nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale srimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti namine !!
On Friday, February 6, 1874 (Magh 25, 1280 Bengali, 1795 Saka), at 3:30 P.M., in the home of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, 0m Vishnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur appeared from the womb of Bhagavati Devi as an effulgent, golden-skinned child. It was krsnä pañcamï of the month of Magh. This house, named Narayan Chata, is situated not far from the Jagannath Temple on the Grand Road in Puri and was constantly reverberating with the sound of Harinam. Those who saw the newborn child were amazed to see that his umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder like a natural Brahmin thread. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur named the child after Jagannath Deva’s para śakti, Vimala, calling him Vimalā–prasāda (Bimala Prasad).
THE CHILD’S PREFERENCE
Six months after the appearance of the child, it was time for the Rathayatra festival. That year, by Jagannath’s desire, the cart stopped in front of Bhaktivinode’s house and simply would not move forward. Jagannath remained motionless before the Narayan Chata for three whole days. Under Bhaktivinode Thakur’s direction, a kirtan festival was held in front of the Deity for the entire three-day period. During one of these days, the six-month old baby came before Jagannath in the arms of his mother, he grabbed Jagannath’s feet and took the garland from around the Deity’s neck. Bhaktivinode gave the child Jagannath prasad for the anna-prāśana ritual in which a child eats its first solid food.
The child stayed in Purushottam Dham for ten months after his birth, after this he went with his mother in land to Ranaghat in Bengal. He went through his entire childhood in the midst of an extended festival of Harinam sankirtan.
INITIATION IN HARINAM AND NRISINGHA MANTRA
While Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur was living in Serampore, he came back onc day from a visit to Puri with a garland of tulasi leaves which had been used by Jagannath. He gave it to Bimala Prasad, who was a seventh grade student at the time, and initiated him in the chanting of the Holy Name and the Nrisingha mantra. While he was in the fifth grade, the boy had invented a tY1)e of phonetic writing he called Bicanto, or vikrnti. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur read him the Chaitanya-śiksāmrta, which he was writing at the time.
WORSHIP OF KURMA DEVA
In 1881, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur started construction of Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta’s Ram Bagan district. During the digging of the building’s foundations, a small deity of Kurma was found. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur taught his seven-year-old son the rules for worshiping a deity and the Kurma mantra, after which Bimala Prasad started to regularly wear tilak and to perform the deity’s puja. In 1885, Bhaktivinode Thakur founded a centre for publishing Vaishnava literature named “The Vaishnava Depository” at Bhakti Bhavan. From this time, the boy started to gain experience with the printing press and helped with proofreading and other tasks. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur also resumed publishing his monthly magazine Sajjana-tosanī in that year. Bimala Prasad also travelled with his father to many of the Sripats of some of Mahaprabhu’s associates, such as Kulinagram and Saptagram, where he heard his father lecture on the doc trines of the Holy Name.
BIMALA PRASAD RECEIVES THE TITLE SIDDHANTA SARASWATI
When Bimala Prasad was a fifth grade student, he began to show a natural talent for mathematics and astrology He went to study the astrological texts with the great scholar Mahesh Chandra Churamani from the Siyakhala village on the Tarakeshwar railway line. In a very short time he mastered the arts of calculating astrological charts. Later he went on to advanced studies of astrology with Aloya resident, Sundar Lal Pandit.
Churamani Mahashaya was astounded by the talents of the fifteen year old boy. From this young age, he was called Sri Siddhanta Saraswati by his teachers. After taking sannyas in 1918, he took on the name Parivrajakacharya Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. At other times, he identified himself as Varshabhanavi Dayita Das.
THE WORLD VAISHNAVA ASSOCIATION
In 1885, 399 years after the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur formed the Vishva Vaishnava Sabha or World Vaishnava Association at the home of Rama Gopal Basu in Krishna Singh Gali, which is today known as Bethune Row. The association organized the 400th anniversary celebrations of Mahaprabhu’s appearance the following year. Some of its well-known members were Madan Gopal Goswami, Nila Kanta Goswami, Bipin Bihari Goswami, Radhika Nath Goswami and Sisir Kumar Ghosh. Sri Saraswati Thakur attended the Association’s weekly meetings every Sunday in the company of his father, and carried his father’s copy of Bhakti-rasāmrta-sindhu for him. He would listen attentively to the discussion of scripture which took place at these meetings.
DISTASTE FOR BAD COMPANY AND MATERIAL LEARNING
While Saraswati Thakur was a student, he never mixed with children who had behavior problems. Thus from his very earliest life, the determination to avoid asatsañga and to associate exclusively with saintly persons was evident in his character. In the early years of high school, he spent more time studying astrology and Vaishnava scriptures than the prescribed curriculum. In fact, he had a hard time maintaining interest in his school textbooks. He felt it was unnecessary to even touch these books once outside the school grounds, where he would only read Narottam’s Prarthanā and Prema-bhakti-candrikā and the books written by his father.
THE AUGUST ASSEMBLY
While still a student, Saraswati Thakur published Sūrya-siddhānta, Bhakti-bhavana-pañjikā, and other books related to astrology. In the afternoons, he would go to Calcutta’s Beadon Square and engage in debate with other students about religion, politics and other subjects. In 1891, this debating society took the name “The August Assembly” and all its members took the vow to never get married. People of all ages, including many highly educated and respected members of society, attended the Assembly’s meetings.
AT THE SANSKRIT COLLEGE
In 1892, Saraswati Thakur was admitted to the Calcutta Sanskrit College. There once again, instead of studying the books which were on the curriculum, he took to systematically reading all the books in the library. He studied the Veda with the scholar Prithvidhar Sharma. A few years later, in 1898, when teaching Sanskrit at the Saraswata Chatushpathi in Bhakti Bhavan, he studied Siddhānta-kaumudī with the same Prithvidhar Sharma, and rapidly went through the entire text. Prithvidhar Sharma advised him to devote his life to the study of Siddhānta kaumudī and Sanskrit grammar, but Saraswati Thakur disagreed with him, saying that human life is meant for worshiping the Supreme Lord and not for studying grammar manuals with their verb roots and conjugations, nor for reading mundane poems.
SARASWATI THAKUR ABANDONS MUNDANE LEARNING
While studying at the Sanskrit College, Saraswati Thakur also came into public disagreement with the opinions of the renowned scholar from Kashi, Bapudeva Shastri and the professor Panchanan Sahityacharya.
We can see parallels in the life of Saraswati Thakur and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for Saraswati Thakur first engaged in the delights of study and debating during his student life but then turned to exclusively chanting and preaching the Holy Names. In his autobiography, he wrote, “‘If I go on to study at the university, my family will inevitably harass me to get married. On the other hand, if I present myself to the world as a useless fool, no one will try to interest me in that kind of life.’ This was the reasoning that led me to quit the Sanskrit College. I then started looking for an honest means of making my livelihood with minimum effort so that I could lead a life of devotion to the Lord.”
