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Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Video

Sri Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared in 1838 in a wealthy family in the Nadia district, West Bengal. He revealed that he is an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by his extraordinary preaching activities and prolific writing. Living as a, mahabhagavata Vaisnava, he stayed in the grhasta ashram until the last few years of his life. Then he renounced everything, accepted babaji, and entered samadhi, totally absorbed in the loving service of Gaura-Gadadhara and Radha-Madhava.

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Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Bhajans

Amar Jivan
Ami Jamuna Puline
Ami To’ Durjana Ati Sada Duracar
Aviveka Rupa Ghana
Ek Dina Nilacale
Ekbar Bhavo Mane
Hari Bole Modera Gaura Elo
Jagater Bastu Jata
Kali Yuga Pavana Visvambhara
Nadiya Nagare Nitai Nece Nece Gay Re
Ohe Harinam Tava Mahima Apar
Sri Caitanya Nityananda Srivasadi Bhakta Vrnda
Veda Vidhi Anusare
Agre Ek Nivedana Kori
Aham Mama Saba Arthe
Amar Bolite Prabhu
Amar Emon Bhagya Kota Dine Ha'be
Amar Jivana
Amar Saman Hina Nahi E Samsare
Ami Aparadhi Jana
Ami Ati Pamara Durjana
Ami Nara Pasu Pray
Ami Sei Dusta Mati
Ami To Cancala Mati
Ami To Swananda
Ami Tomar Duhkher Duhkhi
Anadi Karama Phale
Anga Upanga Astra
Anya Asa Nahi Jar
Aparadha Phale Mama
Apurva Vaisnava Tattva
Ar Keno Maya Jale
Ar Keno Maya Jale
Arthera Sancaye
Asalo Katha Bolte
Atma Nivedana Tuwa Pade
Atma Samarpane Gela Abhiman
Atraiva Tattva Vijnanam
Atraiva Vraja Bhavanam
Bahirmukha Ho’ye Mayare Bhajiye
Balavan Vairagi Thakura
Bandhu Gan Sunoha Vacana
Baraja Vipine Jamuna Kule
Bastutoh Sakali Tava
Baul Baul Bolche Sabe
Bhagavac Chakti Karyesu
Bhaja Re Bhaja Re Amara Mana
Bhajane Utsaha Bhaktite Visvasa
Bhale Gaura Gadadharer Arati
Bhavarnave Pade Mor
Bhavo Na Bhavo Na
Bhoga Arati
Bhojana Lalase
Bhramita Samsara Bane
Bhuliya Tomare
Bolo Hari Bolo
Boro Sukher Khabor Gai
Caitanya Candrer Lila Samudra Apar
Chorato Purusa Abhiman
Cijjader Dvaita Jini Korena Sthapana
Dana Pratigraha Mitho
Dara Putra Nijo Deho
Dekhite Dekhite
Dekho Mana Brate Jena
Dharma Nista Nahi Mor
Dharma Pathe Thaki
Diksa Guru Krpa Kori
Doyala Nitai Caitanya Bole
Durlabha Manava Janma
Ekhona Bujhinu
Emona Durmati
Eo To Eka Kalir Cela
Esa Lila Vibhor Nitya Goloke
Gaite Gaite Nama Ki Dasa
Gaite Govinda Nama
Gaura Aarti
Gay Gaur Madhur Sware
Gay Gaurchand Jiver Tore
Ghare Bose Baul Hao
Godruma Dhame Bhajana
Gopinatha Part – 1
Gopinatha Part – 2
Gopinatha Part – 3
Gurudev Kripa Bindu Diya
Gurudeva Kabe Mora Sei
Gurudeva Kabe Tava Karuna
Gurudeva Krpa Bindu Diya
Gurudeva! Boro Krpa Kori
Gurudeve Vraja Vane Vraja Bhumi Vasi Jane
Ha Ha Kabe Gaura Nitai
Ha Ha Mora Gaura Kisora
Hare Haraye Namah
Hare Krsna Hare Nitai Ki Nam Eneche Re
Hari Bolo Hari Bolo
Hari Hari Kabe Mora Hobe Heno Dina
Harinama Tuwa Anek Swarupa
Heno Dusta Karma Nai
Hoye Visaye Avesa
Hunsar Theko Bhulo Nako
Janama Saphala Tara
Jaya Godruma Pati Gora
Jaya Jaya Harinama
Jaya Jaya Radha Krishna Yugala Milan
Jaya Jaya Sri Caitanya Patita Pavana
Jaya Radha Madhava
Jaya Radha Vallabha Jaya Radha Vinoda
Jaya Yasoda Nandana Krsna Gopala Govinda
Jiva Jago Jiva Jago
Jivana Sampat Kale Koribo
Jive Krpa Kori Goloker Hari
Jnani Jnana Yoge Koriya Jatane
Kabe Aha Gauranga Boliya
Kabe Gaura Vane
Kabe Ha'be Bolo
Kabe Habe Heno Dasa
Kabe Habe Heno Dasa Mor
Kabe Mor Mudha Mana Chadi Anya Dhyana
Kabe Mor Subhadina Hoibe Udoy
Kabe Mui Vaisnava Cinibo
Kabe Sri Caitanya More Koribena Doya
Kali Kukkura Kadan
Karma Kanda Svarupo’yam
Keno Ar Koro Dvesa
Keno Bheker Prayas
Keno Hare Krishna Nam

Keno Mana Kamere Nacao
Kesava Tuwa Jagata Vicitra
Ki Ar Bolibo Tore Mana
Ki Jani Ki Bale
Kohabun Ki Sarama Ki Bat
Krpa Koro Vaisnava Thakura
Krsna Bamsi Gita Suni
Krsna Bhakti Vina Kabhu
Krsna Caitanya Advaita Prabhu
Krsna Govinda Hare
Krsna Nama Dhare Koto Bal
Mahabhava Cintamani
Mama Mana Mandire
Mana Jogi Ho’te Tomar Basana
Mana Keno E Samsaya
Mana Re Dhana Mada Nitanta Asar
Mana Re Keno Ar Varna Abhiman
Mana Re Keno Koro Vidya
Mana Re Keno Miche Bhajicho Asar
Mana Tore Boli E Barata
Mana Tumi Barai Cancala
Mana Tumi Barai Pamara
Mana Tumi Bhalobasa Kamer Taranga
Mana Tumi Parile Ki Char
Mana Tumi Sannyasi Sajite Keno Cao
Mana Tumi Tirthe Sada Rata
Manasa Deho Geho
Manasa Deho Geho Jo Kichu Mor
Maner Mala Japbi Jakhon
Manusa Bhajan Korcho O Bhai
Maya Baddha Jataksana
Na Korolun Karama
Nadiya Godrume Nityanand Mahajan
Nagare Nagare Gora Gay
Narada Muni Bajay Vina
Narada Muni Bajaye Vina
Nija Karma Dose Phale
Nira Dhama Gata
Nirakar Nikarar Koriya Citkar
Nitai Nam Hate O Ke Jabire Bhai
Nivedana Kori Prabhu Tomar Carane
Ohe Bhai Mana Keno Brahma Ho’te Cay
Ohe Prabhu Doyamoy
Ohe Vaisnava Thakura
Ore Mana Badibar Asa Keno Koro
Ore Mana Bhalo Nahi Lage E Samsar
Ore Mana Bhalonahi Lage E Samsar
Ore Mana Bhukti Mukti Sprha Koro Dura
Ore Mana Boli Suno Tattva Bibarana
Ore Mana Karmer Kuhare Gelo Kal
Ore Mana Ki Bipada Hoilo Amar
Ore Mana Klesa Tapad
Para Tattva Bicaksana
Pirti Saccidananda Rupavati Nari
Pita Varana Kali Pavana
Prabhu Tava Pada Yuge
Prapance Poriya Agati
Prasadam Prayers
Premse Kaho Sri Krsna Caitanya
Priti Pravrt Samarambhe
Radha Bhajane Jadi Mati
Radha Krishna Bol
Radha Kunda Tata Kunja Kutir
Radha Vallabha Madhava Sripati
Radhika Carana Padma
Rama Krsna Go Carane
Ramani Siromani
Rasika Nagari Gana Siromani
Ruper Gaurava Keno Bhai
Sacira Angane Kabhu
Sadhu Sanga Na Hoilo Hay
Sakhi Go Kemate Dharibo Paran
Sanga Dosa Sunya
Sarirer Sukhe Mana Deho Jalanjali
Sarvasva Tomar Carane Sampiya
Sata Koti Gopi Madhava
Sri Guru Vaisnava Krpa
Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Jive Doya Kori
Sri Krsna kirtane Jadi Manasa Tohar
Sri Krsna Sankirtane Jadi Manasa Tohar
Sri Krsna Tattva Nirdese Krpa
Sri Krsna Virohe Radhikar Dasa
Sri Radha Krsna Pada Kamale Mana
Sri Rupa Gosai Sri Guru Rupete
Sri Rupa Vadane Sri Saci Kumar
Stri Purusa Deha Geha
Suddha Bhakata Carana Renu
Suno He Madhu Mathana
Suno He Rasikajana Krsna Guna Aganana
Suno Mor Duhkher Kahini
Tabhanghri Kamala Dwoy
Tava Pada Pankajini
Toma Chadi Ami Kabhu
Tomar Carana Padma Anuraga
Tomar Gambhir Mana Nahi Bujhe
Tomar Iksane Hoy Sakala Utpatti Loy
Tomar Je Suddha Bhakta
Tomare Bhuliya
Tumi Jagater Pita Tumi Jagater Mata
Tumi Sarva Guna Juta Sakti Tava
Tumi Sarveswareswara Vrajendra Kumar
Tumi To Maribe Jare
Tunhu Doya Sagara
Tuwa Bhakti Anukula
Tuwa Bhakti Pratikula
Tuwa Pade E Minoti Mor
Udilo Arun Purab Bhage
Vacya O Vacaka
Vande Vrndatavi
Vibhavari Sesa
Vibhavari Sesha
Vidyara Vilase
Virajar Pare Suddha Paravyoma Dhama
Visaya Basana Rupa Citter Bikar
Visaya Bimudha Ar Mayavadi
Visva Udita Nama Tapan
Vrsabhanu Suta Carana Sevane
Vyasena Vraja Lilayam Nitya Tattvam
Yada Hi Jiva Vijnanam Purnam
Yadi Te Hari Pada Saroja Sudha
Yashomati Nandan
Yauvane Jakhon Dhana Uparjane
Yesam Ragoditah Krsne Sraddha
Yoga Pithopari Sthita

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – ebooks

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Amnaya sutra

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Apasampradayer

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Autobiography

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Baul Sangit

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Bhakti Tatttva Viveka

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Bhaktyaloka

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Bhavagad Arka Marici Mala

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Brahma Samhita

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Dalaler Gita

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Dasa Mula Tattva

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Dasamula Niryas

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Devadas

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Explanation of the Mahamantra

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – From Moses to Mahaprabhu

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Gauranga Lila

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Gita Mala

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Gitavali

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Gitavali2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Hari  Nama Cintamani

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Hari Nama Cintamani2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Jagannatha Mandir

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Jaiva Dharma

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Jaiva Dharma2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Kalyan Kalpa taru

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Kalyana Kalpataru2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Keno Hare Krsna Nam

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Krsna Samhita

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Letter to Bhaktissidhanta

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Mama Mana Mandire

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Notes on the Bhagavata

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – On Haridasa Thakur

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Panca _Samskara

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Prema Pradipa

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Saranagati

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Saranagati2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Saranagati3

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Bhajana Rahasya

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Caitanya – His life and precepts

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Caitanya – His life and Precepts2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Caitanya Siksamrta

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Godruma Candra Bhajana Upadesa

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Sanmodana Bhasyam

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sri Sri Navadvipa Bhava Taranga

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sva Niyama Dvadasakam

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Sva Niyama dvadasakam2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Tattva sutra

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Tattva sutra2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Tattva Viveka

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Tattva viveka2

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Vaisnava Siddhanta Mala

Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Biography

 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

  Bhaktivinoda Thakura was born on Sunday, Sept. 2, 1838 in Biranagara (Ulagrama) in the Nadia district of Bengal. He was the seventh son of Raja Krishnananda Datta, a great Devotee of Lord Nityananda. He was also known as the great grandson of Madana Mohana and the third son of his Godfather Anandacandra. He would be known as daitya-kulera prahlada (Prahlada in the family of demons). This was because Vaisnavism was not very much respected in his family; on his mother's side, there was no respect for Vaisnavism at all. He was named Kedaranatha Datta by his Godfather. His childhood was spent at the mansion of his maternal grandfather Mustauphi Mahasaya, in Biranagara. His environment at this time was very opulent. He got his elementary education at the primary school started by his grandmother. Later he attended an English school in Krishnanagara, started by the King of Nadia; he left that school when his older brother died unexpectedly of cholera. When he was 11 years old, his father passed away. Subsequently, the grant of land that had been conferred upon his grandmother changed owners; at this time the family fell into a condition of poverty – their great wealth proved to be illusory. Still, Kedaranatha Datta passed over these difficulties with great endurance. His mother arranged a marriage for him when he was 12 (in the year 1850) to the 5 year old daughter of Madhusudana Mitra Mahasaya, a resident of Rana Ghata. Around this time Kedaranatha's uncle Kasiprasada Ghosh Mahasaya Thakura, who had mastered British education, came to Ulagrama after the death of his maternal grandfather. He schooled young Kedaranatha at his home in Calcutta; this was at first resisted by the boy's mother, but by the time he was 13 he was allowed to go to the big city.

   His uncle's house was situated in the Heduya district of central Calcutta. Kasiprasada was the central figure of the literary circle of his time, being the editor of the Hindu Intelligencer newspaper; many writers came to him to learn the art of writing in correct English. Kedaranatha assisted Kasiprasada by judging manuscripts submitted to the newspaper. Kedaranatha studied Kasiprasada's books and also frequented the public library. He attended Calcutta's Hindu Charitable Institution high school and became an expert English reader, speaker, and writer. Kedaranatha became ill from the salty water of Calcutta. He returned to Ulagrama and was treated by a Muslim soothsayer who predicted that the village of Biranagara would soon become pestilence-ridden and deserted. The Muslim also predicted Kedaranatha would become recognized as a great Devotee of Lord Krishna. In the year 1856, when he was 18, Kedaranatha entered college in Calcutta. He started writing extensively in both English and Bengali; these essays were published in local journals. He also lectured in both languages. He studied English literature at this time extensively, and taught speechmaking to a person who later became a well-known orator in the British Parliament. Between the years 1857-1858 he composed a two part English epic entitled "The Poriade", which he planned to complete in 12 books. These two books described the life of Porus, who met Alexander the Great. Dvijendranatha Thakur, the eldest son of Maharsi Devendranatha Tagore and brother of the Nobel Prize winning poet Rabindranatha Tagore, was Kedaranatha's best friend during these years. He assisted Kedaranatha in his studies of Western religious books. Kedaranatha used to call Dvijendranatha "baro dada", or big brother. He was very taken by Christian theology, and found it more interesting than Hindu monism. He would spend many hours comparing the writings of Channing, Theodore Parker, Emerson and Newman.

   At the end of 1858 Kedaranatha returned to Biranagara and found that the Muslim soothsayer's prediction about that place had come true: it was ruined and deserted. Kedaranatha brought his mother and paternal grandmother with him to Calcutta. Soon after he went to Orissa to visit his paternal grandfather, Rajavallabha Datta, formerly an important Calcutta gentleman who was now living as an ascetic in the Orissan countryside. His days were coming to a close, and he wanted Kedaranatha to be with him when he departed this world. After receiving his grandfather's last instructions, he traveled to all the monasteries and temples in the state of Orissa.

   Kedaranatha began to consider the question of the means of his livelihood. He was not interested in business, as he'd seen how the "necessary dishonesty" of the trade world had morally weakened the merchant class. He decided to become a school teacher. He established a school for English education in the village of Kendrapara near Chutigrama, in Orissa, thus becoming a pioneer in English teaching in that state. He also could see the oppressive power wielded by the landowners of Chutigrama. After some time he went to Puri and passed a teacher's examination; he got a teacher's post in a Cuttack school and later became headmaster of a school in Bhadraka and then in Madinipura. His work was noted by the schoolboard authorities. In Bhadraka, his first son Annada Prasada (Acyutananda) was born, in 1860. He published a book that year in English that described all the asramas and temples in the state; this book received favorable mention in the work called "Orissa" by British historian Sir William Hunter. Hunter praised Kedaranatha's moral and religious character. As the headmaster of the Medinipura high school, Kedaranatha studied many popular Bengali religious sects, particularly their philosophies and practices. He concluded they were all cheap.
 
   He came to understand that the only real religion that had ever been established in Bengal was that of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; unfortunately, His movement was not well-represented. Kedaranatha could not even get a copy of the 16th century Bengali biography of Lord Caitanya's activities on earth called Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, despite searching in bookshops, libraries and monasteries all over Bengal. Kedaranatha's first wife passed away, so in the town of Jakapura he married Bhagyavati Devi. In 1861 Kedaranatha accepted the post of Deputy Magistrate in the Government of Bengal. Then he became Collectorate Officer after seeing the corruption of the government workers. He established an organization called the "Bhratr Samaja". He wrote an English book in 1863 called "Our Wants." At this time he also constructed a home in Rana Ghata. Later in 1863 he stayed at Burdwan, where he composed two novel poems in Bengali: "Vijinagrama" (deserted village) and "Sannyasi." Volume 39 of the 1863 Calcutta Review praised these poems, saying, "We hope the author will continue to give his countrymen the benefit of his elegant and unassuming pen, which is quite free from those objectionable licenses of thought and expression which abound in many dramas recently published. The want of the day is the creation of a literature for Hindu ladies, and we trust that many more educated natives will have the good sense to devote their time and abilities to the attainment of this most desirable aim." The rhyme and style of these two poems were original; they gave birth to a new way of writing poetry in the Bengali language. In the year 1866 Kedaranatha took the position of Deputy Registrar with the power of a Deputy Collector and Deputy Magistrate in the district of Chapara. He also became quite fluent in Persian and Urdu. In a place called Saran in Chapara, a clique of tea planters made unjust demands of him; he successfully opposed them. And while at Saran he visited the Gautama Asrama at Godana. Desiring to establish a school for teaching nyaya-sastra, he delivered a speech there (in 1866) which was well-received. The school was successfully established, the foundation-stone being laid in 1883 by Sir Rivers Thomson, after whom the school was named. Though Kedaranatha had no further part in the project after his speech, the talk he gave was instrumental in securing public aid for the school. Also in 1866 he translated the Balide Registry Manual into Urdu, which was circulated by the government throughout the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh; this manual was used by the registration departments of those areas.
 
   Kedaranatha was transferred to Purniya from Chapara where he took charge of the government and judicial departments; he was then transferred to Dinajapura (West Bengal) in 1868, becoming the Deputy Magistrate. At this time he received copies of the Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta from Calcutta. He read Caitanya-caritamrta repeatedly; his faith in Krishna developed until he was absorbed in Krishna consciousness day and night. He incessantly submitted heartfelt prayers for the Lord's mercy. He came to understand the supreme majesty and power of the one and only Absolute Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. He published a song about Lord Chaitanya entitled Saccidananda-premalankara. In 1869, while serving as deputy magistrate under the government of Bengal in Dinajapura, he delivered a speech in the form of a treatise he had written on the Srimad-Bhagavatam to a big congregation of many prominent men of letters from many parts of India and England. He was transferred to Camparana, during which time his second son, Radhika Prasada, was born. In Camparana people used to worship a ghost in a banyan tree which had the power to influence the mind of the local judge to decide in the favor of the worshiper. Kedaranatha engaged the father of Pandita Ramabhai, a famous girl scholar, to read Srimad-Bhagavatam under the tree; after one month, the tree crashed to the ground, and many people found faith in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. From Camparana he went to Puri which engladdened his heart because the holy city of Puri, the site of the famous Krishna Temple of Jagannatha, was where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had resided for 18 years as a sannyasi. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Sri Jagannath Mandir, Puri.

   Near Puri, in the town of Kamanala, there lived a yogi named Bisakisena, who became popular by exercising mystic powers. He had two companions going by the names Brahma and Siva; Bisakisena himself claimed to be Mahavisnu. Some wealthy landowners of Orissa came under his sway and were providing funds for the construction of a temple. They also sent him women with whom he engaged in "rasa-lila" enjoyments. Bisakisena declared he'd drive the British rulers out of Orissa and make himself king. Such inflammatory statements were circulated all around Orissa. The British thought him a revolutionary, so the District Governor of the National Government of Bengal drew up arrest orders; but nobody in Orissa dared to act upon these orders, as they all feared the yogi's power.

   Mr. Ravenshaw, district commissioner for Orissa, requested Kedaranatha to bring Bisakisena to justice. Kedaranatha went personally to Bisakisena, who showed some powers and informed Kedaranatha that he knew well who he was and his mission. He warned Kedaranatha that since he (Bisakisena) was the Lord, he'd better not interfere with him. Kedaranatha replied by acknowledging Bisakisena's accomplishments in yoga and invited him to come to Puri where he could see the Jagannatha temple. Bisakisena haughtily said, "Why should I come to see Jagannatha? He's only a hunk of wood; I am the Supreme in person." Instantly furious, Kedaranatha arrested the rogue, brought him to Puri and threw him in jail, where he was guarded by 3 dozen Muslim constables and 72 policemen from Cuttack day and night. "Brahma" and "Siva" avoided arrest by claiming they'd been forced by Bisakisena to do as they'd done; but Mr. Taylor, subdivision officer at Kodar, later prosecuted them. Kedaranatha tried Bisakisena in Puri. The trial lasted 18 days, during which time thousands of people gathered outside the courtroom demanding Bisakisena's release.
 
   On 6th day of the trial Kedaranatha's second daughter Kadambini (age 7) became seriously ill and nearly died; but within a day she had recovered. Kedaranatha knew it was the power of the yogi at work. He remarked, "Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished." The very next day in court the yogi announced he'd shown his power and would show much more; he suggested that Kedaranatha should release him at once or face worse miseries. On the last day of the trial Kedaranatha himself became ill from high fever and suffered exactly as his daughter had done for one whole day. But Kedaranatha pronounced the man guilty and sentenced him to 18 months for political conspiracy. When Bisakisena was being readied for jailing, one Dr. Walter, the District Medical Officer, cut off all the yogi's long hair. The yogi kept his mystic power in his hair and hadn't eaten or drunk during the whole trial, so when his hair was shorn he fell to the floor like a dead man and had to be taken by stretcher to jail. After 3 months he was moved to the central jail at Midnapura where he took poison and died in the year 1873. In Puri, Kedaranatha studied the Srimad-Bhagavatam with the commentary of Sridhara swami, copied out the Sat-sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami and made a special study of Rupa Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Between the years 1874 and 1893, Kedaranatha spent much time in seclusion chanting the holy name (though he still executed his worldly duties perseveringly). He wrote several books in Sanskrit such as Tattva-sutra, Datta-kaustubha and Tattva-viveka and many other books in Bengali such as the Kalyana-kalpataru. While in Puri he established a Vaisnava discussion society known as the Bhagavat-samsad in the Jagannatha-vallabha gardens, where the famous saint Sri Ramananda Raya stayed in meditation hundreds of years before. All the prominent Vaisnavas joined this group except for Raghunatha dasa Babaji, known as Siddha Purusa.
 
