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Appearance of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja

[Today is the appearance day of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja. To observe this special tithi we are presenting the hari-katha of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vana Gosvami Maharaja that was spoken on the occasion of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja’s appearance day.]

Today is a very super excellent, auspicious day as it is Deva Shayana-ekadashi. Deva means Lord, and here Lord refers to Lord Jagannatha. Shayana means that He is taking rest or sleeping, called yoga-nidra, transcendental sleep. Meaning, from today, the Lord takes rest for four months.

After two months, when the Lord turns His body, that day is called Parshva-ekadashi. Then, towards the end of the Kartika month, another ekadashi comes, called Utthana-ekadashi. During this ekadashi, the Lord will wake up from His sleep. So, today is called Deva Shayana-ekadashi, because from today, the Lord takes rest.

According to Hari-bhakti-vilasa, some people also observe Chaturmasya from this day and others observe Chaturmasya from Dvadashi. In our Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, we observe Chaturmasya from the beginning of Purnima— this will be Guru-purnima (the occasion of paying respect to the Gurus). Guru-purnima is also called Ashadhi-purnima, the appearance day of Vyasadeva— Vyasa-puja (offering worship to Lord Vyasadeva).

Today is also a very super excellent, auspicious day as it is the appearance day of nitya-lila pravishta om vishnupada ashtottara-shata Sri Srimad Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja. From morning until now, we have been discussing his life history and contributions and his bhajana-sadhana (spiritual life).

Although he is an eternal associate of Srimati Radhika in Goloka Vrindavana, he is acting the role like an ordinary sadhaka (follower of a spiritual discipline).

Our scriptures also explain:

vaiṣṇavera āvirbhāva’ ‘tirobhāva’ mātra kahe veda

Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi-khanda 3.52)

[The Vedas say the pastimes of Vaishnavas never know interruption, they only appear and disappear to our vision]

The appearance and disappearance of Vaishnavas are like the sun which always rises and sets. In the same way, Bhagavan is eternal and transcendental, His associates are also eternal and transcendental. However, for the sake of this manava-lilas (human-being pastimes), lokavat tu lila kaivalyam, the Lord and His associates perform janma-lilas (birth pastimes)— these are also transcendental.

For this reason, Krishna says to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita:

janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

Bhagavad-gita (4.9)

[One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.]

Krishna says, “My janma, My birth and all of My activities are transcendental. One who knows all My transcendental activities, after his death, he will attain My abode in Vaikuntha-dhama, and he will never return to this material world.”

In the same way, pure devotees of Lord, shuddha-bhaktas, their appearance and disappearance are the same as the Lords. And Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja is a super excellent Vaishnava.

vaiṣṇavera guṇa gāna

karile jīvera trāṇa

Bengali verse

by Vaishnava dasa

[If you glorify a devotee, you will be delivered very easily.]

In this Bengali verse it is explained that if we glorify the life history of a Vaishnava, we will attain our perfection, and all kinds of auspiciousness will come into our lives. For this reason, I want to glorify the simple life history and exemplary character of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja.

He was born in a beautifully named village of Sita-Ramapura in the district of Bankura, and was born into a high-class aristocratic brahmana (priest) family in West Bengal. I remember once when I was in Navadvipa-dhama, during the Navadvipa-dhama parikrama (circumambulation), I went to Bankura with our Srila Paryataka Maharaja, who now is the current president of Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha and Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. I remember it was more than thirty five years ago that I visited the village of Sita-Ramapura, in Bankura district with Paryataka Maharaja. The nearby village also had a beautiful name, Vraja-Rajapura— All the names of Radha and Krishna and Ramachandra and Sita.

At that time, I did not know that Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja was born in this village. So I unknowingly touched the dust of his birthplace. In this way, I am feeling my great fortune, saubhagya, as like Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after receiving diksha-mantra (initiation) from Sri Ishvara Puripada, had come to the birthplace of Ishvara Puripada— called Kumara-hatta. And when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived in Kumara-hatta, He cried while remembering His Gurudeva Ishvara Puripada. The Lord again and again, took the dust from the birthplace of Ishvara Puripada and placed it on His head.