In 1895, Saraswati Thakur took a job with the royal family of Tripura, which was then an independent state. He was engaged as associate editor of the royal family’s history, Rāāja-ratnākara. While there, he had the opportunity to study many important books held in the royal library When the Maharajah, Virachandra, left this world on December 11, 1896, his son Radha Kishor Manikya Bahadur was placed on the throne. The new Maharajah engaged Saraswati Thakur as Sanskrit and Bengali tutor for the crown prince, Vrajendra Kishor. Later, he sent Saraswati Thakur to Calcutta with various responsibilities. When Saraswati Thakur expressed a desire to permanently leave the employ of the royal family in 1905, the Maharajah gave him a full pension equal to the salary he had been earning. Saraswati Thakur continued to receive this pension until 1908.
In 1897, the Saraswata Catushpathi Sanskrit school was established at the Bhakti Bhavan. Many educated and important people came there to study astrology including Lala Hara Gauri Shankar, Dr. Ekendranath Ghosh, M.B., Satkori Chattopadhyaya Siddhanta Bhushan, Shyamlal Goswami (the noted scholar of the Nityananda family), Sarat Chandra Jyotir Vinode, etc. From the Saraswata Catushpathi, Saraswati Thakur published the monthly magazines Jyotirvid and Brhaspati, as well as many ancient astrological works.
ON PILGRIMAGE WITH SRILA BHAKTIVINODE THAKUR
In October of 1898, Saraswati Thakur set off on a pilgrimage with Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur during which they visited Kashi, Prayag, and on the way back, Gaya. While in Kashi, he met Rama Mishra Shastri, with whom he discussed many aspects of the Ramanuja sampradaya. On this occasion also, Saraswati Thakur began to show the spirit of renunciation which ran throughout his life. Starting in 1897, he had begun to follow the rules of Chaturmasya according to the Vaishnava scriptures, cooking havisyānna (boiled food without salt or spices) himself which he would eat directly off the floor without using a plate and sleeping on the ground without a pillow.
AN INVESTIGATION OF THE SRI SAMPRADAYA
Saraswati Thakur first started his study of the Ramanuja sampradaya while in Bengal and he published books and articles as the results of his research. In 1898, he wrote about Srinath Muni, Yamunacharya and other acharyas of this school in a series of articles which appeared in Sajjana-tosanī. Prior to this, he had books in the four South Indian languages provided to him by Sundareshwar Shrauti, from which he learned about the Ramanuja and Madhva schools.
In 1899, he wrote articles on spiritual matters in the weekly magazine, Nivedana, and in 1900, he published a book, Bange Samajikatā (“Bengali Social Customs”), a study of religous and social behavior in Bengal, which was the fruit of a great deal of research.
FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HIS GURU
In 1897, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur established his place of worship in Navadwip’s Godrumdwip area, near the Saraswati River, and called it Svananda Sukhada Kunj. It was there, in 1898, that Saraswati Thakur first saw his future guru, Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj. He was attracted by the extraordinary character of this Vaishnava paramahamsa, who was indifferent to all social conventions, and later, in the month of Magh (JanuaryFebruary), 1900, on the order of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, took bhāgavatī diksā from him.
SATASAN MATH AND BHAKTI KUTI
In March of 1900, Saraswati Thakur accompanied Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur on a trip to Baleshwar and Remuna, where he had darshan of Kshirachora Gopinath. Then they travelled on to Bhubaneshwar and Puri. On this occasion, Saraswati Thakur deepened his attachment to the holy city of Puri. When he expressed a wish to establish a Math near the samadhi of Hari Das Thakur, the local sub-registrar, Jagabandhu Pattanayaka and other prominent citizens asked him to take over the service of one of the seven seats of the Satasan Math, that of Giridhari. In 1902, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur himself started construction of a residence not far from Hari Das Thakur’s samadhi and named it Bhakti Kuti. During this time, Cossim Bazaar’s Maharajah, Manindra Chandra Nandi Bahadur, in mourning at the loss of a loved one, came to live in a tent on the beach near to this site. He came frequently to hear Bhaktivinode Thakur and Saraswati Thakur speak on the Vaishnava scriptures. Saraswati Thakur also regularly read and spoke on the Chaitanya Charitamrita in the presence of his father.
COLLECTING MATERIALS FOR MANJUSA
While in Puri, Saraswati Thakur engaged in collecting materials for his book Vaisnava-mañjusä. He was introduced to the abbot of the Govardhan Math, Madhusudan Tirtha, with whom he had many philosophical discussions. Tirtha Swami held Saraswati Thakur in high esteem. Other people whom he met in Puri and with whom he engaged in scriptural discussions included Vasudeva Ramanuja Das and Damodar Ramanuja Das of Samadhi Math; Raghunandan Ramanuja Das of Emar Math, Jagannath Das of the Jamayet (Ramanandi) sampradaya’s Papudia Math, Omkara Japi Vriddha Tapas of Svargadwarer Chata, the scholar Sada Shiva Mishra, the lawyer Harish Chandra Basu, Bihari Das Pujari of Ganga Mata’s Math, Radha Kanta Math’s abbot Narottam Das, Ananta Charan Mahanti, etc.
During this time, he would preach door to door to prominent people in Puri, out of which many difficulties and dangers arose. Problems also came up in the responsibilities which he had accepted at the Giridhari Asan of Satasan Math. Saraswati Thakur showed the same attitude as Prahlad Maharaj, however, demonstrating exemplary fortitude and turning a deaf ear to the foul-mouthed accusations made against him. In these circumstances, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur advised him to go to Mayapur and worship in solitude, just as Ramanuja had done at Tirunarayanpur.
MAHATMA VAMSI DAS
When he arrived in Nabadwip, Saraswati Thakur was introduced to Vamsi Das Babaji by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Not long afterward, Charan Das Babaji, along with Kalna’s Vishnu Das and many others, accompanied Saraswati Thakur on a kirtan party to Mahaprabhu’s birthplace in Mayapur to participate in the Dola Purnima festival there. The following year, Charan Das Babaji announced to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur that he wished to take a party on a tour of Nabadwip Dham every year. Unfortunately, his disappearance in 1906 made it impossible for him to carry out this wish.
WINNING AN ASTROLOGICAL DEBATE
On January 2, 1902, Saraswati Thakur engaged in a debate with an accomplished student of Bapudev Shastri. Ray Bahadur Rajendra Candra Shastri, President of the Royal Society, presided over the debate in which Saraswati Thakur so badly defeated his opponent that the latter’s professor passed stool and urine in the assembly out of shock.
In January of 1904, Saraswati Thakur visited Sita Rund and Chandranath. In December of the same year he went to Puri and on February 23, 1905, he went on a pil grimage to South India. He visited Singhachalam, Rajahmundry, Madras, Perembadur, Tirupati, Conjeevaram, Kumbhakonam, Srirangam, Madurai, etc., before returning to Calcutta and Sri Mayapur. In Perembadur, he learned the scriptural rules and regulaz tions surrounding Vaishnava tridandi sannyas from a member of that order in the Ramanuja sampradaya.
