Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada
(February 3,1874 – January 1, 1937), was a highly influential preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism
throughout India in the late 19th and early 20th Century. He was born as Bimal Prasad Dutta
in the seaside pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri
. His father was the Vaishnava
scholar Sri Kedarnath Dutta, later known as Bhaktivinoda Thakur
, the first to present the teachings of Chaitanyite
Vaishnavism to the English speaking world and was a notable Gaudiya Vaishnava Theologian
. Bimal Prasad was well-known for having a fiery preaching spirit and especially acute intellect.
By the time he was twenty-five years old, Bimala Prasada had acquired an impressive reputation as a scholar of Sanskrit
, mathematics, and astronomy. Editing and publication of an ancient astronomical treatise, Surya Siddhanta
, won him the title Siddhanta Sarasvati in recognition of his immense learning. In 1905, following the advice of his father, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted spiritual initiation from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji
. Although Gaurakisora dasa Babaji was renowned as a saintly person and great devotee of Krishna
, he was illiterate and left no scriptural additions to the tradition of Vaishnava Theology
. Satisfied with the humility and dedication of his highly educated disciple, Srila Gaurikisora gave him his full blessings and requested him to "preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other work." Siddhanta Sarasvati then proved himself a capable assistant in the missionary work of his father.
From the very beginning of Chaitanya's bhakti
movement in Bengal, Haridasa Thakur
and others Muslim
by birth were the participants. This openness received a boost from Bhaktivinoda Thakura
's broad-minded vision in the late 19th century and was institutionalized by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
in his Gaudiya Matha
in the 20th century.
Upon the death of Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1914, Siddhanta Sarasvati became editor of his father's journal, Sajjana-tosani, and founded the Bhagwat Press for publication of Vaishnava literature. Then in 1918, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted the renounced order of spiritual life, assuming the title Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. For the purpose of propagating Krishna-bhakti throughout India, he organized the Gaudiya Math, with sixty-four branches throughout the country. The headquarters of his mission, the Caitanya Gaudiya Math, was located in Sridhama Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. He would later send disciples to Europe for missionary work.
Modern application of Bhakti
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati adjusted the traditions of Gaudiya Vaishnavism to conform with the technological and the social condition of the twentieth century. He considered the printing press
the most effective means of spreading Krishna consciousness throughout the world and was himself the author of may important translations, commentaries, and philosophical essays.
His Disciples Who Became Gaudiya Vaisnava Acarayas
- Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami: joined 1920
- Bhakti Saranga Gosvami Maharaja: joined circa 1920
- Bhakti Promod Puri Goswami: joined 1923
- Bhakti Sri-rupa Siddhanti Gosvami Maharaja: joined circa 1924 - 1925
- Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharaja: joined 1926
- Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhara Maharaja: joined 1926
- Srila Bhakti Kusum Sraman Goswami Maharaja joined 1927
- Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja: joined 1927
- Bhakti Kumud Santa Maharaja: joined 1932 at 11 years of age.
- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: diksa 1932
- Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami: joined 1936