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Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vilāsa Gabhastinemi Gosvāmī Mahārāja

[April 25, 2023 is the disappearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vilāsa Gabhastinemi Gosvāmī Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt from a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the same tithi on April 23, 2015. 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, Śrīmad Bhakti Vilāsa Gabhastinemi Gosvāmī Mahārāja. He was one of the eighteen sannyāsa disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura.

Śrīla Gabhastinemi Mahārāja was previously a follower of the Śaṅkarite sect but upon meeting the Gauḍīya Maṭha devotees, a series of discussions ensued between them, and being unable to defeat the arguments of the Gauḍīya doctrine, he submitted to become a follower of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. Later he took sannyāsa from Śrīla Prabhupāda and received the name Bhakti Vilāsa Gabhastinemi. He was a good preacher. His eyes were red and so were his spectacles. He had a very beautiful face. His primary mission was to subjugate the Māyāvādīs. He was greatly successful in the service of collecting donations for the maṭha. He built just one maṭha and did not have any disciples except for one lady disciple in Purī, who was the superintendent of his maṭha.

Mādhavapriya Prabhu: What is the meaning of ‘Gabhastinemi’?

Śrīla Mahārāja: This means the outer portion of the cakra, which cuts (defeats) Māyāvādism and increases bhakti (Bhakti Vilāsa).

Mādhavapriya Prabhu: Okay, so ‘nemi’ means the part of the [sudarśana] cakra that has spikes and which is used for cutting.

Śrīla Mahārāja: Yes, from this root, also comes the word ‘Naimiṣāraṇya’. [So ‘Gabhastinemi’ means the effulgent (gabhasti) sharp edge (nemi) of the cakra] cutting the fallacious doctrine of Māyāvāda philosophy. First he was a follower of Māyāvāda, then he became one who cuts it. Based on this, Śrīla Prabhupāda gave him this name. During those times, there was a lot of unrest [over the cutting of Māyāvāda]; there was even an attempt to kill devotees of the Gauḍīya maṭha by administering poison.

I don't know more about him as I did not have much association with him. But I remember him today and pray for his mercy.

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