Tamala Krishna Goswami

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Tamal Krishna Goswami
Religion Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Hinduism
Other names Thomas G. Herzig
Born June 18, 1946
New York City, NY United States
Died March 15, 2002 (aged 55)
Mayapur, West Bengal, India
Religious career
Initiation Diksa–1968, Sannyasa–1972
Post ISKCON guru, Sannyasi, Member of the Governing Body Commission
Website http://www.goswami.com

Tamal Krishna Goswami (June 18, 1946 – March 15, 2002), born as Thomas G. Herzig in New York City, NY United States, served on International Society for Krishna Consciousness's Governing Body Commission since its inception in 1970. In January 1972, he accepted the renounced order of life, sannyasa, in Jaipur. He served as India's GBC Secretary from 1970–74 and as trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, overseeing sales in the USA from 1977-2002. He completed a bachelor's degree in religious studies at Southern Methodist University.[1]


Born in Harlem New York, he began associating with the Krishna Consciousness movement in 1968 and was accepted as a disciple by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada soon thereafter. From 1975 until 1979, Tamal Krishna Goswami headed the "Radha-Damodara Party,". The party consisted of hundreds of Swami Prabhupada's disciples, who traveled around America on buses, distributing Prabhupada's books.[2]

Governing Body Commission (GBC) is the name for the managerial authority of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. ISKCON's founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, created the GBC in 1972 and since that time it has met on an annual basis. Tamal Krishna Goswami was a member of this body since its beginnings.[3]

Tamal Krishna Goswami was one of the eleven disciples named by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, their spiritual master and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the July 9, 1977 letter to all GBC and temple presidents. The letter ordered those eleven disciples to initiate future disciples in ISKCON on Prabhupada's behalf "henceforward" with no contingency or date for termination. Unfortunately they all failed their duty and instituted instead the unauthorized system of accepting their own disciples via "zonal acharyas" and later "voted in gurus", which quickly alienated most of Prabhupada's original approximately 15,000 disciples.[citation needed]

Tamal Krishna Goswami died in a vehicular accident in March 2002, at Phuliya in West Bengal, India. He had been attending the Hare Krishna festival/meeting yearly but due to pressure of his academic pursuits, Goswami Maharaja attended the meetings in 2002 for the first time in six years .[4] His samadhi is placed beside Srila Prabhupada's samadhi in ISKCON Sri Mayapur Dhama, West Bengal, India.[5]

Tamal Krishna Goswami was the author of several books on various religious subjects, including two classical Vedic dramas.[6] He was also doctoral student at Clare Hall, Cambridge, under Dr. Julius J. Lipner[7] where his thesis was on the theology of ISKCON's founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. At the time of his death, he had completed all but the conclusion. This dissertation "A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti", Tamal Krishna Goswami’s posthumously released PhD thesis (with help from a professor of religious studies, Garuda Dasa (Graham M. Schweig of Christopher Newport University) is now a book published by Oxford University Press in New York..[8] He also studied at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and received a bachelor's degree in religious studies.[1]

Literary contributions[edit]

The Mysterious Pastimes of Mohini-murti[edit]

The Mysterious Pastimes of Mohini-murti is a 20th-century Hindu commentary by Tamal Krishna Goswami on the Goddess Mohini.

This commentary on the Hindu Goddess Mohini was produced by Tamal Krishna Goswami during the Fall of 1993. Mohini-lila plays an important role on the periphery of Vaishnavism. There are two popular lilas of Mohini which can be found in Canto Eight (chapters 9 and 12) of the Bhagavata Purana. Mohini also plays a prominent role in the popular Hindu ancient history known as The churning of the ocean of milk, and her role in this story is mentioned in numerous Hindu text such as the two Epics, most of the Puranas and numerous vernacular literature. The Mysterious Pastimes of Mohini-murti covers two chapters of Prabhupada's translation and commentary on the Eight Canto of the Bhagavata Purana, Chapter 9 The Lord Incarnates as Mohini-murti[9] and chapter 12 The Mohini-murti Incarnation Bewilders Lord Shiva.[10]

During this commentary, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's discussions of Mohini-lila[11] especially as they relate to gender roles in verse 8.9.9[12] are analyzed and considered. This includes the notable passage from Prabhupada's commentary.

This commentary was released as a vinyl album in 1993. On the cover of the vinyl album, there is an artistic rendering of an episode of Mohini-lila from the Bhagavata Purana. This depiction on the album cover, is used to illustrate the puranic mythology under discussion. The audio files are available online.[13]

Happiness is a Science - Aditi's Vow[edit]

Happiness is a Science - Aditi's Vow is a 20th-century Hindu theological commentary made in 1993 by Tamal Krishna Goswami in regards to the Goddess Aditi as detailed in the eighth canto of the Bhagavata Purana. This commentary discusses Aditi's vow, Payovrata, which she undertakes for the benefit of her children the Adityas.

In the narrative, Mahabali Maharaja, king of the demons, had conquered the heavenly planets and driven out their rulers the Adityas, Aditi's children. The commentary by Tamal Krishna Goswami centers on Aditi's sacrifice in which she undertook a vow of importance (the vow which is referenced is Payovrata) and discusses why Aditi undertook this vow or vrata in order to bring her children back to the heavenly planets.

This commentary was released as a vinyl album in 1993. The audio files are available online.[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Papers and books by Tamal Krishna Goswami