Re-establishment of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha in 1919

On the 5th of February, 1919, at the Appearance Day celebration of Sri Vishnupriya, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura re-established the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha and gave a talk on the history of the sabha.

At the end of each of Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhupada's Sat-sandarbhas the name of the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha is inscribed. He wrote that the Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha refers to the society which is composed of those Vaisnavas who are the kings (the foremost) of all the Vaisnavas present in this world. These foremost Vaisnavas are the followers of the feet of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu Who is the saviour of Kali-yuga (the Bestower of knowledge about spiritual relationships), the Bestower of His own method of worship (the Bestower of the means) and Who is the incarnation of krsna-prema, even though He is Sri Krishna Himself, the Embodiment of krsna-prema.

The objects of respect for this Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha are Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, who are the associates of Mahaprabhu. Their teachings are the Bhagavata-dharma. These teachings constitute the Bhagavat-sandarbhas or the Sat-sandarbhas. Therefore, the members of the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha are those people whose hearts have been illuminated by the light of the Sat-sandarbhas.

Srila Sarasvati Thakura explained that when the world suffers misfortune and when there was apathy to such pure knowledge, the sabha conceals itself. After the dissappearance of Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the sabha was self-concealed for some time.

The famous Calcutta paper Amrita Bazar Patrika reported the event in this way in 1919:

" On Wednesday last (5th instant) was celebrated with great eclat the Advent ceremony of Sree Sree Vishnupriya Devi at the Sree Asana (1, Ultadanga Junction Road). The occasion was solemnised by the re-institution of Visva-vaisnava raja-sabha as inaugurated by no less a personage than Sree Jiva Goswami himself, eleven years after the passing of Sree Sree Mahaprabhu and as given a fresh impetus by Sree Bhaktivinoda Thakura 33 years ago."

The Sajjana-Tosani carried an essay based on Srila Sarasvati Thakura's talk, which was published that same year, a portion of which follows:

" On the recent birthday of Sri Vishnupriya many pure devotees joined together at the Calcutta Sri Bhaktivinoda Asana and re-established the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. Even though this sabha (society) is eternally established, it has descended into the world three times. Eleven years after the dissappearance of Sriman Mahaprabhu, when the world was beginning to darken, six wonderfully bright stars arose in Sri Vraja-mandala and were engaged in the service of Gaurachandra. Apart from these six brilliant stars, there were several other great souls who beautified Sri Gaurachandra's Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. They were headed by Srila Lokanatha Gosvami, Srila Bhugarbha Gosvami, and Srila Kasisvara Gosvami. Sixty-four dear associates of Sri Gaurasundara increased the beauty of this Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. The twelve friends of Srila Nityananda Prabhu's Nama-Hatta was a main branch of this Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha.

" Sri Sri Bhagavat Krishna Chaitanyadeva is the saviour-incarnation for the age of Kali. He is the Instructor of His own bhajana and of the knowledge of relationship (sambandha-jnana). He is the Delineator of devotion which is the means (abhidheya) and He is the Embodiment of Krishna-prema which is the final goal (prayojana). Another name for the devotees of Sri Gaura is 'Chaitanyadeva-charana-anuchara'. Sri Chaitanyadeva is Krishnachandra Himself—the King of all the Vaisnavas in the world (Visva-vaisnava-raja). The gathering of His devotees is the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha; the foremost ministers amongst the members of the society are Sri Rupa Gosvami and his honoured Sri Sanatana Gosvami. Those who consider themselves to be the followers of Sri Rupa are the members of this Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. The leaders amongst them are Sri Sri Prabhupada Srimad Raghunath Dasa Gosvami and Sri Sri Prabhupada Srimad Jiva Gosvami. During the period of misfortune for the world's inhabitants, after Sri Gaurachandra displayed the play of His disappearance, Srimad Jiva Prabhu preached the Sri Bhagavata dharma by the command of Sri Sri Rupa-Sanatana. The people who were accepted as disciples by Sri Rupa-Sanatana—the leaders of the sabha, later became the directors of the sabha. Sri Jiva Prabhupada, upon becoming the director of the sabha, termed the teachings which Sri Rupa had propagated in the sabha as the 'Bhagavata-sandarbhas' or 'Sat-sandarbhas'. The members of the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha know these Sat-sandarbhas to be the teachings of Sri Rupa-Sanatana and thus engage themselves in Sri Hari-bhajana. The pure and transcendental method of worship which has been given by Srimad Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (one of the leaders of the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha) by bearing the commands of Sri Rupa on his head, is the only thing adorable by the devotees of Sri Gaura. By taking shelter at the pure feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, Sripada Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami Prabhu—the king of the family of rasika devotees (those devotees who are able to comprehend the inner significance), became one of the directors of the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. Again, Sri Narottama Thakura Mathodaya—the crest jewel of transcendental devotees, decorated the crown of this Vaisnava-raja-sabha in the post of its director. Later, such kings of devotees as Sri Sripada Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura spread their moon-like rays upon the sabha. The darkness of night cannot always predominate over the three-worlds which are covered by ignorance, therefore we sometimes behold shining stars in the spiritual firmament which is bathed in the moon-lika rays of Sri Gaurachandra.

" In 399 Gaura Era (1885 A.D.), a brilliant star of the universal Vaisnava firmament re-illuminated the Sri Visva-vaisnava-raja-sabha. During that period many people in the great city of Calcutta received light from this sabha. As a result of that light, the sight of the cooling rays of Sri Gaurachandra reflected in loving eyes is nowadays visible in this world. Just as autumnal clouds suddenly spread in the sky and cover the moon's rays, so materialistic, non-Vaisnavas in the dress of Vaisnavas cause hindrances to that transcendental light in society. Today, it is four years since the servant of the King of universal Vaisnavas and the leader of the followers of Sri Rupa departed from this world, and sometimes his light is becoming covered by mist; seeing this, the group of people sheltered at the feet of the followers of Sri Rupa have become firmly resolved to protect the light of discourses on Hari from the strong gale.

" The transcendental flower of Krishna-prema that was budded forth by the Acharyas headed by Sri Rupa, Raghunatha and Jiva was shown to the world as a blossom by Srimad Bhaktivinoda Thakura and after his dissappearance it has begun to fully bloom. The followers of Sri Rupa have protected that beautiful and fragrant flower from the attack of depraved people and have thus given aid to the olfactory function of the bees swarming at Sri Gaura's feet. In this connection we request everybody to read the Adi-lila, ninth chapter of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrita composed by the king of rasika devotees about the divine loving activities of the Gardener Sri Chaitanya."

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