieves the results of observing all twenty-four Ekadasi fasts throughout the entire year.
“On Dvadasi. the devotee should bathe early in the morning. Then, according to the prescribed rules and regulations, and depending on his ability, he should give some gold and water to worthy brahmanas. Finally, he should cheerfully honor prasadam with a brahmana.
“O Bhimasena, one who can fast on this special Ekadasi in this way reaps the benefit of having fasted on every Ekadasi during the year. There is no doubt of this. O Bhima, now hear the specific merit one gets by fasting on this Ekadasi. The Supreme Lord Kesava, who holds a conch, disc, club, and lotus, personally told me, ‘Everyone should take shelter of Me and follow My instructions.’ Then He told me that one who fasts on this Ekadasi. without drinking water or eating, becomes free of all sinful reactions, and that one who observes the difficult nirjala fast on Jyestha-sukla Ekadasi. truly reaps the benefit of all other Ekadasi fasts.
“O Bhimasena, in the Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, when all the principles of the Vedas will have been destroyed or greatly minimized, and when there will be no proper charity or observance of the ancient Vedic principles and ceremonies, how will there be any means of purifying the self? But there is the opportunity to fast on Ekadasi and become free of all one’s past sins.
“O son of Vayu, what more can I say to you? You should not eat during the dark and light Ekadasis, and you should even give up drinking water on the particularly auspicious day of Jyestha-sukla Ekadasi. O Vrkodara, whoever fasts on this Ekadasi receives the merits of bathing in all the places of pilgrimage, giving all kinds of charities, and fasting on all the dark and light Ekadasis, Of this there is no doubt. O tiger among men, whoever fasts on this Ekadasi. truly becomes a great person and achieves all wealth, grains, strength, and health. And at the fearful moment of death, the terrible Yamadutas, whose complexions are yellow and black and who brandish huge clubs and twirl mystic pass ropes in the air, will refuse to approach him. Rather, such a faithful soul will at once be taken to the supreme abode of Lord Visnu by the Visnudutas, whose transcendentally beautiful forms are clothed in gorgeous yellowish garments and who each hold a disk, club, conch, and lotus in their four hands. It is to gain all these benefits that one should certainly fast on this very important Ekadasi, even from water.”
When the other Pandavas heard about the benefits to be gained by following Jyestha-sukla Ekadasi. they resolved to observe it exactly as Srila Vyasadeva had explained it to their brother, Bhimasena. All the Pandavas observed it by refraining from eating or drinking anything, and thus this day is known as Pandavanirjala Dvadagi.
Srila Vyasadeva continued, “O Bhima, therefore you should observe this important fast to remove all your past sinful reactions. You should pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, in this way: ‘O Lord of all the demigods, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, today I shall observe Ekadasi without taking any water. O unlimited Ananta, I shall break fast on the next day, Dvadasi.’ Thereafter, to remove all his sins, the devotee should honor this Ekadasi fast with full faith in the Lord and with full control of his senses. Whether his sins are equal in volume to Mount Sumeru or to Mandaracala Hill, if he or she observes this Ekadasi, the sins all become nullified and are burned to ashes. Such is the great power of this Ekadasi.
“O best of human beings, although a person should also give water and cows in charity during this Ekadasi if for some reason or other he cannot, then he should give a qualified brahmana some cloth or a pot filled with water. Indeed, the merit achieved by giving water alone equals that gained by giving gold ten million times a day.
“O Bhima, Lord Sri Krsna has said that whoever observes this Ekadasi should take a holy bath, give charity to a worthy person, chant the Lord’s holy names on a japa-mala, and perform some kind of recommended sacrifice, for by doing these things on this day one receives imperishable benefits. There is no need to perform any other kind of religious duty. Observance of this Ekadasi fast alone promotes one to the supreme abode of Sri Visnu. O best of the Kurus, if one donates gold, cloth, or anything else on this day, the merit one obtains is imperishable.
