Book excerpts Acarya Kesari The Śrī Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya is in the Line of Śrī Madhva

The Śrī Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya is in the Line of Śrī Madhva

First we shall mention some prominent arguments put forward by Śrī Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda.

Objection 1: “According to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka, Śrī Caitanyadeva accepted sannyāsa from a kevalādvaita-vāda sannyāsī, Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, and He referred to Himself as a māyāvāda sannyāsī. In addition to this, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, who was the guru of the māyāvāda sannyāsīs of Kāśī, also described Him as a sannyāsī from a māyāvādī sampradāya (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 7.66–67):

keśava-bhāratīra śiṣya, tāte tumi dhanya
sāmpradāyika sannyāsī tumi, raha ei grāme

You are greatly fortunate to be a disciple of Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, You are a sannyāsī of our māyāvāda sampradāya, and You also reside in this village.

Sarvabhauma Bhattācārya has also accepted this: ‘bhāratī-sampradāya ei—hayena madhyama – He is within the Bhāratī sampradāya and therefore a second-class sannyāsī’ (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 6.72).”

Refutation: This argument of the opposing party is totally unfounded. After a jīva has realized that material existence in the chain of birth and death is useless and distressful, he can recognize that the attainment of service to the lotus feet of Bhagavān is the supreme auspiciousness. Therefore, one who is extremely fortunate accepts both initiation (dīkṣā) and instructions (śikṣā) from a person who is thoroughly versed in the Vedic scriptures (śabda-brahma), who is adorned with realization of Bhagavān and who is detached from sense gratification. That jīva then enters into paramārtha, the acquisition of his highest spiritual objective. In Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s human-like pastimes (nara-līlā), He went to Gayā-dhāma on the pretext of making offerings for the benefit of His deceased father (pitṛ-śrāddha). There He offered Himself fully at the lotus feet of Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda, who was the bud of the desire-tree of prema and also a supremely rasika and bhāvuka disciple of Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, the root of that desire-tree.

prabhu bale,—“gayā-yātrā saphala āmāra
yata-kṣaṇe dekhilāṅa caraṇa tomāra

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata(Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.50)

The Lord said: My journey to Gayā is successful, because I am able to see your lotus feet.

saṁsāra-samudra haite uddhāraha more

ei āmi deha samarpilāṅa tomāre

kṛṣṇa-pāda-padmera amṛta-rasa pāna
āmāre karāo tumi’—ei cāhi dāna

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata(Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.54–55)

Please deliver Me from the ocean of material existence. I offer Myself completely to you. Please enable Me to drink the nectar of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. I beg this charity from you.

āra dine nibhṛte īśvara-purī-sthāne
mantra-dīkṣā cāhilena madhura-vacane

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata(Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.105)

On another day in a solitary place, with sweet words, He requested Śrī Īśvara Purī to initiate Him into the kṛṣṇa-mantra.

tabe tāna sthāne śikṣā-guru nārāyaṇa
karilena daśākṣara-mantrera grahaṇa

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata(Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.107)

The instructing spiritual master of the three worlds, Śrī Nārāyaṇa Himself, accepted initiation into the ten-syllable mantra from Śrī Īśvara Purī.

According to this section of Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, Śrī Nimāī Paṇḍita performed the pastime of surrendering His heart at the feet of Śrī Īśvara Purī. He prayed to him for the dīkṣā-mantra in order to get release from material existence and to attain śrī kṛṣṇa-prema, and Śrī Purīpāda very affectionately initiated Him into the ten-syllable mantra.

