Literary contributions of Gaudiya Acharyas

Generally, the followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are known as Gaudiya Vaishnavas, belonging to the Madhva sampradaya in the lineage of Madhavendra Puri. Although Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not personally write any books, his followers have left behind prolific literary works. The six gosvamis of Vrindavan, headed by Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatan, produced many works describing unalloyed devotion to Lord Krishna. The Vedanta philosophy systematized by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was later expounded by Srila Jiva Gosvami as Achintya-Bheda-Abheda (simultaneously one and different) philosophy in his six-volume master piece work, Bhagavat Sandarbha. Other prominent figures include Srila Vishwanath Chakravarty, who authored the celebrated Sarartha Darsini commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam. His student, Srila Baladev Vidya Bhushan, wrote the Gaudiya commentary on Vedanta Sutra, also known as Govinda Bhasya.

One interesting feature of Gaudiya teachers, such as Srila Narottam Das Thakur and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, among others, is that they disseminated the core teachings of Vedanta in colloquial language to reach out to the masses. Particularly during the colonial period, the tradition was highly corrupted due to a lack of authentic education and ill practices. In this period, Bhaktivinoda Thakur and his capable son, Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, took pains to contextualize the teachings in the face of the evolving society towards modernity. Later, Srila Prabhupad disseminated the Vedantic tradition in English.

Our current study focuses on the survey of the philosophical foundation of the contextualization of Gaudiya Vaishnavism during the colonial period to embrace modernity and its later ramifications.