Prediction made by Srila Gour Govinda Swami, about this great eternal pastime site
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Devotee: I wanted to know the history and background of Srila Haridas Sen Babaji Maharaja?
Sacinandan Das: Well, actually I had no idea about who Babaji Maharaja was, until 1996 during the month of June-July. I did not want to discuss this thing with you, but for our knowledge sake, I will let you know about how this Dham came to us. Actually, it all started from the centenary celebration of our great Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON. One day my Gurudev, Srila Gour Govinda Swami Guru Maharaja, called and asked me,
“Sacinandan! I am assigning you the responsibility to render the services of a centenary coordinator for Srila Prabhupada’s cause in Orissa.” I was at that time in my Government Service. So I could not say no to Gurudev. I accepted it, but at the same time, I expressed my heart to Gurudev. I said, “Gurudev! I am presently in a Government job. I don’t know whether I can get enough time.” Gurudev stared at me for sometime.
Then he said, “Well, Sacinandan, during the 500th appearance anniversary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in 1986 when I ordered you to take that responsibility, at that time also you said the same thing. You said that you were in a Government job, but what did I say? I said you are not doing it. Mahaprabhu is doing everything. You just have to accept it and see how it works.
Surprisingly after that, you accepted it and you yourself saw how magnanimously the program was organized. The people said that nowhere in the whole planet did they ever have such a reception or even such a gathering like that. The whole program was very magnanimous….Sacinandan! Look. You were so fortunate that you even had the personal association of Srila Prabhupada and not only that he loved you so much. Don’t you love him?…”
After hearing this, I felt myself to be a great offender. I immediately agreed. Then I asked Gurudev, “What do I have to do?” Gurudev said, “You decide anything that prompts to you from within your heart, and then let me know. I’ll ask Gopal and He will decide whether to sanction it or not?”
Then I prepared a certain list of activities to be done for the pleasure of Guru and Krishna as per the prompting of my heart. That were:
1. to make some renovation and beautification work at the temple of Lord Alarnathji,
2. to develop a forestation project for Sri Jagannath Dev at Puri.
3. to organize a Hare Krishna Mahotsav (Centenary celebration), a public reception program and also
4. to establish a spiritual university under the name of Jayadev- Bhaktivedanta Vedic University at the outskirts of Bhubanesvara city.
You know Jayadev?
keshava drta narahari rupa jaya- Jayadev, the compiler of Geeta Govinda. We wanted to establish this university at his birthplace on the bank of river Prachi. This university was made in order to accommodate and train the serious Krishna conscious devotees from all across the world. Surprisingly we got so much help. However as the land available at his birth place was considered to be highly inadequate for the establishment of a world order spiritual university, therefore even the Government of Orissa helped and provided us with 200 acres of land, on a very low cost 99 years lease basis at the outskirts of Bhubanesvara city, which is now very much well within the greater city of Bhubanesvara at present.
After hearing these Gurudev became very enthusiastic and supported the idea like anything, but one day, all on a sudden, he called me. At that time, many devotees were present. Atmaram Prabhu was there, Jagadish Pandit Prabhu was there, some mathajis were there, two more devotees were there (i.e.) a devotee from abroad, I don’t remember properly. However, many devotees were present. Gurudev did not like his confidential matters to be discussed openly. In front of everyone, however, Gurudev still said,
“Sacinandan. This subject matter should not be told to anybody.”
Then he said, “This is a very confidential saying. I know that you cannot keep any secret, but I am forced to tell this to you because yesterday the Supreme Lord Gopal appeared to me.” I asked, “Gurudev. Was it in your dream?” Gurudev seriously said, “Gopal appeared!” He was indeed so close to Gopal. I did not speak any more. He then said, “Gopal told me that whatever you were doing with your simplicity of heart and a great goal, in connection with the university project, would ultimately turn to a point of power struggle where many personalities will try to hold controlling positions as a consequence to which fighting will go on and the creeper of devotion, which is the supreme goal of life, would go away. Sacinandan! My advice is that you must withdraw yourself from the university activities.”
I was shocked. We already had 200 acres of land, which was made available to us, so to say almost freely from the Government, the market cost of which would be not less than 10,000,000 rupees by then. We got everything ready. Tremendous progress was made. I could not believe what I heard. I was completely puzzled. By great difficulty, I gathered myself and surrendered unto Gurudev. I had to accept my Gurudev’s order.
Then after sometime Gurudev told: “Sacinandan! Do not get disheartened! Mahaprabhu’s most inconceivable Lila Bhumi (pastime site) will come on your way to render services!”
I thought that Gurudev was trying to console me. Of course when I was a child I remember a man, who was learned in the Bhrgu-samhita, coming and showing to me in a blank bhoja leaf what my past, present and future was. It was mentioned that in future when this kid would reach a certain age, a Shresta Bhagavad Lila Pittha (supremely spiritually potential site) would come where in this offender would be instrumental to bring the same great divine site to the limelight, by the arrangement of providence. That was a fact, but seemingly Gurudev did not know it.
