Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur (September 2, 1838 – June 23, 1914), a prominent figure among the Gaudiya Vaishnavas of Bengal, was born Kedarnath Datta in the town of Birnagar, Bengal, India. He was the son of Raja Krsnananda Datta and Jagat Mohini Devi. Professionally, he was a High Court judge in Jagannath Puri in Odisha.
Bhaktivinoda married and had several children, including Bimal Prasad ( later Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura), the founder of the Gaudiya Math and the guru of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. ) Bhaktivinoda was also the father, as well as the initiating guru, of Lalita Prasad Thakur. The two brothers had substantial disagreements on how their father's spiritual heritage was to carry on, Bimal Prasad more inclined for preaching and the establishment of Varnashrama-dharma, Lalita Prasad more inclined for the esoteric mode of raganuga-worship.
He revived the Sankirtan Movement started by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Bhaktivinoda took initiation (diksha) from Bipin Bihari Goswami, a descendant of the family dynasty of Vamsivadananda Thakur, a companion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's, and an initiate in the lineage descending from Sri Jahnava Thakurani, the wife of close associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda. In his autobiography entitled Svalikhita-jivani, Bhaktivinoda narrates how he had long prayed for a suitable guru, and felt his prayers were responded to in a dream as Sri Chaitanya himself directed him to Bipin Bihari.
From the very beginning of Chaitanya's bhakti movement in Bengal, Haridasa Thakur and others Muslim or Hindu by birth were the participants. It is said that this openness received a boost from Bhaktivinoda Thakura's broad-minded vision in the late 19th century and was institutionalized by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in his Gaudiya Matha in the 20th century.
He predicted coming of the day when fortunate non-Indian Vaishnavas would perform Harinama Sankirtan in different cities of the world. This prediction was fulfilled by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Bhaktivinoda later accepted his siksa guru as Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaj, who is said to have lived for 135 years. Bhaktivinoda accepted the babaji vesh (cloth) in 1908 and adopted the lifestyle of a Vaishnava recluse. He continued to travel between Kolkata and Puri until 1910. Then he spent most of his time living quietly at home unable to travel much due to poor health until his death June 23, 1914. His remains were interred at Godruma, one of the nine islands of Navadwip.
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Many Gaudiya followers believe that Thakura predictions laid the foundation of the worldwide spread of the bhakti yoga movement. He predicted the coming of the day when fortunate non-Indian Vaishnavas would perform Harinama Sankirtan in different cities of the world.
It has been seen that any rasa that appears in India eventually spreads to the western countries, therefore madhurya rasa will soon be preached throughout the world. Just as the Sun first rises in India and gradually spreads its light to the West, the matchless splendor of spiritual truth appears first in India and gradually spreads to the Western countries.
He also envisioned that many devotees from all nationalities would assemble at Mayapur to sing the names of Krishna and Chaitanya. He predicted that a great acharya would come to create a worldwide movement to propagate the sankirtana mission.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has broadcast the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu in many different languages. He has written approximately one hundred books in Sanskrit, Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Urdu and English. The names of some of the more important of these works have been given below along with their dates of publication:
1 Hari-katha: Topics of Lord Hari, 1850
2 Sumbha-Nisumbha-yuddha, 1851
3 Poriade, 1857-58
4 Mathas of Orissa, 1860
5 Vijana-grama, 1863
6 Sannyasi, 1863
7 Our Wants, 1863
8 Valide Rejishtri, 1866
9 Speech on Gautama, 1866
10 The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology, 1869
11 Garbha-stotra-vyakhya, 1870
12 Reflections, 1871
13 Thakura Haridasa, 1871
14 The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri, 1871
15 The Monasteries of Puri, 1871
16 The Personality of Godhead, 1871
17 A Beacon of Light, 1871
18 Saragrahi Vaishnava, 1871
19 To Love God, 1871
20 The Atibadis of Orissa, 1871
21 The Marriage System of Bengal, 1871
22 Vedantadhikarana-mala, 1872
23 Datta-kaustubham, 1874
24 Datta-vamsa-mala, 1876
25 Bauddha-vijaya-kavyam, 1878
26 Sri Krishna-samhita, 1879
27 Sri Sajjana-toshani, (monthly magazine) 1881
28 Kalyana-kalpataru, 1881
29 Review of Nitya-rupa-samsthapanam, 1883
30 Visva-Vaishnava-Kalpatari, 1885
31 Dasopanishad-curnika, 1886
32 Bhavavali (commentary), 1886
33 Rasika-Ranjana, (commentary on Bhagavad Gita) 1886
34 Sri Caitanya Sikshamrita, 1886
35 Prema-pradipa, 1886
36 Published Sri Vishnu-sahasra-nama, 1886
37 Manaù-Siksha (translation and commentary), 1886
38 Sri Caitanya-Upanishad (commentary), 1887
39 Sri Krishna-vijaya (published), 1887
40 Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala, 1888
41 Sri amnaya-sutram, 1890
42 Siddhanta-darpanam (Bengali translation), 1890
43 Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, 1890
44 Sri Godruma Kalpatari (essays on nama-hatta), 1891
45 Vidvad-ranjana (commentary on Bhagavad Gita), 1891
46 Sri Harinama, 1892
47 Sri Nama, 1892
48 Sri Nama-tattva-sikshashtaka, 1892
49 Sri Nama-mahima, 1892
50 Sri Nama-pracara, 1892
51 Sriman Mahaprabhura Siksha, 1892
52 Tattva-vivekaù or Sri Saccidanandanubhutih, 1893
53 Saranagati, 1893
54 Gitavali, 1893
55 Gitamala, 1893
56 Soka-satana, 1893
57 Nama Bhajana, 1893
58 Tattva-sutram, 1894
59 Vedarka-didhiti (commentary on Sri Isopanishad), 1894
60 Tattva-muktavali or Mayavada-satadushani, (translated and published), 1894
61 Amrita-pravaha-bhashya (commentary on Caitanya caritamrita), 1895
62 Sri Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, 1896
63 Sri Ramanuja Upadesa, 1896
64 Jaiva-Dharma, 1896
65 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts, 1896
66 Brahma-samhita (commentary), 1897
67 Sri Goloka-mahatmya (Bengali translation of Brihad Bhagavatamrita), 1898
68 Sri Krishna-karnamritam, (translation), 1898
69 Piyusha-varshini-vritti (commentary on Upadesamrita), 1898
70 Sri Bhajanamritam (translation and commentary), 1899
71 Sri Navadvipa-bhava-taranga, 1899
72 The Hindu Idols, 1899
73 Sri Harinama-cintamani, 1900
74 Sri Bhagavata Arka-marici-mala, 1901
75 Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma (Bengali translation), 1901
76 Sri Bhajana-rahasya, 1902
77 Sri Prema-vivarta (published), 1906
78 Svaniyama-dvadasakam, 1907
- Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Invasion Debate. Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 53, citing Shukavak Das, "Bhaktivinode and the Problem of Modernity." Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 5:127-150 (1996).
- Bipin Bihari Goswami, Dasamula-rasa (pp.1216-1219)[unreliable source?]
- Svalikhita-jivani 299-300[unreliable source?]
- 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.
- Sajjana Tosani 4.3, 'Nityadharma Suryodoy'[unreliable source?]
- Satsvarupa dasa Goswami (1991). "Appreciating Srila Prabhupada In Parampara". Prabhupada Appreciation. sdgonline.org. ISBN 0-911233-77-6.
- Bryant ibid.