Friday, February 23, 2007

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada was born in 1873 at Jagganatha Puri. His father, Kedar Dutta Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was magistrate of the city and superintendent of Jagganatha temple. Once, during the Rathayatra Car Festival, the car stopped in front of the family's house and, taking the opportunity, the mother of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati came out with the baby and put him on the Lotus Feet of Jagganatha A garland from the hand of Jagganatha fell down on the baby.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was educated in Calcutta and became learned in Mathematics and Astronomy. In his childhood he once took a mango which was meant as an offering for the Deity. When his father rebuked him, saying that he should not have taken the fruit which was meant for the Lord, the child took it very seriously and thought himself a great offender, promising not to take mango again throughout his whole life. He was know as Bimal Prasad Dutta before his renunciation, or sannyasi. On account of his writing a book on astronomy known as Sruya Siddhanta, he received the title Siddhanta Saraswati. And, when he took sannyasa, preaching the gospel of Lord Caitanya, he was known as Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. He was acclaimed a great scholar in Calcutta, and the celebrated Dr. Kalidas Nag used to call him 'a living encyclopaedia'.

Thakura Bhaktivinoda trained his son in childhood for preaching, and, after taking sannyasa, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati started the Gaudiya Mission Institution. He started 64 branches of the Gaudiya Math all over India plus one in London and another in Berlin.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was the guru of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

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