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Radhacharan Das

Does Bhaktivinoda Thakur refer to Bipin Bihari Goswami as Vilasa Manjari?

Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Bipin Bihari Goswami

Introduction I have recently been singing Bhaktivinoda Thakuras bhajan from his Gita Mala beginning with the words Sri Krsna Virahe. This bhajan portrays the longings and bhava of a manjari. In the last verse, Bhaktivinoda Thakur prays to Vilasa Manjari, Ananga Manjari and Rupa Manjari. Now many I feel are unaware that Bhaktivinoda Thakuras diksha parampara have referred to the siddha name of Bipin Bihari Goswami as Vilasa Manjari. This is confirmed by Jagadananda Das who himself is a diksha disciple of Lalita Prasad Thakura, the son and diksha disciple of Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself. In this short essay, we will examine the evidence for such a claim. Mentioning Bipin Bihari Goswami in his works Bhaktivinoda Thakur mentions his diksha gurus name in several places in his own writings to offer him pranams, which is the appropriate Vaishnava etiquette for a disciple. These appear in works published in 1893 (Siddhi Lalasa of Gita Mala), at the end of his commentary on the Caitanya-caritmta (1894), in his introduction to an

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edition of Ka-karmta in 1898 and in Bhgavatrka-marci-ml in 1901, one of the Thakurs last works. Here are Bhaktivinode's closing words to his "Amrta Pravaha Bhasya" commentary on "Caitanya-caritamrta" bipina-bihari hari tara sakti avatari bipin bihari prabhu-bara sri guru gosvami rupe dekhi more bhavakupe uddharila apana kinkara "The eminent Bipin Bihari Prabhu, who is the manifestation of the transcendental energy of Lord Hari, Who sports in the forests of Vraja, has descended in the form of the spiritual preceptor. Seeing me in the dark well of worldly existence, he has delivered this humble servant of his." In his concluding words to "Srimad-Bhagavatarka-marici-mala", Bhaktivinoda writes: vipina-vihari prabhu mama prabhu-vara sri-vamsi-vadanananda-vamsa-sasadhara "My exalted spiritual master, Vipina-vihari Prabhu, is the brilliant moon in the family of Sri Vamsivadananda Thakura. In his autobiography known as "Svalikha Jivani", the Thakur describes how he got the name Bhaktivinoda: "I forgot to mention one incident. Observing my writing books on devotional service, and being pleased with me, Sripad Acharya Kula [Bipin Bihari Goswami and others from Baghnapada] gave me the title 'Bhaktivinoda." (Section 342) (Original letter available if anyone would like to see) Again in his autobiography, Bhaktivinoda speaks about his acceptance of initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami "I had been searching for a suitable guru for a long time, but I did not obtain one. I was very unhappy...I was feeling very anxious, and in a dream Mahaprabhu diminished my unhappiness. In that dream I received a little hint. That very day I became happy. One or two days later Gurudeva wrote a letter to me saying, 'I will soon come and give you diksha. Gurudeva came and diksha was given. My mind was satisfied. (Sections 299-300) Mentioning the name of Vilasa Manjari (1) heno hale habe, bilasa manjari, ananga manjari ara amare heriya, ati krpa kori', bolibe bacana sara

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When, at such a time, will Vilasa Manjari and Ananga Manjari come along on the same foot-path and, seeing me in this completely insane condition, will speak to me the sweetest essence of words? Gita Mala And in another bhajan from Siddhi Lalasa section of Gita Mala we find: vilasa manjari, ananga manjari, shri rupa manjari ara amake tuliya, laha nija pade, deha more siddhi sara (4) O Vilasa Manjari! O Ananga Manjari! O Rupa Manjari! Please lift me up and bring me close to your own lotus feet, thereby bestowing upon me the ultimate perfection. So weve established that Bhaktivinoda Thakur is praying to Vilasa Manjari for mercy. My contention is that Bhaktivinoda Thakur is praying to his guru, Bipin Bihari in the form a manjari (guru rupa sakhi/manjari) when referring to Vilasa Manjari. Next he prays to Ananga Manjari because Jahnava Mata is the Thakurani of his diksha parampara and finally he prays to Sri Rupa Manjari who is Srila Rupa Goswami because he is following the teachings of Sri Rupa (Rupanuga). In both of these songs, Bhaktivinoda follows the classical tradition established by Narottam Das of praying to his spiritual master in his siddha form as a Manjari. In Prarthana of Narottama Das Thakur we find: sri-rupa-manjari tabe donha bakya suni manjulali dila more ei dasi ani Hearing these words, Sri Rupa-manjari will say: "Manjulali gave this maidservant to me. Lokanath Goswami has been referred to as both Manjulali Manjari and Lila Manjari by different Vaishnava Acharyas. lokanathakhya-gosvami shri-lila-manjari pura Lokanatha Goswami was known as Lila Manjari in Krishna lila. (Gauraganoddesha-dipika 187) Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur refers to Lokanath Goswami as Manjulali (in his prayers known as Lokanath Prabhu Varastakam. sa manjulali padavim prapadya sri-radhikam sevata eva sadyah (verse 9) The devotees do however generally refer to Lokanath Goswami as Manjulali Manjari.