Of course, he knows everything. He is the seer of truth, but still. Anyway… Then he said, “Don’t get disheartened Mahaprabhu’s inconceivable pastime site will come on your way to render services.”
He told this in front of all the assembled devotees. I thought that Gurudev was trying to console me. I did not say anything, because I was already in shock by hearing this. Then I came back.
The disappearance pastime of Srila Gour Govinda Swami
After some days, Gurudev presented his eloquent speech continuously for 4 days, to thousands of people, in the Hare Krishna Utsav held at Bhubanesvara. Afterwards when he left to Mayapur, over there some devotees from the west came and approached him in the morning, asking him to explain the reason why Lord Jagannath’s shape look so peculiar. Gurudev laughed in joy.
Then he started to narrate to them in his room during the evening hour. He narrated about the inconceivable vipralambha prema—the Love of Godhead that takes place in the pangs of separation. The real union, of the inner soul. After hundreds of years of apparent separation when the supreme Divine Couple Radha and Krishna met with each other, eyeball to eyeball.
That was the ultimate unlimited expression of the inconceivable Supreme Transcendental Love…His extempore narration continued on and on and thus after a while Gurudev came to stage where he could not speak anymore further. His throat was chocked up and he shouted loudly, “Chant! Chant!” (“Nama Koro!”). Everybody chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as ordered. At that time, Srila Gurudev called “Gopal! Gopal!” and left the planet.
During that particular time, one devotee who was the pujari for Gopal, in the Radha Gopaljiu temple of Gadaigiri, phoned to us and said, “Prabhu! There was no wind, nothing. Still from Srimati Radharani’s garland of roses, two roses fell down straight one each on the picture of Gurudev and the other on the picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada (that was on his appearance day). Please, try to explain what could be its meaning.” We said, “We think Srimati Radharani is proclaiming the glories of Gurudev same in par with the great Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.” A few minutes later Atmarama Prabhu and a devotee phoned to me and cried saying, “Gurudev has left!”
After hearing this, I was almost collapsed. The phone that I was holding fell down and broke into pieces. I remained in shock for at least 4 months. I did not speak to anybody for a long time. Gurudev departed from this planet in such a shocking way. His departure was very shocking, but at the same time very glorious. History had never witnessed such a glorious departure.
The meeting of Srila Haridas Sen Babaji Maharaja
A few months then passed away. One day at about 4 o’ clock in the morning, someone came and knocked at my door. I opened the door and found one young man holding an old sadhu by his hand. It was Srila Haridas Sen Babaji Maharaja. At that time, I did not know who this old saint was. He was at that time around 83 years old. I immediately put my dandavat pranam to him. That was the first time in my life I had ever seen Babaji Maharaja. Then I wanted to know the reason why he came and in what way I could have helped him.
Babaji Maharaja (as he is popularly known as) introduced himself and said that he was the hereditary sevak (servant) of Their Supreme Lordships Sri Sri Radhavinod Bihari, Who is a glorious self-manifested Deity of the Supreme Lord. These Deities have a very rich history. Babaji Maharaja was explaining that they had hundreds of acres of property over there but no one to look after that property. I first thought that Babaji Maharaja had come to ask me to help him in the renovation of the temple over there or something like that, but Babaji Maharaja clearly said “No! I have come to take you to Dandabhanga Dham!” Dandabhanga Dham? I read in sastras about Dandabhanga but I was not very mindful about its location. I asked Maharaja “Out of all the people in the world why did you come to this worm in the stool, this offender like me? You could have gone to a pure soul…” He said, “Sri Sri Radhavinod Bihari had inspired me to come to you. You cannot imagine. Actually, They Themselves guided me, step by step, and especially your prime worshippable Gurudev had guided me how to come here.”
I was surprised after hearing this, but then immediately I remembered the words of my Gurudev, about how he predicted that Mahaprabhu’s most inconceivable Lila Bhumi would come on its way to this rotten servant to render service.
This was the Dandabhanga pastime site in the year 1996. At that time there were no means of transportation and it had a jungle like environment. It was a place normally meant for the local people to come and pass stool.
Then he brought me to Dandabhanga, but at that time, there was no bridge, nor any road and I found only a jungle like environment with many trees. In 1999, the Super Cyclone, which hit Orissa, had uprooted many trees. Otherwise, before, there were so many trees. At that time, this land was a spot where most of the local villagers would come and pass stool. It was so disgusting.