THE VOW TO CHANT A BILLION HOLY NAMES
While staying in Mayapur in 1905, Saraswati Thakur began preaching the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and, following in the footsteps of Hari Das Thakur, he undertook a vow of chanting a billion (ten crores) of Holy Names, chanting a minimum of three lakhs (300,000) every single day In 1906, Rohini Kumar Ghosh, the nephew of Justice Chandra Madhava Ghosh, had an extraordinary dream telling him to go to Saraswati Thakur and take initiation from him. Rohini Kumar Ghosh thus became his first initiated disciple.
In 1909, Saraswati Thakur had a cottage, Vraja-pattan, built on the site of Chandrasekhara’s house where he continued to engage in his vrata, visualizing himself on the banks of Radha Kund.
VICTORIOUS IN DEBATE
A crisis arose for the Vaishnava world in 1911. The Smarta Brahmins were engaged in a concerted attack on the Vaishnava religion and its acharyas. Those who claimed descendence from Nityananda Prabhu and other associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had taken the side of the Smartas in the hope of extracting some advantage from the alliance. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur was bed-ridden at the time, so when an assembly of hundreds of scholars and panditas was called in Midnapore at Balighai village to debate the issues, he sent Saraswati Thakur in his place. In the debate presided over by Vishvambharananda Deva Goswami, Vrindavan scholar Madhusudan Goswami invited him to speak. Saraswati Thakur read an article and gave a discourse on the distinction between Brahmins and Vaishnavas which completely destroyed the arguments of the materialistic karmi Smartas.
In the same year, at Bara Akhra in Nabadwip town, a debate was held on the Gaura mantra. Saraswati Thakur established on the basis of the Atharva Veda’s Caitanyopanisad and other scriptural evidence that a special mantra for worshiping Gauranga Mahaprabhu was eternally valid.
On March 23, 1912, Saraswati Thakur went to a religious conference held at Cossim Bazaar where he gave a speech, establishing the characteristics of pure devotional service and criticizing the materialistic ambitions and sycophancy of those who claimed to be the leaders of the Gaudiya Vaishnava religion. In order to demonstrate noncooperation with the so-called leaders of the school, he fasted for the four days he was there before returning to Mayapur where he resumed taking prasad.
PILGRIMAGE THROUGH THE GAUDA MANDALA
On November 4, 1912, Saraswati Thakur took a small group of devotees on a tour of Srikhanda, Jajigram, Katwa, Jhamatpur, Akai Hat, Chakhandi, Dain Hat and other places where Mahaprabhu’s associates had had their homes. In every place he preached the gospel of pure devotional service.
THE PUBLICATION OF ANUBHASYA
In April of 1913, Saraswati Thakur established a publishing house named Bhagavata Yantralaya in Calcutta’s Kalighat area. The first book printed was Chaitanya Charitamrita with his Anubhāsya commentary. Others which followed were the Bhagavad Gita with Vishvanath’s commentary and the maha-kāvya, Gaura-krsnodaya of the Orissan poet, Govinda Das.
After Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s disappearance on June 23, 1914, Saraswati Thakur took over the editorship of Sajjana-tosanī, the monthly magazine founded by his father. In January of 1915, the press was moved to Vraja-pattana in Mayapur and more books continued to be printed. On June 14, 1915, the Anubhāsya commentary to Chaitanya Charitamrita was completed at Vraja-pattana. In July of 1915, the printing press was again moved to Krishnanagar, and Sajjana-tosanī and various books written by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur were published from there.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF GAURA KISHOR DAS BABAJI
On November 17, 1915, utthāna ekadaśī, Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji entered into his eternal pastimes. Saraswati Thakur performed his last rites according to the prescriptions of Gopal Bhatta’s Samskāra-dīpikā, establishing the samadhi of his guru in the Nutan Chora neighborhood of old Kuliya (the present-day town of Nabadwip).
SARASWATI THAKUR TAKES TRIDANDI SANNYAS
On March 7, 1918, on the occasion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, Saraswati Thakur took Tridandi sannyas in Sri Mayapur. Although as an eternally perfected soul, he had already achieved the goals of the renounced order, he took this step in order to preach the gospel of Lord Chaitanya everywhere without restriction, to crystallize the conception of the daiva-varnāśrama social system, and to demonstrate the transcendental character of the paramahamsa (Babajī) dress taken by his gurus, Jagannath Das, Satchitananda Bhaktivinode Thakur and Gaura Kishor Das Babaji.
On the same day, he consecrated the deities of Guru-Gauranga and Radha-Govinda at the house of Chandrasekhara Acharya and established the Sri Chaitanya Math. The Sri Chaitanya Math became the headquarters for the branch Gaudiya Maths throughout the world, the flagship of which is situated in Calcutta.
At the end of March, Saraswati Thakur gave an exhaustively researched lecture on Vaishnava philosophy in the Krishnanagar town hall. In May, he went to Daulatpur and other places to deliver Hari katha.
VISIT TO SRI KSHETRA
On June 2, 1918, Saraswati Thakur and a group of devotees left Calcutta for Puri. They stopped at Sauri, Kuamara and other places along the way to preach. As they followed the route Mahaprabhu had taken to Puri, Saraswati Thakur was overcome with ecstatic feelings of separation from the Lord. The party stopped at Remuna where they saw Gopinath and then at Baleshwar where he gave a lecture on Mahaprabhu’s Siksāstaka to the town’s Hari Bhakti Pradayini Sabha. He was welcomed to Baleshwar by the Subdivisional Magistrate, Ray Saheb Gaura Shyama Mahanti and other distinguished personalities of the town. At Cuttack, he was invited by Diwan Bahadur Sri Krishna Mahapatra to stay at his home and preach on the Bhagavata there. Then in Puri, the party stayed at Bhakti Kuti and performed parikrama of Kshetra Mandala. Once again, Saraswati Thakur was in a state of ecstatic separation the whole time.
The former Collector and present Deputy Magistrate of Puri, Atal Bihari Maitra, had heard Saraswati Thakur explain Chaitanya Charitamrita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In a great meeting held on the grounds of Hariballabh Basu Ray Bahadur’s house, Shashi Bhavana, Sarswati Thakur gave a lecture on the difference between personal and impersonal conceptions of The Absolute Truth. He wrote a Sanskrit poem of a few verses about the memorial to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet enshrined in The Jagannath temple.
SILENCING ENEMY TONGUES
In August and September of 1918, a spokesman for a group of atheists with little philosophical knowledge sent a list of 29 questions challenging the Vaishnava faith and its acharyas. Saraswati Thakur silenced these critics with answers based on logic and scripture. The questions and his answers were published in a pamphlet named Pratīper praśnere pratyuttara, « Answering the enemy’s questions. »
BHAKTIVINODE ASAN AND VISHVA VAISHNAVA RAJA SABHA
To increase the preaching activity in Calcutta, in November of 1918, Saraswati Thakur established a center at 1 Ultadingi Junction Road, which he named Sri Bhaktivinode Asan. From there, he travelled to various towns in Jessore and Khulna districts. On February 5, 1919, he reestablished the World Vaishnava Association under the name Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha at the Bhaktivinode Asan. On June 27, 1919, he consecrated a deity of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur at Svananda Sukhada kunj in Godrumdwip. The first month-long kirtan festival was held at the Bhaktivinode Ãsana from August 18 to September 18, 1919.