Then, all of the associates of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also took the dust from the birthplace of Ishvara Puripada. From their digging, the area became a pond, called Chaitanya-kal— the pond of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. While Lord Chaitanya was sitting near the pond, He cried and cried, remembering His Gurudeva Ishvara Puripada. So much so that eventually the tears of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu completely filled the pond. This Chaitanya-kal pastime, how Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu honoured the birthplace of His Gurudeva Sri Ishvara Puripada, is mentioned in Bhakti-ratnakara and in other granthas (books) also.

In the same way, although at the time I was unaware as I had no relation with him or his family, I once had the great fortune of visiting the birthplace of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja. Sita-Ramapura is a very super excellent, auspicious place. Most of the villagers were brahmanas. Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja was very intelligent and highly educated and he attained the position of school teacher, adhyapaka.

Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja met with some associates of Srila Bhakti Vichara Yayavara Gosvami Maharaja, who is the very nearest and dearest of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. In this way, Srila Maharaja would sometimes meet with Gaudiya Vaishnavas. He also read Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy and attended the temple of Midnapura.

After a few months, he met with his diksha-guru, nitya-lila-pravishta om vishnupada ashtottara-shata Sri Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja. When he met with Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja completely surrendered to his lotus feet and received harinama and diksha (initiation to chant Hare Krishna mantra and diksha-mantras) from him; at the time, his Gurudeva gave him the name Narottama dasa Brahmachari— a very sweet name.

When I hear his name, Narottama dasa, I recall how Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, would travel in East Bengal and tell the people there, “Now, I am keeping krishna-prema (pure love for Sri Krishna) here, on the bank of the Padma river. How will you know there is prema here? One person will appear here and just by touching the water of Ganges, will make Padma-devi dance. Then you will know, she is the embodiment of My prema.”

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura also glorified Srila Rupa Gosvamipada:


sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ

dadāti sva-padāntikam

Sri Rupa pranama

[When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfil the desire of Lord Chaitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?]

Sri Narottama dasa Thakura very humble glorified Sri Rupa Gosvamipada when he said, “When will I attain the mercy of Rupa Gosvamipada, who fulfilled all the desires of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”

And in the same way, Narottama dasa Brahmachari, while staying in Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja’s temple, performed bhajana and sadhana (spiritual practices), and he engaged himself in serving his Guru twenty four hours a day— this is called, guru-seva (service to guru).

You see, our shastras (scriptures) explain that there are many processes to attain the Lord, however the topmost and simplest process to attain Him is guru-seva.

guru-śuśrūṣayā bhaktyā

sarva-labdhārpaṇena ca

saṅgena sādhu-bhaktānām

īśvarārādhanena ca

Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.7.30)

[One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the shastra and guru.]

Thus, guru-seva is very important. And Narottama dasa, meaning Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja, would, day and night, perform his bhajana and sadhana, while faithfully serving his Gurudeva. ‘Guru-mano-’bhishta’ - one who fulfils the desires of his Guru, will attain the abode of Lord. The Lord Himself said, “One who serves Me, perhaps he will attain Me or not. But one who worships My devotee, there is no doubt he will attain My abode.” This is why guru-seva is paramount in our practice.

During the times I met Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja, he would discuss guru-seva— which is very important in our spiritual lives. Unfortunately, I did not get so much association with him, as most of the time I was travelling in Western countries preaching. Anyhow, I still remember when I used to come to India and stay in Mathura or Vrindavana, I would meet with him, and receive his mercy and listen to the nectarean hari-katha (narrations of the Lord) spoken from his lotus lips.

