Life & Times of Sripad Bhakti Prakash Hrishikesh Maharaja in Malaysia
When I heard about the passing away of Sripad Bhakti Prakash Hrishikesh Maharaja, I was a little numb at first. My feelings were not completely settled to his passing. But after looking at his pictures, it finally dawned upon me that His Holiness was no more in this planet.
Maharaja reminded me of someone so dynamic in serving Sri Hari, Guru & Vaishnavas. Nothing was impossible for him. Maharaja used to go heads on without thinking of any consequences. He did not believe much in meetings and talking about how to do a seva because he was an action man. He always said to me, “Let’s just do it. Krsna will take care of everything!!!”
Maharaja was the first person to assist me in printing the book “Shower of Love.” When Srila Gurudeva ordered me to always write, I was totally lost as what to do. With whatever little knowledge I had, the compilation of lectures took place. But it was Maharaja who showed me the ropes of how to put in the footnotes, headings, sub-headings, titles etc. I remember very well when I mentioned about the book to Maharaja. He was so enthusiastic about it. He never showed any signs that I came from another “math” and him from another. All Maharaja wanted was to serve and make sure the book was printed on time before Srila Gurudeva’s tour to Malaysia.
As the book was taking shape, some local devotees came in to assist. Although Maharaja did the major part of the book, he mentioned everyone who helped, no matter how little it maybe. Maharaja even mentioned those who tried but was not successful to garnish funds for the book and those who proof-read the book although only 2 to 3 paragraphs. Along the way, the kind soul who donated some funds could not come up with more monies, and it was Maharaja who finally managed to get the remaining funds for the printing of the book.
Maharaja told me that we must respect everyone’s mood and it does not matter how small or big the seva maybe. He mentioned everyone in the book and himself being not so prominent.
After successfully publishing “Shower of Love,” Maharaja printed “Rays of Hope” and many other books of Srila Gurudeva.
Maharaja also established the first temple of Srila Gurudeva in Malaysia. At that time Maharaja would go with some local devotees, including yours truly, to search for a suitable place. He would search every area and finally managed to secure a bungalow in an affluent place in Petaling Jaya. I protested saying that the rental was a bit too steep, Maharaja just went ahead to establish the temple. The fact that most local devotees were not well off did not deter Maharaja from single handedly securing the money for the rental by distributing books. He would go on a marathon of sorts by traveling from Malaysia to Singapore to print and distribute books to pay for the temple’s up-keep.
After taking instructions from Srila Gurudeva, the temple was named Sri Sri Radha Govinda Gaudiya Math. We had many nice programs there. Even Srila Gurudeva stayed there during one of His world tour. The temple has since moved to its new premise.
Fond memories of Sripad Bhakti Prakash Hrishikesh Maharaja will always prevail in my heart. And the one which is most profound is when he mentioned about how his sannyasa guru, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja would always say, “It is not the seva itself, but the attitude toward the seva.”
Courtesy- Ashalata Dasi