His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Srila Gurudeva
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A Life of Purity

His whole life prior to meeting his spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, was one of purity, preparation and devotion. In search of his eternal spiritual master he left home with only two gamchas (short dhoti), a bamboo stick, a begging bowl, and no money. He completely depended on Krishna for everything. Walking and talking about Krishna to devotees, eating whatever Krishna would provide and sleeping under any tree at night. He was looking for three things: Bhagavata, Krsna and Mahaprabhu. As a travelling mendicant, he visited many Holy tirthas, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin in South India. He continued travelling until he came to Holy Dhama of Vrndavan.

Meeting Srila Prabhupada

In Sri Vrndavan Dhama Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja was given a Back to Godhead Magazine. He recalls, "I looked at the magazine, because I was searching for three things Bhagavata, Krsna and Mahaprabhu. Where it is? Oh, oh yes, here it is!  I found it here! I have found it in Vrndavan!" I thought, "Yes, after completing all parts of India, in Vrndavan, the dear land of Krsna, Krsna may fulfilled my desire here. Oh here it is! Yes, Bhagavata, Krsna, Mahaprabhu. Oh! What I am searching for is here! I have got it!" Then I enquired, "The Founder Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is he here?" And fortunately he was there! Fortunately!" The date was 15th September, 1974.

The first meeting with Srila Prabhupada in Sri Vrndavan Dham can best be told in his own words: "It was noon time and Prabhupada had already taken his lunch. He was alone in his room, sitting in a chair. So Brahmananda went in and said one sadhu has come, he wants to meet you. I was putting on that saffron dress, gamcha so I was looking like a wandering sadhu, looking like! It was paramatma's prompting, Krsna's arrangement. Prabhupada said, "Yes, call him, call him." So I went in and paid dandavat, he looked at me and enquired, "Who are you? What is your name?" "Goura Gopalananda dasa." He looked at me and said, "O, have you taken sannyasa?" He asked me from his side. I said, "No." "Then I'll give you sannyas!" I immediately know, "Oh, it's paramatma what I am looking for now it is here. Yes, I have gotten now. I have gotten now." You see this is Krsna's arrangement. How we can find our Guru? What is your inside, he'll speak, you see. Only two or three questions he asked. I immediately surrendered! I immediately said, yes!

Two weeks later in Sridham Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada gave him first initiation, second initiation in Bombay shortly followed, and then sannyasa in Sri Vrndavan Dham on Sri Ramnavami, 20 April 1975, the grand opening of ISKCON, Sri Sri Krsna Balaram Mandir, Vrndavan.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja recalls, "At this time I was given some varieties of services to do. I was cleansing the cooking pots, the big, big, handas. I was cooking prasadam, rolling chapatis, carrying water, big buckets, and cleaning. All these things I was doing. In the beginning, yes, any service is Krsna's service. When I was engaged in writing, no other service,. finished. One day, two days the devotees were eating. "Oh so sweet feast today, who has cooked? This sannyasi has cooked. Mayavadi sannyasi! (laughter!) Oh, so sweet today how sweet, it has never tasted like that!"  Everyday eating they said like that."

A Devotee from Birth

Srila Gour Govinda Swami after taking sannyasaSrila Prabhupada quoted the following Bhagavad-gita verse at the time of giving sannyasa to Srila Gour Govinda Swami:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
anasritah karma-phalam
karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi ca yogi ca
na niragnir na cakriyah

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated, is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.” (BG, 6.1)

He uttered this verse and said, “He is a real sannyasi,” then gave him the sannyasa mantra and danda. Shortly thereafter, many sannyasis and GBC members started complaining, “How has he taken sannyasa? He is a new man!” Then Srila Prabhupada told them, “He is a devotee from birth - you are new men!"

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Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gour Govinda Swami

Srila Prabhupada in Mayapur on a morning walk. Srila Gour Govinda Swami is behind to the left.


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Srila Prabhupada in Mayapur, 19974, on a morning walk. Srila Gour Govinda Swami is behind to the right. Below (in text): Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja after taking sannyasa, 1975, Bhubaneswar, India.


So one of the devotees gave me a copy of this 'Back to Godhead' magazine. So I looked at it, because I was searching for three things, Bhagavat, Krsna and Mahaprabhu. Whee it is? I said, "Oh, oh yes, here it is! I found it, here it is! I have found it in Vrndavan!" I thought, yes after completing all parts of India, in Vrndavan the dear land of Krsna, Krsna may fulfill my desire there. So my last item, coming to Vrndavan and Krsna fulfilled my desire. "Oh here! Yes, bhagavat, Krsna and Mahaprabhu. Of what I am searching for is here! I have got it! Then I enquired, "This Founding Acaraya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada is here? And fortunately he was there. Fortunately!

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