   He thought that Kedaranatha was unauthorized, as he did not wear kanthi-mala (neckbeads) or tilaka (clay markings on 12 places of the body). Moreover, he advised other Vaishnavas to avoid Kedaranatha's association. But soon thereafter Raghunatha dasa Babaji contracted a deathly illness. Lord Jagannatha appeared to him in a dream and told him to pray for the mercy of Kedaranatha if he at all wanted release from the illness and death. He did so; Kedaranatha gave him special medicines and cured him. Raghunatha dasa Babaji was blessed with a true awareness of Kedaranatha's spiritual position. A well-known saint named Svarupa dasa Babaji did his worship at Satasana near the ocean in Puri. Svarupa showed much affection for Kedaranatha and gave him many profound instructions on the chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna. A popular upstart holy man named Charan dasa Babaji preached and printed books advising a perverted style of kirtana (congregational chanting of the holy names of God), advising that one should chant the Hare Krishna Mantra in japa and Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama Hare Krishna Hare Rama in kirtana. Kedaranatha preached long and hard to him; after a long time Charan dasa Babaji came to his senses and begged forgiveness from Kedaranatha, admitting his fault in spreading this nonsense fashion of chanting all over Bengal. Six months later Caran dasa went mad and died in great distress. Kedaranatha became manager of the Jagannatha temple. He used his government powers to establish strict regularity in the worship of the Deity. In the Jagannatha temple courtyard he set up a Bhakti Mandapa, where daily discourses of Srimad Bhagavatam were held. Kedaranatha would spend long hours discussing Krishna and chanting the Holy Name, especially at the important sites of Sri Chaitanya's pastimes like the Tota Gopinatha Temple, the tomb of Haridasa Thakura, the Siddha Bakula tree and the Gambhira room. He made notes on the Vedanta-sutra which were used by Sri Syamalala Goswami in the edition of the Govinda Bhasya by Baladeva Vidyabhusana that he published.

   Near the Jagannatha-vallabha gardens, in a large house adjacent to the Narayana Chata Matha, on the 5th day of the dark fortnight of Magha in the year 1874, the fourth son of Kedaranatha took birth. He was named Bimala Prasada (and would later be known as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, the spiritual master of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness). Two years earlier, Kamala Prasada, his third son, had taken birth. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Starting from right: Bhaktivinoda Thakur, his son Bimala Prasad.

   In 1874 Kedaranatha discovered the Raja (king) of Puri had misappropriated 80 thousand rupees for his own sense pleasures. This money belonged to the temple, so Kedaranatha forced the Raja to pay for the offerings of food to Lord Jagannatha. The raja was angry at Kedaranatha and therefore, with the help of 50 brahmin priests, began a yajna (fire sacrifice) meant for killing Kedaranatha which went on for 30 days; when the last oblations were offered into the fire, the king's own son and not Kedaranatha died. Kedaranatha left Puri on special business, returning to Bengal where he visited the holy towns of Navadvipa, Santipura and Kalana. He was put in charge of the subdivision Mahisarekha in Haora. After that he was transferred to Bhadraka. In August 1878 he was made head of the subdivision Naraila in the Yashohan district. While in Naraila he published two books on Krishna that became famous around the world: Sri Krishna-samhita and Kalyana-kalpataru. In a letter dated April 16, 1880, Dr. Reinhold Rost wrote to Kedaranatha: "By representing Krishna's character and his worship in a more sublime and transcendental light than has hitherto been the custom to regard him, you have rendered an essential service to your co-religionists, and no one would have taken more delight in your work than my departed friend Goldstuecker, the sincerest and most zealous advocate the Hindus ever had in Europe." In 1877 Varada Prasada was born, his fifth son, and in 1878, Viraja Prasada, the sixth son, both at Rana Ghata.

   Kedaranatha took formal Vaishnava initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami, who was descended from the Jahnava family of Baghnapara. At the same time, his seventh son, Lalita Prasada, appeared at Rana Ghata.

   Within a few years after his initiation, Kedaranatha was awarded by the Vaishnavas the title "Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura" in appreciation for his tireless propagation of the philosophy of devotion (bhakti) to Sri Krishna. In Naraila, many people had formally adopted Vaisnavism, but they were not trained in scriptural conclusions and thus were easily misled by upstarts who exploited their devotional sentiments. Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave these simple Devotees of Krishna shelter and instructed them in Vaishnava-siddhanta (the essential truths of Vaishnavism) most exactingly. In 1881 Bhaktivinoda began publishing the Sajjanatosani, his Vaisnava journal. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had previously pilgrimaged to the holy cities of Benares, Prayaga, Mathura and Vrindavana in 1866. At the close of his stay in Naraila he desired to again see Vrindavana, the land of Krishna. He took three months for this purpose. He met Jagannatha dasa Babaji there, who moved every 6 months between Navadvipa (in Bengal) and Vrindavana. Bhaktivinoda Thakura accepted Jagannatha dasa Babaji as his eternally worshipable siksa guru (instructing spiritual master). During his pilgrimage at this time he dealt with a gang of dacoits (highway robbers) known as the Kanjharas who robbed and killed many pilgrims; he gave evidence to the government and a commission was formed to wipe out this scourge.

   From Vrindavana he came to Calcutta and bought a house at 181 Manikatala Street, now called Ramasha Datta Street, near Bidana Park. He called the house Bhakti-bhavan (place of devotion) and started daily worship of Sri Giridhara.

   He was appointed head of the subdivision of Barasat where the well-known novelist Bankim Candra met him. Bankim Candra showed him a book he'd written about Krishna to Bhaktivinoda, who preached to Bankim Candra for four days, taking little food and hardly any sleep; the result was Bankim Candra changed his ideas (which were mundane speculations about Krishna) and his book to conform with the teachings of Sri Chaitanya. Bhaktivinoda Thakura used to say that knowledge is power. During the last year of his stay at Barasat (1886), Bhaktivinoda Thakura published an edition of the Bhagavad-gita with the Sanskrit commentary of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, which he translated into Bengali (the "Rasika-ranjana" translation). He had undertaken this task at the request of Babu Sarada Carana Mitra, ex-judge of the Calcutta High Commission. Bankim Candra wrote the preface, acknowledging his own indebtedness to Bhaktivinoda Thakura; he noted that all Bengali readers would be indebted to Bhaktivinoda for his saintly work. From Barasat, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was transferred to Sriramapur. At nearby Saptagram he visited the residence of the great Vaishnava saint Uddharana Datta Thakura, a great associate of Lord Nityananda, and the places of another great Vaishnavas of that time, Abhirama Thakura, at Khanakula, and Vasu Ramananda, at Kulinagrama. At Sriramapura he composed and published his masterly writing, Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala, Prema-pradipa and Manah-siksa. He was also publishing Sajjanatosani magazine on a regular basis. In Calcutta he set up the Sri Caitanya Yantra, a printing press at the Bhakti Bhavana, upon which he printed Maladhara's Sri Krishna-vijaya, his own Amnaya-sutra and the Caitanyopanisad of the Atharva Veda.

   Finding the Chaitanyopanisad was a difficult task. Hardly anyone in Bengal had heard of it. Bhaktivinoda Thakura traveled to many places in Bengal looking for it; finally, one devoted Vaishnava pandita named Madhusudana dasa sent him an old copy he'd been keeping with him at Sambalapura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote a Sanskrit commentary on the book and called it Sri Caitanya-caranamrta. Madhusudana dasa Mahasaya translated the verses into Bengali; this translation was called Amrta-bindu. It was a sellout when published. In Calcutta Bhaktivinoda Thakura started the Sri Visva-Vaisnava Sabha, dedicated to the preaching of pure bhakti as taught by Lord Chaitanya. To publicize the work of the society, Bhaktivinoda Thakura published a small booklet entitled Visva-Vaisnava-kalpavi. Also he published his own edition of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, with his Amrta-prabhava Bhasya commentary. And he introduced the Caitanyabda or Caitanya-era calendar, and gave assistance to the propagation of the Caitanya Panjika, which established the feast day of Gaura Purnima, the day of Lord Caitanya's appearance in the material world. He lectured and gave readings on Vaishnava books in various religious societies. In the Hindu Herald, an English periodical, he published a detailed account of Sri Caitanya's life.

   In the year 1887 Bhaktivinoda Thakura resolved to quit government service and go to Vrindavana with Bhaktibhringa Mahasaya for the rest of his life. One night in Tarakesvara, he had a dream in which Sri Chaitanya appeared to him and spoke, "You will certainly go to Vrindavana, but first there is some service you must perform in Navadvipa. When will you do that?" When the Lord disappeared, Bhaktivinoda awoke. On the advice of Bhaktibhringa Mahasaya he thereupon applied for a transfer to Krishnanagara, where the government headquarters for the Navadvip district is situated. He turned down offers of big posts in Assam and Tripura. He even tried to retire at this time, but his application was not accepted. Finally, in December of 1887 he managed to trade posts with Babu Radha Madhava Vasu, Deputy Magistrate of Krishnanagara. During his stay at Krishnanagara, Bhaktivinoda Thakura used to go to Navadvipa and search for the birthsite of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the exact location of which had been lost in time. One night he was sitting on the roof of the Rani Dharmasala in Navadvipa chanting on his beads, when he spotted in the distance a very tall tala tree; near the tree was a small building that gave off a remarkable effulgence. Soon afterwards, he went to the Krishnanagara Collectory where he began to study some very old manuscripts of Caitanya Bhagavata, Navadvipa Dhama Parikrama by Narahari Sarkara, and some old maps of the Navadvipa area. He went to the village of Ballaladibhi and spoke with many elderly people there, and uncovered facts about the modern-day Navadvipa. In the year 1887 he discovered that the place he'd seen from the dharmasala rooftop was in fact the birthplace of Mahaprabhu. This was confirmed by Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the head of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community in Navadvipa. A great festival was held there. Bhaktivinoda published the Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, which elaborated the glories of the birthsite of Sri Caitanya. Also in 1887, Bhaktivinoda renovated the house of Jagannatha dasa Babaji at Ravasghata. He took leave from office for two years and acquired a plot of land at Sri Godadrumadvipa, or Svarupa Ganga. He built a retirement house there called Surabhi Kunj.

   In 1890 he established the "Nama Hatta" there. Sometimes Jagannatha dasa Babaji would come there and have kirtana. Lord Nityananda had established His Nama Hatta at the same place and Bhaktivinoda considered himself the street sweeper of the Nama Hatta of Nitai.

   When the birthplace was uncovered, Bhaktivinoda and Jagannatha dasa Babaji would worship Lord Chaitanya there. Once one of Bhaktivinoda's sons contracted a skin disease and Jagannatha dasa Babaji told the boy to lie down at the birthsite of Lord Chaitanya for the night. He did so, and the next morning he was cured. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Yoga Pitha-Birth place of Lord Chaitania.

   In 1888 Bhaktivinoda took charge of the village of Netrakona in the district of Mayamanasimha, because he could not keep good health in Krishnanagara and had requested transfer to a more healthful region. From Netrakona he came to Tangaila and from there he was transferred to the district of Vardhamana. There he would hold kirtana with the Devotees from a place called Amalajora, headed by Ksetra Babu and Vipina Babu; they would sing poems like Soka-satana written by him.

   He was put in charge of the Kalara subdivision in 1890, and from there would often visit such holy places as Godadrumadvipa, Navadvipa, Campahati, Samudragana, Cupi, Kasthasali, Idrakapura, Baghnapara, Pyariganga (the place of Nakula Brahmacari) and the place of vrindavana dasa Thakura at Denura. Soon Bhaktivinoda Thakura was transferred for a few days to Ranighata, from where he came to Dinajapura again. Sailaja Prasada was born there, his youngest son. In Dinajapura Bhaktivinoda wrote his Vidva-ranjana commentary and translation of the Bhagavad-gita; it was published in 1891 with the commentary of Baladeva. 1891 was the year Bhaktivinoda Thakura took leave from the government service for two years. He desired to preach the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. From his base at Svarupa Ganga he used to visit such places as Ghatala and Ramajivana to lecture in clubs, societies and organizations. This he'd also often do in Krishnanagara. In March of 1892 he traveled and preached with a party of Vaisnavas in the Basirahata District. All the while he was writing also. He opened many centers of Krishna worship (Nama Hatta) in different districts of Bengal. The Nama Hatta became a self-sustaining success which continued to spread even after his return to government service. From Basirahata he set out on his third trip to Vrindavana; he stopped off at Amalajora to celebrate the Ekadasi day with Jagannatha dasa Babaji. In Vrindavana, he visited all the forests and places of pastimes and he continued to give lectures and readings on Hari Nama in various places in Bengal when he returned to Calcutta. In February 1891 he gave a lecture on his investigation into the whereabouts of the exact birthsite of Sri Chaitanya; his audience included highly learned men from all over Bengal, who became very enthusiastic at the news. Out of this gathering the Sri Navadvipa Dhama Pracarini Sabha was formed for spreading the glories of the Yogapitha (the birthsite). That year, on Gaura Purnima, a big festival was held that witness the installation of Gaura-Visnupriya Deities at the Yogapitha. All the learned pandits, having deliberated fully on Bhaktivinoda Thakura's evidence, agreed that the Yogapitha was the true birthsite of Mahaprabhu. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Gaura-Lakshmi-Vishnupriya Deities installed by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Yoga Pitha, Mayapur.

   In 1892, Bhaktivinoda Thakura published the book Vaisnava-siddhanta-mala from his headquarters in Bengal. Later he printed its individual chapters as separate booklets for public distribution. In 1900 he published Hari-nama-cintamani in Bengali poetic form.

   In October 1894, at age 56, he retired from his post as Deputy Magistrate, though this move was opposed by his family and the government authorities. He stayed at Svarupa Ganga to worship, lecture and revise his old writings. Sometimes he went to Calcutta; there he begged door to door for funds to construct a Yogapitha temple. In July 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to Tripura at the request of the the king, who was a Vaishnava. He stayed in the capital for 4 days and preached the chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna. His lecture on the first day amazed all the local panditas; on the next two days the royal family and general public thrilled to his talks on the pastimes of Mahaprabhu. Back in Svarupa Ganga, Bhaktivinoda Thakura printed a small booklet written in Sanskrit under the title Sri Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, with a commentary by Sitikantha Vacaspati of Nadia. The introduction in English was called "Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His life and Precepts". This book found its way into the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, the library of McGill University in Canada and other respectable institutions. It was reviewed in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society by Mr. F.W. Fraser, an erudite British scholar.

   In the rainy season of 1896, requested by the Maharaja of Tripura, he went to Darjilim and Karsiyam. In 1897 he went to many villages such as Medinipura and Sauri to preach.

   Sisir Kumar Ghosh was the founder of the Amrta Bazar Patrika and the author of the Sri Amiya Nimai-carita. He had great respect for Bhaktivinoda Thakura; he also took up the preaching of the Holy Name throughout Calcutta and in many villages in Bengal. He published the Sri Visnu Priya O Ananda Bazar Patrika under the editorship of Bhaktivinoda. In one of his letters to Bhaktivinoda he wrote, "I have not seen the six Goswamis of Vrindavana but I consider you to be the seventh Goswami."

   Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati had been residing at Puri as a strict renunciate and was engaged in worship at the Gandharvika Giridhari Matha, one of seven Mathas near the samadhi tomb of Haridasa Thakura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, desiring to help his son, had the monastery cleaned and repaired when he came to Puri himself at the beginning of the 20th century. After Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati left Puri for Sri Navadvipa Mayapura, Bhaktivinoda Thakura constructed his own place of bhajana on the beach, calling it Bhakti Kutir; Krishnadasa Babaji, Bhaktivinoda Thakura's devoted assistant and disciple, joined him there at this time. He was his constant attendant up to the end of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's life. He began solitary worship (bhajan) at this time; he had many visitors at Sivathis place. Some of them simply wanted to disturb him, whereas others were sincere and benefited greatly from his spiritual inspiration. In 1908, 3 months before Bhaktivinoda Thakura renounced the world, one of his sons who was working in a Calcutta government office came home to inform his father that Sir William Duke, chief secretary to the government, was in Calcutta. Bhaktivinoda Thakura had served under him as a magistrate. Bhaktivinoda Thakura made an appointment to meet him the next day at the government building. Sir William Duke greeted Bhaktivinoda Thakura on the street outside the building and personally escorted him into his office. With folded hands, he asked forgiveness for having once planned to remove Bhaktivinoda Thakura from his post of district magistrate; this was because he thought that if such qualified Indians held such important posts, the British would not last much longer in India. Formerly Sir William Duke used to visit to Bhaktivinoda's house and would even take his meals there. Such familiarity between British nobility and the native people of India was uncommon. Now that Sir William was getting old, he wished to clear his conscience of guilty feelings from the past, and so confessed to Bhaktivinoda Thakura that he'd thought ill of him despite their close relationship. Bhaktivinoda Thakura answered, "I considered you to be a good friend and a well-wisher all along." Pleased with Sir William, he gave him his blessings. Later Bhaktivinod Thakura admitted he was astonished that Duke wanted to harm him in some way.

   In 1908 Bhaktivinoda Thakura took vesa (the dress of babaji) at Satasana in Puri. Until 1910 he would move between Calcutta and Puri, and continued to write; but after that he stopped all activity and remained in Puri, absorbed in the Holy Name of Krishna. He shut himself up and entered samadhi, claiming paralysis. On June 23, 1914, just before noon at Puri, Bhaktivinoda Thakura left his body. This day was also the disappearance day of Sri Gadadhara Pandita. Amidst sankirtana his remains were interred in Godruma after the next solstice; the summer solstice had just begun when he had left his body. About Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sarada Carana Mitra, Calcutta High Court Judge, wrote: "I knew Thakura Bhaktivinoda intimately as a friend and a relation. Even under the pressure of official work as a magistrate in charge of a heavy district he could always find time for devotional contemplation and service, and whenever I met him, our talk would turn in a few moments to the subject of devotion, dvaitadvaita-vada philosophy and the saintly work that lay before him. Service of God is the only thing he longed for and service under the government, however honorable, was to him a clog." In executing his government service, Bhaktivinoda Thakura would wear coat and pants to court, with double-size tulasi neckbeads and tilaka. He would shave his head monthly. Very strong in his decisions, he would decide immediately. He did not allow any humbug in his court; no upstart could stand before him.

   He was always charitable to brahmanas, and equally befriended other castes. He never showed pride, and his amiable disposition was a characteristic feature of his life. He never accepted gifts from anyone; he even declined all honors and titles offered by the government to him on the grounds that they might stand against his holy mission of life. He was very strict in moral principles, and avoided the luxurious life; he would not even chew betel. He never allowed harmonium and he never had any debts. He disliked theaters because they were frequented by public women. He spoke Bengali, Sanskrit, English, Latin, Urdu, Persian and Oriya. He started writing books at age 12, and continued turning out a profuse number of volumes up until his departure from this world.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura Appearance Day Lecture By Srila Prabhupada

Prabhupada: Bring water, water. Water? So today is a very auspicious day, Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s birthday. Here is the picture of Thakura Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda. He was one of the acaryas of this disciplic succession from Krishna. We have got a succession table from Krishna, genealogical table. There are two kinds of genealogical tables, one by the semina father, his son, his son, like that. That is material genealogical table. And there is one spiritual genealogical table, disciplic succession. Just like Krishna. Krishna, the original father, Supreme Personality of Godhead, He spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma, Lord Brahma. He spoke to Narada. Narada spoke to Vyasa. Vyasa spoke to Madhvacarya. So in this disciplic succession, Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya, the six Goswamis, and similarly, coming down, down, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, then my spiritual master, then we are next generation, my disciples.

So there is a disciplic succession. And the acaryas, they’re authorities. Our process of knowledge is very simple. We take it from the authority. We don’t speculate. Speculation will not help us to come to the real knowledge. Just like when we are in difficulty, in legal implication, we go to some authority, lawyer. When we are diseased we go to a physician, the authority. There is no use, speculation. Suppose I am in difficulty in some legal implication. I simply speculate, “I shall be free in this way and that way.” That will not help. We have to go to the lawyer who knows things, and he gives us instruction that “You do not do this; then you’ll be free.” Similarly, when we are diseased, if I speculate at home that “My disease will be cured in this way and that way,” no. That is useless. You go to an authorized physician, and he will give you a nice prescription, and you’ll be cured. That is the process of knowledge. But in the modern age people think that “I am free, I am independent, and I can make my own solution.” That is rascaldom. That’s not good. So Arjuna, when he was talking with Krishna as friend, but when he saw that there was no solution talking like this, he surrendered to Krishna. He said, sishyas te ’ham, aham: “Myself, I surrender unto You as Your disciple.” Sishyas te ’ham sadhi mam prapannam. Prapannam means surrender. So that is the Vedic injunction, that if you want to know transcendental knowledge or science.“Transcendental” means beyond the scope of your direct perception.

So spiritual knowledge is beyond the scope of our sense speculation. Beyond the scope. Just like when a soul, a spiritual spark only, leaves this body, you cannot see. Therefore, atheistic class of men, they speculate, “There may be a soul; there may not be soul.” Or, “The bodily function was going like this; now it stopped. The blood corpuscles now cease. It is no more red; it is white; therefore life.” These are speculation. This is not actual knowledge. Actual knowledge you get from the authority, Krishna. He says, tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. Just like the soul is passing through different stages. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe. Deha, deha means this body. Asmin dehe, in this body, there is dehi. Dehi means who is the owner of this body. That is soul. That is passing through childhood, boyhood, babyhood, youthhood, old age. Everyone, you can perceive that you were a child, you were a baby, you were a boy. Now you are young or old man. So you are there. So as you are passing through different types of bodies, similarly, when you give up this body you accept another body. What is the difficulty? Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. There is no question of becoming astonished, how transmigration of the self, soul, takes place. The vivid example is there. Simply you require little intelligence. That intelligence is developed through the instruction of acarya. Therefore, Vedic injunction is not to acquire knowledge by speculation. That is useless. Athapi te deva padambuja-dvayam janati tattvam prasada-lesanugrihita eva hi, na canya eko ’pi ciram vicinvan. Ciram vicinvan. Ciram means for thousands of years you can speculate; you cannot understand what is God. That is not possible. But if you receive knowledge from the devotee, he can deliver you. Therefore Vedic injunction is that tad-vijnana in order to understand tad-vijnana Vijnana means science. If you want to know the transcendental science, then you must approach a guru. Tad-vijnanartham, in order to If you are at all interested to understand the spiritual science. Tad vijnanartham (sa) gurum eva abhigacchet. You must approach guru. Guru means this disciplic succession, as I have explained.

