Gift of Saptam Goswami (1)
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Today is a very auspicious day in our Gaudiya line—the appearance day of the main personality who has started the sankirtan yajna, Om Vishnupad Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is the guardian of our Rupanuga line, the giver of the proper conception. It is his appearance day today. Tomorrow is also an auspicious day—Srila Haridas Thakur's niryan (withdrawal). Every year, we observe this festival gorgeously in all temples all over the world, and all Gaudiya Vaishnavs are also making a proper festival on this day. Without Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, there would be no Gaudiya line, that is why we must understand who Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur is recognised as the samptam goswami (seventh goswami). We all know that there are sad goswamis (six goswamis):
জয় রূপ সনাতন ভট্ট রঘুনাথ ।
jaya rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha
"All glory to Sri Rupa, Sanatan, Raghunath Bhatta, Sri Jiva, Gopal Bhatta, and Raghunath Das!"
These are the six goswamis who lived in Vrindavan, and there is another goswami who has been recognised as the seventh goswami (saptam goswami)—that is Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur.
We are very fortunate that we have got this line, that we have got such guardian as Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur who has given us our Guru. The guru of our beloved Param Gurudev Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the founder acharya of our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, is Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Who brought Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur to this world? Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. We can see the last lines in one of the songs in the Gaudiya Gitanjali ("Jayare jayare jaya paramahamsa mahasaya"):
শ্রীগৌরাঙ্গ-পারিষদ ঠাকুর ভক্তিবিনোদ
sri-gauranga-parisada thakura bhakti-vinoda
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur is an associate of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and a friend of all low and fallen souls—to dispel all darkness of this dark age, he brought to this earth you, a spotless full moon.
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur is compared here to a spotless full moon. A full moon is also very bright (when the moon is not full, when it is half, it is not as bright), and also the moon has some spots, but Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur has no spot—he is a spotless full moon. Who gave this Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur to us? Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur.
Our Param Gurudev wrote in Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur's pranam-mantra,
গুরুদং গ্রন্থদং গৈরধামদং নামদং মুদা
guru-dam grantha-dam gaura-dhama-dam nama-dam muda
"I perpetually offer my obeisance unto Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Guru-dam: he is the bestower of Sri Guru (Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur). Grantha-dam: he is the author of numerous commentaries, treatises, articles, novels and songbooks. Gaura-dhama-dam: he is the revealer of the abode of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Nama-dam: he is the giver of the Name. Bhakti-dam: he is the granter of pure devotion. Bhuri-dam: he is the bestower of an abundance of divine fortune."
(Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya, 1.8)
Guru-dam. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur has given us Guru. Grantha-dam. He has given us scriptures—many of the songs we sing are written by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, and there is Jaiva-dharma and many other scriptures and books composed by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. Gaura-dam. He has given us Gauranga. If it was not for Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, who would have known about Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu? Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur preached about Gauranga Mahaprabhu so much.
You know that after Srila Narottam Das Thakur, Srila Srinivas Acharya, Sri Jiva Goswami, Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Gauranga Mahaprabhu's preaching had turned a very bad way. There appeared many bad samradayas—aul, baul, kartabhaja, neda, darvesh, sani, sahajiya, sakhibekhi, smarta, jata gosai, ativadi, churadhari, gauranga-nagari. These are the thirteen misconception sampradayas, misconception groups, that had become popular, and now there are even more, there are thirteen thousand apa-sampradayas. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur fought against all those sampradayas.
At first, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur was a school teacher, and then he sat for a service commission exam and became a district magistrate. He worked in Krishna Nagar, Ranaghat, and also Dinajpur (present Bangladesh). When he was a magistrate in Dinajpur, he collected many books about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but everything that was written in those books was a misconception. That is why Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur thought that somebody had to come to this world to preach the correct, pure conception.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur had many sons, he had eleven children in total. However, when he was in Puri, he and his wife Bhagavati Devi went to the Jagannath temple and prayed to Bimala Devi (Laksmi Devi), "Please, give us a son who will be able to preach, who will be able to give the pure conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." Then, Bimala Devi gave him a son, and Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur and Bhagavati Devi named him Bimala Prasad. That Bimala Prasad later became Om Vishnupad Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad.
Although he was Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur's son, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur did not think that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur was only his father—he considered him his spiritual master and an associate, or a companion, of Srimati Radharani. He famously wrote to his brother once, "Baba badha Radha (বাবা বাধা রাধা)." His brother Lalita Prasad thought, "Bimala Prasad is a son of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, and I am also a son of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur. Why are so many followers going to Bimala Prasad? I also have my father's property!" And Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur wrote to him, "Baba badha Radha. Brother, you only see your father in Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, but I do not think that he is only my father—I see him as my spiritual master, as a parsad (associate) of Srimati Radharani. You only say, 'Baba, baba, baba,' ('baba' means 'father'), that is why you will not become an associate of Radharani ('badha' means 'bondage'). You say, 'Baba' ('father'), but I say, 'Prabhu' ('my master'). Which is more important? Prabhu is important. Baba is a material identification, but a spiritual master is more than a father."
That is the main thing. There is so much history related to Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur...
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