Thursday, March 3, 2016

Visvanatha Cakravarti's Gaura-gana-svarupa-tattva-candrika Release

To order a copy, please click HERE


The history of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya is primarily divided into two phases: the first comprises the years in which Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was personally present, and the second started after His disappearance. During the first phase, Lord Caitanya’s personal associates, headed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, took the task of elaborately describing in innumerable treatises the theological system taught by Him. The Gauḍīya theology as explained by Lord Caitanya’s followers is based on the concept that He is the Supreme Lord. More specifically, that He is not an expansion, or avatāra, of Viṣṇu. He is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, the avatārī, the source of all incarnations. This view is corroborated by the Gauḍīya ācāryas on the basis of the statement of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32):

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ 

“In the Age of Kali, by performing sacrifices consisting mostly of congregational chanting, those who are intelligent worship a form of the Supreme Lord Who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, although His complexion is not blackish, and Who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. He is accompanied by His parts and parcels, divine ornaments, weapons and associates.”

Although this ontological view was not directly propounded by Lord Caitanya, His direct associates and the subsequent generations of followers adopted it. Based on this understanding they developed an elaborate philosophical school, which became known as acintya-bhedābheda, “inconceivable oneness and difference.” All the living entities, both in the spiritual world and in the material world, are energies of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and are therefore considered eternally one with Him. Yet because they keep their individuality eternally, even in the state of liberation, they are simultaneously different from Him. The very same Lord Kṛṣṇa now appeared in the form of Caitanya Mahāprabhu along with His eternal associates to perform transcendental pastimes, this time as a sannyāsī. Mahāprabhu and His companions were classified in five categories, the pañca-tattva. This is described in the following verse, which is attributed to Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī:

pañca-tattvātmakaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ
bhaktāvatāraṁ bhaktākhyaṁ
 namāmi bhakta-śaktikam [1]

“I offer my obeisances unto Lord Kṛṣṇa in His five features as the form of a devotee, the expansion of a devotee, the incarnation of a devotee, a devotee, and the devotional energy.”

The pioneer work which gives a detailed account of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s associates is Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā. It does not include, however, Kṛṣṇa’s associates present in Caitanya-līlā. Since the parallel between Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya was clear, there arose a need to establish the parallel between His associates in both līlās as well. The oldest comprehensive text that we have knowledge of seems to be Kavi Karṇapūra’s Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, dated 1576 AD. In this book the author extensively correlates the prominent associates of Mahāprabhu with those of Kṛṣṇa in Vraja. In the words of the author himself, this correlation was done based on the writings and statements of Lord’s Caitanya’s followers:

vilokyānyāni sādhūnāṁ
gauḍīyānām api mukhān
 niśamya sva-manīṣayā
vivicyāmreḍitaḥ kaiścit
kaiścit tāni likhāmy aham

“Having seen, in the works written by Lord Caitanya’s associates, their names in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, and having heard those names from the mouths of the devotees from Mathurā, Odisha and Bengal, according to their own understanding, I am writing these names, as I was repeatedly requested to do.”

There are several instances in which Kavi Karṇapūra mentions different opinions regarding the former identity of some of Mahāprabhu’s companions, and there are also instances in which a single person was attributed more than one identity simultaneously. Still many devotees mentioned in the standard works on Lord Caitanya’s pastimes were not included in Karṇapūra’s book. Other Gauḍīya scholars attempted to give both an extended list of correlated names, and optional views regarding their identities. One such text is the Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā. Before analysing its contents, authenticity and authorship, it is appropriate to first analyse its sister work, Kavi Karṇapūra’s Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā. Despite the latter’s popularity and large acceptance among Gauḍīyas, its authorship is still questioned by some. A few speculative writers [2] even go extreme lengths in their stubborn attempt to disprove the link between the Mādhva-sampradāya and the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, which is so clearly stated in the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā. They claim that the text attributed to Karṇapūra was either composed or interpolated during the time of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, who lived in the 18th century, or perhaps was even composed by Vidyābhūṣaṇa himself, a claim which is baseless and malicious. While some directly or indirectly accuse Vidyābhūṣaṇa of forgery, all of them unhesitatingly try to induce the readers to think that the Mādhva-Gauḍīya link was a concoction introduced by him. In discussing this topic, B. B. Majumdar [3] referred to several other authors who wrote on it. According to him, the objections can be summarized in three points: Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja has neither mentioned the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, nor quoted any verse from it; the comparison between the associates of Lord Caitanya and Lord Kṛṣṇa are not supported by the Six Gosvāmīs; and Karṇapūra does not mention why Lord Caitanya is said to belong to the Mādhva-sampradāya. The first objection is far from ingenious. There is no scope in Kavirāja’s work to give an exhaustive list of all literary works composed by Lord Caitanya’s followers. If not being mentioned in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta is evidence of inauthenticity, then we would have to reject dozens of important Gauḍīya works, including some written by the Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana as well.

If on one hand it is accepted that no emphasis was given to the Mādhva-Gauḍīya link before Vidyābhūṣaṇa, on the other hand there is a good number of evidences that it was not something new or concocted by him. There is also no shortage of evidence that Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā was very well known as Karṇapūra’s work before the 18th century. In the Sādhana-dīpikā written by Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī, a mahanta of the Govindadeva temple in Vṛndāvana in the 17th century, the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā is quoted several times. In the ninth chapter, the author says: (…) śrī-karṇapūra-gosvāmi-pādānāṁ śrī-ānanda-vṛndāvana-campū-śrī-kṛṣṇāhnika-kaumudī-śrī-gaura-gaṇoddeśa-śrī-caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭakādi, “(Further corroboration can be found in the works of …) as well as Kavi Karṇapūra Gosvāmī’s Ānanda-vṛndāvana-campū, Kṛṣṇāhnika-kaumudī, Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, Caitanya-candrodaya, etc.” In the commentary of Ānandī on Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī’s Caitanya-candrāmṛta, verse 142, the following quotation is found: śrī-gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikāyāṁ ca eko mahāprabhur jñeyaḥ śrī-caitanya-dayāmbudhiḥ, prabhū dvau śrī-yutau nityānandādvaita-mahāśayāv iti, “In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā it is stated: It should be known that there is only one Mahāprabhu, Lord Caitanya, Who is an ocean of mercy, and that there are two Prabhus, the magnanimous Nityānanda and Advaita.” The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna refers to a manuscript which reads Śakābda 1645 (1723 AD) as the year in which Ānandī’s commentary was concluded. Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā was also quoted several times in Narahari Cakravartī’s Bhakti-ratnākara (early 18th century), and probably in many other works pre-Vidyābhūṣaṇa, but these instances are more than enough to dismiss the misconception that it was an 18th century composition. Those who claim that the verses suggesting a Mādhva link are interpolations should show at least one old manuscript in which those verses do not appear. As demonstrated above, Karṇapūra’s work was sufficiently known to be quoted by different scholars in different places. That means that there were enough copies circulating before the 18th century, and from those many later copies were made. At present, there are innumerable manuscripts of the text all over India, and possibly abroad, so if the verses referring to the Mādhva link are interpolated, why can’t none of those who raise the objection present even one manuscript in which such verses do not appear?

The second objection would be valid if someone could give evidence that the text was not written by Karṇapūra, otherwise who can question his authority? He received the blessings of Mahāprabhu while he was still in the womb of his mother, and was especially favoured by Him as a small child. Moreover, as he clearly stated in his book, he did not write it according to his own opinion, but rather according to the views of different associates of the Lord. All of the Vṛndāvana Gosvāmīs accepted the interpretation of the above-mentioned verse of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32), and it is commonly accepted that whenever the Lord appears on earth, He is accompanied by His eternal associates. Therefore the list given by Karṇapūra cannot be discredited simply because it did not come directly from the Gosvāmīs. Nor does it clash with the theology presented by them in any essential respect, although Karṇapūra may sometimes include his own understanding in his writings.

The third objection is also fallacious, for it is well recorded that Lord Caitanya was initiated by Īśvara Purī, who was a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī, who, according to several sources, came in the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya. To dismiss the claim that Mahāprabhu is in the Mādhva line, strong evidence should be presented that Mādhavendra Purī and any of his predecessors did not have any connection with it either. While it is evident that Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not adhere to the orthodox Mādhva philosophy and mode of worship, this does not suffice to discard their connection with the Mādhva-paramparā by dīkṣā. It is ironic that several writers have taken an interest in rebutting the Mādhva link, but they do not seem so keen to argue against the link with the Śaṅkara-sampradāya. In the Caitanya Caritāmṛta, several times Mahāprabhu declared Himself to be a māyāvādī sannyāsī, as his sannyāsa-guru was Keśava Bhāratī, who is said to have taken sannyāsa in Śaṅkara’s line.

anyera ki kathā, āmi—‘māyāvādī sannyāsī’
āmiha tomāra sparśe kṛṣṇa-preme bhāsi

 “Simply by your touch, even I, a māyāvādī sannyāsī, am also floating in the ocean of love of Kṛṣṇa, so what to speak of others?” (Madhya-līlā, 8.45)

prabhu kahe — māyāvādī āmi ta’ sannyāsī
bhakti-tattva nāhi jāni, māyāvāde bhāsi

“Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, ‘I am a māyāvādī sannyāsī and I do not even know what devotional service to the Lord is. I am simply floating in the ocean of impersonal philosophy (māyāvāda).” (Madhya-līlā, 8.124)

mahāprabhu kahe—“śuna, bhaṭṭa mahā-mati
māyāvādī sannyāsī āmi, nā jāni kṛṣṇa-bhakti

