Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
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Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Brief Biography:
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the guru of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, appeared in Sri Ksetra Dhama (Jagannatha Puri) on 6 February 1874 as the son of Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In his childhood he quickly mastered the Vedas, memorized the Bhagavad-gita, and relished his father’s philosophical works. He became known as “The Living Encyclopedia” for his vast knowledge.
He preached convincingly against casteism and philosophical deviations from Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He tried to unite the four Vaisnava sampradayas by publishing their teachings. Srila Sarasvati Thakura earned the title Simha Guru for his fearless and powerful delivery of the Vaisnava siddhanta. Mayavadis would cross the street to avoid confronting the “lion guru.” Besides being a courageous preacher, he was ornamented with all divine qualities and full of ecstatic love of God. He established 64 Gaudiya Math temples in India and centers in Burma, England, Germany.
His three “Brhat-mrdangas” (printing presses) in Madras, Calcutta, Krishna-nagara used to pump out books, magazines, and newspapers to spread the message of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
When asked why he printed a daily spiritual newspaper entitled Nadia Prakash, Srila Sarasvati Thakura replied, “If an insignificant city can produce five daily newspapers, then why can’t we publish a newspaper every second about the eternal, ever-fresh transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His unlimited spiritual planet, Goloka Vrndavana?”
Apart from his father’s writings, he published many authorized sastras: Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Bhagavata, Caitanya Mangala, Prema-bhakti-candrika, and his favorite book Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. He predicted that foreigners would learn Bengali to relish the nectar left by Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja in the Caitanya-caritamrta.
He introduced many innovations to expand preaching. All over India he staged free theistic exhibits and dioramas depicting the pastimes of Sri Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Employing the latest technology, he even had animated dolls. To commemorate the many holy places visited by Lord Caitanya he installed marble impressions of the Lord’s lotus feet. Breaking tradition, he let his sannyasis wear tailored kurtas and overcoats, ride in cars and motor-boats, and carry Mahaprabhu’s message across the sea to Europe.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati’s revolutionary preaching ideas sprang from the sastric principle of yukta-vairagya set forth by the rasa acarya, Srila Rupa Gosvami. Being an eternally liberated soul, Srila Sarasvati Thakura knew how to perfectly engage Maya (the illusory energy) in the service of Lord Krishna.
Following Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s footsteps, he preached daivi varnashrama to harmonize society and provide spiritual fulfillment for all. Advocating the teachings of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvamis, he taught the science of devotional service, and showed thousands how to attain pure love for Sri-Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari (Radha-Krishna).
Aside from his phenomenal preaching success in India, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s greatest contribution was his foremost disciple Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he initiated and inspired to distribute Krishna consciousness all over the world. When Srila Prabhupada was asked to describe his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he said, “What can I say? He was a Vaikuntha man.”
In Radha-Govinda’s eternal pastimes in Goloka Vrndavana, Srila Sarasvati Thakura serves as Nayana-mani manjari.
His pushpa samadhis are at Radha-kunda and Radha Damodara.