Śrīmad Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[February 25, 2023 is the appearance day of Śrīmad Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, a dear disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura. The following is a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on his disappearance tithi on February 2, 2014 and February 1, 2017. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Today is the disappearance day of my śikṣā guru, Tridaṇḍi Swāmī Śrīla Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, a jewel-like disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda, who was especially empowered by Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja was a senior sannyāsa disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda and a very good preacher with a wonderful character.
Before joining the maṭha permanently, he was working at the Secretariat and he would spend his holidays at the maṭha on Ultadanga Road; he stayed on the first floor. During one such visit, he was returning to his room when he heard Śrīla Prabhupāda ask about him, "There was that boy; I don't see him anymore, but I recall how he used to hear kathā very carefully". Then he heard someone reply, "He has left to get married". Śrīla Prabhupāda asked, "Nobody could make him stay back?" Then Mahārāja, who was climbing the stairs, appeared in front of Śrīla Prabhupāda and said, "I have returned!" Śrīla Prabhupāda asked, "You came back?" to which he affirmed, "Yes, I have come back." After this incident, he never left the maṭha, nor did he get married.
Once, even though it was raining outside in Māyāpura, he took the initiative to clean vessels [while getting drenched in the rain]. When Śrīla Prabhupāda observed this, [feeling he had the appropriate qualification to accept sannyāsa] he told him it would be good for him to take sannyāsa.
He had a very tall figure. When he performed nagara-saṅkīrtana, he would attract many people. Śrīla Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja had a broad face, and did very nice kīrtana. Being absorbed in kīrtana, he would lift his hands up.
He preached extensively. His kathā was always very sweet. Once while preaching in Ḍhākā, several people opposed him, as there was a strong sahajiyā influence there. Nobody was prepared to even rent out a building for the Gauḍīya Maṭha. Nevertheless, Śrīla Bhakti Viveka Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja spoke kathā in Ḍhākā for a month and many attended his programs. He resolved to acquire land in Ḍhākā for the Gauḍīya Maṭha from the municipality there. Land could be easily obtained with the help of a letter from the commissioner granting permission, however, because of the prevailing opposition to the Gauḍīya Maṭha, no Hindu was willing to give their recommendation. In the end, a Muslim commissioner recommended him, and hence, a large maṭha was established in Ḍhākā.
Mahārāja carried out so much preaching there. Once, there was an exhibition in which the story of Choṭa Haridāsa was depicted. There was also a picture depicting people collecting money from pilgrims in exchange for darśana of the Deity in a temple. These types of people were also depicted using śāligrāmas to break groundnuts for eating. Whereas this exhibition was largely opposed in Kolkata, the people of Ḍhākā very much appreciated it.
Śrīla Bhāratī Mahārāja made another maṭha in Svargadvāra, by the name of Gauḍīya Āsana. He later handed the maṭha over to Śrīla Śrīrūpa Siddhāntī Mahārāja, whose sevakas are taking care of it now. He also handed over his Kolkata maṭha to Śrīla Śrīrūpa Siddhāntī Mahārāja.