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, ‘Please listen, O learned Vallabha Bhaṭṭa. I am a māyāvādī sannyāsī and therefore I do not know what devotion to Kṛṣṇa is.” (Antya-līlā, 7.16)

 Yet in His exchanges with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Mahāprabhu clearly rejects Śaṅkara’s interpretations and conclusions on Vedānta:

jīvera nistāra lāgi’ sūtra kaila vyāsa
māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa

 “Vyāsadeva compiled the Brahma-sūtras for the deliverance of the conditioned souls, but if one hears the impersonalist commentary of Śaṅkarācārya, then everything is ruined.” (Madhya-līlā, 6.169)

Does He sound like a faithful follower of Śaṅkara? Thus it is apparent that a formal connection through receiving an initiation mantra or sannyāsa-mantra does not necessarily imply, in all cases, full adherence to the thought of a particular philosophical school. In those days, in order to take sannyāsa, one would usually approach the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, which held a high status in Indian society at large, while Vaiṣṇava-sannyāsīs were not so prominent, either in number or in rank. In history there are cases of ācāryas who had been initiated in a particular line, but in due course propagated a system quite distinct from that line. Madhvācārya is one of the best examples. Although originally initiated in the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, he propounded a system which was diametrically opposed to Śaṅkara’s philosophy. Vallabhācārya affiliated himself with the sampradāya of Viṣṇu Svāmī, but philosophically such a connection is not beyond doubt. Rāmānanda Svāmī belonged to the Śrī-sampradāya and kept this affiliation [4] in spite of starting a new sampradāya, propagating his own ideologies. There are several other cases of philosophical divergences among different lines within the Śrī-sampradāya, but all of them still claim to belong to the very same line founded by Rāmānujācārya. The same is also true in the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, where, in the centuries, several ācāryas propounded philosophical concepts and conclusions quite distinct from their predecessors’, and yet all of them maintained their connection with Ādiśaṅkara’s succession.

The question regarding Mādhavendra’s title as ‘Purī’ instead of ‘Tīrtha,’ as expected in the Mādhva lineage, is indeed an intriguing one, but despite lots of speculations, it remains unanswered. Yet we definitely cannot rule out the possibility that he was somehow connected with the sampradāya of Madhvācārya for the reasons just mentioned. Here again Madhvācārya himself is the best example, for during his whole life he kept the title ‘Tīrtha,’ one of the ten sannyāsa names unique to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, although he dedicated his life to fighting against Śaṅkara’s philosophy.  Caitanya Mahāprabhu had many sannyāsī associates with śaṅkarite names, such as Paramānanda Purī, Keśava Bhāratī, Brahmānanda Purī, Brahmānanda Bhāratī, Śrī Viṣṇu Purī, Keśava Purī, Kṛṣṇānanda Purī, Śrī Nṛsiṁha Tīrtha and Sukhānanda Purī, who were all obviously exalted Vaiṣṇavas to be in His company. It used to be common to take sannyāsa at very early age, and later possibly convert into another religious sect. It was also the etiquette that those who were defeated in a philosophical debate would join the sect of the winner. In any case, sannyāsa vows were for life. Therefore there was nothing unusual in their keeping their sannyāsa names despite a change of faith. Besides these, there are several other reasons which could be conjectured, such as the possibility that Mādhavendra Purī was not at all connected to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya but received his title elsewhere, since at that time this title was no longer an exclusively śaṅkarite name, just as in the case of the title ‘Tīrtha.’

Factually, the Gauḍīyas are not the only ones to claim the connection between the Mādhvas and the Gauḍīyas, for the Vaiṣṇavas in the Vallabhācārya-sampradāya also corroborate it in their own works, which we can assume are not affected at all by the Gauḍīyas’ controversies on this topic. By the end of his Śrī-Vallabha-digvijaya, Yadunātha (16th century AD), grandson of Vallabhācārya, introduced the episode of Vallabhācārya’s taking sannyāsa from Mādhavendra Purī in the following words: tato mādhva-sampradāyī viṣṇu-svāmi-matānuyāyī bhagavad-anugṛhīto mādhavendra-yatiḥ samāgataḥ | tasya praśaṁsādi vidhāya nivāsitaḥ | tan-mukhāt sannyāsa-dharmāḥ śrāvitāḥ, “Then arrived Mādhavendra, a renunciant much favoured by Lord Kṛṣṇa. He belonged to the Mādhva-sampradāya and also adhered to the philosophy of Viṣṇu Svāmī. Vallabhācārya duly received him as a guest by offering sweet words, etc., and then heard from him about the religious duties pertaining to sannyāsa.” Gokulanātha (16th century AD), another grandson of Vallabhācārya, in his Do Sau Bāvan Vaiṣṇava Kī Vārtā [5] narrated the exchanges between Viṭṭhalanātha and Mādhavendra Purī: so ve mādhavendra purī madhva sampradāya ke sannyāsī hate aur aḍel meṁ rahete hate | vin ke pās śrī gusāīṁ jī paḍhve jāte hate , “Mādhavendra Purī was a sannyāsī of the Mādhva-sampradāya and was living in Aḍel. Gusāīṁ jī (Viṭṭhalanātha) used to go to him for reading śāstra.”

There is yet another objection raised: in his Caitanya-candrodaya (8.4), Karṇapūra depicts Lord Caitanya’s criticism of Madhvācārya’s followers known as tattvavādīs, therefore he could not have stated that Mahāprabhu Himself was a Mādhva:

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyaḥ: kiyanta eva vaiṣṇavā dṛṣṭās te ’pi nārāyaṇopāsakā eva. apare tattvavādinas te tathā-vidhā eva. niravadyaṁ na bhavati teṣāṁ matam. apare tu śaivā eva bahavaḥ. pāṣaṇḍās tu mahā-prabalā bhūyāṁśa eva. kintu bhaṭṭācārya rāmānanda-matam eva me rucitam.

 Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya: “I have seen many Vaiṣṇavas who worship only Lord Nārāyaṇa. I have also seen similar Vaiṣṇavas known as tattvavādīs. Their philosophy is not free from blemish. I have seen many others who are worshipers of Lord Śiva. I have seen many powerful heretics. However, O Bhaṭṭācārya, I only like the philosophy of Rāmānanda Rāya.”
A similar criticism is also found in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā, 9.276-277):

prabhu kahe, karmī jñānī dui bhakti-hīna
tomāra sampradāye dekhi sei dui cihna
sabe eka guṇa dekhi tomāra sampradāye
satya-vigraha kari’ īśvare karaha niścaye

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, ‘Both karmīs (fruitive workers) and jñānīs (speculative philosophers) are devoid of bhakti. We see elements of both in your sampradāya. Yet one good quality that I see in your sampradāya is that you accept the form of the Lord as truth.”

The objection raised on the basis of these passages is also fallacious and is also refuted by the above-mentioned points, for Karṇapūra simply mentioned that some of Lord Caitanya’s predecessors were initiated in the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya, and not that He subscribed to Madhva’s doctrine in all respects. Moreover in these passages Mahāprabhu criticizes the tattvavādīs and their views, not Madhvācārya, who preached only pure bhakti. Even some leading Mādhva scholars like Dr. Bannanje Govindacharya are of the opinion that the Sarva-mūla is full of wrong readings and interpolations which led some followers to misinterpret Madhvācārya’s original teachings. Therefore it is quite appropriate that Mahāprabhu would say ‘your sampradāya’ instead of ‘our.’

As seen above, Mahāprabhu was much more critical of Śaṅkara’s philosophy, yet this did not prevent him from accepting sannyāsa in that line. A very pertinent question to those who staunchly raise all these objections is: if Lord Caitanya was not connected with the Mādhva-sampradāya, then which sampradāya was He connected with? No one can deny that He was initiated by Īśvara Purī, and to take initiation means to be connected with a specific line. The disputants simply evade this question and declare that Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Lord Himself and does not need to be connected with any sampradāya to start His own. By such a statement, however, they totally overlook that He did take formal initiation. If His supremacy is not undermined by accepting Sāndīpani Muni and Vaśiṣṭha as gurus in previous līlās, then certainly the same is true regarding His accepting initiation from Īśvara Purī and thus becoming connected with the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya. The Supreme Lord is known as a devotee of His devotees, therefore it is His pleasure to accept the spiritual lineage of such an exalted soul as Madhvācārya, who is actually His eternal companion and had previously appeared as Hanumān and Bhīma. On the contrary, to propose that Mahāprabhu started His own sampradāya because He is the Supreme Lord and does not need an affiliation with any of the traditional sampradāyas would completely clash with the Gauḍīya theological view that He is the ‘covered’ avatāra of Kali-yuga mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.38):

itthaṁ nṛ-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaṣāvatārair
lokān vibhāvayasi haṁsi jagat-pratīpān
dharmaṁ mahā-puruṣa pāsi yugānuvṛttaṁ
channaḥ kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ’ tha sa tvam

“In this way, through Your various avatāras in the form of human beings, animals, sages, demigods and aquatic beings, You maintain all the creation and kill those who are inimical towards the world. O Supreme Lord, You protect dharma in conformity with each age, but because in Kali-yuga you remained covered, therefore You are known as Triyuga, one who appears in three yugas.”

