Thursday, November 23, 2017

Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya Release

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The Brahma-sutra-karika-bhasya is a unique composition in many respects. Besides being one of the most concise commentaries on the whole Brahma-sutra, it may be the only extant versified (karika) commentary on every single aphorism. Versified commentaries are rare, given that versification substantially increases the level of difficulty, and only a few authors ventured to write one. Gaudapada’s karika commentary on the Mandukya Upanisad is perhaps the best known text in the genre. Madhvacarya’s two versified commentaries on the Brahma-sutra are also very well-known. In the Anubhasya, he summarized each of the four chapters in seven verses. In the Anuvyakhyana, he commented on most of the text in 1,920 verses, yet he skipped many sutras. This was probably the major source of inspiration for Vidyabhusana to compose his own karika commentary, in which he explains all the 552 sutras in merely 750 verses, most of them in anustup (32 syllables). Some aphorisms are glossed with a quarter of a verse (pada), while others are more elaborately commented in several verses. Madhvacarya’s influence is also evident from the very first section, where Vidyabhusana brings the concept of ‘visesa.’ The author also gives original interpretations to several aphorisms all over the text, which also differ considerably from those in his Govinda-bhasya.

This edition includes the original in Sanskrit followed by the English translation and extensive notes.


                During its history spanning thousands of years, the Indian subcontinent has seen the dawn and decline of countless philosophical schools. Many of them rose and vanished without leaving behind any records that can be traced at present, and their existence in the remote past is sometimes known only from vague references in ancient manuscripts. The schools that accepted the Vedas as the foremost evidence became known as Āstikas (believers), and those that did not, became known as Nāstikas (non-believers). The Vedas are primarily divided into three sections, as pertaining to ritualistic activities (karma-kāṇḍa), pertaining to worship (upāsanā-kāṇḍa), and pertaining to knowledge (jñāna-kāṇḍa). The jñāna-kāṇḍa of each Veda is dealt with in the Upaniṣads, whose central theme is spiritual knowledge and the means to acquire it. There are more than a hundred Upaniṣads, and they present a great variety of topics and statements from different Vedic branches, some of which may seem to conflict with each other’s descriptions and conclusions. Understanding the need to reconcile many Upaniṣadic passages and establish the basis for their exegesis and systematic study, Bādarāyaṇa, better known as Vyāsadeva, compiled the Brahma-sūtra, which consists of several hundred aphorisms about the Supreme Absolute Truth, also named the Vedānta-sūtra because they present the ultimate conclusion (anta) of the Vedas.
                Due to the preaching efforts of Śaṅkarācārya (ca. 7th – 8th century AD), Vedānta was propagated far and wide, and not only played a major role in curbing the then flourishing non-Vedic systems but also in suppressing Vedic schools that held a relative and limited concept about the Supreme Absolute Truth and the ultimate goal of life.  Sāṁkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika and Pūrva-mīmāṁsā are some of the prominent among the so-called Vedic philosophies, but their acceptance of Vedic authority is tainted by misinterpretations and distortions, and therefore their views and conclusions were criticised and refuted in the Brahma-sūtra. Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtra exerted a significant influence in the course of the history of philosophy in India. Although later philosophers from other schools substantially diverged from his non-dualistic interpretations, most of them closely followed Śaṅkara’s contextual interpretations of the aphorisms and the relevant scriptural passages to a great extent. There is also a noticeable congruity between the Upaniṣadic statements based on which Śaṅkara interprets each sūtra and those attributed by later commentators. In one sense, this attended well their purpose to rebut his explanations in the light of the very same scriptural evidences.
Among those who staunchly opposed Śaṅkara’s advaitavāda, Rāmānujācārya (1017-1137 AD) was the first philosopher who could not only respond to it by composing his Śrī-bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra, in which he exhaustively met each of his arguments on the highest level of scholarship, but also by his untiring missionary endeavours all over India. He was thoroughly successful in establishing the validity of his viśiṣṭādvaita (qualified monism) philosophy and thus gave new impetus to the ancient Vaiṣṇava tradition, particularly in South India.
The appearance of Madhvācārya (1238-1317 AD) was also a turning point in the propagation of Vaiṣṇava philosophy and dharma. His commentaries on Vedānta from the view-point of dualism (dvaita) established another important tradition that has remained strong throughout the centuries. Vyāsa Tīrtha (ca. 1446-1539 AD) was the eleventh pontiff after Madhvācārya and had thousands of disciples in all parts of the country. Some of his most notable disciples are Kanaka Dāsa and Purandara Dāsa, who redefined the propagation of Vaiṣṇavism by introducing a new genre of devotional poetry and music, especially among common people and the lower social classes. Another amongst Vyāsa Tīrtha’s disciples was Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha, about whom nothing definite is known at present. As the successor of Vyāsa Tīrtha in the post of pontiff was Śrīnivāsa Tīrtha, the name of Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha is obviously not mentioned in the list of the disciplic succession of the Vyāsarāja Maṭha. On the other hand, Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha’s name does appear in the lists of the disciplic succession that came to be known as the Mādhva-paramparā in Northern India, from which we learn that Mādhavendra Purī was his disciple. Despite the consistent title “Tīrtha” in this line and the apparently sudden change into the title “Purī,” Mādhavendra Purī was widely known in those days as a Mādhva. One of the possible explanations is that he may have taken sannyāsa from the Viṣṇu-sampradāya. There is a rumour that he took sannyāsa in the line descending from Viṣṇu Purī, the author of Bhakti-ratnāvalī, who was also known as a disciple of Jayadharma Tīrtha. There is also a possibility that Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha named some of his sannyāsī disciples in Northern India with different titles to distinguish them from the orthodox Southern tradition.

Both Kavi Karṇapūra (16th century AD) and Viśvanātha Cakravartī (17th-18th century AD) corroborate[4] that Mādhavendra Purī was a disciple of Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha and the original propounder of the mādhurya-rasa (conjugal mellow) mode of worship as the utmost. Mādhavendra Purī is also well-known as a Mādhva amongst the Vaiṣṇavas of the Vallabhācārya-sampradāya. By the end of his Śrī-Vallabha-digvijaya, Yadunātha (16th century AD), grandson of Vallabhācārya, described the episode of Vallabhācārya’s taking sannyāsa from Mādhavendra Purī, whom he describes as a sannyāsī of the Mādhva-sampradāya. In his Do Sau Bāvan Vaiṣṇava Kī Vārtā, Gokulanātha (16th century AD), another grandson of Vallabhācārya, narrated how Viṭṭhalanātha studied the scriptures from a Mādhva renunciant named Mādhavendra Purī.[5] It is beyond doubt that Mādhavendra Purī was the guru of Īśvara Purī, from whom Lord Caitanya received dīkṣā. In this way, His connection with the Mādhva-sampradāya is clear. One of the earliest known references 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 to other two Oriya texts that mention the link: Īśvara Dāsa’s (end of 16th century) Caitanya Bhāgavata and Divākara Dāsa’s (early 17th century) Jagannātha Caritāmṛta. Similarly, in the introduction of the Nava-ratnam, Harirāma Vyāsa (early 16th century) also presents the Mādhva-Gauḍīya disciplic succession, and so does Narahari Cakravartī (early 18th century) in the Bhakti-ratnākara, fifth wave, in the section dealing with Rāghava’s description of Lord Gaurāṅga’s pastimes to Śrīnivāsa. Therein, he states that the mentioned paramparā list was heard from Gopāla Guru, a contemporary of Lord Caitanya. Those same verses containing this list were quoted by Manohara Dāsa in his Sampradāya-bodhinī.[6] Manohara Dāsa described the four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas at the end of the Anurāgavallī, dated Saṁvat 1753 (1696 AD), in which he counts the Gauḍīyas among the Mādhvas and assures that there is no reason to doubt this connection. Similarly, in his Bhakta-māla, dated 1717 AD, Rāghava Dāsa also describes the Mādhva-Gauḍīya paramparā.[7] In the Nārāyaṇa-bhaṭṭa-caritāmṛta (3.33-47),[8] Jānakīprasāda Bhaṭṭa also corroborates the same disciplic succession. 
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had given three main orders to the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana – to write books on philosophy extensively quoting from the śruti and the smṛti to corroborate the acintya-bhedābheda conclusion; to excavate Vṛndāvana in order to recover the lost sites of the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa; and to establish temples for His worship. Tradition says that the great-grandson of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vajranābha, had first carved three deities in an attempt to depict Him – Govinda, Madana-mohana and Gopīnātha. Govindadeva was found by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and in 1590 AD was installed in the most gorgeous temple ever built in North India, sponsored by King Mān Singh I (1550-1614 AD) from Amber, Rajasthan. Madana-mohana was under the care of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and in 1580 AD was installed in a temple built by a rich merchant on the Āditya Ṭīlā (Hill), by the bank of the Yamunā. Gopīnātha was worshipped by Madhu Paṇḍita, a disciple of Gadādhara Paṇḍita, and installed in a similar temple built by another Rajasthani Rajput called Raesil in the same period. Unfortunately, the time came when the Moghul ruler, Aurangzeb, took the power and started his persecutions against Hinduism. In 1669 AD, he gave an open order to his army to destroy all the main Hindu temples and deities within his domain.  Under this threat, the Vaiṣṇava leaders in Vṛndāvana decided to appeal to the Rajput kings. With mutual cooperation, it was decided that the deities should be moved to Rajasthan. In 1670, the troops of Aurangzeb mercilessly desecrated the main temples in Vṛndāvana, but by then, there was no one inside anymore.
After moving from one place to another, Govindadeva finally settled under the protection of Mahārāja Sawai Jai Singh II (1688-1743 AD) in the area where he built the present Jaipur city. According to oral tradition, some time after their arrival, the Gauḍīyas had to face some challenges put by the local Vaiṣṇava community. In the historical context of that time, affiliation with one of the four traditional Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas somehow became an unavoidable requirement for a religious group to acquire social legitimacy. The concept of only four sampradāyas had then become popular in North India, partly on account of Nābhājī’s (1570-1662 AD) Bhakta-māla. In the early 18th century, Bālānanda Svāmī from the Rāmānandi-sampradāya created the Cār 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: [9]
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.”
This refers to the following verses:
sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te viphalā matāḥ
ataḥ kalau bhaviṣyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
“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.”[10]
It is said that the questions raised were primarily based on the following grounds: the Gauḍīyas did not seem to belong to any of the four sampradāyas; and they did not have a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra as the other sampradāyas had. Although there are no definite records to corroborate the incidents with accuracy, from the available documentation and the known subsequent history, it seems that there is a fund of truth in this version. The tone and the context in which these questions were raised is not totally clear, and may have been possibly born from a natural urge to be duly introduced to and accepted by that religious and social environment. What is clear from the available documentation is that King Sawai Jai Singh II was regularly holding philosophical debates among different groups in his court, so it is natural to assume that the Gauḍīyas may have had one or more turns in those. In one sense, it is also true that since Govindadeva arrived there, He has been the centre of attention, and His temple substantially overshadows other important temples in the area. Hence, it is not out of place to assume that political interests may have also played a role in the plot. At the same time, to prove one’s affiliation to a bona fide sampradāya was a sine qua non. According to some records,[11] when Rūpa Lāl, the then Mahanta of the Rādhā-vallabha Temple in Vṛndāvana, declined to admit their affiliation to any other sampradāya and failed to attend a debate on the matter, he was persecuted by the King for his disregard and had to leave Vraja along with his family.
                There are several documents and letters that somehow hint that the Gauḍīyas were expected to legitimize their status as priests and missionaries and clarify their philosophy and mode of worship. This was probably not a matter of a particular incident or other but something that was going on for many years until effective steps were taken. One of the oldest accounts of the case is Gopāla Kavi’s Vṛndāvana-dhāmānurāgāvalī (chapter 13), composed in 1843, where he states that the Rāmānandīs and the followers of Viṣṇu Svāmī and Harivyāsa wanted to take over the worship of Govinda, Gopīnātha and Madana-mohana and were taking the Gauḍīyas to task. King Sawai Jai Singh requested Gauḍīya scholars to come forward in their defence. Three Vaiṣṇavas from Navadvīpa signed a letter[12] sent to the King stating their views regarding Vaiṣṇava conduct and explaining how the principles governing the Gauḍīya-sampradāya are based on the works of the Gosvāmīs Rūpa, Sanātana, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Jīva. A couple of letters,[13] one sent by some paṇḍitas from the court of King Kṛṣṇacandra of Navadvīpa and the other sent by four Gauḍīya Gosvāmīs, address the parakīya-svakīya controversy and conveys to the King the message that Rādhārāṇī’s relation with Kṛṣṇa as parakīya (paramour) is just apparent. This seems to corroborate another rumour that the local community protested against the worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa together, as They are not husband and wife. A certain tridaṇḍī sannyāsī wrote to the King declaring that, “I agree with the views of His Majesty that the texts written by the ancient ācāryas should be coordinated and all controversies should be sincerely removed.” [14] All these are evidences that there were indeed some struggles between the various religious groups regarding their philosophical concepts, traditions, modes of worship, etc. In the position of an impartial ruler, King Jai Singh took upon himself the task to try to establish an environment congenial for all, based on mutual harmony.
One of the first responses from the Gauḍīyas appears to be a letter[15] written by Śyāmacaraṇa Śarmā addressed to Sawai Jai Singh II, in which he describes the Gauḍīya-sampradāya as being independent from the other lines because it was founded by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He then justifies the lack of a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra based on Lord Caitanya’s proposition that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is its natural commentary.[16] Yet he agreed that it would be appropriate for His Majesty to commission an aphorism-wise Brahma-sūtra commentary from the Gauḍīya perspective. In those days, the King had already commissioned several works written by Kṛṣṇadeva Bhaṭṭācārya, in which different aspects of the Gauḍīya philosophy are dealt with.
It seems that the view that the Gauḍīya-sampradāya is independent did not meet a good response either from the local orthodox Vaiṣṇavas or from other Gauḍīyas who knew of its connection with the Mādhva-paramparā, as well demonstrated by the ample evidence mentioned above. The locals were not ready to accept as bona fide any sampradāya not proceeding from these four – Śrī, Brahmā, Rudra and the Kumāras, represented by their respective ācāryas – Rāmānuja, Madhva, Viṣṇu Svāmī and Nimbārka. The Gauḍīyas had to send a message to Vṛndāvana appealing to the senior most learned scholar at that        time – Viśvanātha Cakravartī. The ācārya, however, was in advanced age and had also taken a vow to never leave Vraja, hence he would not be able to personally go to Jaipur to face the opponents. Yet he was convinced that Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a youth who had come to study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from him, was the right person to deal with the case.  Once in Jaipur, Vidyābhūṣaṇa was successful in presenting the Gauḍīyas as a legitimate branch of the Mādhva-sampradāya. 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 AD, and the earliest documents which mention his name belong to the same decade. According to documentary evidence,[17] he left this world in 1793, 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, as insinuated by some very malicious authors.[18] All he did was bring to light a fact which was perhaps not so relevant until then.
Although from the outset it is very clear that the condition for legitimacy was affiliation to one of the four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas, and although Vidyābhūṣaṇa himself quotes the mentioned Padma Purāṇa verses to corroborate this point, surprisingly, writers like Vidyāvinoda[19] and Kanāi Lāl Adhikārī[20] state that Vidyābhūṣaṇa proved that the Gauḍīyas are the fifth sampradāya! Despite having been initiated in the Śyāmānandi-parivāra, Adhikārī was such a black sheep that when Vidyābhūṣaṇa presents his own disciplic succession (tatra sva-guru-paramparā yathā...) in the beginning of the Prameya-ratnāvalī, the so-called Bengali translator writes, “grantha-kāra nija prāthamika guru-paramparā bolitechen” (Now the author states his previous disciplic succession). After the paragraph in which Vidyābhūṣaṇa lists the names of the ācāryas in the Mādhva-Gauḍīya-paramparā beginning with Lord Brahmā up to Advaitācārya, Lord Nityānanda and Lord Caitanya, the commentary written by Vedāntavāgīśa reads: itthaṁ ca trayāṇāṁ prabhūṇāṁ vaṁśyair idānīntanaiḥ sambadhya sva-sva-guru-paramparā sarvair boddhavyā iti darśitam, “It is thus demonstrated that one should understand one’s respective disciplic succession by connecting the current followers with those three Lords.” Instead of repeating the words of the author and the commentator in his translation, Adhikārī writes: ei paramparā madhye grantha-kāra nija nāma vā tāṁhāra śrī-gurura nāma lipi-baddha nā thākāya sudhī-gaṇera cintanīya, “The wise should reflect on the fact that the author did not mention his own name or the name of his guru in this disciplic succession.” Since the translator had just said that this is Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s “previous” disciplic succession, the only thing the wise reader will conclude from this is that Vidyābhūṣaṇa must have given up his connection with Lord Caitanya and His predecessors! [21] In this case, there would be no connection with any of the four bona fide Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas, and thus Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s writings would be self-defeating in the Jaipur debates. What the wise who read the original and the commentary will actually conclude is that Vidyābhūṣaṇa did not mention any name after Lord Caitanya because by proving the legitimacy of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, all its branches would be automatically legitimized. There were probably members of all different Gauḍīya branches serving Govindadeva in Jaipur in those days, just as at present, so it would be inappropriate to specifically call attention to his own branch (Śyāmanandi-parivāra).
Sadly, the above is just one instance among many, and it reveals what seems to be an internal conspiracy. In his commentary on the Śyāmānanda-śatakam (2), Vidyābhūṣaṇa writes: śrī-kṛṣṇo nanda-sūnuḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyākhyayā gauḍe’vatatāra madhva-siddhāntaṁ svīkṛtya hari-bhaktiṁ tatra pracārayāṁ cakāra, “Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, has now descended in Gauḍadeśa and is called Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. Having accepted the siddhānta of Madhvācārya, He has propagated devotion to Lord Hari in that country.” When the very Mahanta of the Śyāmānandi-parivāra published this text in Gopiballabhpur in 1987, he totally omitted this sentence. For such a hoax to be successful, they would have to delete much more than that. In books like Prameya-ratnāvalī, Govinda-bhāṣya and Siddhānta-ratna, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa clearly 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 branch within that sampradāya on their own merit. On this basis, some argue that the Mādhva link is not legitimate, as there are factual philosophical differences between both sampradāyas. However, philosophical diversity within the same religious group is far from being something unheard of. In all Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas there is a substantial divergence among their respective followers, which sometimes may lead to the formation of sub-sects. Among Śrī Vaiṣṇavas, for example, the division of Tenkalais and Vadakalais is notorious. Nevertheless, both are undisputedly connected to Rāmānujācārya in many respects. The very fact that the Rāmānandīs of Jaipur had declared their affiliation to the Śrī-sampradāya and the Puṣṭi-mārgīs had declared their affiliation to the Viṣṇu-svāmī-sampradāya, despite their respective independent views, corroborates that philosophy was not the main criteria to be accepted as legitimate. From the aforementioned Padma Purāṇa verse, it seems that receiving a mantra from a samprādaya was indeed the main factor under consideration to ascertain whether one’s affiliation was genuine or not, which would be possible only by identifying one’s religious lineage. While they seemed to be somewhat lenient regarding the dynamics of philosophy along the centuries, the same certainly could not be applied to the Vedic mantras.
On the other hand, 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 words channaḥ (covered) and tri-yugaḥ (Who is manifest only in three yugas) 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. To make for this, all of a sudden appeared dozens of verses that directly declare that Lord Kṛṣṇa will take birth in Navadvīpa in the house of Jagannātha Miśra and Śacīdevī and will be known as Caitanya. Such verses are claimed to be from the Purāṇas, tantras and so on, but curiously, the proper references are never provided, nor can they actually be traced in any available edition or manuscript. It is also curious that neither Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī or Jīva Gosvāmī, nor Vṛndāvanadāsa, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja nor any other Gauḍīya scholar between the 16th and 19th centuries seemed to know any of those verses, although they quoted extensively from the same Purāṇas, tantras, and so on. The plain reason is that those verses are homemade, particularly by those who failed to accept the authority of the Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana and the bona fide connection with the Mādhva-paramparā, and being desperate to prove their case, resort to forgery, as seen above. They also fail to explain why a direct manifestation of Lord Nārāyaṇa Himself would accept initiation at all, and then start a new sampradāya which has no connection with His dīkṣā-guru! It does not take much to conclude that the natural result of such a deviation will be the self destruction of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, and this is what Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura meant when he declared, “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.”
Some ill-informed individuals claim that there are no common mantras between the Mādhvas and the Gauḍīyas, which is far from being true. The answer to this claim is actually hinted by Vedāntavāgīśa in his commentary on the Prameya-ratnāvalī: brahmaṇaḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-śiṣyatvaṁ śrī-gopāla-pūrva-tāpinyāṁ visphuṭam, “In the Gopāla-tāpanī it is clearly stated that Lord Brahmā became a disciple of Lord Kṛṣṇa.” From that śruti we learn that Lord Brahmā was then initiated into the Gopāla-mantra by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, Kavi Karṇapūra says: vyāsāl labdha-kṛṣṇa-dīkṣo madhvācāryaḥ, “Madhvācārya was initiated by Vyāsadeva into the Kṛṣṇa-mantra.” In this way, the very same Gopāla-mantra was received by Lord Caitanya from Īśvara Purī and is commonly chanted in all Gauḍīya branches. Factually, in the Mahābhārata-tātparya-nirṇaya (32.27), Madhvācārya states: gopāla-mantraṁ bhajatāṁ phala-prada ekena rūpeṇa bhuvy adṛśyaḥ, “Although invisible, Lord Kṛṣṇa manifests His form in this world to those who worship Him with the Gopāla-mantra, for He rewards them accordingly.” Would Madhvācārya make such a statement if he had not received the Gopāla-mantra and also initiated his disciples into it? The present Mādhvas in Uḍupī can also confirm that this is one of the mantras received in their disciplic succession.
                Following the royal family tradition, King Sawai Jai Singh II extended substantial financial assistance to the Gauḍīya temples during his rule. He purchased a large plot of land on the bank of the Yamunā, where he built palatial quarters named “Jai Singh Ghera,” meant for his residence while visiting Vṛndāvana. We know that he was already in touch with Viśvanātha Cakravartī as early as 1716 AD, when he allotted the whole income of a village to be used in the service of the Rādhā-Gokulānanda Temple, then situated at Rādhā-kuṇḍa.[22] Jai Singh not only built the Jaipur city for Govindadeva but also installed Him as the King and accepted for himself the post of minister under Him. His royal seal reads: Śrī Govindadeva caraṇa Sawai Jai Singh śaraṇa, “Lord Govinda’s feet are the shelter of Sawai Jai Singh.” From the volumes in his library and recorded documents, it is clear that he had a deep interest in philosophy and even penned a good number of original texts. He collected multiple Brahma-sūtra commentaries from different schools and also authored a vivṛti (explanation) on it entitled “Brahma-bodhinī.” Yet the Gauḍīyas had no Vedānta commentary to their credit. Since the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was equally accepted as authority by the other philosophical schools, the Gauḍīyas could not vindicate it as a direct exposition of their Vedānta interpretation – the aphorisms still needed to be properly defined on the light of the Bhāgavata philosophy, as it was done by Nimbārka, Rāmānuja, Madhva,Vallabha, and many of their followers. On the one hand, the lack of a Brahma-sūtra commentary was a setback for the Gauḍīyas in their need to prove their credentials, and on the other, the King himself had a great interest in having another commentary for his personal studies. In due course, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa proved himself capable to write such a commentary and accepted the King’s order to do it.
                There are important documents and letters that shed light on some of the dates and accomplishments of Vidyābhūṣaṇa during what seems to have been a quite long life span. The earliest dated historical reference to him is a document[23] that records the visit of Sawai Jai Singh to Vṛndāvana in 1741 AD, in which he attended a religious ceremony held by Vidyābhūṣaṇa and offered him a generous gift in money. This ceremony may have marked the appointment of “Vidyābhūṣaṇa Svāmī” as the Mahanta of the new Govinda Temple, and consequentially, of the whole Vṛndāvana, as confirmed by another document quoted below. In a letter by Rāmaśaraṇa Gosvāmī, the then Mahanta of the Govindadeva Temple in Jaipur, and others inform the King that a new mahanta would be appointed in consultation with Vidyābhūṣaṇa,[24] who is referred to as the Mahanta of the new Govinda Temple in Vṛndāvana. From this, we can conclude that by 1742 AD he was already a distinguished personality both in Vṛndāvana and Jaipur, something he could have accomplished only after succeeding in establishing the authority of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya and writing a Vedānta commentary. He was also the head priest of the Rādhā-Śyāmasundara Temple in Vṛndāvana, to which several of the rulers of Jaipur offered regular grants. In 1745 AD, King Īśvarī Singh (ruled 1743-1750 AD) renewed a grant for that temple in Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s name, but the same was transferred to Viśvambhara Adhikārī in 1749 AD due to Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s absence.[25] Soon after his coronation, King Madho Singh (ruled 1751-1768 AD) gave Vidyābhūṣaṇa a respectable reception and gifted him money.
A document quoted below states that Sawai Jai Singh II gave Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa a temple called “Vijaya-Śyāmasundara,” which became better known as the “Vidyābhūṣaṇa-mandira.” This suggests that Baladeva’s fame was very wide spread. In 1751 AD, King Madho Singh granted a village for the service of this temple,[26] and several documents issued in subsequent years attest that it was regularly receiving financial assistance for the service of the deity, sometimes referred to as “Śyāmasundara,” and sometimes as “Vijaya-Śyāmasundara.” On the contrary of the records of grants to other temples, in which their locations are clearly mentioned, none of the records about it state anything about its location, except that it was in Jaipur. This may be an indication that the temple was situated in the main area of the city, nearby the royal palace and the Govindadeva Temple. Yet at present there is no clue about its whereabouts and nobody in Jaipur seems to have ever heard of it. The absolute lack of records in the Devasthāna Vibhāga, which manages temples all over Rajasthan, corroborates that the temple may have become extinct long before the independence of India. In those days, Vidyābhūṣaṇa may have spent his time partly in Jaipur managing this temple, and partly in Vṛndāvana, managing the new Govinda Temple, which seems to justify his absence in the Rādhā-Śyāmasundara Temple in Vṛndāvana. The Vijaya-Śyāmasundara Temple in Jaipur seems to have been notorious from mid 18th century to mid 19th century. The last known document[27] about it is a report to the Cār Sampradāya Akhaḍā that gives a brief account of its history: “The temple of Śrī Śyāmasundara in Vṛndāvana is served by the priests from Gopīballabhpur, among whom Mahanta Vidyābhūṣaṇa was an eminent scholar and temple manager. The late King of kings[28] invited him to Jaipur, and understanding his talents as a manager, installed the deity of Śrī Śyāmasundara, for Whose service he gave the village Somlī in the district of Hiṇḍauṇ. In Jaipur, he first built a temple and then ordered the deity of Śrī Śyāmasundara to be carved in Vṛndāvana, which he later installed in that temple. For the daily service of the deity, he first gave the village Rīgasyā. When this village was withdrawn, the deity received instead the village Haripurā in the district of Dausā. This village was also withdrawn after some time, and then there were no grains for the service of the deity. The head priest, Sādhucaraṇa, reported this in Vṛndāvana. The then Mahanta met the service expenditure, for the custom in that lineage is that as Vidyābhūṣaṇa was the Mahanta of Śrīdhāma Vṛndāvana, he was thereby the master of all temples in the region and their revenue. After he passed away, his disciple Paramānanda ascended the post of Mahanta, and the head priest was Sādhucaraṇa. After some time, Sādhucaraṇa went to Jaipur to serve the deity. At the time when Sādhucaraṇa passed away, the representative was Narottamadāsa. After him, Jayanārāyaṇa performed the service. All of them were celibate ascetics. In Vṛndāvana and the other places in that area, celibate asceticism is prominent. Now Jayanārāyaṇa has passed away and left no disciple. He has not appointed any successor either. Therefore, I inform all sampradāya members that we, as the representatives of the sampradāyas and their respective estate-holders (...). It is usually upon the master to appoint a disciple to manage his estate and revenue. Among all householders and celibate ascetics there are disciples, but not all of them have rights over the property. Hence, an heir apparent should be selected. (...) This is the custom everywhere and it also applies to the ascetics of the various branches of all sampradāyas. This procedure also applies to all of us, representatives of the sampradāyas. (...) The genealogy in this tradition is as follows: Mahanta Vidyābhūṣaṇa; his disciple was Mahanta Paramānanda; his disciple was Mahanta Gopālacaraṇa; his disciple was Mahanta Subalacaraṇa; his disciple is Vanamālīcaraṇa, the present Mahanta.” [29] At the end of the letter are the signatures of several members of the Cār Sampradāya Akhaḍā. It is clear from this that since there was no successor, the matter was brought to them to decide the future of the temple. Further research is yet to be done to ascertain the outcome, but we may infer that they consulted the then current Śyāmānandī authorities in Vṛndāvana and Gopīballabhpur, and after due deliberation, may have relocated the deities and shut down the temple. According to the oral tradition, the small deities of Rādhā-Śyāmasundara in Vṛndāvana were installed by Śyāmānanda Prabhu in the late 16th century, and the large deities were installed by Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa in the 18th century. Although there are clear records about many incidents in Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s life, there is not a single piece of evidence that he ever installed a new set of deities in the Rādhā-Śyamasundara Temple in Vṛndāvana. If we link the information given in the above document with the oral tradition that the large deities of Rādhā-Śyamasundara were installed by Vidyābhūṣaṇa, the most plausible hypothesis is that the Vijaya-Śyāmasundara Temple was indeed shut down in 1854 AD and the deities were then taken to Vṛndāvana, where They are now worshipped side-by-side with Śyāmānanda Prabhu’s deities. Since the names “Vijaya-Śyāmasundara” and “Śyāmasundara” were both commonly used in Jaipur, it is quite possible that the former felt into oblivion in Vṛndāvana.
There are yet other two deities allegedly connected with Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. In the present Rādhā-Gokulānanda Temple in Vṛndāvana, nearby the Keśī Ghāṭ, there is a deity named “Vijaya-Govinda,” Who, according to the oral tradition of that temple, was worshipped by Vidyābhūṣaṇa. There are no available records to corroborate this, and the present priests are not able to provide any definite information as to how and when the deity arrived there. We do know, however, that the temple of Rādhā-Gokulānanda used to be situated at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where Viśvanātha Cakravartī spent the rest of his life. Some time after his disappearance, the deities were moved to Patthar Purā in Vṛndāvana, in a plot of land that belonged to him.[30] Gopāla Kavi states that Sawai Jai Singh II built a temple for Rādhā-Gokulānanda on that same spot, next to the ancient Govindadeva Temple.[31] A samādhi in memory of Cakravartī was also established there. Around mid 20th century, that land was sold out and the deities and samādhi were shifted to the present location. This may rule out the idea that Vidyābhūṣaṇa ever lived in this place. Since the new temple hosts several deities, Who were worshipped by different ācāryas and were obtained in different times and circumstances, without at least a piece of evidence, it is not possible to have a clear picture of the connection with Vidyābhūṣaṇa. We hear from the oral tradition that he studied Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Cakravartī, who is actually acknowledged in the beginning of Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s commentary on it. We also know about the connection both of them had with King Jai Singh. It is possible that Vidyābhūṣaṇa may have lived with Cakravartī in his kuñja at Patthar Purā, where the latter used to spend time whenever he came from Rādhā-kuṇḍa to Vṛndāvana. After being successful in his mission in Jaipur, Vidyābhūṣaṇa may have brought Vijaya-Govinda (“Victorious Govinda”) and installed Him in that kuñja, where later the King would built a temple and bring Rādhā-Gokulānanda. Since the main deities of the temple became Rādhā-Gokulānanda, the name of Vijaya-Govinda would naturally not appear in any documentation regarding grants and so on. As afterwards Vidyābhūṣaṇa had to attend the temples of Rādhā-Śyāmasundara, Govindadeva and Vijaya-Śyāmasundara, his connection would the Rādhā-Gokulānanda Temple would have been discontinued and is today unheard of. Yet, in the absence of clear records, this is nothing more than conjecture.
Another deity, called “Vijaya-Gopāla,” used to be worshipped in the main temple in Galta, but according to the present authorities, it was somehow damaged about a hundred years ago, and a new deity was never installed. The old altar remains closed. In the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna, Haridāsa Dāsa states that this deity was installed by Vidyābhūṣaṇa, but he gives neither the source of this information nor any detail. There is no indication that Haridāsa Dāsa ever went personally to Galta, so this may be nothing more than mere misinformation received from unreliable sources. First of all, the local Vaiṣṇavas have no information or records of any deity installed by Vidyābhūṣaṇa or any other Gauḍīya, as a matter of fact. Nor is there any evidence that Vidyābhūṣaṇa had any connection with Galta at all. Moreover, the present temple was built before Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s period, and its original structure has five altars. Anyone who visits the temple will immediately notice that this structure was built as a whole at the foot of a hill, without any chance that a fifth altar may have been added later. It is possible that the name “Vijaya” may be the cause of the confusion. Even today, many deities called “Vijaya” are found all over Jaipur, but there is hardly any relation between them. Unless someone is able to present historical data, rumours that Vidyābhūṣaṇa wrote a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra while staying at Galta or installed any deity there sound like baseless folklore.
From time to time, Vidyābhūṣaṇa paid visits to King Madho Singh and sent him letters and prasāda.[32] Following his forefathers’ tradition, when Prithvi Singh (ruled 1768-1778 AD) ascended the throne, he renewed Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s grants.[33] From one of his few dated works, the Aiśvarya-kādambinī, we learn that Vidyābhūṣaṇa was still actively writing in 1779 AD. There are no known records about his last decade of life, but a document dated the fourteenth day of the Bhadra month of Saṁvat 1850 (nineteenth of September, 1793 AD) describes his ceremony of condolence presided by King Pratap Singh (ruled 1778-1803 AD).[34] The ritual was held in the Govindadeva Temple in Jaipur, and Sādhucaraṇa was consecrated as the successor of Mahanta Vidyābhūṣaṇa. In this document it is also indicated that there was a huge estate under the management of Vidyābhūṣaṇa, including temples, lands, villages and their revenues. It is hoped that present and future research will shed more light on his life and work.
                Although Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa remains the sole Gauḍīya Vedāntācārya, although he stood up for the whole Gauḍīya-sampradāya when its credibility was questioned, although he was venerated by several generations of kings, saints and scholars alike, although his life was spotless and fully dedicated to the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Śyāmasundara and the scriptures, and although his increasing glory is celebrated all over the world, some renegades insist in affronting his authority. Since he was known in Jaipur and Vṛndāvana as “Vidyābhūṣaṇa Svāmī,” Lord Caitanya’s words seem to be very appropriate in connection to him also:
prabhu hāsi’ kahe,—“svāmī nā māne yei jana
veśyāra bhitare tāre kariye gaṇana”
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu smilingly said, ‘One who does not accept the svāmī [husband] as an authority I consider a prostitute.’[35]

The Text and the Manuscripts
                The Brahma-sūtra-kārikā-bhāṣya is a unique composition in many respects. Besides being one of the most concise commentaries on the whole Vedānta-sūtra, it may be the only extant versified (kārikā) commentary on every single aphorism. Versified commentaries are rare, given that versification substantially increases the level of difficulty, and only a few authors ventured to write one. Gauḍapāda’s kārikā commentary on the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad is perhaps the best known text in the genre. Madhvācārya’s two versified commentaries on the Brahma-sūtra are also very well-known. In the Aṇubhāṣya, he summarized each of the four chapters in seven verses. In the Anuvyākhyāna, he commented on most of the text in 1,920 verses, yet he skipped many sūtras. This was probably the major source of inspiration for Vidyābhūṣaṇa to compose his own kārikā commentary, in which he explains all the 552 sūtras in merely 750 verses, most of them in anuṣṭup (32 syllables). Some aphorisms are glossed with a quarter of a verse (pāda), while others are more elaborately commented in several verses. As is the case of many other Vedānta commentaries, including the Vaiṣṇava ones, in the first two chapters Vidyābhūṣaṇa follows Śaṅkara’s exegesis to a considerable extent, particularly when it comes to the refutation of other philosophical schools. He takes to the interpretations of Rāmānuja’s Śrī-bhāṣya from time to time in order to give a Vaiṣṇava turn to Śaṅkara’s flow. Madhvācārya’s influence is also evident from the very first section,[36] where Vidyābhūṣaṇa brings the concept of ‘viśeṣa.’ The author also gives original interpretations to several aphorisms all over the text, which also differ considerably from those in his Govinda-bhāṣya. From the third section of the third chapter onwards, there is a radical change in the pattern of exegesis, in which Vidyābhūṣaṇa gives up the lead of the aforementioned ācāryas and borrows most of the themes from Viṭṭhalanātha Dīkṣita’s Aṇubhāṣya, making several adaptations to suit the Gauḍīya mood.
                As we mentioned previously, King Sawai Jai Singh II wanted to commission a Gauḍīya commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, and it may have taken many years until he found someone capable and ready for the task. Therefore, Vidyābhūṣaṇa begins and ends his Kārikā-bhāṣya by stating that he is working under the direct order of His Majesty. In a couple of places, [37] Vidyābhūṣaṇa actually seems to be referring to the Brahma-sūtra-vivṛti Brahma-bodhinī, which was composed by the King himself, whom Vidyābhūṣaṇa calls “rājarṣi-sattama” (the best of saintly kings). The only extant complete copy of the Kārikā-bhāṣya is indeed part of the personal collection of manuscripts that belonged to Sawai Jai Singh II, the Khasmohor Collection, preserved at the Mahārāja Sawai Mān Singh II Museum in the City Palace in Jaipur, accession number 6079. Although no date is mentioned, based on available documentation, we can estimate its period. One of the manuscripts of the Brahma-bodhinī [38] is dated Saṁvat 1787 (1730 AD), and from an aforementioned document we learn that by 1741 AD Vidyābhūṣaṇa was already an eminent personality. Hence the Kārikā-bhāṣya must have been written between 1730 AD and 1740 AD. The name of the scribe is not mentioned, but the corrections and notes on the borders of the manuscript were unmistakably written by Dayānidhi, who was Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s main scribe for many years. We know his name from a manuscript of the Govinda-bhāṣya preserved in Gopiballabhpur, the Śyāmānandi-pīṭha in West Bengal, dated Saṁvat 1815 (1758 AD), in which he identifies himself as a brāhmaṇa, the son of the minister of Kūrmācala. He not only copied most of Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s works but also wrote several of his personal letters. The commentary portion is preceded by the salutation “śrī-gurave namaḥ,” and the sūtra portion starts with the salutation “śrī-kṛṣṇo jayati.” The handwriting is very neat and clean, which indicates that the scribe may have been a professional.
                Only one more manuscript copy of this text could be located so far, and it is preserved at the Vrindavan Research Institute, accession number 6630, but unfortunately it is damaged and it abruptly ends on sūtra 3,3.39. This is noticeably an older version of the commentary, and some of the mistakes in it were corrected in the Jaipur edition. The commentary portion is preceded by the salutation “śrīmad-gopāla-bhaṭṭo jayati,” and the sūtra portion starts with the salutation “śrī-rādhā-ramaṇo jayati,” both of which obviously indicate that the scribe was either a member of that branch or worked for them. The most surprising thing in it is that from sūtra 3,3.1 onwards, the commentary is totally different from that in the Jaipur edition. Here Vidyābhūṣaṇa sticks to the same pattern of the previous sections and mostly follows Śaṅkara in the interpretation of aphorisms on karma-kāṇḍa related topics. Without knowing the background behind it, it is difficult to guess what could have made Vidyābhūṣaṇa write two versions of this section, and possibly the last five sections also, as it seems that the manuscript used to be complete. It is possible that it was only after writing this version that Vidyābhūṣaṇa could secure a copy of Viṭṭhalanātha’s Aṇubhāṣya and then felt highly inspired by his innovative way to interpret the sūtras from a very devotional perspective. This third section also has a brief introduction, something which was not seen in any of the previous sections and appears to be a later addition.
There is a strong tradition according to which Vidyābhūṣaṇa wrote a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra in a very short time, although there is divergence regarding how long it took. Some claim it was as quick as three days; some say one week; some say one month; some say three months, and so on. Whatever the case, it is clear from all the above evidence that the said commentary was indeed the Kārikā-bhāṣya, and not the Govinda-bhāṣya, which was a much longer and later composition. Since the copy Vidyābhūṣaṇa sent to Gopiballabhpur is dated 1758 AD, this is most probably the year in which the Govinda-bhāṣya was concluded. In corroboration to this, there is no copy of the Govinda-bhāṣya in the Khasmohor Collection, for Sawai Jai Singh II passed away in 1743 AD, and none of his successors seemed to share the same interest in philosophy. Since the Kārikā-bhāṣya was specifically meant to attend the King’s request and had to be delivered shortly to appease the alleged opposition, Vidyābhūṣaṇa was as concise and fast as possible, but he knew that to make justice to the Gauḍīya philosophy he would have to write a much more elaborate commentary later. This justifies the scarcity of copies of this text, as opposed to the Govinda-bhāṣya, whose copies were vastly distributed.
It is also appropriate to remark that the Tattva-dīpikā was also commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II, as I recently came to know from another manuscript in the Khasmohor Collection. This is yet another evidence of the relation of Vidyābhūṣaṇa with the King and well justifies the honour received from him.
With a few exceptions, the original manuscript gives no references to the specific scriptural passages under discussion. Therefore, in order to help the readers, I have provided relevant quotes from the śruti and the smṛti. These were mostly selected by consulting other commentaries on the Brahma-sūtra. In instances where Vidyābhūṣaṇa gave original interpretations, and the cross references on the same sūtra are not applicable, I made my own selections of texts. In either case, the scriptural quotes are not meant to be exhaustive. The Upaniṣadic references are usually limited to a single text, although in many instances the same sentence or a similar one can also be found in other Upaniṣads and Vedas. I attempted to give Gauḍīya oriented translations to the quoted Upaniṣads, but the readers should bear in mind that sometimes the passages were translated from view-point of the pūrva-pakṣa (opponent). Thus, the same Upaniṣadic sentence is sometimes translated in different ways, depending on the context.
The Painting
            A bonus in this research work was to come across the painting that illustrates the cover of this edition, which is part of the collection in the art gallery of the Mahārāja Man Singh II Museum of the City Palace in Jaipur, exhibit number AG 1215. It was painted on a kind of handmade paper named wasli, which is particularly used in miniatures. The original dimensions are 29 x 43 cm. On the top it is written “Rasika-murāri jī,” another name of Rasikānanda Prabhu, the foremost disciple of Śyāmānanda Prabhu. The painting depicts Rasikānanda surrounded by his disciples, including the elephant Gopāladāsa, who is bringing fruits, flowers and other gifts for him. Although these two names are widely known among the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in Bengal and Odisha, one may wonder how this painting would end up in the palace of the King of Jaipur in the 18th century. The conversion of this elephant, who used to devastate villages and kill anyone on his way, is one of the most notorious episodes that spread the glories of the Śyāmānandi-parivāra and its unprecedented missionary activities. Rasikānanda Prabhu was the guru of Nayanānanda Gosvāmī, who was the guru of Rādhā-Dāmodara Gosvāmī, who was the guru of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Svāmī, who was the only eminent Śyāmānandī in Jaipur in the 18th century. Based on these indications, I had requested a copy of the painting and was later delighted to know that on the back side it is written: śyāmānandī rasika-murārijī goḍīya vaiṣṇava jyāṁ mast hāthī ne bas kīyo. vidyābhūṣaṇajī inke mārg mahe he, “Śyāmānandī Rasika-murārijī, a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava who subdued an elephant in rut. Vidyābhūṣaṇajī belongs to his line.” From the available records, we hear that Vidyābhūṣaṇa regularly visited the kings of Jaipur and used to exchange gifts with them. The exact circumstances behind this painting are not known, but it is clear that it was presented either by Vidyābhūṣaṇa or one of his followers to Sawai Jai Singh II or one of his descendants.

[1] Harirāma Vyāsa’s list is exactly the same here up to Mādhavendra Purī. Gopāla Guru’s list reads ‘Mahānidhi’ instead of ‘Dayānidhi.’
[2] This list was published in Prabhat Mukherjee’s The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa, chapter 8.
[3] This list appears in B.N.K. Sharma’s History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta, chapter 17.
[4] tasya śiṣyo mādhavendro yad-dharmo’yaṁ pravartitaḥ, “The disciple of Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha was Mādhavendra, by whom this religion of love for God was established.” Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (1576 AD) and Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā (early 18th century AD) respectively.
[5] This narration appears in the vārtā (chronicle) number 251, entitled Śrī Gusāīṁ jī ke Sevak Mādhavendra Purī kī Vārtā.
[6] This book was published by Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābā based on a manuscript dated 1707 Saṁvat (1651 AD).
[7] For the all original verses and translations of the texts mentioned here, please check my introduction to the Gaura-gaṇa-svarūpa-tattva-candrikā, published by the Jiva Institute, 2015.
[8] He belonged to the Gadādhara-parivāra. This book was published by Kṛṣṇadāsa Bābā in 1957. In the introduction, he says that Bhaṭṭa was born in Saṁvat 1722 (1665 AD).
[9] Literary Heritage of the Rulers of Amber and Jaipur, page 66. This seems to be a popular verse of unknown source.
[10] 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.”
[11] Vide Cācā Vṛndāvanadāsa’s Aṣṭayāma Sevā Samaya Prabandha, published by Srī Hita Sāhitya Prakāśana, Vṛndāvana.
[12] #1501, undated, Catalogue of Historical Documents in Kapad Dwara, Jaipur, 1988.
[13] #1507 and #1521, undated, idem.
[14] #1529, undated, idem.
[15] #1519, undated, idem. He was the head priest of the Gopīnātha Temple in Jaipur from 1697 AD to approximately 1730 AD.
[16] Vide Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya, 143-144.
[17] Quoted below.
[18] 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; A. K. Majumdar in Caitanya, His Life and Doctrine, chapter 22; and others.
[19] Acintya-bhedābheda-vāda, section 13.
[20] Vide his introduction to the Prameya-ratnāvalī.
[21] It is nothing but appalling that a man so incoherent and who shows such a lack of integrity by desecrating Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s work to present his own opinion was the principal of the Sanskrit College in Navadvīpa for many years as well as dīkṣā-guru. Unfortunately, has left similarly ignoble disciples who follow in his footsteps and keep on perpetrating profanities against Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa and the Mādhva-Gauḍīya-paramparā.
[22] Nusukha Punya, Vol. 17, p.205, Rajasthan State Archives.
[23] The information from documents quoted here which have no specific reference are from Dr. Adrian Burton’s thesis “Temples, Texts, and Taxes: the Bhagavad-gita and the Politico Religious Identity of the Caitanya Sect,” Australian National University, 2000. All of them are supposed to be from the Rajasthan State Archives, but due to insufficient or inaccurate references, some of the originals could not be consulted.
[24] #1531, dated Saṁvat 1799 (1742 AD), Catalogue of Historical Documents in Kapad Dwara, Jaipur, 1988.
[25] Nusukha Punya, Vol. 17, Parganā Hiṇḍaun, p. 951-2, dated Saṁvat 1806 (1749 AD), Rajasthan State Archives.
[26] Nusukha Punya, Vol. 18, Pargaṇā Hiṇḍaun, Saṁvat 1808 (1751 AD), p. 258-9, Rajasthan State Archives.
[27] HL 180/1-2, Bālānanda Maṭha, Phālguna 5, Saṁvat 1912 (1854 AD), Jaipur. This English rendition of the original in Rajasthani was slightly adapted for the sake of flow and clarity.
[28] Although no name was mentioned, this most probably refers to Sawai Jai Singh II.
[29] This last succession may pertain either to the new Govinda Temple or the Rādhā-Śyāmasundara in Vṛndāvana.
[30] Nusukha Punya, Ṭhākura-dvārā, Vol. II, p. 201, Rajasthan State Archives.
[31] Vṛndāvana-dhāmānurāgāvalī, 32.69.
[32] As recorded in the document #391, bundle 34, Toji Dastur Kaumvar, Saṁvat 1812 (1755 AD) and letters 139, 145 and 211, bundle 4/1, Rajasthan State Archives.
[33] Nusukha Punya, Ṭhākura-dvārā, Vol. I, p. 645, Rajasthan State Archives.
[34] According to Dr. Adrian Burton (ibid.), #117, bundle 34, Toji Dastu Kaumvar, Rajasthan State Archives. However, either this reference is inaccurate, or the document is misplaced, and hence the original could not be consulted.
[35] Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya 7.116.
[36] Vide 1,1.19.
[37] 2,1.6 and 2,4.1.
[38] Khasmohor Collection #5850.