Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math
Disciplic Succession
Guru Parampara in the Gaudiya Madhva Sampradaya

His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj
President-Acharya: Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math

gurvabhista-supurakam guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam
   chintyachintya-samasta-veda-nipunam sri-rupa-panthanugam
govindabhidham ujjvalam vara-tanum bhakty anvitam sundaram
   vande visva-gurun cha divya-bhagavat-premno hi bija-pradam

"I worship the holy lotus feet of he who perfectly fulfills the most cherished wish of his divine master -- who is adorned resplendently with the blessings of his guru varga; who is adept in all Vedic conceptions, both conceivable and inconceivable; who is the faithful follower in the line of Sri Rupa; who is known as Srila Govinda Maharaj; whose beautiful divine figure revels in the mellows of divine love; who is the guru of the entire universe and the bestower of the seed of divine love for the Supreme Lord."

Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj appeared in this world in 1929 at Brahmanpara, District Burdwan, West Bengal. He came to the lotus feet of his gurudev Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in 1947, and has remained faithfully in his service ever since.

History tells us that from the very beginning he held the unrivalled position of the most intimate and faithful servitor of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and from the beginning Srila Sridhar Maharaj revealed his wish that Srila Govinda Maharaj would occupy the position of his successor in the future. Srila Govinda Maharaj also enjoyed the long and intimate association of Om Visnupad Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, who referred to him as his "dearmost son."

Fulfilling a wish he cherished for about forty years, Srila Sridhar Maharaj conferred sannyasa upon Srila Govinda Maharaj in 1985, giving his final and irrevocable decision of his selection of Srila Govinda Maharaj as his successor President-Acharya of his Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math of Nabadwip, with all of its branches in India and internationally.

Like his illustrious Divine Master, Srila Govinda Maharaj has given us numerous pure devotional compositions in Sanskrit and Bengali, most valuable for the cultivation of spiritual life. His holy talks are also being published in book form.

Srila Govinda Maharaj has travelled around the world many times, and he has attracted thousands of people in such places as India, the U.S.A., Mexico, England, Europe, South America, Africa, Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
Founder-Acharya: International Society for Krishna Consciousness

namah om visnupadaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
swami sri bhaktivedanta prabupadaya te namah
gurvajnam sirasi-dhrtva saktyavesa sva-rupine
hare-krsneti mantrena pascatya-pracya-tarine

visvacarya prabaryaya divya karunya murtaye
sri bhagavata-madhurya-gita-jnana pradayine
gaura-sri-rupa-siddhanta-saraswati nisevine
radha-krsna-padambhoja-bhrngaya gurave namah

"I offer my humble obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, who is Krishna's beloved associate and who came down to this plane from Goloka. Taking the order of his guru on his head, he is the saktyavesa [empowered] avatar of Nityananda Prabhu personified. He distributed the Hare Krishna mantra all over the Eastern and Western world, delivering and uplifting all fallen souls.

He is the best of millions of jagat-gurus, because he is the personification of divine mercy. He has distributed the sweet nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavad Gita all over the world. He is constantly engaged in exclusive devotional service to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad, Srila Rupa Goswami, and Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. I offer my humble obeisances unto Srila Prabhupad, who is like a bumble-bee always tasting the nectar of the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda."

Om Vishnupad Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the great inaugurator of Krishna consciousness in the Western world. In ten short years he spread the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu everywhere, inundating the world with Krishna consciousness.

The intimate past history of the trio of holy personalities Srila Sridhar Maharaj, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj , and Srila Govinda Maharaj-- is most valuable and interesting to all true devotees. They resided together at Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's Sita Kanta Banerjee Lane house in Calcutta for about eight years. This was prior to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's sannyasa. It was during that time that Srila Govinda Maharaj, on the order of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, studied Sri Bhagavad Gita under Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. Later Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj accepted sannyasa from Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesav Maharaj, the sannyasa disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj.

After travelling to the West in 1965 and spreading Krishna consciousness in a miraculous way previously unseen in the history of the world, whenever he returned to India, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, who had become known by his disciples and many admirers worldwide as "Prabhupad," would stay with Srila Sridhar Maharaj at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip.

On those visits some special points that he spoke about Srila Sridhar Maharaj to his disciples follow: "By both age and experience he is senior to me. I was fortunate to have his association since about 1930.... Krishna and Prabhupad [referring to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad, the diksa-guru of both Srila Sridhar Maharaj and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj] liked him to prepare me.... Srila Sridhar Maharaj lived in my house for many years, so naturally we had very intimate talks, and he was my good advisor. I took his advices and instructions very seriously, because from the very beginning I knew him to be a pure Vaishnava, a pure devotee.... our relationship is very intimate."

Prior to his departure from the world in 1977, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj instructed his followers to take spiritual consultation and guidance from Srila Sridhar Maharaj. After the departure of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, Srila Sridhar Maharaj declared: "I consider him to be Saktyavesa Avatara.... Krishna came down to help him .... Divine Power came down to help him, otherwise it is impossible. It is not a thing of the ordinary level that anyone will do, but the highest thing has been taken down to the lowest position [distributed] so extensively by him. It cannot but be the Divine Power embodied, and in a great intensity and magnitude; so Saktyavesa Avatara I cannot but take him to be so."

Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj

devam divya-tanum suchanda-vadanam balarka-celancitam
   sandrananda-puram sad-eka-varanam vairagya-vidyambudhim
sri-siddhanta-nidhim subhakti-lasitam sarasvatanam-varam
   vande tam subhadam mad-eka-saranam nyasisvaram sridharam

"I fall at the feet of Srila Sridhar Dev, who with charming expression sings his songs of sweet nectar. Dressed in fine garments like the newly-risen sun, he is the true saint, the devotees have chosen. His detachment and knowledge are just like an ocean, the treasure-house of complete, perfect conclusions. Radiant in pastimes of loving devotion, the abode of pure ecstasy, bestower of good fortune; foremost true follower of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta, foremost great general of the whole renounced order, my lord and my master, my only shelter, I worship his feet, Srila Sridhar Dev."  [Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj]

Om Vishnupad Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the Founder-Acharya of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip, West Bengal, India. He appeared in the world in 1895 at Hapaniya, Burdwan, West Bengal.

From his childhood he had inner faith in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with a natural attraction and affinity for nama-sankirtan; his scholarship and worldly detachment was formidable. His first contact with Sri Gaudiya Math was in 1923, and he fully commited himself to this Mission of his Guru, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad, in 1926. In 1930 his Guru gave him sannyasa, giving him his transcendental name, Bhakti Rakshak [Guardian of Devotion]. He took a prominent part in the founding, organizing and preaching of many of the Sri Gaudiya Maths all over India.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj composed many unique spiritual prayers and commentaries in Sanskrit and Bengali, revealing a devotional stature in common with that of the famed Goswamis of Vrindavan. Often thought even more amazing was his special ability to represent those thoughts in the international language of English. In this way, many of his Holy Teachings have been published in the form of his books.(Visit the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math link for a list of these books.)

Srila Sridhar Maharaj departed from the eyes of the mortal world in 1988. Thousands from all over the globe had by this time taken shelter in him as disciples. Prior to his departure, publicly, and in his Last Will and Testament, he named his beloved Divine Servitor Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj as his successor.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad

sri siddhanta-sarasvatiti viditau gaudiya-gurv-anvaye
  bhato bhanur iva prabhata-gagane yo gaura-sankirtanaih
mayavada-timingilodara-gatan uddhrtya jivaniman
  krsna-prema-sudhabdhi gahana sukham pradat prabhum tam bhaje

"In the great Gaudiya Vaishnava teachers' line, as Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati he is renowned. Like the radiant sun in the morning sky, he appeared to rescue all souls swallowed by the all-devouring impersonal philosophy. By spreading the teaching of Lord Gauranga to sing the holy name of Lord Krishna, he gave all the chance to dive in the ocean of love for Sri Krishna, the Supreme Person. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta, my lord, divine master, at his feet do I pray to serve him forever."
 [Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj]

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad, the disciple of Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaj, was the Guru of both Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj and Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupad preached that the Gaudiya Math stood for the dignity of the entire human race, by teaching wholesale surrender to the Absolute Good. Especially active in the field of publishing transcendental literature, his erudition was profoundly commanding and elaborate. He revolutionized Krishna conscious preaching by giving preference to pure devotional qualifications over lineage, and it was he who set the precedent of Vaishnava Tridanda-Sannyas [the renounced order of devotional life] in accordance with the injunctions of the revealed scriptures.

In a poem describing the descending divine succession of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad wrote: sri krsna caitanya -- radha-krsna nahe anya, rupanuga janera jivana. "Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, the life and soul of the true followers of Srila Rupa Goswami."

To exemplify this sublime ideal, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta established sixty-four Gaudiya Maths in India in the 1930's, and all through he embraced the line of worship of Lord Chaitanya as nondifferent from Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

The deep sense of urgency he felt to propagate the divine teachings of Lord Chaitanya for the benefit of the suffering world of misconception is exemplified in the indomitable conviction of his statement: "If fire burns the whole world, do not waste time trying to put it out. All necessities can be met only by serving Krishna."

Glorification by Srila Sridhar Maharaj

Although outwardly he was like a lion, inwardly he was very, very sweet -- yet it could be traced only in his internal sweetness. Outwardly, the way of love was worshipped by him with grandeur, awe, and reverence, but his object was the simple and beautiful Divine Love of Vrindavan, and his temperament in establishing that in the world was just like a lion's. After his departure I described his life in one sloka:

nikhila-bhuvana-maya-chinnavicchinna-karttri
   vibudha-bahula-mrgya-mukti-mohanta-dhattri
sithilita-vidhi-ragaradhya-radhesa-dhani
   vilasatu hrdi nityam bhaktisiddhanta-vani

"With his first step, he vigorously cut asunder the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he put a stop to all the calculations of the different scholars with their different conceptions of salvation, liberated stages. With his third step, he minimized the hardness and stiffness of the rules and regulations of calculative devotional service, by a touch of the Divine Love: crossing Vaikuntha, he gave us the worship of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda."

