The Gaudiya Math (pronounced matt, IAST: Gauḍīya Maṭha) is a Hindu matha (monastic organisation) formed on 6 September 1920, about 30 months after Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. On 7 March 1918, the same day he took sannyasa, he established the Sri Chaitanya Math in Mayapura in West Bengal, later recognised as the parent body of all the Gaudiya Math branches. Its purpose was to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the philosophy of the medieval Vaisnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, through preaching and publishing.
From the beginning of Chaitanya's bhakti movement in Bengal, devotees, including Haridasa Thakur and others, whether Muslim or Hindu by birth, have been participants. This openness and disregard for the traditional caste system received a boost from the "broad-minded vision" of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a nineteenth-century magistrate and prolific writer on bhakti topics, and was institutionalised by his son and successor Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in the twentieth-century Gaudiya Math.
By the time of the founder's death (1 January 1937), the Gaudiya Math had established 64 branches. Most were in India, but preaching centres were maintained for a time in Burma, England and Germany.
References and notes
- Devamayī dāsi, "A Divine Life: Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda" in Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur: The Life & Precepts of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī, Mandala Publishing, Eugene, Oregon: 1997, pp. 24, 26, 49. ISBN 978-0-945475-10-1.
- 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: 139.
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