108 Sri Srila Sachchidananda Bhaktivinode Thakur

Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srila Sachchidananda Bhaktivinode Thakur, an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord Sri Chaitanya, descended on earth in the first half of the 19th century (in 1838) with the divine mission of reviving the Universal Religion of Unalloyed Devotion and Divine Love in the modern world. Prior to his advent, the condition of the spiritual world became veritably deplorable. The firmament of pure Vaishnava Religion was covered with clouds of fake religions. Pseudo-devotees distorted the most sacred Teachings of Sri Chaitanya and busied themselves with the tasks of cheating others and gratifying their own senses. In order to disperse these clouds of non-devotional elements and dispel the encircling gloom, Thakur Bhaktivinode appeared as the Divine Sun in accordance with the transcendental will of the Supreme Lord. He came of the illustrious Datta family of Hatkhola. He was highly educated and held the rank of Deputy Magistrate. He pioneered the Chaitanya-movement and reinstated its pristine glory to its fullest. He gave a momentous impetus to the preaching and teaching of the Divine Truths treasured in Srimad Bhagabatam. Mr. Sisir Kr. Ghose rightly called him The Seventh Goswami, whose contribution was as great as that of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan.

He wrote more than hundred books on pure devotion in various languages like English, Sanskrit, Bengali and Urdu and also penned innumerable articles for publication in various leading newspapers and journals of that period. His outstanding books include Jaiba Dharma, Sri Krishna Samhita, Sri Sri Mahaprabhur Siksha, Sri Bhagabatarka -marichimala, Tattwasutra, Amnaya Sutra, Sri Chaitanya Sikshamrita, Sri Harinam Chintamani, Bhajan Rahasya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu : His Life and Precepts, The Bhagabat, Dattakoustubha, Tattwa-bibek etc. He also composed innumerable devotional poems and songs which were published under the titles of Kalyankalpataru, Saranagati, Gitabali and Gitamala. With a heart that overflowed with infinite kindness for suffering humanity, he wrote these books for the eternal, tangible, supreme good of human beings. In his books he tried to convey what, according to Sri Chaitanya, is the real meaning of the eternal religion that has come down to us in the records of the Scriptures through the chain of Preceptors. He possessed a profound knowledge of all scriptures and had a special command of the teachings of the Goswamis which he incorporated in a very simple and lucid style in his books. The central topic of Thakur Bhaktivinode’s teachings is the absolute necessity of worship by the method of taking the Holy Name in the present age. His special contribution is his detailed treatment of every variety of offence that has to be carefully avoided if the Name has to be taken in the proper manner. His Sri Hari-Nama-Chintamani is a unique book on this subject. Through the journal ‘Sri Sajjan-toshani‘ he preached the glory of transcendental classics like Srimad Bhagabatam and Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Through his books like ‘Sri Nabadwip-dham-mahatmya‘, he preached the divine glory of the Holy Dham of Lord Goursundar.

He revived Sri Viswa Vaishnava Rajsabha founded by Srila Jiva Goswami in the 16th Century. It was Thakur Bhaktivinode who discovered the real Birthsite of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Sridham Mayapur, Nadia, West Bengal. He is, by common consent, regarded as the fountain-head of Gaudiya Mission and the greatest pioneer of Bhagavata Dharma in the modern world. Prof. N. K.Sanyal has beautifully remarked in his celebrated book Sree Krishna-Chaitanya– “It was the life-work of Thakur Bhaktivinode to re-discover the true history of Sree Chaitanya and make the same available to the present generation. The magnitude of this service to his country, to humanity and to all animate beings, time alone will show. The eternal religion taught and practised by Sree Chaitanya has been made intelligible to the modern reader by the labours of Thakur Bhaktivinode. It is bound to act most powerfully on all existing religious convictions of the world and make possible the establishment of universal spiritual harmony of which the whole world stands so much in need.”

Thakur Bhaktivinode was specially empowered by the Lord to conduct Nama-Sankirtan. In his life-time Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has flooded the world with pure Hari-Sankirtan or the Congregational Chanting of Hari (The Supreme Lord). Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has sung the songs of Krishna, preached the glory of Krishna through books and journals and installed Krishna in the temples of the hearts of many. He has revealed the ontology of Krishna comprising three cardinal points viz. (1) Sambandha or Relation with God, (2) Abhidheya or Means to reach Him, and (3) Prayojana or Love for the Lord which is the summum bonum or Supreme Need of life. As Lord Goursundar, the Father of Nama-Sankirtan, conducted Congregational Chanting in Nabadwip, Vrindaban, Nilachal and other parts of India, so endowed with His strength, Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode held Sankirtan in order to take many people back to the Abode of Eternal Bliss.Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur conducted such powerful Sankirtan as purified the hearts of many. The desecrated hearts were consecrated and cleansed. Inclination to sinning and worldly hankering disappeared. By listen¬ing to the touching discourse of Thakur Bhaktivinode, many minds turned towards Krishna and many hearts were elated with divine joy. Many persons developed a passionate heart for Krishna and those already advanced in the line of devotion reached the very perfection of Transcendental Love. Such was the power of real Krishna-Sankirtan, held by Thakur Bhaktivinode. The lives of many people were led devotionally by the influ¬ence of this powerful Sankirtan. Ultimately they had been blessed with the vision of their most beloved Lord. Thakur Bhaktivinode did full justice to his name by pleasing (Vinode) the Goddess of devotion (Bhakti).

Thakur Bhaktivinode disappeared from the world in 1914 and left behind him his most precious contribution to this world—Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur whom he trained and empowered to preserve and invigorate the Line of Unalloyed Devotion. Thus Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode entrusted the guidance of the movement of pure devotion to his successor who, on a bigger scale in India and abroad, continued the work to revive in the minds of sincere souls the eternal spirit of pure love and true devotion to the Absolute Godhead Sri Gour-Krishna.

Srimad Bhakti Keval Audulomi Goswami Thakur has aptly remarked, “That this Bhaktivinode-line will eternally run non-stop is the declaration of the holy Vedas. Why so? Because this line has appeared at the divine will of the Lord Himself and He is fulfilling His mission through this channel. This current will never come to a standstill.”