It is time again for the annual niyam sevā for Kartik in Rādhākuṇḍa and the village fills up again with Bengali Vaiṣṇavas for the month of intense bhakti practises. One of them is my senior Gurubrother Tapan Kumār Adhikārī, who has moved his residence from Ranchi to Asansol recently and travelled here with Viśvānanda Avadhūt. He is staying in Gadādhar Caitanya Mandir on the bank of Śyāmakuṇḍa. He went on Girirāja parikramā alone yesterday and is visiting me now in my kutir at Lalita Kund.
I ask him why Baba worshipped Śiva as Gopeśvara instead of Gopīśvara. He tells me the story of how the gopīs worshipped Kātyāyanī Devi for a whole winter month, when they were just 6 years old and that Bābā considered Gopeśvara to be Kṛṣṇa. He will ask the answer to that question to Kumkum Da when he meets him during the upcoming festival for Bābā’s viraha. Bābā said that Madan Gopāl is spreading out His hand (as Laḍḍu Gopāl) because he begs for the loving gifts of His devotees, the gifts of prema sevā. I ask him if I do not commit aparādha by preaching Bābā’s glories – they are confidential and those who do not understand may criticise him. Bābā himself was also averse to preaching. Tapan Dā quotes Bābā saying that the elephant will walk on even if the dogs may bark around him. He also says that the śiṣya can attract people to the Guru by his strong sādhana and preaching of rāgānugā bhakti, something which Krishna Di and Niranjan Babu both told me too, independently, more than 10 years ago. The flower spreads its sweet fragrance to the connoisseurs who are ready to appreciate it.
I ask if the story of Bābā seeing the sādhus at night when he was deciding whether to marry or to stay celibate (see Satīnāth Datta’s hagiography of Sādhu Bābā on madangopal.com) was a real story or a divine vision. Tapan Dā says, as I expected, it was a divine vision. He says about the story that Bābā was immersed in the Gangā while Jñāna Dā went shopping that it was Bābā's own wish, so He could do his sādhana in peace.
Tapan Dā tries to convince me to come with him to Navadwip, very embarrassing because I am so attached to Rādhākuṇḍa that I just want to stay here. I beg him and the didis forgiveness. Tapan Dā tells me some surprising details about himself. He is only 52 years old, 3 years younger than me even, and joined in 1983, a year after me too. He is a brahmin from Katwa (Mau Gram), whose family has been worshipping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa vigraha for the last 300 years. His father, following kula-prathā (family tradition) took dīkṣā from Ānanda Gopāl Goswāmī, so Tapan Dā was not a newcomer to the family. He will get a pension at 60 and he will try to make a kutir at Rādhākuṇḍa at that time.