04 June 1998
Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Today is the disappearance day of Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana - one of the most elevated acaryas in our disciplic succession. Today is also the birthday of Shrimati Gangamata Gosvamini, and it is also the very day that the Ganges River came to this world. Three holy days are here. In India, in all our Mathas (temples), there will be a very big festival of harikatha for these prominent leaders in devotion to Shri Krsna.
Baladeva Vidyabhusana was born in Orissa, near Puri, in a place called Chilka Lake. He was very brilliant, and in his boyhood he learned all vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar) as well as the Vedas, Upanisads and all other scriptures. He wanted especially to read and study Vedanta. He read Shri Sankaracarya's explanation of Vedanta, but he was not satisfied and wanted to study more. Therefore, he went to South India, to a place called Udupi, where he studied all the commentaries on Vedanta, like the Shri-bhasya of Shri Ramanuja, the Parijata-Saurabha-bhasya of Shri Nimbaditya, more of the Sariraka-bhasya of Shri Sankaracarya, the Sarvajna-Sukti-bhasya of Shri Visnusvami, the Brhad-bhasya and Anubhasya of Shri Madhvacarya, and the Bhaskara-bhasya of Shri BhaskaraAcarya. He became very learned, and after that he returned to his homeland with a desire to conquer the entire world - to free it of misunderstandings in philosophical tattva.
He went to Jagannatha Puri, and he thought, "Previously, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and many others like him have been here, so there must be so many learned persons in their line. I will conquer and defeat them." At that time there was a Gaudiya-Vaisnava present, named Radha-Damodara Prabhu, who was in the line of, and just after, Syamananda Prabhu, Rasikananda Prabhu, and Nayananda Prabhu. Radha-Damodara Prabhu was a very good scholar. He was very learned, but he kept all his knowledge hidden. He was a very simple person, always chanting and remembering in the line of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Shrila Rupa Gosvami. One day Baladeva Vidyabhusana came to defeat him, but when he heard all his siddhanta (conclusive truths) he thought, "I am very insignificant and I do not know anything in front of him. I am like a baby, a small baby." He at once surrendered to the lotus feet of Radha-Damodara and took initiation from him.
After that he went to Vrndavana and took shelter of his siksa-guru, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and he totally surrendered to him. There he read all of Shrila Jiva Gosvami's Six Sandarbhas: Tattva-sandarbha, Paramatma-sandharbha, Bhagavat-sandarbha, Krsna-sandarbha, Bhakti-sandarbha, and Prtti-sandarbha.
Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura had taken ksetra-sannyasa. Ksetra-sannyasa means that one lives either in Vraja-dhama, Navadvipa-dhama or Jagannatha Puri-dhama and takes a vow: "I will not leave this place." Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura had taken ksetra-sannyasa in Vrndavana-dhama. He had decided, "I will never go out of Vrndavana." Gradually, he reached the old age of one-hundred years, and at that time there was some quarrel.
Some of the members of the Ramanuja Sampradaya, which propounds vaidhi-bhakti and varnasrama dharma, challenged, "How is it that Shrimati Radhika, although not married to Krsna, always sits with Krsna? It is illegal." That was the first question. Second: "There is no mention of the name Radhika in Shrimad-Bhagavatam or in any other sastra." And third: "The GaudiyaVaisnavas are not in any Vaisnavasampradaya. There are only four sampradayas: Shri-Laksmi-sampradaya, Brahma-sampradaya, Rudra-sampradaya and Sanaka-sampradaya. In Kali-yuga there are four prominent acaryas: Ramanuja in the Shri-sampradaya, Madhvacarya in the Brahma-sampradaya, Visnusvami in the Rudra-sampradaya and Nimbaditya in the Sanaka-sampradaya. From where did these Gaudiya Vaisnavas recently come? We don't accept them. They have no commentary on Vedanta-sutra, so we cannot accept that they know siddhanta. We cannot accept their philosophical conclusions."
The King of Jaipura requested ShrilaVisvanatha Cakravarti Thakura to come, but he denied their request. He ordered his disciple Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu to go in his stead. Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu went there, together with another prominent disciple of Shrila VisvanathaCakravarti Thakura, and defeated all. He quoted many Puranas, Vedas, Upanisads and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, proving that Shrimati Radhika and Lord Shri Krsna are always together. Radhika is Krsna's potency or power - They cannot be separated.
Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana quoted a story from Shrila Jayadeva Gosvami's Gita-govinda that showed how Radhika was married to Krsna. He also quoted the history from Shrimad Bhagavatam wherein Lord Brahma stole all the cowherd boys and calves, and Krsna Himself became exact duplicates of all the boys. According to the Bhagavatam, that year Gargacarya announced that all the cowherd men should give in their daughters in marriage, because it was a very auspicious year. In that year, therefore, all the daughters were married to all the sons of the cowherd men. Actually, though, because the young cowherd boys were Krsna Himself, all the girls were married to Krsna.
Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu presented some verses from Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
yan no vihayagovindah
prito yam anayadrahah
["Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, Govinda, since He was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.30.28)]
There are so many verses substantiating the truth of Shri Shri Radha and Krsna. Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu quoted them all, and he proved that Radhika is Shri Krsna's own power - for Them there is no need to marry. The followers of the Ramanuja-sampradaya accepted these arguments. They were bound to accept; they were defeated.
The opposing party then said, "You have no bona fide Vaisnava sampradaya." Baladeva Vidyabhusana then proved the GaudiyaV aisnavas are in the line of Shri Madhvacarya. Shri Laksmipati Tirtha, who gave diksa to Shri Nityananda Prabhu, was a disciple of Shri Madhvacarya. Shri Madhavendra Puripada, the grand spiritual master of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was also a disciple of this Laksmipati Tirtha.
The followers of the Ramanuja-sampradaya challenged, "Laksmipati Tirtha was 'Tirtha' and Madhavendra Puri was 'Puri.' How did this difference come?
Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana clearly explained that one cannot decide a person's disciplic succession on the basis of sannyasa. Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was initiated by Shri Isvari Puripada at Gaya, and in Vaisnava siddhanta He followed Isvara Puripada. He did not follow Kesava Bharati, who gave Him sannyasa. The Guru is he who initiates by mantra-harinama and diksa-mantra. Shri Isvara Puripada gave Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the gopal-mantra, and Mahaprabhu followed Vaisnava religion according to the mood of Isvara Puripada, in the line of Madhavendra Puripada.
In the same way, although Shrila Madhavendra Puri received sannyasa from someone else, he was initiated into the gopal-mantra by Shri Laksmipati Tirtha. There was a householder devotee at that time, who took sannyasa from someone in the Sankara-sampradaya, just as Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did. Like Mahaprabhu, he was Vaisnava, not a mayavadi. That Vaisnava was named Visnu Puri, and he had been initiated in the Madhva-sampradaya. Madhavendra Puri took sannyasa from that Puri - from Visnu Puri. In this way, Gaudiya Vaisnavas are part of the Madhva-sampradaya.
Nowadays, there is a similar friction in Vrndavana and Navadvipa. One party is saying, "We, GaudiyaVaisnavas, are not under any Vaisnavas-ampradaya. We are fully independent. Why should Caitanya Mahaprabhu take shelter of any other sampradaya? He is Krsna Himself."
This argument is not correct. Shri Krsna accepted Sandipani Muni and Lord Ramacandra accepted Vasistha as their Gurus. The duty of a sampradaya-guru is not the job of Lord Krsna. Sampradayas are established by His powers and associates. Laksmi, Brahma, Visnusvami and Nimbaditya all are His associates. If Krsna were the head of the sampradaya, it would be called Krsna-sampradaya or Narayana-sampradaya - not Brahma-sampradaya. The names of all the sampradayas refer to the names of devotees: Shri-sampradaya, Brahma-sampradaya, Ramanuja-sampradaya and Madhva-sampradaya.
Nowadays, that party says that Gaudiya Vaisnavas are a separate and fully independent sampradaya. But Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, and before that Shrila Gopala-bhatta Gosvami and Shri Kavi-karnapura, have accepted the Madhva-sampradaya. So we must also accept the Madhva-sampradaya, as Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana has written in his books.
That party says that Baladeva Vidyabhusana went to Udupi, the place of Madhvacarya, and that he accepted the Madhva-sampradaya. They say his initiation was in the Madhva-sampradaya. They say that he later came in the association of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, but he never accepted GaudiyaVaisnavism, and that is why he said that Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the Madhva line.
This idea is totally wrong. If Baladeva Vidyabhusana was not in our Gaudiya Vaisnava line, how could he have explained all the sandarbhas of ShrilaJivaGosvami? He accepted Shri CaitanyaMahaprabhu as non-different from Shri Krsna. All his books are in our line - in the line of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He also explained Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Laghu-bhagavatamrta, as well all the books of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and the other books of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He was a Rupanuga Vaisnava.
If Shrila BaladevaVidyabhusana had not been present at that time, our GaudiyaVaisnava identity would have disappeared from this world. He established all the principles and philosophy established by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is a true Gaudiya Vaisnava.
For about one hundred years, Smartas have been raising this question, but Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura and all other great acaryas have defeated all their arguments. Our Guru Maharaja has very boldly written a book about this. I want to publish it, with so many notes and explanations. Very soon I will publish it. [This book was later published under the name Prabandha-Panchakam.]
So Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana prabhu is a very prominent person in our line. There are so many more things to tell; but time is going to be over, so I'm ending here.