Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami
Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj


Baba - a brief biography

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Shravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai!!


Guru Maharaj or Baba as he was fondly called, was born on 16th March 1926 Falgun Purnima (the same day as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) to a prosperous and pious Bengali Brahmin family settled in Allahabad, U.P.  His father was a Doctor of Medicine and his mother, a Professor. 

Baba's original name was Sundarlal Bandyopadhyay. According to some, he was given the name Saumya too. He was in his mother's womb for close to 12 months. One day when his mother was in the agony of prolonged labour and her father (Baba's grandfather), was pacing up and down in anxiety, a sadhu arrived at the door of his house and handed over a little sanctified water to be given to the mother and prophesied that the child about to be born was a great soul. Baba was born soon after. Baba was the second of two sons born to His parents.

The child grew up in a pious and religious environment and mastered the scriptures at a young age under the guidance of his mother. His father was of a more scientific temperment. At the age of 15, Baba gave his first discourse on the Kathopanishad to a small gathering in Allahabad.  At the same time, he also acquired a formal education, successfully completing his post graduation from Allahabad University in English and Philosophy, with First Class Honours. 

When he was in his teens, his older brother ran away from home and went to join Swami Shivananda's mission in Rishikesh as a monk. He too was a doctor. He was given the name Shankararanya. Baba's mother was greatly affected by this for a long time. Baba said in his own words, "I prayed deeply for my mother". He was her pillar of comfort during this time.

Soon Baba also started showing signs of detachment to worldly matters in his young age. He was indifferent to material attractions and considerations of power and wealth. Some attempts were made to get Him married, but unsuccessfully. His family saw with increasing concern the signs of utter dispassion and renunciation in His behaviour. He had met with the Head of the Gaudiya Matth when the latter had travelled to Allahabad a few times earlier. He tried once to run away with a like-minded friend, but was unsuccessful.

Finally at the age of 24, his spiritual conviction led Baba to leave his comfortable and loving home in search of spiritual life. His gurudev Srila Bhakti Pradeep Tirtha Goswami, initiated him into brahmacharya (celibate trainee monk), and took him to Kurukshetra Gaudiya Matth to begin his spiritual training.

His parents were heart broken, but faced with his firm conviction and determination, they had to accept his decision. Thereafter, he pursued his spiritual training at different Gaudya Matths - in Delhi, Kurukshetra, Patna, Kolkata amongst others.  Many years later, at the behest of his Guru, Baba went to Santipur in Nadia district, West Bengal, and revived the Naam Sankirtan movemen originally propagated by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 16th century.  

As a Brahmachari in His Guru's ashram, Baba never refrained from performing tasks which were for the most part arduous, if not reprehensible to the tastes of a young man raised in comparative luxury and comfort. In the Kurukshetra Matth, he was given charge of the kitchen and cooked all the meals. He did this for over a year, when his Guru Maharaj visited Kurukshetra again and took Baba alongwith with him as his personal secretary.

Once while in Nadia, on a full moon night, Baba's room was flooded with a divine glow and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 'materialised' before Him and laid His hand on Baba's head in blessing and conferred upon Him His name 'Bhakti Sravan' and gave him the sanyas mantra. Baba immediately lost consciousness.

Baba remained in a state of samadhi for 72 hours. In the presence of a large gathering naam sankirtan was conducted and slowly He returned to consciousness. Baba himself related that His guru had fore-knowledge of His divine initiation and so kept postponing his sanyas diksha despite repeated requests. Once Baba received His mantra from Mahaprabhu, His guru asked Him (Baba) to initiate him with the same mantra. Thus Baba initiated His own Guru.

The next five years of His life were spent visiting places of pilgrimage in India. Baba also visited Mecca in Saudi Arabia twice. He spoke on the Koran and even initiated 100 disciples there.He endured great hardships in his travels. He also spent three years observing a vow of silence.

At the behest of His Gurudev He conducted Bhagavat saptahas in different places. Once His Gurudev fell seriously ill. For his recovery, Baba conducted the first saptaha at Anjangarh in the district of Krishnanagar, West Bengal. For seven days He remained on fast and successfully conducted the yagna according to scriptural injunctions. After that His Guruji recovered from his illness.

Of all the Bhagavat saptahas conducted (108 in all), the one conducted in Santipur at Babla is still remembered. On the last day His discourse was so moving that tears flowed from the eyes of the deity of Advaita Acharya in whose temple premises the katha was going on.This phenomenon continued for half an hour and the onlookers witnessed this miracle with utter amazement.

