OM VISHNUPAD PARAMAHANSA
108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Keval Audulomi Goswami Thakur
(Partly adapted from A short sketch of the Divine Life of Paramahansa Srimad Bhakti Keval Audulomi Maharaj by Sri Supati Ranjan Nag)
Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Bhusan Bharati Goswami Thakur, has written in a poem—
Jagatguru Audulomi Abhinna-Sri Radharani
Radhakunde bihara satata,
Vinodini Manjari Tumi Vraja-Sundari
Jugalsevay sada rata.
(Srila Audulomi Thakur! You are the Preceptor of the universe. You are identical with Srimati Radharani. You always stay on the bank of Sri Radhakunda. Your name is Sri Vinodini Manjari. You are a beauty of Vraja. You are always absorbed in the loving service of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna.) [ Padavali Page No. 64 ]
Sri Vinodini Manjari. is a very confidential and intimate attendant of Srimati Radha Thakurani appeared as Srimad Bhakti Keval Audulomi Goswami Thakur in order to preserve the Preceptorial Line and preach the gospels of Unalloyed Devotion. His very name suggests this and is very significant. ‘Bhakti-Keval’ means Devotion Unalloyed and ‘Audulomi’ means a great Vaishnava.
A scion of the illustrious Guha Thakurta family of Banaripara, Srila Audulomi Thakur descended on earth as Promodebehari in District Barisal, in 1895 A.D.
His father Sri Saratchandra Guha Thakurta and mother Srimati Bhubanmohini Devi had unwavering devotion to God.
Promodebehari was born with a natural nerve coil around his neck resembling the sacred thread which indicated that he was destined to be a man of noble propensities.
In his early life he had an unbeaten record of standing first in all classes of his school. In 1919 he graduated with Distinction from the Calcutta University. He had deep regard for truth, morality and was endowed with high order of intellectual faculty. In 1913 when he was 18 years old, he had the rare fortune of receiving on same day the two-fold initiation (Haririam and Diksha) to Gaudiya Vaishnava faith at the hands of Sri Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. He was then awarded the significantly religious name of ‘Patitpaban Brahmachari A week after his initiation he had the splendid opportunity of meeting Sri Srila Sachchidahanda Bhaktivinode Thakur, an ocean of learning and devotion, the Fountain-head of Gaudiya Mission, who was pleased to bless him with the benedictory words “There is no Scripture like Srimad Bhagavatam which you are to practice and preach throughout the world.”
After graduation he spent two years in Benares where he studied Sankhya, Patanjal, Vedanta, Upanishads and other scriptures.
On return from Varanasi he founded Dharma Rakshini Sabha in his village where he used to read out and preach the teachings of Bhakti-yoga, Srimad-Bhagavad Geeta, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and other scriptures. His dynamic personality endeared him to one and all.
He had a melodious voice and could sing well. In sittings of ‘Dharma Rakshini Sabha’ he used to lead the Kirtan of devotional songs which lent an aroma of solemnity and fervour among the audience.
His knowledge of Sanskrit language was profound. In a meeting of the school teachers and students he delivered an extempore speech in Sanskrit which was highly appreciated by all. He took part in the Freedom Struggle of India. Under his guidance a National School was established in Banaripara of which he was appointed the Headmaster without any emolument. Imparting of religious and moral training formed an important part in his school curriculum.
He excelled in histrionic art himself and enthused the boys in the art and culture of the same. During this period, as a reputed leader he started many social services and philanthropic organizations. After the disappearance of his affectionate mother, he left his family, village and all the beloved institutions which grew up around him, as a celibate, attired in a simple Brahmacharin garment, and approached his revered Gurudeva in Calcutta, prostrated himself before him who kindly admitted him to his services as a servitor for life.
As he dedicated himself to the services of the Guru-griha, Sri Srila Saraswati Thakur was much pleased with his fervour, piety and humility. In 1933 he was blessed with an appointment to serve him as Superintendent of Sri Purusottam Math at Puri. Much pleased with his devoted services, Srila Saraswati Thakur very kindly granted him an opportuniy for rendering special personal service of an epistoler, a unique service to which only he, along with Sri Srila Acharyadeva, had the good luck to attend.
In appreciation of his services, Srila Saraswati Thakur as President of the ‘NavadTwpdham-Pracharini-Sabha’ was pleased to adorn him with the benedictory epithet of “Vidyarnav”. He was pleased to initiate him to the holy order of a Tridandi Sannyasi under the sacred designation of “Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Keval Audulomi Maharaj” in 1934. He was then deputed to serve as Superintendent of the Gaudiya Math in New Delhi. He also served “Thakur Bhaktivinode Institute” Sridham Mayapur, as its Principal and ‘Bhaktivinode Research Institute’ as its Rector.
Attracted by the preaching of Gaudiya Mission in England and Germany, Mr. Schulze and Mr. Koeth Baron came to India for further Knowledge of the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Srimad Audulomi Maharaj was entrusted with the task for giving spiritual training to these foreigners, who highly appreciated his expositions. Srimad Audulomi Maharaj was sent in 1936 on a preaching mission to Southern India where his English speeches on the teachings of Srimad Bhagavatam helped greatly to spread the name and fame of Gaudiya Mission.
