Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > Lord Chaitanya Eternal Associates > .Srila Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur;

.Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur;


The inundation of love of God which Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu caused the inhabitants of Santipur to drown in, the residents of Nadiya to float in and the people of Orissa, Bengal and the South of India to be carried away by the waves of this overpowering love; this power of love was fully manifested in the person of Shrila Narottam das Thakur, the supreme object of His mercy. One of the fruits which grows on this branch (Narottam Thakur) is the parambhagavat Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti. By the influence of his uncommon genius and transcendental capability a new age dawned within the society of Gauriya Baisnabs. After the disappearance of the Gosvamis of Brindaban he was the helmsman to steer the society of Baisnabs, delivering them from various seas of troubles within the ocean of danger.


Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur took birth in the year 1586 Sakabda, (approx.) within the district of Nadiya in the village of Debgram. His parents were Rarhi Sreni brahmanas. He also had two brothers named Rambhadra and Raghunath.

Within the district of Nadiya, Debgram had been renowned for a long time as a centre of learning and scholarship. Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti appeared here in the home of one professor, a Rarhiya brahmana. The names of his parents are unknown. Biswanath was the youngest of three brothers. After completing his studies at home in grammar, poetry and rhetoric, Biswanath came to a village on the banks of the Ganges within the district of Murshidabad, called Saidabad, where he took up his studies in the devotional scriptures (Bhakti sastra).

Guru pranali

Lokanath Gosvami Mahasoy, who was the direct recipient of the all-merciful instructions of Shriman Mahaprabhu Himself, had only one disciple, whose name was Narottam das. Shrila Narottam das Thakur Mahasoy along with Shrinibas Acarja Prabhu reintroduced Baisnab literatures, the pure mellows of conjugal ras described through kirtan and the proper behaviour for Baisnabs throughout the land of Gaurdesh. The branches and sub-branches (lines of disciplic succession) that descend from them, again filled up the land of Gaur mandala bhumi in the seventeenth century. In 1533 Sakabda, on the fifth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Kartik, Thakur Mahasoy again concealed himself from this world. At that time his chief disciple, Shrila Ganganarayan Cakrabarti and Shrila Ram Krishna Acarja Thakur, who was equally as dear to him as his own life, were regarded as the support and shelter for the Baisnab sampraday, inaugurated by Shrila Thakur Mahasoy. Shri Ganganarayan Cakrabarti was without any male issue. Only a daughter, named Bisnupriya, was born to he and his wife, Ram Narayani debi. Two sons, Radha Krishna and Krishna Caran, took birth from the womb of the personification of devotion and chastity, the good wife of Shrila Ram Krishna Acarja, the most dear friend and spiritual brother of GangaNarayan. As soon as his youngest son, Shri Krishna Caran, was born, Ram Krishna presented him to GangaNarayan as his foster son. Krishna Caran's study of the devotional scriptures and his practice of the principles of Baisnabism were just befitting the family in which he had appeared.

GangaNarayan used to reside at Gambhila (modern day Ajimgang/Jiaganj), a small hamlet on the banks of the Ganga within Balucor. Krishna Caran established there the worship of Shri Madan Mohan. Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti has mentioned this in his eight prayers to his param guru, included within Stavamrta lahari. "He whose residence is on the banks of the Ganga, whose life is Madan Mohan, who always desires to get the association of rasik bhaktas, who is very expert in delivering the fallen souls, who is compassionate to the gross materialists and who very quickly forgives his devoted followers, may that Shri Krishna Caran accept me, by bestowing on me the nectar of his lotus feet."

The highly qualified son of Shriyuta KrishnaCaran Cakrabarti was Shri RadhaRaman Cakrabarti. He was very well versed in knowledge of the scriptures, a great devotee and of an extremely liberal nature. While residing at Saidabad he lectured from the Shrimad Bhagavatam and other devotional scriptures for the benefit of his qualified disciples. When his father retired to Brindaban in his old age, RadhaRaman was then entrusted with the worship of Shri MadanMohan.

While studying Shrimad Bhagavatam from him, Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur became charmed with his wonderful qualities and thus accepted shelter at his feet. He has offered his prayers to his guru in Shri Gurucaran Smaranastakam contained within Stavamrta Lahari. He was fourth in the line of disciplic succession coming from Shrila Narottam das Thakur. Shri Cakrabarti Thakur resided with his guru for many years and composed many books during that time.


