Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s revolutionary and practical vision for worldwide
preaching is revealed in his newsletter the Godruma Kalpdatavi. For members of ISKCON
today, when almost all of us live and work outside of the temples, the Godruma
Kalpatavi presents a refreshing perspective, wherein everyone is encouraged to assume
an essential role in propagating Lord Caitanya’s movement. Written more than a
century ago, the Godruma Kalpdtavi contains uniquely valuable time palace instructions
for all "employees"of the Nama Hatta.
I feel grateful and honored for being given the opportunity to write a foreword to
Godruma Kalpatavi, by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a masterpiece in the world’s
spiritual literature. In this edition His Holiness Jayapataka Swami illuminates each
verse with a comprehensive and inspiring commentary, based on the profound wisdom
and experience he has acquired while implementing the teachings for over forty
Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a divinely empowered messenger of the absolute truth as
taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was a fearless spiritual revolutionary who cut
through deviations and hypocrisy to establish the original, pure message of Godhead as
it has been safeguarded by an ancient line of exalted saints. He was honored as a man
of the highest integrity-by everyone, from British lords and ladies to babdjis living in
the forests. He tirelessly wrote volumes of literature and composed thousands of songs
and prayers, all of which are accepted by millions as being non different from revealed
a Bhaktivinoda Thakura mastered the art of presenting a timeless philosophy in a manner
"that is accessible to modern man and is thrilling to the mind. One can easily feel
Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ecstasies of pure love of God in his every word. Compassion,
humility, and devotion overflowed from his heart. His universal vision of spirituality
can infuse all great religions with the essence of love of God, and of deep compassion
The Godruma Kalpatavi offers the gift of ecstatic love to everyone, everywhere. In
"this publication, Bhaktivinoda Thakura compares Lord Nitydnanda’s outreach of
divine love to a marketplace wherein all can participate. The product being marketed
is ecstatic love, achieved through the chanting of the holy names of the Lord—Hare
"Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama,
Hare Hare—and the currency with which it can be purchased is simply one’s faith and
willingness to try the chanting. Through the creative genius by which Bhaktivinoda
Thakura has presented this concept, all of us, even today, can be an intimate part of
"this unbelievable current of mercy.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a spiritual descendant in the -
line of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, transported the essence of spirituality throughout the.
world. His personal qualities, his lectures, and the literature he composed transformed
countless hearts, and his mission of compassion moved many to assist him.
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami was one of Srila Prabhupada’s earliest intimate disciples
to unconditionally offer their life in this great mission. Back in 1970, Srila Prabhupada
proclaimed to the majority-leader of the Indian parliament, "Jayapataka Swami is’
an eternal associate of Lord Caitanya." From that time, Jayapataka Swami, who was
a young American boy from Wisconsin, based himself in Bengal, India, where he
graciously endured great hardships as he traveled from primitive villages to swarming, .
filthy cities to give the charity of pure devotional service. He learned the Bengali
language fluently, and quickly became one of the most active and dynamic spiritual
leaders of the state, reaching millions of people. As time passed, he tirelessly circled.
the world several times a year. 8
It is fascinating to witness how Jayapataka Swami realized Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s
Godruma Kalpdtavi and then actively applied the science to create a devotional revival.
The result is truly amazing. Throughout the world, he has established congregations
that are expanding tremendously, especially in India, the Middle East, and Southeast
Jayapataka Swami’s lucid translation and commentary of Godruma Kalpdtavi is steeped
in profound knowledge and realization, and is specially blessed by Srila Prabhupada
and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. This book is immensely entertaining and emotional,
while simultaneously presenting a strategic, scientific, and well-managed method
whereby all can harmonize our talents to spread Krsna’s love and, in the process, attain.
Recently, Jayapatakaé Swami endured a devastating stroke. Medically, it was almost
impossible for him to survive. As thousands around the world pray, he is gradually.
recovering. To our great wonder, in his gracious and humble spirit Jayapataka Swami
never complained, but accepted it all as the grace of Krsna. In fact, as soon as he
regained consciousness he exhibited his enthusiasm to travel and help others expand
the marketplace of the holy name.
We thank Jayapataka Swami for this priceless book, and for his beautiful life of devotion.
"To teach by His personal example how to awaken one’s love for the Supreme Lord
and how to be engaged in pure devotional service, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most
merciful incarnation of Lord Krsna, sometimes comes to this material world in the
role of a devotee of Krsna. Although Lord Caitanya’s spiritual mission was somewhat
suppressed during the adverse circumstances of British rule in India, Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura, a prominent spiritual master of the Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession,
nonetheless assumed responsibility for reviving the movement and making it available
to everyone. Through his endeavors, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was able to reestablish the
Gaudiya sampradaya and once again manifest the widespread preaching and practice
of Krsna consciousness throughout the Indian subcontinent.
