Page 1 of 5
trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtanyah sada harih
One should chant the Holy Name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street: one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the Holy Name of the Lord constantly. [Sri Sri Siksastaka verse 3]
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja practically lived all his life based on this verse. He often said, This is the most important teaching of Sriman Mahaprabhu! Srila Kaviraja Goswami has said, Make a garland of this verse and place it around your neck, then do hari-bhajan. This is Mahaprabhus most important teaching. Mahaprabhu is an ideal acarya. As an ideal acarya, He is teaching practically. He Himself practiced in His own life. He never spoke theoretically!
An Ideal Acarya
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja appeared on September 2nd, 1929 (the Holy appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura) in a small mud hut in the village of Jagannathapur in Orissa, India, in a family of pure vaisnavas. His name was Braja Bandhu Manik. His grandfather, Bauri Giri, was a pure devotee of Lord Krishna and famously noted in the local area as a paramahamsa-vaisnava. He was constantly chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and worshiping the family Deity of Sri Gopaljiu. The families on both his mother and father’s sides have been vaisnavas for centuries dating back to the time of Sri Syamananda Pandit Thakura and prior to that in Bengal for many generations. In his youth he mostly lived with his maternal family, the Giris in the village of Gadei Giri. The Giris were Gaudiya Vaisnavas and well known for their expertise in kirtana.
His Divine appearance in this world was not ordinary. All the symptoms of a mahabhagavata were present through his entire life.
“The life history of many such devotees is almost the same because there is always symmetry between the early lives of all great devotees of the Lord.” [SB 2.3.15, purport]
By the age of eight he had read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and the Ramayana, and was able to explain their meanings to others. His love for the Srimad Bhagavatam was profound from such a young age.
As a young boy, he spent his time singing and chanting for Sri Gopaljiu and offering services. He regularly would accompany his grandfather and uncles padayatra from village to village chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra and songs of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura and other Vaisnava Acaryas from his very childhood. At night, he would read Srimad Bhagavatam in the meager light of the cooking fire, as the family had no money for lamp oil.
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja Janmastan in the village of Jagannathapur, Orissa. This mud hut where Braja Bandhu [Srila Gour Govinda Swami] came into this world and grew up.