Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami
Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami is the founder-acharya of the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission, one of the most notable preachers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in the 20th century, and a regional leader (based in the Indian State of Orissa) of Mahatma Gandhi's freedom fighting movement. Srila Puri Maharaj was born in the village of Fulta, adjacent to the city of Berhampur in the state of Orissa, India on the 27th of January of 1913. His given name at birth was Nrusimgha. The name of his father is Sri Damodar and the name of his mother is Srimati Devi. He attended Khallikote Autonomous College in the city of Berhampur, where he received a B.A. degree. In the 1930s, Srila Puri Maharaj completed his studies in Ayurveda, and also became active in the independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. According to his biography, he was a regional president of the independence movement during that time.
Srila Puri Maharaj's Ayurvedic Instructor, Kaviraja Sripad Madhusudan Sharma, was also an initiated disciple of Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Through the intervention of his Ayurvedic Instructor, Srila Puri Maharaj was brought to see Bhaktisiddhanta, and on August 3rd, 1936, took initiation from him in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Thus began a long lifetime of spiritual service in the monastic tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. In 1966, after almost three decades as an initiated Gaudiya Vaishnava, he accepted the sacred renounced order of Sanyasa from Srila Bhakti Swarupa Giri Maharaj.
In June of 1966, Srila Puri Maharaj formed the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Ashram in Andhra Pradesh. At the present day, Maharaj's organization the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission has approximately 20 ashrams. The mission has also published several books in multiple languages (English, Oriya, etc.) including "The Divine Name" by Raghava Chaitanya Das, "Sri Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata" by Vrindavan Das Thakur, "Srimad Bhagavad Gita", 11th canto of "Srimad Bhagavatam", A Brief Life History of Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaj, Lord Sri Jagannath, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, etc.
In the late 1990s, following the footsteps and tradition of A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srila Puri Maharaj began his tours of communicating Gaudiya Vaishnava Theology to the Western World. 1997 marked the beginning of annual European tours which continue to the time of this article's creation. 2001 marked his first tour around the world, at the advanced age of 89. In that year, Maharaj traveled to the European Union, the United States of America, Mexico, Australia, and Thailand. Web site: http://www.purimaharaj.com
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