( I wrote this some time back)..
HH Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Goswami Maharaja
Maharaja is one of the first 100 disciples of Srila Prabhupada and is from San Francisco. From last 20 years or so, Maharaja is based in India, and I think from last 15 years or so, is based in Punjabi Bagh temple. I never directly met Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada left his body in 1977. Yet it marvels me how Prabhupada touched hearts of so many people and Maharaja is one of those example. His love for Srila Prabhupada is reflected through his conversations and personal spiritual practices. Despite being so advanced in age, above 70, he never misses the morning program. He has his own many shaligram shilas and deities of Jaganath Baladev Subhadra that he worships with such love and devotion. It is always a pleasure and delight to see Maharaja’s worship of his deities. So devotional and out of love. His presence, esp when he is offering worship transforms the entire atmosphere of the place. His room is vaikhunta on earth. The entire temple vibrations are different from outside vibrations. Many people share their experience that how they feel peace of mind just by entering the temple. Yet, Maharaja’s room is still altogether special. His deities are always present there and Srila Prabhupada tape is going on 24 hrs a day. The entire atmosphere is always filled with aroma of incense.
He is always available for devotees and personal counsel. Maharaja has earlier worked in Hollywood industry and is too good when it comes to enact something. His lectures becomes so interesting when he is at his natural best to demonstrate a concept by enacting a role play. Specially enacting an atheist..!
Being in such advanced age has its own challenges. The first and foremost is of health. He always says jokingly, “Premanjana don’t become old.” “When I was young, I never thought I would become old one day”.
You name a disease, and in some form or another it would be present in his body. Despite that he is always keen on giving classes and preach.
He says, “preaching and sharing gives me life”. New comers esp becomes very attracted seeing ‘foreigner’ sharing wisdom on Bhagavat Gita.
I won’t deny the challenges we face as young devotees in taking care of Maharaja and sometimes to communicate a point since there are so many cultural differences. It requires dedicated efforts to take care of health and any issues that are associated with normal old age condition. Material Familiarity breeds contempt. Taking someone’s presence for granted…and becoming familiar…is not very healthy sign.
His presence, his worship of deities, his concerns, love and affection towards devotees is remarkable. A very simple person at heart, yet bold in preaching. Maharaja always says that Srila Prabhupada instructed him to maintain the standards. He therefore stays vigilant that devotees follow proper standards in dressings, singing, dancing and other areas like cooking, dealings, etc. Sometimes it really becomes tough to take it up. Yet his simplicity and purity of intentions win many hearts.
He is like ashutosh..very easily pleased and sometimes very easily displeased as well!!
It is really not easy to be raised in different culture and environment and then to orient oneself in altogether different place with different people, different culture, different language. Yet maharaja is doing that despite so many challenges.
I am grateful for his love and affection that I have received from him through all these years. Its always so nice to have presence of elderly caring vaisnavas in community who are enriched with so many experiences. One’s spiritual advancement depends upon on their blessings.
– HG Premanjana Das