Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Om Vishnupad Jagad Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay!
The past few days we have been busy with many festivals. It was Vamandev's appearance day, then Bhakti Vinod Thakur's appearance day, then Haridas Thakur's disappearance festival—we have joined many festivals. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur's festival was arranged by the Saraswata Gaudiya Vaishnav association (Gaudiya Maths, Iskcon, etc. all together) and took place in Surabhi Kunja. We also joined it; it was a big celebration.
Actually, what Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave us is described by Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in his sloka,
গুরুদং গ্রন্থদং গৈরধামদং নামদং মুদা
guru-dam grantha-dam gaura-dhama-dam nama-dam muda
"He is the giver of Sri Guru; he is the giver of scriptures; he is giver of the holy dham of Gaura; he is the giver of the Name; he is the giver of pure devotion; he is the greatest donor. I always offer my obeisance to this Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur."
(Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya, 1.8)
Guru-dam. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave us our Guru. Actually, if he had not given us Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, where would we stay? In the shelter of whose lotus feet would we stay?
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur was a deputy magistrate in many places of Odisha and Bengal, and eventually he understood that Mahaprabhu's pure devotion, Mahaprabhu's teaching and conception was being lost day by day. At that time, there were so many aul, baul, karttabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani, sakhibheki, jata-goswami—so many misconception people were roaming all over the world. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur prayed to the Lord (he prayed to Bimala Devi in the Jagannath temple), "Please, send someone who can keep the pure conception of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu!" and by the mercy of Bimala Devi he got his sixth son. His name was Bimala Prasad—later he became known as Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. He was the one to start preaching all over India, even around the world (he even established one temple in London). So, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave us our Guru.
Then, grantha-dam. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave so many scriptures (grantha). You can see that every morning we sing,
জীব জাগ, জীব জাগ, গোরাচাঁন বলে ।
jiva jaga, jiva jaga, gorachanda bale
Sri Gorachand says, "O souls, awake! O souls, awake! How much longer will you sleep in the lap of the witch Maya?"
He wrote this song. Gurudev also always sang this song about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, from his book Saranagati,
O Lord! I am very wicked-minded and have fallen into this material world, but You have sent a great soul, Your associate (to rescue me).
daya kari more patita dekhiya
Seeing me so fallen and being merciful, he came to me and said, "O humble soul, listen to this wonderful message and your heart will rejoice.
tomare tarite sri-krsna-chaitanya
"Sri Krishna Chaitanya has appeared in Nabadwip to deliver you."
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur composed this song, and he composed many other Saranagati songs...
সর্ব্বস্ব তোমার চরণে সঁপিয়া
sarvasva tomara, charane sapiya,
I have offered everything at Your feet and taken shelter in Your home. You are my Master; please consider me Your dog.
"You are the master, I am your servant. Tie me in front of your door, and if your enemy comes, I will kick them out, I will not allow them to come inside your house." He wrote this.
Next is Gaura-dam. He gave us Gaura. You know that Vasudev Ghosh Thakur wrote,
যদি গৌর না হ'ত তবে কি হইত
yadi gaura na ha'ta tabe ki ha-ita
"If Gauranga Mahaprabhu had not come in this world, who would have told us about the glories of Srimati Radharani?" In the same way, if Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur had not come in this world, who would then have told us about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? So, he gave us Gaura, he gave us our Guru, he gave us grantha (scriptures).
Then, dhama-dam. It means he gave us the holy place—he gave us Nabadwip Dham!
Actually, before, it was considered that Nabadwip (Mahaprabhu's birthplace) had been lost in the Ganges. One day, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur was chanting the Holy Name on the roof of this house (his daily duty was like this: in the evening, he went to rest very early, and he would wake up at midnight and start to chant the Holy Name), and from the roof he saw some light coming from a place a little far off. The next morning he went there and saw a vacant place, like a field, and there were so many Tulasi plants growing there. He asking some local Muslim people who the proprietor of that land was, but the local people did not know it. Then, Bhakti Vinod Thakur asked them, "Why are there so many Tulasis here?" He was told, "We tried to cultivate some crops, rice, or jute, but nothing grows here, only Tulasi." Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wondered, "Why does Tulasi grow in this place?" Then, he returned to Nabadwip and came to Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj (he was very old at that time, 137 years old) and asked him, "Prabhu, can you please come with me?" Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj could not walk, so his servitor put him in a basket and carried him on his head to that field. When Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj arrived at the place, he began to dance and chant, crying out, "Yes! I have got it! This is the birth place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! This is Yogapith!"
So, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur discovered Mahaprabhu's birthplace.
THE HOLY NAME
And Nama-dam—he gave us the Holy Name. Before, people made so many Nama-aparadhas (even now too). Mahaprabhu told,
হরে কৃষ্ণ হরে কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ হরে হরে ।
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
হরের্নাম হরের্নাম হরের্নামৈব কেবলম্ ।
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
But the other (apa-)sampradayas, the misconception people were spreading so much Nama-aparadh—their "Holy Name" is what their mind tells them. Srila Sachchidananda Bhakti Vinod Thakur thought, "Nityananda Prabhu opened a market of the Holy Name (Nama-hatta), and I will become a sweeper of that Nama-hatta! With a broom, I will sweep all misconception from the market of the Holy Name!" This was his declaration.
Sriman Mahaprabhu send six goswamis to Vrindavan:
jaya rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha
"Glory to Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu, Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu, Srila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami Prabhu, Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu, Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami Prabhu, Srila Das Raghunath Goswami Prabhu."
These six goswamis were sent to Vrindavan to preach the main conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to preach what is the real conception of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who came in this world as Radha-Krishna's combined form, to preach what is the real devotion. Mahaprabhu sent them there to preach, and they did it—they succeeded, they fulfilled Mahaprabhu's desire.
After that, they expired... Who will preach all these things now? Sisir Ghosh declared, "Who will be the seventh goswami? If there is any goswami in this world after the six goswamis, it is only Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur!"
Then, we can understand something...
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur came from a very big and rich family, but who was his friend? One who was poor, who used to go to the burning ghat, who took soil and the Ganges water—this Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj was his friend. Moreover, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur even sent one of his sons (Bimala Prasad) to take initiation from Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj.
There are so many things that can be said about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. His main conception can be found in Jaiva-dharma. If you read it, you can understand what is the sanatan-dharma, jaiva-dharma (the real duty of the jiva soul), what is our real conception. It is not some sectarianism—this book Jaiva-dharma was composed only to tell what is necessary for a human body.
So, we can understand that if Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur had not come in this world, where, in whose lotus feet would we have found our shelter? He gave us all these things, he gave us Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. If you think about it, you can understand how much he gave to us, the jiva souls...
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