PREACHING IN EAST BENGAL
On October 4, 1919, on the appearance day of anMadhvacharya, Saraswati Thakur set off on a preaching trip to north and eastern Bengal. In April of 1920, he and the other leaders of the Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha sent a letter with seven questions to the Maharaj of Cossim Bazaar’s annual convocation of Vaishnava scholars, challenging them to clarify the distinction between pure and blemished devotion.
Six years to the day after the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, on June 23, 1920, Saraswati Thakur’s mother Bhagavati Devi left for her eternal abode.
THE FIRST GAUDIYA MATH
On September 6, 1920, deities of Guru and Gauranga, Radha and Govinda, were installed at the Bhaktivinode Asan and the first Gaudiya Math was established at that time.
At the request of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Sisir Kumar Ghosh, Saraswati Thakur had been working on the compilation of a Vaishnava encyclopedia, for which he had travelled throughout India. In October of 1920, he came to Cossim Bazaar at the invitation of Maharaj Sir Manindra Chandra Nandi Bahadur, to whom he described the scope of this Vaishnava encyclopedia. The Maharaj agreed to donate a monthly stipend for the publication of the encyclopedia, but in the end was unable to fulfill his commitments.
Saraswati Thakur left Cossim Bazaar and went with his party to Saidabad, Nowallis Para, Kheturi and other places in the area that had been blessed by the touch of Mahaprabhu’s associates. Everywhere he went, he preached Mahaprabhu’s message.
THE FIRST SANNYAS DISCIPLE
On November 1, 1920, Saraswati Thakur initiated Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s disciple Jagadish Bhakti Pradip, Vaisnava-siddhanta-bhūsana, Sampradāya-vaibhavācārya, B.A., into the renounced order as a Tridandi sannyasi. He was thus the first member of the order in the Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha and was known thenceforth as Tridandi Swami Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj.
On March 14, 1921, Saraswati Thakur revived the annual parikrama or tour of Nabadwip Dham. At the end of March, he left again for Puri on a preaching trip. Meanwhile, H. H. Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj published a book Ācāra o Ācārya (“Standards of conduct and the spiritual master”) which caused a great stir amongst the caste Goswamis, most of who were acting as professional gurus.
PREACHING AND ESTABLISHING MATHS IN EAST BENGAL
Afterwards, Saraswati Thakur visited Dhanbad, Katrasgarh and Dhaka. In Dhaka, he spoke on the Bhagavata’s janmādy asya verse for an entire month, explaining it in thirty different ways. On October 13, 1921, he established the Madhva Gaudiya Math in Dhaka. On October 31, deities were installed and a great feast held in their honor. From Dhaka, he went on to Mymensingh for preaching.
After this, he returned to Nabadwip where he reestablished the worship of Gaura Gadadhar at Champa Hati. He also performed a deity installation at the birthplace of Vrindavan Das Thakur in Modadrumdwip. Then he returned to Calcutta to preach there and in the surrounding area.
SRI PURUSHOTTAM MATH
According to Veda Vyasa, hy utkale purusottamāt, the pure message of the Vaishnava religion would spread out of Jagannath Puri. In order to do honor to this prediction, Saraswati Thakur established the Sri Purushottam Math at Bhakti Kuti on June 9, 1922, installing a deity of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Then, in the spirit of Mahaprabhu, he and his followers participated in the cleaning of Gundicha, performed the parikrama of Jagannath Puri and went to Alalanath during Jagannath’s anavasāra period when he is taken off the temple altar. He instituted an annual memorial festival at the Purushottam Math in honor of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Gadadhar Pandit Goswami.
Saraswati Thakur also sent disciples to Cuttack, Baripada, Kuamara, Udala, Kaptipada, and Nilgiri, to preach Mahaprabhu’s gospel of pure devotion.
On August 19, 1922, the monthly magazine and organ of the Gaudiya Math, the Gaudīya, was published for the first time from the Bhagavata Press.
VISIT TO VRAJA MANDALA
On September 28, 1922, Saraswati Thakur left for Vrindavan with the intention of establishing a preaching centre. Accompanied by his disciples, he visited Mathura, Vrindavan, Radha Kund, and other important holy sites connected to Krishna’s pastimes. He gave a speech on Mahaprabhu’s teachings and the Vaishnava religion at an assembly of learned Vaishnavas at Lala Babu’s temple in Vrindavan town.
On his return to Bengal during the month of Karttik, Saraswati Thakur came to Dhaka where he once again outlined the true character of devotional service. After this he went to Kuliya and revealed the site where Mahaprabhu forgave Devananda Pandit and Chapal Gopal their offenses. From there, he went on to the Santal Paragana to preach Hari katha.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE AT THE CHAITANYA MATH
On the appearance day of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, March 2, 1923, work began on the construction of a temple at the Chaitanya Math. It was to be built according to Saraswati Thakur’s original idea of having deities of GuruGauranga and Radha-Govinda installed in the main deity room, while placing images of the founders of the four sampradayas (Lakshmi, Brahma, Rudra, the four Kumaras) and their acharyas (Ramanuja, Madhva, Vishnuswami, Nimbarka) in shrines on the temple’s four corners.
After preaching in West and East Bengal, Saraswati Thakur returned again to Puri for the annual festival and. emulating the pastimes of Mahaprabhu in separation from Krishna, danced in front of the Rathayatra cart. He also preached to large numbers of devotees, including Raja Manindra Candra Nandi, Shashimohana Goswami of Bhadrak, etc. He sent preachers to Mayurbhanj and Madras to spread Mahaprabhu’s gospel and himself took a party of devotees to Amlajora in Burdwan and then to Banari Para in Barisal district.
PREACHING THE BHAGAVATA
In 1923, just before the annual festival at the Gaudiya Math in Calcutta, the Gaudiya Printing Works was established and the first fascicules of the Srimad Bhagavatam were published with the Gaura-kiśorānvaya (word by word translation), Svānanda-kuñjnuvāda (translation), and the Ananta-gopāla-tathya and Sindhu-vaibhava commentaries.
On February 24, 1924, on the tithi commemorating the 50th anniversary of Saraswati Thakur’s appearance in the world, the first Vyasa Puja in his honor was held at the Calcutta Gaudiya Math. The speech that he gave on that occasion stands as an immortal jewel in the history of Vaishnava literature.
Not long thereafter, on the occasion of Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, the first edition of the Chaitanya Bhagavata was published from the Madhva Gaudiya Math in Dhaka.
TRIDANDI MATH AND SARASWATA ASAN
On July 9, 1924, Saraswati Thakur established the Tridandi Math in Bhubaneshwar in Orissa. From there he went to preach in the Madras presidency where he established the Saraswata Asan. There he gave extensive instruction to his disciples from Bhaktivinode Thakur’s books. In the first part of September of the same year, many distinguished persons came to hear him speak, including Raut Ray of Mayurbhanj, His Excellency General Jang Bahadur of Nepal, Justice Manmathanath Mukhopadhyaya, etc.
In October, he set foot in Dhaka for the fifth time and spoke extensively on Madhvacharya’s life and the Madhva sampradaya, giving a learned explanation of the differences between the Madhva and Gaudiya doctrines, especially underlining Madhva’s vision of Varnashram Dharma.