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura is an ideal guru. He was not a sannyasi; he was grihastha, householder, living with family, wife, children. Still, he was guru. So anyone can become guru. Not that a sannyasi can become guru. A householder also can become guru, provided he knows the science. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was talking with Ramananda Raya… Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi, very highly born in brahmana family, very learned scholar. So He was talking with Ramananda Raya, a grihastha, governor of Madras. And He was questioning, and Ramananda Raya was answering. That means he was taking the part of guru, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taking the part of a disciple. So he was hesitating, Ramananda Raya. He thought himself that “I am a grihastha; I’m not even a brahmana. Besides that, I am dealing in material affairs. I am governor, politics. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi, born of a high-class brahmana family. So it does not look well that I shall teach Him.” So he was hesitating. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Oh, why you are hesitating?”.

kiba vipra, kiba sudra, nyasi kene naya
  yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya

He said, “Don’t hesitate. Either one may become a brahmana or one may become a sudra…” Kiba vipra, kiba sudra. Vipra means brahmana, and sudra. Sudra is the fourth-grade human being. Brahmana is the first grade. So kiba vipra, kiba sudra. He may be a first-grade human being or the lowest grade human being, or he may become a sannyasi or a grihastha. It does not matter. Anyone who knows the science of Krishna, he can become a guru. This is the verdict. Because spiritual science does not belong to the bodily platform. It is on the spiritual platform. It is very nice. Just like when you go to a lawyer or to an engineer or to a physician. You do not inquire whether he’s a brahmana or sudra. Simply you have to know whether he’s a lawyer. That’s all. Whether he’s a physician actually. If he knows the medical science, he may be a brahmana, he may be a sudra, he may be a sannyasi, he may be a householder. It doesn’t matter. Your business is with a physician, with a lawyer. Similarly, your business is to understand Krishna. So anyone who knows Krishna perfectly, you have to go there. Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. It is Vedic injunction is not that you have to approach a sannyasi or a grihastha or an Indian or American. No. Gurum. And guru means who knows the science of Krishna.
    
So, this Bhaktivinoda Thakura was grihastha, very responsible officer, magistrate. And he was so exalted that he would come from his office generally at five o’clock, then take his supper and immediately go to bed. Immediately. Say at seven o’clock in the evening he goes to bed, and he wakes up at twelve o’clock. So suppose he goes to bed at seven o’clock in the evening and wakes up at twelve o’clock at night; it is sufficient sleep, five hours. One should not sleep more than five to six hours. Minimize as far as possible. The Goswamis used to sleep not more than one and a half hour, or two hours. Sleeping is not very important thing. Even big politicians, they used to sleep for two hours. So especially in spiritual line, they should minimize as far as possible eating, sleeping, mating, defending. Minimize. Gradually it comes to nil. Raghunatha dasa Goswami, he was eating only a little piece of butter every alternate days, not daily. So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura, regularly he was coming from his office, and after taking his supper immediately he goes to bed, and wake up at twelve o’clock, and he used to write books. He wrote, he left behind him about one hundred books. And he excavated the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, organized how to develop that birth site, Mayapur. He had so many business. He used to go to preach about Caitanya’s philosophy. He used to sell books to foreign countries. In 1896 he attempted to sell Life and Precepts of Caitanya in the MacGill University in Montreal. So he was busy, acarya. So one has to adjust things. Not that “Because I am grihastha, householder, I cannot become a preacher. It is the business…” (aside:) Give me water. “It is the business of the sannyasi or brahmacari.” No. It is the business of everyone. The whole world is suffering for want of knowledge. The present civilization is animal civilization. They do not know anything beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. This is animal civilization. Animal does not know beyond these four principles of life: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. No. Human life is meant for something else: “What I am? What is God? What is my relation with God? What is this material world? Why I am here? Where I have to go next?” So many things one has to learn. Athato brahma-jijnasa. This is human life. Not that eat and sleep and have sex life and die someday like cats and dogs. Therefore, there is need of acaryas, teachers, for propagating spiritual knowledge, Krishna consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was… Although he was a grihastha, householder, a government officer, magistrate, but he was acarya. So from his dealings, from his life, we should learn how one can become a preacher in any stage of life. It doesn’t matter what he is.

There was one incidence, very interesting. When he was magistrate in Jagannatha Puri The system is Jagannatha temple is a very big establishment. In the temple fifty-six times daily, bhoga is offered. And you’ll find in the temple always at least five hundred to one thousand people gathered. And they come from outside, and prasada is ready. If you go and ask in the Jagannatha temple that “We are one hundred men come from outside. We want prasada,” yes, immediately ready. So it is a huge temple. This is one temple, but there are many other thousands of temple in India where prasada is distributed. Now it is minimized by our present government. They think that it is unnecessary expenditure. They are minimizing. But not unnecessary expenditure. They do not understand. Formerly, in India there was no necessity of hotel. Anyone goes anywhere, even in a village, he goes to a temple—prasada is ready. There is no need of going to a hotel. You pay or don’t pay. If you say that “I want little prasada,” “Yes, take it.” That is the system still. There is the Nathadvara temple in Rajasthan. You pay two annas only. Two annas means one cent. You get sumptuous prasada for two mens, all very nice prasada, still. So prasada distribution in temple is longstanding usage. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The Jagannatha temple is managed by a body, and it is the custom that the local magistrate of the district, he becomes the president, or manager. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura was manager in that sense, because he was magistrate. The managing committee was being presided by him. So there was a complaint. In Orissa, this Jagannatha temple is situated in Orissa. Utkala. Utkala, this state, was originally belonging to Dhruva Maharaja. His son’s name was Utkala, Maharaja Utkala. Anyway, so this Utkala, there was a pseudo yogi. He declared himself that. Just like you’ll find nowadays also, there are so many rascals declaring that “I am incarnation of God.” And they know some mystic power, play some jugglery, and foolish people take them: “Oh, he’s God.” So there appeared one like such pseudo God, Vishnu, in a village of Orissa. And he was dancing rasa dance, and foolish people were sending their daughters and wife to dance with him. You see? There were so many. Not only that. People are so foolish, they do not know… They want to be cheated, and these cheaters come. He declared that “I am God. I am Vishnu.” So there were sane men also. They took objection, “What is this nonsense? This man is dancing with ladies and gentlemen, er, girls.” So they filed a complaint. At that time it was British rule. They complained to the governor or the commissioner, very high officer. The commissioner knew that Bhaktivinoda Thakura.His name was Kedaranatha Datta. Datta. Kedaranatha Datta, his household name. So the commissioner of the division, he knew that Kedaranatha Datta is a religious man, and he’s magistrate in charge. So he handed over the case for inquiry, “What is this complaint? You please inquire and do the needful.”

So he was a pure devotee, and he understood that “This rascal is a bogus man, cheating people. I must inquire.” So he went to the village in plain dress with some constables, police constables. They were also in plain dress. And as soon as he approached that rascal yogi, he said, “Oh, you are Kedaranatha Datta. So, very nice. You are… I shall make you king of India. Please don’t try to bother me.” Because he could know that “He has come to inquire about my rasa-lila.” So Bhaktivinoda Thakura first of all said, “Sir, you are such a great yogi. Why you are in the village? Why don’t you go to Jagannatha Puri? There is temple and Lord Jagannatha is there. Better you go there and see the Lord and be happy. Why you are in this village?” “Oh, Jagannatha? Ah, that is made of wood. I am personally the Supreme Lord. That is made of wood.” Oh, then Bhaktivinoda Thakura—he was a devotee—he became fire. (laughter) He was insulting. Arcye sila-dhir gurushu nara-matih. According to sastra, if somebody thinks… Just like here is Deity. If somebody thinks, “Oh, it is made of stone…” It is stone to the eyes of the nondevotee, but it is personally Supreme Personality of Godhead to the devotees. It requires the eyes to see. So devotee sees in a different angle of vision. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He entered Jagannatha temple immediately He fainted: “Oh, here is My Lord.” And the nondevotee is seeing: “It is wood, a lump of wood.” Therefore, to the nondevotee, He remains always as wood, but to the devotee He speaks. That is the difference. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. If God is everything, why wood, through wood and stone, God cannot manifest? If God is everything? According to Mayavada philosophy… That’s a fact. God, omnipotent. He can express Himself even through wood and stone. That is God’s omnipotency. That is called omnipotency. Not that God is unable to express Himself through wood and stone. Then how He’s omnipotent? Omnipotent means His potency can be expressed through anything. Because anything, everything is the expansion of God’s energy. Parasya brahmanah saktis tathedam akhilam jagat. The whole world is manifestation of different energies of God. Therefore… Just like through the energy of electricity the electric powerhouse, although far, far away from this place, was expressing. There is electricity. Through this glass, through these wires, the power can be expressed. There is a process.

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura became very much… Because a devotee cannot tolerate blaspheming another devotee or God. So as soon as he said that “Why shall I go to Jagannatha Puri to see the wooden Jagannatha? I am personally Vishnu,” Bhaktivinoda Thakura immediately ordered his constables, “Arrest him. Arrest this rascal.” So he was arrested. And when he was arrested… He had some yogic mystic power. All the constables, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his family members became affected with high fever, 105 degrees fever. So when he came back, his wife became very much disturbed that “You arrested Vishnu, and we are all going to die. We have now high fever.” Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, “Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished.” This is the view of pure devotee. So he was put into the custody. And there was a date fixed for his trial, and all these days Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself and his family especially, they were suffering from high fever. Maybe that yogi was planning to kill the whole family. But it was going on as fever. So on the trial day, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kedaranatha Datta, when he came to the bench the man was presented, the so-called yogi, and he had big, big hairs. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that “Bring one barber and cut his hair.” So no barber dared. The barbers thought, “Oh, he’s a Lord Vishnu. If I offend, as he’s suffering from fever, so I shall also die.” So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that “Give me the scissor. I’ll cut.” So he cut his hairs and ordered him to be put into jail for six months, and in the jail that Vishnu incarnation managed to take some poison, and he died.

So this is one of the incidents. There are many incidences. He was very strong man. He punished many pandas in the tirthas who exploit visitors. So, this is the position of devotee. In spite of his becoming a responsible magistrate, a householder, still, he was acarya. So we have to follow the acaryas. If we at all, if we are at all interested in spiritual science, then we must follow the Vedic instruction, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. We must approach. You cannot have spiritual knowledge simply by speculating. Impossible. Simply waste of time. Srama eva hi kevalam. You must go to the… In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is recommended, acaryopasanam.      Acarya-upasana. Not only worshiping the Lord, but also the acarya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru-krishna-kripaya paya bhakti- lata-bija. Guru, acarya, and Krishna. One should seek favor of both of them. Not that “I am now seeking favor of Krishna. What is the use of guru or acarya?” No. You cannot overlap acarya and go to Krishna. That is not possible. Krishna will not accept you. Just like if you want to see a big man you should go through his secretary, through his orderly, doorkeeper; similarly, our process is acaryopasanam, go through the acarya. That is the injunction of the Vedas. Tarko ’pratishthah. If you want to enter into the spiritual world, you cannot get through simply by arguments. Because there is no limit of argument. I place my argument in one way. Another man, who is better arguer, he places his argument in a different way.

So if you simply go on arguing, it is not possible. Tarko ’pratishthah. It will never help you. Argument. Srutayo vibhinnah. If you think that “I shall read scriptures and I shall understand God,” no, that is also not possible. Srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are also different. Because scriptures are made according to time, circumstances, people. Just like Bible. Bible Lord Jesus Christ preached in the desert, Jerusalem. Or where it is? People who were not so advanced. Therefore his first instruction is “Thou shall not kill.” That means they were very much engaged in killing affairs; otherwise, why is this instruction? And actually, it so happened that they killed Jesus Christ. So that society was not very enlightened society. So a scripture for a society which is not very enlightened and a scripture for a society which is very enlightened must be different. Just like a dictionary. For the schoolboy, a pocket dictionary. And for a college student, international, big dictionary. Both of them are dictionaries. But the small pocket dictionary is not equal to the big dictionary. Because it is different made for different classes of men. So scriptures are made according to different classes of men. There are three classes of men: first-class, second-class, and third-class. The third-class man cannot understand the philosophy and scriptural injunctions of the first-class man. That is not possible. Higher mathematics cannot be understood by the small schoolboys who are simply trying to understand “Two plus two equal to four.” But “Two plus two equal to four” is equally good to the higher mathematics student. But still, higher mathematics and lower math is different. Therefore it is said, srutayo vibhinnah: the scriptures are different. So if you simply try to understand what is God by reading scriptures, you cannot achieve. You must approach a guru. Just like a medical book. It can be available in the market. If you purchase one medical book and study and you become doctor, that is not possible. You must hear the medical book from a medical man in the college, medical college. Then you will be qualified. And if you say, “Sir, I have read all the medical books. Recognize me as a medical practitioner,” no, that will be not.
    
So srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are different. Arguments, that is also not helpful. One man may argue better than me. Then philosophy. The philosophy, it is said, nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam. One philosopher is differing from another philosopher. Just now today Syamasundara has purchased one book about different philosophers. So that you also cannot ascertain what is truth. Therefore sastra says, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam. The truth is very confidential. So if you want to know that truth, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, you should have to follow the great acaryas. Then you will understand. Therefore acarya-upasana is essential. Acarya-upasana is very essential. In all the Vedic sastras the injunction is that. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet, srotriyam brahma- nishtham. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand higher truths, he must surrender to guru. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta, jijnasuh sreya uttamam. One who is inquisitive, who is now inquiring about transcendental subject matter. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. So all the sastras says, in our Vaishnava sastra also, Rupa Goswami says, adau gurv-asrayam: “In the first beginning, you must take shelter of a bona fide guru.”

So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s birthday, we should adore, we should worship, because in the modern age he reintroduced the disciplic succession. From Caitanya Mahaprabhu… Five hundred years ago, Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught this philosophy, but within two hundred years… Because this material world is so made that whatever you introduce, in due course of time it will deteriorate. You make a nice house, but after one hundred years, two hundred years, or nowadays, even after fifty years, it becomes dilapidated. That is the nature’s law, kala. Time will destroy everything. Now, British empire, such a big, vast empire, now it is finished. The kala, the time, will make everything finished. That is material. Anything material, it has birth, it has growth, it has got some opulence, then dwindling, then finished. That is the way of material… So we are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore the process is adau gurv-asrayam. One has to accept a bona fide spiritual master. That is our process. Without accepting a bona fide spiritual master, we cannot make any progress. It is impossible. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura happens to be acaryas, one of the acaryas. And he has left behind him many books. Caitanya-sikshamrita, Jaiva Dharma. These are very important books. They’re in Bengali, in Sanskrit. And many songs. He has prepared many books of song. The song, Ei nam gaya gauracand madhura svare, that is Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s song. So we are trying to present Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s books also in English translation. Gradually you will get it. So our adoration, our worship to Bhaktivinoda Thakura today because he may bless us to make peacefully progress in Krishna consciousness. Acarya-upasana, simply by the blessings of the acaryas we can make very rapid progress. Vedeshu durlabham adurlabham atma- bhaktau. If we… Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah… We sing every day. By the mercy of the spiritual master, acarya, we immediately get the blessings of Lord. Immediately. Yasya prasadat. Yasya means “whose”; prasadat, “benediction.” By the benediction of the spiritual master. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. If spiritual master, acarya, is pleased, then you should know that Krishna is also pleased. You should know through. This is not very difficult. Just like you are working in office. If your immediate officer, boss, is pleased, that means the proprietor of the firm, he’s also pleased. Although you do not see him. This is fact. Your immediate boss, if he’s pleased. So similarly, we, our business, this spiritual line, is guru-krishna- kripa. We have to first receive the merciful benediction from the acarya, and then Krishna will be pleased and He’ll also give His blessings. Mad-bhakta. There is a version in the Srimad- Bhagavatam, mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika. He says, Krishna says, that “If anyone worships Me directly and if anyone worships Me through the acarya, he’s better devotee who is coming to Me through acarya.” Mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika.

So our, this Vaishnava philosophy, process, is to go through the acarya. Servant of the servant of the servant. We should try to become servant of the servant. Gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Dasa-dasanudasah. We should not approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. That is not good. That will not be… In the Vedic injunction also it is said, yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. If one has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yatha deve, and similar faith in guru… Of course, we must make guru bona fide. Then it is disciplic succession. And that is also not very difficult to select, who is bona fide guru. Bona fide guru means he presents himself as servant of God. He does not pose himself falsely that “I am God.” This is bona fide. It is not difficult to find out bona fide. But this is the test. If anyone says that “I am guru,” er, “I am God,” then he cannot be guru. Because he has no knowledge. How he is God? But he can cheat some people. That is different thing. You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible. So these kinds of guru, who poses themself that “I am God,” he’s a false guru. The bona fide guru will say that “I am servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna,” or God. Servant of. That is the business of guru. He serves Krishna as Krishna desires; that is his business. That is also not very difficult. Krishna says, Krishna desires, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, that “You give up all other engagement; just surrender unto Me, and I’ll give you protection.” Krishna says. So guru’s business is that “You simply surrender to Krishna.” What is the difficulty? Simply repeat the same thing. Not for himself, but for Krishna. He’s bona fide guru.

So our this Krishna consciousness movement is very bona fide because we say the same thing as Krishna says. We don’t make any addition, alteration. Not like big scholars like, “It is not to Krishna…” Krishna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru, and the scholar interprets, “It is not to Krishna.” Just see (the) foolishness. Krishna directly says, “unto Me.” He says, “Not to Krishna.” Misleading. Such misleading guru will not help you. So therefore to find out a bona fide guru means that he does not change the words of Krishna. That is his position. He places everything as it is, and he has understood thoroughly the science. Jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Guru, what is the symptom of guru? Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Those who are inquisitive to understand higher scientific knowledge, uttamam. Uttama means higher. Uttama, madhyama, adhama. There are three words. First-class, second-class, third-class. So spiritual knowledge is uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand first-class knowledge, he requires to go to a guru. Those who are interested in third-class knowledge, they do not require any guru. Third-class knowledge means animal knowledge: how to eat, how to sleep. How to make arrangement for eating, how to make arrangement for sleeping, that is third-class knowledge. Because the animals also try for this kind of knowledge, how to eat, how to sleep. Therefore this kind of knowledge is third-class knowledge. And second-class knowledge is “What I am?” Athato brahma-jijnasa. The Vedanta. That is second-class knowledge. And first-class knowledge, when he actually understands what he is, he is eternal servant of Krishna, and engages himself in the service of the Lord, that is first-class knowledge. And therefore, as soon as he comes to the first-class knowledge platform, he becomes happy.

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

 

So after being liberated from the material concept of life by the blessings of Krishna and guru, one comes to the platform of first-class knowledge, where he engages himself directly in the service of the Lord. That is first-class knowledge. First-class knowledge means beyond liberation. Second-class knowledge is trying for liberation. Third-class knowledge means in bondage, like animal. The animals, they are bound up by the particular type of body and has no, I mean to say, possibility of becoming liberated. That is animal life. But human life is better than animal life because he, if he likes, he can make himself liberated from this bondage of material body. That is the facility. He can understand himself what he is. He can understand what is God. He can understand the relationship between God and himself. He can understand what is this material world. Because there are thousands of books of knowledge. Take it for Bhagavad- gita. Everything is there. And it is meant for human being, not for the cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot understand, but a human being can understand.

So our this Krishna consciousness movement is to enlighten people to utilize his very nice life, human form of life, utilize it properly. To utilize it properly means to revive his dormant Krishna consciousness. The Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness, is there already. It is developed in human form of life. But it is now covered because due to our association with this material world for unlimited years background. We are coming through different species of life. Millions and millions of years passed away. Suppose I was a tree sometimes. I was standing up for ten thousand years in one place. We have passed through. That’s a fact. That is evolution. Now we have the opportunity of light. If you don’t use this opportune moment and again go back to the cycle of evolutionary process, jalaja nava-laksani sthavara… So these are great science. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for the people to study this science in school, colleges, or universities. They are simply teaching people that “You work hard and gratify your senses.” That’s all. Therefore a section, younger section, they have been disgusted. They have refused to cooperate with this society on account of this disappointing education. And it will increase. Because this sort of education cannot give peace or prosperity to the people. Problems are increasing. Therefore, our request is that if you want to decrease or completely finish all the problems of life, take to Krishna consciousness in the process of disciplic succession and you’ll be all happy.

Syamasundara: Prabhupada, are you going to answer any questions?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: If anyone has any questions pertaining to the lecture, you can ask them at this time. They should be pertaining to the lecture.
Devotee girl: Did Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he also took sannyasa in later years? Is this right?
Syamasundara: Did Bhaktivinoda Thakura take sannyasa in later years?
Prabhupada: Yes. In very late years. In his retired life.
Syamasundara: Any other questions?
Devotee: Prabhupada, you say that an animal has no chance for liberation. What would happen if an animal came in contact with a pure devotee?
Prabhupada: Yes, there is chance of deliverance. Yes. Even an animal. Because he’ll hear Hare Krishna from the pure devotee. That will not go in vain. He’ll give prasadam. He does not know, but the devotee out of compassion gives prasadam, chants Hare Krishna. He also gets the opportunity of hearing. So he’ll also be liberated. One dog, during Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s time, he also became liberated. There is a history. Sivananda Sena’s dog, he was liberated by the grace of Lord Caitanya. So by the association of pure devotee. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s, there is one song. He prays to the Lord that kita-janma hou jatha tuya dasa. Kita means insect. “My Lord, if I have to take my birth again.” Because a devotee does not pray to God for liberation. He simply prays that “Wherever I may take my birth, I may not forget You.” That’s all. That is devotee’s prayer. A devotee does not say that “Elevate me to the heavenly planet or Vaikuntha planet.” No. “You can put me anywhere.” Just like Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, kita-janma hou: “My dear Lord, I have no objection if I have to take my birth next as an insect.” What to speak of human being or other thing. “As an insect. But I must be in the house of a devotee.” So that an insect, by eating the remnants of foodstuff left by the devotee, he’ll be delivered. Kita-janma hou jatha tuya, bahir-mukha brahma-janma nahi mora asa: “I don’t want my next birth as Lord Brahma if I forget You. I don’t want.” That is wanted. A devotee prays to the Lord that he would be able to constantly remember the lotus feet of the Lord. Never mind whether as insect or as king or as dog, never mind. That is devotee’s, pure devotee.
Indian man: If one has accepted a bona fide spiritual master and he did not receive much knowledge from him, can he change his spiritual master at later…
Prabhupada: A bona fide spiritual master, where is the necessity of changing?
Indian man: No, he has not got the knowledge from him, but can I change.?
Prabhupada: No, no. Bona fide spiritual means he must get knowledge. He must get knowledge. He must inquire from the… The student must inquire from the spiritual master. If he remains dumb, then what bona fide spiritual master can do? Adau gurv- asrayam sad-dharma-pricchat, jijnasuh. He must be jijnasuh. He must be jijnasuh. We get so many letters daily. So many inquiries. The student must be very inquisitive. Otherwise how he shall make progress? If he remains dumb, then what the bona fide spiritual master can do? If you go to a very nice school but if you do not study, if you do not inquire, then what is the use of going to the nice school? You must be also very alert to inquire, to understand, to make progress. Then it will be all right. If you do not utilize the benefit of having a bona fide spiritual master, then that is your fault. You must utilize the opportunity. We are publishing so many books, so many literatures, magazines. Why? Just to enlighten more and more. But if you don’t take advantage of this, then how can you make progress? Change of spiritual master requires when the spiritual master is not bona fide. Otherwise there is no necessity of changing.
Indian lady: How does one contact the spiritual master? Through a book can you contact the spiritual master?
Prabhupada: No, you have to associate.
Syamasundara: “Can you associate through a book?” she asked.
Prabhupada: Yes, through books, and also personal. Because when you make a spiritual master you have got personal touch. Not that in air you make a spiritual master. You make a spiritual master concrete. So as soon as you make a spiritual master, you should be inquisitive.
English man: If the spiritual master, Prabhupada, worships God through a demigod, is he bona fide?
Prabhupada: No. He does not know how to worship. How he can be bona fide? Krishna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam. Why he should go to the demigods? That means he has no knowledge. Krishna says, mam ekam. Why should you go to others? That means he’s insufficiently qualified. Why should you go to the demigods? What is the necessity? He’s not bona fide. Because he has insufficient knowledge. Bona fide spiritual must be sufficiently knowledge. Krishna says, mam ekam; God says, mam ekam. Why he should go to demigods? That is his proof that he’s not bona fide.
Devotee: If one accepts initiation from a bona fide spiritual master but continues to perform material activities, are they still bound by the karma?
Prabhupada: He has to do everything under the instruction of the spiritual master. That is his duty. Sishya. Sishya means who voluntarily accepts disciplinary measures from the spiritual master. He’s ruled by the spiritual master.
Indian lady: Can the death of a spiritual master take to us, or I can get… Is that spiritual master still guiding after the death? (?)
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Just like Krishna is guiding us, similarly, spiritual master will guide. We are being guided by Krishna, by the Bhagavad-gita. Although Krishna is not physically present, so- called… Krishna is present always. But even if we say that Krishna is not physically present as He was present before Arjuna, still, His book, Bhagavad-gita, is there. And that Bhagavad-gita is nondifferent from Krishna. Krishna and Krishna’s teaching, the same, absolute. That is Absolute Truth. Krishna and Krishna’s… Here form, the same. It is not that we are making show of offering Krishna some food. No, we are offering directly to Krishna and He’s eating. Krishna being absolute, He can perform through anything provided we are sincere and serious.