Study and Preaching of the Sastras

While studying the Shrimad Bhagavatam and other Bhakti sastras, Biswanath realized the temporality of family life and so, following the vow of brahmacarja, took up residence in gurukul and began to preach from and write commentaries on the bhakti sastras.

In those days the culture of Sanskrit was on the decline in Gaurdesh and therefore the common class of Baisnabs were not capable of discussing the conclusions put forth by the Gosvamis in their transcendental literatures. Fortunately enough, the crown jewel of the Gauriya bhaktas, Shrila Krishna das Kabiraj Gosvami, had compiled the essence of all these conclusions within his Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita. The supremely merciful Shri Narottam Thakur Mahasoy had also clearly delineated the path of sadhan bhakti through his prayers (Prarthana) and also Prembhakti candrika, both composed in Bengali. In order that Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Prembhakti candrika not be spoiled by improper conclusions (apasiddhanta), Biswanath Cakrabarti compiled commentaries on both these transcendental literatures.

For those who are very eager to engage in the bhajan of Shri Hari, but who have no proper knowledge of Sanskrit grammar, Biswanath composed in very simple Sanskrit language, three dissertations on three of the Gosvamis books, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Ujjval Nilamani and Laghu Bhagavatamrta. These are entitled, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu Bindu, Ujjval Nilamani Kiran and Bhagavatamrta Kanaika. Successively he began to compose commentaries on BhagavadGita (Sarartha Varsini), Ujjval Nilamani (Ananda Candrika), Vidagdha Madhava, Lalita Madhava, Gopal Tapani and Alankara Kaustubha (Subodhini). Most of these commentaries were written during his residence at Saidabad, since the        (signature) is given in these books as Saidabad nibasi, Shri Biswanath Sarmmana.

His studies of grammar, poetry and rhetoric were completed while he still lived at Nadiya. There is a story that he defeated one conquering pandit while he himself was still only a student. From his childhood he was completely indifferent to household life. In order to keep him at home, his father had him married at a very young age. However, he finally renounced family life and came to live at Shri Brndaban. His family members tried to bring him back but were unsuccessful.


Arrival in Brindaban

Hereafter Shrila Cakrabarti Mahasoy came to Brindaban where he took up residence at various different places. Requested by the members of his own sampraday he at this time began a commentary on the Shrimad Bhagavatam entitled, Sararthadarsini. It is mentioned at the end of his commentary on the third canto that he was living on the banks of the Jamuna at that time. Sarartha darsini was completed in the year 1626 Sakabda.


Before Biswanath came to Brindaban the previous opulence and beauty of Shri Brindaban Dham had already begun to conceal itself. With the disappearance of the Gosvamis, the glory, loveliness and grace of Krishna's transcendental abode gradually began to recede away from the vision of the people of this world. The congregation of disciples of Shrila Jiva Gosvami had by now already left this world. Even the Lord Shri Krishna Himself, in His various manifestations as the arca murti, had left Brindaban under the pretext of being intimidated by the Moghul warriors.

In approximately the year 1592 Sakabda, Aurangajeb marched with his troops into Mathura. At that time the beautiful temple of Shri Keshabdeb, built by Maharaja Birsimhadeb at great expense, was totally demolished.

Having been forewarned, the pujaris had already hidden or moved the Deities of Brindaban, Gokul, Mahaban, Mathura, etc. Leaving Brindaban in darkness Shri Gopinath, MadanMohan, Gobinda, RadhaBinod and RadhaDamodar all went away. ?Shri Keshabji of Mathura was brought to Nathdwar in Udoypur??

At the foot of the desire trees, seated on a royal simhasan within a jewelled room, that place where Shri Gobindaji manifested his uncommon beauty, His unprecedentally beautiful temple, was now plundered and broken. Eventually Shri Gobindadeb, Shri Gopinath, Shri MadanMohan, Shri RadhaDamodar, Shri RadhaBinod and Shri RadhaMadhab all came to Jaipur where They took shelter of Raja Shri Ramsimha, the eldest son of Raja Shri Jaisimha. The Bengali pujaris had also accompanied Them there, hoping to be able to continue to engage in Their transcendental Lordships service. Shri Brindadebi remained in Kammaban as she was averse to leave Shri Braja Dham.

