Sri Gaudiya Math — a Historical and Descriptive Sketch

From Lord Sri Krishna, Cause of all causes, the preceptorial line flows eternally in the following order of spiritual succession, – Sri Madhavendrapuri being the first seed of the tree of Prema Bhakti. Then comes Sri Iswar Puri and after him Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Absolute Himself, manifesting the Leela of being Recipient of the transcendental knowledge in the line of Brahma. From Sri Chaitanya the same preceptorial order is continued through Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Rupa Goswami, Sri Raghunatha Das, Sri Jiva, Sri Kishnadas Kaviraj, Thakur Narottam, Sri Viswanath Chakravorty, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushan, Vaishnava Sarvabhauma Srila Jagannatha, Sri Bhaktivinode Thakur, Srila Gaura Kishore and His Divine Grace Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. This is the Bhagavata Parampara of the Divine Preceptorial Order.

Later on there came a time when the doctrine of Divine Love was misrepresented and wrongly practiced in diverse ways and from out of such apostasies new doctrines sprang forth under the name of the Religion of Love which came to be misidentified with the principles of the elevationist and salvationist schools. Sri Viswanath Chakravorty and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushan who appeared at a subsequent period, re-asserted the true standard of the Doctines against enemies and pseudo-followers. Then followed a period of stagnation, the dark age of the Religion. In this way the current of the genuine preceptorial teaching remained withdrawn from the view of the people and its principles and practices were utterly forgotten. The magnitude of the evil brought about its own remedy. At the moment of the greatest depression Sri Thakur Bhaktivinode by the Will of the Supreme Lord made his appearance in the Divine Preceptorial Order in succession to Srila Jagannath Das Babaji, the then universally recognized spiritual leader of the devotees of Brajamandal, Gaudamandal and Kshetramandal, for making the genuine teaching of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya once more available to the people. Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode was a most prolific writer and his more important published works on the subject of pre devotion in different languages run up to the neighbourhood of a century. He edited religious periodicals, rediscovered and edited the standard works of the Gaudiya school, identified the birth-site of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the other sacred places in Navadwipa revived Sri Visva Vaishnava Raj Sabha founded by Sri Rupa and Sanatana, re-instated in its pre form the congregational chant of the Holy Name and commenced as active preaching propaganda from the pulpit.

In furtherance of his purposes Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode attacked the evil at its source by undertaking the suppression of the worst transgressions against public order and decency that were practiced with impunity by the pseudo-Vaishnavas in Vrajamandal in the name of religion. Srila Gaurakishore Das Babaji Maharaj who attended the discouruuses of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode as well as Srila Jagannath Das Babaji had been living in Vrajamandal for a long period before they ultimately settled down in Gaudamandal, in order by their conduct to bear testimony to the truth of the doctrine of the identity of Sri Gaudamandal with Sri Vrajamandal. The revolution in religious thought that was broght abt by these occurrences which ushered in the new Movement is now known all over the world. To Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur all mental speculation, historical secularism, allegorical interpretation, the points of view of elevationism and Salvationism alike appeared as mere rubbish by close scrutiny in the light of the pure Bhagavat Dharma. His precepts nd examples, though they have since met wit many setbacks in slights and insults, have always maintained intact their fundamental features of uncompromising relinquishment of asatsanga and a preservation of the absolute purity of Divine service in the shape of pleasing the senses of Krishna. This consummation has been due in small measure to the Transcendental Personality of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, the Founder-Acharya of Sri Gaudiya Maths and the present Gaudiya Vaishnava Movement throughout the world. Summoned to take charge of the tiny villa where alone the sage Bhakti Vinode Thakur hailed the spirit of the Lord Chaitanya, Paramahamsa Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur quietly went there and remained for a long period absorbed in te devotional activities. He complete chanting 100 crores of Harinama at that time. A circle of his followers not more than half a dozen in number headed by Bhagavatarata Acharyatrika Kunjabehari Vidyabhshan, the life and soul of the Gaudiya organization, drew the master’s attention to the vital necessity of his removing to Kolkata so that hundreds of other seekers of truth might profit by his presence. The various branch Maths were established approximately in the following order of time. The Teaching of Mahaprabhu was carried beyond the shores of India by Two Sanyasi preachers Tridandiswami Srimad B.P.Tirtha Maharaj and Srima BH.Bon Maharaj (in later days Swami A.C.Bhakti Vedanta preached in western countries and spread Sri Chaitanya’s message and he established a vast Vaishnava Kingdom). Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur started publishing magazines in Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, English etc. He set out on the circumambulation of the Gaudamandal with a large company of devotees and installed 108 Foot-Prints shrines of Mahaprabhu at those places that have been sanctified by the Dust of His Divine Feet.