Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura


     Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura took birth in the year 1654 Shaka era (according to the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidana, Part 3, p. 1370) within the Nadia district of West Bengal in a place called Prasiddha Deva Gram.  He appeared in the Radhiya line of brahamanas. He had two brothers: Shri Ramabhadra Chakravarti and Shri Raghunatha Chakravarti.  Shrila Chakravarti Thakura went on to live in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal, in Saiyadabad, where he received mantra initiation from Shri Krishna Charana Chakravarti. He lived for a long time in the house of his gurudeva, where he wrote many books. Because Chakravarti Thakura lived for so long in Saiyadabad, he became known as a resident of Saiyadabad.  In one of the final verses of his commentary on the Alankara Kaustubha, he himself has written: saiyadabadanivasi shri vishvanatha sharmana, chakravartiti namneyam krita tika subodhini. "Shri Vishvanataha Cakravarti, a brahmana residing in Saiyadabad, has composed this commentary on the Alankara Kaustubha." When Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura lived in Nadiya, he closely studied the scriptures, beginning with a study of Sanskrit grammar, poetry, and rhetoric.  It is said that even as a boy in school, he was an undefeatable scholar who could overcome anyone in argument and debate.  From an early age, he was indifferent towards family life. For the purpose of binding his son in the contract of family life, Vishvanatha's father arranged for his marriage when he was very young.  He remained a married man for only a short time.  Soon he renounced his wife and home and went to live in Vrindavan.  After this, his parents and relatives made many unsuccessful attempts to induce him to return to  family life, but Vishvanatha Chakravarti was fixed in his determination to renounce wordly life and surrender himself completely to the service of Krishna.

     After having come to Vrindavan Dhama, Shri Vishvanatha took up his residence in the bhajan kutir of Shri Krishna Das Kaviraja Goswami on the banks of the Radha-kunda, where there lived a disciple of Krishna das Kaviraja whose name was Mukunda das. There, Shri Vishvanatha Cakravarti made a careful study of the Goswami's literatures. In that holy place he later wrote many commentaries on the books of the Goswamis.

     Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura established the worship of the deity of Shri Gokulananda.  Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur was also sometimes known as Harivallabha das.  Vishvanatha's title, "Chakravarti" was awarded to him by the devotees. Generally this title designates one who maintains (varti) a circle (chakra) of influence. Hence chakravarti usually means "emperor," for the emperor's maintains his power over a vast circle. A more devotional explanation of this title is found in the introduction to Vishvanatha's Svapna-Vilasamrita. There is has been written  vishvasya natharupausau, bhaktiratna pradarshanat, bhakta chakre vartitatva, chakravartamaya bhavat. "He who reveals the jewel of devotion to Vishvanatha, the Lord of the Universe, and thus expands the circle of bhakti is a"Cakravarti."

     Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura has written many books, among which are the following:  Commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam (Sararthadarshini-tika), Bhagavad-gita   (Sararthavarshini-tika), Alankara Kaustubha (Subodhini-tika); Ujjvala-nilamani, Ananda Vrindavana Champu (Sukhavartini-tika); Rupa Goswami's Vidagdha-Madhava Natakam, Gopal-tapani-upanishad; Chaitanya-charitamrita; and original works such as Shri Krishna-Bhavanamrita Mahakavya; Svapnavilasamrita; Madhurya Kadambini; Stavamala-lahari; Aishvarya Kadambini [Note: this is not the same Aishvarya Kadambini as that of Baladeva Vidyabhusana. Baladeva Vidyabhusan's book describes the opulences of Shri Krishna, whereas Vishvanatha's book by the same name deals with the philosophy of achintya-bhedabheda-vada, Shri Chaitanya's philosophy of inconceivable oneness and difference].

     The diksha-guru-parampara of Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura is given as follows: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lokanatha Goswami, Narottama Thakura, Ganganarayan Chakravarti, Krishnacharan Chakravarti, Radharaman Chakravarti, Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura. Shri Krishna Charan Chakravarti and Radha Ramana Chakravarti both lived in Saiyadabad. Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura studied extensively under them when he was in Saiyadabad before going to Vrindavan, where he met Mukunda das Goswami, a disciple of Krishna das Kaviraja Goswami and studied the Goswami literatures.

     The siksha-guru-parampara is considered more important than the diksha-guru-parampara,because it follows the descent of revealed truth through its most significant representatives, as opposed to following a strictly sacerdotal heirarchy.   The siksha-guru-paramapara from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura is, according to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, as follows: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarup Damodara, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami (along with Raghunatha Das Goswami, Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, Gopal Bhatta Goswami), Shri Jiva Goswami, Krishna das Kaviraja Goswami, Narottama Das Thakura (along with Shyamananda Prabhu and Shrinivasa Acharya), Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura.

     Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura disappeared on the Vasant Panchami day in the month of Magh.


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    Appearing in 1638 (though other sources say 1654), Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura (Hari Vallabha Dasa) came in the disciplic succession from Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura. Visvanatha took diksa from Sri Radha Ramana Cakravarti. Although married, Visvanatha was indif­ferent and soon renounced family life. He came to Vrndavana dhama and did Krishna bhajana at Radha-kunda.

    He was known as "the crest jewel of the Vaisnavas" because of his pure devotion, scholarship, and realized perception of Radha Gokulananda's intimate conjugal pastimes. Gaudiya authorities say that Sri Rupa Gosvami is vag-devavatara (an incarnation of the god of speech). And Gaudiya acaryas, especially among his direct disciples, believe that Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is an incar­nation of Sri Rupa Gosvami.

    Among all Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas only Visvanatha Cak­ravarti comes close to matching Srila Rupa Gosvami's profound realizations on the Absolute Truth. Visvanatha Cakravarti's name itself implies his position. Visvanatha means "He who reveals the jewel of devotion to Visvanatha (Sri Krishna, the Lord of the universe)." Cakravarti means "he who expands the cakra (circle) of bhakti."

    Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, "Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was the protector, guardian, and acarya during the middle period (1600-1700) of the historical development of Gaudiya Vaisnavism." The growth of Gaudiya Vaisnavism began with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It was later rejuvenated by Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda, spread by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and broadcast all over the world by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON.

    During his stay in Vrndavana, Visvanatha worshiped Deities of Radha Gokulananda and Sri Giriraja. His Govardhana sila was first worshiped by Lord Caitanya, then Raghunatha Dasa Gos­vami, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja, Sri Mukunda Dasa, Srimati Krishna Priya Thakurani, and Visvanatha Cakravarti. Today this Giriraja Govardhana Deity resides in the Radha-Gokulananda temple in Vrndavana. Some claim the Govardhana sila is in "Bhagavat Nivas" in Ramana Reti near the ISKCON Krishna Balarama Man-dir.

    In a dream Lord Sri Krishna ordered Visvanatha to make commentaries on the Gosvami's books. Immeditately, he started writing prolifically. Clouds would shield him from the sun when­ever he sat to write. Once a torrential downpour flooded the area where Visvanatha was writing his Bhagavata commentaries. Miraculously, not a drop touched Visvanatha or his Bhagavata manuscript.

    While compiling Mantrartha Dipika (explanation on Kama Gayatri), Visvanatha became perplexed. According to his exhaus­tive research which indicated twenty five, he couldn't substantiate why Krishna Dasa Kaviraja wrote in Caitanya-caritamrta that Kama Gayatri contains twenty-four and one-half syllables. And that these syllables correspond to the twenty-four and one-half moons present on Krishna's transcendental body.

    In a dream Srimati Radhika instructed Visvanatha, "0 Visvanatha, Please don't lament anymore. What Krishna Dasa Kaviraja wrote is true. He is also My confidential maidservant. And he knows everything about My most secret innermost moods. This Kama Gayatri is the mantra for worshiping Me. Indeed, I can be known by the syllables of this mantra. Without My mercy, no one can learn anything about the mystery of this mantra."

    "The solution to the half syllable is found in the book Var-nagama-bhasvadi. Seeing this book, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja wrote as he did. The letter ya which is followed by the letter vi as in the words kama devaya vidmahe is considered to be a half syllable. This falls on Krishna's forehead because His forehead is shaped like the halo of a half moon. All the other letters of the mantra are full syllables and therefore full moons. Now wake up, check that book, and compile this evidence for everyone's benefit."

    Instantly awaking, Visvanatha cried out in ecstasy—"Hey Radhe! Hey Radhe! Hey Radhe!" Having Radharani's darsana infused Visvanatha Cakravarti's writing with divine sakti. He felt that he had been accepted as one of Srimati Radharani's confiden­tial maidservants. His writings reflected this realization.

    Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura wrote over forty Sanskrit books on the science of pure devotion to Radha-Giridhari. He also made the sweetest, most highly realized rasika tikas (commen­taries) on Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, the works of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Kavi Karnapura, and Narottama Dasa Thakura.

    Sri Krishna Bhavanamrta, Madhurya kadambini, Vraja-riti cin-tamani, Camatkara Candrika, Svapna Vilasamrta, Sankalpa Kalpa Druma, and others. The life and teachings of Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada give happiness, inspiration, and transcendental wisdom to the entire Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya. In Krishna lila he serves Srimati Radhika as Vinoda-manjari. His samadhi is in the Radha Gokulananda temple courtyard in Vrindavana.

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