namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtayeI 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.
gaura-shakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te
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 amayBhaktivinoda 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.
lalita-sakhira, ayogya-kinkari, vinoda dhariche pay
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 namaMy 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.
sarie baro varsha, vayas satata, svananda-sukhada dhama
aul, baul, kartabhaja, neria, daravesha, sainEducated 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:
sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosaïi
atibarii, curiadhari, gauranga-nagari
tota kahe ei teror sanga nahi kari
prithivite paryanta ache jata desha-gramaMy name will pervade every village and country in the world. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.4.126)
sarvatra saïcara ha+ibeka mora nama
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 Candra. 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.
“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.”
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 ihottamahSrila 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.
shri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena vishrutah
vande bhaktivinodam shri-gaurashakti-SvarupakamI 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 moreO 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.
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
shri-caitanya-janma-sthana shri-mayapuraThe 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.
tomara pracare ebe janila samsara
shikshamrita, jaiva-dharma, adi grantha shata
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
apani acari dharma shikhale sabareYou 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.
grihe kimba dhame thaki bhajaha krishnere
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
vaishnavera jata guna achaye grantheteAll 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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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-caritamrita 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.
banere achi bishakishanaIn 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.
guptare achi na janani ana
tera minare arambhiba rana,
caturbhuja hoi nashiba mleccha-gana
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 full-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Kuïja. 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 Kuïja. 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.
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: v
aishnava-caritra, sarvada pavitra, jei ninde himsa kariThe 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.
bhakativinoda, na sambhashe tare, thake sada mauna dhari
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.
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.
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.”
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.
ha ha bhaktivinoda thakkura guro dvavimshatis te samaAlas! 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.
dirghad-duhkha-bharad ashesha-virahad duhkhikrita bhur iyam
jivanam bahu-janma-punya-nivahakrishto mahimandale
avirbhava-kripam cakara ca bhavan shri-gaura-shaktih svayam 1
dino’ham cira-dushkritir na hi bhavat-padabja-dhuli-kana-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.
snanananda-nidhim prapanna-shubhadam labdhum samartho’bhavam
kintv audarya-gunat tavati-yashasah karunya-shaktih svayam
shri-shri-gaura-mahaprabhoh prakatita vishvam samanvagrahit 2
he deva! stavane tavakhila-gunanam te viriïcadayoO 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).
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
dharmash carmagato’jïataiva satata yogash ca bhogatmakoYou 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.
jïane shunya-gatir japena tapasa khyati-jighamsaiva ca
dane dambhikatanuraga-bhajane dushtapacaro yada
buddhim buddhimatam bibheda hi tada dhatra bhavan preshitah 4
vishve’smin kiranair yatha himakarah saïjivayan naushadhirJust 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.
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
lokanam hita-kamyaya bhagavato bhakti-pracaras tvayaDesiring 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.
granthanam racanaih satam abhimatair nanavidhair darshitah
acaryaih krita-purvam eva kila yad ramanujadyair budhaih
premambhodhi-vigrahasya bhavato mahatmya-sima na tat 6
yad-dhamnah khalu dhama caiva nigame brahmeti samjïayateYou 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.
yasyamshasya kalaiva duhkha-nikarair yogeshvarair mrigyate
vaikunthe para-mukta-bhringa-carano narayano yah svayam
tasyamshi bhagavan svayam rasa-vapuh krishno bhavan tat-pradah 7
sarvacintya-maye paratpara-pure goloka-vrindavaneYou bestowed service to the completely inconceivable divine abode of Goloka Vrindavan, which lies beyond the other spiritual worlds, where Radha, surrounded by her 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.
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-pradah 8
shri-gauranumatam Svarupa-viditam rupagrajenadritamYou 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, adored 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.,
rupadyaih pariveshitam raghu-ganair asvaditam sevitam
jivadyair abhirakshitam shuka-shiva-brahmadi-sammanitam
shri-radha-pada-sevanamritam aho tad datum isho bhavan 9
kvaham manda-matis tv ativa patitah kva tvam jagat-pavanahI 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 that I be included amongst the followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, for whom your lotus feet are everything.