(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 23rd September 1969. Appearance Day lecture of His Divine Grace Srila Sac Cid Ananda Bhaktivinod Thakur Prabhupada. London.)

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Biography

   About the year 1500 A.D., the incarnation of God Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began the Hare Krishna Movement in Navadwip, a city in the Indian province of Bengal. This movement, based on the philosophy of ancient Sanskrit texts of devotion to Krishna like the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, spread all over India within a short time. The movement popularized sankiritan, the congregational chanting of the maha-mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, as the most effective means of God realization for the present Age of Kali, a time of rampant faithlessness, sin and materialism. After 1750 A.D., the influence of the Hare Krishna Movement seemed to wane. Many sects of sahajiyas (cheap pseudo-devotees) sprouted up, each claiming to be the true purveyors of Vaishnava-dharma (the religion of Lord Vishnu or Krishna). Because of their bad character, the sahajiyas brought disrepute upon the pure movement of love of God begun by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the 1800's, an eternally perfect devotee of Krishna descended from the spiritual world to the material world to revive the Hare Krishna Movement and to initiate its expansion beyond the borders of India. This was Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was named Kedarnath Datta by his father (some say by his Godfather), was born in opulent circumstances on the 2nd September 1838., on a Sunday in Biranagara (Ulagrama) in the district of Nadia.  He was the seventh son of Raja Krishnananda Datta, a great Devotee of Lord Nityananda. He was also known as the great grandson of Madana Mohana and the third son of his Godfather Anandacandra.  He would be known as 'daitya-kulera prahlada' (Prahlada in the family of demons). This was because Vaisnavism was not very much respected in his family; on his mother's side, there was no respect for Vaishnavism at all.

   His childhood was spent at the mansion of his maternal grandfather Mustauphi Mahasaya, in Biranagara. His environment at this time was very opulent. He got his elementary education at the primary school started by his grandmother. Later he attended an English school in Krishnanagara, started by the King of Nadia; he left that school when his older brother died unexpectedly of cholera.

   When he was 11 years old, his father passed away.  Subsequently, the grant of land that had been conferred upon his grandmother changed owners; at this time the family fell into a condition of poverty their great wealth proved to be illusiory. Still, the young Kedaranatha Datta passed over these difficulties with great endurance.His mother arranged a marriage for him when he was just twelve (1850 A.D.) to the then five year old daughter of Madhusudana Mitra Mahasaya, a resident of Rana Ghata.

   Around this time Kasiprasada Ghosh Mahasaya Thakur (Kedaranatha Datta's uncle), who had  mastered under the British education, came to Ulagrama after the death of his maternal  grandfather.  He schooled young Kedaranatha Datta at his home in Calcutta; this was at first  resisted by Kedaranatha Datta's mother, but by the time he was years of age he was allowed to go.

   The house was situated in the Heduya district of central Calcutta. Kasiprasada was the central figure of the literary circle of his time, being the editor of the Hindu Intelligencer; many writers came to him to learn the art of writing in correct English. At this time, and recognising Kedaranatha Datta's natural ability, he assisted Kasisprasada by judging manuscripts submitted to the newspaper. Sri Kedaranatha Datta studied Kasiprasada's books and also frequented the public library.He attended Calcutta's Hindu Charitable Institution high school and became an expert English reader, speaker, and writer.

   He became ill from the salty water of Calcutta.  He returned to Ulagrama and was treated by a 'Muslim soothsayer' ('tantric') who predicted that the village of Biranagara would soon become pestilence-ridden and deserted. The Muslim also predicted Kedaranatha Datta would become recognized as a great Devotee of Lord krishna.

   At the age of 18 years (1856.) Kedarnatha Datta entered college in Calcutta. He started writing extensively in both English and Bengali; these essays were published in local journals. He also lectured in both languages. He further studied English literature at this time extensively, and taught speechmaking to a person who later became a well-known orator in the British Parliament. Between the years 1857-1858 he composed a two part English epic entitled "The Poriade", which he planned to complete in 12 books. These two books described the life of Porus, who met Alexander the Great.

   Sriman Dvijendranatha Thakur, the eldest son of Maharsi Devendranatha Thakur, was Sri Kedaranatha Datta's best friend during these scholastic years. He assisted Kedaranatha Datta in his studies of Western religious literatures. Affectionately Kedaranatha Datta used to call Devendranatha Thakura 'baro dada', or big brother.

   He was very taken by Christian theology, and regarding it more interesting, and less offensive than Hindu monism, 'advaita-Vedanta of Sankaracarya'. He would spend many hours comparing the writings of Channing, Theodore Parker, Emerson and Newman. At the British-Indian Society he gave a lecture on the evolution of matter through the material mode of goodness.

   At the end of 1858 Kedaranatha Datta returned to Biranagara and found the Muzzi's prediction about that place to have come true; the place was ruined and deserted. Sri Kedaranatha Datta brought his mother and paternal grandmother with him from there to Calcutta. Soon after he went to Orissa to visit his paternal grandfather, Rajavallabha Datta, who used to be a big man in Calcutta, who was now living as an ascetic in the Orissan countryside. His days were coming to a close. He could predict the future, so he knew it himself very well. He wanted Kedaranatha Datta to be with him when he departed this world, which he did in 1859, when Kedaranatha Datta was 21 years of age. After receiving his grand-father's last instructions, he travelled to all the monasteries and temples in the state of Orissa.

   As a young householder Srila Bhaktivinoda began to consider the question of the means of his livelihood. He was not interested in business, as he'd seen how the apparent 'necessary dishonesty' of the trade world due to competition for sales, had moraly weakened the merchant class. Their work ethics becoming removed from the principle of mutually helping others by which they would automatically be protected from failure to succeed, as well as being co-operatively assisted by the 'natural laws of compensation','karma'.

   He decided instead to become a school teacher. He established a school for English education in the village of Kendrapara near Chutigrama, in Orissa, thus becoming a pioneer in English teaching in that state. He also could see the oppressive power wielded by the landowners of Chutigrama. After some time he went to Puri and passed a teachers examination; he got a teacher's post in a Cuttack school and later became headmaster of a school in Bhadraka and then in Madinipura. His dedicated work was noted by the school-board authorities.

   In Bhadraka, his first son Annada Prasada (Acyutananda) was born, in 1860. He published a book that year in English that described all the 'ashramas' and temples in the state; this book received favorable mention in the work called "Orissa" by British historian Sir William Hunter; Hunter praised Kedaranatha Datta's moral and religious character,as everyone did.

   As the headmaster of the Medinipura high school, Kedaranatha Datta looked into the various religious sects, their philosophies and practices. He could see that many of them were taking it all very cheaply. He came to understand that the only real religion that had ever been established in Bengal was that of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; unfortunately at present, His movement was not well-represented. Due to the misrepresentation, and coruptions and influence of the 'Apa-sampradayas' this sincere soul Sri Kedaranatha Datta could not even get a copy of the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta, despite all his efforts.

   The Thakura made an onslaught against those who belonged to the apasampradayas who were polluting Gaudiya Vaishnavism by basically thirteen deviant philosophies – Aula, Baula (2 types), Karttabhaja, Neda, Daravesa, Sani, Sahajiya, Sakhibheki, Smarta, Jatagosani, Ativadi, Cudadhari and Gauranga-Nagari. These deviant groups, mostly because of their boldness, had been seen by the public as the Gaudiya Sampradaya, though actually none were following the pure Vaishnava regulative principles strictly, as laid down by the followers of Sri Krishna Chaitanya (namely the Goswamis). Being a follower of the Goswamis or not is interdependent on qualifying one to be a Gaudiya Vaishnava.

   For more details on apa-sampradayas one should read the very nice articles, running as a sequil in the "Back to Godhead" magazine 1991 editions on the same, by His Holiness Suhotra Swami, Iskcon.

   Sri Kedaranatha Datta's first wife died, so in the town of Jakapura he married Bhagyavati De.In the year 1861 Sri Kedarantha Datta accepted the post of Deputy Magistrate in the Government of Bengal. Then he became Collectorate Officer after seeing the corruption of the government workers. He established an organization called the "Bhratr Samaja". He wrote an English book in 1863 called "Our Wants." At this time he also constructed a home in Rana Ghata.  Later in 1863 he stayed at Burdwan, where he composed two novel poems in Bengali:  "Vijinagrama" (deserted village) and "Sannyasi." Volume 39 of the 1863 Calcutta Review praised these poems, saying, "We hope the author will continue to give his countrymen the benefit of his elegant and unassuming pen, which is quite free from those objectionable licenses of thought and expression which abound in many dramas recently  published.  The want of the day is the creation of a literature for Hindu ladies, and we trust that many more educated natives will have the good sense to devote their time and abilities to the attainment of this most desirable aim."  The rhyme and style of these two poems were original; they gave birth to a new way of writing poetry in the Bengali language.

   Sri Kedaranatha Datta – In the post of Deputy Magistrate. In the year 1866 Kedaranatha Datta took the positon of Deputy Register with the power of a Deputy Collector and Deputy Magistrate in the district of Chapara. He also was known to have became quite fluent in Persian and Urdu.In a placed called Saran in Chapara, a clique of tea planters made unjust demands of him; he successfully opposed them. And while at Saran he visited the Gautamashrama at Godana; desiring to establish a school for teaching 'nyaya-shastra', he delivered a speech there (in 1866) which was well-received. The school was in fact established, the foundation-stone being laid in 1883 by Sir Rivers Thomson, after whom the school was named. Though Sri Kedaranatha Datta had no further part in the project after his speech, the talk he gave was instrumental in securing public aid for the school.

   Also in 1866 Kedaranatha Datta translated the Balide Registry Manual into Urdu, which was circulated by the government throughout the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh; this manual was used by the registration departments of those areas.

   Sri Kedaranatha Datta was transferred to Purniya from Chapara where he took charge of the government and judicial departments; he was then transferred to Dinajapur (West Bengal) in 1868, becoming the Deputy Magistrate. At this time he received copies of the Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta from Calcutta.He read Caitanya Caritamrta repeatedly; his faith in Krishna Consciousness developed until he was absorbed in the pure 'bhakti-shastras' day and night. He was incessantly submitting heartfelt prayers for the Lord's mercy; he came to understand the supreme majesty and power of the one and only Absolute Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. He published a song about Lord Chaitanya entitled 'Saccidananda-premalankara'. In 1869, while serving as deputy magistrate under the government of Bengal in Dinajapur, he delivered a speech in the form of a treatise he had written on the Srimad Bhagavatam to a big congregation of many prominent men of letters from many parts of India and England.

   He was transferred to Camparana, during which time his second son, Radhika Prasada, was born. In Camparana, people used to worship a ghost in a banyan tree which had the power to influence the mind of the local judge to decide in the favor of the worshipper. Sri Kedaranatha Datta engaged the father of Pandita Ramabhai, a famous girl scholar, to read Srimad Bhagavatam under the tree continuously, by day and night; after one month, the tree crashed to the ground, and naturally many people found faith in the Srimad Bhagavatam. From Camparana he went to Puri, which engladdened his heart no end.

   Near the capital of Orissa, in the town of Kamanala, there lived a 'yogi' named Bisakisena, who would lean into a fire while sitting closeby, then return to an erect sitting posture; in this way he'd rock back and forth over the flames. He could also produce fire from his head.  He had two companions going by the names Brahma and Siva; he claimed to be Maha Vishnu. The small kings of Orissa came under his sway and were providing funds for the construction of a temple for the 'Triguna-Avataras'; they also sent him women with whom he engaged in 'rasa-lila' enjoyments. Bisakisena declared he'd drive off the British from ruling Orissa and himself would become king. He published such statements which were circulated all around Orissa. The British thought him a revolutionary for speaking out against the 'British Raj', so the District Governor of the National Government of Bengal drew up arrest orders; but nobody in Orissa dared to act upon these orders, as they all feared Bisakisena. Mr. Ravenshaw, district commissioner for Orissa, requested Sri Kedaranatha Datta to bring Bisakisena to justice. Sri Kedaranatha Datta went personally to Bisakisena; Bisakisena showed some powers that would normally scare off an ordinary man,  and informed Kedaranatha Datta that he knew well who he was and his mission, but that since he (Bisakisena) was the Lord, he'd better not interfere with him. That was enough for Sri Kedaranatha Datta, who replied by acknowledging Bisakisena's accomplishments in 'yoga' and 'tantra', and requested him to come to Puri where he could have the 'darshan' of Jagannatha.  Bisakisena haughtily said, "Why should I come to see Jagannatha?  He's only a hunk of wood; I am the Supreme in person." Sri Kedaranatha Datta became instantly furious and arrested the rogue, brought him to Puri and threw him in jail, where he was guarded by 3 dozen Muslim constables and 72 policemen from Cuttack day and night.  The accomplaces to the 'divine trilogy' 'Brahma' and 'Siva' avoided arrest by claiming they'd been forced by Bisakisena to do as they'd done; but Mr. Taylor, subdivision officer at Kodar, later prosecuted them.

   The fearless Kedaranatha Datta tried Bisakisena in Puri; the trial lasted 18 days, during which time thousands of people whom he had control over gathered outside the courtroom demanding Bisakisena's release. On day six of the trial Kedaranatha Datta's second daughter Kadambini (aged 7 years) became seriously ill and nearly died; but within a day she had recovered. Sri Kedaranatha Datta knew it was the power of the 'tantric yogi' at work; he remarked "Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished." The very next day in court the 'yogi' announced he'd shown his power and would show much more; he suggested that Kedaranatha Datta should release him at once or face worse miseries. On the last day of the trial Kedaranatha Datta himself became ill from high fever and suffered exactly as his daughter had done for one whole day.  But the determined Kedaranatha Datta pronounced the man guilty and sentenced him to 18 months for political conspiracy. When Bisakisena was being readied for jailing, one Dr. Walter, the District Medical Officer, cut off all the 'yogis' hair. The 'yogi' drew power from his long hair; he hadn't eaten or drunk during the whole trial, so he fell to the floor like a dead man and had to be taken by stretcher to jail.  After 3 months he was moved to the central jail at Midnapura where he took poison and died there in the year 1873.

   In Puri, Sri Kedaranatha Datta studied Srimad Bhagavatam with the commentary of Sridhara Swami, he also copied out in longhand the Sat-sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami and made a special study of Rupa Goswami's Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu.

   Between the years 1874 and 1893, Bhaktivinode Thakur spent much time in seclusion chanting the Holy Name (though he still executed his worldly duties perseveringly); he wrote several books in Sanskrit such as Sri Krishna samhita, Tattva-sutram and Tattva-viveka (which we have cited in the early sections of this book); he wrote many books in Bengali such as the Kalyana-kalpataru; in 1874 he composted Datta-kausubha (in Sanskrit).

   While in Puri he established a Vaishnava discussion society known as the Bhagavat-samsat in the Jaganatha-vallabha gardens, where Sri Ramananda Raya did bhajana. All the prominent Vaishnavas joined this group except for Raghunatha dasa Babaji, known as Siddha Purusha.  He thought that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was unauthorized, as he did not wear 'kanthi-mala' or 'tilaka'; moreover, he advised other Vaishnavas to avoid Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's association.

   But soon thereafter Raghunatha dasa Babaji contracted a deathly illness for his offense. In a dream, Lord Jagannatha appeared to him and told him to pray for the mercy of Bhaktivinoda Thakura if he at all wanted release from the illness and death. He did so; Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave him special medicines and cured him, and also blessed Raghunatha dasa Babaji with a true awareness of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's position.

   Others had a natural affection like Sri Swarupa dasa Babaji, who did 'bhajana' at Satasana near the ocean in Puri; he showed much affection for Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and gave him many profound instructions and insights from his own realisations on the bhajana of the Holy Name. Another Charan dasa Babaji, preached and printed books advising that one should chant the 'Hare Krishna Mahamantra' in 'japa' and 'Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama Hare krishna Hare Rama' in 'kirtana'. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preached long and hard to him; after a long time Charan dasa Babaji came to his senses and begged forgiveness from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, admitting his fault in spreading this nonsense 'mantra' all over Bengal; six months later Charan dasa Babaji went mad and died in great distress.

   Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura was one of this age's formost devotional scholars, yet humbly presents himself as the insignificant messenger of the Lord as we can note from this following message of his; "The way how I got the inspiration to compile this book (Sri Srimad Bhagavata Arka Marichimala) is a Divine Mystery which I felt not proper from my part to disclose as it might be bridging spiritual conceit, but subsequently I realise that it would be an undoing to my spiritual master which might stand as an obstacle on the path of my spiritual progress therefore without any shame I record the fact that while under the benediction of my Guru Sri Bapin Behari Goswami who belonged to the great heritage of Thakur Vamshibadananda, a faithful follower of my Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu I was deeply penetrating upon Srimad Bhagavatam, one day in a vision Sri Svarup-Damodara, the right hand personal Adherent of Lord Sri Chaitanya, instructed me to compile the slokas of Srimad Bhagavatam in accordance with the principles of 'Sambandha', Abhidheya' and 'Prayojana' as laid down by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – so that the book will read with an easy understanding with great interest and delight by the loving devotees of the Lord. Sri Svarupa-Damodar Prabhu further guided me by giving a wonderful explanation of the first sloka of Srimad Bhagavatam and also showed me how I have to explain the slokas under the light of Gaudiya-Vaishnava Philosophy."(B.P Yati. 1978. Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Sri Srimad Bhagavata Arka Marichimala. Chapter 20., supplication 3. inclusion. page 479.)

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura became manager of Jagannatha Puri Temple; he used his government powers to establish regularity in the worship of the Deity. In the Jagannatha Puri Temple courtyard he established a 'Bhakti Mandapa', where daily discourses of Srimad Bhagavatam were held. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura would spend long hours discussing Krishna and chanting the Holy Name, especially at Tota-Gopinatha Mandir, the tomb of Haridasa Thakur, the Siddha Bakula and the Gambhira. He made notes on the Vedanta-sutra which were used by Sri Syamalala Goswami in the edition of the Govinda Bhasya by Baladeva Vidyabhusana that he published. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri.

   Near the Jagannatha-vallabha gardens, in a large house adjacent the Narayana Chata Matha, on the 5th day of the dark fornight of Magha in the year 1874, the 4th son of Bhaktivinoda Thakura took birth. He was named Bimala Prasada (later known as Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada).

   As a householder Bhaktivinoda (Kedarnatha Datta) had two wives and no less than 10 children, of which the great Vaishnava scholar Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura) was one. Bimala Prasad (Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) was born in Sri Purusottama Kshetra (Jagannatha Puri) on 6th February 1874 AD, answering the prayer of Bhaktivinoda for the Lord "to send a Ray of Visnu" to preach the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. He was given the name Bimal Prasad.

   When the child was six months old, Lord Jagannatha's cart stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house in Puri for three days during the procession. Bhaktivinoda told his wife, Bhagavati Devi, to bring out the child for 'darsan' of Lord Jagannatha. As she placed the child before the Lord, a garland from the Lord encircled the baby boy, and the first grain ceremony ('anaprasna') was performed at that time with Jagannatha 'prasad'.  Bimala Prasada stayed in Puri for ten months after his birth and then went to Bengal by palanquin on his mother's lap, his infancy was spent at Nadia District's Ranaghat hearing topics of Sri Hari from his mother.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur-son of Bhaktivinod Thakur.

    Srila Bhaktivinoda and his wife were orthodox and virtuous; they never allowed their children to eat anything other than 'prasada', nor to associate with bad company. One day, when Bimala Prasada was still a small child of no more than four years, his father mildly rebuked him for eating a mango not yet duly offered to Lord krishna. Bimala Prasada, although only a child, considered himself an offender to the Lord and vowed never to eat mangoes again. (This was a vow that he would follow throughout this life.) By the time Bimala Prasada was seven years old, he had memorized the entire Bhagavad Gita and could even explain its verses giving wonderful purports. His father then began training him in proof reading and printing, in conjunction with the publishing of the Vaisnava magazine Sajjana tosani.Two years earlier, Kamala Prasada, the 3rd son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, had taken birth.

   In 1874 Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered the Raja of Puri had misappropriated Rs. 80 thousand for sense gratification. This money belonged to the temple, so Bhativinoda Thakura forced the Raja to give Lord Jagannatha 'bhoga' 52 times daily. This diminished the money quickly; the 'raja' was angry at Bhaktivinoda Thakura and began, with the help of 50 'pandits', a 'Maran-karmani tantric yajna' meant for killing Bhaktivinoda Thakura which went on for 30 days; when the last oblations were poured, it was the kings son and not the pure hearted Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who died.

   He left Puri on special business; returned to Bengal and saw Navadwip, Santipura and Kalana.  He was put in charge of the subdivision Mahisarekha in Haora. After that he was transferred to Bhadraka. In August 1878 he was made head of the subdivision Naraila in the Yashohan district.

   While in Naraila his two famous books Sri Krishna-samhita and Krishna-kalpataru were published. In a letter dated April 16th., 1880, Dr. Reinhold Rost wrote to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura: "By representing Krishna's character and his worship in a more sublime and transcendental light than has hitherto been the custom to regard him, you have rendered an essential service to your co-religionists, and no one would have taken more delight in your work than my departed friend Goldstuecker, the sincerest and most zealous advocate the Hindus ever had in Europe." These two works brought the devotional attention of many of India's pandits and educated men. In 1877 Varada Prasada was born, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's fifth son; in 1878, Viraja Prasada was born, the sixth son: both appeared at Rana Ghata.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took 'pancaratrika diksa' initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami, descended from the Jahnava family of Baghnapara. At the same time, his seventh son, Lalita Prasada, appeared at Rana Ghata.

   Many people had adopted Vaishnavism at Haraila, but they could not tell who was a Vaishnava and who not; Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave them shelter and instructed them on this  matter most exactingly.

   Once Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and his son-cum-assistant went to see Bhaktivinoda's 'guru', Vipin Bihari Goswami (Bipin Behari Goswami).

   Vipin Bihari Goswami was coming in the disciplic succession from Sri Gadadhar Pandit the plenary portion of Srimati Radharani. The followers of this line are generally Raganuga Bhaktas, worhipping Sri Gaura Gadahara in a loving spontaneous mood of 'bhava'. This mode of worship is not for those who are materially confined by the dictates of the body and senses, but for those who are already experiencing their eternal loving relationship with the Divine couple Sri Radha Krishna.

