Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa
This will be an eleven part series, as it is a rather legenthy article, but very good source for historical information on Srila Prabhupada, Radha-Damodara Temple, and the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
“My books are more important than myself.” This was Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to one of his disciples who was being sent from his personal service to open a temple in a distant place. When one considers how much time, energy and intelligence Srila Prabhupada has utilized to single-handedly begin and spread the Krsna Consciousness Movement to an international scale, it is even more astonishing that he has written a score of unique books. Despite his responsibilities in guiding thousands of disciples who operate almost a hundred different centers, that he has produced these books-at substantial sacrifice-proves that the most important factor to the Krsna Consciousness Movement is the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
While still in India, His Divine Grace inhabited two ordinary rooms in India’s most historic literary temple. This Radha-Damodara temple was built almost 500 hundred years ago by Srila Jiva Goswami in the holy site of Vrndavan, where Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared to display His transcendental pastimes 5,000 years ago. The Radha-Damodara temple, which has since fallen into disrepair, houses the samadhi (burial place) of Jiva Goswami, one of the six prime disciples of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya gave His disciples in Vrndavan three important instructions: first, to discover the exact locations where Krsna displayed His pastimes, as revealed in the sastras (scriptures); then, to build temples where the Lord could be suitably worshiped; and finally, to write books fully explaining the real science of devotional service to God. Lord Caitanya Himself wrote only eight slokas (stanzas), but the six goswamis of Vrndavan have left a vast body of literature for the inestimable benefit of all humanity.
When only ten years old, Jiva Goswami wanted to join Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement, but first he prepared himself by becoming fully versed in Sanskrit in Benares. He was then able to write volumes of books, which have prompted one Indian authority to declare Jiva Goswami the greatest philosopher that has ever lived. It is lamentable that due to the lack of qualified translators, the English-knowing world may never be able to take advantage of these books.
The Radha-Damodara temple is also the site of the Samadhi of Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the most important biographer of Lord Caitanya. Krsnadas Kaviraja appeared after Lord Caitanya but was contemporary to the six Goswamis. Directly inspired by Lord Nityananda, one of Lord Caitanya’s principal associates, he wrote his Caitanya-caritamrta at the age of ninety. This book recounts the teaching of Lord Caitanya more vividly than the biographical details which have been preserved by other authors.
…to be continued