'Gata-varṣa (The Last Year)' is an editorial written by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura for Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.12, Issue 1 in 1900. The Ṭhākura reviews the spiritual achievements made during the last year, and predicts that in future, people from all nations will come to the birthplace of Mahāprabhu. He also mentions his son, Siddhānta Sarasvatī in connection to the publication of Padma Purāṇa.
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)
By the grace of Śrīman Mahāprabhu we have completed our eleventh year. It is a matter of great joy to us that in the last few years we have seen many kinds of improvements in the world of spirituality, when plague, famine and war have greatly increased the misery of men. First of all, Śrīmatī Viṣṇupriyā Patrikā has taken a new form. In Śrīdhāma Vṛndāvana, by the endeavours of some people, a spiritual monthly called Gauḍeśvara Vaiṣṇava was created. In the metropolis of Calcutta, another spiritual magazine called Vaiṣṇava Pratibhā has emerged. At one time there was no other spiritual magazine except for this Sajjana Toṣaṇī magazine. Sajjana Toṣaṇī has created such spiritual excitement in the minds of many people that so many magazines have emerged nowadays. This is a very good sign. There is no doubt that no matter how much Vaiṣṇava dharma is propagated in these magazines, many things will be published about Śrī Gaurāṅga and the prema-dharma that He preached. We hope that in all these journals, the teachings of the pure Vaiṣṇnava dharma, as authorised by Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, will gradually be propagated in a pure fashion. I saw again that a weekly newspaper called Nivedana has come out in the world. Although there is a lot of material news in this journal, we have high hopes, since we have seen a few spiritual discussions within it.
Hari-nāma kīrtana has been especially popular in the city of Calcutta since last year. No matter what the aspirations of these kīrtana communities may be, by abandoning the Jatra theatre, many people are collectively propagating hari-nāma – whatever their reason, their wandering through the city is an excellent deed. Destroying a plague is a trivial result for śrī-hari-kīrtana. It is our hope that many mahātmās, after associating with sādhus, will become inclined to search for the true result and become pure Vaiṣṇavas.
The main objective of all great deeds performed by anyone in this world is to maintain the preaching of the birthplace of Śrī Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva for the benefit of future devotees. Happily, in the midst of all the spiritual uproar, righteous men are endeavouring for the betterment of Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. It is not the intention of the Lord to make a big fuss by spending more money in Śrī Māyāpura. Those who will be born as devotees amongst all the nations of the world, will one day hope to see the birth-place of Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu from many, many distant lands. Those who endeavour to keep the flow of services in Māyāpura strong, will be counted amongst the main benefactors of the world of Vaiṣṇavas that will appear in the future. There is no doubt that by all these activities, the dharma of Śrī Mahāprabhu will be especially propagated throughout the world.
During the last one year, authors of transcendental literature have not been idle in producing books on bhakti-tattva. In the last year, Siddhānta Sarasvatī has attempted to collect and publish in Bengali Śrī Padma Purāṇa, which is worshippable by all the Devas. A respected gosvāmī, who is the crest-jewel of his lineage, has published four parts of Śrī Bhāgavat Sandarbha in Devanagari script. An English translation of Śrīmad Rāmānuja’s Śrībhāṣya commentary on the Vedānta–sūtra has been published with great endeavour by two Madrasi scholars. The book Vedānta-sāra by Śrīmad Rāmānuja has been printed in the Western Provinces with an English translation by a foreign scholar. We have heard that Śrī Siddhānta Sarasvatī will also publish the original and Bengali translation of this book for the world very soon.