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Biographies of various saints.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Disappearance Day - His legacy according to GM

Anand - Thu, 17 Jun 2004 21:03:32 +0530
Some sections of vaisnavas observe today, June 17th, the disappearance of Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

In the Introduction to Jaiva Dharma, perhaps the most celebrate work of BT among his followers, Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja has written:

"When it comes to discussing the life of maha-purusas (great self-realized personalities who are transcendental to mortal existence), it would be a mistake to consider their birth, life span and death to be similar to that of mere mortals, because maha-purusas are beyond birth and death. They are situated in eternal existence, and their coming and going from this world is strictly a matter of their own appearance and disappeatance.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared on Sunday, Spetember 2, 1838, and thus illuminated the sky of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He took birth in a high-class family in a village named Viranagara (also known as Ulagrama or Ula), which is located within the Nadiya district of West Bengal , not far from Sridhama Mayapura, the appearance place of Sri Gauranga. He disappeared from this world on June 23, 1914, in the city of Calcutta. At that time, he entered the midday pastimes of Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari, who are the supreme objects of worship for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

In his brief lifespan of seventy-six years, he instructed the world by personally carrying out the duties of the four asramas (stages of spiritual life): bramacarya (celibate student-life), grhastha (religious householder-life), vanaprastha (withdrawal from worldly duties), and sannyasa (formal renunciation). He first underwent brahmacarya, and obtained various elevated instructions. After that, he entered grhastha life, and set an ideal example of how to maintain family members bhrough honest and noble means. All householders should follow this example.

During his grhastha life, Srila Bhaktivinoda traveled all over India as a highly placed officer in the administration and justice department of the British government in India. By his exacting discrimination and expert administrative skills, this great personality managed to regulate and bring to order even those places that were infamous as lawless states. In the midst of family duties, he astonished all his contemporaries by the religious ideal he displayed. Although engaged in pressing responsibilities, he wrote many books in different languages. We have recorded the dates of composition in our list of his books. If the reader studies this, he can clearly deduce Bhaktivinoda's incredible creative power.

After retiring from his government responsibilitites, Srila Bhaktivinoda adopted the stage of vanaprastha, and intensified his spiritual practice. At that time, he established an asrama at Surabhi-kunja in Godrumadvipa, one of the nine districts of Navadvipa. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura remained there and performed bhajana for a considerable time.

Later, he accepted the life of an ascetic, and stayed at Svananda-sudhada-kunja, which was nearby. While residing there, he established the appearance place of Sri Caitanyadeva and many other places of gaura-lila. In this, he followed the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers, the Six Gosvamis, who had discovered the birthplace and other pastime places of Sri Krsna. If Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda had not appeared in this world, the pastime places and instructions of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu would have disappeared from the world. The entire world of Gaudiya Vaisnavas will therefore remain indebted to him forever. It is for this reason that he has been awarded the highest honor in the Vaisnava community by being adressed as the Seventh Gosvami.

This maha-purusa instructed the world both through the ideal example of his personal life and by writing books in many different languages. In addition, there is yet another unique gift that he bestowed, and it would be a display of ingratitude on my part if I neglected to mention this, Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda brought a great personality into this world, who was the comander-in-chief in propagating the dharma revealed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This great personality is my beloved Gurudeva, and he is renowed throughout the world as Jagat Guru Om Visnupada paramahamsa-kula-cudamani Astottarasata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gsvami Thakura. It was an incomparable and unprecedented accomplishment on the part of Srimad Bhaktivinoda Thakura to bring this maha-purusa into the world. The Vaisnava community honors Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura with the shorter title of Srila Prabhupada, and hereafter, I will also refer to this supremely liberated maha-purusa as Srila Prabhupada."