There are countless good reasons why anyone connected with Indian culture would do well to know at least something about the rise of the Shramanas shortly before the time of Lord Buddha (c.a. 700 BC) and the thus initiated so-called “Hindu synthesis.”

In short, the Hindu synthesis is the most defining synthesis of the spiritual and cultural heritage of two of the most prominent Indian communities – the Brahmanas and the Shramanas. This synthesis has massively shaped and changed the face of Indian culture, and it still continues today in an ethos of freedom to reform. In the face of such importance, it is highly astonishing how little people know about the Shramanas – what to speak of the Hindu synthesis. There is also very little sources of knowledge available on this topic and thus one has to do research and collect content from various books and other media. This article hopefully helps in getting a foothold in this topic. It is aimed at progressive people who are at least a bit conversant with Indian culture.

Vyasadeva, the saint who divided the single Veda into four and is believed to have composed the Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana.

Probably it is not just a coincidence that I am completing this article shortly ahead of Guru Purnima, one of the biggest Hindu festivals and holidays, on which the sage Vyasadeva’s appearance day is celebrated. On Guru Purnima, also all Gurus are honoured, as Vyasadeva is venerated as being the embodiment of all Gurus. Perhaps lesser known, Vyasadeva is also one of the biggest reformers of Sanatana-dharma or Hindu faith. The Bhagavata Purana or Shrimad-Bhagavatam is one of the most-read holy scriptures of Hinduism. For millions of Hindus, it is considered the most sacred book. As mentioned in the beginning of the Bhagavata Purana, before compiling this book, Vyasadeva was in a spiritual crisis. His Guru Narada Muni explained to him that his dissatisfaction came from failing to highlight the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his earlier works and thus instructed him to compile the Bhagavata Purana, after doing which Vyasadeva was finally fully satisfied.

It is important to note that Vyasadeva didn’t present this scripture as a continuation of his earlier works, namely the division of the Vedas and the compiling of the Mahabharata, but as a reformatory scripture that openly rejects the ethos advocated in his earlier works as cheating religion (dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo, Bhagavata Purana 1.1.2). In contrast to the wide-spread belief that Guru and the scriptures are infallible, Vyasadeva himself was not shy to proclaim by his very own example that they are both not infallible. Unlike many pseudo-gurus of today who try to hide and white-wash their mistakes and the shortcomings of other spiritual authorities, Vyasadeva had the spiritual strength and courage to lay in front of the people his own erring as well as his own self-correction in the form of the Bhagavata Purana. How much tragedy and hyprocrisy could be avoided if today’s spiritual leaders would not just claim to be Vyasadeva’s followers, but actually followed in his footsteps and were frank about the fallibility of the Gurus and scriptures (more on this topic here) and about the need of continuous correction and reform!

Did I say continuous correction and reform? I did. Although this may not sit well with overly orthodox-minded people, the reality of fallibility brings with itself the necessity and duty of constant re-assessment and reform, just as software needs to constantly be updated. Some people may say that the Bhagavata Purana was the last update needed – ever. But that would not only be impractical like avoiding software updates; it would directly contradict its author, Vyasadeva, who gave the example of self-reform both boldly and publicly. Why is reform needed again? Because of fallibility and changes in the environment. The only event that could scrap the need of continuous reform would be if all leaders would suddenly become infallible and if the environment stopped changing. And I think we all agree that this will most likely never happen. If anyone needs another proof of how the spirit of continuous reform is already imbedded in the ethos of Indian thought, we already have it in the wide acceptance of the Bhagavata Purana. If the people were strictly against any substantial reform at the time of its publication, the Bhagavata Purana would have been rejected from its onset. The acceptance of the Bhagavata Purana as a holy scripture stands as proof of how progressive and appreciative of reform the people were during its appearance.

To begin this article, I wanted to highlight this important Indian ethos of continuous reform. This ethos was not only exemplified by Vyasadeva and many other Hindu saints, but it is also embodied by the entire collective of evolution of Hindu culture. Like every other culture, the Hindu culture has been in a constant flow of reassessment, synthesis and reform. The biggest of all such syntheses is the so-called  “Hindu synthesis,” which we shall discuss more in this article. This synthesis is the biggest embodiment of reform in Hindu culture, and it continues till date. As already mentioned, and as illustrated in below diagram, the Hindu synthesis is the synthesis of the spiritual and cultural values of two of the biggest Indian spiritual communities – the Brahmanas and the Shramanas.

People in general know more about the Brahmanas and little to nothing about the Shramanas. Although everyone knows Buddhism, Yoga and Tantra, only few know that they were all founded in the ethos of the Shramana community. A Śramaṇa (Sanskrit: श्रमण) is one who labours or exerts him- or herself for some higher spiritual purpose (the verbal root śram means exertive striving). While the orthodox Vedic Brahmanas traditionally were society-centric householders engaged in uplifting Vedic rituals that were often reserved for the higher castes, the heterodox or unorthodox Shramanas rose in opposition to the caste system and were mostly individuality-centric renunciates.

