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Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

His Divine Grace Srila Sridhar Maharaj
Founder-Acharya: Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math

Biography | Books | Quotations | Will & Testament

A Brief Biography

His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the founder of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, was born in India in 1895, in a respected Brahmana family of the Bhattacarya order, at Hapaniya, District Burdwan, West Bengal. He received his education at Baharamapur University.

Having taken his pious birth in Sri Gauda-Mandal, the holy lands where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His divine pastimes on this earth, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, from his very childhood, had a natural affinity for the mission of Sri Chaitanya Sankirtan, the Grand Congregational Chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord.

In 1926, Srila Sridhar Maharaj joined the Sri Gaudiya Math, and became an initiated disciple of its founder, the illustrious Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupad (1874-1937). He later accepted the holy order of Sannyasa [monkhood] in 1930. Recognizing him as a faithful stalwart preacher of the perfect precepts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad conferred upon him the name "Sri Bhakti Rakshak," which means "Guardian of Devotion." And further echoing the statement of the great Vaishnava Preceptor, Srila Jiva Goswami - who referred in his Sanskrit writings to the renowned Srimad Bhagavatam commentator, Sri Sridhar Swami, as bhakti-eka-raksaka [Supreme Guardian of Devotion] - Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad gave him the Tridandi-Sannyasa title of "Sridhar." Thus, he became Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj.

As a prominent preacher in the Sri Gaudiya Math mission, he travelled extensively throughout India and preached fluently in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and English, spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on many levels in universities, public seminars, and Sankirtan festivals.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad also expressed high appreciation of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Sanskrit composition, Sri Bhaktivinoda Viraha Dasakam, considering it an omen of assurance that the grand ideals and dignity of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya would be perfectly upheld and preached by such a learned and sensitive devotee as Srila Sridhar Maharaj.

As a testimony to this fact, just prior to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad's departure from this mortal world, Srila Prabhupad had Srila Sridhar Maharaj sing, in his presence, the holy prayer most venerated by the entire Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava community, Sri Rupa Manjari Pada.

After the passing of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupad, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Godbrothers, associates, and the public, naturally revered him as the senior-most representative of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya, although Srila Sridhar Maharaj himself was more inclined to anonymity as a humble Vaishnava. Nonetheless, by the call of divine duty and divine inspiration, he established the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math at Sri Navadwip Dham, hinting in a short Sanskrit poem that the Math - as a sanctuary where the holy message of his Gurudev, Sri Rupa, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was preached - would inevitably become renowned throughout the world amongst the sincere and pious seekers of Unalloyed Truth and Divinity.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj is the composer of numerous classical prayers and commentaries in Sanskrit and Bengali. His works are hailed as gems of pure Vaishnavism by scholars, philosophers, and devotees worldwide. He authored Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, a Sanskrit devotional treatise on the subject of divine surrender, which has become a standard text-book for devotees everywhere.

Upon reaching his eighties, not only Indians, but persons from America, Europe, and the world over, became attracted by Srila Sridhar Maharaj's teachings and personality. He was known as a pure saint of the most simple living habits. He was respected and loved for his saintly simplicity, and his affectionate nature and dealings. He was revered by his Godbrothers, disciples, other devotees, and the general public, and was unanimously venerated for his formidable encyclopedic command of the revealed scriptures, and his unique and unprecedented style of casting newer and newer light upon the most internal philosophical and revelatory purports of pure Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta.

A vast library of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's taped discourses has been compiled by his disciples, and from such recordings, the exquisite English books "Search for Sri Krishna - Reality the Beautiful," "Sri Guru and His Grace," "The Golden Volcano of Divine Love," "Loving Search for the Lost Servant," and Srila Sridhar Maharaj's unique commentary and interpretation of "Srimad Bhagavad Gita - The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute," and many other books have been published. Many more publications are also anticipated.

On August 12th, 1988, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj departed from this world, to enter into his eternal pastimes. His departure did not herald the departure of one of the great stars of the Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava firmament, but that of the moon itself. Even the Earth herself trembled on two occasions, forecasting and punctuating the event. A divine temple, "The Temple of Union in Separation," was erected at his holy shrine at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Navadwip, and worship will continue throughout the generations.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj selected his most intimate and senior Sannyasi disciple, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, as his successor, blessing him with the position of Acharya-President of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and its affiliated branches worldwide.

