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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Previous Acaryas


Previous Acaryas


1.Why are the four-authorized sampraddya acaryas distinguished from each other?


Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnusvami, and Sri Nimbaditya are the four Vaisnava acaryas. Many others also became Vaisnava acaryas, and they are certainly  followers of one of the four above-mentioned acaryas. Sri Ramanuja is the propounder of visistddvaita philosophy, Sri Madhva is the profounder of  suddha-dvaita philosophy, Sri Visnusvami is the propounder of suddhadvaita philosophy, and Sri Nimbaditya is the propounder of dvaitadvaita philosophy.

(Sajjana-tosanl 1-1)


2.What preaching responsibility did Sri Gaurasundara entrust upon Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and others?


Srlman Mahaprabhu empowered and ordered Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu to preach the glories of the Lord's holy name. He empowered and ordered  Sri Rupa Gosvami to reveal the science of the mellows of devotional service. He ordered Sri Sanatana Gosvami to preach about vaidhl-bhakti and its  relationship with raganugabhakti. He also ordered Sri Sanatana Gosvami to reveal the relationship between the manifest and unmanifest pastimes of Gokula. He  empowered Sri Jlva Gosvami through Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Sanatana to reveal the science of sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. {Jaiva Dharma Chapter  39)


3.What responsibility was entrusted to Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami?


Sriman Mahaprabhu ordered Sri Svarupa Damodara to teach worship of the Lord through loving devotional service. According to the Lord's order, Sri Svarupa  Damodara composed his kadaca or writings in two parts. He described worshiping the Lord in the mood of transcendental mellows: by the internal path in the  first part and by the external path in the second part. He imparted the internal path to Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who revealed it in his books, and he  imparted the external path to Srimad Vakresvara Gosvami.

{Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


4.Raya Ramananda was entrusted to spread the science of the mellows of devotional service. Who completed that responsibility?


The responsibility of preaching the science of the mellows of devotional service, which Sriman Mahaprabhu entrusted to Raya Ramananda, was completed by Sri  Rupa Gosvami.{Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


5. Who was the commander-in-chief of the Gaudiya acaryas?


Sri Sanatana Gosvami was the commander-in-chief of our Gaudiya acaryas.{Tatparya-anuvada, Brhad-bhdgavatamrta 2/1/14)


6.Why are all the Vaisnavas eternally indebted to Sri Sanatana?


After fully empowering Sri Sanatana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sent him from KasI to Sri Vrndavana to rediscover the lost holy places. Being fully ecstatic on  receiving the mercy of Mahaprabhu, Sri Sanatana went to Vrndavana and met his brother Sri Rupa and other devotees. Thereafter he discovered many holy places  in Vrndavana, inaugurated deity worship, and compiled much literature glorifying devotional service to the Lord. O Readers! The entire Vaisnava society is  indeed eternally indebted to the Gosvamls, headed by Sri Sanatana.{Sajjana-tosanl 2/7)


7.What are the activities and preaching of Sri Ru pa?


Sri Rupa heard the name Mahaprabhu, the son of SacI and the moonlike personality of Navadvlpa, and from that day, Sri Rupa felt pain in his heart because of  his intense desire to see Mahaprabhu. On his way to Sri Vrndavana, Sri Caitanyadeva, who is fully acquainted with the heart of His devotees, and who is the  Supersoul of everyone, came to the village Ramakeli and gave darsana to Sri Rupa. After seeing Mahaprabhu, Sri Rupa considered his life successful and became  merged in the ocean of transcendental bliss. The illusory energy of the Lord can never bind the eternally liberated devotees of Krsna. Within a few days of  their meeting, Sri Rupa gave up the desire for material happiness, and being fully detached, he went to the holy place Prayaga and fell at the lotus feet of  Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu empowered Sri Rupa by bestowing mercy on him, and after instructing him on the subject of transcendental mellows, Mahaprabhu sent him  to Sri Vrndavana to discover the lost holy places. Taking the instructions of Mahaprabhu as his life and soul, Sri Rupa went to Vraja. In Vraja, after  meeting with all the devotees,he discovered the lost holy places and inaugurated the deity worship of the Lord.


