“There are many ambiguous policies of neo-Gaudiya institutions requiring a good explanation and one such belief is their accepting SBVT (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura) to be the seventh gosvami after the classical 6 Gosvamis – who were the direct apostles of Sriman Mahaprabhu Krsnacaitanyadeva. But to foster such a belief of considering BVT to be a 7th Gosvami is wholly offensive because it would mean that all other classical great mentors either coming before or falling between the 6 Gosvamis and BVT were not eligible to be made par with 6 Gosvamis. So, according to some neo-Gaudiyas considering BVT to be 7th Gosvami, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Srila Narottamadasa Thakura, Srila Bhugarbha Gosvamipada, Srila Lokanatha Gosvamipada, Srila Madhupandita Gosvamipada, Srila Gopalaguru Gosvamipada, Srila Dhyanacandra Gosvamipada, Srila Virabhadra Gosvami, Srila Acyutananda Gosvami, Srila Syamananda Prabhu, Srila Srinivasa Acaryapada, Srila Vrndavanadasa Thakura, Srila Locana Dasa Thakura, Srila Svarupa Damodar Gosvami, Srila Kavi Karnapura Gosvami, Srila Gadadhara Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Narayana Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Harirama Vyasa, Sri Rasikottamsa, Srila Mukundadasa Gosvami, Srila Visnudasa Gosvami, Srila Rupa Kavisvara Gosvami, Srila Hrdayacaitanya Gosvami, Sri Vakresvara Pandit, Srila Vamsivadanananda Thakura, Srila Raghunandan Thakura, Sri Pundarik Vidyanidhi, Srila Raya Ramananda, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Radhadamodar Pandit, Srila Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Rasikananda Gosvami, Srila Nayanananda Gosvami, Sri Radhamohana Gosvami Bhattacarya, Sri Gaurakishora Gosvami Vedantatirtha, Srila Radhakrishnadasa Gosvamipada, Sri Rasikamohana Vidyabhusana, Srila Narahari Sarakar Thakura, Srila Narahari Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Prabodhananda Saraswatipada, Sri Vishnu Puri, Srila Radharamanadasa Gosvami, Srila Srinatha Cakravartipada, Sri Ramacandra Gosvami, Sri Lokanandacarya, Sri Purusottama Sharma, Sri Nityananda Thakura, Sri Raghunandan Gosvami, Sri Govindadasa Kaviraja, Sri Nityanandadasa, Sri Locananandacarya and Sri Ramacandra Gosvami etc. – were not eligible to be called as 7th Gosvami; whereas, some divine mentor coming almost 375 years after CM was deemed fit to be entitled (esp. when that divine mentor i.e. BVT, also, accepts in his autobiography i.e. svalikhita-jivani that in the first half part of his life, he was a meat-eater and follower of various deviant paths!) in that capacity. Wow!
What a disgrace to make some preceptor coming 375 years after CM to be the 7th Gosvami and to overlook all other great acaryas falling between that gap! What an offense unto the feet of all classical Gaudiya acaryas! Didn’t all those 53+ acaryas falling in between those four centuries give any literary contribution to the Sampradaya? If they have also provided voluminous classical treatises on Gaudiya Vaisnavism, why only one person was considered fit to be called 7th Gosvami? If acaryas like Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana would not have been there, Gaudiyas would not have been able to defend their authenticity in front of all other sampradayas nay, they would have been certainly unable to even know the actual intentions of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami esp. on issues like ‘parakiya-vada vs. svakiya-vada’. etc., to name a few. The actual founder of gaura-janma-bhumi was Sri Jagannathadasa Babaji and even till now the Caitanyaites are divided into many opinions regarding the exact location of gaura-janma-bhumi and each opinion is severely challenged by an array of polemical counter-arguments (even BVT’s views have been refuted and challenged by followers of other Caitanyaite lineages). So, any acarya whose views are not accepted by the whole Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya can never come on par with the sarva-manya (accepted by all) acaryas like 6 Gosvamis – even according to this logic.