“Remember, whoever eats any grains on Ekadasi becomes contaminated by sin and verily eats only sin. In effect, he has already become a dogeater, and after death he suffers a hellish existence. But he who observes this sacred Jyestha-sukla Ekadasi and gives something in charity certainly achieves liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death and attains to the supreme abode. Observing this Ekadasi, which is merged with Dvadasi, frees one from the horrible sin of killing a brahmana, drinking liquor and wine, becoming envious of one’s spiritual master and ignoring his instructions, and continually telling lies.
Srila Vyasadeva concluded, “I strongly urge you to fast on this auspicious, purifying, sin-devouring Dvadasi in just the way I have outlined. Thus you will be completely freed of all sins and reach the supreme abode.”
“If Srila Prabhupada could go door to door distributing Back to Godheads in the burning heat of Delhi despite his advanced age, why can’t I serve similarly in my own small way?” This thought galvanized Bhagavan Malwadkar, a retired college principal in India, who personally delivered Back to Godhead (BTG) magazines to 170 subscribers in 10 different cities, going to each of them month after month for thirteen years, serving them not just as a humble subscription deliverer but also as a venerable spiritual mentor. Baladeva das (the initiated name of Malwadkar) offered not only the tireless labor of the later half of his life to Krishna’s service thus but also the best fruits of the earlier half of his life – not just a lion’s share of his savings, but also his two sons, who are serving as brahmacharis in ISKCON. Reciprocating with his service, Krishna arranged for both of Baladeva Prabhu’s sons to be by his side chanting the holy names as he breathed his last at the age of sixty-six on 23rd March, 2014 in the auspicious morning hours.
A Principal with Principles
This remarkable life-journey began in the pious land of Sholapur, close to Pandharpur, the abode of Vithal, a celebrated form of Krishna immensely loved in Maharashtra. From childhood, Bhagavan grew up hearing the pastimes of Krishna and relishing the devotional songs of exalted Marathi saints such as Tukaram Maharaj. An excellent student, he chose to dedicate his life to education, becoming an exemplary teacher at the Chintamani Vidya Mandir, a college in Pune. Malwadkar Sir soon became respected for his competence at teaching, concern for his students and courage of conviction in maintaining his incorruptible integrity. In a country where education is worshiped with an almost religious frenzy and where educational failure is seen as a social stigma, students and parents often seek good grades by any means, sometimes bribing or even threatening teachers. Amidst it all, Malwadkar Sir stood tall, remaining unfazed and uncompromising even when goons sent by disgruntled parents of underperforming students threatened him. Once, when the disconsolate mother of a failed student sent her gold bangles with her son, asking that he be passed, Malwadkar Sir gently but firmly told the boy, “You don’t have to give me anything. Just give your studies more time. And if you have any difficulties in your studies, I will give you more time.” Due to his sterling qualities and his commitment to serving the student community, he went on to become the Principal of the college till he took voluntary retirement in 2002 at the age of fifty-four, wanting to devote himself more to spiritual growth.
“A good spiritual institution” becomes “my spiritual calling”
On the home front, he married a pious lady, Shalini Upale (who later became Sura-priya devi dasi), and had three sons, Prashant, Siddhnath and Santosh. In the housing complex where he lived, Malwadkar would organize kirtan programs every Saturday evening, inviting different devotional groups to sing.
Siddhnath was my classmate at the Government College of Engineering, Pune, and was introduced to Krishna consciousness in 1997 through the weekly Bhagavad-gita program conducted at my hostel room. Both he and his younger brother Santosh became immensely inspired by the spiritual wisdom of the Gita and desired to dedicate their lives to sharing it by becoming brahmacharis. When aspiring brahmacharis tell their aspiration to their father, most fathers become infuriated or devastated, being unable to tolerate the idea of their son becoming the antithesis of their dreams: a shaven-headed robe-clad monk. In contrast, when his sons’ told him of their heart’s aspiration, Malwadkar replied with equanimity, “As a father, I am sad; but as a spiritualist, I am happy. And if doing this makes you happy, that will be my happiness.”
As a responsible father, he had already visited ISKCON when his sons started going there and had endorsed it as “a good spiritual institution.” From that level of distant appreciation, ISKCON rose to the level of his spiritual calling when he read the condensed-biography of its founder, Srila Prabhupada. The tireless, fearless and peerless struggles of Srila Prabhupada to share Krishna-bhakti all over the world became a life-transforming inspiration for Malwadkar. Becoming committed to serious spiritual practice, he soon received initiation from His Holiness Loknath Maharaj, getting the name Baladeva Das.
