By Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja
AN EFFULGENT GEM
Almost all of our godbrothers are, one by one, making their grand departure to join our śrī gurupāda-padma, who has long since entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord. Each and every one of these godbrothers embodied extraordinary and divine specialties. It is impossible to find anyone who can fill the void they have left. Thus, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community has gradually become thoroughly deprived of its precious jewels, and our worshipful Siddhāntī Mahārāja was one such effulgent gem.
HIS GREAT SERVICE TO THE GAUDĪYA VAISNAVA COMMUNITY
The most worshipful Prabhupāda had a special desire to publish and circulate Gauḍīya Vedāntācārya Śrīmad Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇapāda’s Śrī Govinda-Bhāṣya commentary on Vedānta, as well as the Īśa, Kena, Kaṭha, Praśna, Māṇḍukya, Aitareya, Taittirīya, Chāndogya, Bṛhad-āraṇyaka, Śvetāśvatara, and Gopāla-tāpanī Upaṇiṣads, complete with anvaya (word-for-word translations that follow the sentence structure). Pūjyapāda Siddhāntī Mahārāja dedicated himself to fulfilling this cherished desire of our most worshipful Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda, and thus, by accomplishing this great service for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community, he became a recipient of Prabhupāda’s profuse mercy.
ACCEPTING ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA'S SHELTER
Pūjyapāda Mahārāja appeared in an aristocratic devotee family in the Barishāl district of East Bengal on 22 October 1906, on the fifth day of the waxing moon during the holy month of Kārtika. He first came to the lotus feet of the most worshipful Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda in Kolkata in January 1924. In March of that same year, on the auspicious occasion of Śrī Gaura-pūrṇimā, he received mahā-mantra and mantra-dīkṣa initiation from Śrīla Prabhupāda and was given the name Śrī Siddha-svarūpa dāsa.
A LIFE OF DEDICATION
Being completely captivated with Kṛṣṇa, he joined the maṭha at a very young age, when he was still in school. However, according to the desire of his parents and elderly family members, he was ordered to return to his home and finish his studies. After quickly completing his schooling, he returned to the maṭha sometime around February of 1928 and, to the utmost degree, dedicated his life to the service of his śrī gurupāda-padma.
A DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER
Śrīla Prabhupāda and the Vaiṣṇavas under Śrīla Prabhupāda’s guidance were immensely pleased by Śrī Siddha-svarūpa dāsa’s sincere service efforts. As tokens of śrī gurupāda-padma’s pleasure, he was awarded the Śrī Gaura Aśīrvāda titles ‘Upadeśaka’ (instructor), ‘Mahopadeśaka’ (great instructor), and ‘Vidyā-vāgīśa’ (master of knowledge and speech) by the Navadvīpa Pracāranī Sabhā. As a brahmacārī, he accompanied expert, senior tridaṇḍi-sannyāsīs—like tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Pradīpa Tīrtha Mahārāja, tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Mahārāja, tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Mahārāja and tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Hṛdaya Vana Mahārāja—to various places in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madras, Andhra Pradesh and West India. He also preached in many places with nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa parama-pūjyapāda tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja, who, during the manifest time of Śrī Śrīla Prabhupāda, was known as ‘Vāgmi-pravara’ Śrīpāda Hayagrīva Brahmacārī Prabhu. Gradually, by the grace of Śrī Hari, guru, and Vaiṣṇavas, he emerged as a distinguished speaker. Those members of the aristocracy who were earnest and appreciative became deeply attracted to his fearless and potent expositions of the proper verdicts of scripture. Although he was severely opposed by several narrow-minded atheists who interpreted his words as an attack on their interests, he never hesitated to expound the truth, which dispels the ghoul of illusion, in accordance with the ancient tradition of those who have heard it from an authoritative source. For this reason, he became the recipient of the most worshipful Prabhupāda’s profuse mercy.
PRESENTING THE ESSENCE OF THE SCRIPTURAL TEACHINGS
In 1941, pūjyapāda Siddha-svarūpa Brahmacārī Prabhu accepted sannyāsa from our godbrother Śrī Bhakti Vijñāna Āśrama Mahārāja and adopted the name tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrīmad Bhakti Śrīrūpa Siddhāntī Mahārāja.
In each of his three maṭhas, the pūjārī devotees worship unprecedentedly beautiful deities of Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga Rādhā-Govinda-jiu. Additionally, the walls are adorned with striking depictions of śrī gaura-līlā, śrī kṛṣṇa-līlā and śrī rāma-līlā that capture the essence of the scriptural teachings. Simply by viewing these depictions, earnest viewers receive the fortune of accumulating much knowledge of the proper verdicts of the scriptures. These depictions remain on display even today, but since pūjyapāda Mahārāja is no longer to be seen, viewing them simply causes our hearts to drown in anguish.
kṛpā kôri’ kṛṣṇa more diyāchila saṅga
svatantra kṛṣṇera icchā hôilô saṅga-bhaṅga
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 11.94)
Mercifully, Kṛṣṇa gave me his association. By Kṛṣṇa’s independent will, our exchange has ended.
Excerpts from articles published in Śrī Caitanya-Vāṇī (Year 25, Volume 11)