   There is an interesting little story which captures the mood of Bhaktivinoda and that of his son, then named Siddhanta Saraswati. In their 'siddha deha' as pure 'nitya siddha', eternal associates of Lord Krishna, Bhaktivinoda Thakura is Kamala Manjari, one of the maid servants of the 'gopis', and Siddhanta Saraswati is her assistant Nayana Manjari. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's dealings with his 'diksa guru' were always exemplary, even though Vipin Bihari Goswami was not very advanced, being a 'kanistha adhikari guru', whereas the Thakura was an 'uttama adhikari', 'paramahamsa' of the highest order. Still Bhaktivinoda always played the humble disciple. On one such occasion in the presence of young Siddhanta Saraswati, Bhaktivinoda Thakura paid his respectful obeisances to his 'guru'. Vipin Bihari Goswami replied by placing his feet on the Thakura's head. For the young fiery Siddhanta Saraswati this was too much! It was one thing that his father had accepted him as his formal initiating spiritual master, but this was going too far. Srila Siddhanta Saraswati was only seven years old at the time, but when Bhaktivinoda Thakura left the room leaving the two of them alone, Siddhanta Saraswati decided to set things straight.

 "You are acting like a big, big 'guru' and you place your feet on the heads of those who you don't know. If you knew who the Thakura is you would not do it. But you do not know! My father is a great exalted 'nitya siddha', eternal associate of Sri Radha and Krishna who has come here to fulfil Their mission. Do you think that you are so advanced that you can place your feet on the head of such a person? I think not. You have proven yourself to be a 'kanistha adhikari' (neophyte) by not being able to distinguish between those who are advanced and those  who are less advanced, therefore I suggest that you desist from this practice any further." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then re-entered the room and the conversation changed. Later that day Vipin Bihari Goswami mentioned to Bhaktivinoda, "Your son is bold to the point of being rude." Later Thakura Bhaktivinoda found out about the conversation and used to jokingly glorify his exalted son to his friends, saying how he is fearless, that he even chastised my 'guru' Vipin Bihari Goswami.

   Reflecting on this incident we can see that even if one's spiritual master is not an 'uttama adhikari', 'mahabhagavat' Devotee of the Lord still one should be satisfied, and serve him anyway. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who himself was certainly a 'mahabhagavat', set the example how to serve and show respects. On the other side of the transcendental coin, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati showed a nnbsp;Sri Kedaranatha Datta – In the post of Deputy Magistrate. In the year 1866 Kedaranatha Datta took the positon of Deputy Register with the power of a Deputy Collector and Deputy Magistrate in the district of Chapara. He also was known to have became quite fluent in Persian and Urdu.In a placed called Saran in Chapara, a clique of tea planters made unjust demands of him; he successfully opposed them. And while at Saran he visited the Gautamashrama at Godana; desiring to establish a school for teaching nbsp;Many people had adopted Vaishnavism at Haraila, but they could not tell who was a Vaishnava and who not; Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave them shelter #39;Hare Krishna Mahamantraand instructed them on thisice lesson to us. We should not show ourselves to be more advanced than we really are, lest we commit offences against those who are actually advanced.

   In 1881 Bhaktivinoda Thakura began publishing 'Sajjanatosani', his Vaisnava journal.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had previously pilgrimaged to Kasi, Prayaga, Mathura and Vrindavana ('Vraja Mandal') in 1866. At the close of his stay in Naraila he desired to again see the land of Vraja. He took three months for this purpose. At this time he met Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji there, who had a program by which he moved every six months between Navadwipa and Vrindavana. Meetinbsp; ng him, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura accepted him as his eternally worshippable 'siksa' (instructing) 'guru'.

   During his pilgrimage at this time he dealt with a gang of 'dacoits' known as the Kanjharas who robbed and killed pilgrims; he gave evidence to the government and a commision was formed to wipe out this scourge.

   From Vrindavana he came to Calcutta and bought a house at 181, Maniktala Street, now called Ramasha Datta Street, near Bidana. When he was 11 years old, his father passed away. He started daily worship of Sri Giridhari (the transcendental form of Krishna who appeared in the form of Govardhan Hill) and called the house Bhakti-bhavan.  He was appointed head of the subdivision of Barasa.

   In 1881, in the course of excavating for the construction of the 'Bhakti bhavana' at Rambagan in Calcutta, a Deity of Kurmadeva was unearthed. After initiating his seven year old son, Bhaktivinoda entrusted Bimala with the service of the Deity of Kurmadeva.

   The well known novelist Bankim Candra met Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Barasa. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had written a book about Krishna and showed it to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who preached to Bankim Candra for four days, taking little food and hardly any sleep; the result was Bankim Candra changed his ideas (which were mundane speculations about Krishna) and his book to conform with the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura used to say, "knowledge is power".

   On April 1, 1884, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was appointed the senior Deputy Magistrate of Serampore, where he admitted Bimala in the Serampore High School. When Bimala was a mere student in class five, he invented a new method of writing named Bicanto. During this period he took lessons in mathematics and astrology from Pandita Mahesacandra Cudamoni.  However, he preferred to read devotional books rather than the school texts.

   During the last year of his stay at Barasat (1886), Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published an edition of  the Bhagavad Gita with the Sanskrit commentary of Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur, which he translated into Bengali (the "Rasika-ranjana" translation). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had undertaken this task at the request of Babu Sarada Carana Mitra, exjudge of the Calcutta High Commission. Sriman Bankima Candra wrote the preface, acknowledging his own indebtedness to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura; he noted that all Bengali readers would be indebted to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura for his saintly work.

   From Barasat, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was transferred to Sriramapur.  He visited the residence of Uddharana Datta Thakur, a great associate of Lord Nityananda, at Saptagram. At Khanakula he visited the place of Abhirama Thakur, and saw the place of another great devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Vasu Ramananda, at Kulinagrama.

   At Sriramapura he composed and published his masterly writing, Sri Chaitanya Shiksamrta, and also the Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala, Prema-pradipa and Manah-siksa. He was also publishing Sajjanatosani on a regular basis. In Calcutta he set up the Sri Chaitanya Yantra, a printing press at the 'Bhakti Bhavana', upon which he printed Maladhara's Sri Krishna-vijaya and his own Amnaya-sutra and the Caitanyopanisad of the Atharva Veda.

   Finding the Chaitania upanisada was a difficult task. Hardly anyone in Bengal had heard of it. Consequently Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had to travel to many places in Bengal looking for it; finally, one devoted Vaishnava pandita named Madhusudana dasa (sometimes found listed in the 'Guru-parampara' listings) sent an old copy he'd been keeping with him at Sambalapura for Bhaktivinoda Thakura; Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote a 'Sanksrit' commentary on the book and called it Sri Chaitanya Charanamrta. Madhusudana dasa Mahasaya translated the verses into Bengali; this translation was called Amrta-bindhu. It was a sellout when published.

   In Calcutta Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura started the Sri Visva-Vaishnava Sabha, dedicated to the preaching of pure bhakti as taught by Lord Chaitanya. To publicize the work of the society, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published a small booklet entitled Vishva-Vaishnava-kalpavi.

   Also he published his own edition of the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta, with his Amrta-prabhava Bhasya commentary. And he introduced the Chaitanyabda or Chaitanya-era calendar, and gave assistence to the propagation of the Chaitanya Panjika, which established the feast day of Gaura Purnima.

   He lectured and gave readings on books like the Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu (of Srila Rupa Goswami) in various Vaishnava societies; he published in the Hindu Herald, an English periodical, a detailed account of Sri Chaitanya's life. It was at this time that the learned Vaishnavas recognized Kedaranatha Datta and given the honourary titile as Bhakti Vinoda Thakura.

   In the year 1887 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura resolved to quit government service and go to Vrindavana with Bhaktibhringa Mahasaya for the rest of his life. One night in Tarakeswara, while on government service, he had a dream in which Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to him and spoke, "You will certainly go to Vrindavana, but first there is some service you must perform in Navadwipa, so what will you do about that?" When the Lord disappeared, Bhaktivinoda Thakura awoke. Srila Bhakti Bhrinha Mahasaya, hearing of this dream, told Bhaktivinoda Thakura to apply for a transfer to Krishnanagara; he did, even turning down offers of personal assistanceship to the chief Commissioner of Assam and the seat of the Minister of Tripura State. He even tried to retire at this time, but his application was not accepted. Finally, in December of 1887 he arranged for a mutual exchange of personell: himself for Babu Radha Madhava Vasu, Deputy Magistrate of Krishnanagara.

   During his stay at Krishnanagara, Bhaktivinoda Thakura used to go to Navadwipa and search for the birthsite of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One night he was sitting on the roof of the Rani Dharmasala in Navadwipa chanting on his 'Japa-beads', when he spotted a very tall Tala tree with some very strange substance attached to it; near the tree was a small building that gave off a remarkable effulgence. Soon afterwards, he went to the Krishnanagara Collectory where he began to study some very old manuscripts of Chaitanya Bhagavat and Navadwipa Dhama Parikrama by Narahari Sarkar, and some old maps of Nadia. He went to the village of Ballaladibhi and spoke with many elderly people there, and uncovered facts about the modern-day Navadwipa; in the year 1887 he discovered that the place he'd seen from the dharmasalla rooftop was in fact the birthplace of Mahaprabhu. This was confirmed by Srila Jaganatha dasa Babaji, the head of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community in Nadia. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Yoga Pitha-Birthsite of Lord Chaitania.

   A great festival was held there. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published the Navadwipa Dhama Mahatmya.

   Also in 1887, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura renovated the house of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji at Ravasghata.  He took leave from office for two years and acquired a plot of land at Sri Godadrumadwipa, or Svarupaganga. He built a retirement house there for his 'bhajana', and called it Surabhi Kunja; in 1890 he established the 'Nama Hatta' there.  Sometimes Jagannatha dasa Babaji would come there and have'kirtana'. Lord Nityananda had established His Nama Hatta at the same place; Bhaktivinoda Thakura considered himself the street sweeper of the 'Nama Hatta' of Nitai. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Surabhi Kunj, Navadwip Dham.

   Once whilst stationed in Krishanaga, every second spare was spent in Mayapur. As mentioned in the story of Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Thakura Bhaktivinoda, along with Babaji Maharaja found Lord Chaitanya's birthplace in the year 1887.

   When the birthplace was uncovered, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji would worship Lord Chaitanya there (this episode was told in regard to Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji's Life.)

   Once one of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's sons contracted a skin disease; Jaganntha dasa Babaji told the boy to lie down at the birthsite of Lord Caitanya for the night – he did so, and the next morning he was cured.

   In 1888 he took charge of the village of Netrakona in the district of Mayamanasimha, because he could not keep good health in Krishnanagara and had requested transfer to a more healthful region. From Netrakona he came to Tangaila and from there he was transferred to the district of Vardhamana. There he would have 'kirtana' with the devotees from a place called Amalajora, headed by Kshetra Babu and Vipina Babu; they would sing poems like Soka-satana written by him.

   He was put in charge of the Kalara subdivision in 1890, and from there would often visit such holy places as Godadrumadwipa, Navadwipa, Capahati, Samudragana, Cupi, Kasthasali, Idrakapura, Baghanapara, Piyariganga (the place of Nakula Brahmacari) and the place of vrindavana dasa Thakur at Denura.

   Soon Bhaktivinoda Thakura was transferred for a few days to Ranighata, from where he came to Dinajapura again. Sailaja Prasada was born there, his youngest son. In Dinajapura Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote his Vidva-ranjana commentary and translation of the Bhagavad Gita; it was published in 1891 with the commentary of Baladeva.

   1891 was the year Bhaktivinoda Thakura took leave from the government service for two years. He desired to preach 'Sri Hari-Nama'. His base was at Godadrumadwipa; from there he used to visit such places as Ghatala and Ramajivana to lecture in clubs, societies and organizations. This he'd also often do in Krishnanagara.

   He travelled and preached in March of 1892 in the Basirahata District together with some other Vaishnavas. All the while he was writing also. He opened many branches of 'Nama Hatta' in different districts of Bengal. The 'Nama Hatta' became a self-sustaining success which continued to spread even after his return to government service.

   Also from Basirahata he set out on his third trip to vrindavana; he stopped off at Amalajora to celebrate the Ekadasi day with Srial Jagannatha dasa Babaji. In Vraja, he visited all the forests and places of pastimes; he continued to give lectures and readings on Hari Nama in various places in Bengal when he returned to Calcutta.

   In February 1891 he gave a lecture on his investigation into the whereabouts of the actual birthsite of Sri Chaitanya; his audience included highly learned men from all over Bengal, who became very enthusiastic at the news.  Out of this gathering the Sri Navadwipa Dhama Pracarini Sabha was formed for spreading the glories of Navadvipa-Mayapura. All the learned pandits, having deliberated fully on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's evidence, agreed that the Yogapitha was the true birthsite of Mahaprabhu. That year, on Gaura Purnima, a big festival was held that witness the installation of Gaura-Visnupriya Dieties at the Yogapitha.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura personally, in a spirit of pure humility, went door to door collecting to raise funds to build a temple on the very site. In the Amrta Bazaar Patrika, December 1894, an article appeared: "Babu Kedarnatha Datta, the distinguished magistrate who has just retired from service, is one of the most active members. Indeed, Babu Kedarnatha Datta has been deputed by his committee to raise subscriptions in Calcutta and elsewhere and is determined to go from house to house if necessary and beg a rupee from each Hindu gentleman for noble purpose. If Babu Kedarnatha Datta sticks to his resolution of going around with bag in hand, we hope that no Hindu gentleman whose house may be honoured by the presence of such a devout bhakta as Babu Kedarnatha, will send him away without contributing his mite, however humble it may be, to the Gaura-Visnupriya Temple Fund." His venture was highly successful and the temple was built. 

   In October 1894, at age 56, he retired from his post as Deputy Magistrate, though this move was opposed by his family and the government authorities. He stayed at Surabhi Kunja and preached, as well as revised his old writings. Sometimes he went to Calcutta; there he begged door to door for building the Yogapitha temple.

   In July 1896 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to Tripura at the request of the the king, who was a Vaishnava.  He stayed in the capital for four days and preached the glories of Sri Hari-Nama.

   His lecture on the first day amazed all the local 'panditas'; on the next two days the local Royal family and general public thrilled to his talks on the pastimes of Mahaprabhu.

   His mercy far outreaches the geographical boundaries of India or even Asia, taking krishna consciousness to the West.

   Back in Godruma, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent out a small booklet, written in Sanskrit, to Sri Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, with a commentary by Srila Sitikantha Vacaspati of Nadia. The intro, "Chaitanya Manaprabhu, His life and precepts", was in English (Which we have included in this book in the section on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) This book found its way into the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, the library of McGill University in Canada (the year is 1896) and other respectable institutions. It was reviewed in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society by Mr. F.W. Fraser, an erudite European scholar.

   In the rainy season of 1896, requested by the Maharaja of Tripura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura went to Darjeeling and Karsiyam. In 1897 he went to many villages such as Medinipura and Sauri to preach.

   Sri Sisira Kunara Ghosa was the founder of the Amrta Bazaar Patrika and the author of the Sri Amiya Nimai-carita. He had great respect for Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura; he also took up the preaching of the holy name throughout Calcutta and in many villages in Bengal. He published the 'Sri Visnu Priya O Ananda Bazar Patrika' under the editorship of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In one of his letters to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura he wrote, "I have not seen the six Goswamis of vrindavana, but I consider you to be the seventh Goswami."

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's son Bimala Prasad (latter Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) had been residing at Puri as a 'naisthika brahmacari' (celebate student) and was engaged in bhajan at the Gandharvika Giridhari Matha, one of seven 'mathas' near the 'samadhi' tomb of Haridasa Thakur on the sea-shore. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, desiring to help his son, had the monastery cleaned and repaired when he came to Puri himself at the beginning of the 20th century. After the young (Bhakti) Siddhanta Saraswati left Puri for Sri Navadwipa Mayapur, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura  constructed his own place of 'bhajana' on the beach, calling it Bhakti Kuti; one Sri Krishnadasa Babaji, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's devoted assistant  and disciple, joined him there at this time, and he became very dear to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and was his constant attendant up to the end of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's life.

   He began solitary 'bhajan' (worship and devotional meditation) at this time; he had many visitors at this place, and some of them simply wanted to disturb him, whereas others were sincere and benefitted greatly from his spiritual inspiration.

   In 1908, three months before he took 'sannyasa', a son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who was working in the writers building in Calcutta, came home to inform Bhaktivinoda Thakura that Sir William Duke, cheif secretary to the government, was in Calcutta; formerly Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had served under him as a magistrate. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura made an appointment to meet him the next day at the writers building. Sir William Duke met with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura on the street outside the building and personally escorted him in to his office. With folded hands, he asked forgiveness for having once planned to remove Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura from office of district magistrate; this was because he thought that if such qualified Indians take up such posts, the British would not last much longer in India. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

In the year 1908 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took the external 'vesa' dress of a 'babaji'.

   In those days, while studying Bhaktivinoda Thakura's activities (then Kedarnatha Datta), he'd come to his house and would be fed 'puri', 'luchi' and sweets by the Thakura's wife. But now he was begging forgiveness as he was getting on in life; Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura answered, "I consider you to be a good friend and a well wisher all along." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was pleased with him and gave him his blessings. Later Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura admitted he was astonished that Sir William Duke wanted to harm him in some way. 

   In the year 1908 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took the external 'vesa' dress of a 'babaji' at Satasana in Puri technically which is called his accepting 'paramahamsa-sannyasa', among the 'Gaudiya sampradaya'; until 1910 he would move between Calcutta and Puri, and was still writing books; but during that year he shut himself up and entered 'samadhi','claiming paralysis'.

   It was on June 23rd., 1914, just before noon at Jagannatha Puri, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Prabhupada left his body; on the Gaudiya Panjika this day was also the disappearance day of Sri Gadadhara Pandita. But from Orissa his bodily remains were taken back to his beloved Godruma, in the land of Nadia. Amidst 'sankirtana' his remains were interred in Godruma after the next solstice; the summer solstice had just begun when Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Prabhupada had left his body.

 

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Biography

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

 namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye
gaura-shakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te

   I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s transcendental identity is revealed to the members of his spiritual family. He is the best of the followers of Rupa Manjari who is the leader of Lalita Sakhi’s entourage. Lalita Sakhi is the foremost of Radharani’s eight girlfriends. In various places in his own writings, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has indicated this divine identity:

yugala-sevaya, shri-rasa-mandale, niyukta kara amay
lalita-sakhira, ayogya-kinkari, vinoda dhariche pay

   Bhaktivinoda holds your feet and asks you to engage this unworthy servant of Lalita Sakhi in the service of the Divine Couple while they are performing the rasa-lila.
(Kalyana-kalpataru)

   In the song Siddhi-lalasa in his Gita-mala, also, Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives his eternal spiritual identity as Kamala Manjari, the servant of Sri Rupa Manjari. Her kunja is in the bower of Lalita, Vrajananda-sukhada-kuïja, where she sets the standard of worship to the Divine Couple.

varane tariit, vasa taravali, kamala-maïjari nama
sarie baro varsha, vayas satata, svananda-sukhada dhama

   My bodily hue is like that of lightning and I wear a sari the colour of a clear night sky sprinkled with stars. I am twelve and a half years old and I live in Svananda-sukhada-kuïja.

The need for Bhaktivinoda’s appearance

   After the disappearance of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodar, Ramananda Raya and the Six Goswamis, Srinivas Acharya, Narottama Das and Shyamananda Prabhu, a dark age descended on the world of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Those unable to understand the transcendental purity of Mahaprabhu’s religion of love started numerous heretical sects or apasampradayas. Totarama Das Babaji named thirteen such heretical sects:

aul, baul, kartabhaja, neria, daravesha, sain
sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosaïi
atibarii, curiadhari, gauranga-nagari
tota kahe ei teror sanga nahi kari

   Educated upper class Bengali society was shocked and disgusted by the practices of these heretical sects and came to identify Mahaprabhu’s religion with the lower classes, the uneducated and immoral. People of the gentle classes thus had no understanding or faith in Mahaprabhu’s true religion. The most munificent incarnation Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took pity on these bewildered persons and in order to reclaim them for his path of divine love sent his eternal associate Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur into this world. Possessed of superhuman prowess, the Thakur wrote more than a hundred books in several different languages with the goal of defeating all the unorthodox views opposed to the true doctrines of Mahaprabhu’s religion. The result was that many members of discerning society and others from all over the world came to recognize the unequalled value of Mahaprabhu’s teachings. The founder of the Chaitanya Math and the worldwide Gaudiya Maths, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, based his mission on the books and teachings given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and set into motion the fulfillment of Mahaprabhu’s message, found in the Chaitanya Bhagavat:

prithivite paryanta ache jata desha-grama
sarvatra saïcara ha+ibeka mora nama

   My name will pervade every village and country in the world. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.4.126) 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

My name will pervade every village and country in the world. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.4.126)

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur thus made an unequalled contribution to the ultimate, spiritual welfare of humankind. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur wrote in his preface to the Jaiva-dharma: “Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is an extremely dear associate of Sri Chaitanya Chandra. In the course of time, when those who preached the desires of Chaitanya Deva had left this world to enter the Lord’s eternal pastimes, the sky over Bengal slowly darkened, covered by the thick clouds of sensual enjoyment and false renunciation. The sky was covered and the world was bereft of the rays of light coming from the sankirtan propagated by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One by one, the sun, the moon and the unlimited stars of that sky faded from view, leaving only the occasional flash of lightning to disrupt the unending darkness of ignorance. Almost 350 years after the appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur came to illuminate the Gaudiya sky.

   All the great virtues are present in the body of a Vaishnava. The good qualities of Krishna gradually develop in his Devotees. All these transcendental qualities are the characteristics of pure Vaishnavas, and they cannot be fully explained, but I shall try to point out some of the most important. Devotees are always merciful; they are not bellicose. They are truthful, equal to all, faultless, generous, mild and clean. They are without material possessions, and they work for the welfare of all. They are peaceful, surrendered to Krishna and desireless. They are meek, resolute, and completely control the six character flaws of lust, anger, greed and so forth. They eat only as much as required and are prudent, respectful, and free from false prestige. They are grave, sympathetic, friendly, poetic, expert and silent.
(Chaitanya-caritamrita 2.22.75-80)

   “All these Devotee qualities were perfectly displayed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur throughout his life of pure devotion. The ocean of compassion, Sri Gaurahari, displayed this merciful nature to the conditioned souls in nine different ways. The same kind of distribution of mercy is seen in the life and work of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.”

The Sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions.

   Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.”
(From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.)

   Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

shuddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah
shri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena vishrutah

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Hymns to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

   Two of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur’s most prominent disciples, His Grace Bhaktirakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami and His Grace Bhaktivicara Yayabara Maharaj wrote hymns in praise of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the former in Sanskrit, the latter in Bengali. These have been given below:

vande bhaktivinodam shri-gaurashakti-Svarupakam
bhakti-shastra-jïa-samrajam radha-rasa-sudhanidhim

   I bow to Sri Thakur Bhaktivinoda, Mahaprabhu’s divine energies personified. He is the emperor of Vaishnava scholars and possesses the ambrosial treasure of Sri Radha’s sacred rapture.

