Presidential address

(at the thirty-sixth annual session of the Sridham Pracharini Sabha)
Paramahamsa Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami
July 1930

I am afraid, you have all got tired by now at this late hour of the evening and I should not like to take your time for long.

Thirty-six years ago this association met for the first time in the town of Krishnagar. From some time before this meeting discussions for spreading the knowledge of Sreedham Mayapur had been going on, as the result of which and at the unanimous desire of sympathisers this Association came into existence, and the Sree Bigrahas (the holy Forms of Godhead) were installed at the Yogapitha ( the holy Site of the Lord's Appearance ) at Sreedham Mayapur.

I am extremely glad to see amongst us this night Rajarshi Nafar Chandra Pal Chowdhury Bhaktibhushan, one of the foremost of the first organisers who is secretary of this Association. The enthusiasm of a youth in this grand old Octogenerian for taking part in the deliberations of this meeting with a view to encourage us in whatever little success we have achieved in this direction inspite of our difficult position, is highly commendable and deserves our best thanks. Up till now he has remained closely associated with us as our Secretary, and we highly value his co-operation. Words of encouragement and hope from such old friends always help us to keep up our ardour in the midst of hard struggle against odds. I am afraid I fail, for my poverty of expression, to adequately convey my joy and thanks to him.

We too have advanced in years and are shortly to be classed among the superannuated. We cherish greater hopes in our younger generations who have taken up the service of Sreedham and are devoting their valuable time and energy--even their whole life-to this cause. Let us hope, brighter prospects await us in every moment of the future.

The service of the holy Name, of the holy Dham (the transcendental Abode) and of the supreme Desire of Godhead is available to all of us. Whoever takes any part in them, deserves the grateful regard of the whole world. There is no other means of escape from the clutches of worldly inclinations for any creature than the service of the holy Name. The service of the Name enables humanity to free itself from the hold of all superstitions and wrong ideas, and to be footed in the service of the Desire of Krishna (Krishna Kama). The service of Dham frees one from the jaws of Illusion (Maya vada), - the terribly wrong theory that a jiva or creature is himself God and Master, and that there is no existence, except in the human imagination, of the holy Name, Form, Attributes, pastimes (Lila) and Paraphernalia of Godhead. The service of Krishna's desire saves one from the hand of the great foe of hankering for one's own sensuous gratification. One is thereby freed from serving the earthly passions and may be installed in the service of the Desire of the transcendental Despot, in the singing of the saving hymn of transcendental love.

As the consequence of putting on this gross physical body, base desires for the gratification of physical senses have cropped up. In consequence of the coil of the subtle material or mental body indifference to the service of Godhead has grown, and mental speculations are ever driving us in the opposite direction. But this wrong direction is turned towards right if the inclination and taste for the service of Krishna's Desire dawns forth. The service of Krishna's desire is gained if and when we take to the service of Sreedham.

The Sanskrit word 'Dham' has different lexiconic meanings. But in the sense in which it is understood by the wise or seers it means 'that region or place where there is no scope of any desire for injury, of envy and mortality, and which is ever self-effulgent, spiritual and blissful.' our Lord Chaitanya was pleased to appear in this Sree Dham in order to awaken the world to the consciousness of its real nature.

But unfortunately we were not aware of the glory and majesty of the Dham. Hence we so long busied ourselves with other activities. We had no taste for the service of the Dham. We had no faith in the worship of the Forms of God. We engaged ourselves in studies and laboured under the idea of dominating over the people of the world by our empirical reasoning, scholarship, genius and force of moral character. But a great soul directed us for the first time to the service of Dham with the advice that all good would be gained by such service. The preaching of Sree Dham in the present time is the outcome of the efforts of that great soul who engaged us in the simultaneous service of the holy Name, the Abode, and the Desire of Krishna. We wish and pray that his teachings and ideal may encourage all of us to the service of Sree Dham. Because the service of Sree Dham will lead us, as a matter of course, to the service of the holy Name and the holy Desire of Krishna. Relation with the worldly abode, and hankering after the ordinary worldly life soon cease for one who realises his relation with Sreedham. Relation with Sree Dham being established, the Means of the service of the holy Name soon brings one to the Goal of the service if Krishna's Desire, and this is the only Object of life.

Every created thing is a prey to Time, and we can hardly have our hopes for any length of time. Why then is this attraction for things so transitory? Why are these frantic efforts for one's own sensuous gratification? Why is there no attraction for Krishna?--no desire for serving Krishna? Why is there such strong aversion to God? We are quite indifferent and blind to the transcendental. Diverse systems of secular education have completely enveloped us The cultivation of secular and spurious so-called spiritual literature may make us at most only mental speculationists. But that will bring is no real good. Can we not then rid ourselves from the errors of judgment of the human race? Certainly we can. If only we seek the refuge of the spiritual we can surely get out of all the miseries of this detestable materialism or worldliness.

The only spiritual Entity or Reality Who has mercifully descended to this world is the holy Name of Krishna, Who ever dwells in His transcendental realm. That transcendental locality where He manifests Himself and displays His Activities is Sreedham. By the service of Sreedham the service of the holy Name and the all holy Desire of Krishna is attained. Mere pretence to serve the Name apart from the service of Sreedham, and living aloof from all relations therewith, does never lead to the goal of the service of the holy Desire of Krishna (Krishna-kama).

No good can ever accrue to any jiva or creature except by complete surrender to the lotus Feet of Sri Chaitanya. If it ever comes to our knowledge,-even as a flash of lightening, through the causeless mercy of Chaitanya's own servants,-as to what the function of the pure cognition, viz., the individual soul, is, then and then only we can be saved from the counsels of our fellow-mortals in this realm of the darkness of ignorance.

For the last thirty six years information about Sreedham has been propagated to a great extent in various ways. But Ah! The curse of our fate! Many are still found to be wholly averse to the investigation of Truth. They are awfully busy with many other activities! But such non-essential activities are but an index of ignorance and of aversion to accept the unmixed blessing.

One of the principal objects of the Association was to make an effort for the spread of the culture of transcendental learning. Unfortunately for us the place which was once famous as a great seat of spiritual learning is at present wholly lacking in that culture. We know from the past history of Nabadwip that students from distant countries used to flock to this place for education in transcendental learning. Even to this day students, though few in number, come for secular education to the town of Nabadwip--Kulia -Nabadwip.--dominated by the (Vaihsya) economic mentality. When Lord Chaitanya introduced and taught the superphenomenal connotation of literature in Sreedham Mayapur Nabadwip, seekers of Truth began to pour in from distant countries, in great numbers. When, as Professor of the science of Vyakarana, the great Lord interpreted every aphorism, every primary Grammatical function. Word, base, and inflexion as pointing in its real connotation to Krishna only, also when He pointed out that the efforts of all literatures and sciences,--whether in Brahmi Kharosti, Sankey, or Pushkarasadi,-- pointed only to non-Krishna in their delusive phenomenal connotation, when he pointed out that Krishna is the only Word and also Its only Meaning (the only object of connotation) as well, in all languages, of all scripts, there was a great consternation among His pupils of secular learning. But lovers and seekers of the Truth began to flock around His Lotus Feet for education in the transcendental literature. But the service of the holy Name, Who is the Life and Soul of this transcendental learning, is not possible unless and until one takes up his abode here in Sree Dham. And the service of the holy Desire of Krishna (Krishna-Kama) is not possible without the method of the successful service of Krishna's Name.

This Association now claims its members from among the educated of all communities in India. But what can we offer to its first organisers except our sincere regards and thanks? We pray that their holy memory may continue to inspire us to the service of the Association.