Calculation, the rules and regulations, awe, reverence, all these things are minimized, checked, slackened with the softness of Vrindavan within, and with the hardness of a devastator without, he created havoc in the materialistic world, fighting with one and all. Single-handedly fighting against the whole world, and cutting asunder everything -- that was his external attitude. And his second attitude was to put a stop to all scholarly researchers and doctorates of different departments, and to stop their boasting research; and third, to minimize, to slacken the grandeur of the worship of Narayan.

He caused the domain of love to descend into this plane with the service of Radha-Govinda, establishing the flow of Divine Love from the heart as all in all. With that we come to serve our object of worship, and he represented the service of Radha Govinda as the highest attainment. That was his history.

The real existence of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad is in bhaktisiddhanta-vani, his divine teachings. May that bhaktisiddhanta-vani dance eternally within the core of your heart.

Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaj

namo gaura-kisoraya
bhaktavadhuta-murtaye
gauranghri-padma-bhrngaya
radha-bhava nisevine

"I bow to our guru, Srila Gaura Kisora Das, the pure devotee beyond social class; the bee in the lotus of the feet of Sri Gauranga, who deep in his heart serves Sri Radha forever."
 [Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj]

Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaj was the embodiment of worldly detachment and devotional attachment. He was the babaji disciple of Srila Bhagavat Das Babaji Maharaj, who was the babaji disciple of Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. An intimate associate of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Gaura Kisora Das uncompromisingly refuted pseudo and professional religiosity. Constantly absorbed in the devotional mood of divine separation, his external actions could not be comprehended by the general public.

On the direction of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur received holy initiation [diksha] from Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaj. Although by nature Srila Gaura Kisora was seen to be prevalently dedicated to bhajan in solitude, his beloved disciple Srila Bhakti Siddhanta felt that the mercy of his gurudeva overflowed within his heart, inspiring Srila Bhakti Siddhanta to dedicate himself to a life of preaching the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur sang the glories of his revered gurudeva, Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaj, saying: "All spiritual knowledge is contained within a particle of the dust of his lotus feet."

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

vande bhakti-vinodam
sri gaura-sakti-svarupakam
bhakti-sastrajna-samrajam
radha-rasa-sudha-nidham

"I bow to Sri Thakur Bhaktivinoda, Mahaprabhu's love divine personified. He is the king of all knowers of the purpose of the scriptures, and he is the ocean of Sri Radha's devotion."  [Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj]

Srila Sachchidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the nineteenth century pioneer of Krishna consciousness, was born in 1838 in Bengal. He worked tirelessly to preserve the spiritual tradition and literature of India; he composed, edited, and published more than 100 books in Sanskrit, Bengali, and English.

The pioneer of pure devotion, it was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur who foretold that people the world over would join under the banner of Sri Chaitanya Maharabhu's Harinama Sankirtan [congregational chanting of the holy names of Lord Krishna]. By his profuse writings, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur infused the current which was to be the renaissance of a devotional civilization, which had become overgrown with spurious interpretations und misrepresentation.

He advocated exclusive surrender [saranagati] to the service of the Supreme Lord's pure devotees as the life of devotion, and to this end he composed a great stream of books, prayers, poems, and commentaries in Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, English, and other languages, which are now revered by the genuine devotees as scripture. His style of presentation was chiefly analytic, simple, and appealing. He taught that the apparently sophisticated philosophies and doctrines which deviate one to materialism, salvation, voidism, etc. [karma, jnana, sunya-vada, etc.] must be abandoned by the true aspirants of devotion; yet, he acknowledged that from the universal standpoint such "charming" distractions served to segregate the insincere from the sincere. Thus he foresaw that inevitably the intelligentsia of the world must come to appreciate the all-attractive path of divine love given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Thakur inaugurated the worship of Lord Chaitanya at the holy site known as Sri Yoga-Pith, the advent location of Sri Chaitanyadeva in the holy Sri Dham Mayapur.

Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj

gaura-vrajasrita sesair
vaisnavair-vandya-vigraham
jagannatha-prabhum vande
premabdhim vrddha-vaisnavam

"The great venerable grandsire of pure devotion, loved by all Vaishnavas of both Nabadwip and Vrindavan -- I worship the feet of that great Vaishnava guru, the ocean of love, Srila Jagannath Prabhu."  [Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj]

Srila Jagannath Das Babaji was the siksa-guru [instructing spiritual master] and babaji-guru of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. Srila Bhaktivinoda was known to be especially fond of hearing his discourses on Srimad Bhagavatam.

Although physically crippled, Srila Jagannath Das danced in divine inspiration upon discovering the holy birthplace of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is said that he lived for 125 years, and was known and revered by all the devotees of both Vrindavan and Nabadwip."