Bhakativinoda prabhu, daya koro more
tava kripa bale pai shri-prabhupadere
bhakati-siddhanta sarasvati prabhupada
jagate aniya dile kariya prasada
sarasvati krishna-priya, krishna-bhakti tanra hiya
vinodera sei se vaibhava
ei gitera bhavartha, prabhupada para-artha
ebe mora kari anubhava

   O Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, be merciful to me, for by your blessings I can attain Srila Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Out of compassion for the world, you brought him whose heart is filled with devotion to Krishna and who is dear to Krishna. This is the glory of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. The purpose of this song is to find complete dedication to Srila Prabhupada and this is what we now experience.

shri-caitanya-janma-sthana shri-mayapura
tomara pracare ebe janila samsara
shikshamrita, jaiva-dharma, adi grantha shata
sajjana-toshani-patri sarva-samadrita
ei saba grantha-patri kariya pracara
lupta-praya shuddha-bhakti karile uddhara
jivere janale tumi hao krishna-dasa
krishna bhajo krishna cinto charii anya asha
krishna-dasye jiva saba parananda pay
sakala vipad ha’te mukta haye jay

   The whole world has learned that Chaitanya’s birthplace is in Mayapur thanks to your preaching efforts. Your hundred books such as Sri-Chaitanya-Shikshamrita, Jaiva Dharma, etc., and your magazine, Sajjana-toshani are valued by all. You preached these books and magazines and by so doing were able to restore the religion of pure devotion which had almost been lost. You told the fallen souls that they were in truth servants of Krishna and you told them to worship Krishna, to think of Krishna and to give up all other ambition. Through service to Krishna, the living being finds full happiness in life and freedom from all danger.

apani acari dharma shikhale sabare
grihe kimba dhame thaki bhajaha krishnere
gadadhara-gaurahari-seva prakashile
shri-radha-madhava-rupe tandera dekhile
gosvami-ganera grantha vicara kariya
susiddhanta shikhayeche pramanadi diya
taha parii shuni loka akrishta haila
jaga-bhari tava nama gahite lagila
vyasera abhinna tumi purana prakasha
shuk_bhinna prabhupada shri-dayita-dasa

   You taught everyone by your own example that they should worship Krishna whether they are living as a householder or residing in the dham. You consecrated Deities of Gadadhara-Gauranga, seeing Radha and Madhava in them. You studied the scriptures of the Goswamis and preached the pure doctrines that you found there with the appropriate evidence. Those who heard and read these doctrines were attracted and began to sing your glories throughout the world. You are like Vyasadeva who published the Puranas, and Srila Prabhupada, Dayita Das, your son, is like Sukadeva.

vaishnavera jata guna achaye granthete
sakala prakasha haila tomara dehete
shri-gaura-mandala majhe shri-biranagar
tava avirbhava sthana sarva-shubhankara
vandi ami nata-shire sei punya-kshetra
mastake dharana kari se dhuli pavitra
tomara kripaya ishodyane sthana pai
bhagavata-mathe basi tava nama gai
tomara dasanudasa yati yayabara
prarthana karaye dhama-vasa nirantara

   All the Vaishnava qualities described in the books are manifest in your body. You appeared in Gaura-mandala-bhumi, in the village of Birnagar, a place which is auspicious for all. I worship that holy spot with my head bowed low, taking its holy dust on my head. By your mercy, I have found a place in Ishodyan, the divine garden of Mayapur, and here in the Bhagavata Math, I glorify your name. The servant of your servants, the sannyasi Yayabara, prays to you to grant him eternal life in the Holy Dhama.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s family history

   Just as the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna’s highest perfection is in his human activities in a human form, so similarly his eternal associates also act in human-like ways when they descend to the worldly platform for the benefit of the fallen living entities. Even though they appear to be ordinary human beings, they are in fact never touched by the illusory nature and always remain transcendental to it. They may be situated in householder life, but they are never entangled in material sensual desires like an ordinary conditioned soul because of their deep attachment and love for the Lord. They are simply engaged in a pastime whereby they imitate the activities of the rest of mankind for the sake of exchanging with them for the purposes of benefitting them. Those who have surrendered with sincerity to Vishnu and the Vaishnavas are able to recognize the non-material character of these personalities.

   The King Adishura invited Brahmins and other upper class Hindus to Bengal, amongst whom was the kayastha Purushottam. His seventh and eighth generation descendants were Sri Vinayaka and Narayan who became government ministers. The fifteenth generation descendant was Mahaprabhu’s contemporary, Raja Krishnananda Datta. He was a devotee of Krishna and Nityananda Prabhu came to stay in his home with his entourage and bestowed profuse blessings on him. Descendents of Krishnananda Datta include Govindasharana Datta who founded the village of Govindapura. Kalighata, Sutanuti and Govindapura are the three villages which later became Calcutta.

   Govindasharana Datta’s grandson was Ramachandra. His grandson was Madana Mohana Datta, who donated Calcutta’s Heduwa Pukur to the municipality for public use. He also spent a great deal of his personal wealth in 1774 to build steps at Gaya’s Pretashila Tirtha and the Candranatha mountain. Madana Mohana Datta’s grandson was Rajavallabha Datta, whose son Anandacandra Datta was very religious and detached from material life. Anandacandra married Jaganmohini Devi, the daughter of the celebrated zamindar of Ula village in Nadia district, Ishvaracandra Mustaufi.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur accepted Anandacandra Datta and Jaganmohini Devi as his parents and appeared in Ula-Birnagar in the home of his maternal grandfather. It was the 352nd year after the birth of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sunday, Sept. 2, 1838; the tithi was Shukla Trayodashi of Bhadra. His parents gave him the name Kedaranatha.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s childhood

   Bhaktivinoda composed his first poem when he was only two years old. This extraordinary display of talent gave an indication of his future vocation and the transcendental devotional songs he would write later in his life. Songs full of devotion for the Lord and sacred sentiment like his are not the result of any worldly scholarship or creativity, but are self-manifested in the eternally perfect associate of the Lord. The words of the residents of Vaikuntha are all not different from the object of their speech, the Supreme Lord. They can in no way be compared to any mundane sound vibration. Every word used by the Thakur is divine ambrosia which awakens the mood of love for the Lord and is full of the flavors of devotional sentiment.

   At only six, had learned all the details of the historical epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Is an ordinary six-year old capable of such a feat? Without divine mercy, it is impossible to understand the basis of all the devotional scriptures. They are not accessible to mere scholarship. The meaning of the scriptures was revealed in the heart of the Thakur on its own. Thus, there is a basic difference between the explanations of scripture given by him and those derived from a mundane scholarly analysis.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur began researching astrological texts when he was nine years old, but according to his autobiography, he began inquiring into spiritual truth at the age of ten. Though he was naturally fixed in spiritual truth at every moment, he displayed this pastimes in order to demonstrate the special character of human life. He began to mix with people in order to find out what preoccupied people and what they thought about. With his sweet words and respectful attitude, he won over all those whom he encountered. Whenever he pointed out the flaws of anyone’s argument, they would not feel angry or disappointed but rather joy. This was not within the capacity of an ordinary restless boy of ten years.

   The following is Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s account of several childhood events from his autobiography: “I would go whenever a festival was held at someone’s house. There were often such religious festivals at the Brahmachari’s house. There was a nice temple on the outside, and inside a flower garden and a fire-sacrifice altar. The Brahmachari worshiped according to the Tantrik cult. He kept a human skull in a small, hidden room. Some people said that if you gave water and milk to a human skull, it will smile. I took the skull down and gave it water, but I saw no smile.

   “Nearby there was also an astrologer’s house where I would listen to singing performances. One old carpenter was engaged to paint backdrops for the image during the Durga puja. I sat near him while he worked and asked him many questions, which he always answered. I asked, ‘When does the spirit of the god enter into the image?’ The carpenter answered, ‘When I paint its eyes, the god will come and take up residence in the image.’ The day that he was actually going to paint the deity’s eyes, I eagerly came but I never saw the god actually appear. I said, ‘Goloka Pal made this image. He first tied bundles of straw and then covered it with clay. You covered it with chalk and then painted it. There is no god anywhere in this statue at all, is there?’ The old carpenter then said, ‘When the Brahmins consecrate the Deity then the god incarnates and enters the form.’ I observed this consecration ceremony carefully, but I was never able to see any divine manifestation. I thought that the carpenter was a fairly wise fellow and so I went to his house and asked him to explain again. He then said to me, ‘I have no faith in this worship of idols. My belief is that the Brahmins simply use this as a means of deception for taking money from gullible people.’ The carpenter’s words brought me great pleasure and I asked him to tell me something about the Supreme Lord. He said, ‘Say what you will, I believe in nothing other than the one Supreme Lord, Parameshvara. The gods and goddesses are all imaginary. I worship the one God every day.’ These words of the old man gave me faith. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

...‘Rama and Rahim are one...

   “I became even more inquisitive. The Muslim footman Golam Khan used to guard the treasury. Once in response to my questions, he said, ‘God’s name is Khoda. At one time he was alone and there was no one and nothing but him. Then he took the dirt from his body and made a pancake out of it which he threw into the single ocean. The upper part of the pancake became the sky and the lower part became the earth. He then created humankind, starting with Adam and Eve. We are all the descendants of Adam and Eve.’ After hearing this myth, I asked him, ‘Who do you think Rama is?’ He said, ‘Rama and Rahim are one. That is Khoda.’ Then I learned from him about a spell which chases ghosts. Golam Khan said, ‘Ghosts are the descendants of Satan. They are afraid of the name of Rahim.’ These teachings gave me great pleasure.

   “My maternal uncle Parashurama Mustaufi was studying law at that time. At first, he had some faith in God, but later dismissed the idea. While he was a believer, my other uncles Raghu and Nashu were his followers. When he stopped believing in the personal god, he started calling Rama Mohana Raya his guru. I was very troubled because, being just an ignorant child, I was uncomfortable having a difference of opinion with him. Uncle Parashurama said, ‘Everything in the world is a product of natural forces. There is no such thing as a God outside of nature.’ When I heard this, I went to see some Bhattacharya in his school and asked him to respond to it. His answers caused me to become more confused. Though I was confused, I never gave up chanting the name of Rama.”

   From all these stories, we can draw the lesson that rather than entering into the confusing business of establishing exact doctrines of the relation of the divine and the creation, one should chant the Holy Name with faith. At one point, Mahaprabhu also bound his books in their cloth wrappers and told his students to simply chant the Holy Name. Dogmatic truths will all be revealed through the Holy Name. Dogmatic spiritual truth is not arrived at through mental speculation; one is bound to arrive at a mistaken conception of God.

Kedaranatha’s marriage

   When Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was only eleven years old, his father died. According to the custom prevalent at that time, Kedaranatha’s mother arranged for her twelve-year-old son to be married to a five-year-old from nearby Ranaghat. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has the following to say about his marriage: “It was just like a doll’s play-marriage. Because I would not be able to stay alone at my in-laws’ house, my parents sent my nanny to accompany me.” Though the Thakur had direct perception of human entanglement, he did nothing to protest the defects of the marriage system of the period.

Studies

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Bhaktivinoda Thakur - student years.

    At six years of age, Kedaranatha went to study Sanskrit at the Tola of Vidyavacaspati. Then at the age of seven, his grandfather sent him to study at Krishnagar College. At that time, the college principal’s name was Captain D. L. Richardson and the principle native professor was Ramtanu Lahiri. The next year, an English-language school was established in Ula in which Kedaranatha was enrolled. While studying at Krishnagar College, one of his fellow students was the King of Koochbihar, who was still a child.

   When his maternal grandfather died, he and his mother came to live in Calcutta at the family home at the corner of Beadon Street and Hedua in Bhawanipur. He recommenced his studies at the Hindu Charitable Trust School. After four years there, he was admitted to the Hindu School in 1856.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was one of Ishvaracandra Vidyasagara’s first students, whom he held in great affection. One day, Bhaktivinoda visited the great scholar in his house in Calcutta. Vidyasagara Mahashaya said to him, “Since none of us has ever seen God, it is best that we not talk about him.” Though he was his student, Bhaktivinoda Thakur did not refrain from speaking the truth to the venerated teacher. He asked, “Pandit Mahashaya, why then did you write in your [children’s] book Bodhodaya that God is formless and pure consciousness. If you haven’t seen God, then why have you written this about him? God is omnipotent. Don’t you think that if he can do anything, that he has the power to maintain a form? The Supreme Lord is my eternal master, and I am his eternal servant. The natural affection that we have for the Supreme Lord is called bhakti, brahma-vidya or para-vidya in the Veda. This is real knowledge, the realization of which means that there is no shortage of any knowledge.”

   Those who are always engaged in a direct relationship with the absolute truth, the Supreme Lord, are immediately able to recognize any statement which goes contrary to the spiritual truth. There is a complete difference between knowledge which has been garnered from the reading of books and the knowledge which arises from the epiphany of the self-effulgent truth.

   Calcutta University was founded in 1856 and entrance exams held for the first time. Amongst Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s fellow students were Satyendranath and Ganendranath Tagore, Tarak Nath Palit and Naragopal Mitra. Principal Clint, Reverend Duff, George Thompson, and Keshab Chandra Sen were attracted by the young man’s mastery of the English language and literature. Toward the end of 1856, Kedaranatha published an English poem, The Poriade, which was well-received in educated circles in Calcutta. All the Thakur’s English poems were published in the paper, Library (Literary) Gazette. He delivered a lecture to the British Indian Society in 1856 on the evolution of matter which was much applauded.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

He considered Christianity superior to the Brahma religion because of its acceptance of God’s eternal personality.

   During this time, the Thakur also studied the Brahma Dharma, Christianity, the Bible and Qur’an and many other religious traditions and books. He considered Christianity superior to the Brahma religion because of its acceptance of God’s eternal personality. In 1857, the Sepoy Mutiny broke out. Kedaranatha spent some of this time traveling and lecturing.

The prediction of grandfather Krishnavallabha

   In 1858, Kedaranatha went to Nilachala. On the way back to Calcutta, he stopped at Chutigram, where his grandfather Krishnavallabha Datta was living. His grandfather said prophetically that Kedaranatha would be a great Vaishnava. Immediately upon making this prediction, his life airs passed out through the top of his head. Kedaranatha remained there for a few more days before continuing through Cuttack, Bhadrak, and Midnapor to Calcutta.

The title 'Bhaktivinoda'

   On Ishvara Candra Vidyasagara’s recommendation, Kedaranatha Datta took a job teaching at the Cuttack Government Secondary School and shortly thereafter, the headmaster’s position at a school in Bhadrak in 1860. During this time, he wrote a book on the various religious institutions of Orissa, Maths of Orissa, which Sir William Hunter made much use of as a reference work in his Orissa. He also wrote a work named Shri-Caitanya-Gita under the pen name Saccidananda Premalankara. He was given the title Bhaktivinoda by the Sri Gaudiya Goswami Sangha on the 400th anniversary of Mahaprabhu’s appearance (1885). From this time on, Kedaranatha Datta was known in Vaishnava society as Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Travels and Preaching

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Bhagavati Devi - second wife of Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

    The Thakur also taught at a school in Midnapore. One day a follower of the Brahmo religion, Rama Narayan Basu, heard him speak at literary society meeting on the truth of religion and was deeply affected. During his time in Midnapor, the Thakur’s first wife died and he married for a second time, to Bhagavati Devi. From Midnapore, he went to Burdwan to preach. While there, he published an English book, Our Wants, in 1863. He was involved in the arguments between the Brahmo Samaj and Christians and tried to mediate between the two religions. In two lectures he showed the problems with both groups’ positions. While in Burdwan, he started a group called the Bhratri-samaja. At one of the meetings of this group, he gave a learned speech on the soul which attracted the attention of a certain Mr. Heiley.

   From Burdwan, the Thakur went to Chuadanga and Ranaghat before going to live temporarily in Chapra in Bihar. While living there, he made his first visit to Vrindavan, traveling by train through Kashi, Mirzapur, Prayag, Agra, etc. While in Chapra, the Thakur studied Urdu and Persian and mastered these languages. He also gave a speech on Gautama while there.

   From Chapra, he went to Purniya and then, in 1868, to Dinajpur where he was engaged as Deputy Magistrate. In Dinajpur, he found that there was a dispute between Hindus and Brahmos in which he intervened, giving a speech on the Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics and Its Theology.

   In June of 1868, he visited Rupa and Sanatan’s home in Ramakeli as well as Rajmahal, etc. Thereafter he returned to Calcutta, where he undertook research to find copies of Chaitanya-charitamrita and Srimad Bhagavatam. After much work, he finally found copies at the Bata Tala publishing house. With these valuable editions, he went to Purushottam Dhama. He was engaged as a director of the temple to oversee its management. He lived in Puri continuously for over five years, from 1869-1874.

Punishing Bishikishana for deception

   In Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s life we find that he personified the description of a Vaishnava as one who is more gentle than a rose, yet more terrible than the thunderbolt. Although he was generally kind and sympathetic, he gave no quarter to dishonesty in the name of religion. One event in his life which took place while he was in Orissa is an indication of this. In 1871, a member of the Khandait caste and the Atibarii sect named Bishakishana who had gained some mystic powers through yogic practices proclaimed himself to be an incarnation of Mahavishnu. 

   He was staying with his acolyt saj/p/pnbsp;In Srila Bhaktivinoda Thak urjana-toshani-patri sarva-samadritape sajjana-toshani-patri sarva-samadritap s at the edge of the jungle near the tow sajjana-toshani-patri sarva-samadritapn of Bhuvaneshvara. He announced that on the 14th of Chaitra, he would reveal a four-armed form and destroy all the foreigners, restoring the true religion. His announcement was written in Orissan verse:

banere achi bishakishana
guptare achi na janani ana
tera minare arambhiba rana,
caturbhuja hoi nashiba mleccha-gana

   In the forest am I hiding and no one else knows me. But on the 13th of Mina I will begin the war. Taking on a four-armed form, I will destroy the Mlecchas.

   Through his mystic powers, he had been able to cure incurable diseases and these powers had won for him a large following. One day he announced that on the f ull-moon day he would perform the rasa-lila and invited the girls of a nearby village to come and join him. The Chaudhuris of the Bhringara clan found that he had polluted their womenfolk and went to complain en masse to the district commissioner, Ravenshaw. The Commissioner gave the task of investigating the matter to Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who went personally into the jungle to meet with Bishakishana. Bishakishana told Bhaktivinoda that he was the living Mahavishnu and that Jagannath Deva was nothing but a lifeless wooden statue. He tried in various ways to flatter the Thakur and to win him over. When he saw that Bishakishana had no intention of stopping his efforts to deceive the people, Bhaktivinoda had him arrested and brought back to Puri.

   The Thakur proceeded to investigate the background of Bishakishana by going to many villages and Buddhist viharas in the Khandagiri area of Puri district. After accumulating a mass of evidence showing the extent to which this yogi was cheating people, he had him brought to court. While the case was being heard, the yogi used his mystic power to cause Bhaktivinoda and his family to be attacked by various illnesses, in an effort to intimidate him, but without success. The Thakur was determined to see Bishakishana punished for conspiracy to rebellion and gave him a sentence of one and a half years. Bishakishana went for 21 days without food or drink and then left his body.

   In the months which followed, another rascal in Jajpur proclaimed himself to be the incarnation of Brahma, while someone else in Khurda said that he was a manifestation of Balaram. Bhaktivinoda Thakur quickly thwarted their efforts to cheat the populace.

Other activities of the Thakur in Puri

   While living in Puri, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur took the opportunity to study the Bhagavat, the Six Sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami, the Govinda-bhashya, Siddhanta-ratnam, Prameya-ratnavali, etc., of Baladeva Vidyabhushana. He also studied Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu in great detail. By making a display of intense study, he demonstrated the necessity of cultivating an understanding of the scriptures in order to learn the truths about pure devotion contained therein. Mahaprabhu indicated that one of the five principle limbs of devotional service is hearing the Bhagavat. Jiva Goswami indicated that this is the best of all devotional activities. In order to proclaim this same truth, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur founded a regular group for discussion of the Bhagavat, Bhagavata Samsat which was held in the Jagannath-vallabha gardens in Puri.

   Many of the leading Vaishnavas in Puri such as Nityananda Das, Paramananda Das, Narayan Das Mahanta, Harihara Das Mahanta of Uttara Parshva were attracted to hearing the Bhagavat from his lips. Just as Mahaprabhu performed the pastime of hearing Bhagavat from Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur also listened to discourses given by Sri Gopinath Pandit. A certain renounced Vaishnava, Raghunath Das Babaji of Hati Akharia, objected to the Thakur’s speaking on Bhagavat and was attacked by disease. After Jagannath appeared to him in a dream and ordered him, he went and begged Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur for forgiveness, after which he was cured.

   When the Thakur went to the Jagannath Temple, he did not sit in the so-called Mukti-mandapa, where Mayavadi scholars discussed their philosophy. He would sit by the Lakshmi temple where Mahaprabhu’s footprints are enshrined and discussed devotional doctrines there. Many of the Mayavadis were attracted by his discourses and soon the place became known as the Bhakti-mandapa or the Bhakti-prangana.

   During this time, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur studied Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami’s Chaitanya Charitamrita, Narahari Chakravarti’s Bhakti-ratnakara, but he did not accept Jayananda’s Chaitanya-mangala as being authoritative. He associated with a siddha Vaishnava named Svarupa Das Babaji, discussing scripture with him. He also wrote the Sanskrit work, Datta-kaustubha and began writing the Sanskrit verses of Shri-Krishna-samhita.

The birth of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati

   A wealthy family in Puri had leased land along the Grand Road from the Dakshina Parshva Math and build a house on it. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and his family resided in this building, which is not far from the Jagannath temple, next to the Narayan Chata. This house was reclaimed in 1974 by His Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj and now houses a Chaitanya Gaudiya Math with a beautiful temple building.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Bimal Prasad.

    At 3:30 on Friday, February 6, 1874, on the Krishna-païcami of Magh month, an effulgent and beautiful child was born to Bhagavati Devi in this home, while the Thakur and other family members sang the names of the Lord. Everyone was amazed to see that the child’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his body like a sacred thread. He was named after the divine energy of Jagannath Deva, Vimala Devi, as Bimala Prasad (Vimala-prasada). His first solid food was Jagannath’s maha prasad. When he grew up, this child became the founder of the Chaitanya Math and the worldwide Gaudiya Maths, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was Jagannath Deva’s own man. It was by his arrangement that he was brought to Puri and put in charge of the Temple’s management. After the birth of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, the preaching of Mahaprabhu’s message spread over the entire planet. This gave meaning to the words written by Vyasadeva in the Padma-Purana, hy utkale purushottamat, “out of Purushottam in Orissa.” Ten months after the child’s birth, Bhaktivinoda Thakur returned to Bengal with his family, this time going to Ranaghat. They traveled overland by palanquin.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution

   Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen Puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikashrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compassion was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

   Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Bhaktivinoda’s travels and preaching activities

   After the birth of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur returned to Bengal. From then on he engaged in preaching the doctrine of pure devotional service, traveling throughout India. We will give a brief summary here of all the places he visited during the period between 1877 and 1910, whether for the sake of pilgrimage or for preaching. He went to Amta in the Uluberiiya subdivision, to Abhiram Thakur’s Shripata in Khanakula Krishnanagara, Shyamapura, Bhadrak in Orissa, Nariail in Jessore district, Calcutta, Prayag, Vrindavan (where he met Jagannath Das Babaji for the first time), Sri Radha Kund, Sri Govardhana (where he broke up the Kaijhara gang of dacoits who were harassing pilgrims to the Dhama), Mathura, Lucknow, Faiyedabad, Goptara Ghat, Ayodhya and Benares.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur in Mayapur.