In all other bonafide vaisnava sampradayas except neo-Gaudiyas, the original theological founders of those sampradayas are considered to be the topmost authority in all spiritual matters of those sampradayas and the acaryas coming as later successors are not placed on par with the founding acaryas of those sampradayas (we are not talking about founding acaryas of some formally registered religious institution). Like, in Madhva Sampradaya, Madhvacarya and his compositions (i.e. sarva-mula-granthas) rank topmost and later acaryas like Sri Padmanabha Tirtha, Sri Jayatirtha, and Sri Vyasaraja Tirtha etc. are not put on par with Sripada Anandatirtha Purnaprajna Madhvacarya. Similarly, in Ramanuja Sampradaya, Sripada Ramanujacarya and his predecessor Srila Yamunacarya are given utmost significance along with their compositions like Gitartha-Sangraha and Sri-bhashyam. Later acaryas like Vedanta-desika, Lokacarya Pillai, Sri Ranga-ramanujacarya, Sri Vara-vara-munindra and others also hold great importance but not on par with Bhagavat Ramanuja. In Nimbarka Sampradaya, though later acaryas like Srinivasacarya, Harivyasadevacarya, Purusottamacarya and Sri Kesva Kasmiri Bhattacarya etc. also hold great significance in terms of their philosophical melokadieval compositions, they are not placed on par with Nimbadityacarya in term of authority. In Vallabha Sampradaya, all acaryas coming after Vallabhacarya like Vitthalanathacarya, Gopinathacarya, and Hariraya Gosvami etc. – are not placed on par with Vallabha in terms of authority. Similarly, it is to be seen also in Ramanandi Vaisnava sect. What to speak of other vaisnava sects, even the Sankarite Mayavadis seem to be more honest than Gaudiyas becaue they have continued to highlight the illustrious and unexcelled position of their theological founder i.e. Adi Sankaracarya for almost 1500 years now despite the intermittent risings of great acaryas in their lineage like i.e. Vacaspati Misra, Ananda Giri, Prakashatma Yati, Vidyaranya Svami, and Madhusudana Sarasvati etc.
Contrastingly, in Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya and mostly with neo-Gaudiyas, the recent acaryas are deliberately given emphasis in such manner by their neophyte sentimental followers that sometimes it seems that the peculiar illustrious positions that are occupied by 6 Gosvamis and CM (i.e. the theological founder of the Gaudiya lineage) – are also sidelined and marginalized to such a great extent that the distinguished positions of classical mentors almost appear extinct! This is the bitter reality cum venomous herd of termites devouring the sampradaya from within!
Note – It was Mr. Shishir Kumar Gosh (the author of Amiya-nimai-carita) who addressed SBVT as Seventh Gosvami out of his friendship. Later on, the followers of Gaudiya Mission blindly emphasized on that address invented by Mr. Ghosh.”
- Bhaktirasavedantapithadhisvara Acarya Sri aka Gurupada
- Dhiraj HegdeWhat about Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya who was an Advaitin before meeting Mahaprabhu and what about Hari das Thakur who was born in a Muslim family ? Mahaprabhu himself did not take part in Sankirtan until initiation from Ishvara Puri ? Like Shyam Sundar prabhu pointed out is there any scriptural reference which rules out that some one who was a meat eater before from being a Nitya Siddha ?
Ramkrishna R Swami According to Srila Narottamadasa Thakura’s verse – ‘gaurangera sangijane nityasiddha kari mane’ – only the contemporary associates of Caitanyadeva during His prakaṭa-līlā in the gauḍa-maṇḍala-bhūmī, puri-maṇḍala-bhūmi and vraja-maḍāla-bhūmi are nityasi…See More
Dhiraj Hegde Narottamadas Thakur’s statement only says that Gauranga’s associates are Nityasiddhas, does not rule out later acharyas from being Nityasiddhas. Jagai and Madai apparently committed sinful activites even though they were Nitya Siddhas, so the apparent sinful activities is not reason enough to rule out some one from being a Nitya Siddha. Just because Mahaprabhu is not visible now does not mean Gaura lila is over, you don’t know what “variance” BVT had to add to Gaura lila.
