Srila Baladev Vidyabhushan disappearance day

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This day also marks the disappearance day of a very great personality in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, namely Srila Baladev Vidyabhushan. Born in Orissa, near Puri, in a place called Chilka Lake, he was a brilliant learner from his very childhood and learned all vyakarana, vedas, Upanishads and the various other scriptures. He was particularly interested in studying the Vedanta, and being dissatisfied with Shankaracarya´s explanation, he went to Udupi, where he studied all the commentaries on the Vedanta written by the various acharyas. Having thus acquired vast knowledge and expertise on the Vedanta, he went to Puri with the intention to conquer and defeat everyone in debate. There he met Radha Damodar Das, a great scholar in the line of Shyamananda Prabhu and Rasikananda Prabhu, and started to discuss philosophy with him, intending to defeat him, however, he was convinced that the conclusive truths presented by Radha Damodar Das were the highest and therefore he immediately took shelter of his lotus feet and took initiation from him. Thereafter he went to Shri Vrindavan Dham, where he took shelter of his Shiksha guru Shri Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur, and studied Jiva Goswami´s Six Sandarbhas. While performing bhajan under the guidance of Vishwananth Chakravarti Thakur, a dispute broke out in Jaipur. The worship of Shrimati Radhika alongside Shri Krishna was opposed by the Ramanuja Sampradaya followers and therefore the worship of Radharani in the Temple was stopped. The Ramanuja Sampradaya, which propounds vaidi bhakti and varnashram dharma, challenged the Gaudiya Vaishnavas and put three challenging questions before them. Firstly, they objected to the worship of Shrimati Radharani alongside Krishna, as they were not married. Secondly, They stated that Shrimati Radhika´s name is not mentioned anywhere in the Shastras and Thirdly they claimed that the Gaudiya Vaishnavas were not in any Sampradaya, as there are only four Vaishnav Sampradayas and the Gaudiyas are not in any of them and they also do not have a commentary on the Vedanta sutra, and therefore they are not an authorised line of Devotees. In order to resolve this dispute, the King of Jaipur invited Shrila Vishyanath Chakravarti Thakur, who was the most prominent Gaudiya Vaishnava at that time, but due to his old age and the fact that he had taken Kshetra Sanyas and would not go out of Vrindavan, he sent his disciple Baladev Vidyabhushan and another devotee to Jaipur, to address the assembly and solve the dispute.

In Jaipur, Baladev Vidyabhushan quoted many Puranas, Vedas, Upanishads and Shrimad Bhagwatam, proving the position of Shrimati Radhika as Shyamsundar´s eternal consort and his Hladini Shakti. He also described the pastime when Lord Brahma stole all the cows and Cowherd boys and Krishna expanded himself, and at that time he married all the Vrajadevis in his expanded forms as the Cowherd boys. In this way he proved the exalted position of Shrimati Radhika.

However, the opposing party argued that the Gaudiya vaishnavas were not under any proper Sampradaya. Shri Baladev Vidyabhushan then proved that the Gaudiya Vaishnavas are in the line of Sri Madhavacharya. They then argued that the Gaudiya Vaishnavas did not have a commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, and therefore they did not accept anything that he said. He then said that he would present a commentary to prove the authenticity of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. He then prayed to Govinda dev and with his mercy he was able to write a commentary on the Vedanta Sutra. Since the commentary was spoken directly by Govinda dev, which Baladev Vidyabhushan wrote, therefore this commentary was named Sri Govinda Bhashya. After having thus defeated the opponents in the debate and proving the exalted position of Shrimati Radhika as Krishna´s eternal consort, he re-established the worship of Shrimati Radhika with Govinda dev, and proved the Gaudiya Vaishnava line to be a pure Vaishnava Sampradaya under Madhavacharya. If not for Shrila Baladev Vidyabhushan, the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya would never have been accepted as bona fide and therefore we are eternally indebted to him. On this day of his disappearance we pray to him that he bestows Krishna prema upon us all.