Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada, was a preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism throughout India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was born on Friday, February 6, 1874 (Magh 25, 1280 Bengali, 1795 Saka), in the holy pilgrimage place of Jagannatha Puri at 3:30 P.M. to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhagavati Devi. It was Krishna Pancami of the month of Magh. He was given the name Bimala Prasada. At the age of seven, Bimala Prasada had memorized the more than seven hundred Sanskrit verses of the Bhagavad-gita and could speak illuminating commentaries upon them. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura trained his son in printing and proofreading.
By the time he was twenty-five years old, Bimala Prasada had acquired an impressive reputation as a scholar of Sanskrit, mathematics and astronomy. His astronomical treatise, Surya siddhanta, won him the title Siddhanta Sarasvati in recognition of his immense learning. In 1905, following the advice of his father, Siddhanta Saraswati accepted spiritual initiation from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji. Although Gaurakisora dasa Babaji was renowned as a saintly person and great devotee of Lord Krishna, he was illiterate. Satisfied with the humility and dedication of his highly educated disciple, Srila Gaurikisora gave him his full blessings and requested him to "preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other work". Siddhanta Sarasvati then proved himself a capable assistant in the missionary work of his father.
In 1922 Siddhanta Sarasvati became editor of his father’s journal Sajjana-tosani and founded the Bhagvata Press for publication of Krishna conscious literature. Then in 1918, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted the renounced order of spiritual life, assuming the title Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. For the purpose of propagating Krishna consciousness throughout India, he organized the Gaudiya Math with sixty-four branches throughout the country. The headquarters of his mission Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math is located in Sridhama Mayapur birthplace of Lord Caitanya.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta adjusted the traditions of Krishna consciousness to conform with the technological and the social condition of the twentieth century. He considered the printing press the most effective means of spreading Krishna consciousness throughout the world and was himself the author of many important translations, commentaries, and philosophical essays. He was the first spiritual master who allowed his renounced preachers (sannyasis) to wear western clothes and travel in modern conveyances rather than foot. He was also known as Simha (Lion) guru due to his fearless and ferocious preaching.
In 1922, an intelligent young college student named Abhaya Charan De happened to visit Srila Bhaktisiddhanta at the Gaudiya Math center in Calcutta. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta immediately advised the young man that he should preach the message of Krishna consciousness to the Western world in the English language. Although not able to immediately carry out Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's desire, Abhaya became an active supporter of the Gaudiya Math. In 1933, Abhaya formally became a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, who gave him the name Abhaya Charanaravinda.
Throughout the 1930s, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta expanded and increased his missionary work and succeeded in re-establishing Krishna consciousness as the leading force in Indian spiritual life. Anxious that his work continue, he urged his disciples to form a joint Governing Body Commission to manage the Gaudiya Math in his absence. On January 1, 1937, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati passed from this world.
Bhajans by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur