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Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava (In 3 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAD055
Author: Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Publisher: Bhakti Vikas Trust
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788190829205
Pages: 1562 (245 B/W & 8 Color Illustrations)
Other Details 10 Inch X 6.5
Weight 3.19 kg
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Book Description
Back of the Book

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura altered the course of religious history by reviving and forcefully propagating pure Krsna consciousness. His boldness in combating cheating religion earned him the appellation Lion guru – yet his heart was soft with divine love for Krsna. Based in Bengal and traveling throughout India in the early twentieth century Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasva Thakura laid the foundation for and was the inspiration and guiding force behind the later worldwide spreading of the Hare Krsna movement.

Replete with anecdotes told by disciples who lived with him this devotional philosophical, cultural and historical study gives intimate insights into the activities, teachings, and character of an empowered emissary of the supreme lord.


From my initial days in devotional life I was fascinated by the personality of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. I often reflected on the painting of him in the ISKCON temple at Bury place, London, his serious gaze as if descending directly from Goloka Vrndavana. He was known as a lionlke guru fro his power in combating no devotional theories. Who would not be impressed by his erudition strictness, austerity, fearless dedication to truth, unflinching devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha Krsna and unveering preaching of their glories?

Our own spiritual master, his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada another empowered acarya through his unbreakable bond of devotion to this gurudeva Srila Sarasvatu Thakura has linked us eternally to him and the entire parampara.

There is no intrinsic difference between the teachings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura and those of his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Considering this and that Bhaktivedantavani is perfect and complete one may question the necessity of studying bhaktisiddhanta vani. In reply we should understand the principle that the guru is one yet manifests in multiple forms each a distinct individual with a specific and unique contribution. All acaryas deliver the same message but with differing style and emphasis. No guru is self made but is dependent on and to be understood in terms of the Parampara he represents. Without clear understanding of these subtle points of guru tattva no one can be a genuine sisya hence for spiritual progress it is essential to learn in depth and from an authorized source about the character activities and teachings of previous acaryas.

Typical of a bona fide guru his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada never took credit for his achievements but attributed them to the blessings of his own guru maharaja. Devotees who worship those achievements will naturally be eager to know of the extraordinarily empowered sadhu who gave rise to another acarya as significant as his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who repreatedly pointed out that it is not sufficient simply to believe that god is great one must know how he is great similarly a sincere disciple should not merely accept as axiomatic that his guru is exalted but should strive to comprehend how he is so by reverently studying his instructions and behavior.

Whatever a pure devotee of Krsna does and says is invaluable for conditioned souls trying to follow in his footsteps. This is especially true of those special äcaryas who come to this plane specifically to uplift fallen souls. Thus in the course of preaching duties in Bengal during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, I relished several opportunities to hear stories and teachings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura from some of his direct disciples and grand disciples. Gleaning here and there gems of information about our parama-guru, my heart filled with wonder and pride at being connected to such a towering transcendental luminary, and my eagerness to learn more about him increased. Realizing that numerous valuable pastimes and instructions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakuta could be systematically collected from his remaining disciples, I sometimes contemplated doing so. But as an insignificant member of the devotee community, I felt it would be presumptuous to attempt such an important endeavor that would entail approaching many senior Vaisnavas.

Yet toward the end of 1985, having gradually built up courage and considering that no one else was likely to undertake this task, I set out to meet the few disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati still present in the world, (Unfortunately, before I was able to meet Srimad BR. Sridhara Maharaja, who might have revealed oceans of nectarean events, he had become indisposed and was hardly speaking; and then he passed away.) Initially I visited different ashrams of the Gaudiya Matha diaspora and met a few elderly sannyasis and brahmacaris. The quest for Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s householder disciples led me to many places in Bengal, Orissa, and Vrndavana, including some remote spots and dead ends. Although eventually I found the whereabouts of most of the few remaining disciples, many of them either did not take me seriously, or having had minimal association with Srila Sarasvati Thakura, had little to say. Others were happy to meet me but seemed unable to focus on the topic for which I had approached them.