By declaring that Lord Caitanya is an open avatāra Who started His own sampradāya, as does Lord Nārāyaṇa, the word channaḥ (covered) in the above verse would be meaningless in connection to Him, and the Gauḍīyas would lack unambiguous scriptural evidence to support His open status as the Supreme Lord.

In fact, the Mādhva-Gauḍīya link was mentioned by several pre-Vidyābhūṣaṇa authors. Perhaps the earliest known reference to this link is found in an unpublished Oriya manuscript entitled Bhakti-jñāna-brahma-yoga, attributed to Acyutānanda dāsa (early 16th century), one of the members of the pañca-sakhā of Odisha. Prabhat Mukherjee refers [6] to other two Oriya texts which mention the link: Īśvara dāsa’s (end of 16th century) Caitanya Bhāgavata  and Divākara dāsa’s (early 17th century) Jagannātha Caritāmṛta.

In the introduction of the Nava-ratnam, Harirāma Vyāsa (early 16th century) states:

jayati śrī-madhva-ravir yataḥ
 prakāśo babhūva bhakti-mayaḥ
pravināśaḥ kila tamaso
vande śrī-govinde dhṛtāśayān vaiṣṇavān ahaṁ śaśvat
yat-kṛpayā harirāmo vyāsas tanavai sva-paddhatiṁ sūkṣmām
smartavyā satataṁ sadbhiḥ svīyā guru-paramparā
sidhyaty ekāntitā naiṣāṁ siddhi-hetur yayā vinā
tad uktaṁ pādme –
sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te viphalā matāḥ
ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
rāmānujaṁ śrīḥ svīcakre madhvācāryaṁ caturmukhaḥ
śrī-viṣṇu-svāminaṁ rudro nimbādityaṁ catuḥsanaḥ
nijā sā yathā –
śrī-kṛṣṇo bhagavān brahmā nārado bādarāyaṇaḥ
śrī-madhvaḥ padmanābhaś ca nṛharir mādhavaś ca saḥ
akṣobhyo jayatīrthaś ca jñānasindhur dayānidhiḥ
vidyānidhiś ca rājendro jayadharma-munis tataḥ
puruṣottamo brahmaṇyo vyāsa-tīrthaś ca tasya hi
lakṣmīpatis tataḥ śrīmān mādhavendra-yatīśvaraḥ
īśvaras tasya mādhavo rādhā-kṛṣṇa-priyo ’bhavat
tasyāhaṁ karuṇā-pātraṁ harirāmābhidho ’bhavam iti
iti śrī-guru-praṇālikoddeśaḥ

“All glories to Śrī Madhvācārya, who is like a sun emanating rays of bhakti, which destroy the darkness of the wicked words of Māyāvāda and other deviant philosophies.
“I, Harirāma Vyāsa, repeatedly glorify the Vaiṣṇavas who have firmly taken shelter in Śrī Govinda, by whose mercy I now compose this brief delineation of our disciplic succession.
“One’s own disciplic succession by which exclusive devotion is accomplished should be always remembered by the devotees, without which they cannot attain perfection.
“As stated in the Padma Purāṇa: ‘The mantras received outside a sampradāya are considered fruitless. Therefore in Kali-yuga there will be four founders of sampradāyas: Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and Sanaka Kumāra. These Vaiṣṇavas will be the sanctifiers of the earth.’[7]
“Lakṣmīdevī accepted Rāmānujācārya, Brahmā accepted Madhvācārya, Rudra accepted Viṣṇu Svāmī, and the four Kumāras accepted Nimbārkācārya.
“Our own sampradāya is as follows: the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Brahmā, Nārada, Bādarāyaṇa, Madhva, Padmanābha, Nṛhari, Mādhava, Akṣobhya, Jaya Tīrtha, Jñānasindhu, Dayānidhi, Vidyānidhi, Rājendra, the sage Jayadharma, Puruṣottama, Brahmaṇya, his disciple Vyāsa Tīrtha, Lakṣmīpati, and then Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, the lord of renunciants, Īśvara Purī, and then his disciple Mādhava, who became very dear to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. I, Harirāma, became an object of his mercy.”

In the fourth chapter of the Advaita-prakāśa, dated 1568 AD and attributed to Īśāna Nāgara, it is described how during his pilgrimage around India, Advaita Prabhu reached Uḍupī, where he met Mādhavendra Purī for the first time and heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from him:

krame bahu-tīrtha kṣetra bhramaṇa karilā
tabe mādhvācārya sthāne prabhu uttarilā
śrīmad-bhāgavata mādhvācārya-bhāṣya āra
prabhuke śunāya purī kariyā vistāra
śuni-mātra prabhu saba kaṇṭhastha karilā
tāhā dekhi sādhu-gaṇa vismaya mānilā

“Advaita Prabhu gradually visited many places of pilgrimage and then reached Uḍupī, the place of Madhvācārya.
“Mādhavendra Purī read to Advaita Prabhu the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with Madhvācārya’s commentary and also gave him his further explanations.
“Merely by hearing it, Advaita Prabhu memorized the whole thing. Seeing that, the community of devotees became very surprised.”

Kavi Karṇapūra’s Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, dated 1576 AD, is another early and better known Gauḍīya reference:

prādurbhūtāḥ kali-yuge catvāraḥ sāmpradāyikāḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakāhvayāḥ pādme yathā smṛtāḥ
ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
tatra mādhvī sampradāyaḥ prastavād atra likhyate
paravyomeśvarasyāsīc chiṣyo brahmā jagat-patiḥ
tasya śiṣyo nārado ’bhūd vyāsas tasyāpa śiṣyatām
śuko vyāsasya śiṣyatvaṁ prāpto jñānāvarodhanāt
tasya śiṣyāḥ praśiṣyāś ca bahavo bhūtale sthitāḥ
vyāsāl labdha-kṛṣṇa-dīkṣo madhvācāryo mahā-yaśaḥ
cakre vedān vibhajyāsau saṁhitāṁ śata-dūṣaṇīṁ
nirguṇād brahmaṇo yatra sa-guṇasya pariṣkriyā
tasya śiṣyo ’bhavat padmanābhācāryo mahāśayaḥ
tasya śiṣyo naraharis tac-chiṣyo mādhava-dvijaḥ
akṣobhyas tasya śiṣyo ’bhūt tac-chiṣyo jaya-tīrthakaḥ
tasya śiṣyo jñānasindhus tasya śiṣyo mahānidhiḥ
vidyānidhis tasya śiṣyo rājendras tasya sevakaḥ
jayadharma-munis tasya śiṣyo yad-gaṇa-madhyataḥ
śrīmad-viṣṇupurī yas tu bhakti-ratnāvalī-kṛtiḥ
jayadharmasya śiṣyo ’bhūd brāhmaṇaḥ puruṣottamaḥ
vyāsa-tīrthas tasya śiṣyo yaś cakre viṣṇu-saṁhitām
śrīmān lakṣmīpatis tasya śiṣyo bhakti-rasāśrayaḥ
tasya śiṣyo mādhavendro yad-dharmo ’yaṁ pravartitaḥ
kalpa-vṛkṣasyāvatāro vraja-dhāmani tiṣṭhitaḥ
prīta-preyo vatsalatojjvalākhya phala-dhāriṇaḥ
tasya śiṣyo ’bhavac chrīmān īśvarākhya-purī-yatiḥ
kalayāmāsa śṛṅgāraṁ yaḥ śṛṅgāra-phalātmakaḥ
advaitaḥ kalayāmāsa dāsya-sākhye phale ubhe
śrīmān raṅga-purī hy eṣa vātsalye yaḥ samāśritaḥ
īśvarākhya-purīṁ gaura urarīkṛtya gaurave
jagad āplāvayāmāsa prākṛtāprākṛtātmakam

“Four founders of sampradāyas appeared in Kali-yuga, which are named Śrī-sampradāya, Brahma-sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya and Sanaka-sampradāya, as stated in the Padma Purāṇa, ‘In the Age of Kali there will be four founders of sampradāyas: Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and Sanaka Kumāra. These Vaiṣṇavas will be the sanctifiers of the earth.’ First of all, I shall describe the disciplic succession from Madhvācārya. Brahmā, the lord of the universe, became disciple of Lord Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Nārada Muni became Brahmā's disciple and Vyāsadeva became disciple of Nārada. Śukadeva received transcendental knowledge from Vyāsadeva and thus became his disciple. Śukadeva has many disciples and grand-disciples in this world. The renowned Madhvācārya received initiation in the Kṛṣṇa-mantra from Vyāsadeva. After systematically dividing the Vedic contents, Madhvācārya wrote the Māyāvāda-śata-dūṣaṇī, in which he established the supremacy of Brahman’s transcendental qualities over its impersonal feature. The magnanimous Padmanābhācārya became Madhvācārya’s disciple. Padmanābha’s disciple was Narahari, and Narahari’s disciple was the brāhmaṇa Mādhava. Akṣobhya became Mādhava’s disciple, and Akṣobhya’s disciple was Jaya Tīrtha. Jaya Tīrtha’s disciple was Jñānasindhu. Jñānasindhu’s disciple was Mahānidhi. Mahānidhi’s disciple was Vidyānidhi. Vidyānidhi’s servant was Rājendra. Rājendra’s disciple was the sage Jayadharma. Among Jayadharma’s disciples was Śrīmān Viṣṇupurī, author of the Bhakti-ratnāvalī. Another disciple of Jayadharma was the brāhmaṇa Puruṣottama. Puruṣottama's disciple was Vyāsa Tīrtha, who wrote the Viṣṇu-saṁhitā. Vyāsa Tīrtha’s disciple was Śrīmān Lakṣmīpati, who was like a reservoir of the mellows of bhakti. Lakṣmīpati’s disciple was Mādhavendra Purī, by whom this religion of love for God was established. Mādhavendra Purī was the incarnation of a kalpa-vṛkṣa in the abode of Vraja. This tree bears fruits in the form of the mellows of servitude, friendship, parental love, and conjugal love for Lord Kṛṣṇa. Mādhavendra Purī’s disciple was the renunciant Śrīmān Īśvara Purī, who understood the mellows of conjugal love for Kṛṣṇa and bore the fruit of conjugal love. Advaita Prabhu understood the sentiments of servitude and friendship for the Lord and bore both fruits. Śrīmān Raṅga Purī took shelter in the sentiment of parental love for Lord Kṛṣṇa. With great respect, Lord Gaurāṅga accepted Īśvara Purī as spiritual master and then flooded both the material and spiritual world with love for Kṛṣṇa.”

