Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
|Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura|
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura ca. 1920s
|Born||Bimal Prasad Dutta
February 6, 1874
Puri, Indian Empire
|Died||January 1, 1937
Calcutta, Indian Empire
|Titles/honours||Expounded Gaudiya Vaishnavism, founded Gaudiya Math|
|Guru||Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji|
|Philosophy||Achintya Bheda Abheda|
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada, (February 6, 1874 – December 31, 1937), was a preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism throughout India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born as Bimal Prasad Dutta in the seaside pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India. His father was the Vaishnava scholar Sri Kedarnath Dutta, later known as Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the first to present the teachings of Chaitanyite Vaishnavism to the English speaking world and was a notable Gaudiya Vaishnava Theologian. Bimal Prasad was well known for having a fiery preaching spirit and especially acute intellect.
By the time he was twenty-five years old, Bimala Prasada had acquired an impressive reputation  as a scholar of Sanskrit, mathematics, and astronomy. Editing the publication of an ancient astronomical treatise, Surya Siddhanta, won the title Siddhanta Sarasvati from his tutors at the Sri Ramapura School (including Pandit Mahesh Chandra Chauramaniin), in recognition of his scholastic achievements. In 1905, following the advice of his father, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted spiritual initiation from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji. Although Gaurakisora dasa Babaji was renowned as a saintly person and great devotee of Krishna, he was illiterate and left no scriptural additions to the tradition of Vaishnava Theology. Satisfied with the humility and dedication of his highly educated disciple, Srila Gaurikisora gave him his full blessings and requested him to "preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other work." Siddhanta Sarasvati then proved himself a capable assistant in the missionary work of his father. Here, one has to understand the secret of his divine birth. His father was praying desperately to Lord Jagannatha to send one who could help him in preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya. His birth and preaching activities were predicted in the Padma Purana long ago.
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From the very beginning of Lord Chaitanya's bhakti movement in Bengal, Haridasa Thakur and others Muslim or Hindu by birth were the participants. This openness received a boost from Bhaktivinoda Thakura's broad-minded vision in the late nineteenth century and was institutionalized by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in his Gaudiya Math in the twentieth century.
Upon the death of Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1914, Siddhanta Sarasvati became editor of his father's journal, Sajjana-tosani, and founded the Bhagwat Press for publication of Vaishnava literature. Then in 1918, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted the renounced order of spiritual life, assuming the title Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. For the purpose of propagating Krishna-bhakti throughout India, he organized the Gaudiya Math, with sixty-four branches throughout the country. The headquarters of his mission, the Caitanya Gaudiya Math, was located in Sridhama Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. He would later send disciples to Europe for missionary work.
There has not been, there will not be, such benefactors of the highest merit as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees have been. The offer of other benefits is only a deception; it is rather a great harm, whereas the benefit done by Him and His followers is the truest and greatest eternal benefit. This benefit is not for one particular country, causing mischief to another; but it benefits the whole universe.—Siddhanta Sarasvati
Teacher of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur is also the spiritual master of contemporary teacher A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 1896-1977. It was A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who set out in 1965, at the age of 69, to America to try to fulfil the admonition of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja of preaching to the West. Within 12 years A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had set up a world wide society of devotees of Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (called ISKCON)- and fulfilled the prophecy of Lord Chaitanya. Not only that, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada established 108 centres world wide (personally traveling to USA, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Hawai, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan and many other countries.) He also made "Hare Krishna" a house-hold term in the USA, translated texts into English and gave purports to various Sanskrit Vedic texts (approaching 70 volumes) such as the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam - allowing thousands to benefit from learning these valuable ancient teachings. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had accomplished what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja and his father Bhaktivinoda Thakur had so long desired - an international society of Krishna conscious devotees.
Modern application of Bhakti
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati adjusted the traditions of Gaudiya Vaishnavism to conform with the technological and social conditions of the twentieth century. He considered the printing press the most effective means of spreading Krishna Consciousness throughout the world and was himself the author of many important translations, commentaries, and philosophical essays.
- Thompson, Michael. "The Life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada". www.krishna.org. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- Website, The Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library. "Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.". www.bvml.org/. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
- Renaissance of Gaudiya Vaishnava Movement - Page 47
- MacNaughton, Robert D "A Ray of Vishnu" 1998
- MacNaughton, Robert D "A Ray of Vishnu" page 18
- Mahanidhi Swami "The Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhis in Vrindavana" (1993) page 82
- Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002). Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol 1-2 (2 nd ed.). Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. pp. vol.1 ch 3. ISBN 0-89213-357-0.
- Sherbow, P.H. (2004). "AC Bhaktivedanta Swami's Preaching In The Context Of Gaudiya Vaishnavism". The Hare Krishna Movement: the Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant: p.139.
- Bhakti Vikasa Swami, "Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava". Bhakti Vikas Trust. Print Edition (3-vol. set) ISBN 978-81-908292-0-5 Electronic Edition (3-vol. set) ISBN 978-81-908292-2-9
- Ferdinando Sardella, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: The Context and Significance of a Modern Hindu Personalist. Dissertation, Göteborg 2010. ISBN 978-91-88348-33-3.
- Robert D. MacNaughton (Rupa-vilasa Dasa), "A Ray of Vishnu - The Biography of a Saktyavesa Avatara, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada" New Jaipur Press (October 1988) ISBN 0923519017.
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