In 1961 Baba met Swami Sadananda at Haridwar. The Swami was popularly known as Gulabi Baba owing to his rosy complexion. At that time Gulabi Baba was 108 years of age but looked quite young in appearance. He had spent a number of years observing spiritual disciplines in Naimisaranya. Gulabi Baba had in his possession a religious treatise written by Srila Jiva Goswami called "Ananda Vrindavan Campu". This was a veritable treasure. Baba wanted the text for Himself, but of course, His request was turned down bluntly.

However, the text was delivered into the hands of Baba by divine intervention. In January 1963 when Baba was living in Radha Kund, a small boy handed Him a packet containing the treatise. Meanwhile there was a great commotion in the ashram of Gulabi Baba when the text was found missing.

After several searches turned up nothing, the text was given up as stolen by someone. Gulabi Baba was most bewildered. Soon after, the Lord appeared in a dream to Gulabi Baba and divulged the fact that He Himself was the Thief and that the text had been given to its rightful owner.

Gulabi Baba was given further instructions to join Baba and assist Him in His work. The shaligram shila of Sri Nrisingha Dev, which was with Gulabi Baba was also to be delivered to Baba said the Lord.

Gulabi Baba met Him again and revealed to Him all the incidents that took place in his dream. Acting upon the Lord's instructions, Gulabi Baba handed over the Sri Nrisingha Dev shaligram to Baba. A bond of affection was established between the two. Gulabi Baba foretold that Baba would establish a temple of Sri Nrisingha Dev in Bhubaneshwar in the future and have the shaligram shila installed and worshipped there.

In October 1978 Baba, having taken on a devotees' disease, was seriously ill and hospitalised in the Christian Medical College Hospital in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. One night Sri Nrisingha Bhagawan appeared to Him in a vision and instructed Him to build a similar hospital in Bhubaneshwar. In 1979 Baba stayed in Simhachalam Devasthanam for 21 days. During His stay there Bhagawan Nrisingha again gave Him darshan and some instructions of a personal nature.

In 1980 and '81 Baba established His Ashram and Sri Lakshmi Nrisingha Temple in Bhubaneshwar. Thereafter Baba started treating sick and afflicted persons by distributing tulasi leaves and charanamrita used in the service of the Sri Nrisingha Dev shaligram.

Many seriously ill people, some suffering from cancer and heart ailments, mentally sick patients and others have been completely cured by Baba's grace. His powers of healing have been experienced by many of his devotees and disciples who are around today hale and healthy.

In 1985, to commemorate the 500th birth centenary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Baba undertook a Sri Naam Sankirtan Parikrama along with 50,000 devotees in Sridham Navadweep. He also led a padayatra with 15,000 devotees from Kharagpur to Puri and then on to Rameshwaram in the South during the same year.  The padayatra took three-and-a-half months to complete. 

During the padayatra, Baba was instrumental in having 108 ancient temples in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu renovated. Over the years, Baba conducted 108 discourses on the Srimad Bhagavatam in 7 days Bhagavat Saptahas in different parts of the country. 

Baba established 21 Ashrams throughout India.  He set up a charitable Trust Sri Chaitanya Institute of Vaishnavic Culture at Bhubaneshwar which renders selfless, humanitarian and medical aid to the poor and needy.  Always thinking of the welfare of humanity, Baba established three mobile medical vans, two in West Bengal and one in Orissa that provide free medical services to the poor in remote and under-served areas.

Baba was also bequeathed ancient and historic temples for revival and upkeep.  In Uchagaon, Barsana, Mathura district, tthe Lalita Sakhi Temple was handed over to him for management while in Nabadweep, the Sri Sri Radha Krishnachandra jiu Temple (Sonar Mandir), which belonged to the Manipur royal family, was handed over to him in 2002.

Throughout his life, Baba observed the strict discipline of a Vaishnav Sanyasi.  From 1967, he lived on liquids alone without consuming any solid food.  During Bhagavat Saptahas, he used to observe complete fast for seven days.

Babas life was a saga of extraordinary spiritual attainments and deep abiding love for the Supreme Lord.  His zeal for humanitarian welfare is but a manifestation of his infinite compassion and love for all beings emanating from an experience of cosmic unity.

There have been innumerable instances of extraordinary and miraculous events throughout Baba's manifestation in this world. No one person can truly say they know Baba fully. He reveals facets of his transcendental personality to whomsoever he chooses. An enduring enigma, it is beyond the capacity of the written or spoken word to define Him.. Even after his bodily disappearance, his devotees' continue to experience his undeniable hand in their lives in so many ways.

Baba entered the Nitya Leela in New Delhi on 1st December 2004 after a brief pastime of illness. His samadhi mandir is in Sri Gauranga Ashram Bhubaneshwar. His pushpa samadhis are in Sri Vrindavan and Sridham Navadwip.

Jai Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !

Jai Sri Radhey !