Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura - Gaudiya Math

Gaudiya Math

From the very beginning of Lord Chaitanya's bhakti movement in Bengal, Haridasa Thakur and others Muslim or Hindu by birth were the participants. This openness received a boost from Bhaktivinoda Thakura's broad-minded vision in the late nineteenth century and was institutionalized by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in his Gaudiya Math in the twentieth century.

Upon the death of Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1914, Siddhanta Sarasvati became editor of his father's journal, Sajjana-tosani, and founded the Bhagwat Press for publication of Vaishnava literature. Then in 1918, Siddhanta Sarasvati accepted the renounced order of spiritual life, assuming the title Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. For the purpose of propagating Krishna-bhakti throughout India, he organized the Gaudiya Math, with sixty-four branches throughout the country. The headquarters of his mission, the Caitanya Gaudiya Math, was located in Sridhama Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. He would later send disciples to Europe for missionary work.

There has not been, there will not be, such benefactors of the highest merit as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees have been. The offer of other benefits is only a deception; it is rather a great harm, whereas the benefit done by Him and His followers is the truest and greatest eternal benefit. This benefit is not for one particular country, causing mischief to another; but it benefits the whole universe. —Siddhanta Sarasvati

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Gaudiya Math

The Gaudiya Math (pronounced matt, IAST: Gauḍīya Maṭha) was formed on 6 September 1920, about 30 months after Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. On 7 March 1918, the same day he took sannyasa, he established the Sri Chaitanya Math in Mayapura, later recognised as the parent body of all the Gaudiya Math branches. Its purpose was to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the philosophy of the mediæval Vaisnava saint Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, through preaching and publishing.

From the beginning of Sri Caitanya's bhakti movement in Bengal, devotees, including Haridasa Thakur and others, whether Muslim or Hindu by birth, have been participants. This openness and disregard for the traditional caste system received a boost from the "broad-minded vision" of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a nineteenth-century magistrate and prolific writer on bhakti topics, and was institutionalized by his son and successor Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in the twentieth-century Gaudiya Math.

By the time of the founder's death (1 January 1937), the Gaudiya Math had established 64 branches. Most were in India, but preaching centres were maintained for a time in Burma, England and Germany.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, was the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which also became known as the Hare Krishna movement.