    He then returned to Calcutta where in 1882 he started construction on Bhakti Bhavana at 181 Maniktola Street. While digging the foundations for the building, a murti of Kurmadeva was found. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur gave this deity to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur and taught him how to worship it. He also visited Mayapur for the first time.

   He was engaged as Deputy Collector in the Barasat subdivision. Then he was transferred to Shriramapura (1884) Vaidyanatha, Bakipura, and Gaya, where he saw the steps on Pretashila constructed by his great-grandfather, Madana Mohana Datta. He returned to Nariail, Barasat, Memari, Kulinagrama, Byandel, and Saptagram. In Kulinagrama he lectured on the Holy Name, distinguishing between the pure name, namabhasa and namaparadha. There he also gave Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur initiation in the Holy Name and the Nrisingha mantra.

In Calcutta in 1885, he established the Chaitanya-yantra printing press. In 1886, he helped establish the Vishva-Vaishnava-sabha at the Durga Mandapa of Rama Gopal Basu in Krishnasimhera Gali off Bethune Road. There he gave lectures on Chaitanya Charitamrita and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. He met Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at this time and countered his impersonal philosophy and described the truth of pure devotion to him.

Discovery of Mahaprabhu’s birthplace

   In 1887, he visited the most important Shiva-linga in Bengal at Tarakeshvara where Shiva appeared to him in a dream and said, “You want to go to Vrindavan, but there is much work left to do in Nabadwip Dhama nearby. What have you done there?” Later that year, he was transferred to Krishnanagara. Then, while visiting Kuliya, the modern city of Nabadwip, he was standing on the roof of the Ranira Dharmashala overlooking the Ganges. At about ten o’clock at night, he saw an illuminated building on the other side of the river. His son Kamala Prasada who was there with him also saw this light. On inquiry, they learned that this place was Ballaladighi. When he made inquiries from the elderly residents of Ballaladighi, they told him that this was the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Surabhi Kunj, Navadwipa Dham.

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur continued to research old maps and documents and was able to establish conclusively that Mahaprabhu’s birthplace was indeed there.

   He continued to maintain his Calcutta home where he installed a Giradhari Shila given him by Jagannath Das Babaji, but in 1888 purchased the property in Godrumadvipa known as Surabhi Kunja. While working at Krishnanagara he was also able to visit his birthplace at Ula.

   In 1889, he was transferred to East Bengal in the Netrakona subdivision in Mymensingh District, whence he visited Narayan Gaij, Mymensingh city, the Garo Hills where he blessed the people of the Hajong tribe, and Gowalanda. Though he was able to visit Calcutta during this period, he was soon transferred to Tangail and then to Burdwan. He visited Shantipur, Kalna, Baghna Para, Kaigram, and Denur, the site of Vrindavan Das Thakur’s Shripata. During this time he visited Kuliya again where he met Jagannath Das Babaji at his bhajana-kutira. He had a concrete veranda built on this occasion (May, 1890). While in Burdwan, he also performed kirtan with the devotees of Amlajora village and visited Gopalpura, Raniganj and Barakara.

   In 1890, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was again transferred to Raniganj in East Bengal and then back to Dinajpur in 1891. When he visited Calcutta, he met Shishira Kumara Ghosh who considered him a guru, even calling him “the seventh Goswami”. Shishira Kumara Ghosh would come regularly to visit him at Bhakti Bhavan and at the Thakur’s direction, started chanting japa and wearing a tulasi mala around his neck. He was not able to accept the principles of Vaishnava behavior in their entirety, however.

   During this period Bhaktivinoda also visited Midnapore (Medinipura), where he preached to Sitanatha Mahapatra and other devotees, Ghatal in Midnapore district and Kayapata Badana Gaij in Hooghly district. From there he returned to Krishnanagar, staying once again in Surabhi Kunja. He arranged for some large assemblies to be called in Krishnanagara at which he spoke. Messrs, Mulrow, Revelshaw, and Butler were regular attendants.

   At Amaljora on March 9, 1892, he participated in a Harivasara program at which Jagannath Das Babaji was present. From there he traveled to Vrindavan, stopping at Baksar (Bihar) and Prayag. He was in Vraja from March 21 to 29, during which time he managed to visit Bilvavana, Bhandiravana, Mathavana, Manasarovara, Mathura, Gokula, Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, Radhakunda, Govardhana, etc. He then returned to Calcutta via Kanpur and Allahabad.

   In Calcutta, he once again engaged in preaching the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Bhakti Bhavana, as well as continuing to hold assemblies at Krishnanagara. In Magh 1399 (February, 1893), he held a kirtan festival at Godrumadvipa at which Jagannath Das Babaji was the guest of honor. Later that spring, on the 20th of Phalguna (March, 1893), Jagannath Das indicated the exact spot where Mahaprabhu had first appeared in this world. 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj.

   At this time, the Thakur had an argument with a certain member of a Goswami family who held that one of Mahaprabhu’s closest associates was a Shudra. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was very displeased when he heard this and warned him with the words: 

aishnava-caritra, sarvada pavitra, jei ninde himsa kari
bhakativinoda, na sambhashe tare, thake sada mauna dhari

   The character of a Vaishnava is always spotless. Bhaktivinoda will not talk to anyone who criticizes a Vaishnava out of spite, but always remains silent. Also at about this time, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote down his guru-parampara and hung it on the outside of Bhakti Bhavan.

   In January of 1894, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur held another large meeting at the A.V. School in Krishnanagara. At this meeting it was decided that Deities should be installed at Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. At the same time, the Nabadwip Pracarini Sabha was formed to preach the newly discovered birthsite. Nafar Chandra Pal Bhaktibhushana, the zamindar of Natudaha in Nadia district, was elected executive secretary of the of the Sabha. Dvarika Babu, Nafar Babu, and other members of the Sabha decided that a thatched cottage would be constructed on the site would house Deities of Gaura and Vishnupriya. These Deities were consecrated on Friday, March 21, 1894 (Chaitra 9, 1300 Bengali), on the Phalguni Purnima, in the midst of a rousing kirtan during a lunar eclipse. For the maintenance of the Deities, a committee was formed (Sri Mayapur Seva Samiti) which had many distinguished Vaishnavas as its members, including Shyamalal Goswami, Shashibhushana Goswami, Radhikanatha Goswami, Vipina Vihari Goswami, Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Ajitanatha Nyayaratna, Mahendranatha Bhattacharya Vidyaranya, Satyajivana Lahirii, Raja Vanamali Raya Bahadura or Tariasa in Pabna district, Shishira Kumara Ghosh, Matilal a Ghosh, Yatindranatha Chaudhuri, Mahendranatha Majumdara, the advocate Kishorilala Sarkara, Nalinaksha Datta, Kanailala De Bahadura, Deputy Magistrate Navina Candra Sena, and Jagaccandra Raya.

Bhaktivinoda spends some time in Puri

   On October 4, 1894, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur retired from government service and came to live permanently in Surabhi Kuija in Godrumadvipa where he once again gave discourses on the Vaishnava scriptures. Some time after the disappearance of Jagannath Das Babaji in February of 1896, he accepted the invitation of the independent Raja of Tiperrah (Tripura), Birchandra Devavarma Manikya Bahadura, to go to Agartola. He went there with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati in July 1896 and gave discourses on pure devotional service which enchanted the Raja. Later in the same year, he took Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati to Kashiyang, then in 1898 to Benares and Prayag.

   In 1899, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur purchased the property on which Svananda Sukhada Kuija would be built. When the building was finished, he came to perform his bhajana there. Gaura Kishora Das Babaji would come there to hear the Thakur’s Bhagavat lectures and it was here that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur first met him. In 1900, Bhaktivinoda Thakur traveled with Bhaktisiddhanta through Baleshvara, Remuna, Bhuvaneshvara, and Sakshi Gopal to Puri. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur displayed a deep desire to engage in bhajana by the beach near Hari Das Thakur’s samadhi and his father arranged with Puri’s sub-registrar, Jagabandhu Pattanayaka, for him to be given the service of the Giridhari asana at the Satasana Math. In March of 1901, they came to Puri again and in 1902 the construction of Bhakti-Kuti was begun. At this time the Raja of Cossimbazar, Manindra Candra Nandi took instruction in devotional service from the Thakur.

   In 1903, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati regularly read and gave discourses on Chaitanya Charitamrita to the Thakur at Bhakti Kuti. The famous Radha ramana Carana Das Babaji came to visit Bhaktivinoda Thakur during this time and they discussed devotional doctrines. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur found Carana Das’s activities and dogmas to be heterodox and showed how by reference to the scriptures. Later, after Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur had returned to Nabadwip, Carana Das indicated his desire to participate in the Nabadwip-parikrama that the Thakur had inaugurated, but unfortunately left his body before he was able to do so.

The Thakur returns to Godrumadvipa

   In 1906, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur gave a lengthy discourse on Mahaprabhu’s teachings at the house of zamindar Yatindranatha Raya Chaudhuri in Taki. On February 26, 1906, the Thakur came to Calcutta again and from there to Svarupa Gaij in Godrumadvipa where he engaged in his devotional activities at Svananda-sukhada-kuïja. While there, a certain Tarakabrahma Goswami of Jessore came to him and asked him to accept the service of his Radha Madhava deities for Mahaprabhu’s birthplace. Tarakabrahma Goswami also began to live there with his wife and family, but after a short time it became clear that his behavior was at odds with the standards expected of them and they were obliged to leave. On April 29, 1906, however, the Shri Dhama Pracarini Sabha decided to award an annual stipend of 500 rupees to the temple for the service of Sri Sri Radha Madhava.

   In 1908, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur took the dress of a renounced Vaishnava, that of a Bhagavata-paramahamsa, in order to dedicate his life to the full relishing the sacred nectar of Radha and Govinda’s intimate pastimes.

   On March 25, 1910, which was Phalguni Purnima, Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha, at that time still a householder, visited Bhaktivinoda Thakur at Mayapur and five days later was given initiation by him at Godrumadvipa. Another disciple, Krishna Das Babaji, was living at Svananda-sukhada-kuïja at that time.

   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur preached that the rules of the Daiva-varnashrama dharma should always be followed. Thus, he upheld the directives of the Sat-kriya-sara-dipika in giving the sacred thread to Jagadisa Bhaktipradipa (who after taking sannyasa from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur became Bhaktipradipa Tirtha Maharaj), Sitanatha Mahapatra, Vasanta Kumara Ghosh, and Manmathanatha Raya.

   In this connection, it is worth examining the Thakur’s following words: “The Varnashrama dharma which is current in society is distinct from the transcendental religion of exclusive devotion to Krishna. The practice of Varnashrama dharma on its own does not result in full surrender to the Lord. The ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gita is to discard all the principles related to the varnas and ashramas, in short, all activities based on bodily identification, and to engage in a cultivation of devotional activities based on the natural emotional constitution of the soul, which is pure and without ulterior motive. Dedicated scholars such as Raghavacari have no understanding of this glorious characteristic of Gaudiya Vaishnavism’s concept of pure devotion.”

Bhaktivinoda sends Bhaktisiddhanta to Balighai

   In 1910, while still at Svananda-sukhada Kunja, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was engaged in writing his Svaniyama-dvadashaka when suddenly he became extremely ill. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur and other dear disciples and followers gathered there, afraid that he was about to enter the nitya-lila. Even in a state of extreme physical discomfort, however, his enthusiasm for preaching Lord Chaitanya’s message was unabated. Though unable to walk, he indicated a desire to be taken from place to place on horseback so that he could continue to spread the teachings of Mahaprabhu.

   Three years before the Thakur’s disappearance, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur approached his father and indicated to him that though he felt himself to be an unworthy servant, he vowed to take up the ultimate welfare work of defeating all the heterodox doctrines which went against pure devotional service. Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s was delighted to hear his son’s determination and when Gopivallabhapura’s Sri Vishvambharananda Deva Goswami invited him to participate in a conference in Balighai, Midnapore, he sent Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur and Sureshacandra Mukhopadhyaya in his place. The conference, the theme of which was to establish orthodox doctrines in certain areas of theology, took place from Sept. 8-11, 1911. Many respected and well-reputed scholars of the sampradaya were present, including Madhusudana Goswami Sarvabhauma of the Radharamana Ghera in Vrindavan.

   Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur gave a talk on the distinctions between a Vaishnava and a Brahmin, demonstrating clearly a great amount of research, which left the assembly of scholars enchanted and speechless. A year later, when Madhusudana Goswami visited Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur at the Bhakti Bhavan he enthusiastically proclaimed that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur was his capable successor in protecting the Gaudiya sampradaya.

   In 1913, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati wrote a commentary on the Chaitanya-caritamrita meant to accompany the Amrita-pravaha-bhashya written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He read several passages of this Anubhashya to the Thakur, giving him indescribable pleasure.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s entry into the eternal pastimes

   A few days before his disappearance, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur left Godrumadvipa to come to Bhakti Bhavan. On June 23, 1914, on the disappearance day of Gaura-shakti, Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami, in his Calcutta home, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur entered the midday pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda at Radha Kund. Six years later, the worshipable Mata Thakurani, his wife Sri Bhagavati Devi, went to join him.

Srimad-Bhaktivinoda-viraha-dashakam

(Ten verses describing the feelings of separation from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur written for the occasion of his disappearance day by His Grace Bhakti-rakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami in 1936)

ha ha bhaktivinoda thakkura guro dvavimshatis te sama
dirghad-duhkha-bharad ashesha-virahad duhkhikrita bhur iyam
jivanam bahu-janma-punya-nivahakrishto mahimandale
avirbhava-kripam cakara ca bhavan shri-gaura-shaktih svayam 1

   Alas! Alas! My guru Bhaktivinoda Thakur! It is now twenty-two long years that the world has been burdened with the grief of your separation. You are the personification of Sri Gauranga’s energy and you mercifully appeared in this world being attracted by many lifetimes of the living beings’ pious activities.

dino’ham cira-dushkritir na hi bhavat-padabja-dhuli-kana-
snanananda-nidhim prapanna-shubhadam labdhum samartho’bhavam
kintv audarya-gunat tavati-yashasah karunya-shaktih svayam
shri-shri-gaura-mahaprabhoh prakatita vishvam samanvagrahit 2

   Being most fallen and possessing nothing but sinful activity in my past, I have not been able to attain the joyful treasure of being bathed in the dust of your lotus feet, which brings all auspiciousness to the surrendered. Even so, you are deservedly renowned for your magnanimity. You are the personification of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s compassionate powers who have appeared in this world in order to bestow upon it his divine blessings.

he deva! stavane tavakhila-gunanam te viriïcadayo
deva vyartha-manorathah kim u vayam martyadhamah kurmahe
etan no vibudhaih kadapy atishayalankara ity ucyatam
shastreshv eva na paraye’ham iti yad gitam mukundena ca 3

   O Lord! The gods led by Brahma are frustrated when they endeavor to glorify your unlimited virtues. What then can low-born humans such as we accomplish? This is no rhetorical exaggeration, as some scholars may claim, for even Mukunda himself has said the same to the gopis in the Bhagavat (10.32.22).

dharmash carmagato’jïataiva satata yogash ca bhogatmako
jïane shunya-gatir japena tapasa khyati-jighamsaiva ca
dane dambhikatanuraga-bhajane dushtapacaro yada
buddhim buddhimatam bibheda hi tada dhatra bhavan preshitah 4

   You were sent by the Lord when even the most intelligent people’s wisdom was ruined through religious activities which only sought bodily pleasures, through a constant state of ignorance, in yoga which had sensual enjoyment as its goal, in the idea that the goal of knowledge is the void, in the desire to destroy individual consciousness through prayer and austerity, in arrogant pride in giving charity, and from evil practices spread in the name of raganuga-bhajana.

vishve’smin kiranair yatha himakarah saïjivayan naushadhir
nakshatrani ca raïjayan nija-sudham vistarayan rajate
sac-chastrani ca toshayan budha-ganam sammodayams te tatha
nunam bhumi-tale shubhodaya iti hlado bahuh satvatam 5

   Just as in this universe, the moon gives life to the world’s vegetation, revitalizes the constellations and spreads its own nectar with its rays, so too, your auspicious appearance on Earth brought satisfaction to the holy scriptures, joy to the intelligent and a great amounts of ecstasy to the Vaishnavas.

lokanam hita-kamyaya bhagavato bhakti-pracaras tvaya

granthanam racanaih satam abhimatair nanavidhair darshitah
acaryaih krita-purvam eva kila yad ramanujadyair budhaih
premambhodhi-vigrahasya bhavato mahatmya-sima na tat 6

   Desiring the welfare of everyone in the world, you displayed the method of preaching devotion to the Supreme Lord through writing a variety of books which were appreciated by the saintly. The glorious achievements of all the previous acharyas such as Ramanuja, etc., cannot match yours, for you are the embodiment of the ocean of prema.

yad-dhamnah khalu dhama caiva nigame brahmeti samjïayate
yasyamshasya kalaiva duhkha-nikarair yogeshvarair mrigyate
vaikunthe para-mukta-bhringa-carano narayano yah svayam
tasyamshi bhagavan svayam rasa-vapuh krishno bhavan tat-pradah 7

   You came to give the Supreme Person Krishna himself, whose body is the form of sacred rapture, the effulgence of whose abode is known in the Veda as Brahman, whose mere partial expansion is the goal of the great yogis’ austere practices, who is the source of Narayan himself, whose lotus feet are surrounded by the most advanced, bee-like liberated souls in Vaikuntha.

sarvacintya-maye paratpara-pure goloka-vrindavane
cil-lila-rasa-rangini parivrita sa radhika shri-hareh
vatsalyadirasaish ca sevita-tanor madhurya-seva-sukham
nityam yatra mada tanoti hi bhavan tad-dhama-seva-pradpah 8

   You bestowed service to the completely inconceivable divine abode of Goloka Vrindavan, which lies beyond the other spiritual worlds, where Radha, surrounded by hernbsp;In the forest am I hiding and no one else knows me. But on the 13th of Mina I will begin the war. Taking on a four-armed form, I will destroy the Mlecchas. rsquo;s concept of pure devotion. sakhis, whose pleasure is in the transcendental nectar of the spiritual pastimes, joyfully constantly serves in the erotic mood Sri Hari who is worshiped in the moods of parenthood, etc.

shri-gauranumatam Svarupa-viditam rupagrajenadritam
rupadyaih pariveshitam raghu-ganair asvaditam sevitam
jivadyair abhirakshitam shuka-shiva-brahmadi-sammanitam
shri-radha-pada-sevanamritam aho tad datum isho bhavan 9

   You are perfectly competent to give the nectar of service to Sri Radha’s feet, which was approved by Gauranga Mahaprabhu, which was understood by Svarupa Damodar, adorped by Sanatan Goswami, distributed by Sri Rupa Goswami, relished and enjoyed by Raghunath and the rest of Sri Rupa’s followers, and which is respected by Suka, Shiva and Brahma, etc.,

kvaham manda-matis tv ativa patitah kva tvam jagat-pavanah
bho svamin kripayaparadha-nicayo nunam tvaya kshamyatam
yace’ham karuna-nidhe varam imam padabja-mule bhavat-
sarvasvavadhi-radhika-dayita-dasanam gane ganyatam 10

   I am a wicked-minded fallen soul, so far from you who purify the entire universe. O Master! Please forgive me all my offenses out of your great compassion. I beg you, O ocean of mercy, to grant me this boon thatp In 1889, he was transferred to East Bengal in the Netrakona subdivision in Mymensingh District, whence he visited Narayan Gaij, Mymensingh city, the Garo Hills where he blessed the people of the Hajong tribe, and Gowalanda. Though he rsquo;s birthplacewas able to visit Calcutta during this period, he was soopn transferred to Tangail and then to Burdwan. He visited Shantipur, Kalna, Baghna Para, Kaigram, and Denur, the site of Vrindavan Das Thakur I be included amongst the followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, for whom your lotus feet are everything.

Srimad-Bhaktivinoda-dashakam

(This poem appeared in the Gaudiya magazine, July 1939, 7.47)

amanda-karunya-gunakara shri-
caitanya-devasya dayavatarah
sa gaura-shaktir bhavita punah kim
padam drishor bhakti-vinoda-devah 1 dharmash carmagato sarvacintya-maye paratpara-pure goloka-vrindavane

   O ocean of unlimited compassion, you are the incarnation of Chaitanya Deva’s mercy. You are the energy of Gauranga. O Lord Bhaktivinoda, when will you again be visible to me? 1

shrimaj-Jagannath-prabhu-priyo ya
ekatmako gaura-kishorakena
 shri-gaura-karunya-mayo bhavet kim
 nityam smritau bhakti-vinoda-devah 2

   When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, the embodiment of Mahaprabhu’s ble nakshatrani ca rassings, remain fixed in my memory? He is dear to Jagannath Prabhu and is not different from Gaura Kishora Das Babaji.

shri-nama-cintamani-sampracarair
adarsham acaravidhau dadhau yah
 sa jagarukah smriti- mandire kim
 nityam bhaved bhakti-vinoda-devah 3

   When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, who gave the example how to act by preaching the jewel of the Holy Name, remain alive in the temple of my memory?

namaparadhai rahitasya n/p lokanam hita-kamyaya bhagavato bhakti-pracaras tvaya amno
mahatmya-jatam prakatam vidhaya
jive dayalur bhavita smritau kim
kritasano bhakti-vinoda-devah 4

   When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, most merciful to all living beings, take his place in my mind after revealing the glories of the Holy Name, void of any offenses?

gaurasya gudha-prakatalayasya
sato’sato harsha-kunatyayosh ca
prakashako gaurajano bhavet kim
smrityaspadam

bhakti-vinoda-devah 5

   When will Irsquo;s determination and when Gopivallabhapura/strong remember Bhaktivinoda Prabhpu, the member of Gauranga’s entourage who revealed his hidden birthplace, to the joy of the saintly and the envious reaction of the wicked?

nirasya vighnan iha bhakti-ganga-
pravahanenoddhrita-sarvalokah
bhagiratho nitya-dhiyam padam kim
bhaved asau bhakti-vinoda-devah 6

   Like King Bhagiratha, he saved the entire world by destroying all impediments and allowing the Ganga of pure devotion to flow. When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu be the permanent object of my meditation?

vishveshu caitanya-katha-pracari
mahatmya-shamsi guru-vaishnavanam
nama-grahadarsha iha smritah kim

citte bhaved bhakti-vinoda-devah 7

   When will I remember Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, who preached the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu throughout the world, who glorified the guru and the Vaishnavas and who set the example for chanting the Holy Name.

prayojanam sann abhidheya-bhakti-
siddhanta-vanya samam atra gaura-
kishora-sambandha-yuto bhavet kim
cittam gato bhakti-vinoda-devah 8

   When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, himself the representative of the proyojana-tattva, appear in my mind, accompanied by Gaura Kishora Das Babaji, the personification of the sambandha-tattva, and by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, the incarnation of the abhidheya-tattva. [bhakti-vinoda or taking delight in devotional service is the ultimate goal of prema, sambandha is the relationship with Mahaprabhu (Gaura-kishora) and the devotional processes established by the doctrine, or bhakti-siddhanta are the abhidheya-tattva.]

shikshamritam sajjana-toshanim ca
cintamanim catra sajaiva-dharmam
prakashya caitanya-prado bhavet kim
citte dhrito bhakti-vinoda-devah 9

   When will Bhaktivino/p/pda Prabhu, who made people conscious of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through his publications Chaitanya-shikshamrita, Sajjana-toshani, Harinama-cintamani, and Jaiva Dharma, be held constantly in my mind.

ashadha-darshe’hani gaura-shakti-
gadadharabhinna-tanur jahau yah
prapaïca-lilam iha no bhavet kim
drishyah punar bhakti-vinoda-devah 10

   When will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu appear to us again? Being non-different from Gaura-shakti Gadadhara Pandit, he left the material world on the same day as he, the dark-moon-day of Asharha month.