AT BENARES HINDU UNIVERSITY
On December 16, Saraswati Thakur came to the Benares Hindu University to lecture on the place of Vaishnavism in the world’s religions. Amongst those in the audience who greeted his lecture with enthusiasm were the director of the Department of Western Philosophy, Pramath Nath Tarkabhushan and Professor Phani Bhushan Adhikari, M.A. Afterwards, he and his followers went to places in Kashi visited by Mahaprabhu, then to Prayag, where he indicated the exact spot where Rupa Goswami had taken instruction from Mahaprabhu, and then to Arail, where Mahaprabhu had met with Vallabhacharya.
PILGRIMAGE THROUGH GAUDA MANDALA
On January 29, 1925, Saraswati Thakur took a large group of devotees on a tour of Gauda Mandala to visit the various sites made holy by Mahaprabhu and His associates. Overcome with divine inspiration, he lectured on pure devotion in all these places.
In the same year, during the Nabadwip Parikrama, deities of Radha Govinda were carried on the back of an elephant through the streets of Koladwip. The envious leaders of those in the guru business incited a number of ruffians to throw bricks at the deities and the devotees who were accompanying them, including Saraswati Thakur, at Porama Tola. One witness of the event was quoted in the next day’s (Phalguna 24, 1331) Ananda Bazaar Patrika as saying, “Today I witnessed the same pastime that was enacted about four hundred years ago when Nabadwip’s constables, two thugs named Jagai and Madhai, tried to do injury to Nityananda Avadhuta.”
MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA
On April 17, 1925, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, a nationalist organiza- tion, came to the Calcutta Gaudiya Math and heard Saraswati Thakur explain the Daiva Varnashram system according to the book, Agama-pramanya. Saraswati Thakur sent preachers to Sylhet and other places.
In 1926, a three-day sacrifice to the Holy Name was performed to commemorate the appearance of Nityananda Prabhu. This subsequently became an annual tradition. In April of the same year, a Math was founded in Chirulia (Midnapore), and given the name Bhagavata Janananda Math. Now possessed of an increasing number of Tridandi sannyasis, Saraswati Thakur sent them throughout India to preach the message of pure devotion, while he himself spoke and lectured through Midnapore. This is the time when the large-scale expansion of the Gaudiya Math really started.
TRAVELING AND PREACHING THROUGH INDIA
In the beginning of November 1926, Saraswati Thakur started on a trip throughout India, when he would meet with various learned persons to discuss scriptures and gather information. He was also, of course, preaching Krishna consciousness to the people in large assemblies. The acharyas of many schools acclaimed him as the leading acharya of the Gaudiya Vaishnava school. The Mahanta of Nathdwar, Gokulanath Goswami Maharaj of Bombay, the abbot of the Udipi monastery of the Madhva sampradaya and the abbot of the Salimabad seat of the Madhva sampradaya all received him with the honor due the spiritual master of a Vaishnava sampradaya.
While on this trip, Saraswati Thakur established a Math in Naimisharanya called Paramahamsa Math. Upon his return, he opened the Paravidya Pith school in Mayapur, as well as the newly completed 29 towered temple at the Chaitanya Math. Deities of the acharyas and Radha Govinda were installed there.
In 1927, Saraswati Thakur started publishing Sajjana tosanī in three languages—English, Sanskrit and Hindi. The English edition was given the name The Harmonist. On September 17, 1927, in Dumurkonda in Manbhoom district, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math was founded.
At the end of September, Saraswati Thakur set out again on a preaching tour of northern India. In 1928, dur ing the Gaudiya Math festival period, he spoke at Calcutta’s Albert Hall and other public places, giving access to Mahaprabhu’s message to the common people. The fourth edition of the Chaitanya Charitamrita was pub lished. On September 26, the foundations of the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math were laid near the banks of the Ganges. On October 7, he went with a large party of devotees to Assam, where he spoke in Shillong to several large assemblies. Amongst those who came to hear him explain the unexcelled doctrines of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the prince Saradindu Narayan Ray.
AT KURUKSHETRA FOR THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
On November 4, in order to experience the mood of separation that was experienced by the gopis and by Mahaprabhu during the Rathayatra, Saraswati Thakur went with a party of devotees to Kurukshetra at the time of a solar eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who had also come there had the good fortune to hear the Gaudiya Math devotees singing the names of Gaura. Deities of Gauranga were installed at the Sri Vyasa Gaudiya Math and a spiritual diorama exhibition (the Bhagavata Pradarshini) was opened.
THE OPENING OF THE EKAYANA MATH
On December 30, the great scholar Pramath Nath Tarka Bhushan came to the Gaudiya Math and heard an extended explanation of the Daiva Varnashram system from Saraswati Thakur.
In January of 1929, Saraswati Thakur established the Ekayan Gaudiya Math in Krishnanagar. At the opening ceremony, he gave a lecture with an original explanation showing that the single path of exclusive devotion (ekāyana) is the trunk and the various other paths (bahvāyana) are the branches of the Vedic tree.
On January 14, 1929, Saraswati Thakur met Professor Albert E. Suthers of Ohio State University, and explained to him how the Vaishnava religion was extended and perfected Christianity. On January 16, Saraswati Thakur was in New Delhi to open the Delhi Gaudiya Math, creating the opportunity for Mahaprabhu’s gospel to be spread to thousands of respectable people in India’s capital.
A SPEECH IN THE KRISHNANAGAR TOWN HALL
On March 30, 1929, Saraswati Thakur gave a lecture on the Holy Name in the Rama Gopal Town Hall building. In May of the same year, he was in Puri where he started Gaurasundar’s Chandan Yatra festival. At the same time, he started repair work on the Alalanath temple. On August 12, he spoke at Calcutta’s Albert Hall on the Gaudiya philosophy.
SHRINES OF MAHAPRABHU’S FOOTPRINTS
It was Saraswati Thakur’s wish to establish 108 shrines throughout India as memorials to the places Mahaprabhu had sanctified by the touch of His feet. These shrines or pāda-pīthas would house prints of Gaurasundar’s feet stamped in marble. For this purpose, he went to Kanair Natshala on October 13, 1929, and to Mandara two days later. From there he went on to Rajmahal, Bhagalpur, Nalanda and Rajgiri, to preach Mahaprabhu’s message. Then he went on to Kashi where he discoursed on Mahaprabhu’s teachings to Sanatan Goswami.
He was welcomed by many educated and respectable people to Kashi, Faizabad, Ayodhya, Naimisharanya, Karauna, Misrikh, Sitapur, and Lucknow. Many seekers of the truth were initiated by him into the religion of pure devotion. The widely-renowned bar-at-law, Mr. A. P. Sen, the professor Dr. Radha Kumud Mukhopadhyaya, Dr. Radha Kamal Mukhopadhyaya, Dr. A. N. Sen Gupta, and many other highly regarded citizens came to hear him speak.
THE SRI MAYAPUR POST OFFICE
On June l, 1929, a temporary post office was opened at Sri Mayapur and made into a permanent branch in October. During this time, Saraswati Thakur had his devotees establish the “Lord’s garden” (Ishodyan) that Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur had desired in Mayapur. He also had electricity brought to Mayapur and electric lights placed on the pinnacle of the Chaitanya Math temple.