Sometime afterwards, Śrī Nimāī Paṇḍita accepted sannyāsa in Kaṭvā from the advaita-vāda sannyāsī Keśava Bhāratī. After accepting sannyāsa, He set off for Vṛndāvana, saturated in the madness of prema. When He arrived in Rāḍha-deśa, absorbed in prema, He chanted a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.23.57):

etāṁ sa āsthāya parātma-niṣṭhā-
madhyāsitāṁ pūrvatamair maharṣibhiḥ
ahaṁ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraṁ
tamo mukundāṅghri-niṣevayaiva

I shall easily cross over the insurmountable ocean of ignorance by rendering service to the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which were worshipped by the great ṛṣis of ancient times, who were fixed in firm devotion to Mukunda.

prabhu kahe,—sādhu ei bhikṣuka-vacana
mukunda sevana-vrata kaila nirdhāraṇa

parātma-niṣṭhā-mātra veśa-dhāraṇa
mukunda-sevāya haya saṁsāra-tāraṇa

sei veśa kaila, ebe vṛndāvana giyā
kṛṣṇa-niṣevaṇa kari nibhṛte vasiyā

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 3.7–9)

After accepting sannyāsa, Mahāprabhu said, “This word of the tridaṇḍi-bhikṣu is supremely true because the vow to serve the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is fixed by accepting this dress of the renounced order. Having renounced dedication to material sense objects, the purpose of accepting sannyāsa is to attain parātma-niṣṭhā, single-pointed devotion to the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. I have accepted this dress, so now I will go to Vṛndāvana and serve the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.”

In the aforementioned verse, the phrase parātma-niṣṭhā-mātra veśa-dhāraṇa is particularly worthy of consideration. It indicates that Mahāprabhu only accepted the external dress of the renounced order from Śrī Keśava Bhāratī because that dress was favourable for the cultivation of bhagavad-bhakti. He did not accept any advaita-vāda mantra or doctrine. On the contrary, throughout His life He refuted kevalādvaita-vāda and the philosophical conclusions of māyāvāda.

It is clear that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted only Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda as His actual guru, because it is Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda’s pure bhakti that He accepted, preached and propagated throughout His life. Śrī Mādhavendra Purīpāda and Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda are included within the Madhva sampradāya, so Śrīman Mahāprabhu and His followers, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, are also included in the Madhva sampradāya. Moreover, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s contemporary pastime associates, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Advaita Ācārya, Śrī Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, Brahmānanda Purī and others, are also followers of the Śrī Madhva sampradāya because they are all in the line of Śrī Mādhavendra Purī.

Śrīman Mahāprabhu always respected the disciples of Śrī Mādhavendra Purī as His gurus, and He treated the disciples of Śrī Īśvara Purī as godbrothers. “Guru ājñā haya avicāraṇīyā – one should not question the order of the guru.” According to this philosophical conclusion, He accepted Govinda as His servant [on the order of His guru]. It is proved by this that Īśvara Purī was actually His guru.

Objection 2: Because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa from the kevalādvaita-vādī Keśava Bhāratī, He is to be included within that sampradāya.

Refutation: If for argument’s sake we accept this proposition, then it should be noted that Śrī Madhva Ācārya accepted sannyāsa from Acyutaprekṣa, who also was a kevalādvaita-vādī. In that case, if Mahāprabhu is a kevalādvaita-vādī sannyāsī, then by the same logic, Madhva Ācārya is also. Where, then, is the obstacle to Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s being in the Madhva sampradāya, if both of them accepted the advaita-vādī Śaṅkara’s sampradāya?

A second point is that Śrī Madhva Ācārya accepted eka-daṇḍa (a single staff indicating the renunciation of the monists) according to the customs and regulations of the Śaṅkara sampradāya. It would be logically consistent to say that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu followed his ideal example, and also accepted eka-daṇḍa sannyāsa from a sannyāsī of the Śaṅkara sampradāya, namely Śrī Keśava Bhāratī. From this it seems clear that Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are in the line of Śrī Madhva Ācārya.

