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[Posted April 11, 2007]

Don't blow on boils - operate!


originally published under title "Simha Guru: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's Vaisnava dharma vs. theosophical humanism/impersonalism" at http://veda.harekrsna.cz/library/BSSTSimhaGuru.txt

from Bhakti Vikasa Swami's notes on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

Mission to stop the flood

What follows is an example how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati used the money collected by a Gaudiya Math devotee in the name of flood relief for his "Theistic Doll Exhibition". This proves that he did not care so much for these flood relief activities even though it was clear that the devotees would have distributed prasadam during flood relief from the funds collected. He took this step even though Gaudiya Math got such bad publicity for this apparent misappropriation of funds that both Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and Annie Bessant came to Calcutta and protested in front of the Baghbazar Gaudiya Math for three days and nights. And this is why he got the name Simha Guru.

In the year 1931 there was a huge flood in the Mednapur district of West Bengal, destroying many villages and many people's livelihoods. At the same time Sarasvati Thakura was contemplating his "Theistic Doll Exhibition" and collecting donations for it. One devotee was collecting in the name of flood relief, making a lot of money, but Sarasvati Thakura took it and engaged it for the exhibition. Netaji Subhas Bose took a party outside the Baghbazar Gaudiya Math in Calcutta in protest against this action. They had a protest party standing at the gate of the Gaudiya Math, staying outside for several days and nights, sleeping on the gate, with banners, signs of protest, and regular chanting of "Jai Hind!" and slogans in protest against the doll exhibition utilizing the funds that were collected for flood relief. In this strike, Gandhi also came to Calcutta to join Netaji Subhas Bose. This went on for three days. Sarasvati Thakura said that, "The oil for the Deities' lamp should not be used for your chakha" (Gandhi's spinning wheel). After sitting in the temple for three days, Sarasvati Thakura came out and spoke to them.

He also said that, "We must start a daily newspaper, to present our points of view", and from that time on he started Nadia Prakash, the daily spiritual newspaper. One of the main purposes of Nadia Prakash was to answer such challenges as these which were put to his mission. Sarasvati Thakura said, "There are floods in Mednapur, but you are already in a much worse flood - bhava sagar, or the ocean of material existence. Your soul is drowned in this bhava sagar. So my mission is to stop the flood of the bhava sagar, to stop that flood, a much bigger flood than these small floods which you consider devastating in Mednapur. These incidents were, of course, reported in all the newspapers, especially in Calcutta. At that time Mahatma Gandhi put twelve questions to Sarasvati Thakura.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose came one time with a party of supporters to the Gaudiya Math, at the time when Sarasvati Thakura was holding his first "Theistic Exhibition" in Mednapur. Now, at that time there had been a great flood in Mednapur, a district west of Calcutta. Because of the flood the people were in great difficulty - poverty stricken. This was in 1933. They were suffering from shortages of rice, cloth, and all essentials, so Netaji came and told Sarasvati Thakura, "You stop this exhibition! Why are you spending so much money for this when the people need practical help? You're spending so much money for lights, electricity. You have elephants and so many other things." Sarasvati Thakura then told him, "No, you do not know. This is the only way to root out miseries from the world. You are working only for the good of the body. You are treating the symptoms, not the original disease. Don't blow on boils - operate."

First satisfy Krishna

Annie Bessant, Mahatma Gandhi's friend from London, who was famous for co-founding the "Theosophical Society" also came and said the same thing and Sarasvati Thakura gave the same answer. Mahatma Gandhi also came and told Sarasvati Thakura, "Don't waste money on this. Spend money on the daridra Narayana, the poor Narayana." Sarasvati Thakura then told him, "Your idea is wrong. You cannot serve daridra Narayana. Just as you cannot mix gold and stone. This is cit-jada-vada or attempting to mix the material with the spiritual. Tasmin tuste jagat tustam - if Krishna is satisfied then the whole world is satisfied. You don't disturb us. In the Jagannatha temple they are using ghee for the ghee-wick. You don't say to use it for oiling the wheel, your spinning wheel. All the oils should be used for Krishna."

Chitaranjan Das, a very prominent, famous and wealthy advocate and a leader of the Independence Movement in India at that time, said that Sarasvati Thakura was a simha guru, a lion guru. Sishir Kumar Ghosh, editor of Amrita Bazaar Patrika, a famous paper in Calcutta, also called him like that.


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