All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga
All Glories to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga

Sri Bhakti Sundar Divya-vani
Śrī Bhakti Sundar Divya–vāṇī

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj's
Divine Message of Devotional Love and Beauty

Sri Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, 1992

Issue Number III

The Worship of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur

Compiled from lectures of Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj during his first world tour in 1992, specifically his lectures in San Jose, California regarding the disappearance of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and Gadādhar Paṇḍit Goswāmī, in which he describes Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and his worship of Śrī-Śrī Gaura-Gadādhar in Nadīyā-līlā.

Today is the disappearance day of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and I will try to glorify Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur a little. When Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was in the Gauḍīya Maṭh, some years after he took sannyās, he composed a Sanskrit poem in remembrance of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, the Bhaktivinod-viraha Daśakam. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj did not at first compose anything about Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur. He wanted practically to attract Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur, so he first composed something about Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. He presented his poem to the hand of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur and Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur began scrutinizing the poem very closely. But after reading three or four ślokas Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur forgot his scrutiny and said, "It is written in a very happy style." After reading the whole poem Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur very happily responded, "After us there will be someone in this world who can perfectly carry Mahāprabhu’s flag in the line of the Rūpānuga-sampradāya. Seeing this, I am very happy." From that day Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur changed his vision of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj wholesale and later he examined Śrīla Guru Mahārāj many times. Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur was very happy to see that the line of the Guru-paramparā would continue.

In the Bhaktivinod-viraha Daśakam Śrīla Guru Mahārāj expressed everything about Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur in a very essential way. Later, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said, "This poem was the reason I was given charge of the Rūpānuga-sampradāya." The last śloka is very nice.

kvāhaṁ manda-matis tv atīva-patitaḥ kva tvaṁ jagat-pāvanaḥ
bho svāmin kṛpayāparādha-nichayo nūnaṁ tvayā kṣamyatām
yāche ’haṁ karuṇā-nidhe! varam imaṁ pādābja-mūle bhavat-
sarvvasvāvadhi-rādhikā-dayita-dāsānāṁ gaṇe gaṇyatām
(Śrīmad Bhaktivinod-viraha Daśakam 10)

"Who am I? I am a very unfortunate conditioned soul. I am a very fallen soul but you are a patita-pāvana Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākur, a great Vaiṣṇava who is the savior of the fallen. If I have made any offenses in composing these verses you must forgive me. I pray at your lotus feet for the boon that I will have the strength needed to follow your very dear-most Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur and carry out his orders as his dear associate. In this way I pray that you count me as a member of your sampradāya."

Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said that as Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur was reading this śloka he noticed that Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was asking Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur for a boon in the conclusion of his poem (yāche ’haṁ karuṇā-nidhe! varam imaṁ). Śrīla Prabhupād thought, "What kind of boon is he going to ask for? Is he going to make a massacre here at the end?" But when Śrīla Prabhupād saw his name there, Vārṣabhānavī Dayita Dās (rādhikā-dayita-dāsānāṁ), and understood that Śrīla Guru Mahārāj was praying only to be engaged in his service, he was very happy. He accepted and appreciated Śrīla Guru Mahārāj’s prayer.

In this way Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed many ślokas about Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. But a very famous śloka is,

namo bhaktivinodāya sach-chid-ānanda-nāmine
gaura-śakti-svarūpāya rūpānuga-varāya te
(Śrīla Bhaktivinod Praṇati)

"I offer my obeisance to Śrīla Sachchidānanda Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. He is Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu’s love divine personified and is the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas in the Rūpānuga-sampradāya."

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur did so much sevā for the sampradāya of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur appeared when the sampradāya was in a very critical position. He was born in the Nadīyā district of West Bengal, in Ulā, near Kṛṣṇa-nāgar. His birthplace is near Phuliyā where Haridās Ṭhākur’s bhajan-kuṭīr was located. Later in his life Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur revealed himself to be a great devotee of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and in the Name of Mahāprabhu Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur tried to express and establish real Kṛṣṇa consciousness and clean up the sampradāya of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. He lived during a very heavy time period.