Thereafter, with a desire to benefit the living entities of this age of Kali, who are bewildered by their sinful activities and the threefold material  miseries, he composed many books based on the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Some of his books are Bhakti-rasdmrta-sindhu, Laghu-bhdgavatdmrta, Harhsaduta,  Uddhava-sandesa, Krsna-janma-tithi-vidhi, Laghu and Brhat Ganoddesa-dipika, Stavamdld, Vidagdha-mddhava, Lalita-mddhava, Ddna-keli-kaumudi, Ujjvala-nilamani,  Prayuktdkhya Candrikd, Mathurd-mdhdtmya, Padydvall, and Nataka-candrika.


Sri Gaurangadeva, the deliverer of the fallen souls, preached humility through Rupa and Sanatana, detachment through Svarupa Damodara, tolerance through  Haridasa Thakura, and self-control through Ramananda Raya. According to the statements of some devotees, Mahaprabhu preached about His pastimes through Sri  Rupa, devotional service through Sri Sanatana, the glories of holy names through Haridasa Thakura, and love of God through Raya Ramananda. We have no  argument in this regard.However, the sad part is that many mundane sahajiyds, such as nedds, bdulas, karttdbhajds, and rasika-sekharas, unlawfully claim that  those great souls are dcdryas of their respective line, and therefore many civilized persons do not have faith in the most sanctified philosophy of  Vaisnavism preached by Mahaprabhu.(Sajjana-tosani 2/8)


8. Are the conclusions of Sri Ru pa acceptable to all?


Sri Rupa has always established his conclusions with reason and scriptural evidence. Followers of different sampraddyas do not like to accept many of his  conclusions, but those who follow the path of worship to attain the platform of pure goodness certainly respect the conclusions of Sri Rupa.

(Sajjana-tosani 11/3)


9.Is Raghunatha dasa Gosvami a follower of Sri Rupa?


Sri Krsna Caitanya, the Lord of the sannydsis, lived at Nllacala in the guise of a sannydsi. He enjoyed spiritual bliss in the association of Svarupa  Damodara and Ramananda Raya, and revealed to them the most confidential subject matter. He taught this same spiritual truth to Raghunatha and sent him to Sri  Rupa. Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami worshiped Krsna in Vraja in the association of Sri Rupa and composed the famous book Sri Manah-siksd.

(Sri Manah-siksd Verse 5)


10.What responsibility did Mahaprabhu entrust to Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami?


Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami was entrusted to preach the glories of Srimad-Bhdgavatam. (Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


11.What was the responsibility of Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami?


His responsibility was to prevent anyone disregarding the process oivaidhl-bhakti and distorting the truth of the mellows of pure devotional service.

(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


12.What responsibility was entrusted to Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati?


His responsibility was to preach to the world that worship on the path of rdga according to the moods of the Vrajavasis is the highest of all.

(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


13.What was Sarvabhauma's responsibility?

Lord Caitanya entrusted Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya to spread knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya passed on this knowledge through one of  his disciples to Sri Jiva.(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


14.What was the responsibility entrusted to the Gaudiya Vaisnavas?


The Gaudiya Vaisnavas were instructed to reveal to the living entities the truth about Sri Gaura and to awaken their faith in Krsna. The Lord also ordered  some great devotees to perform and engage others in performing ecstatic kirtana, glorifying the pastimes of the Lord.

{Jaiva Dharma Chapter 39)


15.Who is the dcdrya or the authority on the science of the Absolute Truth in the Gaudiya Vaisnava-sampradaya?


Sri Jiva Gosvamlpada is our dcdrya or authority on the science of the Absolute Truth. He was always situated under the care and guidance of Sri Rupa and Sri  Sanatana.(Brahma-samhitd 5/37)


16.What are the characteristics of Sri Jiva Gosvami?