Ramkrishna R Swami 1) Nitya-siddhas are mukunda-vat or they are a replica of Mukunda. Evidence – BRS 2.1.290 – “ātma-koṭi-guṇaṁ manye premānaṁ paramaṁ gatāḥ / nityānanda-guṇāḥ sarve nityasiddhā mukunda-vat //”. The śrutārthāpatti-pramāna is applied here to derive that since, the nitya-siddhas are a replica of Mukunda or mukunda-vat, they will always appear as the ‘saṅgīs’ (‘gaurāṅgera-saṅgī-jane’ of NDT) or contemporary associates of Caitanyadeva who is Mukunda. Why? Because, if not so, they won’t be considered replica of Mukunda (mukunda-vat). How? Because a replica of Mukunda will always follow Mukunda’s arrival on this planet during the prakaṭa-līlā and will participate in His (Mukunda’s or Gaura’s) pastimes which are physically manifest (prakaṭa-prakāśamayī līlā) – as analogous to the bimba-anaugamana done by the pratibimba. They can never appear on this mortal planet unless Mukunda appears. However, this is the exoteric reason. And what is the esoteric reason behind it? It is described in the same BRS 2.1.90 verse that the nitya-siddhas are ‘ātma-koṭi-guṇaṁ manye premāṇam paramaṁ gatāḥ’ or that they are having love for Mukunda because they consider Him billions of time more dear to them even then their own soul or ātmā (the two special qualities as expressed by the phrases – ‘mukunda-vat’ and ‘ātma-koṭi-guṇaṁ manye’ are not used by Śrī Rūpa to define the sādhana-siddhas and kṛpā-siddhas in BRS 2.1.282, 285 & 289). Thus, again the śrutārthāpatti proves that these nitya-siddhas can never bear separation from their Lord and hence, they will always incarnate when their Lord incarnates on this planet or they will incarnate little before or after His appearance in his contemporaneous presence. 2) You cannot compare the sinful acts performed by the nitya-siddhas (whose names are enlisted in the Gauragaṇoddeśadīpikā) like Jaya and Vijaya (as Jagāī and Mādhāī) to those done by sādhana-siddhas or kṛpā-siddhas (in our case SBVT). The nitya-siddhas do it as part of the arrangement of Yogamāyā. The sādhana-siddhas and sādhakas have done those acts earlier due to their prārabdha. 3) The prakaṭa-gaura-līlā is over on this planet. There cannot be any second opinion on this matter.
Additional note by Acarya Sri – A clear demarcation needs to be highlighted amongst the ‘sarva-mānya-ācāryas’ and the ‘kecit-mānya-ācāryas’ or those mentors accepted by the whole Sampradāya and its classical branches and those mentors not accepted by the whole Sampradāya, rather only accepted by some of its recent branches (neo-gaudiyas).
- Dhiraj Hegde1) so what is a little before or after ? 325 years after can also be a little on an almost infinite time scale. 2) You are already assuming that the apparently sinful activities (meat eating) was done by BVT under the influence of Mahamaya rather than Yoga maya. BVT may also have done those activities under the influence of Yoga maya.
