Eulogy for Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

by Sarasvatī Ṭhākura

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Ṭhākura Prabhupāda wrote the following words in Sajjana-toṣaṇī after the disappearance of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura Mahāśaya:

The purpose of the Sajjana-toṣaṇī remains unchanged. Ṭhākura Mahāśaya has entered the nitya-līlā, but by his blessings this magazine will continue to bring joy to the pious through hari-kathā, just as before…. Some think, accepting the opinion of the material sensualists, that the cause of bhakti is advanced by eliminating the idea of pure devotion; others tarnish pure devotion’s beauty by accepting the facile path of the materialistic devotees as the standard.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung in his Kalyāna-kalpa-taru,

bhakti-bādhā jāhā ha’te se vidyāra mastakete
padāghāta kara akaitava
sarasvatī kṛṣṇa-priyā kṛṣṇa-bhakti tāṅra hiyā
vinodera sei se vaibhava

“Fearlessly kick in the head any learning which causes obstacles on the path of devotion. The goddess Sarasvatī is dear to Kṛṣṇa, and devotion to Kṛṣṇa is in her heart. Bhaktivinoda considers the learning she inspires to be his treasure.”

The goddess of learning manifest in the teachings of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu can neither condone any words which contradict devotional service, nor any which compromise with it. This, we have repeatedly recognised, is the extraordinary characteristic of those teachings.

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura considers this goddess of learning which is most dear to Kṛṣṇa, Mahaprabhu’s teachings, to be his treasure. In other words, Bhaktivinoda’s words reach as far as the lotus feet of the original āśraya-vigraha, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Bhaktivinoda himself, non-different from Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, has expanded into Mahāprabhu’s gospel. Service to the Gaurāṅga who takes pleasure in delivering his message is identical with the service to Rādhā and Govinda in obedience to the guru, service to the gopīs and to their lord and master through following Rūpa Mañjarī.

Illuminated by the lamp of devotion, we can see the path which leads to the bower where the Gaurāṅga of Bhaktivinoda’s teachings sports. It reveals those words of Gaurāṅga, the everlasting order of his goddess of learning which enters into the ears of eternally conditioned souls like ourselves: ‘Be the servant of Svarūpa and Rūpa’s followers and always chant the Holy Name.’

We pray to remain constantly dedicated to the glorification of that abode of virtue, Gaurāṅga, who is Kṛṣṇa himself residing in that message-bower, with single-minded commitment and great gusto. On this day, we pray to all the Vaiṣṇavas who are obedient to the preceptors in the line of Svarūpa and Rūpa for this blessing.”

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