Having gathered smatters of information, by good fortune I was advised a devotee to meet Sripada Jan ekhara Prabhu, who had joined the Gaudiya Matha in 1926 as a bra hmacari and who frequently saw and heard much from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. After the breakup of his guru’s institution, Jan Sekhara Prabhu withdrew to live as a householder.

During several visits of a few days each, as we sat together on the floor of the tiny thatched-roof temple at his home in Cuttack, Orissa, Jab ekhara Prabhu Revealed dozens of stories about Srila Sarasvati Thakura. He told me you are like a train and I have the goods. You will take the goods to the destination. For many years I was carrying these memories of my guru maharaja. Sometimes I reclaed them yet being engaged in family affairs I was mostly forgetting them. But now that you have come these things will not be lost they will be revealed to the world refelcetion the love he had received from his gurudeva Jati Sekhara Prabhu was kind to me. He appreciated his godbrother A.C. bhaktivedanta Swami’s contribution in spreading their guru’ mission but as a lifelong supporter of Sri Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu and Srimad B.K. Audulomi Maharaja both controversial figures in Gaudiya Matha history he maintained distinct differences of opinion regarding certain things that his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had done. While Jati Sekhar Prabhu and I could not agree on everything we met on the happy ground of jointly glorifiying Srila Saravati thakura to the world and thus developed a relationship of mutual respect and affection.

My original intention was simply to compile unpublished anecdotes of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati but ultimately I decided to give a more composite overview of his activities, achievements, and teachings. Hence I chose to also present his biography and some of his philosophical explanations, essays, and discourses, and to include already told vignettes well worth repeating. This led me to consult available literature by and about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, especially the diverse biographical works in Bengali and English as well as his extant letters and abstracts of lectures and conversations. From Sarasvati Jayasri an anthology of disciples recollections that was first printed in 1935 I culled dozens of anecdota never before published in English. Although unsystematic and documenting only from 1911 to 1925 Sarasvati Jayasri is the most authoritative contemporary work about srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati from which all subsequent biographies have directly or indirectly drawn much information. And my previous failure to have interviewed srimad B.R. Sridhara Maharaja was largely compensated when some fifteen years after his departure I gained access to various narratives and insights recorded in transcriptions of conversations with him. Another valuable source for me was the body of statements by his divine grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada about his guru maharaja.

Several times when I thought my task nearly complete, important research material that I was previously unaware of became available to me. Thus the undertaking seemed to assume a life of its own gradually expanding to an extent I had not imagined upon its commencement. Major input was proffered by a Russian disciple of Sripada Bhakti Pramoda puri Maharaja who on Maharaja’s ordre had learned Bengali and spent years collecting and preserving the printed vani of Srila Sarasvati Thakura during which he became closely acquainted with it and with many orally preventive anecdotes about Srial Saravati Thakura. This devotee graciously spent several weeks with me combing over the text providing suggestions clarifications relevant material and photos of Srila Sarasvati Thakura. His contribution significantly meliorated the growing tome.

Since Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s vaibhava is principally manifested in his vilasa and vani Sri Bahtisiddhanta Vaibhava attempts to give an intimate look at his vilasa through reminiscences of those who lived with him and to thereby reveal his attributes character and achievements insofar as they may be apprehended by limited sensibility for a great person is known not only by his achievements and instruction but also by his conduct his commitment to live by what he professes and his genuine regard and empathy for others as manifested at each moment and in every detail of his life. In addition Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava presents drops from the vast and fathomless ocean that constitutes Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s vani which being inseparable from and the very meaning of his vilasa reveal not only his extraordinary intellectural depth but even more the magnitude of his transcendental personality. And because that personality is saturated wit hand nondifferent from Bhakti Vinoda Sri bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava necessarily also provides some insights and anecdotes illuminating the renown of Srila Bhaktivinoda thakura.

