Sep
14

Shri Prathameshji

By

His Holiness 108 Goswami Shri Prathameshji

I had the extreme pleasure of living with His Holiness Goswami Prathameshji, a direct descendant of Shri Vallabhacharya and the head of the first seat of the Vallabh Sampradaya, for eighteen years. Although his physical form disappeared from this world in 1990, Prathameshji’s devotional teachings remain with us. His knowledge was vast. He was a pundit of Ayurveda, Vedanta, as well as the Shrimad Bhagavatam. He was a master of Sanskrit, Urdu, Gujarati, and Vrajbhasha languages and an accomplished classical musician.

Prathameshji masterfully played the tabla and pakhavaja drums, harmonium, sitar, flute, and even sarangi, but most of all, it is the way he sang Dhrupada-Dhamar devotional kirtan songs that still resonates throughout my being. He was a master of “Lila kirtan.” His life and songs emerged from the eternal realm and somehow manifested here in this world. His being was full of Lila-mood. He often sang, in total ecstasy, poems written by great bhaktas who had actually seen and experienced Shri Krishna’s Lila.

In this recording, His Holiness Shri Prathameshji ends one of his amazing teaching sessions by leading the audience in the traditional concluding kirtan, the following poem by the famous blind bhakta-poet, Surdas:

I have firm faith in Shri Vallabh’s lotus feet.
Without the moonbeams that shine from His toenails,
the entire world falls into darkness.
In this age of struggle, there is no other practice
by which to attain true liberation.
Sings Sur, I may be blind in two ways,
but I am His priceless servant.

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Quotes

O Gopis! When Mukunda, the Lord of Liberation,
Rests His left cheek on His left shoulder,
He raises His right eyebrow and places the flute on His lower lip.
He then gently runs His fingers along its path of holes and plays enchantingly.

When the wives of the gods, the devis, who are coursing through the sky in their
Celestial chariots with their perfected husbands hear Krishna’s call,
They become spellbound. They dedicate their minds and hearts to the path of love,
Experiencing shame as the ties at their waists loosen.
They are distraught and swoon.
— transl. by Shyamdas, Ecstatic Couplets