Objection 3: Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācārya Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has not mentioned any sort of relationship between the Gauḍīya sampradāya and the Madhva sampradāya anywhere in his writings such as Tattva-sandarbha or Sarva-saṁvādinī. This idea has been introduced by Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, who was initiated into the Madhva sampradāya in the early part of his life and only later entered the Gauḍīya sampradāya. For this reason, he had a natural inclination towards the Madhva sampradāya. Therefore, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has forced the issue out of prejudice, and has mentioned the Śrī Madhva sampradāya in his commentary on Tattva-sandarbha. In his Prameya-ratnāvalī, he delineated a guru-paramparā that includes Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His sampradāya within the Śrī Madhva sampradāya.

Refutation: These accusations are completely groundless and imaginative fabrications. Actually, Jīva Gosvāmī acknowledged the tattva-vāda of Śrī Madhva Ācārya, the very guru of tattva-vāda, and took support from it when he compiled his Tattva-sandarbha, Bhagavat-sandarbha and so on. Not only this, but he also cited in his writings the main substantiating verses of tattva-vāda, such as vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.11).

Among the four Vaiṣṇava sampradāya-ācāryas, only Madhva Ācārya is celebrated as tattva-vādī. In the Madhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has personally established tattva-vāda, and therefore, the Vaiṣṇavas of that sampradāya are tattva-vādīs. In the third verse of the auspicious invocation (maṅgalācaraṇa) of Tattva-sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī glorifies his guru Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and his parama-guru Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī as tattvajñāpakau, the ācāryas who proclaim tattva. Similarly, the crest jewel of the dynasty of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu, has also designated Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātana as tattvavid-uttamau, the highest of all those who know fundamental truths, in his commentary on this same verse.

It is clear from this that Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has offered respect to Śrī Madhva Ācārya, and that Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has followed Jīva Gosvāmī in also honouring Madhva Ācārya. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu has not shown any prejudice towards Madhva Ācārya. On the contrary, if we compare Jīva Gosvāmī with Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, we find that Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has glorified the two gosvāmīs Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana more than Jīva Gosvāmī has. There is no doubt whatsoever that Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa is situated in the āmnāya-dhārā, the transcendental current of conclusive evidence, or the paramparā, of Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhus and of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda, who immediately follows Them.

According to bhāgavata-paramparā, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa is in the ninth generation from Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, and according to ñcarātrika-paramparā, he is in the eighth generation. Historians have accepted his ñcarātrika-paramparā as follows: Śrī Nityānanda, Śrī Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita, Hṛdaya-caitanya, Śyāmānanda Prabhu, Rasikānanda Prabhu, Nayanānanda Prabhu and Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara. Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu is the initiated disciple of this Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara and is also the most prominent śikṣā disciple of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī.

Historians have declared that in no branch of the Madhva guru-paramparā were there any brilliant scholars of such widespread fame as Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. In fact, at that time no one in any sampradāya anywhere in India equalled Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s knowledge in logic, in Vedānta and in scriptures, such as the Purāṇas and Itihāsas. It is true that he stayed for some days in the most prominent maṭha established by Śrī Madhva Ācārya in Uḍūpī, and that he studied Śrī Madhva’s commentary on Vedānta. However, the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya was more of an influence upon him than the Śrī Madhva sampradāya.

It is logical and natural for such a worshipful and scholarly personality as Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa to follow in the lotus footsteps of the most powerful and influential Vaiṣṇava ācāryas of the Madhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya. Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa thoroughly studied the commentary of Madhva and also made a meticulous study of the commentaries of Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Bhāskarācārya, Nimbāditya, Vallabha and others. It is illogical to say that he is included in each one of those sampradāyas merely because he had studied those groups of philosophers.

Śrī Baladeva Prabhu has described historical events and quoted the conclusions of the previous Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas in many of his books, such as Govinda-bhāṣya, Siddhānta-ratnam, Prameya-ratnāvalī and in his commentary on Tattva-sandharba. He has enabled all the philosophers of the world to understand that the Śrī Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya is included within the Madhva sampradāya. In this regard, all the scholars of the world, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, have bowed their heads in reverence, and have unanimously accepted the philosophical conclusions and opinions of Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu.

Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was sent by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī to protect the honour of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya at Galtā-gaddī in Jaipura. There he defeated the objecting paṇḍitas of the Śrī sampradāya in a scriptural debate. There are no second opinions about this. Does this not show that Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura personally inspired his śikṣā disciple Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa to prove that the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are in the line of Madhva Ācārya? Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura sent his dīkṣā disciple Śrī Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma with Śrī Baladeva to help him. Had Śrī Cakravartī Ṭhākura not been so aged and weak at that time, he certainly would have gone to Jaipura in person to take part in this debate about the sampradāya. He would also have established the very same conclusion as Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. There is no sound evidence to prove that Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was first an ācārya or disciple in the Madhva sampradāya. There may be hearsay and rumours based on imagination, but no one has given any substantial proof.

The opposition party has alleged that Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has not mentioned anywhere in his writings that Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are in the line of the Madhva sampradāya. This accusation is born of ignorance and is absurd to the extreme. In numerous places in Tattva-sandarbha, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī mentions his being in the line of Madhva. Moreover, while composing the Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas, he accepted the guidance of ācāryas in the Śrī Madhva sampradāya, such as Vijayadhvaja, Śrī Brahmaṇya Tīrtha and Vyāsa Tīrtha, and collected many scriptural proofs from their literatures. It is true that he also quoted statements of Śrī Rāmānuja Ācārya and Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda in many places, but he did not consider them to be previous ācāryas of the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has even accepted the statements of sages of different philosophical schools such as Kapila and Pātañjali where they are in accordance with bhakti. Nonetheless, that does not mean that he is within those sampradāyas. One may establish a specific point of siddhānta that supports the view of an ācārya of a particular sampradāya. That does not mean that one is then a member of that sampradāya. Only when one establishes siddhānta by taking all the opinions of the ācārya’s disciple and grand-disciple is he considered to be in that sampradāya, otherwise not.

In regard to this topic, we quote a few parts from Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s Tattva-sandarbha (28):

atra ca sva-darśitārtha-viśeṣa prāmāṇyāyaiva, na tu śrīmad-bhāgavata-vākya-prāmāṇyāya pramāṇāni śruti-purāṇādi-vacanāni yathā-dṛṣṭam evodāharaṇīyāni kvacit svayam adṛṣṭākarāṇi ca tattva-vāda-gurūṇām anādhunikānāṁ śrīmacchaṅkarācārya-śīṣyatāṁ labdhvāpi śrī-bhagavat-pakṣa-pātena tato vicchidya pracura-pracārita-vaiṣṇava-mata-viśeṣāṇāṁ dakṣiṇādi-deśa-vikhyāta-śiṣyopaśiṣyī-bhūta-vijayadhvaja-jayatīrtha-brahmaṇyatīrtha-vyāsatīrthādi-veda-vedārtha-vidvad-varāṇāṁ śrī-madvācārya-caraṇānāṁ bhāgavata-tātparya-bhārata-tātparya-brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya-adibhyaḥ saṅgṛhītāni. taiś caivam uktaṁ bhārata-tātparye

śāstrāntarāṇi saṁjānan
vedāntasya prasādataḥ
deśe deśe tathā granthān
dṛṣṭvā caiva pṛthag-vidhān

yathā sa bhagavān vyāsaḥ
sākṣān nārāyaṇaḥ prabhuḥ
jagād bhāratādyeṣu tathā
vakṣye tad-īkṣayā. iti

tatra tad-uddhṛtā śrūtiḥ—catur-veda-śikhādyā; purāṇañca—gāruḍādīnāṁ samprati sarvatrāpracarad-rūpam aṁśādikaṁ; saṁhitā ca—mahā-saṁhitādikāḥ; tantrañca—tantra-bhāgavatādikaṁ brahma-tarkādikam iti jñeyam.