āula, bāula, kartābhajā, neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅi
sahajiyā, sakhībhekī, smārta, jāta-gosāñi
ativāḍī, chūḍādhārī, gaurāṅga-nāgarī
totā kahe, ei tera’ra saṅga nāhi kari
(Totā Rām Dās Bābājī)

At that time the apasamprādayas, the deviated sects who were so-called followers of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, were very strong. The āula, bāula, and the kartābhajā sampradāyas were especially very strong in Ulā. From his childhood Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur saw the nature of their activities and was deeply opposed to them. So later when he showed his form as a devotee of Mahāprabhu he first tried to correct the errors of the apasampradāyas, and establish the real sampradāya of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. Earlier Totā Rāma Dās Bābājī had recognized and rejected those apasampradāyas but Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur appeared and exhibited the real position of a perfect devotee in the line of the Rūpānuga-sampradāya. He acted in so many ways to remove the activities of the apasampradāyas, but he did so in a very sober way, never in an overly combative way.

There are many examples of this in the life of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. When he was in Jagannāth Purī one very big yogī named Biṣakiṣaṇ, a member of the ativāḍī apasampradāya, declared that he was Kṛṣṇa himself who had appeared in the form of Biṣakiṣaṇ to fight with the British government. He declared that on one day, the fourteenth day in the month of Chaitra, he would start his own freedom revolution. He was doing many immoral things in rural villages at that time and the British government gave charge to Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur to decide what to do with him. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur went to see him. Biṣakiṣaṇ was a very big yogī, and after seeing Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur he said, "Oh, I know the purpose for which you have come. But you are my great devotee, I will not do anything against you. You can take shelter at my feet." Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur said, "If you know everything, then what is your idea about Chaitanya Mahāprabhu?" Biṣakiṣaṇ said, "Chaitanya Mahāprabhu is my great devotee." After hearing this Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur decided Biṣakiṣaṇ was a cheater. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur measured his qualification through this question and concluded that he was a great cheater showing a bluff. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur knew Biṣakiṣaṇ did not have any real consciousness.

Then Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur threatened him, "If you start your revolution I will arrest you." Biṣakiṣaṇ became very angry but Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur continued, "I am giving you twenty four hours, if you do not change your mood within that time, I will arrest you." The next day Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur returned and Biṣakiṣaṇ showed many vibhūtis, magical powers, but Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur forcefully arrested him and had him put in jail. The British government gave charge to Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur to decide his case. Biṣakiṣaṇ performed many miracles in the jail and in the courtroom as well. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur gave him three chances to change his mood or otherwise face punishment but finally Biṣakiṣaṇ gave much trouble to Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur himself.

The day before the final judgement of his case Biṣakiṣaṇ threatened Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, "Tomorrow you plan to give your judgement, but you will not be able come to the courtroom tomorrow." Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur replied, "I will see you tomorrow." When Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur returned to his house he saw that his sons and daughters, his whole family, was suffering from very heavy diarrhea. He called a doctor who relieved them with some medicine but then he himself began to feel feverish and pained in his body. The next morning he could not walk or even move from his bed. But still he said, "I will go to the courtroom today and give my judgement. I must go. Call a palanquin and carry me." He had a fever of one hundred and six degrees and he felt great pain throughout his whole body but he said, "Today I must give my judgement to that yogī." When he crossed through the doorway of the courtroom his fever and pain completely disappeared. Then he sat in his chair and told Biṣakiṣaṇ, "What are you going to do? Will you change your mood?" Seeing Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, Biṣakiṣaṇ said, "Oh, you still cannot understand who I am? What happened to you yesterday? And what happened to you today? You still cannot understand who I am?" Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur said, "I can understand who you are. From the day that I asked you about the position of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu I have understood who you are." Then Biṣakiṣaṇ mystically threw fire from his hair in the middle of the courtroom but Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur said, "I am giving six months imprisonment to this man. Now take him to the jail and before that, cut off his hair." He gave this order, but who would cut his hair? No one was willing to touch Biṣakiṣaṇ after they saw him throw fire from his hair. Then Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur called for a sahib, a Western man, and said, "You can touch him, you can cut his hair." When that Westerner went to touch Biṣakiṣaṇ, Biṣakiṣaṇ greatly threaten him but the man did not care. He took Biṣakiṣaṇ’s hair and cut it off. Then Biṣakiṣaṇ was put in jail. But Biṣakiṣaṇ fasted while he was in the jail and finally Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur personally went to the jail and requested him, "I will arrange for you to be released within six months, you can leave here and lead a normal life again, if only you will change your conception." But Biṣakiṣaṇ would not listen to him and lastly died of starvation while still in jail. That is the history of Biṣakiṣaṇ.