The Godruma Kalpdtavi (The Desire-tree Groves of Godruma) was a newsletter pro-
duced by Bhaktivinoda Thakura to guide the leaders and members of his new preachifig
movement. I was able to secure five issues of this newsletter. I do not know if any
more are extant. I obtained these five issues when at the beginning of our preaching in
West Bengal, His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami gave me a copy of the Gaudiya Patrika,
a magazine that had been edited by "Abhaya Carana Bhaktivedanta." The magazine
contained an article that cited five issues of the Godruma Kalpdtavi. I translated those
issues into English and, in 1979, presented the work as a small book. Coincidentally,
at that time I had been considering to call our congregational preaching movement
the "ISKCON Sankirtana Organization," but when I discovered that the name "Nama
Hatta" derived from Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Lord Nityananda, I realized that this
same traditional name was applicable also to our initiative. Consequently, I considered
that this name Nama Hatta was actually given by Srila Prabhupada himself, since he
had been the president of the Gaudiya Patrika magazine.
From the Godruma Kalpatavi newsletter, we have gathered that Bhaktivinoda Thakura
established at least five hundred Nama Hatta groups and was actively preaching amongst
grhastha devotees. By his personal guidance and preaching example, he was able to
revive Lord Nityananda’s Nama Hatta preaching program. In the Godruma Kalpazavi,
Bhaktivinoda Thakura deale with the practical circumstances encountered in the
course of his preaching. Therein he gave his followers various practical instructions,
most of which are still relevant today. His purpose was practical in principle—such as
his authorizing any kind of music provided that the lyrics were Krsna conscious. Similarly,
in ISKCON we have writers of music, art, and so on, all of which can be used in
devotional service if the end result is Krsna consciousness. We see how those
instructions of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s were applicable not only for his time but also for the
future. lt is significant to witness the direct guidance and words of one of our Gaudlya
Vaisnava dcaryas to the devotees of that day, regarding how they should apply Krsna
consciousness in the preaching field. This is the speciality of the Godruma Kalpdtavl.
Written approximately 120 years ago, these Godruma Kalpdtavi newsletters describe a
transcendental market wherein the Lord's holy names are systematically distributed to
faithful customers who are willing to accept such a spiritual product. Based upon the
"currency" of one’s faith and devotion for the Supreme Lord, everyone—regardless
of cast, creed, color, or religion—is eligible to purchase the holy name. Specific
descriptions of roles and duties, as well as cautions and guidelines, are provided by
Bhaktivinoda Thakura to his Nama Harta "employees," the distributors of the holy
name amongst the general populace.
By the mercy of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the
previous Gaudiya Vaisnava acdryas, Lord Caitanya’s message of service to Lord Krsna
is certainly spreading far and wide all over the world—and this was predicted more
than a century ago by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Today we are witnessing the fulfilment
of that prediction, for Krsna consciousness is reaching to people in every country and
is tangibly benefiting their lives through the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra
and the practice of devotional service. Attempting to follow in the footsteps of
our spiritual predecessor Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was the great—grand-spiricual-
master of ISKCON’s founder-dedrya, Srila Prabhup4da, we most sincerely desire to share
Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s instructions regarding Nama Hatta preaching.
Over the years, I have commented and lectured on the instructions contained in these
Godruma Kalpatavi newsletters, while simultaneously applying those instructions and
guidelines in che preaching work of the Congregational Development Ministry. This
current version of Godruma Kalpdtavi includes those commentacies, through which
I tried to give insight and purport to Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s words. Having lived in
India for over forty years, I have gained significant experience in the matter of preaching
to the congregation. Through the Congregational Development Ministry, we wish
to share this experience and understanding to provide a broader context regarding the
Nama Hatta, which will be more easily understandable and applicable by devotees of
this modern age.
In his explanation of the Nama Hatta system, Bhaktivinoda Thakura assigned to every
member a particular job description—some form of work in the preaching structure.
Whether an employee was selling or doing something else, the understanding was that
everything was transpiring under the direction of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya.
It is notable that the position of Lord Nityananda as the chief trader of the transcen-
dental market, and also the role of the traders from Navadvipa, Vendavana, and Jagannatha Puri,
are emphasized. Within this scheme, Bhaktivinoda Thakura maintained a
very humble status, placing himself as the sweeper of the marketplace. Nothwithstanding
one’s social position, all had a role to play in the Nama Hatta. The instructions in
Godruma Kalpatavi are certainly pertinent to our ISKCON society, for currently over
ninety percent of our members work outside the institution and practice devotional
service at home.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura was considering how he could present Krsna consciousness as
relevant for all—how everyone could become an employee of the Nama Hatta and
preach Krsna consciousnes. Because at that time Bhaktivinoda Thakura was working
for the British government, he was thus preaching through his own example. There-
fore, even though one may be working in the material world, all are eligible to be a
Krsna conscious marketer of the holy name.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati instructed his disciples to broadcast the glories of
Sridham Mayapur and of Navadvipa Parikrama, to print books, and to establish the
Nama Hatta. Of these three activities, the brhad-mrdanga, massive book distribution,
has been considered the primary method of expansion. But nowadays, when ninety-
eight percent or more of the devotees in our movement are congregational members,
Nama Hatta is more relevant to ISKCON than it was in the beginning stage of our
movement. In retrospect, we understand that the Nama Hatta program was the foundational
method used by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati,
and Srila Prabhupada. Now is the time to reorganize ourselves and include the Nama
Hatta program in our preaching mission. It is reassuring to know that this Nama Hatta
program is bona fide and authorized by previous Gaudiya Vaisnava dcaryas.
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