Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja
Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession to which Srila A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada belonged was illuminated by the
presence of Srila Gaura Kishore Dasa Babaji, the spiritual master
of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, who is the spiritual
master of Srila Prabhupada.
It is explained that Uttama Adhikaris (elevated devotees) come in
primarily two moods, the goshtinandis are preachers and they step
down to the level of Madhyama Adhikaris (intermediate devotees)
to preach and spread the love of Godhead. The bhajananandis on
the other hand remain aloof from the materialistic world,
interacting only briefly and often in apparently bewildering
ways. Devotees in both the moods are equally dear to Sri Krishna
and we must never make the mistake of judging one against the
Srila Babaji epitomized the mood of a bhajananandi. He was
completely detached from the material world, completely devoted
to the meditation and glorification of God. Out of extreme
humility he refused to accept any disciples, and in his entire
life time initiated only one disciple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta
Saraswati Thakura, who would later become one of the foremost
preachers of his time. From a superficial aspect it would appear
surprising that Babaji Maharaja, an illiterate villager would
become the spiritual master of the highly educated Vedic expert
Saraswati Thakura. However, pure devotion is all encompassing.
Srila Babaji would often explain intricate aspects of
spiritualism to highly educated Vedic experts since he was
himself living these realizations.
In 1849 Srila Babaji left grhastha life (householder) after the
death of his wife and moved to Vrindavan. Here he took initiation
from Srila Bhagavata Dasa Babaji a disciple of Srila Jagganatha
Dasa Babaji. For over thirty years Gaura Kishore Dasa stayed in
Vrindavana performing bhajans under trees. Sitting in seclusion
he would daily chant 200,000 names of Sri Krishna (128 rounds of
Japa) feeling painful separation from Radha Krishna.
Srila Babaji Maharaja's mood of renunciation was unparalleled.
Some time he simply ate the mud from the banks of Radha kunda or
Yamuna. Other times he took madhukari (begged alms) from the
Vrajavasis. He regarded all Vrajavasis as eternal associates of
Krishna and paid respects to every person, cow, animal, bird and
even trees of the holy dhama. Completely detached he would wear
discarded clothes and sparingly ate parched rice. He lived close
to a graveyard so that he could chant undisturbed in seclusion.
After spending thirty years in Vrindavan, Srila Babaji Maharaja
was inspired by the divine couple (Sri Sri Radha Krishna) to move
to Navadvipa Dhama where the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
had been enacted. Here he often sang that only by the mercy of
Nitai can one approach Nimai, which makes one eligible for
Krishna prema. Only with Krishna prema can one attain the service
of Srimati Radharani and the gopis. Srila Babaji Maharaja was the
embodiment of Rupa-Raghunatha Goswami's renunciation and
Even though Srila Babaji Maharaja lived a life of extreme
austerity he was quick to discourage others from taking to this
artificially. At these times he would drop his humble attitude
and fearlessly attack the people who were seeking wealth, fame or
following by pretending to be elevated spiritualists. So deep was
the insight of Srila Babaji Maharaja that he would very easily
perceive the inner desires and motives of these pretenders and
would often warn them to cease before they committed serious
Some of them who ignored Srila Babaji Maharaja's warning would
later pay very dearly.
While in Navadvipa, he regularly attended Bhagavatam discourses
given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whom he considered to be his
shiksha guru. There were times when four generations of pure
Vaishnavas, Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji, Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura, Srila Gaura Kishore Dasa Babaji and Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura would meet and perform ecstatic bhajans. One can only imagine the spiritual intensity at the
meeting of these powerful devotees of Sri Krishna.
The essence of Srila Babaji Maharaja's teaching is 'The divine
name of Krishna offers the one and only shelter. One should never
try and remember Radha-Damodara's pastimes by artificial methods.
By chanting the Hari Nama syllables (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare
Hare) will one gradually be revealed the spiritual form,
qualities, pastimes of Sri Krishna. Then one will realize one's
own spiritual form, service and particulars of the spiritual
On November 19, 1915 Srila Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja
returned to his eternal home in the spiritual world. His beloved
disciple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, established his samadhi on the
banks of Sri Caitanya Matha' s Radha-kunda in Sridhama Mayapur.
In Vraja lila Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja serves Srimati
Radharani as Guna-manjari. His pushpa samadhi stands besides the
Radha-Kunja Bihari Gaudiya Matha near Radha-kunda, Vrindavan.