In the Bhakti-ratnākara, fifth wave, in the section dealing with Rāghava’s description of Lord Gaurāṅga’s pastimes to Śrīnivāsa, after narrating how the Lord accepted initiation from Īśvara Purī, Narahari Cakravartī (early 18th century) writes:

prabhura e alaukika-līlā kebā jāne
karilena dhanya mādhvī-sampradā’ āpane
sampradā-niviṣṭa haile kārya-siddhi haya
anyatra dīkṣite mantra niṣphala niścaye
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanaka-sampradāya cāri
kalite vidita – kahe purāṇe vistāri’
tathā hi śrī-padma-purāṇe
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
catvāras te kalau bhāvyāḥ sampradāya-pravartakāḥ
sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ
ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
bhakti-adhikārī e sampradāya-catuṣṭaya
saṁkṣepe kahiye – sampradākhyā yaiche haya
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu vāñchā-kalpa-taru
nārāyaṇa-rūpe hana e sabāra guru
prabhu dhanya kaila mādhva-sampradā kalite
prabhura gurv-ādi-nāma kahi pūrva haite
sarvādika paravyomanātha nārāyaṇa
tāṁ’ra śiṣya brahmā brahma-lokera bhūṣaṇa
tāṁ’ra śiṣya śrī-nārada-muni prema-maya
śrī-śukera guru vyāsa tāṁra’ śiṣya haya
hailā vyāsera śiṣya śrī-madhva udāra
nija-nāme ‘bhāṣya’ kaila – mahimā apāra
sei haile ‘madhvācārya-sampradā’ calila
śrīmat-padmanābhācārya tāṁ’ra śiṣya haila
tāṁ’ra śiṣya narahari, śrī-mādhava tāṁ’ra
śrī-akṣobhya tāṁ’ra śiṣya sarvatra pracāra
jayatīrtha tāṁ’ra śiṣya, tāṁ’ra śiṣya jñānasindhu
tāṁ’ra śiṣya mahānidhi dīna-hīna-bandhu
tāṁ’ra vidyānidhi, tāṁ’ra rājendra vidita
jayadharma muni tāṁ’ra – adbhuta carita
ihāra gaṇete viṣṇu-purī śiṣya hailā
bhakti-ratnāvalī’-grantha prakāśa karilā
jayadharma-munira śiṣyera śuddha rīti
nāma śrī-puruṣottama brahmaṇya vidita
tāṁ’ra śiṣya vyāsa-tīrtha mahāvijña teṁha
varṇilena ‘śrī-viṣṇu-saṁhitā’-grantha yeṁha
tāṁ’ra śiṣya lakṣmīpati guṇera ālaya
tāṁ’ra śiṣya mādhavendra bhakti-candrodaya
tāṁ’ra śiṣya īśvara-purī karuṇā-nidhāna
tāṁ’ra śiṣya prabhu gauracandra bhagavān
tathā hi kavi-karṇapūra-kṛta-śrīmad-gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikāyām – prādurbhūtāḥ (…)
īśvara-purīra śiṣya prabhu gaura-rāya
purīra mahimā prabhu nija-mukhe gāya
prabhura adbhuta śakti ke pāre bujhite
nimānanda-sampradā calila prabhu haite
prabhura nāma-madhye mukhya ‘nimāi paṇḍita’
nityānanda-prabhura e nāme ati prīti
prabhura vaiṣṇava-gaṇe dekhi’ nadīyāya
nimāi-sampradā bali’ adyāpiha gāya
nimāi pradāna kailā jagate ānande
ei hetu avanī-vikhyāta nimānanda
pūrve jānāila sampradāya yaiche
prabhu-prabhāvete mādhvī-sampradāya taiche
tathā hi śrīmad-vakreśvara-paṇḍitasya śiṣyaḥ śrī-gopāla-guru-gosvāmi-kṛta-padye –
śrīman-nārāyaṇo brahmā nārado vyāsa eva ca
śrīla-madhvaḥ padmanābho nṛharir mādhavas tathā
akṣokhyo jayatīrthaś ca jñānasindhur mahānidhiḥ
vidyānidhiś ca rājendro jayadharma-munis tathā
puruṣottamaś ca brahmaṇyo vyāsa-tīrtha-munis tathā
śrīmal-lakṣmīpatiḥ śrīmān mādhavendra-purīśvaraḥ
tataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyaḥ prema-kalpa-drumo bhuvi
nimānandākhyayā yo ’sau vikhyātaḥ kṣiti-maṇḍale

 “Who is able to understand this transcendental pastime of Lord Caitanya? He personally made the Mādhva-sampradāya blessed.
“One who joins a sampradāya can attain perfection in one’s activities. The mantras received otherwise are certainly fruitless.
“In Kali-yuga, the sampradāyas are known to be four: Śrī-sampradāya, Brahma-sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya and Sanaka-sampradāya. This is stated in detail in the Purāṇas.
“As stated in the Padma Purāṇa: ‘Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and Sanaka Kumāra – in the Age of Kali these will be the four founders of sampradāyas. These Vaiṣṇavas will be the sanctifiers of the earth. The mantras received outside a sampradāya are considered fruitless. Therefore in Kali-yuga there will be four founders of sampradāyas.’
“These four sampradāyas are eligible for bhakti. I shall now describe what is called sampradāya.
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Who is like a wish-fulfilling tree, in His form as Nārāyaṇa is the guru of all.
“Mahāprabhu made the Mādhva-sampradāya blessed in this Kali-yuga. I shall now first mention the names of the Lord’s gurus.
“Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of the spiritual sky, is the primeval Lord of all. His disciple is Lord Brahmā, the ornament of Brahma-loka.
“His disciple is Nārada Muni, who is full of love for God. His disciple is Vyāsadeva, who is the guru of Śukadeva.
“Vyāsadeva’s disciple was the magnanimous Madhvācārya, who compiled a commentary named after him and whose glories are unlimited.
“From him this sampradāya became known as Madhvācārya-sampradāya. Padmanābhācārya became his disciple.
“Narahari became his disciple, whose disciple was Mādhava. His disciple was Akṣobhya, who preached everywhere.
“His disciple was Jaya Tīrtha, whose disciple was Jñānasindhu. His disciple was Mahānidhi, the friend of the afflicted and destitute.
“His disciple was Vidyānidhi, whose disciple was known as Rājendra. His disciple was the sage Jayadharma, whose pastimes are wonderful.
“Among his disciples is counted Viṣṇu Purī, who compiled the book called Bhakti-ratnāvalī.
“In the pure line of the sage Jayadharma, the name of Puruṣottama Brahmaṇya is well known.
“His disciple was the great scholar Vyāsa Tīrtha, who composed the book Viṣṇu-saṁhitā.
“His disciple was Lakṣmīpati, an abode of good qualities. His disciple was Mādhavendra, who was like a rising moon of bhakti.
“His disciple was Īśvara Purī, a repository of mercy. Lord Gauracandra, the Supreme Lord, became His disciple.
“Lord Gaura Rāya became Īśvara Purī’s disciple and He personally sang his glories with His own mouth.
“Who is able to understand the Lord’s wonderful power? The Nimānanda-sampradāya thus proceeds from the Lord.
“Among the Lord’s name, ‘Nimāi Paṇḍita’ is the chief. This name is very dear to Lord Nityānanda.
“Even today it is seen in Nadīyā among the Lord’s devotees that his sampradāya is called Nimāi-sampradāya.
“Nimāi distributed bliss to all the world and is therefore famous on earth as Nimānanda.
“It is by the influence of Lord Caitanya that His disciplic succession is known as the Mādhva-sampradāya, just as I have previously explained.
“As stated in the verses composed by Śrī Gopāla Guru, disciple of Śrīmān Vakreśvara Paṇḍita: Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā, Nārada, Vyāsa, Madhva, Padmanābha, Nṛhari, Mādhava, Akṣobhya, Jaya Tīrtha, Jñānasindhu, Mahānidhi, Vidyānidhi, Rājendra, Jayadharma, Puruṣottama, Brahmaṇya, Vyāsa Tīrtha, Lakṣmīpati, Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purī and Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, the desire tree of love for Kṛṣṇa – this is the disciplic succession known in the world as Nimānanda.”