In the Ṣaṭ-sandharbhas, I (Jīva Gosvāmī) have quoted various authentic scriptural statements as evidence. This is to establish the authenticity of my own interpretation or opinion, which I have expressed in this literature. It is not to try to prove the authenticity of the statements or conclusions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhāgavatam, like the Vedas, is self-evident (svataḥ-pramāṇa) and therefore does not depend upon any second evidence. In the Sandarbhas, I have quoted various statements of evidence from the original texts of Śruti, Smṛti, the Purāṇas and so on, exactly as I have personally seen them in those literatures. Besides that, my predecessor ācāryas from among the tattva-vāda guru-varga have cited evidence which I, the author of Tattva-sandarbha (tattva-vādī), have also quoted, although there are several of the original texts which I have not seen personally. These tattva-vādī predecessor gurus such as Śrī Mādhavendra Purī have accepted the discipleship of Śrī Śaṅkara Ācārya by accepting sannyāsa from ācāryas in the Śaṅkara sampradāya. Nonetheless, because of their strong inclination to Bhagavān, they remained completely aloof from Śaṅkara’s doctrines. They broadly promulgated Vaiṣṇava conceptions, which contain various specialities from the conclusions of the ācāryas. The disciples and grand-disciples of the renowned Ānanda Tīrtha, such as Vijayadhvaja, Brahmaṇya Tīrtha and Vyāsa Tīrtha, have collected evidence from literatures such as Bhāgavata-tātparya, Bhārata-tātparya and Aṇu-bhāṣya, which were composed by Śrīman Madhva Ācārya, the best of those who know the Vedas and their inner purport.

In his Bhārata-tātparya, Śrīman Madhva Ācārya has also written, “By the grace of Vedānta and the Upaniṣads, I will establish the siddhānta, since I know the confidential mystery of various other śāstras. I have investigated varieties of literatures from different countries and I honour the conclusions expressed in texts such as the Mahābhārata, written by the direct manifestation of Nārāyaṇa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa.

I am writing Tattva-sandarbha following Śrīman Madhva Ācārya’s words. I am accepting statements quoted by him and those in his line, without having personally seen the originals of many of the texts, which are not widely broadcast these days, such as Caturveda-śikhā and other Śrutis, the Garuḍa Purāṇa and other Purāṇas. This includes the Saṁhitās like the Mahā-saṁhitā and Tantras such as Tantra-bhāgavata and Brahma-tarka.

This evidence clearly proves that Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has indeed accepted Śrīman Madhva Ācārya as the predecessor ācārya of the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya. Nowhere does Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī make such a clear statement in regard to Śrī Rāmānuja Ācārya or Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda. Specifically he has not accepted all the conclusions of the disciples and grand-disciples of any sampradāya ācārya other than Madhva. Śrī Rāmānujācārya had many disciples and grand-disciples, and Śrīdhara Svāmī also had many disciples, but Jīva Gosvāmī has not recorded their names anywhere. What to speak of mentioning Nimbārka Ācārya’s name, we cannot find even a scent of his existence anywhere in Jīva Gosvāmī’s writings.

Objection 4: Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has described the glories of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in a verse in the invocation (maṅgalācaraṇa) of his Sarva-saṁvādinī. Praying to Mahāprabhu, he has described Him as sva-sampradāya-sahasrādhidaiva, the eternal presiding deity of thousands upon thousands of sampradāyas established by Him. How, then, can He be included within any other sampradāya? He is personally the founder of the independent Gauḍīya sampradāya.

Refutation: This objection is quite ridiculous. The complete verse from the maṅgalācaraṇa of Sarva-saṁvādinī reads as follows: “durlabha-prema-pīyūṣa-maya-gaṅgā-pravāha-sahasraṁ sva-sampradāya-sahasrādhidaivaṁ śrī-śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyadeva-nāmānaṁ śrī-bhagavantam – I offer my obeiscences to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanyadeva, the Supreme Lord. He enabled the flow of that most rare nectar of prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa to flow in hundreds and thousands of streams, by becoming the presiding deity of His own chosen sampradāya.”