bho svamin kripayaparadha-nicayo nunam tvaya kshamyatam
yace’ham karuna-nidhe varam imam padabja-mule bhavat-
sarvasvavadhi-radhika-dayita-dasanam gane ganyatam 10
amanda-karunya-gunakara shri-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
sa gaura-shaktir bhavita punah kim
padam drishor bhakti-vinoda-devah 1
shrimaj-Jagannath-prabhu-priyo yaWhen will Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, the embodiment of Mahaprabhu’s blessings, remain fixed in my memory? He is dear to Jagannath Prabhu and is not different from Gaura Kishora Das Babaji.
shri-gaura-karunya-mayo bhavet kim
nityam smritau bhakti-vinoda-devah 2
shri-nama-cintamani-sampracarairWhen 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?
adarsham acaravidhau dadhau yah
sa jagarukah smriti-mandire kim
nityam bhaved bhakti-vinoda-devah 3
namaparadhai rahitasya namnoWhen 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?
mahatmya-jatam prakatam vidhaya
jive dayalur bhavita smritau kim
kritasano bhakti-vinoda-devah 4
gaurasya gudha-prakatalayasyaWhen will I remember Bhaktivinoda Prabhu, the member of Gauranga’s entourage who revealed his hidden birthplace, to the joy of the saintly and the envious reaction of the wicked?
sato’sato harsha-kunatyayosh ca
prakashako gaurajano bhavet kim
smrityaspadam bhakti-vinoda-devah 5
nirasya vighnan iha bhakti-ganga-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?
bhagiratho nitya-dhiyam padam kim
bhaved asau bhakti-vinoda-devah 6
vishveshu caitanya-katha-pracariWhen 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.
nama-grahadarsha iha smritah kim
citte bhaved bhakti-vinoda-devah 7
prayojanam sann abhidheya-bhakti-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.]
siddhanta-vanya samam atra gaura-
kishora-sambandha-yuto bhavet kim
cittam gato bhakti-vinoda-devah 8
shikshamritam sajjana-toshanim caWhen will Bhaktivinoda 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.
cintamanim catra sajaiva-dharmam
prakashya caitanya-prado bhavet kim
citte dhrito bhakti-vinoda-devah 9
ashadha-darshe’hani gaura-shakti-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.
gadadharabhinna-tanur jahau yah
prapaïca-lilam iha no bhavet kim
drishyah punar bhakti-vinoda-devah 10
yadi te hari-pada-saroja-sudha-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.
rasa-pana-param hridayam satatam
parihritya griham kali-bhava-mayam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 1
dhana-yauvana-jivana-rajya-sukhamAll 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.
Nahi nityam anukshana-nasha-param
tyaja gramya-katha-sakalam viphalam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 2
ramani-jana-sanga-sukham ca sakheO 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.
carame bhayadam purushartha-haram
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 3
jada-kavya-raso nahi kavya-rasahThe 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.
kali-pavana-gaura-raso hi rasah
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 4
vrishabhanu-sutanvita-vama-tanumWorship 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 5
hari-kirtana-madhyagatam svajanaihWorship 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 6
giriraja-suta-parivita-grihamWorship 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.
sura-sangha-nutam priyaya sahitam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 7
kali-kukkura-mudgara-bhava-dharamWorship 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 8
ripu-bandhava-bheda-vihina-dayaHis 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.
yad abhikshnam udeti mukhabja-tatau
tam akrishnam iha vraja-raja-sutam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 9
iha copanishat-parigita-vibhurWorship 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.
nija-dhamani khelati bandhu-yuto
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 10
avatar-varam paripurna-phalamWorship 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 11
shruti-varna-dhanadi na yasya kripa-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.
janane balavad-bhajanena vina
tam ahaituka-bhava-patha hi sakhe
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 12
api nakra-gatau hrada-madhya-gatamThis 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.]
kam amocayad arta-janam tam ajam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 13
surabhindra-tapah-paritushta-manoWhen 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.]
vara-varna-dharo harir avirabhut
tam ajasra-sukham muni-dhairya-haram
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 14
abhilasha-cayam tad abheda-dhiyamGive 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.
ashubham ca shubham ca tyaja sarvam idam
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 15
hari-sevaka-sevana-dharma-paroBecome 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 16
vada yadava madhava krishna hareSing 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 rama janardana keshava he
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 17
vada yamuna-tira-vanadri-pateSing 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.
vada rasa-rasayana gaura-hare
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 18
cala gaura-vanam nava-khandamayamGo 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.
patha gauraharesh caritani muda
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 19
smara gaura-gadadhara-keli-kalamRemember 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.
bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum 20
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
Mandala Publishing 2001.]