Ramkrishna R Swami 1) Little before or little after means just as how Īśvarapūripāda and Mādhavendrapuripāda appeared little before Caitanyadeva, Advaitācārya and Nityānanda, but met them physically during the prakaṭa-līlā. 2) Little after means just as how Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī was very small when Caitanyadeva displayed His divine demise from the prakaṭa-līlā. 3) BVT was not a nitya-siddha needs to be proved first before that the status of his sinful activities can be ascertained. It has been proved by citing from the BRS’s definition of the nitya-siddha and combining it with the verse of NDT as to what are the characteristics of a nitya-siddha. You have nothing to refute on this analysis. So, you are deliberately sidelining it and raising new arguments which you feel soft for you to raise. Its proved in that analysis as to how BVT cannot be considered a nitya-siddha due to his not matching the conditions given in the above cited BRS verse and the phrase of NDT. Hence, its evident that SBVT’s sinful acts were not done under the inspiration of Yogamāyā. 4) If this condition is not accepted that only the contemporary associates of CM are to be considered nitya-siddhas, then a great damage will happen to the sampradāya. How? Because, any charismatic leader in Caitnayaite Vaiṣṇavism coming from any type of virtuous/vicious/heretic earlier background – once he gains some popularity and followers – his followers will start making propaganda that our ‘guru’ is nitya-siddha. Only this is happening nowadays in many neo-Gaudiya institutions. However, in the branches of Gaudiya Vaisnavism which are structured classically even to date, this obnoxious propaganda has no obtained no room to spread. We are in no mood to argue with anyone who cannot understand the aftermaths of allowing this so-called leniency of how anyone coming at any time can be easily labelled as ‘nitya-siddha’.
Much more literature than Thakura Bhaktivinoda has been translated, compiled, composed, edited, printed and published by the efforts of many Gaudiya Vaisnava dignitaries (almost every single one of these personalities has published more than 100 classical and recently composed Gaudiya Vaisnava books in the 20th Century) like Late Sri Haridasadasa Babaji (Gadadhara-pandita Parivara), Late Sri Haridasa Sastri (Gadadhara-pandita-parivara), Late Sri Rasikamohana Vidyabhusana (Rasikananda-vamsa), Late Sri Ramanarayana Vidyaratna, Late Sri Radhagovinda Natha (Nityananda-parivara), Late Vrajavibhuti Sri Syamadasa aka Syamalal Hakim (Harinam Press in Vrindavan – and initiated in Nityananda-parivara of Srngara-vat in Vrndavan), Late Sri Gouragovindanandasvami Bhagavatapada, Late Sri Radhanatha Kabasi, Late Sri Krsnadasa Baba of Kusumasarovara & Late Prabhupada Radharamana Gosvami Vedantabhusana of Nadia (Navadvipa) – to name a few? If the basis of considering anyone a nityasiddha is his composition of 100+ books, then even these personalities should be considered nitya-siddha! But, the traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya does not consider them nitya-siddhas. Only neo-Gaudiya consider SBVT a nitya siddha. If these personalities would have been in the specific line connected with Gaudiya Mission and ISKCON, then they would also have enjoyed similar popularity of being addressed as ‘nitya-siddhas’. Wow!
Ācāryas till Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa are accepted by all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas (its another matter that some Gaudiya Vaivasnas contemporary to SVCT and SBDVB did not accept them as authorities) of all branches as bona fide, at present. Many times it happens that a person’s acceptance is not prevalent during his physical presence. It happens after his demise. Also, we are talking about ‘sarva-mānyatva’ in the Gauḍīya Sampradāya and not in any other Sampradāya. If any further futile argument will be made, it wont’ be answered.
The true devotion to a purvacarya is not expressed by changing the philosophy to make him appear a nitya-siddha. Rather, such true devotion is expressed by glorifying his status which is ascertained as per the classical conventions of the tradition and the siddhānta laid by the theological founders of one’s Sampradāya.
सुनील कृष्ण दास (HH BVNM – IGVS) aka Mr. Sunil Valecha (Delhi) –
Jai ho ! The above comment can be shared as a quote indeed. My 2 cents on this matter : After reading “Svalikhita Jivani” few years back, I was myself of opinion that SBVT is Sadhana Siddha. Note that this opinion did not form out after reading this post, but much before when I knew Ramkrishna R Swami Ji. But regarding the issue of 7th goswami – I came to know after reading the posts posted by Acharya Shri since I never thought that much deeply before. One should also not think that a person carrying such opinion has somewhat less faith and devotion towards SBVT. After all, He is our Guru and Siddha.