These verses attributed to Gopāla Guru are particularly important, since he was a contemporary of Lord Caitanya. In his Sampradāya-bodhinī, [8]  Manohara Dāsa states:

nārāyaṇa ke vidhi bhaye, tinake nārada jāna
tinake veda vyāsa jū, rāce mahā-purāna
tinake mādhavācārya jū, bhāṣyakāra niradhāra
bhakti tatva ati sudṛḍha kiya, māyāvāda kuṭhāra
padmanābha tinake bhaye, narahari tinake dāsa
tinake mādhava jāniyo, tinake kṣobha prakāsa
jayatīratha tinake bhaye, vānī parama pavitra
kahi ṭīkā bijayadhvajī, śrī-bhāgauta vicitra
jnānasindhu tinake bhaye, tāsu mahānidhi dhanya
tinake vidyānidhi bhaye, guru gopāla ananya
tinake bhaye rājendra jū, tinake bhaye jayadharma
tinake puruṣottama bhaye, bhajana binā nahiṁ karma
tinake bhaye brahmaṇya jū, tinake tīratha vyāsa
tinake lakṣmīpati bhaye, mādhavendra visvāsa
tinakeṁ hi īśvarānanda jū, nīkī vidhi kari seva
jaga sikṣā hita jagata guru, jinahiṁ kiyo gurudeva
mahāprabhū caitanya kau, prathamahiṁ nīmānanda
nāma pragaṭa pācheṁ calī, paranālī niradvanda
avadhi īśvarānanda teṁ mādhva sampradā khyāna
inate bhaye prasiddha ati nīmānandī jāna
prathama calani yākī kahūṁ, brahma sampradā nāma
madhvācārya paryanta saba, santana kahyau guna grāma
mahāprabhū pārṣada bhaye, śrī gopāla guru khyāti
guru pranālī tina racī, saṁskṛta nīkī bhānti
tathā hi śrī-gopāla-guru-gosvāmi-praṇīta-padyāni –
śrīman-nārāyaṇo (…) kṣiti-maṇḍale
dutiya pramāna prasiddha ati, prabhu nityānanda bhṛtya
śrī-puruṣottama nāma vara, adbhuta kīrtana nṛtya
tinake siṣa śrī devakīnandana bhaye kavirāja
tinahūṁ cāryau sampradā varnana kiye samāja
yaha vidhi tāhū meṁ likhata, bhāṣā gauḍa sudesa
dekhata saba mana bhrama miṭe nahīṁ hota upahāsa
śrī-nityānanda jū prabhū, prabhu advaitācārya
lokani ke upadeśa hita, cita dai catura vicārya
śrī-mādhavendra ju guru kiye, doū mahā kṛpāla
śrī-caitanya ju bhāgavata, racanā parama rasāla
tāmeṁ likhahiṁ su dekhiyo, ati parasiddha pramāna
śrī-vṛndavana-dāsa jū, sukha meṁ siddhā khyāna
aba kahaiṁ mādhva sampradāya meṁ, kīna gaura sannyāsa
tāte koū kahivo karaiṁ, mādhva sampradā-dāsa
so jāniyai nahiṁ sarvathā, mādhva sampradā tīrtha
e guru keśava bhāratī, pūrva pakṣa bhayo vyartha
cāri likheṁ aru sampradā catur-vyūha nahi soya
yāteṁ padma-purāṇa meṁ vyāsa vacana phiri joya
tathā hi – ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
aur eka aciraja sunauṁ mādhavendra sannyāsī
tinake sarūpācārya jū dakṣiṇātya gṛhavāsī
e sanakādika sampradā paraṇālī niradvanda
tāmeṁ śrī mahāprabhū kī ati sai kṛpānubandha
keśava kaśamīrī sahita likhana bhaī rasa rīti
cita dai jo darasana karai lahai nirantara prīti
nīmānandī sampradā taba te atulita prema
śobhā sampati jagamagai jyau jarāva bharī hema
pañca prakāra pramāna puni śrī bhāgauta vicāra
pratyakṣaru anumāna suni upamā kahyau su cāru
śabda aura aitihya gani inameṁ pichale doya
svīkṛta bhaye su bhakta jana jihi sandeha na koya
tāhī soṁ aitihya kahaiṁ pūrvāpara vikhyāta
śravaṇa kiyo ju paramparā so niścayai hai bāta
śrī gauḍa deśa ati pūrva te adyāvadhi saba koya
mādhva sampradā kahata hai bāla vṛddha aru joya
aba navīna ādhunika mata sunikai bhakta samāja
dvividhā mana meṁ mata karau pūrvāpara mata rāja

“Lord Nārāyaṇa’s disciple is Lord Brahmā. You should know that Nārada is Brahmā’s disciple, and his disciple is Vedavyāsa, who composed the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata Mahāpurāṇa.
“His disciple Madhvācārya ascertained the meaning of the Bhāgavatam and became its commentator. He was like an axe to the Māyāvāda and made the principles of bhakti become very strong.
“Madhvācārya’s disciple was Padmanābha, whose servant was Narahari. You should know that Narahari’s disciple was Mādhava, whose disciple was the famous Akṣobhya.
“Akṣobhya’s disciple was Jaya Tīrtha, whose speech was very refined. Some say that he is the author of a beautiful commentary on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam called Vijayadhvajī.
“His disciple was Jñānasindhu, whose disciple was the blessed Mahānidhi. His disciple was Vidyānidhi, who was an unalloyed devotee of guru and Gopāla.
“His disciple was Rājendra, whose disciple was Jayadharma. His disciple was Puruṣottama, who had no other activity except bhajana.
“His disciple was Brahmaṇya, whose disciple was Vyāsa Tīrtha. His disciple was Lakṣmīpati, on whom Mādhavendra put his faith.
“His disciple was Īśvara Purī, who served him very well according to the rules and regulations, to whom the Guru of the whole universe accepted as guru to give a good instruction to the world.
“At first being called Nīmānanda, He later became known by the name Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His unalloyed disciplic succession.
“From the beginning up to Madhvācārya, this disciplic succession is called Brahma-sampradāya, and the saintly people enunciate its multitude of virtues.
“You should know that up to Īśvara Purī this lineage is known as Mādhva-sampradāya, and after him it is well known as the Nimānandī sampradāya.
“The famous Gopāla Guru, an associate of Mahāprabhu, compiled the names of the disciplic succession in very beautiful Sanskrit verses.
“The second proof is very well known. Nityānanda Prabhu had a servant, the excellent Puruṣottama, who performed wonderful kīrtanas and dance.
“His disciple was the great poet named Devakīnandana, [9] who described the four sampradāyas in the assembly of devotees.
“This description of the disciplic successions was written in beautiful Bengali and everyone who reads it has all mental confusions dispelled. There is no cause for laughter here.
“A clever person should attentively reflect on this: being very merciful, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu accepted Mādhavendra Purī as guru just for giving a good instruction to people.
“Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura, who was known to be established in bliss, composed the supremely sweet Śrī Caitanya Bhāgavata. Look carefully at the well known evidence written there.
“Now some say that Lord Gaurāṅga took sannyāsa in the Mādhva-sampradāya and is therefore said to be a servant of the Mādhva-sampradāya.
“You should know that it is definitely not so, for in the Mādhva-sampradāya the sannyāsīs are named Tīrtha, while Lord Caitanya’s sannyāsa guru was named Keśava Bhāratī. Thus the raised argument is fruitless.
“It is written that there are only four sampradāyas, therefore in the Padma Purāṇa we find the following statement by Vyāsadeva.
 ‘In the Age of Kali there will be four founders of sampradāyas: Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and Sanaka Kumāra. These Vaiṣṇavas will be the sanctifiers of the earth.’
“Hear another surprising thing: Mādhavendra Purī was a sannyāsī and had a householder disciple from South India called Svarūpācārya.
“He belonged to the unalloyed disciplic succession of the Four Kumāras (Nimbārka-sampradāya) and became bound by the great mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
“Together with Keśava Kāśmīrī, he wrote about the modes of rasa. One who attentively reads that text attains intense love for God.
“Since then there is incomparable love for God in the sampradāya of Lord Caitanya and such treasure shines beautifully like gold encrusted with gems.
“It is heard from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that there are five kinds of evidences. Just ponder over them. Direct perception, inference and comparison are said to be very agreeable.
“And then there are two more counted among the evidences: scriptural testimony and history. There is no doubt that the devotees accept all of these.
“Among these, history means the facts known to have happened earlier and later. Just hear from the disciplic succession, for this is definitive.
“In Gauḍadeśa, from long ago until nowadays, everyone, even the children, the elderly and the women folk, say that this is the Mādhva-sampradāya.
“Now a new opinion is heard in the society of devotees. Do not let this dilemma enter your mind. The best view is that which prevails both in the beginning and at the end.”