That time period was a very hard time. The sahajiyā sampradāya and the jāti-gosāñi sampradāya had conquered the whole of Bengal, even the whole of India, you could say. When Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur was a twelve year old boy, Charaṇa Dās Bābājī, a famous "siddha-mahā-puruṣa," a so-called perfected soul, would come to see Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur from time to time. There were two reasons for this. One, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s fame was unlimited. Even Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī Mahārāj, who was a true siddha-mahā-puruṣa, and who was also very renounced at that time, would come to see Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and hear his explanation of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Secondly, Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur showed himself to be a very faithful deputy magistrate and government officer. In both these ways Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s position was so exalted and because of that Charaṇa Dās Bābājī would visit Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur for his own benefit. Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur would not directly tell him, "Do not come to see me," but he would tell him, "What you are doing is wrong." But even after that Charaṇa Dās Bābājī would still come to visit Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur.

One day Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur saw that Charaṇa Dās Bābājī came to see Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and that they were talking together. Then from very far away Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur made his daṇḍavat praṇām to Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. He did not go near Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur to offer his daṇḍavat, but offered it from far away. At that time he was only a twelve year old boy. Charaṇa Dās Bābājī saw Śrīla Prabhupād do this and said to Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, "Who is that boy? He is a very nice looking boy. Why isn’t he coming over to us? Why is he offering his daṇḍavat from so far away?" Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur said, "Oh, this boy is my son, but he is very firmly established in the line of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and he always very carefully avoids sahajiyāism. He has made a vow to stay fifty meters away from any sahajiyā and you are a pukka (exemplary) sahajiyā." Hearing that, Charaṇa Dās Bābājī was shy. Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur continued, "Everyday he comes here to offer his daṇḍavat to me. But today you are here so he is now avoiding a sahajiyā in this way. He is a very young boy." Charaṇa Dās Bābājī was the head of the sahajiyā sampradāya and from that day he, and the whole sahajiyā sampradāya, knew that in the future Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur would become a great Āchāryya in the Rūpānuga-sampradāya.

Later Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur very strictly followed Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī and tried to smash sahajiyāism and the other apasamprādayas. Śrīla Prabhupād wanted to establish the real Kṛṣṇa conception, Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. He hated sahajiyāism very rigidly. Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur taught that Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur was Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu’s pārṣad-devotee (eternal associate) and that no one can estimate how exalted the conception that he gave is.

Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur composed many books: Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā, Bhāgavatārka-marīchi-mālā, Chaitanya-Śikṣāmṛta, Jaiva-Dharma, Datta-Kausthubha, etc.. But we can say that his special gift is in his songs. He composed many songs in his collections Śaraṇāgati, Gītāvalī, Kalyāṇa-kalpa-taru, Gīti-mālā, Jāmuna-bhāvāvalī, etc.. Through his songs we will get the gist of all the Scriptures. If all the Scriptures disappeared from this mundane world but Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s songs remained, we would still get everything. We can get everything through his songs.