धर्म अधिकारी (Vikram Ramsoondur aka Vik Robertson from Mauritius) –
Ramkrishna R Swami Your post before last on this thread of replies nails all the problems with ‘opening up’ the nitya-siddha status to gurus postdating the time just before and after Mahaprabhu’s manifest lila. The arguments you put forward there effectively puts the kibosh on this whole issue.
धर्म अधिकारी Well put. Even though I am neither from ISKCON nor the Gaudiya Math, it appears commonsensical that the important point to devotees who do follow BVT ought to be the fact that he is a siddha. His being a krpa-siddha or sadhana-siddha in fact should inspire them to earnestly become his follower in spirit and essence. Belabouring the matter of him being a nitya-siddha is neither necessary nor practically helpful.
Though I don’t know much about scripture, I would like to present following quote from one of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s letters about this matter: “Regarding your questions, ‘I read in a book sent from India that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was sent directly by Lord Shri Chaitanya from the spiritual sky. I am not sure if the book was bona fide. Is the above true? Someone, a God-brother, [mentioned that] he heard that Shrila Bhaktivinoda was at one time an impersonalist. Was he ever?’ Yes, what you have heard is all right. Just like Arjuna is [the] constant companion of Krishna, as it is confirmed in the 4th chapter [of Bhagavad-gita where] Krishna says that both Arjuna and He appeared many times on this world, but he had forgotten his past appearance and Krishna did not. Krishna is like the sun, and maya is just like darkness. When Krishna is present there cannot be any darkness of maya. So although Arjuna was always in the presence of Krishna as an eternal companion in friendship, still he had some illusion in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, and Krishna had to dissipate that darkness by the teachings of Bhagavad-gita. The purport is, sometimes even a liberated person like Arjuna plays the part of a conditioned soul in order to play some important part. Similarly, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was for some time associating with the impersonalists. And then he exhibited himself in his true color as pure devotee, exactly in the same way as Arjuna exhibited [himself] in the beginning as a conditioned soul, and then as a liberated soul. So there is nothing to be misunderstood in this connection. Krishna and His devotees sometimes play like that, as much as Lord Buddha although an incarnation of Krishna, preached the philosophy of voidism. These things are conducted in terms of place, audience, time, etc. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita it is said that the activities of the Vaishnava cannot be understood even by the greatest scholar. So we have to understand everything through the transparent via media of the Spiritual Master. There is no doubt about it-that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is the eternal energy of Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And whatever he did, was just to suit the time, place, circumstances, etc. There is no contradiction in his activities.”
Among the recent acaryas’ statements (like SBVT, SBSST and ACBSP), many times, there is seen a tendency to exaggerate many philosophical points and notions as per their ‘designed’ time, place and circumstantial strategy. However, the scriptural and conventional truth is what Ramkrishna R Swami Ji has stated. Also, without the grace of the internal or eternal energy of the Lord, not even a sadhana-siddha like Thakura Bhaktivinoda can be said possessed of the ‘vyaṣṭi-gurutva-śakti’ of Śrī Hari who is the ‘akhaṇḍa-guru-tattva’. In that sense, if SBVT is considered representing the power of internal potency no harm. But, it can never translate into his being a nitya-siddha.
Moreover, the comparison of BVT made with Arjuna is wholly not sound technically because Arjuna was a nitya-siddha-parsada and was partaking into the prakata-lila of Krsna and was directly facing Sri Krisna – something not applicable in SBVT’s case. Therefore, its concluded that such statements (like the one ACBSP has made about SBVT) of recent acaryas are just part of their circumstantial strategy and nothing more.