Founder Acharya of the Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math
His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur appeared on this earth at Ganganandapur village, Jessore district, which is presently named Bangaladesh, on the 18th of October, 1898. From the very beginning he exhibited spontaneous attraction for The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna. His father’s name was Tarini Charan Chakraborty and his mother’s name was Ramrangini Devi. He appeared in a strict Brahmin family and followed the path of devotion as a young child by the influence of his neighbor Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakur, the Godbrother of HDG Srila Sacchidananda Bhakti Vinode Thakur. As per the instruction of Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakur, he worshiped Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan and was encouraged to take shelter of the founder president of all Gaudiya Maths and branches around the world, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada.
In 1915, the day after HDG Srila Gour-Kisore Das Babaji Maharaj’s disappearance day, he went to Mayapur and met with Srila Prabhupada. At that time Srila Prabhupada was wearing white cloth and following strict Brahmachari guidelines. Pramode Bhusan Chakrabory (HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur) felt attracted to the strict and sober nature of Srila Prabhupada. At that time Srila Prabhupada’s name was Bimala Prasad Datta. After Pramode Bhusan attended the Samadhi ceremony of His Divine Grace Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaja he had chance to meet with Bimala Prasad. After this meeting, Pramode Bhusan decided to take shelter of Bimala Prasad as his eternal Spiritual Master. Pramode Bhusan met with Bimala Prasad again in 1917 at Yogopith temple when he accepted Mahaprabhu’s prasadam from the hand of Srimati Bhagavati Devi, the mother of Bimala Prasad.
One winter as a pujari, Pramode Bhusan forgot to offer a blanket to Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan. That night he awoke with chills through his body and soon realized that the cause of the chills were due to his forgetfulness in the service of their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan. He immediately went to the house of Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakur and explained the situation. As per the direction of Srila Bhakti Ratna Thakur, Pramode Bhusand immediately took a cold bath in the pond nearby. After that he entered the temple to offer the blanket to Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan. As soon as he offered the blanket the chills in his body went away. So, since his childhood Sri Sri Radha Krishna, our Divine couple, were receiving service from Pramode Bhusan in various ways.
On the day after Gaura Purnima in 1918, Srila Prabhupada accepted the order of Sanyasa and went to Kolkata to spread the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha Krishna. He gave Srimad Bhagawatam class every day at Bhaktivinode asan. Many intellectual persons came to attend his classes. In 1920, Pramode Bhusan, after finishing his degree with honors in chemistry, took an office job in Kolkata. As soon as Pramode Bhusan heard the news that Srila Prabhupada was giving a class he began attending daily. Once, a scorpion bit Pramode Bhusan just before he left to attend the class. Although you can imagine the pain felt by the bite of the scorpion, still Pramode Bhusan went to the class without consideration. Due to Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental vision he could understand the sound faith of Pramode Bhusan as demonstrated by his dedication to attending the class even though he was suffering from the bite of a scorpion . On that day, Srila Prabhupada invited Pramode Bhusan to stay at his Math. As per the order of Srila Prabhupada, Pramode Bhusan stayed in the Math just few months after, taking residence there on the day of Ramchandra’s Lanka -Vijaya festival. Srila Prabhupada also allowed Pramode Bhusan to continue working at the office while staying in the Math in order to facilitate the supporting of his family.
In this way, Pramode Bhusan continued from 1921 to 1923 and simultaneously provided financial support to his family in Ganganandapur, Bangladesh. On the auspicious day of Sri Krishna Janmastami in 1923, Srila Prabhupada approached Pramode Bhusan and said, “Today I would like to give you initiation. Also, today you must quit your office job and fully engage your time in my publication department.” Pramode Bhusan became overwhelmed with joy and without reservation accepted first and second initiation along with saffron dress, all on the same day. He was given the name Pranabananda Das Bramhachari. After initiation Srila Prabhupada gave a fountain pen to Pranabananda Das Bramhachari and told him to use the pen in his service from that day forward. From that day on, Srila Prabhupada kept Pranabananda Das Bramhachari near him at all times so that he could dictate new articles for the purpose of publication. Due to this most important service of Pranabananda Das Bramachari we are able to read Srila Prabhupada’s articles and books. Nowadays these books are still available in Gaudiya Math at Bag-Bazar, Kolkata and Sri Chaitanya Math at Mayapur. Due to his humility, he never allowed his name to be printed inside any of these books.