Srila Maharaja’s character was completely spotless and pure. He was always absorbed in serving his Guru, and he also fulfilled the desires of his Guru— ‘guru-mano-’bhishta seva’. And he was so skillful, in many different types of activities. Because of his experience in so many areas of service, Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja received the mercy from the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada.

Also for this reason, his Gurudeva awarded him with so many titles, one being seva-vigraha (embodiment of service). His Gurudeva also gave him the title ‘upadeshaka’ as he gave so many instructions. Although he was not an engineer himself, he gave many kinds of instructions to engineers while construction was going on in his temple. Even the engineers themselves became very surprised at how he knew so many things, and was able to instruct them so nicely. Actually, this is called bhakti (love and devotion to Krishna), and when bhakti manifests in one’s heart, automatically all sorts of good knowledge manifest in your heart.

yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā

sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ

harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā

manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.12)

[All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavour of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord's external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a man?]

When shuddha-bhakti manifests in one’s heart, all other kinds of good qualifications will also automatically manifest in his or her heart. Leaving no doubt on how he knew or attained this engineering knowledge.

In 1969, Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja accepted sannyasa (renounced order) or tridandi-sannyasa (renounced order in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya), also called mukunda sevana-vrata sannyasa. And what does tridandi-sannyasa mean? It means that he completely dedicated his life to serve the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At this time, his Gurudeva gave him the name Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja—a very sweet and significant name. The significance of this name is its similarity to our Parama-Guru Maharaja’s sannyasa name, Bhakti Prajnana, and there is no difference between the names Prajnana and Vijnana.

Pra’ means ‘prakistha rupena jnana’ (knowledge or realisation of shuddha-bhakti). And Vijnana is composed of vi plus jnana, ‘vi’ meaning ‘vishesa-rupena-jnana’. Vi also means ‘special’, and jnana means ‘knowledge’. Thus, with special knowledge he very expertly served his ishtadeva, (worshipable deity) the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna— called, kunja-seva (intimate service to the Divine Couple).

In Sri Gurvashtaka, Srila Vishvanatha Chakravartipada very clearly explains:

nikuñja-yūno rati-keli-siddhyai yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣaṇīyā

tatrāti-dākṣyād ati-vallabhasya

vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Sri Gurvashtaka (6)

[In carrying out the sakhis’ (friends) arrangements for the perfection of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s amorous pastimes within the groves of Vrindavana, sri guru is masterfully adept and thus especially dear to Them. I adore the lotus feet of that sri gurudeva.]

In his Gurvashtaka, Srila Vishvanatha Chakravartipada uses this Sanskrit verse to very clearly explain that gurupada-padma (lotus feet of Gurudeva) is the eternal associate of Srimati Radhika— called manjari (maidservant), sakhi, guru-rupa-manjari. In this way, Srila Vishvanatha Chakravartipada clarifies, “My Gurudeva is the very nearest and dearest sakhi of Srimati Radhika, called radha-nishtha-sakhi.”

And what does being a manjari actually mean? That they are fully one-pointed towards Srimati Radhika. Our shastras explain there are three types of sakhis of Srimati Radhika: one type are krishna-nishtha gopis, another, radha-nishtha gopis, and third, ubhaya-nishtha gopis.

Krishna-nishtha gopis refer to those sakhis whose activities are intended towards Krishna. Vrinda, Vrindarika, Dhanishtha are krishna-nishtha gopis.

Another group is ubhaya-nishtha gopis. Ubhaya-nishtha means this group loves both Radha and Krishna. Lalita and Vishakha are in this category of ubhaya-nishtha gopis as they favour both, Radha and Krishna.

The last category of sakhis of Srimati Radhika are radhika-nishtha gopis. This means that their nishtha (firm faith) is only one-pointed towards Srimati Radhika. This is called manjari-bhava as all of Srimati Radhika’s moods automatically reflect in the hearts of each manjari— each with a special mood, bhava-ullasa-rati (constant state of joy and enthusiasm to serve). So it is established that our gurupada-padmas are actually called guru-rupa-sakhis, manjaris.

