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A Glimpse of the Life of

Śrī Śrīmad
Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja

On February 7, 1921, the new moon day of the month of Māgha, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja took his divine birth in a highly educated and respected brāhmaṇa family in the village of Tiwārīpura, in the Buxar district of Bihar, India. He was given the name Śrīman Nārāyaṇa. His parents were devout Vaiṣṇavas of the Śrī sampradāya, and from the time he was a small baby, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa was regularly taken by his father to recitations of the Rāmāyaṇa, which he grew to love.

           In February, 1946, he met his gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and his life of complete and exemplary dedication to the path of kṛṣṇa-bhakti began. Upon receiving harināma and dīkṣā initiation from his gurudeva, he received the name ‘Śrī Gaura Nārāyaṇa’. He accompanied his gurudeva on his extensive preaching tours throughout India, rendering him personal service and also actively assisting him in preaching. This included regularly hosting the thousands of pilgrims attending the yearly Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā and Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā, which, years later, would draw thousands of devotees from the world over.

           Śrī Gaura Nārāyaṇa was known for his respectful and affectionate dealings with all Vaiṣṇavas, in particular with his two Godbrothers, Śrī Sajjana-sevaka Brahmacārī and Śrī Rādhānātha dāsa. These three stalwart Vaiṣṇavas of the highest calibre assumed responsibility for their gurudeva’s mission in a mood of harmony and cooperation that would last the duration of their lives. In 1952, all three were given sannyāsa, and Śrī Gaura Nārāyaṇa became Śrī Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja. Śrī Sajjana-sevaka Brahmacārī and Śrī Rādhānātha dāsa were given the names Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Śrī Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja, respectively. 

           In his early maṭha life, he met Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, the world famous preacher of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. In the future, he would render superlative service to Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja by nurturing the tender seeds of bhakti in the hearts of so many of his dear disciples and followers around the globe.


           In 1954 Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja was given responsibility for Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Mathurā. Under him, the maṭhaflourished, as the local residents of Vraja came to experience the consummate care of one who is truly an eternal resident of Vraja. His gurudeva had instructed him to translate the writings of prominent Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas into Hindi, a task he assiduously assumed throughout his entire life and which resulted in the publication of nearly fifty Hindi texts. These invaluable masterpieces are currently being translated into the major languages of the world.

           Since his heart brimmed with the most profound realizations of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, which automatically include all tattva-siddhānta, it was radiant with the deepest affection. Those who heard his harikathā felt supreme protection from the onslaught of material miseries and experienced a deeper commitment to the path of bhakti. When he uttered the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra at the time of initiation, it bore the same effect. He was famous throughout Vraja-maṇḍala and the entire world for how he transformed people’s hearts in these ways.

           For many years, he travelled throughout India to spread the message of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. In the mid 1980’s, the first Western devotees came to receive his guidance, and in 1996, at their repeated request, he went to Europe and America. During the next fourteen years, he circled the globe more than thirty times. Whether he was in India or abroad, his preaching always bore the distinctive characteristic of clarifying the specific purposes of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s advent, in strict adherence with the desire of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda and in perfect congruence with the conceptions of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Thus, in upholding the glorious tenets of the sampradāya, he performed the function of a true ācārya.


           A most endearing hallmark of his preaching was the heart-stealing affection he showed to all. As an uttama-bhāgavata, he entered the deepest recesses of the heart to give the unmistakable reassurance that he is one’s eternal well-wisher. The depth of his affection is a tangible reality for all who have experienced it, and this in itself bears subjective testimony to the fact that he was a true emissary of the Supreme Lord. As thousands of devotees will affirm, his genuine interest in the spiritual well-being of all souls was evident in his equal love and affection for all. He cared not if a person were his disciple, the disciple of another, or of another philosophical school altogether. His divine affection knew no bounds. 


           At the age of ninety years, on December 29, 2010, at 3.00 am, at Cakra Tīrtha, Śrī Jagannātha Purī-dhāma, he concluded his pastimes in this world. That day was the sacred appearance day of his beloved Godbrother, nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Maharaja. The following day, in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, Śrī Gaurasundara’s fully empowered emissary, the very embodiment of His unique compassion, was given samādhi. He will never cease to reside in his divine instructions and in the hearts of those who are devoted to him. He used to say, “Do not think that I will ever leave you – never, ever. I am always with you.”

Originally published in
Rays of The Harmonist (No. 23)

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