Personalized and personal BTG distribution
Being especially inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s BTG distribution in Delhi, Baladeva Prabhu took up the distribution of BTG’s Marathi avatar, Jau Devachya Gava, as his life’s mission. He distributed thousands of BTGs not only to the hundreds of people he knew from his earlier life as a principal, but also to hundreds of strangers who were attracted by his gentle and dignified presentation. Additionally, he felt inspired to make annual subscriptions for BTG so that people would have a regular monthly connection with Krishna. Within a short period, he made hundreds of subscribers. But the infamous unreliability of the Indian postal system made the delivery of the BTGs erratic. More than the dissatisfaction of the subscribers at not getting their money’s worth was the dissatisfaction of Baladeva Prabhu at not being able to keep his promise of sharing Krishna’s magazine regularly. In his typical roll-your-sleeves get-on-with-the-job attitude, he came up with a bold do-it-yourself solution: “I will deliver BTG each month myself.”
That many of his subscribers lived in different cities that were several hours away from Pune was no deterrent. That he would have to spend his own pension money to finance his distribution-journeys was no deterrent. That he would have to travel in noisy, stuffy, bumpy buses for several days each month was no deterrent. Month after month, for over a dozen years, he hand-delivered BTG to one hundred and seventy subscribers. For most of them, he became a loved elderly relative and a revered messenger of Krishna. He continued his personalized and personal distribution till nearly the last year of his life – even after a deadly abdominal cancer eroded his vitals and even after a major surgery sapped his remaining energy reserves.
A family united spiritually amidst calamity
More than a decade before cancer afflicted him, it had taken another toll in his family. In 2001, his wife was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that had spread through the bones all over the body. He along with his sons gallantly stood by her side in the last leg of her life, doing everything humanly possible to assist her in departing with dignity in Krishna consciousness.
Even before he came to know about his cancer, Baladeva Prabhu had, following India’s time-honored tradition of focusing on God in the later part of his life, started minimizing his worldly entanglements. He sold both his houses and distributed the money equally among his three sons. As two of his sons were brahmacharis (Siddhanath had become Sankirtan Anand das and Santosh had become Sundar Var Das), he gave their share as donation to the Pune temple. Wanting to live in the temple’s sanctified atmosphere and attend mangala-arti daily, he started staying in the temple’s crowded dormitory, as the small temple had no other facility. Although this was a great austerity for him given his advanced age and frail health, he accepted it gracefully and gratefully, focusing his mind on Krishna and preparing for the final exam of death.
During Baladeva Prabhu’s last year, Sundar Var Prabhu took off from most of his services as a senior brahmachari at ISKCON Pune and focused on taking care of Baladeva Prabhu. To offer better care than what was materially possible in the temple and what was spiritually possible in a hospital, Sundar Var Prabhu arranged for his father’s stay at the hospital-cum-home of Niraj Kamthe, an Ayurvedacharya and devotee, in Saswad, a suburb near Pune. There, one room with necessary medical facilities such as water-bed was arranged for Baladeva Prabhu and another room was arranged for his caregiver. In the last month of Baladeva Prabhu’s life, Sankirtan Anand Prabhu, who was now serving as a Temple Manager at ISKCON’s Kolkata temple, came to Pune and together both sons served as caregivers for their father in the improvised hospice.
Though his disease had now become devastating, Baladeva Prabhu, far from feeling sorry for himself, remained in Krishna consciousness, requesting several of his counselees to continue his program of personal delivery of BTG. He told Sundar Var Prabhu, “You are brahmacharis meant to serve Krishna. You shouldn’t be serving me like this, nor should I be taking service from you.” Sundar Var Prabhu replied, “If it had not been for Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, I would not be serving you. But having been blessed by those teachings, I cannot not be serving you.”
Spiritual success amidst material distress
The devotee-surgeon who operated on him as a last ditch effort to check the cancer, Saraswati Mataji (Dr Mrs Jadhav) noted that though his cancer was at an advanced stage where the pain becomes unbearable and even drives people mad, Baladeva Prabhu remained stoic and focused on Krishna.
