by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj in the book 'Dignity of the Divine Servitor'
Yesterday someone asked, "How do we see that Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa is in the line of Viśvanāth Chakravartī and Rūpa Goswāmī?" Actually they are protectors of our sampradāya from the illusory environment created by the paṇḍit section.
When Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa began writing the Govinda-bhāṣya, he first gave his obeisances to Kṛṣṇa, then to Jīva Goswāmī. He considered Jīva Goswāmī to be our Guru by giving protection from the paṇḍits. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa wrote the following praṇām mantram:
yaḥ sāṁkya paṅkena kutarka pāṁśunā
vivartta-garttena ca lupta dīdhītiṁ
śuddhaṁ vyadhāt vāk sudhayā maheśvaraṁ
kṛṣṇaṁ sa jīvaḥ prabhu rastta me gatiḥ
This is a very difficult śloka and hard for me to explain in English. What I am explaining is not a literal translation but it gives the mood, the bhāva. He says, "I offer my full dandavats unto the lotus feet of Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī who is the protector of our spiritual life. He rescues us from the whole illusory environment."
He protects us from saṅkhya philosophy which he compares to quick-sand. When the jīvas want to cross over the ocean of material existence, they first come across muddy quick-sand. In the nyāya śāstra, the endless dry arguments are likened to ashes, soot, and smoke blowing in the wind and covering the eyes, sky, and everything around so we cannot see what is really in our front. Through the wind of bad arguments, everything is covered and we cannot see Krṣṇa.
Next he mentions vivartta-garttena. Vivartta-vāda is Śaṅkarācāryya's philosophy of nirvviśeṣa-vāda which is compared to a hole in the road.
So Jīva Goswāmī is our protector, and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa is a paṇḍit of similar standing to him. He was initiated into the Mādhva-sampradāya and later, after reading the literature of Jiva Goswāmī Prabhu and Viśvanāth Chakravartī Ṭhākur he became a devotee of the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya—Mahāprabhu's sampradāya.
At that time Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was with Viśvanāth Chakravartī Ṭhākur. Viśvanāth Chakravartī examined him to see if he could establish our conception of the worship of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa before the worship of Nārāyaṇa. Viśvanāth Chakravarti became very satisfied and thought him to be the best person to establish this Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava principle. He therefore requested Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, "Please, you go to Jaipur."
Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa then faced the Rāmānuja-sampradāya's challenge. The Rāmānuja paṇḍits asked their first question: "Whose bhāṣya are you following?"
Bhāṣya means interpretation. At that time a sampradāya would be recognised only if they had a bhāṣya of Vedānta, a bhāṣya of Upaniṣad, a bhāṣya of Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma stotra, and a bhāṣya of Gītā. In many places this criterion is mentioned that a sampradāya can be recognised when these are present. Such bhāṣya did not exist in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, so the paṇḍits said, "We shall not talk with you because you are not following any sampradāya."
They replied, "Yes, take seven or ten days." So he went to Govindadeva, the Deity of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, and taking the blessings of the Vaiṣṇavas of our sampradāya, he bowed down to Govindadeva and took permission from Him to make the bhāṣya.
"Who made it?"
Like Śaṅkarāchāryya and Rāmānujācāryya, he composed his own bhāṣya. Looking at his face and talking with him, the paṇḍits were surprised: "Within only seven days he composed it. He is a very great paṇḍit."
When writing the bhāṣya, he made his praṇāms to Kṛṣṇa and then to Jīva Goswāmī. Included there is this śloka:
When Guru Mahārāj would explain this śloka, his mood and expression would change in such a way that, seeing his face, we would think him to be just like Jīva Goswāmī. It was as if Jīva Goswāmī was actually sitting there in front of us!
So this is the history of the Govinda bhāṣya, and this is how Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa made his commentaries. Since that time Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, though he was a young man, has been worshipped by the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya. His contribution is our wealth.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math,
Founder-Acharyya: Srila B. R. Sridhar Maharaj
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