Jan 292023
 

Today is Sripada Madhvacharya’s disappearance day. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 9, describes him:

TEXT 245

madhvacarya-sthane aila yanha ‘tattvavadi’
udupite ‘krsna’ dekhi, tahan haila premonmadi

TRANSLATION

Caitanya Mahaprabhu next arrived at Udupi, the place of Madhvacarya, where the philosophers known as Tattvavadis resided. There He saw the Deity of Lord Krsna and became mad with ecstasy.

PURPORT

Sripada Madhvacarya took his birth near Udupi, which is situated in the South Kanara district of South India, just west of Sahyadri. This is the chief city of the South Kanara province and is near the city of Mangalore, which is situated to the south of Udupi. Near the city of Udupi is a place called Pajaka-ksetra, where Madhvacarya took his birth in a Sivalli-brahmana dynasty as the son of Madhyageha Bhatta, in the year 1040 Sakabda (A.D. 1118). According to some, he was born in the year 1160 Sakabda (A.D. 1238).

In his childhood Madhvacarya was known as Vasudeva, and there are some wonderful stories surrounding him. It is said that once when his father had piled up many debts, Madhvacarya converted tamarind seeds into actual coins to pay them off. When he was five years old, he was offered the sacred thread. A demon named Maniman lived near his abode in the form of a snake, and at the age of five Madhvacarya killed that snake with the toe of his left foot. When his mother was very much disturbed, he would appear before her in one jump. He was a great scholar even in childhood, and although his father did not agree, he accepted sannyasa at the age of twelve. Upon receiving sannyasa from Acyuta Preksa, he received the name Purnaprajna Tirtha. After traveling all over India, he finally discussed scriptures with Vidyasankara, the exalted leader of Srngeri-matha. Vidyasankara was actually diminished in the presence of Madhvacarya. Accompanied by Satya Tirtha, Madhvacarya went to Badarikasrama. It was there that he met Vyasadeva and explained his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita before him. Thus he became a great scholar by studying before Vyasadeva.

By the time he came to the Ananda-matha from Badarikasrama, Madhvacarya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. His companion Satya Tirtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvacarya returned from Badarikasrama, he went to Ganjama, which is on the bank of the river Godavari. There he met with two learned scholars named Sobhana Bhatta and Svami Sastri. Later these scholars became known in the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha. When he returned to Udupi, he would sometimes bathe in the ocean. On such an occasion he composed a prayer in five chapters. Once, while sitting beside the sea engrossed in meditation upon Lord Sri Krsna, he saw that a large boat containing goods for Dvaraka was in danger. He gave some signs by which the boat could approach the shore, and it was saved. The owners of the boat wanted to give him a present, and at the time Madhvacarya agreed to take some gopi-candana. He received a big lump of gopi-candana, and as it was being brought to him, it broke apart and revealed a large Deity of Lord Krsna. The Deity had a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. As soon as Madhvacarya received the Deity of Krsna in this way, he composed a prayer. The Deity was so heavy that not even thirty people could lift it. Yet Madhvacarya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Eight of Madhvacarya’s sannyasa disciples became directors of his eight monasteries. Worship of the Lord Krsna Deity is still going on at Udupi according to the plans Madhvacarya established.

Madhvacarya then for the second time visited Badarikasrama. While he was passing through Maharashtra, the local king was digging a big lake for the public benefit. As Madhvacarya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvacarya visited the king, he engaged the king in that work and departed with his disciples.

Often in the province of Ganga-pradesa there were fights between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus were on one bank of the river, and the Muslims on the other. Due to the community tension, no boat was available for crossing the river. The Muslim soldiers were always stopping passengers on the other side, but Madhvacarya did not care for these soldiers. He crossed the river anyway, and when he met the soldiers on the other side, he was brought before the king. The Muslim king was so pleased with him that he wanted to give him a kingdom and some money, but Madhvacarya refused. While walking on the road, he was attacked by some dacoits, but by his bodily strength he killed them all. When his companion Satya Tirtha was attacked by a tiger, Madhvacarya separated them by virtue of his great strength. When he met Vyasadeva, he received from him the salagrama-sila known as Astamurti. After this, he summarized the Mahabharata.

Madhvacarya’s devotion to the Lord and his erudite scholarship became known throughout India. Consequently the owners of the Srngeri-matha, established by Sankaracarya, became a little perturbed. At that time the followers of Sankaracarya were afraid of Madhvacarya’s rising power, and they began to tease Madhvacarya’s disciples in many ways. There was even an attempt to prove that the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was not in line with Vedic principles. A person named Pundarika Puri, a follower of the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya, came before Madhvacarya to discuss the sastras. It is said that all of Madhvacarya’s books were taken away, but later they were found with the help of King Jayasimha, ruler of Kumla. In discussion, Pundarika Puri was defeated by Madhvacarya. A great personality named Trivikramacarya, who was a resident of Visnumangala, became Madhvacarya’s disciple, and his son later became Narayanacarya, the composer of Sri Madhva-vijaya. After the death of Trivikramacarya, the younger brother of Narayanacarya took sannyasa and later became known as Visnu Tirtha.