Biswanath Cakrabarti appeared during very troubled times within the Baisnab community. In Bengal there were two heretical movements going on at the same time. One was started by Adwaita's son Balaram and the other by a disciple of Shrinibas Acarja, named Rup Kabiraj. This Rup Kabiraj was expelled from the Gauriya community by Hemalata Thakurani, the daughter of Shrinibas Acarja Prabhu. It is told how she ripped his neck beads off in a public gathering but only two of the three strands came off. There is still a class of followers of this Rup Kabiraj who only wear one strand of neck beads. They are known as the Atibari community.

The dignity of the Gauriya Baisnabs in Brindaban had gradually been reduced to a mortified state. Seeing the sorry plight that Brindaban had been reduced to, Biswanath resolved what he had to do. The hidden majesty of Brindaban had to again be brought to light. At this time the very gifted Shrila Baladeb Biddabhusan Mahasoy, came to Brindaban to assist Cakrabarti Mahasoy in his mission.

[NOTE: Baladeb Biddabhusan was initiated in the line of Shyamananda Prabhu. Shri Rasik Murari was the disciple of Shyamananda. Rasik Murari had a son named Shri Radhananda, and the son of Radhananda was Shri Nayanananda, the initiated disciple of Rasik Murari. The disciple of Nayanananda was Shri RadhaDamodarDeb, the author of Vedanta Syamantak. Baladeb Biddabhusan was the initiated disciple of this RadhaDamodar Deb.]


Baladeb Biddabhusan was a very learned scholar. Under the tutelage of Cakrabarti Mahasoy he very easily attained a high degree of proficiency in his understanding of the devotional scriptures (bhakti sastra). With the help of Baladeb, Biswanath Cakrabarti again began to preach throughout Braja Mandal, the philosophy expounded in the literatures of the Gosvamis. Thus various groups of students found their way here to enrich their lives with this rare commodity.


In Brindaban the devotees were suffering from the loss of Shri Jiva Gosvami and on top of that Aurangajeb had begun his campaign of demolishing temples and harassing the Baisnab community as a whole. Biswanath most probably came to Brindaban just after the temples were attacked in the 1670's.

Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur and Baladeb Biddabhusan have been called the second Rupa and Jiva Gosvamis.

Biswanath returned to Gaurdesh once, since he also had many disciples there. The father of Narahari Cakrabarti, who is the author of Bhakti Ratnakar  and Narottam Bilas, was a disciple of Cakrabarti Mahasoy from Reyapur, within the district of Murshidabad.

Very soon he returned to Shri Brindaban Dham however, where he took up residence on the banks of Shri RadhaKund. At this time one very extraordinary pastime took place which he has mentioned in his Mantrartha Dipika.

While deliberating on the meaning of the Kam gayatri he came across a passage in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita which explains that the mantra is arrayed in twenty-four and a-half syllables. However he couldn't understand how it was possible for there to be a half syllable. Though he searched throughout books on grammar, tantra, drama, rhetoric and some Puranic texts as well, he could find nowhere any mention of the existence of a half syllable.

Rather, in all of the various reference books he found only one consistent number mentioned, as the total number of vowels and consonants, namely fifty. This was also confirmed in Shrila Jiva Gosvami's HariNamamrtavyakaron

A meditation on the Divine Mother contained mantras for applying nyasa but there was no mention of a half syllable. In fact, in the Naradiya Purana, in the stotra containing one thousand names of Shri Radhika, he found one description of Brindabaneswari Radha as She Who is the embodiment of the fifty syllables in the alphabet. Then he had no recourse but to think, "Could Kabiraj Gosvami have made a mistake? But there is very little possibility of that happening also." Only if khanda ta is taken as a half syllable can we extricate Kabiraj Gosvami from the fault of contradicting the other sastras.

In one very beaufiful song written by Shrila Krishna das Kabiraj Gosvami he has compared Shri Krishna's face, and the nails on His hands and feet with so many moons. "His face itself is one full moon, His two cheeks are another two moons, the dot of candan on His forehead is a full moon, and His forehead is the moon on the astami day."

In this instance the moon on the astami day can be taken as a half moon. In the same way khanda ta could perhaps be taken as a half syllable but that would then mean that there were no longer a full fifty letters in the alphabet but only forty-nine.

If the syllable itself is not perceivable and the presiding Deity of that syllable will also not make his (or her) presence known, then there is nothing left for me to do but give up this life of mine that has become so miserable.

