Gour Govinda Swami

His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj appeared on the 2nd of September in the Gaurabda year 443 (1929 A.D.) in Orissa, India. Both his parents were devotees of Krishna and Jagannath, as were their ancestors up to the time of Sri Syamananda Prabhu. His mother’s family were the famous kirtaniyas of Gadai Giri. Thus most of His Divine Grace’s child- and boyhood was spent in Gadai Giri, in the company of his uncles and maternal grandfather, having kirtan and worshiping their ancient family deity, Sri Gopal Jiu. He was never attached to play, but rather spent his time reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta and singing Hare Krishna.

In April 1974, on Ramnavami, the day of the holy appearance of Lord Ramachandra, His Divine Grace left his family to search for Sri Guru. He was now 45 years old but had since childhood had the desire to accept the renounced order of life, sannyasa, and preach the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was already acquainted with many sadhus in Orissa and throughout the rest of India, but was not satisfied by them. He travelled on foot and by train around northern India for about 5 months, stopping at every temple, monastery and institution where there might be a sadhu. Arriving at last in Sri Vrindavan Dham, he met His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada on the 15th of September 1974. Among the first things Srila Prabhupada asked him was whether or not he had taken sannyasa. Srila Prabhupada said: “I will give you sannyasa!”. Within a short time Srila Prabhupada initiated him giving him Harinam and Diksa and the name Sri Gour Govinda Das and sent him to preach in Orissa. On Ramnavami 1975, during the opening of the Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan, one year after he had left home, Sri Gour Govinda Das was given sannyas by Srila Prabhupada.
Thus Srila Gour Govinda Swami came back to Orissa and gradually, after much hardships, opened the temple that Srila Prabhupada had envisioned in Bhubaneswar. He also translated Srila Prabhupada’s books into the Oriyan language. From 1985 through 1996 His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami preached throughout the world and accepted disciples. Thus he executed the three instructions Srila Prabhupada gave him.
Though he had problems walking after an operation, His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami travelled extensively and preached energetically. He spoke with the force and firmness of a bullet, yet was soft at heart. He stressed the value of purity and simplicity, emphasizing the importance of pure chanting and encouraging everyone to yearn for sadhu-sanga, the association of pure devotees. He warned against duplicity and the pollution that Kali has infiltrated into the minds of people in this age. He always made it a point to support everything he said with reference from shastra and present that everything is in Srila Prabhupada’s books, you only have to extract it.
The centennial of Srila Prabhupada’s divine appearance was celebrated 1996. In the evening of the appearance day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, on february 9th, two senior devotees asked Srila Gour Govinda Swami why xcMahaprabhu stayed in Jagannath Puri. While narrating the pastime of Lord Krishna coming back to Vrindavan after a long separation and how He appeared in the form of Lord Jagannath, His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj departed from this world and entered into the Divine Lilas of Sri Krishna.

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