Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the guru of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, appeared in Sri Ksetra Dhama.(Jagannatha Puri) on 6 February 1874 as the son of Srila Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In his childhood he quickly mastered the Vedas, memorized the Bhdgavad-gita, and relished his father's philosophical works. He became known as "The Living Encyclopedia" for his vast knowledge. He preached convincingly against casteism and philosophical deviations from Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He tried to unite the four Vaisnava sampradayas by publishing their teachings. Srila Sarasvati Thakura earned the title Nrisimha Guru for his fearless and powerful delivery of the Vaisnava siddhanta. Mayavadis would cross the street to avoid confronting the "lion guru." Besides being a courageous preacher, he was ornamented with all divine qualities and full of ecstatic love of God. He established 64 Gaudiya Math temples in India and centers in Burma, England, Germany. Srila Sarasvati Thakura excavated Lord Caitanya's appearance place at the Yogapitha in Sridhama Mayapur, despite heavy opposition from the money-hungry caste Goswamis of Navadvipa. He built a beautiful Gaudiya Math temple there. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Yoga Pitha - Appearance Place of Lord Chaitania, Mayapur. His three "Brhat-mrdangas" (printing presses) in Madras, Calcutta, Krishna-nagara used to pump out books, magazines, and newspapers to spread the message of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. When asked why he printed a daily spiritual newspaper entitled Nadia Prakash, Srila Sarasvati Thakura replied, "If an insignificant city can produce five daily newspapers, then why can't we publish a newspaper every 'Second about the eternal, ever-fresh transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His unlimited spiritual planet, Goloka Vrindavana?" Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Sri Chaitania Gaudiya Math, Mayapur. Apart from his father's writings, he published many authorized sastras: Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Bhagavata, Caitanya Mangala, Prema-bhakti-candrika, and his favorite book Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. He predicted that foreigners would learn Bengali to relish the nectar left by Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja in the Caitanya-caritamrta. He introduced many innovations to expand preaching. All over India he staged free theistic exhibits and dioramas depicting the pastimes of, Sri Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Employing the latest technology, he even had animated dolls. To commemorate the many holy places visited by Lord Caitanya he installed marble impressions of the Lord's lotus feet. Breaking tradition, he let his sannyasis wear tailored kurtas and overcoats, ride in cars and motor-boats, and carry Mahaprabhu's message across the sea to Europe. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati's revolutionary preaching ideas sprang from the sastrie principle of yukta-vairagya set forth by the rasa acarya, Srila Rupa Gosvami. Being an eternally liberated soul, Srila Sarasvati Thakura knew how to perfectly engage Maya (the illusory energy) in the service of Lord Krishna. Following Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda's footsteps, he preached daivi varnashrama to harmonize society and provide spiritual fulfillment for all. Advocating the teachings of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswamis, he taught the science of devotional service, and showed thousands how to attain pure love for Sri-Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari (Radha-Krishna). Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Srila Prabhupada was ordered by his Guru to preach Krishna Consciousness in English. And he fulfilled that desire. Aside from his phenomenal preaching success in India, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's greatest. contribution was Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he initiated and inspired to distribute Krishna consciousness all over the world. When Srila Prabhupada was asked to describe his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he said, "What can I say? He was a Vaikuntha man." In Radha-Govinda's eternal pastimes in Goloka Vrndavana, Srila Sarasvati Thakura serves as Nayana-mani manjari. His pushpa samadhis are at Radha-kunda and Radha Damodara.Find out more »
Shri Purushottama Dasa constantly meditated on and served the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. Kanu Thakura, his son, was such an exalted Devotee that Lord Krishna always lived in his body. When Kanu was five Ma Jahnava took him to Vrindavana. The Goswamis joyously greeted him upon seeing his genuine devotion. In Goloka Vrindavana, Purushottama Dasa Thakura serves Lord Balarama as a cowherd boy, dvadasha gopala. His samadhi is located in the 64 Samadhis Area.Find out more »
His Divine Grace Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja made his appearance as Braja-bandhu Manik in a vaishnava family on 2nd September 1929. He appeared in the village of Jagannathapura, not far from Jagannatha Puri Dhama, in Orissa, India, but as his mother was descended from the Giri family of the village Gadeigiri, Braja-bandhu spent his childhood there. His grandfather was a paramahamsa whose only business was to chant Hare Krishna and cry before the local Deity of Krishna known as Gopal Jiu. He taught Braja-bandhu how to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra by counting on his fingers. In the company of his uncles, Braja-bandhu would travel from village to village chanting Hare Krishna and singing the songs of Narottama Dasa Thakura. The Giri family have been known since the time of Syamananda Prabhu as famous kirtana performers in Orissa. Three hundred years ago, in the temple registers of Jagannatha Puri, the king of Orissa wrote that the kirtana party of Gadeigiri should come to perform kirtana for Lord Jagannatha whenever