In 1926, he was put in charge of running Bengal’s only daily Vaisnava newsletter, the “Dainik Nadiya Prakash”. He continued this service for three years, publishing all of his preceptor’s daily discourses along with articles by fellow students and other contemporaries. At this time all books, magazines, and newsletters were all created manually. In response to the sincerity and hard work of Pranabananda, Srila Prabhupada awarded him the title Maha-Mahopadesaka and Pratna-Vidyalankar.
Due to Pranabananda Das Bramachari’s close relationship with Srila Prabhupada and out of Srila Prabhupadas affection he would sometimes make jokes with Pranabananda. Many times during prasadam, Srila Prabhupada would open his eyes wide, smile and say, “Pranab belongs to Jessore and the people of Jessore like to eat molasses. Give him lots of molasses and make him happy!” Also, sometimes Pranabananda’s mother would send distressed letters about family matters at home. Srila Prabhupada would come to the prasadam hall and reveal the contents of the letters to all the devotees, in the presence of Pranabananda. Srila Prabhupada would say with a smile on his face, “Pranab’s mother is writing such a distressful letter that after reading even I am feeling so much distress! What will happen when Pranab reads the contents of this letter?”
In 1936, when Srila Prabhupada was at the inauguration ceremony of Bhubaneswar Tridandi Gaudiya Math, he offered Pranavananda to accept Sanyassa initiation. Due to his extreme humility, Pranavananda thought himself unfit for taking the vow of Sanyassa and humbly declined the offer of Srila Prabhupada.
In December of 1936 at Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math in Kolkata, Srila Prabhupada was being looked after by several of his intimate disciples due to the condition of his heart. One morning while Pranabananda was serving Srila Prabhupada in his room, Srila Prabhupada placed his lotus feet on the chest of his dear Pranab. With tears in his eyes Pranabananda held the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada to his chest and said, “We are all so young. What will happen to your mission if you leave us now? We need you here to guide us.” Srila Prabhupada softly replied, “Pranab, Krishna Krishna Krishna.”
On the 1st of January, 1937 at 5:30am, just two days after this conversation, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhantha Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada physically departed this world. That day they took the transcendental body of Srila Prabhupada to Sri Mayapur Dham where Pranabananda Das Brahmachari and Srila Bhakti Gourav Baikhanas Goswami Maharaj were both selected by all the devotees to perform the Samadhi ceremony of Srila Prabhupada. The Samadhi Temple of Srila Prabhupada, which was made by Kunja-Babu, later known as His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, can still be seen today at Sri Mayapur Dham. These intensely intimate pastimes between Srila Prabhupada and Panabananda were going on from 1923 until the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada.
In 1942, Srila Prabhupada appeared to Pranabananda in a dream and imparted to him the sannyas mantra, ordering him to accept the renounced order. Five years after this transcendental dream in 1947, he took the vow of Sanyassa from His Godbrother, Srila Bhakti Gourav Baikhanas Maharaj at Gour-Gadadhara temple in Champahati with the help of Sat-Prasanga-Nanda Das Brahmachari, who after taking Babaji initiation (from Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj) was known as Srila Nayananandadas Babaji Maharaj.
After the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, Pranavananda Das Brahmachari continued his service of spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through the Gaudiya Magazine, at first out of the Bagh Bazar Gaudiya Math, then out of Yogapith temple, the birth place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Mayapur. He was also engaged as temple president of Yogapith temple for almost seven years, as per the order of his senior Godbrother, Kunja-Babu.
After the seven years of service to Yogapith temple he relocated to Kalna, a Holy place where Gouridas Pandit and Suryadas Pandit, intimate associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, manifested their pastimes with Hriday-Chaitanya Prabhu at bank of the Ganga River. Remembering all these pastimes, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur stayed on the bank of the river Ganga at Kalna in a small kutir, worshiping his home Deity for the next three years. The King of Burdwan was extremely impressed by his saintly character, and in 1958 the king offered HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur the three hundred year old Temple of Sri Ananta Vasudeva at Kalna.
