By Chandan Bhatia
SRILA BHAKTI SIDDHANTA SARASWATI THAKURA GOSWAMI MAHARAJ
The spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
and foremost scholar & Lord Krishna’s devotee of his day.
“SRI CAITANYA MATH ~
THE FOREST OF VRINDAVAN IN MAYAPUR”
AT “SRI ANTARDVIPA” ISLAND OF SRI NAVADVIPA-MAYAPUR DHAM
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura called this place “Vrindavana Pattan”, which means the place where the forest of Vrindavana is manifest. By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s spiritual potency, Syama-Kunda, Radha-Kunda and Giri-Govardhana of Vrindavana are all manifest here. Established by Sarasvati Thakura in 1918, this temple was the headquarters of his Krishna Consciousness preaching throughout India. During its peak time, there were 800 devotees here to cope with the daily influx of visitors.
BORN WITH A MISSION
Born on 6th Feb 1874, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is the child that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to Lord Jagannatha for, wanting an able assistant to preach Krishna Consciousness. His divinity was evident from birth. When he was born, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his body like a brahmana thread. He was six months old when Lord Jagannatha had His Rathayatra festival in Jagannatha Puri. Lord Jagannatha’s chariot stopped outside of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house for three days and Srimati Bhagavati Devi, Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s wife, took this opportunity to go up onto the chariot and present her new son to Jagannatha Gosvami. Immediately upon placing the child in front of Lord Jagannatha, the child grabbed Lord Jagannatha’s feet and a garland also fell from Lord Jagannatha onto the child. Upon hearing this, Bhaktivinoda Thakura knew this was the child he had prayed for, and so he gave him the name Bimala Prasada, the mercy of Bimala Devi. [In Jagannatha Temple in Puri, Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasadam is offered first to Bimala Devi and then she gives it for public distribution. In the same way, Bhaktivinoda Thakura considered his son to be her mercy coming originally from Lord Jagannatha.]
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave his son the Harinama Maha-mantra and Nrsimha mantra at five years of age. At seven, he received the Kurmadeva mantra and began worshiping a self-manifested deity of Kurmadeva. As a child, Bimala Prasada inadvertently ate a mango which was not yet offered to Lord Krishna. When asked about this by his father, Bimala Prasada was so upset over this offense to Lord Krishna that he took a vow to never eat another mango throughout his life. He also kept a life-long vow of celibacy. He took this vow when he formed a club at high school for those who wanted to avoid family entanglement. He excelled in all subjects at school, but spent most of his time reading his father’s books on Bhakti. He entered the Sanskrit University in 1892 and received the honorific title of “Siddhanta Sarasvati” in recognition of his vast knowledge of astrology and Bhakti. He then left university as he understood that if he continued on this path, he would become entangled into material life. He then spent all of his time serving his father who trained him in editing and publishing.
In 1900, while staying with his father in Godrumadvipa island of Sri Navadvipa-Mayapur Dham, he took initiation from Srila Gaura-Kisora Dasa Babaji and received the name Sri Varsabhanavi-Devi [meaning the servant of the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Srimati Radharani.] Five years later, he took a vow to chant one billion (ten crores) Holy Names of Lord to prepare himself for Krishna consciousness preaching. It took him 10 years to fulfil his vow, during which time he lived in a small bamboo hut chanting Hare Krishna Maha-mantra,
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE |
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE||
in front of his deity, Gauranga Mahaprabhu which is in the Rudradvipa island of Navadvipa Dham. Then, in 1918, on Gaura-Purnima day, he accepted sannyasa order of life at Candrasekhara Bhavan and took the name Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. He then began to preach Krishna Consciousness all over India, establishing Lord Caitanya’s mission with such vigour no one had seen before. He established sixty-four mathas (one for each of the sixty-four limbs of Bhakti), initiated over 60,000 disciples, and re-established Vraja-mandala and Navadvipa-mandala Parikramas. He also established printing press in Mayapur, Delhi, Chennai and other major cities. Publishing and distributing magazines and books was the major thrust of his preaching.
On 31st December 1936, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura left his body in Kolkata surrounded by his disciples singing bhajans. His life-size murti is worshiped at Sri Caitanya Math in Mayapur.
SRI CAITANYA MATH
GARDENS AT SRI CAITANYA MATH & SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASWATI THAKURA SAMADHI TEMPLE
SAMADHI OF SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASWATI THAKURA GOSWAMI MAHARAJ
DEVOTEE SERVING CARAN-AMRITA AT SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASWATI THAKURA’S SAMADHI TEMPLE
“SRI SHYAM KUNDA” IN FRONT OF SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASWATI THAKURA’S SAMADHI TEMPLE
“SRI SHYAM KUNDA” – This beautiful manifestation of Syama Kunda in Mayapur is in front of Srila Bhaktisuddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Samadhi
TEMPLE OF THEIR LORDSHIPS SRI SRI RADHA GANDHARVIKA-GIRIDHARI
THEIR LORDSHIPS SRI SRI RADHA GANDHARVIKA-GIRIDHARI
v The main deities, Sri Sri Radha Gandharvika-Giridhari were the personal deities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
jaya gandharvika-giridhari gandharvika-giridhari radhe
(saraswatir prana-dhana he)
“All glories to Gandharvika and Giridhari, the treasure of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s heart!” -Vaishnava song “Jaya Radha-Krishna Giti”
Next to Them are two deities of Lord Caitanya with His right-hand raised.