Fortunately, at the time that I joined Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, he gave me thirty-two songs from Śaraṇāgati to memorize. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj always wanted to hear Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s songs. In Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh only a few songs of Śrīla Narottam Ṭhākur, one or two songs of other Vaiṣṇavas, and one song of Vidyāpati, are sung. But all the songs of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur are chanted in Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, because everything is there within his songs. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said that you will get everything from the songs of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur.

Devotee: Śrīla Mahārāj, the other day you mentioned that Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur established the worship of Nimāi Paṇḍit but not the worship of the yuga-avatār Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. I have also heard of a Gaura-Nārāyaṇa avatār. What is the difference between these forms of the Lord and why do we worship in this way?

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: It is not Gaura-Nārāyaṇa actually. This type of question is only coming from the Western devotees’ circle. For that I praise the Western devotees because they are inquiring in so many ways. But it is also a very high question, too much high.

In the heart of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur Mahāprabhu’s full līlā appeared and he always remembered the full līlā of Mahāprabhu. Still, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur was very much attached to Mahāprabhu’s Nadīyā-līlā. He especially liked that. He liked all the līlās of Mahāprabhu but his favorite form of worship was Mahāprabhu’s Nadīyā-līlā. We are differentiating between three forms of Kṛṣṇa: the Kṛṣṇa who plays in Dwārakā, the Kṛṣṇa who plays in Mathurā and the Kṛṣṇa who plays in Vṛndāvan. We are worshippers of Vṛndāvan Kṛṣṇa, not Mathurā or Dwārakā Kṛṣṇa. Why? There are different rasas and different behaviors with the different forms of Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu has different forms within His līlā just as Lord Kṛṣṇa does. Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in this mundane world and enacted the Pastimes of rescuing the jīva-souls and distributing Kṛṣṇa-prema. That is the yuga-avatāra līlā of Mahāprabhu. Actually Mahāprabhu is the non-different form of Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa took the bhāva and kānti of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and appeared in form of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. He tasted the service mood of the supreme servitor, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So when Mahāprabhu performed His Nadīyā-līlā we can see another form of the Lord. Up to the age of twenty four Mahāprabhu exhibited His gṛhastha-līlā in Nabadwīp. That Nadīyā-līlā of Mahāprabhu is expressed as the gupta-vṛndāvan-līlā of Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur very happily loved and worshipped that līlā.

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and a few other devotees are very much attached to the Pañcha-Tattva’s Nabadwīp-līlā. There Nityānanda Prabhu, Adwaita Prabhu, Gadādhar Paṇḍit, Śrīvās Paṇḍit and all the devotees are all playing along with Mahāprabhu Himself. Sometimes early in the morning Mahāprabhu would go to bathe in the Ganges with all the devotees. They would walk along the banks of the Ganges, very happily wandering about, dancing and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahāmantra. Then the Lord would go to Īśodyān with His devotees and perform saṅkīrttan in the garden. Everyday there would be new flowers and fruits in the garden and a feast at noontime. The Lord would eat in the garden with all His devotees. Every evening the Lord would go to Śrīvās Paṇḍit’s house for kīrttan. The devotees would perform kīrttan all night and Mahāprabhu would dance amidst them showing them His mahābhāva. In this way the Lord showed many līlās in Nabadwīp.

When Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu was twenty four He took sannyās and left Māyāpur. In Māyāpur everyone could happily serve the Lord. Before He took sannyās His exclusive devotees were always getting His exclusive and very very intimate association. After He took sannyās the devotees of Nadīyā no longer got His close association. They could not associate with Him intimately as they did during His gṛhastha-līlā. The devotees of Māyāpur were always serving the Lord and offering Him food. Even very poor men could serve Him. In Nadīyā-līlā the Lord was in a very very happy mood, He was always full of joy while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahāmantra with His devotees.

But Mahāprabhu’s sannyās-līlā is filled with austerity. He showed this austerity to His devotees and to the world. He followed fully the courtesy and customs of a sannyāsī of that time period. He did not use a bed, He never used oil, etc.. His devotees were always very unhappy to see Him observing such austerities. Jagadānanda Paṇḍit especially could not tolerate Mahāprabhu’s sannyās-līlā. Like Jagadānanda Paṇḍit, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur also could not tolerate seeing the Lord observing such austerities during His sannyās-līlā.