It was reputed that there was no limit to the bodily strength of Purnaprajna, Madhvacarya.

There was a person named Kadanjari who was famed for possessing the strength of thirty men. Madhvacarya placed the big toe of his foot upon the ground and asked the man to separate it from the ground, but the great strong man could not do so even after great effort. Srila Madhvacarya passed from this material world at the age of eighty while writing a commentary on the Aitareya Upanisad. For further information about Madhvacarya, one should read Madhva-vijaya, by Narayanacarya.

The acaryas of the Madhva-sampradaya established Udupi as the chief center, and the monastery there was known as Uttararadhi-matha. A list of the different centers of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya can be found at Udupi, and their matha commanders are (1) Visnu Tirtha (Soda-matha), (2) Janardana Tirtha (Krsnapura-matha), (3) Vamana Tirtha (Kanura-matha), (4) Narasimha Tirtha (Adamara-matha), (5) Upendra Tirtha (Puttugi-matha), (6) Rama Tirtha (Sirura-matha), (7) Hrsikesa Tirtha (Palimara-matha), and (8) Aksobhya Tirtha (Pejavara-matha). The disciplic succession of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya is as follows (the dates are those of birth in the Sakabda Era; for Christian era dates, add seventy-eight years): (1) Hamsa Paramatma; (2) Caturmukha Brahma; (3) Sanakadi; (4) Durvasa; (5) Jnananidhi; (6) Garuda-vahana; (7) Kaivalya Tirtha; (8) Jnanesa Tirtha; (9) Para Tirtha; (10) Satyaprajna Tirtha; (11) Prajna Tirtha; (12) Acyuta Preksacarya Tirtha; (13) Sri Madhvacarya, 1040 Saka; (14) Padmanabha, 1120; Narahari, 1127; Madhava, 1136; and Aksobhya 1159; (15) Jaya Tirtha, 1167; (16) Vidyadhiraja, 1190; (17) Kavindra, 1255; (18) Vagisa, 1261; (19) Ramacandra, 1269; (20) Vidyanidhi, 1298; (21) Sri Raghunatha, 1366; (22) Rayuvarya (who spoke with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu), 1424; (23) Raghuttama, 1471; (24) Vedavyasa, 1517; (25) Vidyadhisa, 1541; (26) Vedanidhi, 1553; (27) Satyavrata, 1557; (28) Satyanidhi, 1560; (29) Satyanatha, 1582; (30) Satyabhinava, 1595; (31) Satyapurna, 1628; (32) Satyavijaya, 1648; (33) Satyapriya, 1659; (34) Satyabodha, 1666; (35) Satyasandha, 1705; (36) Satyavara, 1716; (37) Satyadharma, 1719; (38) Satyasankalpa, 1752; (39) Satyasantusta, 1763; (40) Satyaparayana, 1763; (41) Satyakama, 1785; (42) Satyesta, 1793; (43) Satyaparakrama, 1794; (44) Satyadhira, 1801; (45) Satyadhira Tirtha, 1808.

After the sixteenth acarya (Vidyadhiraja Tirtha), there was another disciplic succession, including Rajendra Tirtha, 1254; Vijayadhvaja; Purusottama; Subrahmanya; and Vyasa Raya, 1470–1520. The nineteenth acarya, Ramacandra Tirtha, had another disciplic succession, including Vibudhendra, 1218; Jitamitra, 1348; Raghunandana; Surendra; Vijendra; Sudhindra; and Raghavendra Tirtha, 1545.

To date, in the Udupi monastery there are another fourteen Madhva-tirtha sannyasis. As stated, Udupi is situated beside the sea in South Kanara, about thirty-six miles north of Mangalore.

Most of the information in this purport is available from the South Kanada Manual and the Bombay Gazette.

TEXT 246

nartaka gopala dekhe parama-mohane
madhvacarye svapna diya aila tanra sthane

TRANSLATION

While at the Udupi monastery, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw “dancing Gopala,” a most beautiful Deity. This Deity appeared to Madhvacarya in a dream.

TEXT 247

gopi-candana-tale achila dingate
madhvacarya sei krsna paila kona-mate

TRANSLATION

Madhvacarya had somehow or other acquired the Deity of Krsna from a heap of gopi-candana that had been transported in a boat.

