This lecture transcription service is dedicated at the lotus feet of His Holiness Sri Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj (Maharaj).
The initial transcription and reviewing of Bhagavat Saptah lectures was done mainly by disciples of Maharaj in Minneapolis. Special thanks to prabhujis and mataji from Minneapolis yatra especially, H. G. Purnendu Kṛṣṇa Das, H. G. Anasuya Devi Dasi, H. G. Yadushrestha Kṛṣṇa Das and H. G. Jagat Mohini Devi Dasi, H. G. Gopika Devi Dasi, H. G. Balram Das and H. G. Purnima Devi Dasi, H. G. Jayant Kṛṣṇa Das and H. G. Sarva Mangala Devi Dasi and Srimati Shipra mataji for their lecture transcription and reviewing efforts.
Later, in order to further review and edit the Bhagavat Saptah lectures so as to make it presentable in the form of a book gracious help was received from Srimati Sheela Ravishankar mataji, H. G. Bal Kṛṣṇa Das and H. G. Prasanna Vadana Das prabhujis. Throughout the efforts we got constant encouragement from H. G. Devakinandan prabhuji. With the blessings of all devotees only we have reached thus far and hope to keep doing more such service unto the lotus feet of Maharaj. Final editorial revision was done under the experienced and expert eyes of H. G. Kalachakra Das prabhuji.
H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj emphasized study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā books written by ISKCON founder acarya His Divine Grace Swami Srila Prabhupāda so that we can be convinced about chanting the name, wonderful pastimes and glories of the unlimited Supreme Lord and Supreme authority Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa, and in the process purify our existence so that we can be better servants of the servants of the Supreme Lord.
We hope that the students of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam can derive fresh and deeper meaning and better practical understanding of the great transcendental literature after reading through lecture transcriptions of Maharaj.
Most of the lecture delivered by Maharaj was in English language. Parts which were delivered in Hindi been translated to English language. We hope that the reader will overlook the mistakes in these transcriptions and translations and take the essence. Feedback for improvement of this lecture transcription is welcome. This seven day lecture transcription has been divided into chapters for better readability.
Please note that the audio of the Bhagavat Saptah lectures can be found at http://www.nabholingam.com web site. Readers will find reading in conjunction with listening to the lectures more fulfilling experience when they actually hear Maharajji’s speak, sing, pray and laugh!
Legend: Comments or translations or content not delivered by Maharaj is within square ([ ]) brackets.
His Holiness Srila Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj was born in the outskirts of Mumbai in 1920 on the auspicious day of Dattätreya Purnima in the month of mārga-śīrṣa [November-December]. He appeared in an eight generation Vaishnava family. Aged 91, he was the most elderly sannyasi (spiritual teacher) in ISKCON (International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness). Maharaj first took darshan of Srila Prabhupāda in 1973 when, as President of the London Gujarati Community Society, he invited Prabhupāda to be guest-of-honour at the society’s annual function. There Srila Prabhupada’s lecture marked the turning point in Maharaj’s life. Srila Prabhupāda had stated that whenever we meet our friends, we ask them so many material things, like how is your business, your family etc. But this is simply a waste of time. If we really cared for them, then when we meet them, we should ask them how far they have progressed, since we last met, in the matter of stopping the repetition of the cycle of birth and death. Since that profound meeting H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj has dedicated his life to the rigorous study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
His Holiness Srila Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj, is a brilliantly divine personality and such kind of personalities are rarely seen on the stage of human life. Anybody who has come in touch with Maharaj experienced that he was not just a spiritual master but a sweet loving father, who, by his loving dealings with everyone, made them experience the love of Kṛṣṇa. He is an embodiment of all the exalted qualities. His deep serenity, the vast limitless wellspring of knowledge he possessed, the beautiful sobriety he exhibited, his gentle, sweet and simple demeanor, the soft expressiveness of his features and the natural flow of all his actions could capture everyone’s heart.
Maharaj could relate even the most ordinary event to the scriptures and for even a seemingly ordinary subject matter, Maharaj could offer a spiritual perspective. He was a genuine guide in our struggle to carry on the material life as well as for understanding the transcendence. His presentation of the scriptures and especially Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which is his life and soul, was not a dry academic subject to be theorized and armchair philosophized about. Maharaj spoke and lived the essence of the scriptures and made everyone understand that the scriptures are not in the cloud or in the sky but very much on the ground intimately related to our day to day life. That way he is a practical Maha Bhagavata and a down to earth Paramahamsa. The humility which Maharaj exhibited is a conclusive proof of his greatness.
Maharaj is simultaneously grave and jolly and often he laughed and joked and brightened the whole atmosphere with his effulgent Vaikuntha smile but even his lighter mood was fully Kṛṣṇa conscious and not frivolous. Maharaj’s every movement, every word and every action had a transcendental purpose in it. Throughout his whole life and at the time of leaving the world, Maharaj showed us how not to be bewildered by the inevitable miseries of the material existence and always remain aloof simply by remembering the lotus feet of the Lord (saṁsāra-dharmair avimuhyamānaḥ smṛtyā harer bhāgavata-pradhānaḥ – SB 11.2.49).
Once when one of the senior devotee humbly asked His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj that how he was able to become so famous a devotee all over the world, Maharaj replied with his trademark uncommon humility that it was because he lived every moment of his life based on the verse 1.6.26 from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This particular verse spoken by Srila Narada Muni reveals the nature of an unflinching servitor of the Supreme Lord.
nāmāny anantasya hata-trapaḥ paṭhan / guhyāni bhadrāṇi kṛtāni ca smaran
“Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I traveled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.”
Anyone who comes in touch with His Holiness cannot go away without the impression that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is all common sense, practical, logical and simple. The one shloka which Maharaj had in his heart even till his winding up pastimes was SB 1.5.40, the instruction of Srila Narada Muni to his disciple Srila Vyasadev on the power of the pure subject matter of the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord and how it is satisfying both to the general mass as well as great learned men.
“Please, therefore, describe the Almighty Lord's activities which you have learned by your vast knowledge of the Vedas, for that will satisfy the hankerings of great learned men and at the same time mitigate the miseries of the masses of common people who are always suffering from material pangs. Indeed, there is no other way to get out of such miseries.”
Maharaj urged everyone that the preaching of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with emphasis on its practical aspect is the one and only way to mitigate the miseries of common people who are suffering from the material pangs. His instructions ranged from organizing one’s own shaving kit, washing one’s one clothes to living a life without a tinge of expectation from anyone.
Maharaj firmly emphasized that without organizing our material lives in a perfect manner, there is no question of progressing spiritually.
Maharaj is unflinchingly attached to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupāda and studied His Divine Grace’s books very deeply. With his compassionate, powerful, intense, pure and earnest preaching and encouragement, Maharaj could impress upon the living entities to translate all the instructions of scripture into real life experiences by changing the behavior for good.
Maharaj is of the firm belief that Srila Prabhupada’s literatures are so powerful that by the force of this literary influence, a revolution can be brought in the lives of the conditioned souls and thus save them from the miserable conditions. Maharaj’s appreciation and attachment to Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental literature is so much that Maharaj says that if it had been possible, Prabhupāda would have physically taken out his heart and put it in these books.
At about 3.25 pm on 25th January 2010, our beloved spiritual master, H H Mahavishnu Goswami entered into his final pastimes in this mortal world and left us all in great grief of separation at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai, India. Those who had the good fortune of meeting him, soon became aware that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was indeed his very life and soul. In a very simple and sublime manner he would provide anyone practical guidance in their lives based on the teachings of the Bhāgavatam, and with this he has awakened so many souls to the importance of the amala purana Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
These teachings are organized and conveyed in this book so that future generations may benefit from H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj’s unique insight and intimate association of the Bhāgavatam. May he live forever by his divine instructions in the hearts of his sincere followers.
We offer our deepest respect unto His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami’s lotus feet for kindly guiding us on the path back to the Supreme One. Now more than ever, his divine instructions are the only shelter for his disciples and all sincere souls seeking to reunite with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa.
His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj (1920-2010) was of Gujarat origin and was born in the outskirts of Bombay in 1919 into an eight generation Vaishnava family. He was highly educated having obtained a masters degree in both Sanskrit and English and is equally conversant in Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu and the Gujarathi dialect Kachhi. In his childhood Maharaj was always curious to seek transcendental knowledge about the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. His mother would force him to offer his dhoti to the Lord before using it. But she could not explain him as to why he should be offering it. He would never get satisfying answers to his questions. So at the tender age he began studying the holy scriptures of Srimad Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in earnest. His burning desire to realize God was finally answered, when he met Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of the International Society of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (ISKCON). At that meeting Prabhupāda noted that upon meeting friends, we ask them how their business is, how their family is, but this he said was a waste of time. If we really cared about our friends, then we meet them, we should inquire as to how far they have progressed in the matter of stopping the cycle of repeated birth and death.
Prabhupada’s pure preaching touched Maharaj’s heart, and awakened his enthusiasm for self-realization. He began intensifying his spiritual endeavors and began practicing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Sometime later he was introduced to Prabhupada, by devotees, as a Sanskrit scholar. Upon hearing this, Prabhupāda exclaimed, “Oh, a Sanskrit scholar, then you should take sannyas”. These word of Prabhupāda always remained in Maharaj’s heart. In 1991 Maharaj, after successfully performing his worldly obligations to his family, renounced the world and took the order of sannyas. For years on, he continued to serve Srila Prabhupada, by carrying on his legacy in preaching devotional service of Supreme Lord Krsna, as enunciated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Srimad Bhagavad-gītā. Maharaj has tirelessly circled the globe 10 times in 10 years, inspiring people from all walks of life, wherever he went. He is renowned for his powerful preaching, uncompromising in delivery of the teachings of Gita and the message of Srila Prabhupada. In Bhagavat saptahas around the world, notably in Kurukshetra and Vrindavana, he has lectured for upto 6 hours daily, on Bhāgavatam, for 7 continuous days, before fully captivated audiences. Despite his advanced age and frail health, Maharaj continued to tirelessly travel around the world, preaching the message to follow teachings of Lord Krsna, through Srila Prabhupāda books and to increase the quality of our devotional service so as to become, genuine servants of the servants of the Lord.
For many Maharaj was a humble and loving Vaishnava, who has made them follow the teachings of the Supreme Lord and realize the true value of human life. Still others cannot help but be completely and helplessly touched by Maharaj’s love and compassion. In today’s age His Holiness’s love and humility coupled with his profound wisdom and realization, have brought many fallen souls to the lotus feet of Prabhupāda and the Supreme Lord. In 2001 from 29th September to 6th October, under the auspicious of ISKCON Sydney, His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami decided to deliver Srimad Bhagavat Saptah, in Sydney, Australia, giving powerful and heartfelt discourses, over 8 continuous days, to a fully captivated audience in Statville Town Hall. Following is the recording of the great saint.