In every age, Bhagavān and His dear associates appear on Earth, bringing with them gifts of universal auspiciousness. Each time they come, the gifts they bring have their own unique and original nature. Bhagavān is an ocean of compassion, and He and His dear associates do not come to cheat the inhabitants of this material universe by giving away any perishable wealth or commodity. They descend to give in charity something for the eternal welfare of the soul. Their gifts, or contributions, cannot be seen as gross, mundane objects of sense gratification. If anyone tries to view the immortal charity they bestow as gross sense enjoyment, then he is bound to be bereft of the immense mercy of their gift.
Each of the various gifts given by the supremely kind Bhagavān and His associates is unique, but nothing can compare with the prema-bhakti distributed by Śrī Gaurasundara, for it includes the original nature and specialities of all the immortal contributions of all previous incarnations (avatāras) and ācāryas.
Vrajendra-nandana Śyāmasundara, having accepted the ecstatic emotions and lustre of Śrī Rādhā, appeared in this world in the form of Śrī Gaurasundara. He is supremely merciful (parama-karuṇa) and the supreme enjoyer of rasa (rasika-śekhara). Therefore, through the medium of śrī harināma, He has distributed a distinctive type of prema-bhakti in this world.
By the inspiration and mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī initiated the flow of the river of bhakti-rasa, writing books such as Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi. This is the fundamental asset of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, jagad-guru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda and all other rūpānuga Vaiṣṇavas have preached and propagated this very same śuddha- or prema-bhakti.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in this world with His associates and preached harināma-saṅkīrtana and pure bhakti throughout India in just a few years. Similarly, oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda descended to the Earth with his associates roughly one hundred and twenty-five years ago and preached śrī nāma-saṅkīrtana and pure bhakti throughout the world in a very short time. Śrī Gurupāda-padma, oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was prominent among Śrīla Prabhupāda’s confidential associates.
When jagad-guru Śrīla Prabhupāda entered nitya-līlā, a dark age arrived for the Sārasvata Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. The stream of śuddha-bhakti that Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Prabhupāda had initiated began to diminish. Their daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly magazines and journals in different languages were stopped. The sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs in the preaching centres established by Śrīla Prabhupāda lost their enthusiasm. Abandoning the principal maṭha, they began to establish their separate, independent maṭhas. Many of those who had previously lived in the āśrama returned to household life. In this way, the current of preaching began to dry up.
Śrīla Gurupāda-padma wrote in his brief autobiography, “After the entrance of our śrī gurudeva into the unmanifest pastimes on 1 January 1937, various kinds of disturbances began to erupt in the Gauḍīya mission. I left Śrī Caitanya Maṭha under these difficult circumstances in June 1939, and in 1940, on Akṣaya-tṛtīyā in the month of Vaiśākha, I founded Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti in a rented building at 32/2 Bospāḍā Lane, Bāgbāzār, Kolkata. After that, in September 1941, on the Pūrṇimā day of Bhādrapada, in Kaṭvā, where Śrīman Mahāprabhu previously took sannyāsa, I accepted tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa from pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Mahārāja, who had accepted
the renounced order from Śrīla Prabhupāda. I then returned to my maṭha in Śrī Dhāma Navadvīpa, and from there began preaching and travelling extensively.”
Ācārya kesarī oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Mahārāja’s strategy in preaching was to first break apart the ill-conceived doctrines opposed to bhakti, such as māyāvāda, smārta and sahajiyā, and then establish the pure bhakti practised and preached by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas. We are herein giving an account of the nature of the pure bhakti that he disseminated. In his preaching, he always used to quote two particular verses as evidence to establish bhakti. The first verse is by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura:
ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanaya-stad-dhāma vṛndāvanaṁ
ramyā kācid upāsanā vraja-vadhū-vargeṇa yā kalpitā
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalaṁ premā pumartho mahān
śrī-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādaro naḥ paraḥ
Both Bhagavān Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the magnificent Śrī Dhāma Vṛndāvana are the exclusive objects of worship. The mood in which the young brides of Vraja have worshipped Kṛṣṇa is the most excellent of all. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam alone is the immaculate evidence (śabda-pramāṇa) and prema is the supreme objective of life. This is the supremely worshipful siddhānta of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There is no other conception worthy of respect.
The other verse is the first śloka from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s Daśamūla-tattva (Ten Fundamental Truths):
āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktiṁ rasābdhiṁ
tad bhinnaṁśaṁś ca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad-vimuktāṁś ca bhāvād
bhedābheda-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat-prītim evety upadiśati janān gauracandraḥ svayaṁ saḥ
The message of the Vedas received through guru-paramparā is called āmnāya. The Vedas and smṛti-śāstra (such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam) which follow the Vedic version have been accepted as authoritative proof, as have different types of evidence such as direct perception, inasmuch as they confirm the Vedic version. From these sources of evidence, the following essential truths are established: (1) Hari is the Supreme Truth, (2) He is sarva-śaktimān, endowed with all potencies, (3) He is akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the ocean of all nectarean transcendental mellows, (4) two kinds of jīvas, namely liberated and conditioned (mukta and baddha), are His separated expansions (vibhinnāṁśa-tattva), (5) the conditioned souls are under the control of māyā, (6) the mukta-jīvas are liberated from the influence of māyā, (7) everything in existence, whether conscious or unconscious, is a manifestation of Śrī Hari and is simultaneously and inconceivably one with and different from Him, (8) bhakti is the only sādhana, or means to attain the goal, and (9) love for Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-prīti ) is the sole objective (sādhya).
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