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Who is Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja

The 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 other.

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 humility.

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 offenses.
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 identity.'

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.