A brief introduction to the revered author

Radhe Radhe !

Let’s take a break here and learn  little bit about the author  who was a Vaishnav saint.  His name was sri Haridas Goswami.

The most munificent Baby Gourānga had given sākshāt-darshan of his Gopāl-form to the ‘tairthik[1]-Brahmin’.  All Gour-devotees know about this loving incident. Well, this Brahmin was named Satyabhānu Upādhyāy.  Sri Haridās Goswāmi was a descendent of the same Satyabhānu Upādhyāy.  Sri Upādhyāy had been his eleventh ancestor. Sri Gourānga had ordered Satyabhānuji to give up pilgrimages, become a householder, and settle in Sridhām Nabadweep.

Sri Haridāsji was born in the year 1967 in Dogāchhiyā village. According to his zodiac sign, he was given two names – ‘Neelmani’ and ‘Nrihari’[2]. However he became popularly known as ‘Haridās’.  His mother was Ambikā Devi and his father’s name was Sri Sitānāth Goswāmi. Sri Sitānāth Goswāmi was a supreme devotee. He was very much learned in the Bhakti-shāstras and an incomparable Bhāgavatam kathākār[3].  The couple led a poverty-stricken life. Nevertheless they were contented.

His father wanted Haridāsji to become a Sanskrit scholar and give discourses on Srimad Bhāgavatam. But mother Ambikā Devi, who knew by now, that it was not a lucrative profession, disagreed. She wished him to study languages such as English and Bengali that would land him a good Government job. As a result he got degrees in these languages. As it is he was meritorious. Therefore he joined various libraries and became a voracious reader. He studied numerous educative books along with the text books prescribed for his curriculum.  Haridāsji was extremely hard-working and perseverant.  He started working in the Indian Post Office as an unsalaried novice, but very soon he gained promotions and his salary went up to Rs 500 which was a princely sum in those days. At the time of retirement he had ascended to the post of the Head of the department.

Haridāsji had got married at the age of twenty or twenty-one. His wife Leelāvati Devi was the daughter of pandit of Shantipur, Sri Grahapati Bhattachārya who did not come from a well to do family. The couple spent their life through a lot of difficulties and often had to face lack of money. However like true Bhāgavats they accepted their problem-ridden life with grace and rather felt it was the Lord’s mercy on them. As a result, they never forgot the Lord.

Haridāsji was a true saint.  Once his father and brother had departed from this world renunciation overcame him and he moved more and more towards Sri Hari-Bhakti.  By divine arrangement his son-in-law died, and after he witnessed his daughter’s widowhood, he transformed into a full-fledged Vaishnav sādhak.  He became steadfast in daily Thākur-seva, Nām-smaran and Sankirtan. He became so steadfast in his devotional practice, and he immersed himself so much in meditation that even in his office he became renowned as a ‘saint’.

Sri Basanta Kumar Dey, or ‘Basanta-da’ as he was more lovingly called, lived in Trishanagar of Tripura.  He was famous amongst the Vaishnavs of Bengal due to his exclusive devotional service to Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā.  Mahātma Shishir Kumar Dey had special mercy on him. Once in the village of Narasimhadi, a wonderful program was arranged in the house of Sri Haricharan Āchārya on the occasion of “Phool-dol”.  Sri Basanta dada had participated in this program. Along with him there were other stalwart Gour-devotees such as Sri Nrityagopal Goswāmipād and Sri Kishorānanda.  The respected author too had participated in this holy function.  The service and Nām-sankirtan of Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā manifested[4] themselves here.

At first the Deities of Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā were installed in Sri Haricharan Āchārya’s house. Then they were served very nicely. Last of all, there was tumultuous Nām-sankirtan. This led to the installment and sevā of Gour-Yugal deities in many other places.

Sri Haridās Goswāmi was steadfast in his devotion to Gour-Bishnupriyā from before. Now he wrote all the more on this topic. He used to send his articles to many magazines and journal for publication. Once When Sri Haridās Goswāmi had visited Ekachakra, Lord Nityānanda gave him darshan and blessed him.