Just by hearing the name Sri Jiva Gosvami, the hearts of the Vaisnavas begin to dance in ecstasy. Sri Jiva Gosvami studied all the devotional literature from  Sri Rupa. Within a short time, Sri Jiva Gosvami was accepted as the only dcdrya or authority on literature regarding the Absolute Truth in the  Gaudlya-sampradaya. Sri Jiva Gosvami did not leave Sri Vrndavana-dhama. During his stay in Vrndavana, Sri Jiva Gosvami composed twenty-five books. In the  Vedanta philosophy, there was no one equal to Sri Jiva at that time. It is said that once Sri Vallabhacarya, who belongs to the Visnusvaml-sampradaya, showed  his book, Tattvadipa, to Sri Jiva. Sri Jiva pointed out many impersonal thoughts in his book and exposed Sri Vallabhacarya's disgraceful opinion. Later, Sri  Vallabhacarya amended the major portion of his book according to the guidance of Sri Jiva. The sat-sandarbha written by Sri Jiva is a jewel in this world. If  someone properly understands the sat-sandarbha, no Vedic conclusions remain unknown to him.(Sajjana-tosanl 2/12)


17.What are the characteristics of Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami?


From his childhood, Gopala Bhatta was a staunch follower of the Vaisnava religion. He properly studied the Vedas and other Vedic literature from his uncle,  Sri Prabhodananda SarasvatI, who was a wandering mendicant. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu traveled to South India to bestow His mercy on the residents there,  He met Gopala Bhatta. When they met, Gopala Bhatta took shelter at Sri Mahaprabhu's lotus feet. The most merciful Mahaprabhu empowered him by showering  special mercy upon him. On the strength of this empowerment, Gopala Bhatta left home, went to Sri Vrndavana and in the association of Sri Rupa, discovered  many lost holy places of Sri Vrndavana and compiled many books on devotional service and Vaisnava smrti. By the order of Sri Rupa, he manifested the service  of Sri Radha-Ramana in Vrndavana.(Sajjana-tosanl 2/7)


18.Who is Sri Jahnava-devi? How did she benefit the Vaisnava society?


The appearance festival of Srlmatl Jahnava-devi is very auspicious for the pure devotees, who are attached to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya. In the year  1409 or 1410 of the Saka Era, Sri Jahnava-devi appeared at Ambika-kalana from the womb of Bhadravati, the fortunate wife of Sri Suryadasa Pandita, who was a  dear associate of Mahaprabhu. In due course of time, Sri Nityananda Prabhu married Sri Jahnava and her elder sister, Srlmatl Vasudha-devi, who were adorned  with all divine qualities. In approximately 1465 Saka, Jahnavadevl adopted as her son Ramacandra, the grandson of Sri Varhsivadanananda and the son of Sri  Caitanya, and thereafter she gave him initiation. The many wonderful activities performed by Sri Jahnava-devi, who was the energy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu  and who was nondifferent from Anahga-mahjari, are almost unknown to the Vaisnava society. (Sajjana-tosani 2/4)


19.Who is the original emperor of the empire of pure devotional literature?


Thakura Vrndavana dasa was not only a jewel in the Vaisnava society but was also an ornament in the society of Bengali literature. Just as the poet Chaucer  is highly regarded among the English-speaking people, similarly Thakura Vrndavana dasa should be highly regarded among the Bengali-speaking people. Actually,  before Thakura Vrndavana dasa, no one composed any book of poems regarding pure devotional service in Bengali. His chaste mother, Narayani, was worshipable  by all the Vaisnavas, and there is no doubt that Vrndavana dasa Thakura was an incarnation of Vyasadeva.(Sajjana-tosani 2/2)


20.What beneficial activity did Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami perform for the world?


Kaviraja Gosvami was a learned scholar of all the scriptures. This is easily realized by reading his books Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Govinda-lildmrta, and his  Sarahga Rahgada commentary on Sri Krsna-karnamrta. Srila Kaviraja Gosvami was a great devotee and one of the principal scholars in the sampraddya of Sri  Caitanyadeva. We do not need to prove this statement. The books written by Kaviraja Gosvami are proof of this. One becomes struck with wonder by seeing the  unlimited glories of Kaviraja. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is an extremely wonderful book, compiled out of compassion for persons who have no knowledge of  Sanskrit. In our opinion,if Kaviraja Gosvami did not exhibit such compassion, then persons who are ignorant of scriptural knowledge and philosophy would  never know the eternal Vaisnava religion instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Who knows, what would have been their fate. Kaviraja! You are glorious!  Learned and ignorant devotees of the Vaisnava sampraddya are indebted to you. How much can we sing about your glories with one mouth? The pure Vaisnavas are  always singing your qualities. O Kaviraja! Which atheist will not like to take shelter of your lotus feet if he remembers your perfect words? You have said  in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 2.87)