He encouraged all those who came to meet him during his last days to take spiritual life more seriously.
On his last Gaur Purnima, he fasted fully and remained very peaceful throughout the day. When asked about it, he replied, “I just couldn’t come out of Shantipura.” During his pilgrimages to Mayapur, Baladeva Prabhu had felt a mystical connection with Shantipura dham, the abode of Advaita Acharya, the associate of Lord Chaitanya whose fervent call caused the Lord to descend. On Lord Chaitanya’s appearance day, Baladeva Prabhu felt himself spiritually transported to Shantipura. About a week before his departure, he offered his last good wishes and farewells to his relatives and then requested, “Please don’t allow any relatives to meet me – now onwards I want to focus on Vitthal alone.” On his last night, he told his sons: “I feel as if an electric stove is burning in my body. Please help me remember Krishna.” Sankirtana Anand Prabhu described the spiritual world by reciting and explaining Brahma-Samhita verses and described Krishna’s sweet glories by reciting and explaining the gopi-gita. Becoming spiritually absorbed, Baladeva Prabhu transcended the pain and remained in devotional consciousness till morning, when he told Sankirtan Anand Prabhu, “Now it’s morning – go and chant your rounds.” His sons recognized based on signs of impending death given in Ayurvedic guidebooks that the end was now just minutes away. They called several more devotees to do kirtan. Then the devotees arranged to call on phone HH Lokanath Maharaj, who chanted the Hare Krishna mantra in his ears and encouraged him: “Remember Krishna.” Three minutes later, at 6.57 am, Baladeva Prabhu departed from the world amidst the chanting of the holy names, leaving behind a legacy of hundreds of hearts that had come closer to Godhead being inspired not just by his vigorous distribution of Back to Godhead, but also by his dedicated living and leaving on the path Back to Godhead.
Loknath Maharaj’s offering:
Baladeva Das was not just a tireless BTG distributor; he was also a prominent supporter and fundraiser for the Prabhupada Ghat project in Pandharpur and an active preacher in the Alandi-Pandharpur Dindi yatra (an annual mass pilgrimage of tens of thousands that lasts for nearly a fortnight). By his exemplary devotion, I am sure that he returned back to godhead.
——HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhu
Lord Ramachandra appeared in Ayodhya as the son of Maharaja Dasarath. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead .He is known as maryada- purushottam i.e. He appeared to show the ideal human behavior. He showed the world how to be the perfect son, perfect disciple, perfect husband and perfect King. Just to uphold the words of His father, He gave up the throne & went happily to forest for 14 years. He severely chastised the demons who troubled the great sages in the execution of their spiritual duties. He ruled the kingdom in such an exemplary way that till today people aspire for Rama- rajya.
Lord Ramachandra constructed a bridge over the water with stone by making the stone float. Thus He showed His extraordinarily wonderful power. Lord Rama killed the mighty demon Ravana who even defeated the god of Death. The Supreme Lord is the owner, proprietor & enjoyer of everything. Ravana wanted to enjoy Mother Sita without Lord Rama. Ravana represents the demoniac mentality of trying to separately enjoy property of Lord Rama. Just as only Lord Rama could kill Ravana, similarly only Lord Rama can destroy the demon of lust in our hearts which is our eternal enemy.
Lord Rama is extremely merciful & grateful to even smallest service rendered to Him. He performed the funeral ceremony as a son for Jatayu (a bird) who gave up his life for protecting Mother Sita. He was extremely pleased with Sugriva & other monkeys for assisting Him in the war against Ravana. It is said that all the monkey soldiers who died in war came back to life by Lord’s mercy. He embraced Hanuman for successfully finding out Sita.
It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam (9.11.23)
“O King Parīkṣhit, anyone who aurally receives the narrations concerning the characteristics of Lord Rāmacandra’s pastimes will ultimately be freed from the disease of envy and thus be liberated from the bondage of fruitive activities.”
We happily invite you and your family for the grand celebration of Rama Navami on 08th April 2014 at ISKCON NVCC. Be blessed with the Rama-katha, Naam-Sankirtan and Mahaprasad.