As previously mentioned, Srila Maharaja, he is Bhakti Vijnana. If the root words are combined, vi plus jnana, vi means vishesa, jnana means knowledge, we find that here, knowledge means how Radha and Krishna meet together and how intimate service is rendered to Them, this is known as kunja-seva.

Try to understand that in our Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage, our main aim and object is how to become one-pointed towards Srimati Radhika, and become one of her maidservants. In this verse, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami explains some of the manjaris’ knowledge, and their one-pointed love and affection with Srimati Radhika.


vṛndāraṇya-maheśvarīṁ priyatayā yās toṣyanti priyāḥ

prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhī-kulād api kilāsaṇkocitā-bhūmikāḥ

kelī-bhūmiṣu rūpa-mañjarī-mukhās tā dāsikāḥ saṁśraye

Vraja-vilasa-stava (38)

[She brings Radha and Krishna tambula (a betel nut) and water that has been very sweetly flavoured with milk and herbs (payo-dhana). Tambul arpana: She brings a golden pot when Radhika and Krishna want to spit the betel after chewing it.]

Manjaris are completely one-pointed with Srimati Radhika, and serve Her under the guidance of Sri Rupa Manjari— known as Rupa Manjari anugatya-mayi-seva. Thus, Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja’s name directly indicated how very expert he is in serving the Divine Couple Radha and Krishna under the guidance of Sri Rupa Manjari. Because Gaudiya Vaishnavism refers to rupanuga (the followers of Sri Rupa Gosvami).

Another thing, a guru is one who destroys all kinds of ajnana, meaning ignorance, in the hearts of his disciples. There are five types of ignorance (ajnata) found in the hearts of the baddha-jivas (a bound soul, conditioned by the illusions of maya). First, there is svarupi-ajnata - forgetting one’s own svarupa, transcendental form.

Secondly, guru knows, - conditioned souls are so attached to their bodily conceptions, so guru destroys them, like Baladeva Prabhu, who killed the demon Gardabhasura. In this way, our original guru, Baladeva Prabhu, destroys all kinds of donkeyness from our lives—meaning our bodily conceptions. Conditioned souls are completely trapped by them. There is a saying illustrating this concept, - “This is mine and this is yours”.

Third, guru destroys bhokta-abhimana from the heart’s of his disciples. Bhokta-abhimana means, “I am the enjoyer”. And fourth, guru destroys all the asakti or attachment to material things, from the hearts of his disciples. Lastly, a guru destroys any fear of maya (illusion).

bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād

īśād apetasya viparyayo 'smṛtiḥ

tan-māyayāto budha ābhajet taṁ

bhaktyaikayeśaṁ guru-devatātmā

Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37)

[Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is affected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.]

Srimad-Bhagavatam gives evidence that when we turn from Krishna to maya, fear will arise. Since this bhaya is coming, guru destroys it from the heart of his disciple. In brief, these are the five types of ajnana (ignorance) which the guru destroys in his disciples’ hearts through his hari-katha. However, without listening to hari-katha from the lotus lips of guru, how is it possible to be freed from all these types of ajnana? This is why in Jaiva-dharma, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains:

om ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā chakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

[I offer obeisance unto Sri Guru, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the cataract of ignorance, with the torch of knowledge. ]

This is the duty of a pure devotee of the Lord: to destroy five types of ignorances, ajnata, from the hearts of his disciples, and to simultaneously turn their faces towards Krishna so they can serve Him— divya-hari-seva (transcendental service to Sri Hari). And Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja is a pure devotee of the Lord, and the perfect guru. For this reason, he destroys all kinds of ignorances, ajnata, from the hearts of his disciples.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada also explained five types of knowledge, panchavidha-jnana. They are called pratyaksha-jnana, paroksha-jnana, aparoksha-jnana, adhokshaja-jnana, and aprakrita-jnana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada explained the five types of knowledge.