Walking around the Deities, there are murtis of the acaryas of the four Vaishnava sampradayas. They are Sri Madhvacarya (Brahma sampradaya), Sri Visnusvami (Rudra sampradaya), Sri Nimbarka (Kumara sampradaya) and Sri Ramanujacarya (Sri sampradaya).
SRI SRI RADHA GANDHARVIKA-GIRIDHARI
SRI SRI RADHA GANDHARVIKA-GIRIDHARI
SRIMATI TULASI MAHARANI IN THE COURTYARD
SRI MADHVACARYA (Brahma sampradaya)
Walking around the Deities Sri Sri Radha Gandharvika-Giridhari, there are murtis of the acaryas of the four Vaishnava sampradayas.
SRI NIMBARKA (Kumara sampradaya)
SRI VISNUSVAMI (Rudra sampradaya)
SAMADHI TEMPLE OF HIS DIVINE GRACE GAURA-KISORA DASA BABAJI MAHARAJ, THE SPIRITUAL MASTER OF SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKURA
“SRI RADHA-KUNDA”: This kunda is the manifestation of most sacred place in the universe in Navadvipa Dham. It used to be most beautiful with flowering lotuses on the water
‘KADAMBA TREE’ BESIDES SRI RADHA KUNDA
“GIRI-GOVARDHANA”: The manifestation of Giri-Govardhana in Mayapur is another example of the merciful mood of Navadvipa Dham.
The same spiritual benedictions one gets from Parikrama of Govardhana in Vrindavana, are bestowed in Mayapur from a fraction of the austerity. In Vrindavana, Praikrama of Govardhana takes 8-14 hours, depending on how fast one walks. But here, that same Parikrama takes only a few minutes. If one go for the full mercy and do a dandavata parikrama, many months of severe austerities are reduced down to 15 mins.
“GIRI-GOVARDHANA”: There is a small blue Deity of Lord Sri Krishna on top of this Giri-Govardhana
Candrasekhara Acarya (also known as Acaryaratna) is an intimate associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and this is where his house was located. He was a very close friend of Jagannatha Misra (father of Lord Caitanya) and, as his wife was the sister of Sacimata, he was also the uncle of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Candrasekhara Pandita had a deep fatherly affection for Nimai and he brought Him here on a number of occasions and played with Him on his lap. Candrasekhara took up the role of Nimai’s father and the protector of Sacimata when Jagannatha Misra left the planet.
PASTIMES AT CANDRASEKHARA BHAVAN:
RUKMANI IN DISGUISE
In 1506, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was 20 years old, He wanted to enact a drama of Lord Krishna’s pastimes. He chose the roles for everyone and also the costumes that were supplied by Bhuddimanta Khan. The pandal was set up here and all the Vaishnavas assembled in great excitement. Gauranataraja played Rukmani and danced so perfectly even his own mother and wife did not recognize Him. Gadadhara Pandita played Laksmi Devi, while Haridasa Thakura wore a full moustache to play a guard from Vaikuntha. Srivasa Pandita played Narada Muni and Lord Nityananda played Paurnamasi. Sri Advaita Acarya could not decide whom to play, so he played himself displaying the mood of Lord Siva. Only the very close associates of Lord Caitanya were allowed to see this play, which was saturated in pure unalloyed Krishna-prema. It kept everyone so enrapt in condensed bliss that no one noticed the passing of seven days and seven nights. They began to cry when play ended, but Gauracandra personally embraced all of the devotees and consoled them.
SANNYASA AND HEARTBREAK
Lord Caitanya came here in Candrasekhara Bhavan to tell Candrasekhara that He was going to leave and take sannyasa. Overcome with intense pangs of separation, Candrasekhara fell down on the ground when he heard Lord Gauranga’s plan to take sannyasa. “Are You going to plunge Nadia into darkness by going away?” he asked the Lord.
With tears spilling out of His lotus eyes Lord Gauranga embraced him and replied, “Acaryaratna, although I may accept sannyasa, I will forever remain bound within the temple of your heart. Please be patient, for you must assist in My sannyasa ceremony.” Candrasekhara was with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He took sannyasa in Katwa, and he reported it to all the devotees in Mayapur upon his return.
Sri Candrasekhara was one of the main branches of Sri Caitanya’s Harinam Sankirtana movement. From the beginning of Lord Caitanya’s Navadvipa lila he and his innumerable disciples faithfully served the Lord. In Sridham Mayapur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established the headquarters of Sri Caitanya Math at the site of Candrasekhara Acarya’s original home. Sri Candrasekhara Acarya’s samadhi is behind the Madana-Mohana temple and next to Sanatana Gosvami’s Samadhi at Sridham Vrindavan. He is Subhadra or Candra-deva (moon god) in Lord Krishna’s divine pastimes.
Harinam Express: http://www.youtube.com/user/MayapurISKCON#p/u/104/oduXu_1MHdQ
MAYAPUR TV: http://Mayapur.tv
SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKURA GOSWAMI MAHARAJ KI JAI!
SRILA PRABHUPADA KI JAI!!
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE |
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE ||