Book excerpts Acarya Kesari Service to the Sampradāya

Service to the Sampradāya

Some time in 1956, Śrīla Gurudeva came to Mathurā to visit Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. At that time, the followers of the Nimbārka sampradāya in Vṛndāvana were publishing a spiritual journal called Śrī Sudarśana. In one issue, they cast aspersions on Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, saying that He was a disciple of Keśava Kaśmīrī. In other issues they insolently dared to claim that Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas such as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura were in the Nimbārka sampradāya. When I [the author] showed these issues to Śrīla Gurudeva, he became extremely angry and immediately had a short essay written for Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā. The headline was ‘Śrī Nimbāditya and Nimbārka are not the same person’. The gist of the essay is as follows:

“Nowhere in the scriptures is there any mention of a Nimbārka sampradāya. The Purāṇas mention a Vaiṣṇava ācārya called Śrī Nimbāditya, and the Catuḥsana (the four Kumāras) have accepted this Nimbāditya Ācārya as their samprādaya-ācārya in the age of Kali. However, Nimbārka Svāmī is a completely different person. Nimbāditya was a disciple of Nāradajī at the end of Dvāpara-yuga and the beginning of Kali-yuga, but Nimbārka Ācārya appeared much more recently. Great and eminent authors of bona fide scriptures, such as Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, have mentioned the names of the prominent ācāryas of all the other sampradāyas, but they have not mentioned the name of Nimbārka Ācārya anywhere.

“The Nimbārka sampradāya currently uses the Pārijāta-bhāṣya, which was written not by Nimbāditya Ācārya, but rather by two of his disciples Śrīnivāsa Ācārya and Keśava Kaśmīrī, who then presented it as having been written by their guru. The scriptures of the six Gosvāmīs mention the names of ācāryas such as Śrī Rāmānuja, Śrī Madhva, Śrī Viṣṇusvāmī, Śrī Nimbāditya and Śrī Vallabha Ācārya. If the Nimbārka sampradāya had existed even to a slight extent at that time, then they would most certainly have mentioned the name of Nimbārka Ācārya as well. None of the other samprādaya ācāryas, such as Śrī Rāmānuja, Śrī Madhva and Śrī Viṣṇusvāmī, have mentioned Nimbārka Ācārya’s name in any of the scriptures that they have written.”

When this essay appeared in Śrī Bhāgavata-patrikā, the publishers of the Sudarśana journal announced that they were making arrangements to prosecute for slander. Śrīla Gurudeva replied firmly, “We will prove each and every word that we have written on the basis of evidence supported by śāstra.” When the prosecution party heard about Śrīla Gurudeva’s immense scriptural knowledge and profound personality, they became absolutely silent, and from that day onward they did not dare to write any more nonsense.

On another occasion, followers of the sahajiyās of Bengal wrote essays rife with apasiddhānta, opposing Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta. Śrīla Gurudeva argued with them in a similar way, using sharp words. The opposition party actually filed a lawsuit in court against Śrīla Gurudeva and other devotees, including the editor of Śrī Gauḍīya-patrikā. However, when they were faced with Śrīla Gurudeva’s train of thought, they also had to bow their heads in defeat. They begged him for forgiveness in the court and thereafter avoided him. For these reasons, oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Sāraṅga Gosvāmī Mahārāja, who was Śrīla Gurudeva’s dear godbrother and a leader of the Gauḍīya community, decorated Śrīla Gurupāda-padma with the title ‘pāṣaṇḍa-gajaika-siṁha – the lion who vanquishes the elephants of heresy’.

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