Pratyaksha-jnana is direct knowledge that we perceive from our senses. For example, what our mind sees when we look around this material world with our eyes is pratyaksha-jnana. However, pratyaksha-jnana can be imperfect.

Paroksha-jnana is indirect knowledge. Like indirect knowledge of svargiya-jnana, knowledge of heaven— this is an example of paroksha-jnana. Aparoksha-jnana, brahma-jnana is knowledge of how to merge in Brahman. Advaita-vadis, want to know how to merge in Brahman, but as devotees, we reject this type of knowledge.

Vaikuntha-jnana, the knowledge of the transcendental world. ‘Vaikunthiya-varta’, here the word varta means message, also called adhokshaja-jnana. ‘Adhah-kṛtaṁ akṣajaṁ jñānam’. Aprakrita-jnanam, vaikuntha-jnanam. Adhokshaja-jnana or vaikuntha-jnana refer to knowledge of Vishnuloka.

Aprakrita-jnana is transcendental knowledge. For example, Goloka Vrindavana jnana, knowledge of Goloka Vrindavana. And aprakrita means ‘prakrita vat na tu prakritam’. Prakrita vat – that which appears material, but is not. In this material world, people are working, trees are growing and rivers are flowing. In the same way, if you go to Goloka Vrindavana, you will see there are also trees, people, animals…, everything is there. Except in Goloka Vrindavana, everything appears material, but actually, everything is transcendental.

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa- lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

Sri Brahma-samhita (5.29)

[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakshmis (goddesses of fortune) or gopis (Vraja damsels).]

Brahma-samhita explains how beautiful Goloka Vrindavana is and describes how all of the houses of Goloka Vrindavana are made of chintamani stones (transcendental wish-fulfilling gems). ‘Cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa’. And all of the trees are called desire-fulfilling trees—kalpa-vriksha. All the cows of Goloka Vrindavana are called kamadhenu, they can fulfil all of your desires. And lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ’ - the trees there are also transcendental, and all of the Lakshmis are there sweeping.

śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayi toyam amṛtam kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priya-sakhi

cid-ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca

sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca su-mahān

nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ

bhaje śvetadvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ

vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye

Sri Brahma-samhita (5.56)

[I worship that transcendental seat, known as Shvetadvipa where as loving consorts the Lakshmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practise the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favourite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realised souls in this world.]

In the transcendental world, they have relationships with Krishna as like kanta and kanta bhava - lover and beloved. This mood is there - ‘śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ’. ‘Bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayi toyam amṛtam’ - all the dust of Vrindavana is chintamani.

The waters of Vrindavana are called amrita, sweet nectar. Kathā gānaṁ - and when they speak to each other, the sound is beautiful and in a very sweet rhythm. And they walk on the path of Vrindavana with a dancing gait - ‘vaṁśī priya-sakhi’. Thus, this knowledge of the transcendental world is called aprakrita-jnana. This is also why this name Bhakti Vijnana is so special, as it contains five types of knowledge, mainly transcendental knowledge.

Our scriptures explain that there are also three types of knowledge called tat-padartha-jnana, tvam-padartha-jnana and jiva-brahma-aikya-jnana. Jiva-brahma-aikya-jnana - oneness with Brahman, as mentioned before, this type of knowledge, we have to reject. The other two types of knowledge are tat-padartha-jnana ( knowledge of the Lord, also called bhagavat-tattva-jnana) and knowledge of the soul atma-tattva-jnana or tvam-padartha-jnana. However, according to this verse, we have to give up all kinds of knowledge.

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir ye prāyaśo 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyām

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.3)

[Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrated by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds.]

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Brahma-stuti very clearly explains that we must give up all kinds of knowledge. In this way, we can engage all of our senses to serve Krishna, govinda-seva. Another inner meaning here is that one has to abandon knowledge of opulence in order to only receive madhurya, sweetness mood. Why?

Because Vrajavasis have this sweetness, madhurya mood towards Krishna. Those in madhurya-bhava think, “Krishna is our family member.” Laukika-sat-bandhuvat-priti- they have love and affection with Krishna as if He is a family member. They have no mood of opulence towards Krishna, only madhurya-bhava.

Lokavat tu lila kaivalyam - our scriptures state that knowledge is transformed into bhava when we reach Goloka Vrindavanа. In the sadhaka stage, only knowledge is coming, however, when we attain Goloka Vrindavana, this will transform into bhava.

And what is that bhava? One feels as if Krishna is their own family member and one has an eternal relationship with Krishna in sakhya-bhava, vatsalya-bhava or madhurya-bhava.

Our Vishvanatha Chakravartipada very clearly explains this process of knowledge transforming into bhava. The sakhas thinking, “Krishna is my friend,” is named sakhya-bhava. Nanda and Yashoda believe, “Krishna is my son.” This is called vatsalya-bhava, parental mood. And the gopis always think, “Krishna is our beloved,” this is the mood of lover and beloved, parakiyata (mood of paramour love).

Also contained within the name Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja, is Bharati. Bha in Sanskrit means prakasha, manifestation. This is saying that all kinds of shuddha-prema or shuddha-bhakti have manifested in his heart— this is bha. And rati; love and affection— bha-rati. Thus, he has so much love and affection with his ishtadevi Srimati Radhika.

For this reason, he was given a sannyasa name Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Maharaja. Here, bhakti means prema. First comes shraddha, sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha-nivritti, nishtha, ruchi, asakti, then bhava and finally, prema.

Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja was always so absorbed in the service of his Gurudeva— he had so much duty and responsibility in his institution. He was especially absorbed in prachara-seva (preaching), go-seva (serving cows), and also Vraja-mandala seva, Navadvipa-mandala seva, dhama-seva (service to holy places).

He also helped manage the large crowds of people in the temples, especially during the times of Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Vraja-mandala parikrama. Srila Maharaja also manifested brihad-mridanga seva (printing books). Brihad-mridanga seva is also called mudrana-seva or book seva, grantha-seva— this is a very important and necessary service.

In one article, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada very clearly explained two kinds of guru-seva. One is vapu-seva, and the other is vani-seva. Vapu-seva means to physically serve guru, and vani-seva refers to spreading the messages of our previous acharyas (spiritual preceptors) and gurupada-padma— this particular service is called brihad-mridanga-seva. The service of publishing books is especially important.

Srila Maharajaji, in his old age, never displayed any signs of weakness or laziness, rather he constantly engaged his mind in anuvada, in translating from Bengali to Hindi— especially he published these two books: Chaitanya-bhagavata and Chaitanya-charitamrita, two very important granthas.

In those times, Hindi-speaking devotees did not have much knowledge of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so he mercifully manifested Chaitanya-charitamrita and Chaitanya-bhagavata. Most only knew of the many pastimes mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam and very few people knew about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or His pastimes.

kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye

Sri Brahma-samhita (5.56)

[Known only to a very few self-realised souls in this world.]

As this verse explains, few knew about shvetadvipa-katha, meaning Mahaprabhu’s lila-katha (narrations of pastimes). This is why Brahma-samhita explains that everyone has to know about the sweet pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do not know about them, how will you receive mercy from the Divine Couple, Radha and Krishna? For this reason also, Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada explains:

ārādhitam nava-vanam vraja-kānanam te nārādhitam nava-vanaṁ vraja eva dūre ārādhito dvija-suto vraja-nāgaras te nārādhito dvija-suto na taveha kṛṣṇaḥ

Navadvipa-shataka (78)

[If you worship the nine islands of Navadvipa, you are actually worshipping Vrindavana and can easily gain entrance into that confidential place. If you don't worship and take shelter of Navadvipa-dhama, Vrindavana will be very far away from you. If someone will worship dvija-suta (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu), the son of the brahmana Jagannatha Mishra, that person will attain vraja-nagara Sri Krishna in Vrindavana. If one worships Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is actually Krishna Himself, in Navadvipa, one is performing complete worship of Krishna. Worshipping Shacinanadana Gaurahari in Navadvipa is as good as worshipping Krishna in Vrindavana. If one does not worship dvija-suta Gaurahari, Lord Krishna will be very far away.]

