Guru-parampara: The List of 32, Part 27

BY: ROCANA DASA - 4.10 2018

Laksmipati Tirtha:

In his biographical sketch on Laksmipati Tirtha, Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa opens by saying that by divine arrangement, Laksmipati was a 'ground-breaker' for what were to be big changes in the Madhva Sampradaya. In other words, Laksmipati came to prepare the way for Lord Caitanya's advent, even in advance of Madhavendra Puri. The author describes various situations in which the Vaisnavas exhibited intense devotional emotion for the Lord, which was the hallmark of His advent. He writes:

"Obviously these situations are not to be imitated, as some cheaters do. As you will read shortly, these are insights to the personal relationships between the Lord and his pure devotees."

Very little information is given about Laksmipati's life, except that he was a stellar sannyasi of advanced age. There is a story that Nityananda, in His original Form as Lord Balarama, appeared in a dream to Laksmipati and ordered him to give diksa initiation to an avadhuta madman who would later appear. That, of course, was Nityananda, and Laksmipati is said to have fulfilled the order of Balarama in this regard. The author provides this quote:

nityananda prabhu vande
srimad laksmipati priyam
sri madhva-sampradaya
vardhanam bhakta vatsalam

"Respectful obeisances unto You, Nityananda Prabhu, the dear favorite of Laksmipati Tirtha. He (Nityananda) increases the bliss of the entire Madhva sampradaya and He has the innermost needs of the devotees foremost at hand."

Regarding the question of whether Nityananda was the diksa disciple of Laksmipati or of Madhavendra Puri, as noted in the List of 32, the author refers to Srila Prabhupada's purport to Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 3.85:

"Sometimes He is accepted to be a disciple of Laksmipati Tirtha. If He is so accepted, Nityananda Prabhu belonged to the Madhva sampradaya. He did not belong to the tantrika sampradaya of Bengal."

There is also an anecdotal story told by a Gaudiya Math servant who reports that he heard Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati say that Laksmipati came as a sannyasi to the door of Nityananda Prabhu's father, Hadai Pandit, who gave the boy to the sannyasa as his assistant.

Elsewhere in Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 8.128, Srila Prabhupada's purport states:

"Sri Nityananda Prabhu was initiated by Madhavendra Puri, a sannyasi. According to others, however, He was initiated by Laksmipati Tirtha."

Regardless of who actually gave diksa initiation to Nityananda, Laksmipati is understood to be a member of the pure disciplic succession, primarily on the basis, apparently, of his internal devotional ecstasies and pastimes.

Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa includes a biographical sketch for Brahmanya Tirtha, but not one for Purusottama, instead mentioning later, under the Visnu Puri section of the Laksmipati Tirtha bio that Brahmanya and Purusottama are one and the same. He does not offer citations or explain how he comes to that conclusion. More details on this subject can be found below in Addendum.

For our part, we are compelled to accept that Brahmanya Tirtha and Purusottama are two different individuals, as they were specifically noted by Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. As Jaya Tirtha Charan writes about anomalies in the line from Madhva:

"The descendants of Madhva are more strictly followers of a diksa line, whereas both Kavikarnapura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati lean more towards siksa lines, though still accepting both on their own validity."