His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, the founder of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, was born in India in 1895, in a respected Brahmana family of the Bhattacarya order, at Hapaniya, District Burdwan, West Bengal. He received his education at Baharamapur University. Having taken his pious birth in Sri Gauda-Mandal, the holy lands where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His divine pastimes on this earth, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, from his very childhood, had a natural affinity for the mission of Sri Chaitanya Sankirtan -- the Grand Congregational Chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord.In 1926, Srila Sridhar Maharaj joined the Sri Gaudiya Math, and became an initiated disciple of its founder, the illustrious Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupad (1874-1937).
He later accepted the holy order of sannyasa in 1930. Recognizing him as a faithful stalwart preacher of the perfect precepts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad conferred upon him the name "Sri Bhakti Rakshak," which means "Guardian of Devotion." As a prominent preacher in the Sri Gaudiya Math mission, he travelled extensively throughout India and preached fluently in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and English, spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on many levels in universities, public seminars, and Sankirtan festivals.
After the passing of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupad, Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Godbrothers, associates, and the public, naturally revered him as the senior-most representative of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya, although Srila Sridhar Maharaj himself was more inclined to anonymity as a humble Vaishnava. Srila Sridhar Maharaj is the composer of numerous classical prayers and commentaries in Sanskrit and Bengali. His works are hailed as gems of pure Vaishnavism by scholars, philosophers, and devotees worldwide.
He authored Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, a Sanskrit devotional treatise on the subject of divine surrender, which has become a standard text-book for devotees everywhere.Upon reaching his eighties, not only Indians, but persons from America, Europe, and the world over, became attracted by Srila Sridhar Maharaj's teachings and personality. He was known as a pure saint of the most simple living habits. He was respected and loved for his saintly simplicity, and his affectionate nature and dealings.
He was revered by his Godbrothers, disciples, other devotees, and the general public, and was unanimously venerated for his formidable encyclopedic command of the revealed scriptures, and his unique and unprecedented style of casting newer and newer light upon the most internal philosophical and revelatory purports of pure Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta.On August 12th, 1988, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj departed from this world, to enter into his eternal pastimes.
His departure did not herald the departure of one of the great stars of the Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava firmament, but that of the moon itself. Even the Earth herself trembled on two occasions, forecasting and punctuating the event. A divine temple, "The Temple of Union in Separation," was erected at his holy shrine at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, and worship will continue throughout the generations.Srila Sridhar Maharaj selected his most intimate and senior Sannyasi disciple, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, as his successor, blessing him with the position of Acharya-President of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and its affiliated branches worldwide.
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