All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusan

Page prepared for the devotee children by Parama Bhakti Dasi
Baladeva Vidyabhusan took birth in the early 18th Century A.D. in the village of Baleshvara near the city of Remuna, in Orissa, India. His father was a farmer, a vaisya. Not so much is known about his childhood, though when he was just a young boy he was already an expert in ancient Sanskrit grammar and poetry.
Soon he began to travel around and he visited many holy places throughout India.
One time he stayed at a temple of the Tattvavadi followers of Sri Madhvacharya, and there he studied the tattvavada siddhanta.

Every well-respected philosophical branch had their own commentary, bhasya. (Philosophy means to study the world and the universe and to study wisdom.) They presented their conclusions, siddhanta, to the world, as their way how they saw God, the creation, our relationship with Him and what things like liberation, etc. meant to them.

After this he took sannyasa and he preached this siddhanta throughout India. He travelled from place to place and also went to Jagannath Puri.
There Sripad Radha-Damodar Deva Goswami taught Baladeva about the Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He told him about Mahaprabhu’s teachings of Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
Baladeva’s heart was very moved when he heard all those wonderful things about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He soon was initiated into the Radha-Krishna mantra and he began to study at the holy feet of his Gurudeva, Sripad Radha-Damodar Goswami.

In just a short while he became an expert on the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy, and his Guru told him to go to Vrindavan and to study at the holy feet of Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur. He was very happy to see his obedience, his humbleness and his renunciation.
Baladeva gave his life fully to the Gaudiya Vaishnava line. His Guru taught him the achintya-bheda-abheda philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This philosophy explains that God is simultaneously one with and different from His creation.

He was sent by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur to Galta (near Jaipur) to prove the authority of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement. The local Ramanandis (a branch of Sri-Vaisnavas) challenged that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas had no commentary on the Vedanta-sutras.
As result of that, they claimed, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas (followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) were not a proper line. They said that because they didn’t have their own bhasya, commentary, they had no right to worship Govindaji or any of the other Deities of Vrindavan.

They told the king, who was a follower of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, that the Gaudiya Sampradaya had no commentary on the most important revealed Scripture of the Vedic religion: the Vedanta.
The king then asked Sri Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur to send him someone immediately, who would come and show the Gaudiya Siddhanta.
But Sri Visvanath Chakravarti was very old at that time and it was really impossible for him to travel to Jaipur from Vrindavan. So he decided to send his disciple, Baladeva, in his place.

In the middle of a huge assembly of pandits (learned men) from the Ramanuja Sampradaya, Baladeva challenged them.
He told them that the one who started the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, said that the Srimad Bhagavatam was the ultimate commentary on Vedanta (Scripture).
The pandits then shouted: “He admits, they do not have their own commentary, they have no commentary!”

There was no other way for Baladeva Vidyabhusan than to tell them that he would present them the Gaudiya siddhanta within a few days.
The pandits thought that would be impossible, because normally something like that would take maybe even years. They even thought he was trying to trick them or something.

But Baladeva proved them wrong.
He went to Sri Govinda, the deity of Sri Rupa Goswami at the Sri Govinda Temple, and offered his full obeisances to the Deity and told Sri Govinda all that had happened.
That very night Baladeva had a dream in which Sri Govinda appeared and spoke to him as follows: “You must write this bhasya, and it will be personally blessed by Me. No one will be able to find any fault in it.” When he woke up, Baladeva was very happy and he had all the strength to do what he had to do. After meditating on the lotus feet of Govinda he began to write. Within a few days he was ready and the bhasya was named Govinda Bhasya.

With the Govinda Bhasya in his hand, Baladeva went to the assembly hall to meet up with the pandits. When he explained it to them they were totally stunned and became speechless. The Gaudiya Sampradaya was announced victorious.
The pandits gave Baladeva the name Vidyabhusan which means: one who is decorated with knowledge. They accepted him as their Acharya (Guru) and wanted to become his disciples. But Baladeva Vidyabhusan, who was so humble, told them: No. He said that since there are four Sampradayas (lines of knowledge) there was a place for everyone and that it wasn’t his intention to show them any disrespect.

After this, Baladeva Vidyabhusan went to his Guru in Vrindavan. Sri Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur was so very happy to see him and he blessed his dear disciple as soon as he saw him.
Soon afterwards his Guru Maharaj left this world.
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusan wrote the Govinda Bhasya as well as a commentary of the Bhagavad-gita and the Upanisads. He also wrote many other Scriptures.
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusan had two disciples, Sri Uddhava Dasa, and Sri Nandana Misra. He personally worshipped Sri Jaya and Sri Vijaya Govinda, (at the Gokulananda Mandir in Vrindavan).
Baladeva installed some of the Deities at the Radha-Syamasundar Temple. His little-known samadhi mandir is behind this Temple.

Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusan left this world in 1768.
Srila Guru Maharaj ki jaya!

Prepared by Parama Bhakti Dasi for Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math: