Movement leaders

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur (September 2, 1838 – June 23, 1914), a prominent figure among the Gaudiya Vaishnavas of Bengal, was born Kedarnath Datta in the town of Birnagar, Bengal, India. He was the son of Raja Krsnananda Datta and Jagat Mohini Devi. Bhaktivinoda married and had several children, including Bimal Prasad (later Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura), the founder of the Gaudiya Math and the guru of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhaktivinoda was also the father, as well as the initiating guru, of Lalita Prasad Thakur. The two brothers had substantial disagreements on how their father’s spiritual heritage was to carry on, Bimal Prasad more inclined for preaching and the establishment of Varnashrama-dharma, Lalita Prasad more inclined for the esoteric mode of raganuga-worship.

Bhaktivinoda was among the first Vaishnava scholars to present the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the principles of Gaudiya Vaishnava Theology to the English speaking world.

He predicted coming of the day when fortunate non-Indian Vaishnavas would perform Harinama Sankirtan in different cities of the world. This prediction was fulfilled by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Many adherents of Gaudiya Vaishnavism believe that Bhaktivinoda later accepted siksa (instruction) from Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaj, who is said to have lived for 135 years. Bhaktivinoda accepted the babaji vesh (cloth) in 1908 and adopted the lifestyle of a Vaishnava recluse. He continued to travel between Calcutta and Puri until 1910. Then he spent most of his time living quietly at home unable to travel much due to poor health until his death June 23, 1914. His remains were interred at Godruma, one of the nine islands of Navadwip.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada , (February 6, 1874 – January 1, 1937), was a preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism throughout India in the late 19th and early 20th Century. He was born as Bimal Prasad Dutta in the seaside pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri, Orissa, India. His father was the Vaishnava scholar Sri Kedarnath Dutta, later known as Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the first to present the teachings of Chaitanyite Vaishnavism to the English speaking world and was a notable Gaudiya Vaishnava Theologian. Bimal Prasad was well-known for having a fiery preaching spirit and especially acute intellect.

Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (September 1, 1896 – November 14, 1977) was a Gaudiya Vaishnava teacher and the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”. His mission was to propagate the Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a form of Hinduism that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, throughout the world. Born Abhay Charan De in Calcutta, he was educated at the prestigious local Scottish Church College. Before adopting the life of a pious renunciant (vanaprastha) in 1950,[6] he was married with children and owned a small pharmaceutical business. In 1959 he took a vow of renunciation (sannyasa) and started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures.

He has been described as a charismatic leader, in the sense used by the sociologist Max Weber, as he was successful in acquiring followers in the United States, Europe, India and elsewhere. After his death in 1977, ISKCON, the society he founded based on a type of Hindu Krishnaism using the Bhagavata Purana as a central scripture, continued to grow and is respected in India, though there have been squabbles about leadership among his followers.

rss    blog