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Srila Prabhupada

A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Biography and Teachings | Vaishnava acharya

Srila Ac bhaktivedanta swami Prabhupada

Sri Gour Mohan De and Srimati Rajani devi became the proud parents of Sri Abhay Caranaravrinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada) on the 1st of September, 1896. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896 AD-1977 AD) or Abhay Carana, as he was previously called, was born on the auspicious occasion of Nandotsava, at the home of his maternal grandparents, in the suburbs of Tollygunge in Kolkata. The fortunate jackfruit tree under which he was born stands tall this day. Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) back then was the capital of British India and the ‘second city’ of the British Empire. The British and the Indians lived in separate parts of the city although they intermingled during work and business. The Indians lived more towards the north of the city while the British lived amongst their theatres, racetracks, and cricket fields in central Calcutta. Sri Gour Mohan De used to reside along with his family in his rented house at 151 Harrison Road (refer –Srila Prabhupada’s pastime places in Central Kolkata). He was a cloth merchant with moderate income and belonged to the aristocratic ‘Suvarna banik’ (gold merchant) community. We cannot help at this point but contemplate upon the exalted pastimes of another eternal associate of the Lord, Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura, who also belonged to this gold mercantile community (refer – Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura Sripat, Adisaptagram’). Soon after Srila Prabhupada was born, an astrologer had prepared a horoscope for the child and made an accurate prediction. He prophesied that when Srila Prabhupada would reach the age of seventy, he would cross over the oceans, become a great preacher of religion and inaugurate 108 temples.

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Vaishnava acharyas

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura – Biography and Teachings | Vaishnava acharya

Bhaktisiddhanta sarasvati Thakura

On the 6th of February 1874 AD at 3.30 pm in the afternoon, Bimala prasad Datta (later renowned as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) appeared in this world, at a place not very far from the Jagannatha temple in Puri. He was the fourth son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srimati Bhagavati Devi. We have dedicated a separate article in honor of Srila Bhaktivinoda, who also happens to be an exalted acharya of our Vaishnava sampradaya. Sri Bimala Prasad Datta exhibited the thirty-two bodily symptoms of a great personality, at the time of his birth. He was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck like a Brahmin’s thread, perhaps a sign of his glorious mission.

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Bhaktivinoda thakur

Bhaktivinoda Thakur – Biography | Seventh Goswami | Vaishnava Acharya

Bhaktivinoda Thakur yogpeeth

Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who is sometimes also referred to as the seventh Goswami, is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. His contribution to the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya is invaluable.At a time when the science of pure devotional service (Bhakti)  had almost become lost due to the cultural and religious chauvinism of the ruling British, and the essence of Vaishnavism largely discredited due to the perverted actions and lifestyles of a few non bonafide Vaishnava sects, Srila Bhaktivinoda was largely responsible for rescuing and unearthing the timeless teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Fact it was he who ,after conducting a painstaking research, had rediscovered the long lost birthsite of Sri Gaurasundara (refer – YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, was not only a magistrate, but also a renowned and recognised scholar in his days, with vast knowledge in english,bengali,hindi,oriya and sanskrit.He was also a member of the royal asiatic society of London. Such was the degraded state of affairs during those days, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur could not find a bonafide copy of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the most important literature for understanding Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, anywhere. It was only after several enquiries and a long wait, that he received a copy of this book. He subsequently published it along with his commentaries (Amrta-pravaha-bhasya). Likewise, he was instrumental in unearthing several ancient manuscripts like Caitanyopanishad ( portion of Atharva Veda) ,Sri Krishna Vijaya, etc.We consider ourselves insignificant servants of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, whose causeless mercy has enabled us fools to get a glimpse of his elevated stature and pen a few lines in his glorification.

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Lord Nityananda Vaishnava acharyas Glorifications of Sri Chaitanya What is Spirituality

Worshiping the Pancha Tattva – Chaitanya, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa

pancha tattva

The Pancha Tattva (Pancha means ‘five’ and tattva means ‘truth’) incarnate along with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, and in this way, He manifests the sankirtana movement in this world with great pleasure. Spiritually there are no differences between these five truths, for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet at the same time, there are also varieties in the spiritual world and it is important to differentiate between them to taste these spiritual varieties. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates, who are together known as the Pancha Tattva, had distributed the holy name of Lord Krishna to invoke the love of Godhead throughout the universe.

Pancha Tattvatmakam Krishnam
Bhakta rupa svarupakam
Bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam
Namami bhakta saktikam

I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Sri Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Sri Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Sri Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Sri Srivasa Pandita).

ahulya math puri pancha tattva

The three predominators – Lord Chaitanya, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya are worshipable by all living entities. The fourth principle, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, is to be understood as their worshiper. There are innumerable pure unalloyed devotees of the Lord headed by Srivasa Pandita. The associates of the Lord in His various pastimes are all His confidential eternal devotees. Only with them does the Lord appear to propound the sankirtana movement. It is only with their help that the Lord relishes the mellows of conjugal love and then distributes this love of God to the general populace.