TEXT 248

madhvacarya ani’ tanre karila sthapana
adyavadhi seva kare tattvavadi-gana

TRANSLATION

Madhvacarya brought this dancing Gopala Deity to Udupi and installed Him in the temple. To date, the followers of Madhvacarya, known as Tattvavadis, worship this Deity.

TEXT 249

krsna-murti dekhi’ prabhu maha-sukha paila
premavese bahu-ksana nrtya-gita kaila

TRANSLATION

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu received great pleasure in seeing this beautiful form of Gopala. For a long time He danced and chanted in ecstatic love.

*    *   *

May Sripada Madhvacharya bless us all.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jan 272023
 

This story was heard from the pujari at Sri Advaita Acharya’s house in Shantipur, West Bengal. He came to the ISKCON Chaitanya Chandrodoya Mandir, in Mayapur, with a copy of the Back to Godhead article about Srila Prabhupada entitled “A Lifetime in Preparation.”

Just recently an amazing realization occurred to me that I wanted to share with devotees everywhere. I have been the pujari and sevaite at the house of Advaita Acharya for many years. I was also there back in the 1940s and ’50s. At that time, I noticed that one grihastha Bengali devotee was coming to the temple quite regularly. He was dressed in a white khadi dhoti and kurta, and he always came alone. He would sit in the back of the mandir without speaking and would chant harinama on his mala very quietly and deeply. He came on the weekends, usually once every month or two. After chanting there for many hours, he would always thank me when he left. His presence was profound, and I became attracted to him. Since his devotions were solitary, I never spoke to disturb him. Sometimes I happened to notice that while he was chanting, his eyes would be full of tears.

Then, for a very long time, he did not come. But in August of 1965 I saw a saffron-clothed sannyasi sitting in the back of the mandir and recognized him to be my old friend. Again he sat for a long time chanting Hare Krishna. I could see his beads moving, his eyes closed in concentrated devotion. He was weeping unabashedly, even more than he used to, while he took the holy name. Finally, as evening came, he paid his dandavata pranama for long time. When he arose, he came up to me and again thanked me for my seva here at Advaita Bhavan. I asked him, “Who are you? I remember you from so long ago.”

He replied, ‘My name is Abhaya Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. I am an unworthy disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada, my divine master. I have been coming here for such a long time because my gurudeva has given me an impossible mission. His desire was for me to go across the ocean to the Western countries and spread the sublime teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There are countless souls there who have never heard of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, and so they are suffering greatly. I have not known how this mission of his will be successful, so I have been coming here to this special house of Advaita Acharya, where He, Nityananda Prabhu, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would gather together to plan the sankirtana movement. It was here that They launched the inundation of love of God that swept India and continues to this day. Thus I have been praying very earnestly here that They will all give me Their mercy that somehow They will empower me and guide me. I want to satisfy my gurudeva’s desire, but I am feeling unqualified to do this.”

As he was speaking to me, I saw tears falling down on his cheeks again. Then he continued, “Tomorrow I am leaving for Calcutta to go upon a ship across the ocean, to America. I do not know what will befall me there, but I am praying most earnestly here for help.” Then he very humbly asked me for my blessings. I was moved by this Vaishnava’s sincerity and determination as I watched him depart upon his journey.

It was a few years later that I began noticing, for the first time, white Vaishnavas coming to Advaita Bhavan. They were wearing dhotis and saris and chanting on tulasi-mala. I never spoke to any of them, but then one of them gave me this Back to Godhead magazine from America. As I looked at the photographs, suddenly I recognized a picture of the Founder-Acharya who had brought Krishna consciousness to the West. It was my friend Bhaktivedanta Swami, who had come and prayed here so many times before. Then I realized that he has actually accomplished that impossible mission of his gurudeva. I saw that it was he, starting alone and without pretense, who had accomplished this glorious miracle against all odds.

As soon as I saw this, I came here to his temple in Mayapur to tell you this information. I know that he has gone from this world now, but I thought perhaps you might want to know this story about your and my beloved Srila Prabhupada.

Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend to All, Compiled by Mulaprakrti devi dasi

Jan 272023
 

jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda

We are gathered here to celebrate the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya. Advaita Acharya is an incarnation of Maha-Vishnu. In terms of pastimes, He appeared before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and thus was considered an elder by Mahaprabhu. He was actually older than Lord Chaitanya’s own father.

Advaita Acharya, although Vishnu Himself, was in the mood of a Vaishnava. As a Vaishnava, He felt compassion for the fallen conditioned souls who were suffering without Krishna consciousness. Although previously Navadvipa had been a great center of devotion, it had deteriorated into a center of dry learning. Thus, Advaita Acharya felt compassion for the fallen souls of the age, as they were so engrossed in material affairs, devoid of devotional service to Krishna. Although He was Vishnu Himself, in the mood of a humble Vaishnava He felt that He was not capable of delivering the fallen souls. He believed that only Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself could preach the yuga-dharma of hari-nama-sankirtana and deliver them.