In describing the four Vaiṣṇava-sampradāyas at the end of the Anurāgavallī, dated Saṁvat 1753 (1696 AD), Manohara dāsa states:

śrī-gaurāṅga mahāprabhu vrajendra-nandana
guru karibāra tāṁra kena prayojana
yadi kaha īśvara karaye bhakti-rīta
loke ācari tāhā kariyā pratīta
ei hetu haya tabe kene asampradāya
guru karibena jagad-guru gorā-rāya
sanātana dharma prabhu karena sthāpane
padma-purāṇera vākya tāhā saba jāne
se khaṇḍita karibena bhakti ācaraṇe
bhāvite vismaya baḍa hailāṅ mane

“Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the son of Nanda Mahārāja Himself, so for what purpose would He accept a guru?
“If someone says that the Lord Himself takes the process of bhakti so that people may understand it, then why would Lord Gaurāṅga, the Guru of the whole world, accept a guru from outside a bona fide disciplic succession?
“The Lord acts in order to establish the sanātana-dharma. Everyone knows the statement of the Padma Purāṇa.
“Why would the Supreme Lord break the standard conduct of bhakti? Thinking about this, my mind became very perplexed.

The author then says that after looking for evidence of the affiliation of Lord Caitanya with a Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya for a long time, he found a manuscript with the above quoted Gopāla Guru’s praṇālī: śrīman-nārāyaṇo brahmā (…)

śrī-nityānanda priya śrī-puruṣottama mahāśaya
śrī-daivakīnandana ṭhākura tāṁra śiṣya haya
tiṁho ye karila baḍa ‘vaiṣṇava-vandana’
tāthe cāri sampradāya karila likhana
tāhāteho mādhva sampradāya ei rīta
e saba ślokera bhāṣā karila vidita
sarvadeśe sthāne sthāne ihāra pracāra
dekhiha śuniha tāthe jāniha nirdhāra
ādau śrī-madhvācārya bhāṣyakāra haya
mādhvabhāṣye bhaktitattva kariyāche nirṇaya
īśvara-purī gosāñi paryanta ei mate
mādhva sampradāya bali jagat vikhyāte
śrī-mahāprabhu yabe prakaṭa hailā
sarva nāma pūrve nāma nimāi pāilā
sei nāme mahāprabhura svecchā anukrame
nimānandī sampradāya haila niyame

“The magnanimous Śrī Puruṣottama was a dear disciple of Śrī Nityānanda, and his disciple was Daivakīnandana Ṭhākura.
“He composed a large Vaiṣṇava-vandana in which he wrote about the four sampradāyas.
“Therein he made all the above quoted verses about the succession in the Mādhva-sampradāya to become known in Bengali.
“This was spread in every place all over the country. Just see, hear and know the conclusion.
“In the beginning there was Śrī Madhvācārya, who wrote many commentaries on the scriptures. In his commentaries, he established the conclusion of the principle of bhakti.
“I tell you that up to Īśvara Purī, this line was known in the world as Mādhva-sampradāya.
“When Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared, before all other names, He got the name Nimāi.
“In due course, by the will of Caitanya Mahāprabhu from this name His sampradāya became regularly known as Nimānandī.”

In the Muralī-vilāsa, 21st Pariccheda, Rājavallabha Gosvāmī (17th century) glorifies his guru and disciplic succession and then quotes the same verses from the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā. In his Bhakta-māla, Lāladāsa (early 18th century) states:

sampradāya-pramāṇa padma-purāṇe vidita
jagate prasiddha cāri sampradā udita
tathā hi pādme –
ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ, iti
mādhvī sampradāra guru-praṇālī pāvana
prasaṅge tāhāra kichu kariba kīrtana

“The evidence on the sampradāyas is known from the Padma Purāṇa, where it is said that there are four celebrated sampradāyas in this world.
“In the Age of Kali there will be four founders of sampradāyas: Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and Sanaka Kumāra. These Vaiṣṇavas will be the sanctifiers of the earth.
“In this regard, I will now glorify the holy disciplic succession of the Mādhva-sampradāya.

Then he quotes those same verses from the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (paravyomeśvarasyāsīt…).

In his Bhakta-māla, dated 1717 AD, Rāghava dāsa describes the Mādhva-sampradāya in the following words:

ādi bṛkṣa bidhi namo, nigama nṛmala rasa chāte
madhvācāraya madhura pībata, amṛta rasa māte
tāsa pathita bhū pragaṭa, santa aru mahanta nisatare
hari pūjai hari bhajai, tinahi saṅga bahuta nisatare
maiṁ bapurau baranauṁ kahā, jāṁṇīṁ jāi na jīya te
ye pāñca mahanta parasidha bhaye,
jñāṁnī gauḍa baṅgāla madhi
nityānanda śrī-kṛṣṇa caitanya, bhaji lāho līyo
rūpa sanātana rāṁma raṭata, umagyau ati hīyau
jīu-gusāñī khīra-nīra, niti niranauṁ kīyau
jai jai jai triloka dhyāṁna, dhruva jyūṁ nahīṁ bīyau

“We offer obeisances to Lord Brahmā, who is the original tree of this disciplic succession and spread the pure rasa of the Vedas. Drinking this sweet nectarean rasa, Madhvācārya is in ecstasy.
“Many saints and religious leaders who appeared on this earth crossed this path, and in their association many more people also crossed it by worshiping and honouring Lord Hari.
“What can a wretch like me describe? My intellect cannot grasp all this. The following five religious leaders are very famous scholars of West Bengal.
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, Nityānanda, Rūpa and Sanātana were always chanting Rāma’s Holy Name, their hearts enraptured, and thus they attained full benefit by such mode of worship.
“Jīva Gosvāmī ascertained the conclusion of the scriptures as if separating the water from the milk. All glories to him, whose meditation was like that of Dhruva and who was therefore incomparable in all the three worlds.”

In the second chapter of the book Mahāprabhura Sikṣā, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura expresses his view:

ei samasta vākya-dvārā spaṣṭa pratīta haya ye, śrī-brahma-sampradāyai śrī-caitanya-dāsa-digera guru-praṇālī | śrī-kavi-karṇapūra gosvāmī ei anusāre dṛḍha kariyā svīya-kṛta gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikāya śrī-vidyābhūṣaṇao sei praṇālīte sthira kariyāchena| yāṁhārā ei praṇālīke asvīkāra karena, tāṁhārā ye kṛṣṇa-caitanya-caraṇānucara-gaṇe pradhāna śatru ihāte āra sandeha ki?

“By all of these statements it is clear that the sampradāya of Lord Caitanya and His followers is the Brahma-sampradāya. Accordingly, Kavi Karṇapūra corroborated this disciplic succession in his Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa also confirmed it. Anyone who does not accept this disciplic succession is without doubt the greatest enemy of Lord Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and His followers.”

Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda and others try to dismiss the authenticity of some of the above quoted texts, but although some of their objections are valid, it is more than unlikely that so many unrelated works written by unrelated authors in different places, languages and centuries would be all spurious or interpolated as claimed.

In books like Prameya-ratnāvalī, Govinda-bhāṣya and Siddhānta-ratna, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa brilliantly highlights a strong common philosophical ground between the Mādhva and the Gauḍīya systems, thus evincing that there is nothing inconsistent in their disciplic affiliation. Yet at the same time, in his scriptural exegesis, he always brings up the Gauḍīyas’ unique mood and identity that make them a particular sampradāya on their own merit, albeit their historical and contextual connection with Madhvācārya’s line. As it is clear from the innumerable sources quoted above, this underlying relation between both Vaiṣṇava traditions was already well known for centuries before Vidyābhūṣaṇa appeared on the scene. His earliest dated manuscripts were compiled in the 1740s, and the earliest documents which mention his name belong to the same decade. According to documentary evidence,  he left this world in 1793, [10] and based on these dates we can infer that he was probably born around 1700 and might have arrived in Vṛndāvana in the 1730s. By then practically all the texts quoted above had already been written long before, which entirely rules out any chance of Vidyābhūṣaṇa having authored any of them. All he did was bring to light a fact which was perhaps not so relevant until his time period, when affiliation with one of the four traditional Vaiṣṇava-sampradāyas became an unavoidable requirement for a religious group to acquire social legitimacy. The concept of only four sampradāyas possibly became popular in North India on account of Nābhājī’s (1570–1662) Bhakta-māla. Before describing the devotees in Kali-yuga, the author states:

caubīsa prathama hari bapu dhare,
tyoṁ catur-vyūha kali-yuga pragaṭa
śrī rāmānuja udāra, sudhā-nidhi, avani kalpa-taru
viṣṇu svāmi bohittha sindhu-saṁsāra pārakaru
madhvācāraja megha bhakti sara ūsāra bhariyā
nimbāditya āditya kuhara ajñāna ju hariyā
janama karama bhāgavata dharma sampradāya thāpī aghaṭa

“Lord Hari had previously appeared in twenty four different forms and now in Kali-yuga He manifested a fourfold form: Rāmānuja is magnanimous like the moon and is a wish-fulfilling tree on earth; Viṣṇu Svāmī is like a boat to help the living entities to cross the ocean of the material world; Madhvācārya is like a cloud which fills barren lands with ponds of devotion; and Nimbārkācārya is like a sun removing the fog of ignorance. These four ācāryas established their respective sampradāyas to propagate bhāgavata-dharma and the proper way of action for all those born as human beings.”

In the early 18th century, Bālānanda Svāmī from the Rāmānandi-sampradāya created the cāra sampradāya akhāḍā (Assembly of the Four Sampradāyas) with branches in several cities. Having a large number of members, they soon attained considerable political influence and firmly established a sort of religious monopoly. G. N. Bahura remarks this fact by quoting the following verse: [11]

sampradāyā hi catvāraḥ pañcamo naiva vidyate
pādmokta-vacanenaiva nirṇītaṁ paṇḍitaiḥ kila

“There are only four sampradāyas and not a fifth one. This was factually ascertained by learned scholars on the basis of the statements of the Padma Purāṇa.”