With this in mind he came to the banks of RadhaKund with his heart deeply afflicted and prostrated himself there. While contemplating the fate of his actions he became a little drowsy after the second prahar of the night had passed. In that condition he saw that Shri Brishabhanunandini had come before him saying, "He Biswanath! He Hariballabha! Please get up. Whatever Krishna das Kabiraj has written is full in truth. Due to having received My favour, he is my confidante and fully aware of all the moods of my heart. [If this subject matter is known to anyone then can there possibly remain anything left unknown to them?] So you have no reason to doubt anything he says. Kam gayatri is the mantra with which Myself and My PranBallabha are worshipped. By this mantra We become revealed to Our devotees. Without My favour no one is able to know Us.

In the book Var“agamabha‘vat you will find the description of the half syllable and it is from here only that Krishna das Kabiraj collected this proof. For the benefit of all you should note down this evidence."

Having received this instruction from Brsabhanunandini Shri Radhika Herself, Biswanath regained external consciousness and getting up he lamented loudly, "Ha Radhe! Radhe!"

Remembering Her specific words he consoled himself and deliberated how he might carry out Her instructions properly. While consulting the sastra he found this explanation, "Because y is followed by b????, it is considered half. All the other syllables are full moons."

Through the mercy of Shri Radhika, Biswanath had come to know the meaning of these verses of Kabiraj Gosvam,i but, more than that he had met his most worshipful Deity face to face. Now he felt included within the numbers of Her eternal associates. Thus he entered into those eternal pastimes through the medium of his spiritual body (siddha deha).

At this time he established a Deity of Shri Gokulananda there on the banks of RadhaKund. While directly perceiving the sweetness of the eternal Brindaban pastimes he now began his commentary on Shrila Kabikarnapur Gosvami's Ananda Vrndavana Campu, entitled Sukhavarttani.

From this point Baladeb Biddabhusan now took up the primary responsibility for instructing the students while Shri Biswanath passed most of the time internally absorbed in rendering service to the Divine Couple.


Establishing the Gauriya Vasinava Sampradaya

In Brindaban, after the disappearance of the Gosvamis and a gradual diminishing of people's remembrance of their authoritative position, there arose some difference of opinion regarding the alternate positions of svakiya and parakiya bhab. Though Biswanath was present in Brindaban to tide over the disagreements, in the western districts (Jaipur, Rajasthan) it still remained as quite a controversy. He composed at this time RagVartma Candrika and Gopipremamrta to refute the mistaken conclusions of the supporters of svakiyabad. However, the dispute remained unsettled.

The party of opposing Baisnabs convinced the Raja of Ambor (Jaipur) Jay Simha II, in the year Saka 1640, that the worship of Shrimati Radharani alongside of Shri Gobinda was not according to sastra since Shri Radhika's name was not to be found in either the Bisnu Purana or the Bhagavatam! Having no other recourse the King moved Shrimati Radhika's Murti to another room and made a separate arrangement for Her worship there. The elderly Baisnabs of Brindaban all took shelter of Shri Biswanath in order that this situation might be redressed properly.

By the order of Biswanath, Baladeb Biddabhusan proceeded to Jaipur where he defeated the supporters of this svakiyabad and thus established the worship of The Divine Couple, Shri Shri RadhaGobinda, as being perfectly bonafide.

Then at Golta Mandir, the seat of the Ramanandi Baisnabs, the Gauriya Baisnabs again came under attack. They were challenged that since they had no commentary on the Bedanta Sutras they could not be accepted as a bonafide sampraday, and therefore they, (the Bengali pujaris), had no right to engage directly in the worship of Shri Gobinda.

Again Baladeb accepted the challenge and produced the commentary on Bedanta Sutra in only a matter of days, which he entitled Shri Govinda Bhasya (the dictation of Shri Gobinda).


Shri Cakrabarti Thakur took up residence with Shri Mukunda das, who lived in Krishna das Kabiraj Gosvami's bhajan kutir at Radhakunda. There he very intently studied the books and letters of the Gosvamis and composed many commentaries on their writings. He used to worship a Deity named Gokulananda. Another name of Biswanatha Cakrabarti Thakur was Shri Hariballabha das.


In 1641 Sake (1719 Chris.) Mohammed Shah ascended the throne of Dilli (Delhi). He appointed the powerful and diplomatic Jay Simha II as his commanding general. Mohammed Shah was very intelligent and thus appointed Jay Simha as the governor of the province of Mathura in the year 1721.