Sri Godrumacandra-bhajanopadesha

(“Instructions to worship the Moon of Godruma”. These verses were published posthumously for the first time in 1950 in Gaudiya magazine, 18.47-8 (pp. 757-8)

yadi te hari-pada-saroja-sudha-
rasa-pana-param hridayam satatam
parihritya griham kali-bhava-mayam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 1

   If your heart wishes to always drink the nectar of Hari’s lotus feet, then abandon your home which is filled with the spirit of Kali and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

dhana-yauvana-jivana-rajya-sukham
Nahi nityam anukshana-nasha-param
tyaja gramya-katha-sakalam viphalam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 2

   All your joys from wealth, youth, life and power are all temporary and susceptible to destruction at any moment. Give up all your useless mundane discourses and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

ramani-jana-sanga-sukham ca sakhe
carame bhayadam purushartha-haram
hari-nama-sudha-rasa-matta-matir
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 3

   O friend! The joys of intercourse with beautiful women are ultimately a source of fear, for they prevent the achievement of life’s goals. Become intoxicated with the nectar of the Holy Names and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

jada-kavya-raso nahi kavya-rasah
kali-pavana-gaura-raso hi rasah
alam any-kathady-anushilanaya
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 4

   The relishing of poetic sentiments is not the sacred rapture of devotional poetry. Real sacred rapture is found in the sentiments connected to the purifier of the age of Kali, Gaura. Give up the study of all other subjects and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

vrishabhanu-sutanvita-vama-tanum
yamuna-tata-nagara-nanda-sutam
murali-kala-gita-vinoda-param
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 5

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, the son of Nanda, the playboy who sports on the Yamuna’s banks with the daughter of Vrishabhanu at his left side, joyfully playing wonderful songs on his flute.

hari-kirtana-madhyagatam svajanaih
pariveshtita-jambunadabha-harim
nija-gauda-janaika-kripa-jaladhim
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 6

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, the ocean of mercy for his own associates from the land of Gauda, whose effulgent form, surrounded by these associates as he dances in the midst of the kirtan, has been stolen from refined gold.

giriraja-suta-parivita-griham
nava-khanda-patim yati-citta-haram
sura-sangha-nutam priyaya sahitam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 7

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, whose house is surrounded by the daughters of the king of mountains, who is the Lord of the abode of nine islands, who steals the minds of the sannyasis and who, in the company of his beloved, is praised by the heavenly hosts.

kali-kukkura-mudgara-bhava-dharam
hari-nama-mahaushadha-dana-param
patitarta-dayardra-sumurti-dharam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 8

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, who has taken the mood of the hammer-wielding chastiser of the Kali-dog, who brings the gift of the Holy Name medicine, and whose form is soaked in tearful compassion for the fallen.

ripu-bandhava-bheda-vihina-daya
yad abhikshnam udeti mukhabja-tatau
tam akrishnam iha vraja-raja-sutam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 9

   His mercy makes no distinction between friend and foe. Though his bodily hue is not black, he is the son of the King of Vraja. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

iha copanishat-parigita-vibhur
dvija-raja-sutah puratabha-harih
nija-dhamani khelati bandhu-yuto
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 10

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers–he whose glories are sung in the Upanishads and is now a son of the best of Brahmins with a golden bodily hue, playing in his own dham with his eternal associates.

avatar-varam paripurna-phalam
para-tattvam ihatma-vilasa-mayam
vraja-dhama-rasambudhi-gupta-rasam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 11

   Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, who is the best of the incarnations of the Supreme, who brings the ultimate fruit of spiritual life, who is the Supreme Truth come into this world out of his own pleasure and who relish a taste hidden in the ocean of rapture that is Vraja Dhama.

shruti-varna-dhanadi na yasya kripa-
janane balavad-bhajanena vina
tam ahaituka-bhava-patha hi sakhe
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 12

   Learning or high birth are useless in bringing about his mercy without intense bhajana. O friend, worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers without any desire for any fruits.

api nakra-gatau hrada-madhya-gatam
kam amocayad arta-janam tam ajam
avicintya-balam shiva-kalpa-tarum
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 13

   This same Lord also once liberated a distressed demigod from a crocodile body within the lake known as Goradaha. He is the unborn one, possessing inconceivable power, and is truly a desire tree of pure auspiciousness. Just worship the beautiful Moon of Godruma's forest bowers. [FN: This incident is recounted in Jagadananda’s Prema-vilasa, chapter 15.]

surabhindra-tapah-paritushta-mano
vara-varna-dharo harir avirabhut
tam ajasra-sukham muni-dhairya-haram
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 14

   When his mind was pleased by the austerities of Indra and Surabhi, he appeared in a golden form before them. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers, who brings unlimited pleasure and who disturbs the calm minds of the silent sages. [This incident is described in Bhaktivinoda’s Nabadwip-dhama-mahâtmya.]

abhilasha-cayam tad abheda-dhiyam
ashubham ca shubham ca tyaja sarvam idam
anukulataya priya-sevanaya
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 15

   Give up all your desires for sense enjoyment. Give up the idea that you are identical with the Lord. Abandon both auspicious and inauspicious works. Only worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers with acts compatible with his pleasure and by serving those dear to him.

hari-sevaka-sevana-dharma-paro
hari-nama-rasamrita-pana-ratah
nati-dainya-daya-paramana-yuto
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 16

   Become fixed in the religion of serving the servants of Hari. Be fixed in drinking the nectar of the Holy Names. Always be fixed in respect, humility and compassion. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

vada yadava madhava krishna hare
vada rama janardana keshava he
vrishabhanu-suta-priyanatha sada
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 17

   Sing the names of Yadava, Madhava, Krishna and Hari. Sing the names of Rama, Janardana and Keshava. Always sing the name of the dearest lord of the daughter of Vrishabhanu. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

vada yamuna-tira-vanadri-pate
vada gokula-kanana-puïja-rave
vada rasa-rasayana gaura-hare
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 18

   Sing the name of the Lord of the forests by the Yamuna banks. Sing the name of the sun which lights up the gardens of Gokula. Sing the name of Gaurahari, the alchemist of sacred rapture. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

cala gaura-vanam nava-khandamayam
patha gauraharesh caritani muda
lutha gaura-padankita-ganga-tatam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 19

   Go live in Gauranga’s forest with its nine divisions. Study the lives of Gaurahari. Roll about in the dust by the banks of the Ganges marked with Gauranga’s footprints. And worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

smara gaura-gadadhara-keli-kalam
bhava gaura-gadadhara-paksha-carah
shrnu gaura-gadadhara-caru-katham
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 20

   Remember always the enchanting pastimes of Gaura-Gadadhara. Become a follower of Gaura-Gadadhara. Always listen to the enchanting topics of Gaura-Gadadhara. Worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

A list of Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s written works

   Other than the titles already mentioned, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote numerous works from 1866 to 1907 which are listed here as far as possible.
(1) Balid-e-registry (Urdu), 1856.
(2) Speech on Gautam (English), 1856.
(3) Speech on the Bhagavatam (English), 1869.
(4) Garbha-stotra-vyakhya (Bengali), 1870.
(5) Reflections (English), 1871.
(6) Slokas of Haridas Thakur’s Samadhi (English), 1871.
(7) Jagannatha Mandir of Puri (English), 1871.
(8) Akhras of Puri (English), 1871.
(9) Vedantadhikarana-mala (Sanskrit), 1872.
(10) Datta-kaustubham (Sanskrit), 1874.
(11) Datta-vamsha-mala (Sanskrit), 1876.
(12) Bauddha-vijaya-kavyam (Sanskrit), 1878.
(13) Shri-Krishna-samhita (Sanskrit and Bengali), 1880.
(14) Kalyana-kalpa-taru (Bengali songs), 1881.
(15) Shri-sajjana-toshani (Bengali monthly magazine) from 1881-1898.
(16) Review of Nitya-Svarupa-samsthapana (English), 1883.
(17) Srimad-Bhagavad-gita, with Vishvanath Chakravarti’s commentary, and Rasika-raïjana translation (Bengali), 1886.
(18) Shri-Caitanya-shikshamrita (Bengali), 1886.
(19) Sammodana commentary to Shikshashtaka (Sanskrit), 1886.
(20) Manah-shiksha padyanuvada (Bengali), 1886.
(21) Dashopanishac-curnika (Sanskrit), 1886.
(22) Bhavavali, verses and commentary (Sanskrit), 1886.
(23) Prema-pradipa (Bengali novel), 1886.
(24) Vishnu-sahasra-nama with Baladeva’s commentary (Sanskrit), 1886.
(25) Published Satyaraja Khan’s Shri-Krishna-vijaya, 1886.
(26) Caitanyopanishat with Chaitanya-caranamrita commentary (Sanskrit), 1887.
(27) Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala (Bengali), 1888.
(28) Shri-Amnaya-sutra (Sanskrit sutras, Bengali explanation), 1890.
(29) Shridhama-Nabadwip-mahatmya (Bengali), 1890.
(30) Siddhanta-darpana translation (Bengali), 1890.
(31) Srimad-Bhagavad-gita, Bengali translation (Vidvad-raïjana-bhashya) and Baladeva’s Sanskrit commentary (Bengali), 1891.
(32) Shri-Harinama (Bengali), 1892.
(33) Shri-Nama (Bengali), 1892.
(34) Shri-Nama-tattva (Bengali), 1892.
(35) Shri-Nama-mahima (Bengali), 1892.
(36) Shri-Nama-pracara (Bengali), 1892.
(37) Shriman-Mahaprabhura Shiksha (Bengali), 1892.
(38) Tatta-viveka (Sanskrit verses and Bengali comment), 1893.
(39) Sharanagati (Bengali songs), 1893.
(40) Shoka-shatana (Bengali song), 1893.
(41) Jaiva-dharma (Bengali), 1893.
(42) Tattva-sutra (Sanskrit and Bengali), 1894.
(43) Ishopanishat Vedarka-didhiti-vyakhya (Bengali), 1894.
(44) Tattva-muktavali or Mayavada-shata-dushani (Sanskrit and Bengali), 1894.
(45) Amrita-pravaha-bhashya on Chaitanya-caritamrita (Bengali), 1895.
(46) Shri-Gauranga-smarana-mangala-stotra (Sanskrit), 1896.
(47) Life and Precepts of Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (English), 1896.
(48) Shri-Ramanuja-Upedesha (Bengali), 1896.
(49) Artha-paicaka (Bengali), 1896.
(50) Bengali translation of Brahma-samhita, 1897.
(51) Kalyana-kalpa-taru (Revised), 1897.
(52) Translation and comment on Krishnakarnamrita (Bengali), 1898.
(53) Translation and commentary on Upadeshamritam (Bengali), 1898.
(54) Bhagavad-gita with Madhva’s commentary (Bengali), 1898.
(55-56) Sanatan Goswami’s Brihad-Bhagavatamrita in two volumes (Bengali translation), 1898.
(57) Narahari Thakur’s Bhajanamrita (Bengali translation), 1899.
(58) Nabadwip-bhava-tarangini (Bengali verse), 1899.
(59) Shri-Harinama-cintamani (Bengali verse), 1900.
(60) Tattva-vamsha-mala (Bengali)
(61) Bhagavatarka-marici-mala (compilation and Bengali translation), 1900.
(62) Shri-sankalpa-kalpadruma (Bengali translation), 1900.
(63) Padma-purana (edited), 1901.
(64) Bhajana-rahasya (collection of verses and Bengali verse translation), 1902.
(65) Vijana-grama o sannyasai (Bengali verse, revised edition), 1902.
(66) Shri-Krishna-samhita (Sanskrit and Bengali, revised), 1903.
(67) Sat-kriya-sara-dipika (edited), 1903.
(68) Shri-Caitanya-shikshamrita (revised and expanded), 1905.
(69) Prema-vivarta (Bengali), 1905.
(70) Sva-niyama-dvadashakam (Sanskrit verse), 1906.
(71) Shri-Nimbarka-Dasha-shloki (Bengali trans. and comment), 1907.
(72) Shri-Gitimala (Bengali songs), 1907.
(73) Shri-Gitavali (Bengail songs), 1907.
(74) Harikatha (Bengali verse), 1850.

   From 1878 to 1881, while Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur was living at Nariala in Jessore district, he wrote Shri-Krishna-samhita and Kalyana-kalpa-taru and started publishing the monthly magazine, Sajjana-toshani. While in Barasat in 1883, he published Sajjana-toshani in English. Then while in Serampore (Shriramapura) in 1886 he published his translation-commentary Rasika-raijana with Vishvanath’s commentary Sarartha-darshini to Bhagavad-gita, Chaitanya-shikshamrita, Sanmodana-bhashya to Shikshamrita and Bhaktivinoda. In 1887 while in Sambalpur, he received an old manuscript of Caitanyopanishat from a disciple named Madhusudana Das. Later in the same year, while living in Krishnanagara, he started work on Amnaya-sutra and published his Nabadwip-mahatmya. In 1896, after returning to Calcutta from Tripura he wrote his English Life and Precepts of Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Sanskrit Gauranga-smarana-mangala-stotra.


[Excerpted from "Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

If your heart wishes to always drink the nectar of Hari

dhana-yauvana-jivana-rajya-sukham (74) Harikatha (Bengali verse), 1850.

His mercy makes no distinction between friend and foe. Though his bodily hue is not black, he is the son of the King of Vraja. Worship the moon of Godruma forest bowers, the son of Nanda, the playboy who sports on the Yamuna

(69) Prema-vivarta (Bengali), 1905.

(53) Translation and commentary on Upadeshamritam (Bengali), 1898.

Sing the name of the Lord of the forests by the Yamuna banks. Sing the name of the sun which lights up the gardens of Gokula. Sing the name of Gaurahari, the alchemist of sacred rapture. Worship the moon of Godruma

vishveshu caitanya-katha-pracari

Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur

    Sri Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared in 1838 in a wealthy family in the Nadia district, West Bengal. He revealed that he is an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by his extraordinary preaching activities and prolific writing. Living as a, mahabhagavata Vaisnava, he stayed in the grhasta ashram until the last few years of his life. Then he renounced everything, accepted babaji, and entered samadhi, totally absorbed in the loving service of Gaura-Gadadhara and Radha-Madhava.
 
   "He had a responsible government position as the District Magistrate (high court judge), maintained a Krishna conscious family, and wrote almost one hundred books on Krishna consciousness. At the same time, he served the Supreme Lord in so many ways. That is the beauty of his life. After a full day of government service he would sleep four hours, get up at midnight and write until morning. That was his daily program." (Srila Prabhupada)
 
   Thakura Bhaktivinoda took Vaisnava diksa from Sri Vipinvihari Goswami in the line of Sri Jahnava Mata. Afterwards, he received spiritual inspiration and direction from Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji. Holding an exalted government post, vast erudition, and spiritual accomplishment never disturbed Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He remained prideless, always humble, friendly to all. Charity seekers at his home always left happy and satisfied. A well-wisher to everyone, he never kept grudges, even with opponents to his preaching. In fact, he never spoke a word that would hurt another's feelings. 
Bhaktivinod Thakur

Jaganath Das Babaji Maharaj - Shiksha Guru of Bhaktivinod Thakur.

 
 
   "The Thakura was always courageous and acted for everyone's welfare. Keeping personal needs to a minimum, he led the simplest of lives," said one pandit. In the following entry from Saranagati, Srila Bhaktivinoda, who had all pure divine qualities, takes the role of a conditioned soul to teach us how to advance in Krishna consciousness:
 
"You should always absorb your mind in attentively chanting Krishna's glories. By performing Krishna kirtana you'll gain mastery over the mind. Give up all false pride. Always think yourself to be worthless, destitute, lower and more humble than straw in the street. Practice forgiveness like the tree. Giving up all violence toward other living beings, you should maintain them. Throughout your life you should never give anxiety to others. But do good to them, make them happy, and forget about your own happiness.
 
"Thus when you become a pious good soul by possessing all good qualities, you should give up desires for fame and honor. And just make your heart humble. Knowing that Lord Sri Krishna lives within all living beings, you should respect and honor everyone at all times. You will attain virtue by being humble, merciful, respecting others, and renouncing desires for fame and honor. In such a state, you should sing the glories of the Supreme Lord. Weeping, Bhaktivinoda submits his prayer at the lotus feet of the Lord. '0 Lord, when will You give me such qualities as these?' "
 
Always anxious to use every moment in loving service of Krishna, he followed a strict austere daily schedule:

8 p.m.-10 p.m.             Rest (two hours)
10 p.m.-4 a.m.             Write
4 a.m.-4:30 a.m.          Rest
4:30 a.m.-7 a.m.          Chant Japa
7 a.m.-7:30 a.m.           Correspondence    
7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.     Study sastras
9:30 a.m.-10 a.m.         Bath,prasadam (half-liter milk, fruit, 2 chapatis)
10 a.m.-1 p.m.              Court Duties
1 p.m.-2 p.m.                Refresh at home
2 p.m.-5 p.m.               Court Duties
5 p.m.-7 p.m.                Translate Sanskrit sastras to Bengali
7 p.m.-8 p.m.                Bath,prasadam (half-liter milk, rice, 2chapatis)

Summary Daily Schedule:

Sleep             3 hours
Write            8.5 hours
Japa,study   4.5 hours
Work            6 hours
 

   Srinivasa Acarya praises the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma samsthakapau, lokanam hita karinau … "The six Gosvamis deeply studied all the sastras in order to establish eternal religious principles for the benefit of everyone." Similarly, Thakura Bhaktivinoda made unlimited preaching contributions to help humanity. And for this he's known as the "Seventh Gosvami."

   Biographers list three major preaching achievements of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
 
   (1) Wrote 100 authorized spiritual books. (2) Discovered appearance place of Lord Caitanya. (3) Introduced preaching innovations. Besides books (in Bengali, Oriya, English) reviving and explaining Mahaprabhu's message, he wrote hundreds of poems and songs full of spiritual sentiments and sastrie siddhanta (philosophical conclusions). 

Bhaktivinod Thakur

Yoga Pitha - Appearance Place of Lord Chaitania, Mayapur.

 
 
   "His writings have made the sacred teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully available to every modern reader. And they are presented in a form which carries irresistable conviction and devotion," said a late disciple of Thakura Bhaktivinoda.
 
   Sri Krishna-samhita, Kalyana Kalpa-taru, Sri Caitanya-siksamrta, Sri Navadvipa-dhama mahatmyam, Jaiva Dharma, Sri Harinama¬cintamani, Bhajana-rahasya, Gita-mala, Gitavalli, Saranagati, and commentaries on Bhagavad-gita and Caitanya-caritamrta are some of his works. The following quote comes from Thakura Bhaktivinoda's Gitavali:
 
   "He who has failed to carefully worship the lotus feet of Sri Radhika, which are the abodes of all auspiciousness. He who has not taken shelter in the transcendental abode of Vrindavana, which is decorated with the lotus flower named Radha. He who in this life has not associated with the devotees of Radhika, who are full of wisdom and love for Radhika. How will such a person ever feel the bliss of bathing in the ocean of Lord Syamasundara's sublime mellows?
 
   "Please understand this most attentively. Sri Radhika is the teacher of madhurya rasa (mellows of conjugal love). Radha-Madhava madhurya prema is meant to be discussed and meditated upon. He who cherishes the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani obtains the lotus feet of Madhava, which are priceless jewels. Without taking shelter of Radha's lotus feet one can never meet Krishna. The Vedic scriptures declare that Krishna is the property of the maidservants of Sri Radha. Give up wife, sons, friends, wealth, followers, speculative knowledge, all materialistic actions. Just become absorbed in the sweetness of serving the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. This is Bhaktivinoda's solemn declaration."
 
   During the last five-hundred years, the original appearance place of Lord Caitanya had vanished under the indomitable Ganges River. In 1888, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura revealed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's janmasthana at the Yogapitha in Sridhama Mayapur. Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja, a famous siddha saint, and paramahamsa rasika Vaisnava, confirmed the Thakura's discovery. This most auspicious event delighted the Gaudiya Vaisnavas from Gaura-mandala to Vraja-bhumi. He established the worship of Lord Gauranga and Sri mati Vishnupriya at Yogapitha.
Bhaktivinod Thakur

Gaura-Narayana and His two wives, Laksmipriya and Vishnupriya.

 
 
   In the mood of innovation, in 1896 he sent to universities around the world a book of slokas, Sri Gauranga-lila smarana which had a forty-seven page English introduction: "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts." This act rose from a keen desire to spread Lord Caitanya's teachings in the Western countries.
 
   Bhaktivinoda Thakura made three predictions concerning a person and a phenomena: "A personality will soon appear," wrote Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "and he will travel all over the world to spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya."
 
   His second prediction: "Very soon the chanting of 'Harinama sankirtana will be spread all over the world. Oh, when will that day come when people from America, England, France, Germany, Russia will take up karatals and mrdangas and chant Hare Krishna in their towns?"
 
   The third prediction: "When will that day come when the fair-skinned foreigners will come to Sri Mayapur-dhama and join with the Bengali Vaisnavas to chant, Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana. When will that day be? "
 
   Srila Prabhupada said it's spiritually significant that he himself appeared in 1896, the same year Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent his book overseas. The will of Lord Caitanya, the desire of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, and the mercy of Srila Sarasvati Thakura empowered Srila A.c. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to spread Sri Caitanya's teachings and the chanting of Hare Krishna all over the world. Prabhupada fulfilled the Thakura's three predictions! 
Bhaktivinod Thakur

Founder Acharya of ISKCON AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

 
 
   Devoid of pride, full of humility, radiant with pure love for Radha-Govinda, Srila Prabhupada gave all credit to the previous acaryas. "We should take it," said Srila Prabhupada, "that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the origin of the Krishna Consciousness Movement in its pure form."
 
   In 1986, just one-hundred years after Bhaktivinoda Thakura's third prediction, three-thousand "fair skinned devotees" from America, England, France, Germany, Russia, and fifty other countries gathered at the ISKCON Mayapura Chandrodaya Mandir in Sridhama Mayapur. They joined one thousand "Bengali Vaisnavas" to rock the universe by chanting Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana, Gaura-Hari. Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura ki jai! 
Bhaktivinod Thakur

Devotees all around the world came to Mayapur to sing: "Jai Sachinandana Goura Hari!!!"

 
     .
   In 1914, on the tirobhava tithi (disappearance day) of Sri Gadadhara Pandit (the incarnation of Sri Radha), Thakura Bhaktivinoda entered the eternal pastimes of Gaura-Gadadhara and Radha-Madhava. 
Bhaktivinod Thakur

Goura - Gadadhar Deities of Bhaktivinod Thakur.

 In Godrumadvipa (Navadvipa) Sri-Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, the worshipable Deities of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, await to bless any visitors to Svananda-sukhada-kunja. In Radha-Madhava's nitya-vraja lila Bhaktivinoda Thakura takes the form of Kamala-manjari to serve Srimati Radharani. His pushpa samadhi is in his bhajana kutir at Radha-kunda.