At every step I put, I could find lots of human stool. At that time, even the land was not one. It was split and owned separately by different groups. These lands were under the status of the forestland, on the other hand, the lands in question belonged to either various religious trusts, village communities and to private individuals as well. In this way, it was needed for us to go through a hectic job of visiting so many government offices and contacting so many important people, from the State as well as Central department of forest and environment, office of the State Endowment Commissioner and many notable personalities as well, in order to get the lands free for our occupation. Moreover, this place was in between two rivers and had no access for transportation or communication of any means. There was neither a bridge nor even a road. The view of developing this land was far out of sight. After considering all of these factors, I remained in great doubt and hesitation. I did not want to take this responsibility. I was going to deny to Babaji Maharaja, but at that time, he again immediately reminded me of my Gurudev.
He said, “I am an eternal servant of Sri Sri Radhavinod Bihari. I might not have seen your Gurudev, but know this for sure from me that not only Sri Sri Radhavinod Bihari had made me bring this to you but your Srila Gurudev is right now holding my hand and asking me to hand over the responsibility of serving this great Divine Land. I want you to just start rendering service to this Dham. You will see for yourself, how Mahaprabhu is making the arrangements.”
I was surprised after hearing this. I was reminded of Srila Gurudev and immediately gained a little faith and started whatsoever insignificant services to this unparallel Dham of Sriman Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda Prabhu, which is located within the core area of the world wide popular Sri Jagannath Puri Dham.
Thus we started systematically and thus initially started contacting some devotees in order to get some laksmi. In this process, my dear godbrother Sripad Jagadish Pandit Prabhu from Australia, generously and selflessly came forward to extend all possible assistance to serve the holy land. Once both of us tried and called a person from Bhubanesvara. We explained to him about the situation. Surprisingly, he turned out to be so generous that he immediately handed over an amount of Rs 20, 000/-. In this way we managed to collect our first sum of Rs 20, 000/-.
Then after that when Srila Sivaram Swami Maharaja was explained about the glories of Dandabhanga as being the most supremely inconceivable pastime site of Lord Caitanya, he was so much inspired that immediately he came forward with extending all possible moral and financial help and ordered his senior disciples to selflessly raise funds for this great mission. In between, my brother Sripad Jagadish Pandit Prabhu had organized 40,000 Rs, which was used together with the earlier funds collected for the construction of 2 asbestos rest sheds over the small patch of Land donated by Srila Haridas Sen Babaji Maharaja.
Then, next to our astonishment, we saw that the government themselves came and built a mud filled road close to this land. Like this, after rendering some more services and we later also saw that the Government came forward again and this time built a bridge connecting the road and Dandabhanga Dham. We were surprised and when we went to inform this to Babaji Maharaja, he said:
“Now are you convinced? See how the Lord is reciprocating. You should continue to render your services with faith! Mahaprabhu is Himself doing all these arrangements.”
Later on, I was able to discover a very confidential subject matter from the lotus lips of Srila Babaji Maharaja. Actually, he had stressed to me not to reveal it to anyone before his departure. But still I’ve decided to reveal it because I feel that the time has now come and I don’t know if I am committing any offense by such a disclosure.
He had told all these things personally to me. It so happened that one day Babaji Maharaja, while being assisted by a young devotee boy, was returning back from the shrine of Kapatesvara Mahadev, he slipped and fell down into the river Dandabhanga. He fell just like a ring ball and laid down under the river waters. There he started eating the mud from below. Babaji Maharaja was at that time 81-82 years old. He was seated underneath the river, in a lotus posture, and was completely immersed in Gaura Prema.
The young devotee boy did not know what was happening. He was terrified. He thought that Maharaja might have suffered from some heart attack. He applied his mundane intelligence and shouted, “Maharaja! Maharaja!” Babaji Maharaja could not hear him because he was in his samadhi. However, when he shouted loudly, Maharaja heard him. Babaji Maharaja asked loudly, “Yes! What do you want?!” This devotee asked, “Maharaja! Are you going to take a holy dip?” Maharaja shouted, “Is this a question to be asked?!!! The life air may go away at any moment of time!!!” The boy asked: “Pardon me?” Maharaja then said, “Arey baba! For you local people who are all living close by, this river is only meant for catching fish and washing clothes, but do you ever know?! Actually in reality, this place is the most inconceivable supreme and potential spiritual site of the entire universe and is meant exclusively for this age!!!!! It is completely chinmaya (living) not jada (dead).”
Afterwards I asked Babaji Maharaja to tell me what had happened exactly. He was reluctant in the beginning, but at the end he said, “I am not supposed to tell this to anybody but now I have decided to tell you, and at the same time I also know that you cannot keep any secret from anyone. However, still I am going to tell you because after all I feel that I am destined to.”
Then he continued. He said, “actually, while I was taking the pleasant darsana of Lord Kapatesvara Mahadev, I was meditating upon how Madhava, that is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the form of Lord Ramacandra met his chief devotee Lord Sivaji, as Kapatesvara Mahadev. I was thinking like this. Then when I was returning back, climbing over the embankment, I came across this ecstatic and unbelievable scene.