Although from the outset it is very clear that the condition for legitimacy was affiliaton with one of the four Vaiṣṇava-sampradāyas, and although Vidyābhūṣaṇa himself quotes the mentioned Padma Purāṇa verses to corroborate this point, surprisingly, writers like Vidyāvinoda  [12] and Kanāi Lal Adhikārī [13] state that Vidyābhūṣaṇa proved that the Gauḍīyas are the fifth sampradāya!

Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā is yet another text to corroborate the Mādhva-Gauḍīya link. [14] If we take into consideration the traditional account that Vidyābhūṣaṇa was personally sent to Amber by Viśvanātha Cakravartī to defend the interest of the Gauḍīyas when their credibility was questioned, then it is more than plausible that Cakravartī became very pleased with the outcome of the debates there, which granted the Gauḍīyas their sought recognition. It is quite expected that as the senior leader of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community in Vṛndāvana, Cakravartī would then write something to endorse Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s proposition to dismiss the idea that the link was a new concept introduced by him. This would place the present text as perhaps the very last composition of Cakravartī. Or else, if it was an earlier composition, it served as the basis upon which Vidyābhūṣaṇa could elaborate his argument beforehand, knowing very well what Cakravartī’s view was. Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s background as a follower of Madhvācārya, although very appropriate to the situation, can only be considered mere coincidence.

Some question why Vidyābhūṣaṇa did not directly refer to Kavi Karṇapūra in his books. It is somewhat apparent that in the context in which the debates in the kingdom of Amber took place, the scope was within orthodox scriptures and logic, and the disputants were court paṇḍitas and Vaiṣṇava scholars of different denominations. In these circumstances, and as a matter of fact, Karṇapūra’s name was then absolutely unknown, therefore quoting him would not add much to the argument. Factually, Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s philosophical treatises follow the orthodox standard of giving primary authority to the śruti and smṛti, and there is hardly any instances in which he quotes individual authors. Moreover, in his Prameya-ratnāvalī, Vidyābhūṣaṇa presents the list of names in the Gauḍīya-paramparā in a straight way as an established fact known to all, just as one who knows the names of one’s own forefathers is not required to give quotations. On the contrary, to quote a remote and unknown author rather than furthering his cause, would have sounded quite suspicious. It should be observed that most of the names presented by Vidyābhūṣaṇa come straight from the traditional tables from the Mādhva-sampradāya. Although Padmanābha, Narahari, Mādhava and Akṣobhya were all direct disciples of Madhvācārya, still the order of names here is not inconsistent, for each became the pontiff or head of the sampradāya upon the demise of his direct predecessor. In the presence of a new pontiff, the godbrothers would behave as his disciples. The above-mentioned four names appear in the disciplic successions of the Vyāsarāja Maṭha, Rāghavendra Maṭha and Uttarādi Maṭha, all of whom attest their historicity. The mention of Viṣṇu Purī’s name in Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā suggests that this is a list of prominent names, so there is nothing surprising if we do not find the names of Jñānasindhu and Dayānidhi (Mahānidhi) in the tables of the Mādhva-paramparā. Jaya Tīrtha was one of the greatest preachers of the Mādhva-sampradāya and he had innumerable disciples. It can be surmised that these two names were added to the list due to their prominence among Jaya Tīrtha’s disciples besides Vidyānidhi (Vidyādhirāja). Another question that begs an explanation is: how could Vyāsa Tīrtha have outlived four generations of disciples before passing away in 1539 AD? There seems to be indications that he had a lifespan as long as 120 years, in which case there is no cause for doubts.

In this way, the list given by Vidyābhūṣaṇa is thoroughly consistent. In comparison to the other lists, the only divergence would be regarding the names of Puruṣottama and Brahmaṇya, both of whom sometimes appear as a single entry instead of two different persons. This probably happened due to poor readings in which ‘brahmaṇya’ (pious/religious) was read as adjective of Puruṣottama.

 Attempting to avoid such outrageous accusations against Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa as done by the above-mentioned authors, Rādhāgovinda Nāth [18] takes the matter in another direction and claims that the paramparā list in the Prameya-ratnāvalī was interpolated by someone else. This is, of course, another baseless speculation of someone who did not even care to analyse the available manuscripts. Vedānta Vidyāvāgīśa’s commentary, entitled Kānti-mālā, is included in nearly every manuscript of the Prameya-ratnāvalī, and was obviously composed in Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s presence, or even by his instigation. [19] This is one of his most largely distributed works, and copies of it can be found all over India, yet among the many copies I have seen, there is not even one in which the paramparā list does not appear. While Nāth’s attempt may appear noble, he actually discredits Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s legitimate view just to present his own. Several such authors who vehemently oppose the Mādhva link go on and on for pages and pages trying to demonstrate how the Gauḍīya philosophy and theology differ from that of the Mādhvas. Such efforts are as useless as beating a husk devoid of rice. Had they factually read his works, they would know that in several instances Vidyābhūṣaṇa himself makes it clear that the Gauḍīyas are not in absolute concordance with each and every view held by the Mādhvas. The composition of Govinda-bhāṣya is itself enough evidence of this, otherwise in his debates Vidyābhūṣaṇa could have solved the case by merely referring to Madhvācārya’s Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya. Besides this, in the last chapter of his Siddhānta-darpaṇa, Vidyābhūṣaṇa strongly refutes the theory that the three chapters in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam dealing with Lord Brahmā’s bewilderment are interpolated as claimed by the Mādhvas. This disproves the view of other misinformed authors who claim that Vidyābhūṣaṇa remained an avowed Mādhva rather than a Gauḍīya. Once again, this also corroborates that the view propounded by Vidyābhūṣaṇa was mainly that of a formal affiliation through initiation, and not an uncompromising philosophical adherence. This remains so despite the many congruent points he might have raised in his works, as so well observed by B. N. K. Sharma: [20] “These facts are sufficient to establish that Baladeva is virtually in agreement with Madhva on all the fundamental points of his system. That is why we find him proclaiming his loyalty to Madhva and affirming the historical and spiritual descent of the Caitanya-sampradāya from Madhva, without any hesitation or mental reservation, not only in the Prameya-ratnāvalī, but also in his Siddhānta-ratna, which is an introduction to his Govinda-bhāṣya and his own commentary on it, quoted earlier. This would suffice to place his allegiance to the Madhva-sampradāya beyond question.” 

The Manuscript and its Authorship

To the present moment, only one manuscript could be located for consultation, preserved in the Sri Gauranga Grantha Mandir, which is obviously a second hand copy. Neither the text itself nor the transcription is dated, but from the paper, ink and style we can infer that it is not older than late 19th century. Unfortunately, the scribe did a very inattentive and faulty transcription, replete with spelling mistakes, missing words, and even missing verses. At the colophon we find the following words: iti śrī-viśvanātha-cakravartinā viracitā śrī-gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā samāptā, “Thus ends the Śrī-gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā composed by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī.” After this it is mentioned: śrī-rāma-nārāyaṇa-chātrako mudā śry-ānanda-nārāyaṇa-bhūsurāya lilekha vai gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattvābhidhāṁ sundara-candrikām iyam (sic),“The pupil of Śrī Rāma Nārāyaṇa joyfully copied this beautiful Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā for the brāhmaṇa Śrī Ānanda Nārāyaṇa.” It is doubtful that this is the very same copy written by the said scribe, as common scribes would often copy the signatures of previous scribes without even realizing the blunder, especially if those were written in a Sanskrit verse. Moreover it is grammatically incorrect to use the verbal form ‘lilekha,’ a reduplicated perfect, for an action done by oneself, for this tense usually expresses distant past not witnessed by the speaker, and the word ‘iyam’ is a gross mistake that should instead take the accusative form ‘imām.’ This simply corroborates what is so clear from the transcription of the text: that the scribe knew no Sanskrit at all. As for the name of Viśvanātha Cakravartī as the author of the text, a few valid doubts may be raised regarding its authenticity, but none of them seem to be strong enough to totally rule out the possibility. The first point is obviously the fact that apart from a single manuscript, no other copy seems to be available in any major library in India or abroad. Yet from the very manuscript it is evident that there must have been other copies of the text, which might still exist somewhere, possibly in some private collection. We also hear of some supposedly lost works of Cakravartī, as, for example, the Aiśvarya-kādambinī, so even if only one copy of Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā is extant at present, it might indeed be his composition, since all of his works did not circulate widely enough to reach our hands three centuries later. The same holds true in the case of several other works of prominent Gauḍīya ācāryas, which are somehow known to have been written, but were not preserved and propagated. Had Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī not taken the required steps to copy and distribute the Gosvāmī’s literary heritage, perhaps we would hardly have access to but a few of the texts available in his days. Unfortunately, after Jīva Gosvāmī, such efforts were rare, if made at all, and many subsequent works fell into oblivion. Such was the situation in Viśvanātha’s time, and it so remained until the appearance of systematic libraries and printing presses improved the situation to some extent: the former, by giving the manuscripts better conditions for preservation than those offered at homes and temples, and the latter, by ensuring that the texts would be spread far and wide – the best means to ensure that they will never be lost.