[Please also see: Srila Guru Maharaj Remembers]

Quotations from:

The Search for Sri Krishna
We must establish ourselves in the plane of reality, and try our best to extend it to others. And to preach means this: "I sincerely have faith in Krishna consciousness and relish it to the utmost. I find that my future prospect is also here. Because I feel that it is very tasteful, useful, and wholesome, I have come to distribute it to you, my friends. We should guide our lives according to the principles of Krishna consciousness as taught by the Spiritual Master. Take it, and you will be successful in fulfilling the goal of your life."

Sri Guru and His Grace
To err is human. To err is inevitable for all, being not perfect. Still, no one wants to remain imperfect. There is an element within all that is animate that tends towards perfection. If it were not so, we would feel no want at all. Our tendency towards perfection is certainly very weak and limited, otherwise we could attain the goal at once. Our limited capacity and tendency for perfection makes room for the guide or guru.
The imperfect is not so if it is not in need of help, and that also from beyond itself. The perfect is not perfect if He cannot assert Himself or help others, and that too, of His own accord. So the guidance to perfection or Absolute Truth is necessarily a function of the Absolute Himself, and the Divine Agent through whom this function manifests is Sri Guru, or the Divine Guide.

Introduction to Sri Guru and His Grace

Home Comfort
Happiness can never be with mortal things. We are making a transaction with the mortal world, but that cannot bring satisfaction; it can only lose our energy. What we collect on one side, disappears on another. A wise man should neither accept nor tolerate this sort of waste of energy as the principle of life. Such a wise person can see another plane of life. He can see that he is not a party to this mortal world which is like a place of playing. He will feel, "I am immortal. I am a member of the eternal world but I have somehow become entangled in this mortal aspect of existence. So, as soon as I can shake off this connection I shall then stand in a normal position." He will find that he himself - the soul, the feeler, the conceiver - is a member of another soil but he has become entangled within this mortal pain-producing world. This is a miserable world. With the strength of his realization he can make improvement in his progress to the immortal plane.

[To Be Continued...]

Last Will & Testament

"The said Sriman Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, of whom I, Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, am the Godfather, and am by caste Gaudiya-Vaishnava Brahmin, and am by occupation a Religious Preacher and Worshipper of the Deities at the address Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, P.O. and Police Station Navadwip - the said Sriman Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, who, despite temporarily changing his formal position, was named and recognized by me as Sri Govinda Sundar Vidyaranjan and engaged by me in all the various services of the Math; and upon whom on the 6th November, 1985, I conferred the order of sannyasa whence I again named and recognized him as Sri Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj; and, since he has tirelessly and whole-heartedly assisted in the duties of organizing and developing this Math and also in the duties of establishing and developing Calcutta and Hapaniya Centers, etc., and since he has arranged many donors and has provided much encouragement to even myself in the duties of managing the Math, etc., and all the above-mentioned tasks he is still performing up to this day; and since he is still naturally disposed to serve the Math and its residents, and at all times he is endeavoring for the progressive development of Sri Math, and above all, he is well-known and unanimously acclaimed as being firmly established in the philosophy of the Siddhanta [Perfect Axiomatic Truth] of Bhakti as propounded by both myself as well as by my Divine Master - thus, I hereby appoint him as my Successor Sevaite Acharya, and President.

"In compliance with the Rules and Regulations of the aforesaid Deed, all my lawful claims, directorship, and rights will automatically be inherited by him. In all my Maths, etc., he alone shall as the Acharya, confer initiation, etc., and shall as the Sevaite [Guardian-Servitor] and President, manage all the duties of my established Temples, Ashrams, etc.

"Hereby, I do reveal my final desire and directives unto all my Eastern and Western lady and gentlemen disciples, as well as to the faithful souls devoted to the Divinity, that: they must respect him as the exclusive Acharya and President, and remain faithful to him and cooperate with him in the service duties of the Math.

"If anyone cannot honor these directives and this final desire of mine, then they shall be bound to dissociate themselves from my established Maths."

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