Bhakta Bandhav - The Loving Reality
Bhakta Bandhav is a name for the Loving Reality Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and Their pure devotees. Our Gurudeva, Srila BV Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, Bhakta Bandhav Srila Gurudeva, was given this title, meaning dearmost friend of the devotees, by his Guru, Acarya Kesari, in 1947. Now it is the name of our Bhakti mission, founded on the principles of love, compassion, and service to the devotees and all people.
The term Bhakta Bandhav is found in the 10th part of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, in the section detailing the characteristics of the devotees of the Lord, as spoken by Sri Krishna to Arjuna. Sri Krishna says:
asmakam bandhava bhakta bhaktanam bandhava vayam
asmakam guravo bhakta bhaktanam guravo vayam
“I am the dearmost friend (bandhav) of the devotees (bhaktas), and the bhaktas are My dearmost friend (bandhav). I am the guru of the bhaktas, and the bhaktas are the gurus of the world.”
Thus we see that the original Bhakta Bandhav is Krishna and His selfsame divine potency Srimati Radhika. He is the Bhakta’s Bandhav, dearmost friend. And in another sense, the Bhakta is the Bandhav or dearmost friend of Krishna, as well as the friend and guide for all human beings.
The Bhakta Bandhav Mission
The Bhakta Bandhav Mission is a registered religious entity, incorporated in New York, on September 1st, 2020.
We are practitioners of pure bhakti-yoga and are a unique limb descending in the ancient Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. Our primary form of worship is harinama-sankirtana, congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord; hari-katha, the broadcast of spiritual discourses; with exclusive devotion to the Loving Reality Sri Sri Radha-Krishna.
The great savior, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Himself the incarnation of Krishna, taught the principle of acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva - simultaneous oneness and difference of all beings with the Supreme Entity. Mahaprabhu taught that Sri Krishna, the One Absolute Truth, of Whom we are all part and parcel, is served in a loving relationship in His highest, transcendental abode, Vrindavan, as the son of Nanda Maharaja. The most pleasing form of devotion for the Lord is that which was naturally performed by the cowherd maidens of Vraja. The Bhagavata-purana is the spotless authority, and pure love for Krishna is the ultimate goal of life for all living entities.
Bhakta Bandhav Srila Gurudeva emphasized the vital importance of pure devotion. We strive to follow his example of pure devotion - the continuous, ardent endeavor to please Sri Krishna, with genuine affection to Him, without ulterior desires or the covering of impersonal knowledge, reward seeking activities, or mystic perfections.
As an order of monks and missionaries in an age-old sampradaya, or disciplic succession, we serve devotee communities and broadcast the timeless message of the Vaishnava scriptures, especially the Bhagavad-Gita and Bhagavat-purana. Our guiding tenets are Krishna Prema Seva Ahimsa - love for God, service, and an effort to show true compassion by offering spiritual welfare to all people.
In 2020, our ministers traveled from Sri Radhe Kunj, our ashram in Vrindavan, India, where we serve and provide for 1000’s daily as part of our charity effort, and came to New York, to establish our mission in the US. Having registered in NY, we opened a 60 acre Bhakti Ashram in the Catskills, known as Bhakta Bandhav Dham, and from where we perform outreach in NYC and surrounding cities and states. We have a budding community at the Bhakti Ashram, and in 2021, are currently working on building a temple and spiritual retreat facility to accommodate our congregation, devotees and guests during our daily programs and events throughout the Vaishnava calendar year.
At the Bhakti Ashram in NY, we established a Vaishnava academy, known as KRIPA, the Krishna Prema Academy, for studies in bhakti-yoga, educating the youth in spiritual values, and becoming an emissary of the faith after completing prescribed courses.
An integral part of our efforts to serve is through the production, publication, and distribution of spiritual literature and media. To this end, since 2015, we have published 22 books in English, which are being gradually translated in other languages, and are currently working on many more, including: a large series of volumes on the discourses of our Srila Gurudeva which he spoke during his 32 world tours, as well as in the decades of his preaching in India; translations and commentaries on sacred books in our line; as well as magazines and newsletters, touching on topics of bhakti-yoga and practical application in the modern day.
Our organizational purposes are delineated below:
a) To propagate divine knowledge, understanding, and pure devotion for the Loving Reality, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, according to the principles of the eternal religion, Sanatana Dharma, as taught by Bhakta Bandhav Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, in the lineage of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya.
b) To develop and spread that culture of bhakti, loving devotion to the Personality of Godhead, focusing on such activities as congregational chanting, spiritual discourses, organization of pilgrimages, distribution of publications and multimedia, the sharing of sanctified foodstuffs, and so forth.
c) To establish and maintain centers for the performance of devotional services inspired by the manners and moods of the inhabitants of Vraja, the holy abode of Sri Krishna’s transcendental pastimes.
d) To create a Vaisnava ministry and academy to educate and train honest people of good character, giving them the responsibility of preaching and maintaining congregations throughout the world.
e) To bring the members of the congregation together with each other and nearer to Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead.
f) To teach the techniques of spiritual life, in order to check the imbalance of values in materialistic society.
g) To produce and publish books, magazines, and multimedia content, utilizing any and all mediums of communication, with a view towards achieving the purposes of our religious organization.
h) To serve the devotees and people in general with love and care, by distribution of pure vegetarian foodstuffs, water, clothing, shelter, natural medicines, and so forth, as well as to help provide for their spiritual well-being.
i) To educate people in the culture of bhakti, and to organize festivals, camps, retreats, and events promoting bhakti, yoga, personal development, healing, and the arts.
j) To assist in the preservation of the sacred lands and pastime places of the Lord and His associates.