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The Biography of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then
known as Kedarnatha Datta
was born in
Kedarnatha was taught by his uncle Kasiprasada Ghosh Mahasaya Thakura, at his home in
seen the corruption in the business world Kedarnatha
decided to become a teacher. He established an English school in Kendrapara, a village near Chutigrama
in Orissa, thus pioneering English education in the
state. Some time later he went to Puri and passed a
teachers' examination; he got a teacher's post in a Cuttack
school and later became headmaster of a school in Bhadraka
and then in Madinipura. His dedicated work was noted
by the school-board authorities. As headmaster, Bhaktivinoda
studied the various religions and came to the realisation
that the only real religion established in
Bhadraka, his first son Annada
Prasada (Acyutananda) was
born, in 1860. After his wife died he married Bhagavati
Dey in the town of
1861, Bhaktivinoda took up a government post as
deputy magistrate in
Between the years 1874 and 1893, Bhaktivinoda Thakura spent much time in seclusion chanting the holy name (though he still executed his worldly duties); he wrote several books in Sanskrit such as Sri Krsna samhita, Tattva-sutram and Tattva-viveka and Datta-kausubha. He also wrote many books in Bengali such as the Kalyana-kalpataru. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was an outstanding scholar and through the course of his life he was to write hundreds of books; a career he started at the age of 12. He spoke Bengali, Sanskrit, English, Latin, Urdu, Persian and Oriya. He managed to obtain and write a Sanskrit commentary on the Caitanyopanisada. His other literary works include Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, and also the Vaisnava-siddhanta-mala, Prema-pradipa and Manah-siksa.
in Puri, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura became
manager of the
As a householder Bhaktivinoda had two wives and ten children, of which the great Vaisnava scholar Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura) was one. Bimala Prasad (Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati), Bhaktivinoda's fourth son, was born in Sri Purusottama Kshetra (Jagannatha Puri) on 6th February 1874 AD, answering the prayer of Bhaktivinoda for the Lord 'to send a Ray of Visnu' to preach the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. He was given the name Bimal Prasad. Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was to become the spiritual master of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
As a devotee, Bhaktivinoda showed great humility; he had strict moral standards and would not accept gifts from anyone. Even in his government duties, he refused all honors and titles.
his seventh son was born, Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura took pancaratrika diksa initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami, descended from
the Jahnava family of Baghnapara.
In 1881 Bhaktivinoda Thakura
began publishing Sajjanatosani, his Vaisnava journal. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had
previously made pilgrimages to Kasi, Prayaga,
Vrindavana he went to
Also he published his own edition of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, with his Amrta-prabhava Bhasya commentary. And he introduced the Caitanyabda or Caitanya-era calendar, and gave assistance to the propagation of the Caitanya Panjika, which established the feast day of Gaura Purnima.
He lectured and gave readings on books such as Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu (of Srila Rupa Goswami) in various Vaisnava societies; he published in the Hindu Herald, an English periodical, a detailed account of Sri Caitanya's life.
It was at this time that the learned Vaisnavas recognised Kedaranatha Datta and gave him the honorary title of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Bhaktivinoda travelled and preached widely. In 1891, he
took leave from government service for two years just for this purpose. He
would lecture in clubs, societies and organisations.
During this time he continued writing and opened many branches of Nama Hatta in different districts
Once whilst stationed in Krishanaga, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, along with Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja found Lord Caitanya's birthplace in the year 1887. When the birthplace was uncovered, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji would worship Lord Caitanya there.
1908 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took the external vesa
dress of a babaji at Satasana,
Puri, i.e he accepted paramahamsa-sannyasa. Until 1910 he traveled between
UPDATED: November 23, 2010