On the auspicious occasion of Gour-Purnimā in the year 1926, he started the monthly magazine “Sri Bishnupriyā – Gourānga. By then he had already retired from his job.  He had published a few books serially in that magazine.

The books authored by Sri Haridās Goswāmi are as follows –

  1. Sri Gourānga-mahābhārat
  2. Sri Bishnupriyā –charit
  3. Sri Laxmipriyā-charit
  4. Sri Bishnupriyā –drama
  5. Sri Gour-geetikā
  6. Sri Gourānga – the Lord of the Bengalis
  7. Lamentation of Sri Bishnupriyā
  8. Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā  Ashtakāliya Leelā meditation
  9. Thousand Names of Sri Bishnupriyā
  10. The divine pastimes of Gour-Nitai deities installed by Murāri Gupta
  11. The life and work of ancient poet Sri Dwija Balarām dās
  12. Gajapati Pratāprudra (drama)
  13. Sri Jāhnabā-charit
  14. Siddha Sri Chaitanya dās Bābāji Mahārāj
  15. Siddha Sri Bamshidās Bābāji Mahārāj
  16. Two Hundred Instructions
  17. Vaishnav-vandanā
  18. The glory of Sri Nitāi-Gour-nām
  19. The lamentation of Mother Shachi
  20. Srimad Bishwarup-charit
  21. Sri Mahāprabhu’s Shikshāshtakam
  22. Hundred verses on Sri Sārvabhouma
  23. Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā tattva-sandarbha
  24. Pocket-size Sri Chaitanya-Chandramrita
  25. Vedanta-Syamantak
  26. A hundred verses on foolishness
  27. Sri Bishnupriyā in Gambheerā

 

Some of these books have been translated into Hindi.

Sri Goswāmipād was a huge scholar and supremely singularly devoted to the worship of Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā. He was not only a supreme devotee, but also a true social worker. Right from the start of his Government career he wrote poignantly against the superstitions and wrong traditions/customs existing in the society. Through his writings He would draw everyone’s attention towards the deterioration of humanity, and inspire others to serve the humankind. He not only wrote but set examples by his own conduct. He established a dispensary in Nabadweep that gave free treatment to all.

Wherever he went, he busted hypocritical religious leaders. He carried out revolts against Buddhist tantric and the womanizing Sahajiyās. He was always at the forefront in preaching unadulterated devotion. There were so many Vedic Brahmins who belonged to the Goswāmi families, yet they ate meat and fish. Sri Haridās Goswāmi strongly opposed these Goswāmis and established pure Vaishnavism. He truly preached as well as practiced the highest Vaishnav ideals. He built a Dharmashālā in Pushkar, Rajasthan.  He established the “Leelāvati Bhaktishastrapeeth” in Nabadweep in the memory of his devout wife.

Sri Haridās Goswāmi constructed the temple in Sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyā kunj that is worth seeing. His daughter Srimati Susheela-sundari Devi was the perfect example of his idealistic life. She was a natural poetess and her life was replete with devotional worship. Social work, Vaishnavi-humility, and service to Vaishnav-literature were her priorities.  She always strove to publish and preach the books written by Sri Haridās Goswāmipād.

After leading an ideal Vaishnav life, the most respected author departed for the eternal abode of Sri Gourānga at the age of seventy eight in the month of Poush, year 1946. His devout wife had already left for the eternal Gour-Dhām two years ago in the month of Poush in the year 1944. We can read his biography in detail from the book “Prabhupād Sri Haridās Goswāmi”.


 


[1] A Brahmin who continuously travelled to holy places

[2] Even today, in India the names of babies are decided by astrogers according to their zodiac sign.

[3] One who gives discourses on Srimad Bhaagavatam

[4] This means that the devotees worshipped the Deities of sri Sri Gour-Bishnupriyaa  and sang Their Holy names. However since devotees do not have the power to perform such lofty activities  on their own, we say that these auspicious activities manifested themselves.

Tags: , , , ,

2 comments

  1. Vishakha’s avatar

    Any idea where to find the books listed?

  2. Madhumatidasi Adhikari’s avatar

    Bishakha, Radhe Radhe ! They are out-of-print since the past 35 years. :(

Comments are now closed.