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Vaishnava acharyas Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Teachings of Vaishnava Acharyas – Vishnuswami, Nimbarka ,Ramanuja, Madhva and Sri Chaitanya

Shuddhadvaita-vada : Philosophy of one of the great Vaishnava acharyas – Sri Vishnu Swami (Rudra Sampradaya) :

Rudradvipa, which is one of the nine islands of Nabadwip, is the residence of all the eleven Rudras. Headed by Nila-lohita Shiva, the Rudras eternally chant over here the glories of Lord Gauranga and dance in ecstasy. Witnessing their ecstatic pastimes, the demigods shower flowers upon them from the heavens.
In ‘Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya’ it is described that Sri Vishnuswami, one of the great Vaishnava Acharyas , had once come to this island of Rudradvipa and stayed here along with his followers. Being pleased with his intense devotion unto Lord Krishna, Nila-Lohita shiva mercifully bestowed his auspicious darsana unto him. On being asked for a boon, Sri Vishnuswami humbly begged for a sampradaya (spiritual lineage) that would propagate the science of pure devotion unto Lord Krishna. Nila Lohita Shiva consented and named the sampradaya after himself. This is how the ‘Rudra Sampradaya’, which is one of the four bonafide Vaishnava sampradayas, came into being.

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more Vaishnava acharyas Pastimes of Chaitanya Glorifications of Sri Chaitanya What is Spirituality Gaudiya Vaishnavism - An overview

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – Biography, Teachings & Hare Krishna Movement

Chaitanya mahaprabhu

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had mercifully appeared at Yogpeeth (in Mayapur, West Bengal, India) about 500 years ago (in the year 1486 AD), to bless us with the most amazing, profound, and ecstatic pastimes of Gaura Lila. Lord Chaitanya is also called upon by His innumerable names like Gaura, Gauranga, Gaurahari, Nimai, Gaurasundara, etc.

In this article, we shall summarize the life, teachings, and biography of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in a nutshell. Eminent brahmana, Sri Jagannatha Misra and Saci devi were the proud parents of Lord Chaitanya. The identity of Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be verified in a number of Vedic scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Garuda Purana, Nrsimha Purana, Padma purana, Bhavishya Purana, Narada Purana etc. We are quoting just two of such references below, for the pleasure of the devotees.

aham purno bhavisyami yuga sandhyau visesatah
mayapure navadvipe bhavisyami saci sutah
(Garuda Purana)

Translation – In the future, in first part of Kali yuga, I shall appear in my complete spiritual form at Mayapura, Navadvipa and become the son of Saci.

The mission of Lord Chaitanya, along with a description of His golden complexion and how He descends along with His confidential associates in this age of Kali ,to inaugurate the Sankirtana Yajna is revealed in Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata purana) –

Krishna varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yajnaih sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32)

Lord Chaitanya’s life and teachings have been instrumental in uniting people across different nationalities, across different backgrounds – be it social, economic, linguistic, cultural. His teachings have been an example of such unity that the United Nations would be very proud of. Sri Chaitanya’s teachings have inspired men and women all across the world, to be united in this common cause, to forget their external differences and help each other out in their journey of life – a journey which is as important to the rich as it is to the poor, which is as important to an American as it is to an Indian; a journey which is as important to a Chinese as it is to a Australian. It is not too uncommon these days to hear the chants of ‘Hare Krishna’ ‘Hare Krishna’ in the streets of London, Paris, Tokyo or New Delhi. Congregational chanting of ‘Hare Krishna’, finds its roots in the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Eminent personalities have concluded that Sri Chaitanya’s life & teachings have no parallel in human history. Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes defy the investigative and the descriptive abilities of phenomenologists and psychologists of religious experience. 

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Vaishnava acharyas Medinipur and surroundings

Rasikananda Murari – Life and enchanting pastimes of Gopiballavpur

rasikananda gopiballavpur

Sri Rasikananda Murari was born in the city of Rohini, which was then part of the kingdom of Mallabhum. He was born on a Sunday, the first day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, in the year 1590 AD. It was the time of Dipavali and lamps had illuminated the entire city. All the auspicious planets had converged at the time of his birth. Sri Acyuta Mahasaya, the King of Mallabhum, and Bhavani Devi became the fortunate parents of Sri Rasikananda Murari, who was an eternal associate of the Lord Caitanya. In this article we are going to discuss about Rasikananda’s childhood, devotional life, widespread preaching and the enchanting pastimes of Gopiballavpur. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ offers millions of humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of Sri Rasikananda Murari, the mere contemplation upon whose life and pastimes, evokes within one, the pure ecstatic love of God.