‘Ārādhitam nava-vanam’ – only one who first worships Navadvipa-dhama, can attain Vrindavana-dhama. One who does not worship Navadvipa-dhama, by any method, cannot attain Vrindavana-dhama. ‘Ārādhito dvija-suto’ – one who worships Shachinandana Gaurahari will attain Krishna, who is the beloved of the gopis. And, ‘nārādhito dvija-suto’ – if you do not worship Shachinandana Gaurahari, by any method, you cannot attain Krishna. So this means that everyone has to give their intentions to properly worship Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Who is Sriman Mahaprabhu? He is the combined form of Radha and Krishna who has especially appeared in this Kali-yuga to indiscriminately give krishna-prema (pure love for Krishna). In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami very clearly explains that Mahaprabhu Himself said, “Amā vina anye nare vraja-prema dite (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 3.26) except Me, no one can give vraja-prema.” Thus, if you want to receive vraja-prema, you have to take shelter at the lotus feet of Shacinandana Gaurahari.

yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmāt rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāṁbu-rāśiḥ

Sri Caintaya-chandramrita (88) by Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati

[To the extent that a pious soul attains pure devotion to Gauranga and becomes absorbed in rendering service to His lotus feet, to that extent the nectar ocean of devotional ecstasy flowing from the lotus feet of Sri Radhika gradually arises without any material cause and floods his heart.]

If you completely surrender to the lotus feet of Shacinandana Gaurahari, radha-prema will automatically manifest in your heart. This is why everyone has to learn about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And if you want to know more about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you have to read Chaitanya-bhagavata and Chaitanya-charitamrita.

For these reasons, Srila Maharajaji, Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja, has mercifully manifested these two translated granthas: Chaitanya-bhagavata and Chaitanya-charitamrita. And in this way, Hindibhashi-loka (Hindu-speaking people), would attain the grand benefits of knowing about the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is just one of the many avadanas, contributions of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja.

In his latter years, he manifested a Pracara Kendra, meaning preaching centre, in Jagannatha Puri. It is called the Vishuddha Chaitanya-vani Prachara Kendra. It became manifest during the time of Ratha-yatra.

Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja’s hari-katha is also very sweet, and attracted the hearts of many Western devotees who had the great fortune of taking shelter at his lotus feet— some receiving dikhsa-mantras, and he also gave sannyasa. In this exemplary way, he continued preaching and serving his guru-varga (succession of acharyas).

In 2017, on the auspicious day of Namacharya Haridasa Thakura’s disappearance, Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja entered his nitya-lila-pravesha (entering into the eternal pastimes of Sri Krishna)— And all devotees also feeling separation from him.

So I pay my unlimited obeisances at the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja, may he give mercy to me, kripa-koro, so that I may, one day, fulfil all the desires of my guru-varga and always serve Guru and Vaishnavas.

vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca: kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

Sri Vaishnava Pranama

[I offer pranamas unto the Vaishnavas, who are just like wish-fulfilling desire trees, who are an ocean of mercy, and who deliver the fallen, conditioned souls.]

Thank you for your kindness in listening to this hari-katha. I pray that all you give me this blessing, that perhaps one day I will perform bhajana and sadhana and fulfil all the desires of my guru-varga. Thank you. Hare Krishna.

Jaya Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja ki jaya! Jaya Sri Guru-varga ki jaya! Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!

Date: 1 July 2020 Location: Zoom


Transcriber: Govinda-priya dasi (Lithuania) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Sanatana dasa (USA) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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