After the disappearance of Srila Saraswati Thakur in 1937, Srila Acharyadeva emerged as the Preceptor and Srila Audulomi Maharaj adored him as the Divine Master identical with Srila Saraswati Thakur. Srila Acharyadeva entrusted Srimad Audulomi Maharaj with the heavy responsibility of carrying on the functions of ‘Navadiwp dham Parikrama’ which he performed with great tact, resourcefulness and devotion from 1940 to 1947. During this period he was also in charge of Sri Chaitanya Math, as well as all the other subsidiary maths in Navadwip mandal. When Sri Srila Acharyadeva, in response to a Divine Call, left and retired from the Mission in 1952 in order to render exclusive and constant service to the Lotus-feet of the Lord at Sri Vrindavan, Sri Srila Bhaktipradip Tirtha Goswami Maharaj in his ripe old age succeeded Him as the President-Acharya. Srimad Audulomi Maharaj during this period rendered meritorious services in steering the helm of the Mission. In October 1953, full moon day, during Urjavrata ceremony, inspired by his Preceptors, Srimad Audulomi Maharaj took a dip in the sacred water of the Jamuna at Vrindavan, gave up his Tridandi Sannyas costume and embraced the holiest and simplest mantle of a Paramahansa. With the craving of a devotee, allured by the Leela of the Lord and filled with transcendental love, he travelled and circumambulated the whole and wide range of Vrajamandal.
As Srila Bhaktipradip Tritha Maharaj left this mortal world, Sri Srila Audulomi Maharaj appeared on the horizon of Gaudiya Mission and was universally and spontaneously acclaimed as the Acharya and President
of the Mission. The official Installation Ceremony was celebrated on 16th February, 1954. Since then he was popularly known and regarded as the Guru-Maharaj ofthe Mission. Since his installation year after year, he itinerated from place to place, Math to Math, town aftertown, Calcutta, Gaya, Benares, Patna, Lucknow, Allahabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Cuttack, Puri and in different places in Bengal and Orissa and broadcasted the Holy name of the Lord. He delivered lectures from different platforms and pulpits among people of every rank, casteand community including Governor, Chief Justice, Mayor, Minister, Vice-chancellor as well as middle class people toiling and struggling for existence, analysing the relative ills and evils of this life and opening up before their souls’ eyes the Absolute Kingdom of eternal Bliss and Love. During His regime Gaudiya Mission made marvellous progress in establishing permanent preaching centres in different parts of India. New Temples, Bhajan Kutirs and Lecture Halls were built at Chirulia in District Midnapore, at Kishorepura, Sri Vrindavan, at Sri Purusottam Math, Puri, at Gaudiya Maths, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow, Gaya and New Delhi. At Godrum in Navadwipmandal a New Math under the name “Srimad Bhakti Siddhahta SaraswatT GaudTya Math” was established with a Temple, Lecture Hall, Bhajan Kutir and a Puspa Samadhi of Sri Srila Saraswati Thakur on a vast wide area. He made big arrangements for Navadwip-Dham-Parikrama on the occasion of the Advent Ceremony of Lord Gauranga every year
Srila Audulomi Thakur manifested his Preceptor-leela for long 28 years—from 1954 to 1982 and preserved the Line of Thakur Bhaktivinode in a unique way. He liberated thousands of souls from the bondage of Maya and initiated •them in the loving service of the Supreme Lord. He toiled hard to bear the torch of Srimad Bhagavatam from one end of the country to the other.
He revealed the truth that Sri Namasankirtan (Congregational Chanting of the Holy Name) and SrT Bigraha-aradhan (Adoration or loving services of the Deities) have been joined together in the Bhaktivinode Line and this is the most efficacious way to attain Siddhi. He taught that darshan of the Deities (beholding the Deities) is an excellent process of devotion. If we see the Deities, Sri Gurudeva and Vaishnavas with eyes of love and affection, they become happy. So darshan itself is a nice service of devotion.
Srila Audulomi Thakur would put much emphasis on dressing the Deities in various ways and preparing various types of palatable dishes for Them and propitiating Them with congregational songs and dance. He would ask his disciples to chant the Holy Name with love, affection, sincerity and regularity and with a view to making the Lord happy. He would pay individual attention to his disciples and spend many sleepless nights praying for their eternal good.
His devotional discourses were very sweet, simple, lucid and systematic. His analytical power was unique. His valuable speeches delivered in different gatherings and personal advice offered to different disciples have been treasured in SriIa Guru Maharajer Sri Harikatha (10 volumes) and Srila Guru Maharajer Upadeshabali (2 volumes). He also composed two beautiful songs of circumambulation of Sridham Nabadwip and Sridham Puri which are sung regularly by pure devotees all over the world.
Srila Audulomi Thakur disappeared from the world on January 6, 1982 in Sridham Nabadwip on the auspicious Haribasar Tithi(The day of Ekadashi fasting), chanting aloud Hare Krishna before a few pure Vaishnavas at midnight. The picture of his rapturous dance in the Mood of a Divine Milkmaid even at a ripe old age before Lord Godrumbehari in Nabadwip, Lord Jagannath in Puri and Lord Radharaman in Vrindavan still haunts the memory of thousands of his disciples.