yeba nahi bujhe keha,sunite sunite seha, ki adbhuta caitanya-carita

krsne upajibe priti, janibe rasera riti,sunilei bada haya hita


"If one does not understand in the beginning but continues to hear again and again, the wonderful effects of Lord Caitanya's pastimes will bring love for  Krsna. Gradually one will come to understand the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis and other associates of Vrndavana. Everyone is advised to  continue to hear over and over again in order to greatly benefit." (BBT TranslationŠ)


On the strength of such perfect words, many foolish persons in the Vaisnava sampraddya are becoming greatly qualified to understand Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.  O Kaviraja! We offer innumerable obeisances at your lotus feet.(Sajjana-tosani 2/10-11)


21. What benefit did Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu do for the society of Gaudiya Vaisnavas?


In his childhood, Srinivasa heard about the transcendental qualities of Mahaprabhu from the mouth of his own father,who was a surrendered soul at the feet of  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and who took shelter of Him. As soon as Srinivasa reached boyhood, he took permission from his parents and accepted the renounced  order of life.Thereafter, he went to Sri Navadvlpa-dhama with a desire to see Srlmatl Visnupriya Thakurani, the consort of Mahaprabhu, and Sri  Varhsivadanananda Prabhu, who was her guard and a favorite of Mahaprabhu. Srinivasa also wanted to visit all the places of Mahaprabhu's pastimes. After  arriving in Navadvlpa, he stayed at the house of Sri Visnuprlya-mata for a few days and heard topics about Mahaprabhu. Then he visited the places of  Mahaprabhu's pastimes in the company of Varhsivadanananda Prabhu. Thereafter he took leave of Visnupriya and Varhsivadanananda. He visited twelve birth sites  of renowned Vaisnavas and other places where the devotees of Caitanya were residing. After meeting and associating with devotees for some time, he went to  Sri Purusottama-dhama. Srinivasa returned from Purusottama to Gaura-mandala and stayed there for some time.


Then he departed for Sri Vrndavana-dhama for darsana. After arriving in Vraja, Srinivasa met with the Gosvamls. He visited all the holy places in Vraja in  their association and began to relish newer and newer sentiments. After residing in Vraja for a long time, he returned to the spiritual abode of  Gaura-mandala and delivered all the sinful people.(Sajjana-tosani 2/10/11)


22. What favor did Sri Syamananda Prabhu do for the Vaisnava world?


Syamananda was born in the Karana family on the full moon day in the month of April in a village called Dandakesvara in Orissa. He spent his childhood at  home and as soon as he became a youth he left home and accepted the renounced order of life. On seeing his renunciation, the devotees of Sri Gaurahga  Mahaprabhu, awarded him the name Dukhl Krsnadasa. Realizing that it was useless to perform bhajana without first taking initiation, he took initiation from  Sri Hrdaya-caitanya, who was the dear disciple of Sri Gauridasa Pandita, an associate of the Lord. After taking initiation and understanding that it is a  disciple's duty to serve his spiritualmaster, he stayed with his spiritual master and served him. After some time, he took permission from his spiritual  master and went to visit the holy places of Vrndavana. After arriving in Vrndavana, he soon received the mercy of the Gosvamls, headed by Sri Raghunatha  dasa.