When Mahāprabhu returned from Nīlāchala to Koladwīp in Nabadwīp after five years of sannyās He stayed in the house of Vidyā-vāchaspati Miśra, the elder brother of Sārvvabhauma Bhaṭṭāchāryya. Mahāprabhu did not go to His home village of Māyāpur. He went to Kūliyā in Koladwīp where our Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh is at present. He did not go to the other side of the Ganges to visit Māyāpur. The residents and people of Māyāpur came to see Him in Koladwīp, but they did not actually get His association at that time. Mahāprabhu stayed there for only two or three days and thousands and thousands of people gathered there to see Him at that time. To protect Him, Mahāprabhu was highly guarded while He stayed there. Everyone who came wanted to enter the house of Vidyā-vāchaspati to see Him and if everyone had been allowed to enter freely they would have easily destroyed the house because there were so many people. So the residents of Māyāpur could only get the Lord’s darśan from a great distance. From very far back they offered their daṇḍavats to the Lord and returned home.

Remembering this Pastime and Mahāprabhu’s Pastimes in Māyāpur, Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur composed one śloka expressing his heart’s desire to take Mahāprabhu back to Māyāpur. I engraved this śloka on the Samādhi Mandir of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj.

āmi chāi gaura-chandre laite māyāpure
yathāya kaiśora-veśe śrī-aṅgete sphure
yathāya chāṅchara keśa tri-kachchha-vasane
īśodyāne līlā kore bhakta-jana sane
(Śrī Nabadwīp Bhāva-Taraṅga 70)

"Mahāprabhu may be so great, or Mahāprabhu may be Bhagavān Himself, or Mahāprabhu may be the yuga-avatāra, Mahāprabhu may be anything, but what will I do if I do not first get the service of Mahāprabhu? First, I need His service. I am feeling great pain to see Mahāprabhu with no hair dressed as a sannyāsī. I do not like to see His sannyās-veśa. I need to worship Mahāprabhu in His form of Nabadwīp-chandra, the Moon of Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām, not Śrī Chaitanyadev the sampradāya sannyāsī. I want to bring Mahāprabhu back to Māyāpur where His devotees could see His long curly hair and divine form shining in His beautiful garments during their Pastimes in the garden of Īśodyān."

In this way Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur worshipped Mahāprabhu’s eternal līlā hidden in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām. Just as it is said that Kṛṣṇa never takes a step outside of Vṛndāvan, that Kṛṣṇa eternally lives in Vṛndāvan, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur worships the Nabadwīp-līlā of Mahāprabhu which is like the Vṛndāvan-līlā of Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu’s sannyās-līlā is compared to the Kurukṣetra-līlā of Kṛṣṇa. The heart of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur was attracted to the Lord’s Pastimes in this way. This is very high siddhānta.

Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur exclusively followed the line of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur never manifested a Deity form of Mahāprabhu as a sannyāsī. In every one of the sixty-four maṭhs Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur founded, Mahāprabhu’s Deity form was always revealed as His gṛhastha form of Nabadwīp-līlā. This was for the satisfaction of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. In his first maṭh, Śrī Chaitanya Maṭh of Māyāpur, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur installed the Deities Śrī-Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga Gāndharvikā-Giridhārī. In maybe fifty of his other maṭhs Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur gave the Deities Names related with the word vinoda, Śrī Gaura Vinoda-prāṇa, Gaura Vinodānanda, etc.. So Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur was enlightened with the conception of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and he organized Mahāprabhu’s Deity forms in his mission in this way.