MAHA MAHOPADHYAYA HARAPRASAD SHASTRI
On January 8, 1930, the great scholar Dr. Haraprasad Shastri visited Saraswati Thakur and discussed many matters with him regarding the history of the various s Vaishnava sampradayas including the Gaudiya, the dates of many acharyas, the Pancharatra, and Sri Chaitanya.
In the middle of January, Saraswati Thakur went to the Purna Kumbha Mela in Prayag. He engaged the Chaitanya Math’s preachers in talking about Mahaprabhu’s teachings to Rupa Goswami. He installed deities of Radha Govinda, the life and soul of Sri Rupa Goswami, at the confluence of the three rivers, Triveni. By the grace of the best of Rupa Goswami’s followers, the pilgrims who came to Prayag to bathe in the confluence of the holy rivers were fortunate to be able to hear the message of pure devotion.
EXHIBITION IN SRI DHAM MAYAPUR
From February 3 to March 17, 1930, Saraswati Thakur held an unprecedented spiritual diorama exhibition in Nabadwip-Mayapur. It was opened by the famous chemist, Dr. Prafulla Chandra Roy. On February 18, on the occasion of his Vyasa Puja, a shrine to the acharya’s feet was inaugurated at the Chaitanya Math.
On May 4, Mr. I. H. Napier came to hear about Indian spiritual philosophy from Saraswati Thakur. On May 25, Saraswati Thakur went to Chatrabhoga, a place that Mahaprabhu visited on his way to Puri and blessed many seekers of the truth. In July, he went to the Satchitananda Math in Cuttack and spoke on Krishna to both learned and general audiences. On August 22, he travelled to Allahabad where he stayed with his entourage at the house of retired Sessions Judge, Manomohan Sannyal. He spoke there for several days, attracting Mr. Sannyal to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. He also resolved many of the questions asked by educated citizens of the town, especially Professor Dr. P. K. Acharya.
On October 5, 1930, the move with the devotees and deities was made from the Ultadingi Junction Road Math to the new buildings at Bagh Bazaar. At the same time, a festival was held in honor of Radha Madan Mohan, Radha Govinda and Radha Gopinath. A transcendental diorama exhibition was also opened and a great spiritual conference was called at the same time. The chief contributor to the construction of the temple, Jagabandhu Bhakti Ranjan, died on November 19 of the same year.
On December 25, Saraswati Thakur was in Jajpur; on the 26th, in Kurmakshetra; on the 27th in Singhachalam; Kovvur on the 29th and on the 31st in Mangalagiri. In all these places, he installed shrines of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and preached His gospel. Sir P. S. Shivasvami lyer, K.C.S.I., Dr. U. Ramrao, and P. N. Subrahmanya lyer were among the distinguished persons who were attracted by Saraswati Thakur’s preaching.
THE BHAKTIVINODE INSTITUTE
On April 3, 1931, Saraswati Thakur opened the Bhaktivinode Institute in Sri Mayapur, and to the large assembly of people present for the occasion, spoke on the difference between material and spiritual knowledge. On May 3, he went to Darjeeling to preach in that district. On June 28, he officially accepted responsibility for the management of the Sripat of Nityananda Prabhu’s associate, Mahesh Pandit, in Chakdaha. At the opening ceremonies, he spoke to a large crowd of seekers.
On july 12, he installed the deity of Gauranga named Gaudiyanath at the Brahma-Gaudiya Math in Alalanath. Five days later, he set the foundations of the Purushottam Math temple on land that had been donated by the Maharajah of Mayurbhanj. From there he went on to Cuttack where he spoke on Krishna at the Satchitananda Math. He sent a party of preachers to Simla in northern India.
On July 30, he spoke Hari katha to an audience including the well-known professor Kalidas Nag of Calcutta University at the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math. On September 5, Honorable Justice Manmath Nath Mukhopadhyaya came to listen to Saraswati Thakur speak at the Gaudiya Math.
THE SPIRITUAL EDUCATION EXHIBITION IN CALCUTTA
At the time of the Gaudiya Math’s annual festival, on September 6, Saraswati Thakur opened a spiritual education exhibition (Sat-Siksä PradarŠinï) in Calcutta. Over the next few weeks, some of the prominent people who came to hear him speak were Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen Ray Bahadur, Biraj Mohan Mazumdar, Vice Principal of Institutional College, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, the German scholar and world-traveller, and Dr. Stella Kremrisch of Calcutta University.
Saraswati Thakur spoke at the Gaudiya Math’s many festivals. On September 29, he spoke on the nature of spiritual sound to the principal of the Calcutta Medical College, Colonel Dvarakaprasad Goyel, I.M.S., and the American traveller and scholar, A. J. Jacobs. On October 11, in Prayag he met Allahabad University Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ganganath Jha, Allahabad District Commissioner, Vinayak Shankar Mehta, I.C.S., and answered their questions on spiritual life.
THE HINDI MAGAZINE, BHAGAVATA
On October 16, Saraswati Thakur was welcomed to Benares by its distinguished citizens and stayed and spoke at the Maharajah’s Mint Palace. On the 19th and 20th, he spoke at length on Vaishnava philosophy and Krishna lila to Vasanta Kumar Chatterjee, Deputy Accountant General of Bengal and man of letters. From there he went on to Lucknow on Oct. 31, and then to Nairnisharanya, where on November 9, he introduced the new Hindi fortnightly, Bhāgavata, published from the Paramahamsa Math.
On November 14, Saraswati Thakur sent preachers to New Delhi to tell the Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, about the Math’s preaching activities. On November 17, he established the annual festival at the Delhi Gaudiya Math and spoke to many distinguished personalities about the life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He also gave a speech about bhakti at the Gurudwar Bungalow Saheb Hall in New Delhi. On November 29, a great spiritual assembly in the garden of Honorable Council of State member, Ray Bahadur Lala Jagadish Prasad, at which Saraswati Thakur gave a speech. Then on November 30, he went with his entourage to Sukaratala, the place where Suka first narrated the Bhagavatam, and himself spoke from the Bhagavatam.
On December 6, he installed Radha-Govinda deities in the Delhi Gaudiya Math. On the 9th, he came to Calcutta to speak at the first annual memorial service in honor ofJagabandhu Bhaktiranjan, the builder of the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math buildings. The Honorable Justice Manmath Nath Mukhopadhyaya presided over the assembly. On the 13th, Mr. Mukhopadhyaya visited Mayapur where he again heard Saraswati Thakur speak. He also visited the Dham and the Bhaktivinode Institute.
PREACHING IN MADRAS
On January 10, 1932, Saraswati Thakur went with a party of twenty devotees to Madras. A large group of devotees and dignitaries, including Madras Corporation President, T. S. Ramaswami lyer, the Honorable T. Rajan, Mr. S. V. Ramaswami Mudaliyar, the honorable Diwan Bahadur, G. Narayan Swami Chetiyar, C.I.E. (Companion of the Indian Empire), and T. Punurulla Pillai, etc., greeted him at the Basin Bridge Station and accompanied him in a huge sankirtan procession back to the Gaudiya Math which at that time was situated in the North Gopalpura neighborhood. In the assembly which followed, the honorable Diwan Bahadur Kumarswami Reddiyar offered a speech in which he indicated the depth of his esteem for the acharya, Saraswati Thakur.