possible. In Orissa they are seen as kirtana-gurus. From the age of six, Braja-bandhu worshiped the Deity of Gopal by making garlands, and sometimes, under the light of a candle, by singing hymns for Him from palm-leaf manuscripts. He would never take any food that was not offered to Gopal. By the age of eight he had read the entire Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and could also explain their meaning. At night many villagers would come to hear his recitation of the Bhagavata, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Thus from the very beginning of his life he was absorbed in chanting Krishna's holy name, studying vaishnava literature, and worshipping his beloved Gopal. Friends and relatives remember him as always being very quiet and introspective. He was never interested in playing with other boys or in going to see cinema shows or theatre. After the death of his father in 1955, as the eldest son he became responsible for maintaining the family, and on the request of his widowed mother he entered the grhastha-asrama. He first met his wife, Srimati Vasanti Devi, during their marriage ceremony. Because of financial constraints he could not enroll formally in University courses, but he studied privately at night to attend the examinations, obtaining a B.A. degree from Utkal University with overall second highest marks on the exam. He later also obtained a B.Ed. degree in a similar way and took up the profession of a school teacher. Despite many responsibilities, however, his devotion to Gopal never slackened. He would daily rise at 3.30 A.M., chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, worship tulasi-devi, and speak to his family from the Bhagavad-gita. In school he would take every opportunity to speak to his students about Krishna and devotional principles. Some of his students would become his disciples thirty years later. During school breaks he would take his wife and travel to the Himalayan mountains, visiting different tirthas and asramas, and he would sometimes engage in philosophical debates with the mayavadis he found there. On 8 April 1974, at the age of forty-five, Braja-bandhu left his home and relatives in search of spiritual perfection. Giving himself the name "Gour-Gopalananda Dasa" and carrying only a Bhagavad-gita and a begging bowl, he wandered around India, visiting many sacred places along the banks of the Ganges River. He was looking for his spiritual master, that person who could help him develop an understanding of the maha-mantra. Although he had met many sadhus and gurus during his householder days-Orissa has many prominent sects of gaudiya-vaishnavas-he had not found any whose teachings sufficiently touched his heart. Still not finding his spiritual master after wandering in this way for one year, he eventually reached Vrindavana, thinking that his desire would certainly be fulfilled in Krishna's dear abode. Two weeks after arriving in Vrindavana he saw a huge signboard which read, "International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Founder-acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada," and he met a group of western devotees who gave him a copy of Back to Godhead magazine. When he read the contents describing the glory of divine love for Krishna, his heart became anxious to meet the magazine's editor and the founder of the movement, Srila Prabhupada. Gaining entrance to Srila Prabhupada's room, he introduced himself and the first question Srila Prabhupada asked was, "Have you taken sannyasa?" Gour-Gopalananda replied that he had not. "Then I will give you sannyasa!" exclaimed Srila Prabhupada. Understanding that Srila Prabhupada knew his heart, he surrendered himself at his lotus feet and soon became Prabhupada's initiated disciple. In 1975, at the opening of ISKCON's Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama Mandira in Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada awarded him the sannyasa order, sending him to preach in Orissa and to construct a temple on the newly donated property in Bhubaneswar. The donated land was a jungle full of mosquitoes, snakes and scorpions. It was so far from the city center that even during the daytime people were afraid to visit. Meditating on the desire of Srila Prabhupada, Gour Govinda Swami worked with unwavering determination. Sometimes residing in the storeroom of a tea dealer and even sometimes sharing a small hut with road construction workers, he began translating Srila Prabhupada's books into Oriya as he had been instructed. He would visit house after house, office after office, in and around Bhubaneswar to collect some small donations, and he constructed with his own hands a thatched hut on the donated property. In early 1977 Srila Prabhupada came to Bhubaneswar. Although the arrangement had been made for him to stay comfortably in the State Guesthouse, Srila Prabhupada at once rejected this proposal, "I will only stay where my disciple child Gour Govinda has built a mud hut for me." Srila Prabhupada stayed in Bhubaneswar for seventeen days, during which time he started translation work on the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. On the auspicious occasion of Lord Nityananda's appearance day he laid the foundation stone of the temple-to-be, his last-founded project. During a visit to Mayapura […]Find out more »
Dear Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
On behalf of our ISKCON GBC representative, His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaja and our ISKCON Pandharpur Community, we are appealing to you for your kind help. On Oct, 16th, Sri Pandharpur Dhama was flooded by the Chandrabhaga River. The damages are estimated at more than Rs 40,00,000 ($56000) We are not in a position to rebuild our losses. Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath’s crops and flowers growing in the fields are now submerged in water and gone. Their Lordships’ temple, goshala, ashram, guest house, Govinda’s Restaurant, offices, BBT Books, Gurukula, and Srila Prabhupada Ghata have all been severely damaged. We need your help.