Śrī Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda and other antagonists have interpreted sva-sampradāya-sahasrādhidaivam in this verse to mean ‘the presiding deity of thousands of sampradāyas which Śrīman Mahāprabhu has personally inaugurated’. The salient point here is that Śrīman Mahāprabhu has not founded thousands of sampradāyas; He has established only one, which is called the Śrī Madhva-Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. Therefore their interpretation is completely erroneous.

Śrī Rasika-mohana Vidyābhūṣaṇa Mahodaya has interpreted sva-sampradāya-sahasrādhidaiva in another way, as ‘the supreme presiding deity of His own chosen sampradāya’. This meaning is quite appropriate, and all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas have accepted it. One may say, “Śrīman Mahāprabhu is Svayam Bhagavān, and is directly Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra. Is it necessary for Svayam Bhagavān Gauracandra to consider any other personality as His guru and accept dīkṣā and śikṣā from him?” The answer is, “Yes, it is necessary when Śrī Bhagavān performs His human-like pastimes (nara-līlā).” Śrī Rāmacandra has exhibited the pastime of accepting dīkṣā and śikṣā from Vaśiṣṭha Muni, Śrī Kṛṣṇa from Sāndīpani Muni, and Śrīman Mahāprabhu from Īśvara Purī. These activities do not affect Their bhagavattā, quality of being Bhagavān, even in the slightest way. Svayam Bhagavān performs such pastimes in order to give instructions to the world. There is no question of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s bhagavattā, or tattva, being lost if He is included in any sampradāya.

It is not the personal duty of Bhagavān to establish a sampradāya; His devotees do that. History shows that in all cases only viṣṇu-śakti or the servants of Viṣṇu have ever founded a sampradāya. Granted, Śrī Bhagavān is the original, eternal personality of sanātana-dharma, which He Himself establishes, as is evident in scriptural statements such as dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.3.19) and dharmo jagannāthaḥ sākṣāt nārāyaṇāḥ. Still, the statement akartā caiva kartā ca kāryaṁ kāraṇam eva ca (Mahābhārata, Śānti-parva 348.60) shows that Bhagavān has no direct engagement in the business of establishing a sampradāya. Rather, He accomplishes this task through His empowered representatives. If this were not so, then instead of the Brahmā, Rudra, Sanaka and Śrī sampradāyas, there would be the Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa and Nārāyaṇa sampradāyas.

Objection 5: While touring in South India, Śrīman Mahāprabhu went to Uḍūpī. There He had a discussion with a tattva-vādī ācārya who was in Śrī Madhva Ācārya’s sampradāya. Mahāprabhu refuted the views of the tattva-vādīs, so He can never be included in that sampradāya.

Refutation: Śrīman Mahāprabhu did not directly refute Madhva Ācārya’s ideas about śuddha-bhakti. Rather, He refuted the distorted opinions of the tattva-vādīs which had entered into the Madhva sampradāya in the course of time. Readers can understand this simply by looking in this section of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 9.276–277):

prabhu kahe,—“karmī, jñānī,—dui bhakti-hīna
tomāra sampradāye dekhi sei dui cihna

sabe, eka guṇa dekhi tomāra sampradāye
satya-vigraha īśvare’, karaha niścaye”

The Lord said: Fruitive workers (karmīs) and speculative philosophers (ānīs) are devoid of devotion, and it is seen that both of these are respected in your sampradāya. Still, in your sampradāya there is one very great quality – the deity form of Bhagavān has been accepted. Not only this, but the deity has also been accepted as Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is worshipped in your sampradāya in the form of the dancing Gopāla.