Advaita Acharya Prabhu was an ideal householder. He had read in the scriptures that the Lord sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water. As a grihastha brahman, He worshipped a salagrama-sila at home. Therefore, He specifically began to worship Salagrama with Ganges water and tulasi leaves with the aim of bringing about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent.

The Caitanya-caritamrta describes Sri Advaita Acharya’s appeal to Lord Krishna to appear again on earth. He cried with such intensity that the sound traveled throughout the entire universe and ultimately reached Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of the loud cries of Sri Advaita Acharya, Mahaprabhu did indeed descend, appearing in Navadvipa on the full moon night of Phalguna (February–March). Thus the Lord came at the request of Advaita Acharya, His pure devotee, to reclaim the fallen souls. Continue reading »

Jan 252023
 

Today is the appearance day of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and many other acharyas and associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was born in a very aristocratic family in Bengal. His father and uncle, Govardhana and Hiranya Mazumdar, were wealthy landlords, or zamindars; they were almost like kings in opulence. But although Raghunatha dasa was their only heir, he had no attraction for material opulence and enjoyment.

The Mazumdars’ family priest was Yadunandana Acharya, a disciple of Advaita Acharya. From the time Raghunatha dasa was a small boy, Yadunandana Acharya and Balarama Acharya, another friend of the Mazumdar family, would call him to sit on their laps. They would instruct him to chant Hare Krishna and tell him about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, from a very young age Raghunatha dasa developed the desire to join Sri Chaitanya. Namacharya Haridasa Thakura also visited Raghunatha dasa’s family, and he too was merciful to Raghunatha dasa.

One day, Raghunatha dasa left home and went to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. “I want to join You,” he told the Lord. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “No. Don’t act like a crazy fellow. You should return home and be a good son, an expert businessman, and a proper husband, and then, when the time comes, the Lord Himself will arrange for you to become free from the bondage of family life.” Continue reading »

Jan 252023
 

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 10, Text 14:

TEXT

pundarika vidyanidhi—bada-sakha jani
yanra nama lana prabhu kandila apani

TRANSLATION

Pundarika Vidyanidhi, the third big branch, was so dear to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that in his absence Lord Caitanya Himself would sometimes cry.

PURPORT

In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (54), Srila Pundarika Vidyanidhi is described as the father of Srimati Radharani in krsna-lila. Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore treated him as His father. Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s father was known as Banesvara or, according to another opinion, Suklambara Brahmacari, and his mother’s name was Gangadevi. According to one opinion, Banesvara was a descendent of Shri Sivarama Gangopadhyaya. The original home of Pundarika Vidyanidhi was in East Bengal, in a village near Dacca named Baghiya, which belonged to the Varendra group of brahmana families. Sometimes these Varendra brahmanas were at odds with another group known as Radhiya brahmanas, and therefore Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s family was ostracized and at that time was not living as a respectable family.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, “One of the members of this family is living in Vrindavana and is named Sarojananda Gosvami. One special characteristic of this family is that each of its members had only one son or no son at all, and therefore the family was not very expansive. There is a place in the district of Cattagrama in East Bengal that is known as Hata-hajari, and a short distance from this place is a village known as Mekhala-grama in which Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s forefathers lived. One can approach Mekhala-grama from Cattagrama either on horseback, by bullock cart or by steamer. The steamer station is known as Annapurnara-ghata. The birthplace of Pundarika Vidyanidhi is about two miles southwest of Annapurnara-ghata. The temple constructed there by Pundarika Vidyanidhi is now very old and much in need of repair. Without repair, the temple may soon crumble. There are two inscriptions on the bricks of that temple, but they are so old that one cannot read them. There is another temple, however, about two hundred yards south of this one, and some people say that this is the old temple constructed by Pundarika Vidyanidhi.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu called Pundarika Vidyanidhi “father,” and He gave him the title Premanidhi. Pundarika Vidyanidhi later became the spiritual master of Gadadhara Pandita and an intimate friend of Svarupa Damodara’s. Gadadhara Pandita at first misunderstood Pundarika Vidyanidhi to be an ordinary pounds-and-shillings man, but later, upon being corrected by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he became his disciple. Another incident in the life of Pundarika Vidyanidhi involves his criticizing the priest of the Jagannatha temple, for which Jagannatha Prabhu chastised him personally by slapping his cheeks. This is described in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-lila, Chapter Seven. Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura informs us that during his time there were still two living descendants of the family of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, who are named Shri Harakumara Smrititirtha and Shri Krishnakinkara Vidyalankara. For further information one should refer to the dictionary known as Vaisnava-manjusa.

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