Readers eager for what they consider nectar, and thus inclined to hear only stories and not philosophy, are urged not to skim through the specifically philosophical sections of this book, for without bhakti-siddhanta it is impossible even to begin to appreciate the qualities and activities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. As he himself taught, although väni and vapu are inseparable, vãni is mote important than vision through materially formed eyes; vapu can be understood through vãni, but not vice versa.’ His very name being expressive of philosophical instruction, to neglect or pooh-pooh the vani that is the essence of his being is necessarily a disservice and offense to him. Actual benefit will accrue to those who peruse the entire contents thoughtfully and prayerfully, with faith that imbibing his message will lead to the summit of spiritual perfection.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s numerous unique, divinely inspired, and amazingly perspicacious philosophical insights were typically presented in a Bengali so turgid and difficult to satisfactorily translate, that in their pristine form they are accessible only to those few adepts possessing sufficient linguistic, cerebral, and devotional qualifications. Therefore nearly all seekers in subsequent generations will better approach the legacy of Srila Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvati Thakura via the simplified yet no less spiritually potent expositions of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Indeed, for persons with little grounding in those teachings, many of the topics in Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava will likely be incomprehensible. This book is not for beginners.

Inevitably, not all readers will accept Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as he is. Even a number of his professed discipular descendants will approach his vãni with “half-hen” logic, to ignore, minimize, or redefine whatever does not appeal to their own sense gratificatory notions of bhakti. Yet Sri Bhaktisiddhanca Vaibhava was written principally for the elucidation of purified men who are thoroughly honest, in other words, devotees sincerely aspiring to follow in toto the sacred path shown by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.2 Loving devotees who hold bhakti-siddhanta in their hearts will comprehend these topics, which are always pleasing to Vaisnavas. Genuine bhaktas become blissful by hearing them, whereas camel-like nondevotees and pseudo-devotees cannot enter into these matters. And if such persons do not understand, then what in all the three worlds could be more satisfying.

Contents to the First Volume

Abbreviations of Book titlesxiii
Guide to References xiv
Mangalacarana xv
Authors Submissionxviii
Editorial Notesxxxvii
Nomenclature xliii
Part One: Biographical Overview
1Early Life1
Childhood and youth7
2Pre-Sannyasa Period21
Employment 21
Focus on jyotisa23
Observance of Catur-Masya26
Further Scholarly Activities 27
Initiation 27
Regard for Sri Gurudeva30
In Puri34
Last Engagement in Jyotisa36
East Bengal and South India 37
Deputation to Mayapur38
A Billion Names39
Pastimes with Sri Gurudeva40
The Balighari Showdown43
Upholding Gaura Bhajana47
First Kashimbazar Sammilani48
A Press and a preaching Center52
Two Acaryas Depart54
Srila Bahktivinoda Thakura54
Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji57
3Early Days of the Mission 63
Sannyasas and Sri Caitanya Matha63
Getting Established in Calcutta67
The Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha 70
4Rapid Expansion 75
The Mission Unfolds 75
1919 77
1920 78
Vaisnava Manjusa 79
Pioneering in East Bengal81
A Muderous Attack 86
1926-30 89
5Troubling Undercurrents 99
Foppery and Sloth99
Executive Rivalry105
6Winding Up His Pastimes 111
Hints of Departure 111
Last Days118
Part Two: His Message, Mission and Personality
1Qualities and Character129
2The Revolutionary Preacher of Truth135
3Yukta Vairagya157
4Vaisnava Sannyasa165
5The Seer and the Seen173
6Transcendental Morality 187
7Vaisnavism and Vedic Literature195
8Exoteric Matters201
Appearance and Dress/td>201
Daily Activities 201
9The Gaudiya Matha203
Daily Schedule 210
Matha Standards 212
Dynamism of the Mathas 215
10On Tour221
Puri 1918223
North India 1926-27 229
Assam 1928 235
South India 1930-31 and 1932 237
11Chanting the Holy Names245
Japa 253
12Service to Sastra259
Hari Katha 260
The Transcendental Approach to Scripture 270
Comparative Importance of Various Writings 275
Verses 282
Theological Contributions 290
13The Great Drum293
Publication and Circulation 295
Periodicals 300
Content and temper of Articles 305
The Transcendental Proofreader 309
14Use of Language315
Linguistic Warfare331
15Establishing Temples337
16Deity Worship341
18Theistic Exhibitions355
19Dhama Seva363
Sri Navadvipa Dhama363
Restoring Lost Sites375
Vraja Mandala378
Mayapur Pastimes 386
Dealing with Muslims390
Pastimes in Purusottama Ksetra392
The Glories of Kuruksetra400
20Educations Projects403
21Collection and Spending407
22Altruism and Charity421
Alalanatha Artashram428
23Coping with Thieves 433
24Regarding Women435
25Maha Prasada443
Definition 443
Selectiveness 448
26Regulative Observances451
Catur Masya Kartika and others452
27Health Issues455
28Further Instructions and Anedcodtes 457
29His Eternal form and Internal Acestasy461
Sanskrit/Bengali Pronunciation Guide487
Guide to obscure English Words 531
Bengali and Sanskrit Quotations543
Places Visited by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura578
Contents to the Second Volume