On January 14, Madras High Court Justice, Diwan Bahadur Sundaram Chettiyar visited Saraswati Thakur at the Madras Gaudiya Math and was satisfied by answers to his questions on spiritual matters. On January 23, deities were installed in the Madras Gaudiya Math. On the same day, the cornerstone for a new Math was laid in the Raipetta district. On January 24, a huge meeting was held with many important personalities as guests, including Sir P. S. Shivaswami lyer. Saraswati Thakur spoke and attracted many of these people to Mahaprabhu’s teachings. On January 27, the governor of Madras Presidency, Sir George Frederick Stanley, laid the cornerstone for the Sri Krishna Kirtan Hall at the Madras Gaudiya Math.
On January 29, Madras City Corporation gave an official welcome to Saraswati ThakLIL He gave a speech of thanks in the Corporation’s Rippon Building.
On the 30th, Saraswati Thakur went to the town of Eluru in the West Godavari district, where he was greeted by a huge sankirtan party of townspeople. He received an official letter of welcome from the Janardana Prarthana Samaj. He gave a speech and then initiated and inspired a large number of people from that region in the practice of pure devotional service. On his 58th birthday, he wrote a speech that was sent to Calcutta to be read at the Vyasa Puja festivities there.
Saraswati Thakur returned to Mayapur before the 1932 Nabadwip Parikrama. On the occasion of Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, he laid the cornerstone for a new temple building at Advaita Acharya’s house. He gave a speech at the annual meeting of the Sri Dham Pracharini Sabha as well as instituting the examinations for Bhakti-śāstrī and Bhakti-vaibhavacārya degrees. On April 3, he presided over the annual award-giving ceremony at the Bhaktivinode Institute where he gave a speech on “Altruism and Extended Altruism. »
MADRAS, UDAGAMANDALAM, MYSORE AND KOVVUR
On May 23, 1932, Saraswati Thakur returned to Madras. This time he had the opportunity to explain the particularities of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya to the religious leaders and scholars of the Shankar, Ramanuja and Madhva schools. On May 25, he spoke to a group of questioners led by Prof. K. Panchapagesan of Pudukottai College, and was able to settle their doubts. On May 29, he was welcomed to Combatoire by its citizens. He spoke there and on the banks of the Bhavani River to the people of the town of Mettuppalaiyam. From there he went to Udugamandalam in the Nilgiri Hills, where he stayed at the Rangavilas Bhavan. He stayed there long enough to revise Prof. Nishikanta Sannyal’s English book, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, as well as completing his own English translation of Brahma-samhitā, his Gaudīya-bhāsya commentary on the Chaitanya Bhagavata, and a short English book on the life of Ramananda Ray.
While in Udagamandalam, several distinguished people came to visit Saraswati Thakur and had the opportunity to hear his teachings through his principal disciples. They included Sir Kishan Prasad, G.C.I.E. (Knight and Grand Commander of the Indian Empire), prime minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad, Hyderabad zamindar Dhanraj Girji, Sir P. S. Shivaswami Aiyar, and the honorable Diwan Bahadur, P. Muniswami Naidu.
On June 17, the Maharajah of Mysore, Sir Krishnaraj Vadhiyar, G.C.S.I. (Knight and Grand Commander of the Star of India), G.B.E. (Grand Cross of the British Empire) invited Saraswati Thakur and his disciples to Mysore where they stayed as his guests in the Rama Mandira and tirelessly preached the Chaitanya gospel throughout the area. On the way from Udagamandalam to Mysore, Saraswati Thakur visited various places such as the Lingayat temple to Kantheshwar and the Madhva Math, etc., in Nanjangud. On June 19, Saraswati Thakur visited Krishnaraj Sagar and Srirangapattanam (20 km north of Mysore).
In the morning of June 20, Saraswati Thakur visited the Mysore Sanskrit College and spoke to the professors on Krishna bhakti. That afternoon he was invited to the Maharajah’s palace where he gave a discourse on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and answered the Maharajah’s questions.
From there, Saraswati Thakur went to Kovvur, the place on the banks of the Godavari where Mahaprabhu met with Ramananda Ray for the first time. On July 5, he installed deities at the Ramananda Gaudiya Math. Hundreds of thousands of people come around that time to take bath in the Godavari on the occasion of the Puskarayoga and were blessed by the chance to hear the chanting of Gauranga’s names. Saraswati Thakur spoke on the gradual process of spiritual life and its ultimate goal to the educated people of the locality.
GAURA KISHOR DAS’S SAMADHI IS TRANSFERRED
By August 16, Saraswati Thakur had returned to Calcutta and Sir Deva Prasad Sarvadhikari came to hear him speak on “Sri Chaitanya prema.” On the 28th, during the annual festival held at the Gaudiya Math, he gave a lecture entitled “Relative Worlds.
On August 21, 1932, upon hearing that the samadhi tomb of his guru Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj, was about to fall into the Ganges, Saraswati Thakur sent disciples to arrange to have his transcendental remains transferred in their entirety to the Chaitanya Math in Mayapur.
In the beginning of September, publication of a monthly magazine in the Assamese language, Kīrtana, was begun out of the town of Dhuburi on Saraswati Thakur’s orders. On September 3, Saraswati Thakur gave a lecture entitled “The Ultimate Goal of Life” at the Calcutta Gaudiya Math. On the 4th, Calcutta University professor Suniti Chatterjee and Nadia District Magistrate T. C. Ray came to the Gaudiya Math to hear him speak. On Sept. 11, he gave a lecture on the Vedanta. These three lectures were later published. Then on the 16th, Saraswati Thakur came to Mayapur to inaugurate the samadhi temple of Gaura Kishor Das Babaji.
VRAJA MANDALA PARIKRAMA
On October 9, the appearance day of Sri Madhvacharya, Saraswati Thakur and countless devotees undertook the 84 kros pilgrimage tour of Vraja Mandala. Stopping at every place where Krishna had engaged in his pastimes, Saraswati Thakur and his disciples preached in various different languages for the benefit of devotees coming from many different places. He himself lectured on Rupa Goswami’s Upadeśāmrta to a large assembly of Vraja residents and scholars.
On November 4, after finishing the parikrama, he went to Hardwar-Mayapur where he laid the cornerstone for the Sri Saraswata Gaudiya Math. Then on Nov. 21, in Prayag, the cornerstone for the Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math was laid at his invitation and in his presence by the governor of the United Provinces, Sir William Malcolm Haley. On the 24th, deities of Radha and Govinda were installed in the Sanatan Gaudiya Math in Benares.
On November 27, the second annual memorial festival in honor of Jagabandhu Bhakti Ranjan was held, with Sir Manmath Nath Ray Chaudhuri Raja Bahadur presiding at the meeting. On December 4, Krishnanagar College professor Sudhendu Kumar Das and Vishvambhar Vyakaranatirtha, Vedanta-shastri of Radha Kanta Math in Puri came to Mayapur where they learned much about the different Vaishnava sampradayas throughout India.
