Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja took his divine birth in the year 1921 in the village of Tewaripur near the bank of the sacred Ganges River in the state of Bihar, India. His birth name was Sriman Narayana Tiwari.

Being born in a very religious family of Vedic priests, from childhood he had the opportunity to regularly attend kirtans and spiritual discourses. In his early twenties he met with his divine master Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, who is one of the foremost leading disciples of the renowned Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. From that first meeting he took shelter of his Gurudeva, who gave him the name Sri Gaura Narayana brahmacari. Dedicating his entire body, mind and words to the service of the devotees of the Lord, he earned the title ‘Bhakta-bandhava’ which means ‘friend of the devotees.’

Service to his Gurudeva

Srila Maharaja was requested by his Gurudeva to translate the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (a contemporary master in the Vaisnava tradition) from Bengali into his native language, Hindi. He carried out this request by translating some of the Thakura’s most prominent books including Jaiva Dharma, Caitanya-siksamrta, Bhakti-tattva-viveka, Vaisnava-siddhanta-mala and many more. These books, as well as his translations and commentaries of the books of other prominent acaryas in the lineage are presently being translated into English and other languages by his followers and students.

Srila Maharaja translated and published over eighty books in Hindi, and over fifty books in English. Many of his English books have now been translated into other languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and several Indian languages.

The Hare Krishna movement

A major event in the life of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja was his profound relationship with Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, known throughout the world as Srila Prabhupada, the famous preacher of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

In the early 50’s, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to reside at Mathura in Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, on the invitation of his god-brother, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, remaining there for some months. Sharing regular devotional exchanges and deep discussions of Vaisnava siddhanta with him, Srila Narayana Maharaja deepened his intimate relationship with Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada during this time period, regarding him as both his siksa (instructing)-guru and bosom friend.
When Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada went to preach in the West and succeeded in starting the first Radha-Krishna temple in America, Srila Narayana Maharaja sent him the first mrdanga drums and karatalas that he would be using for sankirtana. Toward the end of his physical presence in this world, he requested Srila Narayana Maharaja several times to kindly give his association to his western disciples and help them to understand the deep truths of the Vaisnava philosophy in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

His Legacy

For three decades since Srila Prabhupada’s departure from our vision in November 1977, Srila Narayana Maharaja had unwaveringly carried out this final request, by providing insightful guidance and loving shelter to all who came to him seeking it. Through the medium of his English books and extensive world touring, he gave his association and divine realizations to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s followers and all other sincere searchers of truth throughout the globe. Although he was over 85 years of age, he regularly travelled throughout India and abroad, preaching the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, and the true glory of ISKCON’s founder-acarya Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the entire Vaisnava lineage.

By December 2010, the month of his departure from our material vision, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja had completed more than thirty world preaching tours. He was recognized internationally as the spiritual leader of Vedic culture, Hindu sanatana-dharma, Vaisnava etiquette, daivi-varnasrama, and bhagavat-bhajana.

Srila Maharaja demonstrated and exemplified the unadulterated life of utter dedication and pure, loving service to his Gurudeva, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. As Their intimate servitor, he illuminated the path for those who desired to discover and dive deeply into the ecstatic ocean of Radha-dasyam, service to the radiantly beautiful lotus feet of Sri Krishna’s dearly beloved, Srimati Radhika.