Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838-1914), one of the foremost acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, wrote extensively on Vaisnava philosophy. The essence of his teachings is presented in question-and-answer format in this book, Sri Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava. The answers are directly quoted from his writings.
Srimad Sundara nanda Vidyavinoda compiled Sri Vani Vaibhava on the order of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. This two-in-one volume edition covers abhideya (activities for reviving one's relationship with the Lord), and prayojana (the ultimate goal of life, to develop love of God).
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda, who is the transcendental energy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is a strict follower of the Gosvamis, headed by Srila Ripa Gosvami."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the seventh gosvami. The famous gosvamis were directly ordered and empowered by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to spread Lord Krsna's teachings for the benefit of all those bereft of the Lord's loving association.
"I offer my respectful obeisance’s unto the six Gosvamis, namely Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who are very expert in scrutinizing studying all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds and they are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the gopis and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Radha and Kopa."
Srila Kumara Ghosa, an intellectual and a contemporary of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, wrote in one of his letters to the Thakura, "I have not seen the Six Gosvamis of Vrndavana, but I consider you to be seventh Gosvami." Srila Bhaktivinoda's literary contribution to the Gaudiya Vaisnavas' philosophy and practice can only be compared to the works of the famed Six Gosvamis. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was single-handedly responsible for reestablishing Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sarikirtana movement, which had almost been lost by the mid-nineteenth century due to the unscrupulous practices of pseudo Vaisnavas (sahajiyeis). The sahajiya influence had perverted the purity of the mission, and the mission had degenerated as a result. This degradation continued under British rule. However, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura worked tirelessly to restore the Vaisnava creed's purity, dignity, and respectability among the cultured elite of his day.
He also sowed the seeds for the future worldwide propagation of Lord Caitanya's mission. In 1896, he sent a copy of his pamphlet, "Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts," to the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in London and to McGill University of Canada, as well as several other respectable foreign institutions. That same glorious year, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the greatest exponent of the modern day Krsna consciousness movement, was born.
This is the second volume of Sri Bhaktivinoda Varzi Vaibhava. The first volume covers sambandha, and this second volume discusses abhidheya and prayojana. We had originally planned to publish this material in three volumes, but because the prayojana section was too small to warrant its own book, we decided to publish in two volumes.
Krsna consciousness is a dynamic process. Understanding and applying it guarantees that we will one day develop love of God. Thus, our aceuyas have written tremendous amount of literature to explain the Krsna conscious process. They have divided Krsna conscious development into three levels, namely, sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. Sambandha refers to understanding our relationship with the Supreme Lord and His creations, abhidheya refers to the practical aspects of developing that relationship, and prayojana refers to achievement of the goal, pure love of God. All Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas recognize these three conceptions and base their teachings upon them.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote more than one hundred volumes of devotional literature during his life. His books are as good as Vedic scripture, and we can develop pure devotion to the Lord by absorbing and applying his teachings. But in this age we seem to have so little time to study religious subject matter, and so little capacity to understand what we do study. Therefore, the great personality, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda Prabhu, one of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's prominent disciples, made a deep study of all of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's writings, and, on his Guru Maharaja's order, composed questions that related to sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. He then answered those questions by drawing directly from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's writings. Sripada Sundarananda Prabhu writes, "A number of times, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, who was nondifferent from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, directly ordered me, an insignificant creature, to carefully collect all the jewel-like instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and distribute them to the people of the world in this format. To purify myself, I took up his order, and under the subordination of the Vaisnavas, I have endeavored to compile this book." Thus, we have Sripada Sundarananda Prabhu's perfect questions and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's perfect answers.
I pray that the devotees will be pleased with this book and thus bestow their causeless mercy upon me. I have no qualification, but if somehow the Lord's devotees are pleased by the publication of this book, I will consider my life successful.
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