This proves that Śrīman Mahāprabhu refuted the distortions that later entered the Madhva sampradāya in the course of time. He did not refute Madhva Ācārya’s opinions on śuddha-bhakti or the fundamental philosophical conclusions that he expressed in his commentaries. On the contrary, we have already shown that literatures such as Tattva-sandarbha and Sarva-saṁvādinī have been based on the conclusions of Śrī Madhva and his disciples and grand-disciples. In this connection we should point out that a difference of sampradāya does not generally arise from some minor difference of opinion. Rather, the difference between sampradāyas comes from the differences in doctrine regarding the principal object of worship.

Objection 6: Some people criticize Madhva Ācārya’s doctrine, saying that it includes the following specific points: (a) liberation is only attained by brāhmaṇas who have taken birth in a brāhmaṇa dynasty; (b) among devotees, the demigods are prominent; (c) only Brahmā merges with Viṣṇu; (d) Lakṣmījī is in the category of jīva; and (e) the gopīs are in the category of the apsarās of Svarga, the heavenly damsels. However, in the opinion of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas in His line, these conceptions of Madhva are contradictory to the conclusions of śuddha-bhakti. Under such circumstances, why would Śrī Caitanyadeva accept the Madhva sampradāya? That being the case, how can the ācāryas following in His Gauḍīya sampradāya be included within the Madhva sampradāya?

Refutation: When Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was in Galtā-gaddī in Jaipura, he used scriptural evidence and infallible logic to break to pieces all these arguments of the opposition party. He quoted the conclusions of Madhva Ācārya as well as those of his disciples and grand-disciples, such as Vijayadhvaja, Brahmaṇya Tīrtha and Vyāsa Tīrtha. Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has refuted all such accusations in his books, such as his commentary on Tattva-sandarbha, his Govinda-bhāṣya, Siddhānta-ratnam and Prameya-ratnāvalī, and he has proved that the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya is included within the Madhva sampradāya.

In the Galtā-gaddī assembly, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa proved that Śrī Madhva considered Laksmījī to be the dear consort of Viṣṇu. Śrī Madhva taught that her spiritual body is composed of knowledge and pleasure and, like Viṣṇu, she is also completely free from defects, such as the misery of being confined in the womb prior to birth. She is all-pervading, and she also enjoys in unlimited forms along with the unlimited forms of Śrī Viṣṇu. When the avatāra of Viṣṇu descends, Lakṣmī also descends and reigns in the form of that avatāra’s dear beloved consort. Like Viṣṇu, Lakṣmī also has various names and forms (Śrī Madhva’s Bṛhad-āranyaka-bhāṣya 3.5).

Furthermore, Lakṣmī-devī is Viṣṇu’s subservient embodiment of all knowledge. She is also superior to and more qualified than Catur-mukha Brahmā. She resides on the limbs of Bhagavān in the form of various types of ornaments, and it is she who manifests all facilities for the pleasure of Viṣṇu, such as His bed, seat, throne, ornaments and so on. (Śrī Madhva Ācārya’s explanation of Brahma-sūtra 4.2.1, supported by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.9.13)

Nowhere has Śrī Madhva described Śrī Lakṣmī to be in the category of jīva. Similarly, the ideas that only brāhmaṇas attain liberation, that the demigods are the prominent devotees, that only Brahmā merges with Viṣṇu and so on, are all foreign to the Madhva sampradāya.

On this subject, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained in his Śrīman Mahāprabhu kī Śikṣā why Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the Madhva sampradāya: “Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, having determined the authenticity of the Vedic scriptures, has also ascertained the authenticity of the Purāṇas. Ultimately he has proved that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the crest jewel of all evidence. He has shown that the same characteristic qualities that qualify Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as the topmost evidence also apply to the scriptures endorsed by Brahmā, Nārada, Vyāsa and Śukadeva, and after them, in sequence, Vijayadhvaja, Brahmaṇya Tīrtha, Vyāsa Tīrtha and their tattva-guru, Śrī Madhva Ācārya. These scriptures, then, are also in the category of authentic literatures.

It is evident from this that the Brahma-Madhva sampradāya is the guru-praṇālī, or guru-paramp