Sri Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj  


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

Sri Bhakti Pradip Maharaj was born in the village of Sandvipa Hatiya in the district of Noakhali, now in Bangladesh. His father’s name was Rajanikanta Basu and mother Bidhumukhi. Rajanikanta was a government employee and a disciple of the Gosvami family of Baghanpada. Rajanikanta and his wife were both initiated by Bhakti Vinoda Thakura. Later in life Rajanikanta accepted the vow of babaji from Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati and Bidhumukhi spent her last days in Navadvipa.

As a child Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja was called Jagadisa. After graduating from the Calcutta University, Jagadisa worked as a teacher, living with his wife in Calcutta. His younger brother, Ananta Vasudev, was well-known as Bhakti Prasad Puri Gosvami.

Leaving from the Dhubulia railway station on March 25, 1910 AD. Jagadisa, accompanied by Vaikunthanatha Ghosal Bhaktitattva Vacaspati, walked to Mayapura for the anniversary of Lord Caitanya's appearance. There he met Bhakti Vinoda Thakura for the first time. He was sitting near the Mahaprabhu Mandira, delivering a lecture, in the presence of Siddhanta Sarasvati, Jatindranatha, Chaudhuri, the Zamindar of Taki, and other devotees.

After being introduced by Vaikuntha Ghosal, Jagadisa fell prostrate on the ground, tearfully seeking the shelter of Bhakti Vinoda Thakur. Acknowledging him, Thakura said: "You are a qualified and respectable person, if you take up the responsibility of preaching on Lord Caitanya's behalf certainly large numbers of people will be attracted to the message."

That same afternoon Siddhanta Sarasvati had a long conversation with Jagadisa for several hours. He advised that Jagadisa seek permission from Bhakti Vinoda Thakura to meet Sri Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji who was then staying in Kuliya.

Early the next morning Jagadisa reached Kuliya, paid his obeisances, and offered a watermelon to
Baba Gaura Kisora das. Although Babaji did not usually accept offerings from outsiders, he accepted Jagadisa's gift. After hearing that Jagadisa had been sent by Bhakti Vinoda, Babaji requested Jagadisa to lead the kirtana.

Gaurakisora was very pleased to hear Jagadisa recite the verse of Narottama Thakura which says: "Chanting the holy name of Gauranga makes the body tremble with ecstacy." Afterwards Babaji encouraged Jagadisa to become as humble as a blade of grass and more tolerant than a
tree, to avoid the association of dishonest persons and to chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

Jagadisa told Babaji that he had not taken initiation yet and Babaji consoled him saying that Bhakti Vinoda Thakura was waiting to shower his mercy upon him and that Mayapura was the proper place for dedicating oneself to the service of the Lord.

Following the advice of Babaji Maharaja, Jagadisa returned to Mayapura. At mid-day, after shaving his head and taking bath in the Ganges, Jagadisa received mantra diksha from Bhakti Vinoda Thakura at his cottage in Godruma. Afterwards Jagadisa relished the remnants of prasada from his spiritual master's plate.

At 2 pm. that same afternoon Bhakti Vinoda read from Sikshastaka and explained the meaning to he devotees. Krsnadasa Babaji also recited from the Chaitanya Charitamrita and Bhakti Vinoda offered comments.

A few days after their initiation, Jagadisa, Vasanta babu, and Manmatha babu underwent the yagnopaveet sanskar (holy thread ceremony), under the guidance of Siddhanta Sarasvati, and received Brahman Gayatri, Guru Gayatri, and Gauranga Gayatri.

Appreciating Jagadisa's dedication to the study of sastras and his service to the Vaisnavas, Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada bestowed upon Jagadisa the title of "Bhakti Pradipa."

Later, after completing the examination introduced by Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, Jagadisa also earned the title "Vidyavinod Bhaktisastri Sampradaya Vaibhavacarya."

Bhakti Pradipa spent considerable time at Godruma serving his spiritual master, Sri Bhakti Vinoda.
He would recite from CC and Bhakti Vinoda would explain the purports. In the early morning Jagadisa, Krsnadasa Babaji, and other local devotees would go on sankirtana throughout Godruma, chanting loudly; "Nadia Godruma Nityananda Mahajana…”

On June 23, 1914 AD., the evening of his disappearance day, Bhakti Vinoda Thakura offered invaluable advice in the presence of Jagadisa and other devotees, refuting the arguments of the materialists' and the smartavada. When his wife died, Jagadisa accepted the renounced order under the guidance of Siddhanta Sarasvati in the month of Kartika (Oct- Nov) 1920 AD, and came to be known as Tridandi Svami Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja. He was the first to receive Tridandi Sanyas diksha from Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Afterwards, following the order of Bhakti Siddhanta, he left for the eastern part of Bengal to propagate the teachings of Lord Caitanya. Bhakti Pradipa was a handsome man, qualified scholar, and expert preacher. In the course of his missionary work he went from East Bengal to Orissa via Calcutta, Burdwan and Midnapur. Later twenty-four disciples who were qualified with western education, took sannyasa from Siddhanta Sarasvati and were sent to different parts of India to preach the message of Lord Gauranga.

On March 18, 1933 Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati delivered a farewell address in honour of Bhakti Pradipa, Bhakti Hridaya Bon Maharaj and Samvidananda Bhaktisastri prior to their departure for preaching in the European countries.

During his stay in the west, apart from propagating the teachings of Sri Caitanya, he wrote many articles as well as translated the life of Gaurasundara and also Bhagavad Gita into English. Bhakti Pradipa was present when Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati departed from this world on 31 December 1936. In Mayapura on March 26, 1937, Gaura Purnima, Bhakti Prasad Puri Gosvami (the younger brother of Bhakti Pradipa) was officially appointed "Acharya" of the Yogapitha. On behalf of the sannyasi's, Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha delivered the inaugural address.

In 1940, Sri Bhakti Prasas Puri left for Vrindavan. At the first annual general meeting held at the Sri Caitanya Math in 1941 (Feb-Mar) Sri Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaj .was elected the president of the Gaudiya Mission. At the age of 82 years he went to the Purusottama Math in Jagannatha-Ksetra where he was engaged, under the collective advice of some gurus, in meditation until he passed away on the auspicious Purnima tithi in the month of Agrahayana (Nov-Dec.) in 1954.

In the early morning of that day Bhakti Pradipa Maharaja called his devotees to his side and affectionately gave his last instructions. He meticulously performed his daily sadhana as usual, reciting from Gauranga-smarana-mangalam and Svaniyamadasakam by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

He also read from the tenth chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam (Brahmastavas) until 11:30 am. Afterwards he took his massage, bathed and dressed in new clothing. Sitting on a new asana he put on tilaka, recited his daily prayers, offered water to tulasi, then accepted some prasada. After a little rest he gathered all the devotees around him, sat on the new asana with his japa in hand and listened to Anathanatha dasa read about Lord Caitanya's sankirtana pastimes from the madhya lila of Chaitanya Bhagavat.

He listened up to the stanza ..."That Supreme Lord who is constantly glorified by Lord Siva Digambara Bhola, that same Lord is now moving about here, manifesting his sankirtana-lila." At that point Bhakti Pradipa placed his japa on the stool, bowed his head, and with folded hands uttered “Oh Gaura, Oh Nitai, Oh Gadadhara”, and breathed his last.