A SPIRITUAL EDUCATIONAL EXHIBITION IN DHAKA
On December 12, Saraswati Thakur came to Dhaka to open a diorama exhibition. He remained there for longer than a month, until January 30, 1933, during which time many of the most respectable members of the learned community came to see him and hear his teachings. A diorama exhibition with the theme of spiritual education—unprecedented in Dhaka—was opened on January 6. His lecture on that occasion, entitled “Exhibition Speech,” created a change in the ideas of his listeners about the true nature of religion and its doctrines.
On February 2, Saraswati Thakur returned to the Calcutta Gaudiya Math, where he explained the difference between eka-danda sannyas and tri-danda sannyas after being questioned on the subject by Satishchandra De, dean of Narasingh College in Howrah, and Professor Ranada Charan Chakravarti. On the 8th, Saraswati Thakur went to Sri Mayapur to celebrate Nityananda’s appearance day, Vyasa Puja and the appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
PREACHING ENVOYS TO EUROPE
On Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, 1933, Prof. Nishikanta Sannyal’s English-language book, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, was released for distribution. After this event, Saraswati Thakur decided that it was now time to preach Mahaprabhu’s message in Europe. He selected three leading disciples for the service: H. H. Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj, H. H. Bhakti Hridoy Bon Maharaj, and Sambidananda Das, M. A. , Bhakti-Shastri. On March 18, in a meeting presided over by Jatindranath Basu, M.L.C [Member of Legislative Council], Saraswati Thakur gave a farewell speech called “My Message” (Āmār kathā), in which he praised these three disciples, bidding them bon voyage before they left to carry out the European mission.
The first news of results of their preaching in London was received at the beginning of May: a centre had been opened at 39 Drain Gardens, Kensington, S.W. 10. On May 31, Saraswati Thakur answered inquiries on spiritual matters sent from London by the Marquess of Ludian and Lord Zetland, a former governor of Bengal. On June 15, Lord Zetland presided over a meeting of the Society for the Study of Religion at Bedford Square, in which Saraswati Thakur’s disciples spoke on the glories of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
On June 23, a meeting was held at the London Gaudiya Math in honor of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Many distinguished guests, including the Honorable Justice Bistrow, came there to hear about Bhaktivinode’s teachings. In the month of July, Saraswati Thakur received letters from several distinguished British citizens thanking him for the great work the Gaudiya Math had undertaken in Great Britain. They included Lord Irwin’s private tary, Mr. R. A. Butler, the Marquis of Ludian, Sir Stanley Jackson, and Times editor, Mr. Brown.
On July 5, former Viceroy of India Lord Irwin, his wife and representatives of the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee heard from the Gaudiya Math missionaries about their objectives in preaching Mahaprabhu’s message in Europe. At 4 P.M. on July 20, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Samuel Hoare, introduced the Gaudiya Math preachers to Emperor George V and Empress Mary. The preachers had the opportunity to offer their respects to the emperor and tell him the purpose of the Gaudiya Mission. On July 14, they met with the head of the Church England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend z Cosmo Gordon Lang. Then on October 7 and 8, a large meeting was held for the professors and students of Oxford University, in which the Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine of the Holy Names was explained.
The Gaudiya Math’s European preachers gave lectures on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s gospel at Eastbourne Theosophical Society on November 24-25, then at the Deutsch Akademi in Munich, Germany, on December 10; at Humboldt House in Berlin on December 12; Koningsburg on the 14th, at the Institut de la Civilisation Indienne in Paris. On December 20, the London Gaudiya Math moved to 3 Gloucester House, Cornwall Gardens, S.W. 7.
PREACHING ACTIVITY IN BOMBAY AND OTHER CITIES
While this was going on, Saraswati Thakur opened the Sri Krishna Kirtan Hall in Madras. From there he went to Bombay, where he met with the Nepali professor, Sanjiva Kumar Chaudhuri, M.A., and answered his three sincere questions.
Not long afterward, he opened the Gaudiya Math’s Bombay office in the Jangu Villa on Babul Nath Road. While staying there, he made great efforts to preach Mahaprabhu’s message in the large city. On May 20, in response to a question by a distinguished relative of Dadabhai Naroji, he gave his resolution of the problem of the movement for the admission of untouchables into Hindu temples.
Meanwhile, on June 16, Saraswati Thakur spoke on the uniqueness of the Srimad Bhagavatam at the Krishnanagar Town Hall. The occasion was a memorial meeting in honor of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur which was presided over by Khitipati Nath Mitra and Dinanath Sannyal Ray Bahadur.
On July 3, Saraswati Thakur installed deities of Gaurasundar and Radha-Govinda in the newly finished temple at the Tridandi Gaudiya Math in Bhuvanesvar. This was followed by a kirtan festival.
In August, on the occasion of a solar eclipse, a spiritual diorama exhibition was held for the second time at Kurukshetra. During the time the Bagh Bazaar Math’s annual festival, a large kirtan procession was taken through many Calcutta neighborhoods. On August 12 Saraswati Thakur spoke on “The ultimate goal of human life,” on the 20th, on “The uniqueness of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,” and on the 27th, in English on “The Vedanta, its morphology and ontology”. On September 7 he went by motor launch to Nabadwip, bringing sankirtan to various places along the Ganges.
On October 27, Saraswati Thakur made his auspicious entrance into the city of Patna to preach Mahaprabhu’s message to the local populace. Some of the distinguished people who came to hear his instructions were Amarendranath Das, Ray Bahadur; Ganesh Chandra Chand, the government archeological superintendent for the region of Bihar, Orissa, and Chota Nagpur; barrister, P. R. Das; advocate Nabadwip Chandra Das; District and Session Judge, Shivapriya Chatterjee. On November 14, Darbhanga Maharaj, Sir Kameshwar Singh Bahadur, K.C.S.I., opened the diorama exhibition in Patna, attracting some of the most distinguished citizens of that town.
On November 19, the third annual memorial meeting for Jagabandhu Bhaktiranjan was presided over at the Gaudiya Math by Sir Vijaya Prasad Singh Ray. At the end of November, the Bhakti-sandarbha, edited by Saraswati Thakur, was published in its entirety. On November 24, he spoke Hari katha in Tetiya Palli near Nrisingha Palli in Nabadwip Dham. On November 26 and 27, he took part in a sankirtan festival at the Ekayana Math in Krishnanagar. By his grace, there was also preaching activity in Amarshigram in Midnapore at this time as well.
During this time, preaching activity was also being conducted in Karachi, now in Pakistan. On December 24, the spiritual exhibition was opened in Benares in the Michir Pokra neighborhood by Saraswati Thakur’s supporter, District Magistrate and Collector, Mr. Pannalal, I.C.S. (Indian Civil Service).
THE MAHARAJAH OF TRIPURA VISITS THE GAUDIYA MATH
On January 15, 1934, the King of the independent state of Tripura, Viravikram Kishor Devavarma Manikya Bahadur, visited the Calcutta Gaudiya Math with his entourage. He showe