On January 22 we had a brief but I hope ultimately fruitful visit at the library from three family members of a now deceased prominent member of the West Bengal government Sri Tarun Kanti Ghosh.
In the 1970s, as ISKCON was gaining a footing in India, Sri Tarun Kanti Ghosh, a Congress party minister, gave a lot of support to Srila Prabhupada and his disciples. Tarun Babu, as Prabhupada used to refer to him, came in a distinguished line of Gaudiya Vaisnavas. His grand father was Mahatma Sisir Kumar Ghosh a contemporary and friend of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The two knew each other well and co-edited certain publications and articles. Â The Ghose family owned a prominent line of newspapers including Amrita Bazar Patrika which was established in 1868 and Jugantar, one of the biggest newspapers and presses in Calcutta.
Tarun Kanti would visit our ISKCON center very often and on March 14 1974 Srila Prabhupada sent him the following letter:
“My Dear Tarun Kanti Babu,
“Please accept my blessings. Since I attended the meeting last night I am feeling a new enthusiasm, over how potential the Krishna Consciousness movement is, based on the teaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Your good family has very great interest in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and especially your grandfather Mahatma Sisir Kumar Ghose was a great friend of Bhaktivinode Thakura. So we are coming down in disciplic succession from Bhaktivinode Thakura and you are coming in family succession from Mahatma Sisir Kumar Ghose, so if we combine together in preaching the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it will be a great benediction to human society for mitigation of all kinds of problems of material existence.
“This morning you were quoting from Sri Siksastaka, “Ceto darpana marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].”
This is the first installment of the benediction of Sri Krishna Sankirtana. “Param vijayate Sri Krsna Sankirtana.” First of all, people are suffering on account of misunderstanding of self realization. The whole world is moving under the conception of the body in different names are caste, creed, nation, culture, like that. By chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra offenselessly, one immediately realizes himself as spirit soul which is described in the Vedas as aham brahmasmi. The Mayavadi philosophers cease to think further than this, but Bhagavad gita teaches us how to realize further advancement in spiritual life in devotional service. This is described in Bhagavad gita as follows:
brahma bhutah prasannatmaÂ na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesuÂ mad bhaktim labhate param
“So bhakti is such a nice thing. Bhakti is transcendental. When one is situated in bhakti life his mission of life is successful. That is called ”ceto darpana marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam
[Cc. Antya 20.12].”
Everyone of us is suffering from the three fold miseries of material existence. Coming to the platform of bhakti, pure devotional service, one immediately ceases the blazing fire of material existence. That is the effect of Sri Krishna Sankirtana. The whole world is in chaotic condition without understanding this philosophy.
“In the material life there must be division of activities. That is accepted in the Bhagavad gita as catur varnyam maya srstam guna karma vibhagasah tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam
“So in the beginning if we start a varnasrama college to teachÂ internationally students from all over the world to learn to be educated as brahmanas, as Ksatriyas, as vaisyas, as sudras, by quality and work, thatÂ will be the basic principle of Krishna Consciousness. It is the duty of theÂ government to see that everyone is employed. This is only possible whenÂ varnasrama is established. At the present moment everyone is sudra. This isÂ not very good for the human society. Everyone has a right to approach theÂ Supreme Personality of Godhead but there must be a process for keeping theÂ society in order. The intelligent class of men or the brahmanas, the martialÂ class of men, the ksatriyas, the productive class of men, the vaisyas, andÂ the working class of men, the sudras, all have the right to chant the HareÂ Krishna Mantra and by such devotional service everyone will be elevated toÂ the transcendental platform. But there must be a division according toÂ quality and work. At the present moment, so many so-called educated personsÂ are unemployed because the division of work is neglected. If this divisionÂ of society is maintained no one will be unemployed and there will be noÂ unrest in society. It is a very scientific way of keeping peace in the world.
“The brahmana class should be highly cultured in spiritual understanding; byÂ their Vedic knowledge they will be able to educate the ksatriya and theÂ vaisya in the value of life. It is the government’s duty that according theÂ division of human society everyone should be engaged in responsible duties.
On the whole, at the present moment, there is not guidance from theÂ authorized intellectual class. Therefore everyone is in darkness. TheÂ Krishna Consciousness movement is supposed to create actual intellectuals toÂ guide society. The process if very simple.
“If you kindly consider on this point and the varnasrama college is started, I am sure the chaotic condition of human society will be completely settledÂ up. You think over this matter and we shall talk more when we meet again. Or if you like to discuss seriously by correspondence with me I shall be veryÂ glad to reply to you point by point on the basis of sastra.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami ACBS/sdg
Tarun Babu left this world in 1996, the year of Srila Prabhupada’s centennial. He had requested that his ashes be scattered on the roads of Mayapur so that the pilgrims would trample on them and bless him with their foot dust. In the event, his ashes were brought to Mayapur and scattered in the Ganges with kirtana and due Vaisnava samskara. The family were very grateful to HH Jayapataka Swami and our ISKCON devotees for rendering this service.
Recently we were fortunate to come in contact with Tarun Babu’s son, Sri Tamal Kanti Ghosh, who visited the BRC a couple of months ago. Now this week, he brought along his Aunt, Smt. Srilekha Bose (the sister of Tarun Babu), and his sister Smt. Rita Datta.
They were all impressed with the new library and we are hopeful that our search for old and rare Vaisnava books will be enhanced through their well-wishes.