In this way, no matter how important Viśvanātha Cakravartī and his works are considered today, we cannot say that the present text is not his merely because it was not sufficiently copied and distributed as were his other works. We also do not hear of any ancient and comprehensive list of his writings, so it is not expected that later biographers would mention a book which was unknown to them. In his commentary on the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-līlā, 14.87, published in 1932, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī quotes some verses [21] from a book named Gaura-gaṇa-candrikā attributed to Viśvanātha Cakravartī, but none of them appear in this manuscript. Although he does not mention the source, it is possible that he got those verses from the notes written by Yashoda Lal Talukdar on Nityānanda Dāsa’s Prema-vilāsa, page 249, published in 1913. The latter also did not mention his source, but it is probable that he consulted a manuscript of the text. Oddly, in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna, Haridāsa Dāsa lists three manuscripts with a similar name, all of them attributed to Cakravartī: Gaura-gaṇa-candrikā, Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā, and Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-candrikā. From the descriptions it seems that he actually had access to them and verified that they were different texts, but sadly he did not give many details.

The inconsistence of the transcription of the consulted manuscript poses several difficulties to assess its authenticity. We know the outstanding level of the scholarship of Śrīla Viśvanātha from his innumerable works and it is absolutely not possible that he would write anything substandard in terms of grammar, prosody, rhetoric and philosophy. While the first two can be totally disfigured by an incompetent scribe, the latter two are hardly prominent in this genre of composition, which is solely meant to be a list of names with their respective identities in the previous pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Yet from the beginning there are clear traces of mellow and scholarship which are distinctly seen in Cakravartī’s writings. In the maṅgalācaraṇa, the author beautifully plays with the gender of the words so as to impart to the reader the concept that Lord Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are both combined in Lord Caitanya’s form. He then proceeds to state that the purpose of this compilation is to supplement the list of names given in the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, a task which was very well done by presenting around sixty names which do not appear in that text. Although the Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā resembles and follows the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā in most aspects, the author was also bold enough to occasionally diverge from Kavi Karṇapūra’s correlation of identities, as it can be easily seen in the charts at the end of this edition. In a few instances, he backed up his statements with verses from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,  Padma Purāṇa,  Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Vidagdha-Mādhava  and Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja’s Govinda-līlāmṛta,  among other sources. Some interesting concepts presented here are the multiplicity of identities associated with a single individual and the abilitity of the Lord’s eternal associates to expand themselves in different capacities, such as direct manifestations (prakāśa),  partial expansions (kalā),  and expansions entering other personalities (āveśa),  features which are usually distinctly seen in connection with Lord Kṛṣṇa and His different avatāras, as described in the first chapter of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta.


[1] This sixth verse of this book also appears in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.14 and 7.6.

[2] Such as S. K. De in Early History of the Vaisnava Faith and Movement in Bengal, chapter 1; Sundarānanda Vidyāvinoda in Acintya-bhedābheda-vāda, section 13; and A. K. Manjumdar in Caitanya, His Life and Doctrine, chapter 22.

[3]  Caitanya Cariter Upadan, chapter 5.

[4] This affiliation was also very much disputed among the Rāmānandīs, and attempts were made to reject any direct connection with the Śrī-sampradāya. 

[5]  This appears in the vārtā (chronicle) number 251, entitled Śrī Gusāīṁ jī ke Sevak Mādhavendra Purī kī Vārtā.

[6] The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa, chapter 8.

[7]  It is not clear who the earliest author to attribute these verses to the Padma Purāṇa was, which are factually not seen in any of the editions published so far. Yet similar verses are found in the Garga-saṁhitā, Aśvamedha-khaṇḍa, 61.24-26: viṣṇu-svāmī vāmanāṁśas tathā madhvas tu brahmaṇaḥ | rāmānujas tu śeṣāṁśo nimbārkaḥ sanakasya ca || ete kalau yuge bhāvyāḥ sampradāya-pravartakāḥ | saṁvatsare vikramasya catvāraḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ || sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalāḥ smṛtāḥ | tasmāc ca gamanaṁ hy asti sampradāye narair api, “Viṣṇu Svāmī is a partial expansion of Vāmanadeva, Madhva is a partial expansion of Brahmā, Rāmānuja is a partial expansion of Śeṣa, and Nimbārka is a partial expansion of Sanaka Kumāra. These four will appear in Kali-yuga in the Vikramāditya Age and become founders of sampradāyas and sanctifiers of the earth. The mantras received outside these sampradāyas are considered fruitless. Therefore only within a sampradāya can people move forward towards the goal of life.”

[8]  This book was published by Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābā based on a manuscript dated 1707 Saṁvat (1651 AD).

[9] Also called Daivakīnandana. His book Vaiṣṇava-vandanā is very well known, but it does not mention the connection with the Mādhvas. From the Anurāgavallī, quoted a few paragraphs down, it seems that Daivakīnandana also wrote a larger version of it, called Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava-vandanā.

[10]  Jaipur State Archives, Toji Dastur Kaumvar, bundle 34, document 117.

[11]  Literary Heritage of the Rulers of Amber and Jaipur, page 66. This seems to be a popular verse of unknown source. 

[12]  Op.cit. 

[13]  Śyāmānanda-caritāmṛta, sixth wave.

[14]  Vide texts 11 through 27.

[15]  Harirāma Vyāsa’s list is exactly the same here up to Mādhavendra Purī. Gopāla Guru’s list reads ‘Mahānidhi’ instead of ‘Dayānidhi.’

[16]  This list was published in Prabhat Mukherjee’s The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa, chapter 8.

[17]  This list appears in B. N. K. Sharma’s History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta, chapter 17.

[18]  Introduction to the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Darśana, section 40, entitled Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya evaṁ Mādhva sampradāya.

[19]  This is clearly deduced by the age of the manuscripts, many of which were copied during Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s lifetime.  

[20]  History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta, Appendix V.
[21] Mahāprabhura aprakaṭera śatavarṣa madhye katakaguli ‘guru-tyāgī’ mūrkha pāṣaṇḍī vyakti ye āpanādigake īśvarāvatāra baliyā pracāra kariyāchila, tad-viṣaye śrīmad-viśvanātha cakravartī ṭhākurera racita baliyā kathita ‘gaura-gaṇa-candrikā’ nāmnī pustikāra erūpa likhita āche –caitanya-deve jagadīśa-buddhīn kecij janān vīkṣya ca rāḍhavaṅge | svasyeśvaratvaṁ paribodhayanto dhṛtveśa-veśaṁ vyacaran vimūḍhāḥ || teṣāṁ tu kaścid dvija-vāsudevo gopāladevaḥ paśupāṅgajo ‘ham | evaṁ hi vikhyāpayituṁ pralāpī śṛgāla-saṁjñāṁ samavāpa rāḍhe || śrī-viṣṇudāso raghunandano ‘haṁ vaikuṇṭha-dhāmnaḥ samitaḥ kapīndrāḥ | bhaktā mameti cchalanāparādhāt tyaktaḥ kapīndreti samākhyayāryaiḥ || uddhārārthaṁ kṣiti-nivasatāṁ śrīla-nārāyaṇo ’haṁ | samprāpto ’smi vraja-vana-bhuvaṁ mūrdhni cūḍāṁ nidhāya | mandaṁ hṛṣyann iti ca kathayan brāhmaṇo mādhavākhyaś cūḍādhārī tv iti jana-gaṇaiḥ kīrtyate vaṅgadeśe || kṛṣṇa-līlāṁ prakurvāṇaḥ kāmukaḥ śūdra-yājakaḥ | devalo ‘sau parityaktaś caitanyeneti viśrutaḥ || ativaḍyādayo ’py anye parityaktās tu vaiṣṇavaiḥ | teṣāṁ saṅgo na kartavyaḥ saṅgād dharmo vinaśyati || ālāpād gātra-saṁsparśān niḥśvāsāt saha bhojanāt | sañcarantīha pāpāni taila-bindur ivāmbhasi || 

“Within a hundred years after the disappearance of Mahāprabhu some, foolish atheists rejected their gurus and advertised themselves as incarnations of the Supreme Lord. In this regard, the Gaura-gaṇa-candrikā, which is said to be written by Śrīmad Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, states as follows: ‘Having seen that others considered Lord Caitanya the Lord of the universe, some foolish people of Rāḍhadeśa wandered about dressed as the Supreme Lord advertising themselves as the Supreme. Among them, there was a brāhmaṇa named Vāsudeva, who used to prattle proclaiming that ‘I am Gopāla, Nanda Mahārāja’s son.’ He became known in Rāḍhadeśa as ‘jackal.’ Another one named Viṣṇudāsa used to say, ‘I am Lord Rāmacandra and came from Vaikuṇṭha. The leading monkeys such as Hanumān are my devotees.’ On account of his deceitfulness and offenses, he was rejected by respectable people, who called him as leader of the monkeys. ‘I, Lord Nārāyaṇa, have appeared in the land of Vraja to deliver the people of the earth.’ Speaking in this way, a brāhmaṇa named Mādhava used to put a jewel on his head and thus lie to the ignorant, therefore he became known by the people of Bengal as cūḍādhārī, one who wears a jewel on the head. This Mādhava was a priest of the śūdras and lived off deity worship. Being the very lusty, he used to imitate the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs. It is heard that he was rejected by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Similarly, there are other deviants like the ativāḍīs, etc. who were rejected by the Vaiṣṇavas. One should not associate with such persons, for one’s religiosity is destroyed by their association. By talking to them, eating with them and touching them or even their breath, sinful reactions spread just as a drop of oil over the water.”