After the victory of Baladeb at Golta, the Maharaj became very subservient to he and Biswanath Cakrabarti, aware as he was of their profound scholasticism and realization of transcendental mellows.

However, when requested by them to bring the original Deities of Brindaban, Shri Gobindaji, Shri MadanMohan, Shri Gopinath, Shri RadhaDamodar and Shri RadhaBinod back to Brindaban, he counseled them against this. The Muslims had caused a lot of trouble in the past and there was no guarantee that they would do nothing in the future, as long as they retained control of the throne. The Maharaja suggested that representative Deities of the original Deities be installed there in Brindaban.

Shri Cakrabartipad and Shri Biddabhusan gave their consent.

During the seven or so years that Maharaj Jay Simha remained the governor of Mathura Mandal, three new temples were built for Shri Gobinda, Shri MadanMohan, and Shri Gopinathji, and Their murtis installed therein. This has all been mentioned in the book BhaktaKalpadrum (Hindi).

In the early 1800's Nanda Kumar Basu Mahasoy, of Baru gram (24 Parganas), contributed towards the construction of the present temples as we see them today. The present Deity of Shri Gobindadeb is said to have been installed in the year 1911, in the month of Boisakh.


The veritable Form of ecstasy permeated by transcendental mellows, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, had given a Gobardhan Sila to Shri Raghunath Das Gosvami to worship. After his disappearance the worship was entrused to Krishna das Kabiraj Gosvami and after him, to Shri Mukunda das. Thereafter the worship came to Shri Krishnapriya Thakurani, the daughter of Bisnupriya (who was the daughter of Ganga Narayan Cakrabarti, the disciple of Narottam Thakur). In her old age she attained great satisfaction in seeing Shri Cakrabartipada worship this sila in her presence, and so she left Him in his care after her departure. This Gobardhan Sila is still being worshipped in Brindaban alongside the Deity of Gokulananda established by Shri Biswanath Cakrabarti.


When composing songs, Shri Cakrabartipad would include his signature as HariBallabha das. Similarly, the author of BhaktiRatnakar, Narahari Cakrabarti, has signed his songs with the name Ghanasyama das.

from the Bengali/ Mahamahopadhyay Shrila Biswanath Cakrabarti Thakur

{compiled by Shri Satyendranath Basu}

If anybody could be compared with Rupa Gosvami a a writer on Rasa, it is only Biswanath Cakrabarti who comes to mind. He was a poet by nature. He possessed a very high standard of poetical genius, great intellectual gifts and an equally strong bent towards the analysis of Bhaktirasa. His voluminous writings are remarkable for his clarity of thought and simplicity of style. His commentaries on Rupa Gosvami's writings make them simplified by his quick understanding and assimilation. He has discussed Bhakti in all of its facets with masterly skill and lucidity. His literary productivity was very extensive and his works are scattered all over the country which makes things more difficult. The following is at least a partial list of some of his compositions.

ShriKrishnabhavanamrtamahakavya, Swapnavilasamrtakavya, Madhuryakadambini, Aiswaryakadambini, Camatkaracandrika, Shri Gaurangalilamrta, Ksandagitacintamani, Ragavartmacandrika, Gopipremamrta, Premsamput, Smaranamangala, Sadhyasadhankaumudi, Mantrarthadipika, Gauragoncandrika, SankalpaKalpadrumah, Baisnabbhagavatamrta, Vrajariticintamani, Radhikadhyanamrta, Rupacintamani, Suratakathamrta, Stavamrtalahari,

BhaktiRasamrtaSindhuBhaktiSarPradarsini, GopaltapaniBhaktaharsini, DankeliKaumadiMahati, BhaktiRasamrtaSindhuBindu, UjjvalKiran, BhagavatamrtaKanika, GaurganaswarupTattvaCandrika,

ShrimadBhagavatasararthadarsini tika, ShrimadBhagavadgitasararthavarsini tika, Alankarakaustubhasubodhini tika, AnandaBrindabancampusukhavartani tika, Vidagdhamadhavanataker tika, Ujjvalanilamanianandacandrika tika,

ShriChaitanyacandramrta tika, BrahmaSamhita tika, PremBhaktiCandrika tika, Anandacandrika (Shri Ujjvalnilamanir tika), Chaitanya Charitamrita tika, Lalitamadhaver tika.


His disappearance is on the Basantpancami, in the month of Magh.