Abbreviations of Book titlesxv
Guide to References xvi
Part Three: The Preaching Challenge
1Responses to Modern Trends1
2Preaching to the Intelligentsia 11
3Preaching to the world19
4Preaching to Westerners in India 25
5Preaching in the west 27
London days 48
6Christianity 53
7Islam 59
8Other Vaisnava Sampradayas and Sadhus 61
9Indian Independence Movement 69
Gandhi 72
Janakinatha and Subhash Candra Bose74
Madana Mohana Malaviya76
10Deviant Vaisnava Groups79
False Gurus83
Hereditary guruship 90
Fish eating and Intoxication 91
Thirteen Prominent Apa-Sampradayas 93
Prakrta Sahajiyas93
Jata Gosanis106
Perspective on Caste112
Baulas and related Groups126
Kartabhajas 128
Gauranga Nagaris 133
Nedas 136
Sakhi Bhekis and Cudadharis 137
Summary 137
11Other Deviant Genres 141
Mayavadis 141
Ramanandis 143
Sakras 144
Ramakrishna Mission145
Tantrics 149
Buddhists 149
12Further Contentious Issues 153
Loud Chanting 158
Invented Kirtana 161
Reganuga Bhakti 164
Eligibility through Harinama 179
On Vraja Vasa and vraja vasis185
Topics of Radha Kunda192
Explaining the Upanishads 195
Bhagavatam Business 196
Perspectives on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura 201
A Most Dear Associate212
Srila Bhaktivinoda and Lilia Kirtana215
Compassionate Belligerence and Genuine Humility 220
Bhagavata Parampara228
Preventing Sahajiyaism within 231
Vaisnava Sraddha233
Specific Encounters 237
Part Four: Disciples, Associates and Acquaintances
1Accepting and Honoring disciples 243
Honorific Titles 251
2Guru Disciple Interactions 255
His Mood and role as Guru 255
Dealing with Disciples 260
His Admonishment and Leniency 266
Handling disputes 272
Tergiversators 276
3Marriage and Family life281
Dealings with disciples relatives 286
4Profiles of disciples: Sannyasis and Babaji’s 289
Sannyasis 289
Srimad Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja290
Srimad Bhakti Viveka Bharati Maharaja295
Srimad Bhakti Svarupa Parvata Maharaja296
Srimad Bhakti Vijnana Asrama Maharaja298
Srimad Bhakti Prakasa Aranya Maharaja Maharaja298
Srimad Bhakti Hrdaya Bon Maharaja299
Srimad Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Maharaja302
Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Sagara Maharaja303
Srimad Bhakti Srirupa Puri Maharaja304
Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja307
Srimad Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharaja312
Srimad Bhakti Vilasa Gabhastinemi Maharaja313
Srimad Bhakti Sudhira Jacaka Maharaja314
Srimad Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhanasa Maharaja314
Srimad Bhakti Sambal Bhagavata Maharaja315
Srimad Bhakti Kevala Audulomi Maharaja316
Srimad Bhakti Vicara JajabarMaharaja318
Srimad Radha Govinda dasa Babaji323
5Profiles of Other Disciples325
Sripada Rohini Kumara Prabhu and Sripada vent Madhava Prabhu325
Sripada Vaisnava Prabhu325
Sripada Paramananda Vidyaratna Prabhu326
Sripada Kunja Bihari Vidyabhusana Prabhu332
Sripada Vinoda Bihari Krtiratna Prabhu339
Sripada Ananta Vasudeva Paravidyabhusana Prabhu341
Sripada Narahari Seva Vigraha Prabhu345
Sripada Gopendra Candra Gangopadhyaya346
Sripada Mukunda vinoda Bhakti Madhura Prabhu346
Sripada Nityananda dasa Vraja Vasi Seva Kodanda346
Sripada Sundarananda Vidyavinoda Prabhu347
Sripada Haripada Vidyratna and others 351
Sripada Navina Krsna Vidyalankara352
Sripada Aprakrta Bhakti saranga Gosvami and Sripada Atindriya Prabhu352
Sripada Uddharana Prabhu353
Sripada Sarat Candra Bandhopadhyaya and Daughters 354
Sripada Pranavananda Pratna vidyalankara Prabhu356
Sripada Bhagavata janananda Prabhu359
Sripada Narayana dasa Bhakti Sudhakara Prabhu360
Sripada Jagabandhu Bhakti Ranjana364
Sripada Raghunandana Singhji371
Sripada Hayagriva Brahmacari372
Sripada Siddha Svarupa Vidya Vagisa Prabhu377
Sripada Sajjanananda Brahmacari378
Sripada Svadhikarananda Brahmacari379
Sripada Trailokyanatha Raya380
Sripada Jati Sekhara Bhakti Kumuda Prabhu381
Sripada Adi Kesava prabhu386
Sripada Indra Narayana Candra Bhakti Bhusana388
Sripada Cintamani Nayak389
Sripada Abhaya Caranaravindra Prabhu389
Sripada Radha Ramana Brahmacari393
Sripada Sakhi Carana Bhakti vijaya Prabhu394
Sripada Pyari Mohana Brahmacari395
Sripada Pyari Mohana Brahmacari (2)396
Sripada Krsna Kesava Prabhu and His father 396
Sripada Revati Ramana Bhakti Niscaya Prabhu398
Sripada Raghunatha Mahapatra399
Sripada Paramapada Prabhu399
Sripada Brahmanya deva Prabhu400
Sripada Gaurendu Prabhu401
Sripada Sadananda Prabhu401
Other Western Disciples 402
Sripada Rupa Vilasa Brahmacari402
Sripada Sankritana Prabhu404
Sripada Narasimha Brahmacari405
6Other Associates407
Mocha Singh 407
Sri Gopala Candra Prahararaja407
Sri Vamsidasa Babaji409
Srimad Bhakti Vilasa Thakura410
Svarna didi413
Part Five: His Contributions Reviewed
2His revolutionary spirit and its repercussions 427
3In Hindsight 433
4Unreasonable Sarasvati435
Continuing accusations 439
Notes 447
Sanskrit/Bengali Pronunciation guide461
Guide to obscure English Words 505
Bengali and Sanskrit Quotations 519
Places Visited by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura558
Contents to the Third Volume