Rasikendra pada dvandvam , vande parama mangalam
Sarva madhurya sharanam , asharam paramotsava

I worship the lotus feet of Rasikendra (Sri Rasikananda) , who is the reservoir of all sweetness and the highest joy

The Kingdom of Utkala, which then stretched from modern-day Orissa and included the provinces of Bankura, Purulia, and Medinipur in Bengal, was largely inhabited by impious people in those days. These people used to attack anyone who sang the holy names of Lord Hari. They used to attack and rob sages who meditated within the forests. Whenever they would see Vaishnavas, they would immediately attack them, and push them out of their villages. The devotees of Utkala would always pray to Lord Krishna, to bestow His causeless mercy upon these sinners and bless them with the understanding of absolute truth. Lord Krishna, who is bhakta-vatsala, listened to these prayers, and sent His dear servant, Rasikananda, to widely preach and deliver the land of Utkala.

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Vaishnava acharyas rajshahi

Narottam das Thakur – Biography & Pastimes | Sripat Kheturi, Rajshahi (Bangladesh)

narottam das kheturiKheturi (Rajshahi), the birthplace of Sri Narottam das Thakur, is decorated with the lotus footprints of the great Gaudiya Vaishnava saints, who had arrived over here to attend the grand Gaura Purnima festival 500 years ago. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself the most fortunate and blessed to have been able to visit and relish this exalted dham of Kheturi (situated in Rajshahi, Bangladesh). This festival, renowned as the grand festival of Kheturi, saw the largest congregation of Gaudiya Vaishnavas in those days. During this historic festival, Lord Gaurahari, who had manifested His disappearance pastime by then, reappeared once more, along with His associates, to bestow His all-merciful darsana and causeless mercy upon all. Sri Krishna Caitanya was not able to hold Himself back, hearing the stone melting bhajans of Narottam das in the festival of Kheturi. As Narottam’s bhajana reached its emotional peak, the Pancha-tattva (Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa), reappeared all of a sudden, amidst the devotees and engaged themselves in an ecstatic dancing sankirtana, flooding the devotees with waves of pure love of God. The grandeur of the Kheturi festival resounds till this day in the pages of Gaudiya history. King Santosh Datta, a devout Vaishnava and the brother of Narottam das, made pompous arrangements to receive and serve all of his guests. Great Gaudiya Vaishnavas from all across India attended this festival. Sri Srinivasa Acharya was appointed the head priest and Jahnava Mata, Lord Nityananda’s wife, who graced Kheturi with Her towering presence, was the chief guest. We shall surely delve into the ecstatic details of the Kheturi festival, but before that, let us taste and relish the heart-melting pastimes of our beloved Narottam das Thakur (Thakur Mahasaya), one of the eternal dearmost associates of Lord Gaurahari.

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more Vaishnava acharyas Gaudiya Vaishnavism - An overview

The Twenty-six Qualities of a Vaishnava

vaishnava 26 qualities

Now that we understand the very basics of Bhakti yoga,from our previous article (‘The A B C D of Bhakti’), it is worthwhile for us to invest our time, and realize the magnanimity of an elevated Vaishnava, a pure devotee of the Lord. Reading Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, we come to understand that out of the innumerable godly qualities, there are twenty-six ,which are very prominent within a Vaishnava. Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, out of his causeless mercy, has listed them down (Madhya Lila 22.78-80) for our meditation and contemplation.

sei saba guna haya vaishnava lakshana
saba kaha na yaya, kari dig darashana
(cc, Madhya, 22.77)

A pure devotee is magnanimous and an inspiration to one and all. It is only by great fortune, that one gets to associate with him. In Fact even a moment’s association with a pure devotee of the Lord is all purifying and it is only by his causeless mercy that one becomes eligible to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. In this article, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall try to relish and discuss about these glorious super excellent qualities that ornament the devotees of the Lord.

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Bhaktivinoda thakur Ranaghat

Ula Birnagar – The Birthplace of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

birnagar

Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is sometimes also referred to as the seventh Goswami, is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. His contribution to the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya is invaluable.At a time when the science of pure devotional service (Bhakti)  had almost become lost due to the cultural and religious chauvinism of the ruling British, and the essence of Vaishnavism largely discredited due to the perverted actions and lifestyles of a few non bonafide Vaishnava sects, Srila Bhaktivinoda was largely responsible for rescuing and unearthing the timeless teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Fact it was he who ,after conducting a painstaking research, had rediscovered the long lost birthsite of Sri Gaurasundara (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was not only a magistrate, but also a renowned and recognised scholar in his days, with vast knowledge in english,bengali,hindi,oriya and sanskrit.He was also a member of the royal asiatic society of London. Such was the degraded state of affairs during those days, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura could not find a bonafide copy of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the most important literature for understanding Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, anywhere. It was only after several enquiries and a long wait, that he received a copy of this book. He subsequently published it along with his commentaries (Amrta-pravaha-bhasya). Likewise, he was instrumental in unearthing several ancient manuscripts like Caitanyopanishad ( portion of Atharva Veda) ,Sri Krishna Vijaya, etc. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself an insignificant servant of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose causeless mercy has enabled us fools to get a glimpse of his elevated stature and pen a few lines in his glorification. We have dedicated a separate article covering the details of the Thakura’s later life (Remembering Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Svananda Sukhada Kunja & Surabhi Kunja, Navadvipa (Godrumadvipa)). In this article however, we shall mainly focus upon the birth and the early childhood of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

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