Sacinandan Prabhu! This is very confidential. I have never told this to anyone so far. You know. At that time, I clearly saw the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna in His most effulgent Gaura form as Sri Caitanya, smiling and walking. It was like as if lot of vibrations of unlimited mercy were spreading from Him, all around the universe. There was a lot of bright radiation, equivalent to that of trillions of suns, emanating from His divine face and body, but surprisingly that radiation was causing a very cooling and soothing effect to my inner soul, heart and mind. Then little behind Sriman Mahaprabhu, I saw Lord Nityananda and the other associates coming and then I saw Yamuna Devi in a beautiful form prostrating down in front of Sriman Mahaprabhu and ready to catch His Divine Lotus Feet. She then prayed “Oh, Mahaprabhu! In this most munificent incarnation of your Supreme Lordships, all the fortune has gone to Ganga. I am happy for that, but I am deprived of your blessings.”
Then Sriman Mahaprabhu said, “Yamuna, you are also my other nitya sakhi (eternal lady companion). Do not worry. I am in my sannyasa form in this incarnation. You will remain with me forever in the form of your water.” After that Mahaprabhu took his kamandalu (water pot) and filled it with her water, and then he said, “Now, Lord Nityananda will come and break my danda (staff) into three pieces and put it in your sacred waters. And after that I will remain with you here in the form of My danda to shower and award Krishna-prema, which is the most supreme and inconceivable aim of even great elevated and liberated souls, like Lord Brahma and Lord Sivaji.” After Mahaprabhu said this, he proceeded further.
Babaji Maharaja continued, “after this, the entire scenario just disappeared and I found each and every hair of my body dancing as if they were chanting Hare Krishna. I could not believe what was happening. I fell down into the river. The mud of this river was no longer mud for me. It was simply the most supreme divine nectar and I could not stop myself from drinking it. It was so tasty and so divine. At that time, I clearly saw a sila (stone) floating on the water. I was thinking how could it be floating on water. I first thought that it could be a piece of thermo coal because normally the people around used thermo coal during different festivals like Ganesh Puja, Durga Puja etc. Like this, I noticed that this thing came closer and closer and finally touched my chest (heart). At that very moment, a total transformation in my consciousness took place. My consciousness immediately got elevated to Goloka Vrindavan. I felt that really I was no longer in this material world but in the world of Goloka Vrindavan. For nearly an hour or so, I was again simply immersed in drinking this outstanding nectar.
Then I came back to consciousness and with great care, I saved this sila. I know for sure that this sila is nothing but the embodiment of the unlimited mercy of Sriman Mahaprabhu. This is Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s Prema Sila, which is meant to distribute Krishna-prema. Now I am going to give it to you, but please remember that this sila itself is the life and soul of this Dham. Please keep it very carefully because for this sila itself, people from all over the world will come with faith to pay their obeisances and get Krishna-prema. That will happen in due course of time.”
In that way, after speaking this, Babaji Maharaja handed over the sila to me.
Babaji Maharaja is undoubtedly a great soul
To prove this I can right now give you three reasons out of many. Srila Haridas Sen Babaji Maharaja is the direct descendent of Srila Sivananda Sen who was one of the eternal associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Babaji Maharaja was never married and was brought up as a naishtthika brahmacari (celibate life from childhood). He is in fact a great sadhu and is one such paramahamsa who had the rarest fortune to take the lila darsana of Mahaprabhu’s most supremely inconceivable Dandabhanga pastime.
He is now suffering physically but I will tell you, he was so active by then that no one could ever imagine. He was a living Vedic encyclopedia and used to many times walk for about more than 30km at a stretch even at such old age. One day I remember seeing Babaji Maharaja sustaining a great injury. His skull had been badly affected. Blood came out like anything. So much blood that it could fill up a pot. The doctor said that with such an injury it would not be possible by anyone, even a young man, to remember anything because of loosing so much amount of blood. Then he was also under a cardiac arrest for two and a half minutes.
The doctor said that it was not possible to take him by ambulance because there would be a possibility that he could leave his body at any moment. However, when I along with my other most intimate godbrother Atmarama Prabhu arrived there, we saw him look at us, and with extempore narrations, he started to recite verses from scriptures and said to me “Sacinandan prabhu! Why did you come here leaving the Param Dham? You know, the local people will trouble you because it is the arrangement of Kali-yuga and Maya to see that you get disgusted and not go to the Dham, but overcome those feelings and serve the Dham, serve Mahaprabhu, you will get everything. You will get the Supreme Lord Krishna. Why have you come here?”
I noticed that this was some thing unique. The doctors were surprised to see him speak like this. They had never seen such a thing happen in their whole carrier. Babaji Maharaja is not at all an ordinary soul. He is a great Mahatma. I am already convinced of that.