Abbreviations of Book titlesxiii
Guide to References xiv
Writings, Lectures, and Colloquies
1Astottara Sata Sri 1
2Two Poems by Srila Sarasvati thakura 13
3Gaudiya defined33
4What is the Gaudiya Matha35
5The Gaudiya Matha: Its Message and Activities 37
6Is Gaudiya Matha the Only Way49
7The Acarya’s Unequalled and Unsurpassed greatness53
8Assuming the responsibility of being guru 63
9Deceitful Disciples 67
10Genuine and false Gaura Bhajana73
11To be a Vraja Vasi91
12A Lecture at Radha Kunda97
13A Lecture in Vrndavana109
14A Lecture at Sri Gaudiya Matha113
15Circumambulation of the divine realm of Vraja123
16Circumambulation of Sri Navadvipa dhama125
17Gandhiji’s Ten Questions129
19Thakura Bhaktivinoda141
20The Perils of Babaji life 149
21The Wise old monkey151
22Questions to a Prakrta Sahajiya convention 153
23The Parasitical Caste Goswamis157
24Selected Quotations163
25Selected Poems glorifying Srila Sarasvati Thakura 167
1His Horoscope187
2Writings and Publications 215
3Gaudiya Matha Branches233
4Other Accomplishments 239
5Disciples Names 243
6Examinations 249
7Bengali and Vaisnava Calendars 253
8Altered Topnoyms255
Chronology of Noteworthy events257

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