For many years in Deity shops you would never see a sannyās form of Mahāprabhu. You would see many different forms of Mahāprabhu but never the sannyās form. However, now the artists are making some sannyās forms of Mahāprabhu, ten or fifteen years ago you would not see this anywhere. Maybe fifteen years ago I first saw Mahāprabhu’s sannyās form in a medicine shop in Paramā-talā. All my life I had never seen any Deity of Mahāprabhu in His sannyās form. Now the idea seems to be spreading and the artists are making Mahāprabhu’s forms in many ways but they do not know the meaning of their work on the plane of devotion.

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur was a very exclusive devotee of Mahāprabhu and he is a very special kind of devotee. He specifically worshipped Deities of Śrī-Śrī Gaura-Gadādhar. Everyone praises the worship of Gaura-Gadādhar but almost nowhere do you see such worship. Always you see Nitāi-Gaura or Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu alone. Only in two or three places can you see Gaura-Gadādhar Deities. One is in Champāhaṭṭi in the temple of Dvija Vāṇīnāth and another is in Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s temple in Godrumadwīp. The worship of Gaura-Gadādhar involves a very hidden and deep conception. It is the deepest conception of Gaurāṅga-līlā which is worshipped only by deeply attached, exclusive devotees.

Gadādhar Paṇḍit Goswāmī was always very peacefully and quietly present in Nabadwīp-līlā with Mahāprabhu and His devotees. He stayed like a shadow of the Lord, silently present in the distance. But he had full hearted affection for Mahāprabhu. All of the Lord’s devotees knew he was fully devoted to Mahāprabhu. When Mahāprabhu returned from Gayā Dhām after taking initiation from Īśwara Purī, His mood had changed and He was desperately searching for Kṛṣṇa. He cried before the devotees showing His full mahābhāva, "Where is Kṛṣṇa?! Where is Kṛṣṇa?!" Once Mahāprabhu was crying in this way at the house of Śrīvās Paṇḍit in the company of Mukunda, Sañjaya and all the devotees. Mahāprabhu heard someone else crying inside another room of the house, He asked, "Who is crying inside of that room?" The devotees said, "Your Gadādhar is crying." Then Mahāprabhu praised Gadādhar, "Gadādhar, you are so fortunate! You have been a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa since childhood. I have never had the Kṛṣṇa-prema that you have!" In this way Mahāprabhu praised Gadādhar and gave much affection to him like he was His own brother. Even at times when all the devotees would be very confused, Gadādhar would have a very steady mood and silently try to serve and nourish Mahāprabhu. Sometimes he would give Śachīmātā advice, "Oh, Mahāprabhu wants this," or, "this is the Mahāprabhu’s heart desire."

Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed one very nice śloka explaining the real activity of Śrīla Gadādhar Paṇḍit Goswāmī.

nilāmbhodhi-taṭe sadā sva-virahā kṣepānvitaṁ bāndhvaṁ
śrīmad-bhāgavatī katha madirayā sañjīvayan bhāti yaḥ
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ sadā sva-nayanāśru-pāyanaiḥ pūjayan
goswāmī-prabaro gadādhara-vibhur-bhūyāt mad-ekā-gatiḥ
(Śrīla Gadādhar-Prārthanā)

In Purī, Mahāprabhu was heavily intoxicated with Rādhārāṇī’s mood of separation from Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu was like a madman searching everywhere for Kṛṣṇa, "Where is Kṛṣṇa?!" He was always in the mood of extreme separation, tasting the mahābhāva of Rādhārāṇī. Gadādhar Paṇḍit was always following Mahāprabhu but also always remaining at a distance from Him. Gadādhar Paṇḍit would invite the Lord to his Toṭa Gopīnāth temple. Gadādhar Paṇḍit lived there in a garden and worshipped his Deity of Gopīnāth. Everyday Mahāprabhu would come there with His devotees to hear Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. In Jagannāth Purī Gadādhar Paṇḍit’s only real activity was giving nourishment to Mahāprabhu as much as possible by reading Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for Him. Sometimes wine or intoxication is supplied to a someone who cannot tolerate their feelings of being very deeply separated from a dear friend. Mahāprabhu could not tolerate the deep separation He felt from Kṛṣṇa and Gadādhar Paṇḍit Goswāmī gave nourishment to Mahāprabhu through reading the Bhāgavatam. He supplied the Bhāgavatam to Him like an intoxicant. Mahāprabhu tasted the Bhāgavatam like wine and in this way got much nourishment from Gadādhar Paṇḍit. Supplying ecstasy to Mahāprabhu in this way Gadādhar Paṇḍit himself was also always crying. Gadādhar Paṇḍit cried to see the mood of Mahāprabhu and worshipped Mahāprabhu with his explanation of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and his own tears.