The high standard of his renunciation was simply wonderful. Everyone was struck with wonder by seeing his renunciation. He joined Srinivasa Acarya and  Narottama Thakura in Bengal and lived there for a long time, delivering many foolish atheists by preaching devotional service to Krsna. These topics are  elaborately described in many Vaisnava books. We have a great desire to publish the glories of the great personalities in detail.{Sajjana-tosani 2/6)


23. Why were Srinivasacarya, Sri Narottama, and Sri Syamananda Prabhu called "Gitacaryas"?


The three great souls, Srinivasacarya, Sri Narottama, and Sri Syamananda lived in Vrndavana for some time as the students of Sri JIva Gosvaml. With the  approval of Sri Jlva Gosvaml, they arranged the method of performing klrtana. All three of them were expert in the art of music and proficient in Indian  classical music. Their lives were one, their goal was one, and they were the most intimate friends. Being encouraged by Sri JIva Gosvaml, the three expert  and melodious singers went to their respective provinces. These three great souls were the ornaments of the land of Gauda, Bengal. It does not appear that  they were as learned in Sanskrit as the Gosvamls, because we do not find any Sanskrit books written by them. They were fully mature in knowledge of the  mellows of Vraja,expert in Vaisnava conclusions, and proficient in the art of music and singing.


After the disappearance of Sriman Mahaprabhu, there was some commotion within the Vaisnava society. Since there was no qualified candidate in the line of  Mahaprabhu at that time and since various ideologies entered the philosophy of Vaisnavism, the land of Gaudadesa became bereft of the administration of an  dcarya. Due to His independent nature, Sri Vlracandra Prabhu could not bring all of Gauda-mandala-bhumi under His control. At the same time, there was great  confusion among the sons of Sri Advaita Prabhu. Gradually the associates and devotees of Mahaprabhu began to disappear. Taking this opportunity, many  preachers of unauthorized sects, such as baula, sahajiyd, daravesa, and sdni, began to spread their ideologies at different places. Taking advantage of the  faith that the people had in the names of Sri Caitanya and Nityananda, these preachers of unauthorized cults began to spread their evil teachings to the  unfortunate living entities.


Sri Jiva Gosvami was the only undisputed Vaisnava dcdrya at that time. Although he was a resident of Vraja, on hearing the pathetic condition of  Gauda-mandala, he became extremely distressed and immediately sent Srlnivasacarya Prabhu, Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, and Sri Syamananda Prabhu to Bengal as  dcdryas to teach religious principles. He also arranged to send many conclusive writings of the Lord's associates. By the will of Mahaprabhu, all these books  were stolen on the way. Having no books with them, they began to preach the pure principles of Vaisnava religion on the strength of their own bhajana.

(Sajjana-tosani 6/2)


24. Who was Srila Baladeva Vidyabhu sana? What is the difference between Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhu sana?


Vidyabhusana Mahasaya was a special star in the Gaudiya Vaisnava-sampradaya. Nobody after the six Gosvamis has done the amount of service that he did for  this sampraddya. From this, we can clearly understand that he was one of the eternal associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu. One Vaisnava book mentions that Sri  Gopinatha Misra, an associate of Sri Caitanya, was an incarnation of Brahma. Gopinatha Misra directly heard Mahaprabhu explain the Absolute Truth to  Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Later, Sri Gopinatha Misra appeared as Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the commentator of Brahma-sampradaya. The words of the Vaisnavas are  always true and this fact appears to be correct. Some foolish people say that the philosophy of Vidyabhusana is more modern than the philosophy of the  Gosvamis. We have carefully checked this and found that there is no difference whatsoever between the philosophy of Sri Baladeva and Sri Jiva Gosvami. The  only difference is that (to protect the gravity of the commentaries of Sri Jiva Gosvami) Sri Baladeva has used more sophisticated and intellectual words.  Still he did not change the philosophy at all. Both of them stated the same conclusion regarding the Absolute Truth and the processes of worship.

(Sajjana-tosani 9/10)


25. What did Sri Bhaktivinoda say about Srila Jagannatha dasa Gosvami?


O dear devotees of Gaurahga, like Sri Jagannatha dasa, we offer our respectful obeisances at your feet and pray with folded hands that all of you may take  the position of Sri Sanatana Gosvami and point out the exact land of Sri Mayapura. Now all of you are our authorities and spiritual masters. Who else should  we approach? (Sri Visnupriya Magazine)


26. How have the present dcdryas carried out the mission of the previous acaryas?


The great reformers will always assert that they have come, not to destroy the old law, but to fulfill it. Valmiki, Vyasa, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu assert the  fact either directly or by their conduct.(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics & Its Theology)