Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami’s Life Facts

A lecture by Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami,
recorded on July 18th, 1992 in England.

[partial list]

  1. He was born in a Vaisnava family from the Gadai-Giri village of Orissa (Odisha).
  2. His family was not just any Vaisnava family, but a Vaisnava family that is the most famous kirtaniyas in Orissa, who are also mystics and renunciates.
  3. The famous family Deity Gopala Jiu came of His own accord to Gadai-Giri from Vrndavana to one of Srila Gour Govinda Swami’s ancestors who desired to worship Him. This Deity is to this day still worshipped in Gadai-Giri.
  4. There has been a constant link between the Kings of Puri (who are coming in the line of Maharaja Prataparudra, who was an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) and the maternal family (Gadai-Giri village of Orissa) of Srila Gour Govinda Swami since the seventeen hundred’s.
  5. The current King of Puri is Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deva. He would visit Srila Gour Govinda Swami regularly. When he saw Srila Gour Govinda Swami he would pay obeisances to him. The residents of Puri lodged a complaint to the King, that the King of Puri must not pay his obeisances to any sadhu. The king’s reply was, “…I know this, but when I see this sadhu (Srila Gour Govinda Swami), he reminds me of Lord Jagannatha and therefore I must pay my obeisances to him…”
  6. There is an open invitation that still holds to this day, from the seventeen hundred’s and is written in the history book of the Temple of Lord Jagannatha – the Madala-panji for the kirtana party from Gadai-Giri village to come at least once in a year to perform kirtana for Lord Jagannatha in Puri.
  7. He never broke the principles of Vedic culture, ever.
  8. He was never attached to the mod-cons of this world. Therefore he was akincana.
  9. He was taught to chant the Holy name from the age of two by his esteemed Grandfather, Bauri Bandhu Giri, who was a pure Vaisnava and famous kirtaniya
  10. He was taught the Srimad-Bhagavatam when he was six years old by his esteemed Vaisnava father, Isvara Manik Dasa.
  11. From the age of eight he was accompanying his uncles on kirtana throughout the local villages, and sometimes the kirtana would go on for twenty-four hours.
  12. He was taught the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta from the age of twelve by his uncles Gopinatha Giri and Jagannatha Giri.
  13. He lived in that famous village Gadai-Giri from twelve years of age and learned kirtana and Sanskrit there and excelled in this language.
  14. From the age of seventeen, he began a systematic study of the four Vedas, the 108 Upanisads and the eighteen Puranas. A study that he continued from that age to when he left family life at the age of forty-four and went without sleep so as to maintain this sastric study program, only sleeping up to two or three hours each night.
  15. He had memorized the whole Gita.
  16. He would read one chapter of the Gita each day and on Ekadasi he would fast the whole day and read the full eighteen chapters of the Gita. Bear in mind this was all done prior to joining ISKCON.
  17. He was thoroughly proficient in all the sastras.
  18. He had never been to a movie theatre to watch mundane movies.
  19. He did not watch television.
  20. He did not listen to the radio.
  21. He did not read mundane newspapers and magazines. Only after he met Srila Prabhupada who instructed him to read the newspaper, in order to be informed of what was going on in society, he would daily read it.
  22. He had never entered a bar or hotel to drink alcohol or to take any type of intoxication.
  23. He never had a girlfriend.
  24. He was celibate until he married and only engaged in sex life seven times and from that seven children were born. Who can do that in family life?
  25. He was pure and all this before he met his spiritual master.
  26. He never took any form of intoxication.
  27. He never gambled.
  28. He never ate meat.
  29. At the time of meeting Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (15 September 1974 at midday), he was proficient in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and many, many other sastras and he knew many languages.
  30. From his childhood onwards he was trained in Krsna Consciousness by his exalted family members.
  31. Srila Prabhupada said he was a devotee from his birth.
  32. Srila Prabhupada said Krsna has sent him.
  33. He spoke on Siddhanta-raksana (how to protect the Siddhanta).
  34. He spoke on sampradaya-raksana (how to protect the sampradaya).
  35. He spoke on the four sampradayas.
  36. He spoke incessantly on the need for a living sadhu-guru-vaisnava.
  37. He spoke incessantly on the need for sadhu-sanga.
  38. He spoke incessantly on the need for a siksa-guru.
  39. He spoke incessantly on prema-tattva:
    a. priti-asraya – the abode of love.
    b. priti-visaya – the object of love.
    c. priti-dharma – love and affection for one and all.
  40. He never gave up the service his spiritual master had requested him to do:
    a. Translate the books into Oriya.
    b. Build the temple in Bhubaneswar.
    c. Train and make disciples.
  41. Sadhus and acaryas from different sampradayas and different branches of our sampradaya would come to see him. Many paying full dandavats to Srila Gour Govinda Swami in the hot dust of the Orissa landscape.
  42. He was a friend to one and all.
  43. He translated almost every single book his spiritual master, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had written, into the Oriya language. No technology was used what so ever for translation work, it was all done by hand with pen and paper. This in itself is an amazing feat.
  44. He lived in a small thatched hut the entire time while collecting money and building the massive Krsna-Balaram Temple which Srila Prabhupada founded.
  45. He spoke ten to fifteen thousand hours of lectures, in Oriya and English; and sometimes in Hindi.
  46. He departed India twenty-three times to travel the world and preach.
  47. He was humility personified.
  48. He would, seated on the vyasasana, roar like a lion, whereas at other times, he was simple like a child.
  49. He would speak hari-katha up to four hours at one time.
  50. He was most concerned about the wellbeing of his disciples and followers.
  51. He was able to melt the hardest hearts.
  52. He started the yearly Ratha-yatra in Bhubaneswar.
  53. He inaugurated Pada-yatra in Orissa and participated in it yearly.
  54. He never criticised anyone, not even those that criticised him, nor those who were not his well-wishers.
  55. He never purchased any luxurious items for himself. All the money he collected went to building the temple and printing his spiritual masters books.
  56. He built a wonderful Lotus Temple in Bhubaneswar dedicated to Srila Prabhupada for his Centennial celebrations.
  57. He left this world (9 February 1996) after delivering the deepest hari-katha. After speaking about the eye-to-eye union of Radha and Krsna he said, “please excuse me, I cannot speak anymore”; then he lay on his bed while looking at a picture of his beloved Deity Gopala Jiu and instructed his disciples, “nama koro, nama koro! – have kirtana, have kirtana!”
  58. He was the saint of ISKCON and he was a saint prior to joining ISKCON!