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Who does Bhaktivinoda refer to when he says Vilasa Manjari? Now there are a few different personalities who have been referred to as being called Vilasa Manjari. We will take a look at a few of these here. According to the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (195), Srila Jiva Goswami was Vilasa Manjari. My Diksha Guru, Bhaktivedanta Narayan Goswami has also mentioned that Jiva Goswami is Vilasa Manjari in many lectures. However, he has also referred to Narottama Das Thakur as Vilasa Manjari in a few lectures also. Here is a transcript of one such example Narottama das Thakura was not an ordinary devotee. He was an associate of Srimati Radhika Herself, and in his manjari form he is Vilasa-manjari. He was playing a role only, to give inspiration to devotees.
Source: http://www.purebhakti.com/teachers/bhakti-discourses-mainmenu-61/18-discourses1990s/134-appearance-day-of-srila-narottama-dasa-thakura.html

Satyaraja Das in his book Vaisnava Saints also refers to Narottama Das Thakur as Vilasa Manjari. Lokanath initiated Narottam according to the guidelines of the Gaudiya sampradaya, giving him the confidential Radha-Krishna mantra and the Gayatrimantra as well. In addition, Lokanath revealed Narottams ontological manjari form as Vilas Manjari (or, as he is sometimes called, Champak Manjari), and explained his service in the spiritual world. As has been mentioned though, Narottama Das Thakur is also referred to as Champaka Manjari. So as you can see, we often find that different Vaishnavas have revealed and referred to the manjari names of Siddha Vaishnava Mahatmas by different names, often seemingly conflicting. Another classic example is ananga-manjari yasit sadya gopala-bhattakah bhatta-gosvaminam kecit ahuh sri-guna-manjari She who was formerly Ananga Manjari has appeared to enrich Mahaprabhu's pastimes as Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami. Some say that Gopal Bhatta is actually Guna Manjari. (Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 184) However most Gaudiya Vaishnavas will refer to Jahnava Mata as Ananga Manjari and indeed Kavi Karnapur also states this in his Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika also Some say that Shrimati Vasudha-devi is the incarnation of Shrimati Anangamanjari, and others say that Shrimati Jahnavi-devi is the incarnation of Shrimati Ananga-manjari. In truth, both opinions are correct. They are both incarnations of Shrimati Ananga-manjari.

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Bhaktivinoda Thakuras own confirmation As we can see, both Jiva Goswami and Narottama Das Thakur have been referred to by the name of Vilasa Manjari. However, in the two siddhi lalasa (longing for perfection) songs in Bhaktivinodas own Gita Mala, who is he actually referring to? Luckily we have a photocopy of Bhaktivinoda Thakuras own handwritten siddha pranali chart which he gave to some of his disciples to whom he revealed their ekadasha bhava (11 particulars of their siddha deha/spiritual body). This diksa patra (letter of initiation) was given by Bhaktivinoda Thakura to his disciples. It includes the ekadasha bhavas and siddha pranali of Bhaktivinoda entire diksha parampara going back all the way to Jahnava Mata, the wife of Nityananda Prabhu. We have 3 images here. Bhaktivinodas handwritten siddha pranali chart in Bengali. A typed Bengali siddha pranali chart and an English translation of the chart.

Radhacharan Das

Radhacharan Das

I would like to thank Shukavak Dasa who retrieved these charts from Bhaktivinoda Thakuras maternal home and included them in his book Hindu encounter with modernity. Conclusion This siddha pranali chart then confirms that Bhaktivinoda Thakura indeed referred to Bipin Bihari Goswami as Vilasa Manjari as can be clearly seen above in English. This is further corroborated by Jagadananda Das who is a disciple of Bhaktivinoda Thakuras son and disciple, Lalita Prasad Thakura. The established tradition of praying to ones guru in their form as a manjari which I have discussed earlier also supports this conclusion. I do not feel that Bhaktivinoda Thakur is referring to either Jiva Goswami or Narottama Das Thakur or any other mahatma that has at one point or other been called Vilasa Manjari. When we have Bhaktivinodas own handwritten chart and other inferential evidence that Bipin Bihari Goswami was known as Vilasa Manjari then it becomes sensible to conclude that this particular Vilasa Manjari is his diksha Guru. Therefore I must conclude that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is referring to none other than Bipin Bihari Goswami in the bhajan Sri Krishna Virahe and Song 3 from his Siddhi Lalasa section from Gita Mala. Joy Nitai!