Kṛṣṇa took Rādhārāṇī’s bhāva and kānti (heart and halo) and appeared as Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu to taste Rādhārāṇī’s ecstatic service mood. Rādhārāṇī then became like an empty vessel, Her bhāva taken by Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and She showed Her form in Gaura-līlā as Gadādhar Paṇḍit. Gadādhar Dās, who was an associate of Nityānanda Prabhu, further represented Her kānti. But Gadādhar Paṇḍit represented Her main form for he was like an empty vessel. He was quiet and seldom spoke anything about Kṛṣṇa, but his heart was always full of Kṛṣṇa. Internally Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa and Gadādhar was always feeling separation from Mahāprabhu as well as Kṛṣṇa. Not everyone could understand the position of Gadādhar. Only the very close and intimate devotees could understand the bhāva of Gadādhar. The closest and most intimate devotees knew that Gadādhar Paṇḍit was the incarnation of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s worship of Gaura-Gadādhar manifested in Śrī Godruma Dhām. There he would worship Gaura-Gadādhar and meditate on the Pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In one song he wrote,

dekhite dekhiteśrī-rādhā-mādhava
rūpete koribe ālā
(Śrī Kalyāṇa Kalpa-Taru: 3.2.10)

"As I gaze upon Śrī-Śrī Gaura-Gadādhar of audāryya-līlā, before my eyes They have manifested as Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava of Vṛndāvan-līlā." He would not have guessed that while he was meditating Gaura-Gadādhar would transform themselves into Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Seeing the movements of Gaura-Gadādhar appearing as Rādhā-Mādhava, he fainted. When he regained consciousness everything was just as before.

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur chose to disappear on the same amavasya, dark moon day, as Gadādhar Paṇḍit, gadādhara dina dhāri’ pāiyāchchhe gaurahari. Today is that day, Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur’s tirobhāv tiṭhi. Many things happened in life of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. Maybe you have read how Mahāprabhu’s birthplace was discovered, how Nabadwīp Dhām parikramā began or how Mahāprabhu’s mission was established. Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur tried to do many things in many ways. Lastly, his supreme gift was Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur. He perfectly established Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur in his line so that in the future he would carry the sampradāya of Mahāprabhu. Finally, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur succeeded in this and fulfilled the desires and wishes of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed many ślokas about the glories of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. In general he prayed, "I bow down to the lotus feet of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and pray that his desires may be fulfilled by his dear-most associate Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur and his disciples."

One hundred years ago Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur wrote in one of his books that within a short time 50,000 devotees from all over the world would make the world mad with love of Kṛṣṇa and come to India and dance and chant with the Indian devotees, embracing them with tears in their eyes. This was the prediction of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and already it is happening. Many of the devotees from the Western world are joining in the mission of Mahāprabhu, chanting the glories of Mahāprabhu and dancing in the Name of Mahāprabhu. And many of them are attached to our Maṭh and this Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Sevā Āśram. We are very happy that we are here, so far away from India, making a festival in the name of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, a viraha-mahotsav. By the mercy of Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur we must get the mercy of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. We have no doubt about this.

vāñchhā-kalpatarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

Śrīla Sachchidānanda Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur ki jaya!

Hare Krishna  Hare Krishna  Krishna Krishna  Hare Hare  Hare Rama  Hare Rama  Rama Rama  Hare Hare