All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Srila Bhakti Gaurava Giri Maharaj
(formerly Paramananda Vidyaratna Prabhu)

Sripad Paramananda Prabhu of Russia recalls:

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj described to me some of the qualities of Srila Bhakti Gaurava Giri Maharaj (formerly Sripad Paramananda Vidyaratna Prabhu) while giving me my name at the time of initiation.

Sripad Giri Maharaj at the age of around twelve years old was one pointedly searching for a pure sadhu to take shelter of and serve. His good fortune brought him to the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur who, seeing his sincere mood, bestowed upon him much care and affection.

He was perhaps the second disciple of Srila Saraswati Thakur, who gave him the name Paramananda Das. Seeing his youth and capacity, Srila Saraswati Thakur arranged for his formal education. Some time after the completion of his education, Srila Saraswati Thakur conferred upon him the title 'Vidyaratna'.

While still quite young, Paramananda Prabhu joined in Vrindavan Parikrama organised by His Divine Grace. While at Radha Kunda, Paramananda Prabhu noticed the Diwan of Bharatpur and his wife engaged in dandavat parikrama of Radha Kunda, and was impressed to see their devotional mood.

Mentioning this to Srila Saraswati Thakur, Srila Saraswati Thakur explained to him that yes, they have devotion, no doubt, but their conception and our conception differ. As Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Maharaj describes in Loving Search for the Lost Servant:

At that time Prabhupad said, "Their angle of vision towards Radha Kunda and Radharani is different from ours. They recognise and revere Krsna. And because Radharani is Krsna's favourite, they also have some reverence for Radha Kunda. But our vision is just the opposite. Our concern is with Radharani. And only because She wants Krsna do we have any connection with Him."

And so, the Gaudiya–Vaisnavas know only Radharani. They are concerned only with Her, and Her duties, Her necessities. They are ready to serve Her in all respects and cannot contemplate any service without Her.

Like a calf, Paramananda Prabhu was the catalyst to draw this illuminating response from Srila Saraswati Thakur.

Srila Gurudev Srila Govinda Maharaj described him to be an eternal associate of Srila Bhakti Saraswati Thakur who later gave him sannyas and the name Bhakti Gaurava Giri Maharaj.

He was a constant companion and rendered all kinds of services to Srila Saraswati Thakur who treated him always with much affection.

Srila Giri Maharaj greatly appreciated Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamritam, and he was a great advocate encouraging devotees to daily read from this book.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip | Vaisnava Calendar