In the same year, on the appearance day of Srimati Radha Rani, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur entered the temple to stay and serve the deities. After three years had passed, Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj felt separation from the service of publishing the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as given by Srila Prabhupada. After a short time, Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj approached HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur to take the service of the Chaitanya Vani Magazine editorial department as well as taking care of his publication department for the service of Srila Gurudeva and Mahaprabhu. Finally HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur left the temple of Sri Anatna Vasudeva and gave the responsibility of taking care of the temple to one of his intimate associates, Nani Gopal Prabhu. In this way from 1961 to 1989 he undertook these various services in the department of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj and also traveled to different temples of his Godbrothers for helping their publication departments as well.
Once, a Godbrother of HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur, Pujjyapad Sri Madan Mohan Das adhikari, brought all of his family members to accept initiation from HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur. Starting in 1981 Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaja began accepting all the family members and gradually gave them initiation one by one. One of those family members was the grandson of Sripad Madan Mohan Dasadhikari, HDG Srila Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaj, now the present Acharya and successor of HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur.
It is a well known fact that HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur was the foremost expert in regards to Diety installation, Samadhi ceremony, and Temple foundation installation. Upon the request of his dear God brothers, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur installed almost all of the deities within the Gaudiya Math and also performed the Samadhi ceremony of most of his God brothers including His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar Dev Goswami Maharaj, and His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj. It should be noted that His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also requested His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Maharaj to lay the corner stone foundation at Sri Mayapur Chandradaya Mandir. In this way we can see the magnanimous mood of HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur to engage in these services to all his God brothers without any reservation.
In 1987, at the age of 89, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur accepted a small piece of land in Ishodyan, Sree-Mayapur Dham at the request of the family members of Pujjyapada Sri Madan Mohan Dasadhikari. Amongst the family members, Sripad Gopinath Das Brahmachari, Sripad Vimal Krishna Dasadhikari, Sripad Madhusudan Dasadhikari were so eager to make a bhajan Kuthir for their Gurudeva, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur. After making one small bhajan kutir, many devotees started approaching HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur for his shelter, siksha, and blessings. Finally he decide to install his ultimate Prayojana-Tattva deities, Sri Sri Gour-Gadhara, Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha and Sri Jagannath Dev. A few years later, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur ordered his disciple Sripad Ramdas Prabhu, just after the time of his initiation, to bring a Lakshmi Nrisimha Deva Deity to His Mayapur temple. In the following years, he established other temples in Jagannath Puri Dham, Vrindavan Dham, Kolkata and Midnapore.
HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur had outstanding love for his God brothers and was inspired in his glorification to other Vaishnavas. He found richness in everyone he met. He had the quality of making one feel so much wanted and their life so much valued. At the same time, he paid the least attention to himself. He was an emblem of humility and simplicity, and his generosity of spirit and kindness touched the hearts of the whole Vaishnava community. HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur set the example throughout his life how one can manifest the actual mood of how to be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, and to be always ready to offer all respects to others regardless of their background. We are greatly indebted to HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur for his lifetime of pure devotion, spanning over a century, which we can aspire for, learn from, and discuss for our own spiritual nourishment.
HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur departed this world for the eternal abode in the predawn hours of Narayana Chaturdasi, October 21, 1999, one day before Rasa Purnima. His divine body was transported from Jagannatha Puri to the Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha in Ishodyan Sri Dham Mayapur and there he was placed in his eternal samadhi Mandir. Prior to his departure from this world, HDG Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami Thakur appointed his intimate disciple, HDG Srila Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaj as his successor to Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha for the purpose of carrying on his instruction to spread the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu around the world.
In the years to come, as more of his words and visions are translated, the world outside of Bengal and India will come to know the spirit of the true Vaishnava religion that he tirelessly made available through his editing and publishing service. May the gentle rain of nectar of his perfect teachings continue to bring auspiciousness into this world.