Below table gives an overview of the most defining characteristics of both groups. You can download and view the more elaborate version of this table as a pdf here. Note that this table is at times polarized and that there are always exceptions to the most common characteristics. We are attempting to learn about the differences between the Brahmanas and Shramanas and to that end a polarized vision is helpful. Such a high polarization in deed occured during the beginning of the Hindu synthesis. The famous Sanskrit grammarian Patañjali, who lived during this time (200 BC), compared the tensions between the Shramanas and Brahmanas to those between the snake and the mongoose, who are  arch-enemies. He used the compound śramaṇa-brāhmaṇam1 to express perpetual enmity, pretty much as nowadays in English people say “cats and dogs” to express the same. As you would expect from any synthesis, in the course of the Hindu synthesis, this strong polarization evolved into more friendly co-existence and further cultural cross-pollination between the Brahmanas and Shramanas.

The Shramanas originally were spiritual seekers who avoided organization. However, many well-organized Shramanic traditions soon evolved from them, the most well-known ones being Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, and Tantra. The most famous story involving Shramanism is that of Lord Buddha who, before establishing his own path, was a Hindu prince who left his Vedic community and joined the fold of the Shramanas (“Samanas” in the Pali language, in which many Buddhist texts have been written).

If we examine any of the present Indian traditions, we will find that they contain a particular mixture of Brahmanical (traditionally Vedic) and Shramanic values. This particular mixture, which is typical for all Hindu traditions, is the outcome of the Hindu synthesis, the synthesis of the Brahmanical and Shramanical traditions.

For example, let us look at the Bhakti traditions. Although many of their members call themselves “Vedic”, academia has often classified them as Shramanic, as their core beliefs are rather Shramanic than Vedic. They are mostly body-negative and renunciation-centric (most Bhakti role-models and leaders are renunciates, for example) and focus more on personal sadhanas granting higher stages of Bhakti (the Bhakti version of liberation) rather than Vedic rituals granting material upliftment and heaven.

Now, why does all this matter? It matters in many ways. Most remarkably, because many people don’t know how their tradition formed through the Hindu synthesis, they are not aware of how their tradition contains a mixture of values from various traditions, mainly the Brahmanical and the Shramanical ones. Not knowing about the Hindu synthesis as someone who identifies with any Indian tradition comes down to not knowing the basics of one’s own history. It’s basically like being ignorant about one’s own parents and their history.

Many people for example wonder how it is possible that we find many relics of a very body-friendly and Eros-friendly culture all over India such as the Kama-sutras and the temples of Khajuraho when most Indian traditions today are even more body-negative and erotophobic than other world religions that are famous for being prudish. The answer to this question lies in understanding the dynamics of the Hindu synthesis.

Although it is often believed that Indian body-negativity roots in imported values of Muslim and Christian invaders, most of it actually originated on Indian soil when the Shramanas rose around 700 BC. The Shramanas who promised freedom from the caste system and spread ahimsa (freedom from cruelty, particularly rejecting Vedic animal sacrifices) were highly attractive to the people at the time and many thus didn’t mind paying the price of renunciation of family and body comforts to join their fold. The Vedic societies thus lost more and more of their sons to the Shramanas and in answer to that threat started to incorporate Shramanic values into their own core values, even the advocation of renunciation (the earlier Brahmanas were strongly against renunciation). The two-fold spreading of Shramanic values through the Shramanic traditions (Buddhism, Yoga, Tantra, etc.) as well as through the now newly “Shramanized” Vedic traditions lead to a massive shift from family-centrism to renunciation-centrism across India. This shift also brought within itself a shift to wide-spread body-negativity and erotophobia, from which most Indian traditions and people still haven’t recovered.

Hence, although today we still find relics of an earlier body-positive culture everywhere, these mostly only remain silent witnesses in the backdrop of the deeply ingrained body-negative culture of India. However, if anyone associated with Indian traditions wants to become more body-positive – and there is in fact a big trend towards that – they don’t have to look very far and try to reinvent the wheel. They can simply engage in reform and revert to the originally body-positive culture of India.

We can now similarly take any other value, ethos or philosophical concept of our current tradition and look at it through the lens of the Hindu synthesis. We will be surprised, how many of them such as the concepts of saṃsāra and mukti actually were Shramanic concepts that were incorporated during the Hindu synthesis and were not yet present in the Vedas. In order to understand this historical development, it is of course crucial to know at what time certain scriptures appeared. The graphic below gives an overview. The dating given here is that of the scholarly or scientific consideration, which can be found in scholarly media and also on common platforms like Wikipedia.

Another interesting excercise is to go through the characteristics of the earlier table (here) and see which elements of our tradition (and/or other traditions) came from Brahmanical and which came from Shramanical origins. The insights of the perspective of the Hindu synthesis can be eye-opening. I am not saying that either the Brahmanical or Shramanical traditions are better. Both traditions have unique values and have dealt with their shortcomings by evolving further during the Hindu synthesis.

In brief, the Brahmanical traditions have great family and community values but these tend to corrupt if monopolization creeps in. The Shramana traditions thus opposed such corruption and embodied their anti-thesis, but in doing so they went to the other extreme of proclaiming not just renunciation of family but even of all desires and of organized religion and even of God as a person as the right path. During the Hindu synthesis, a lot of renunciation spirit was thus incorporated into the flow of Indian thought, and while this synthesis is still continuing today, people are realizing that further synthesis is needed to further lessen the pressure of extreme renunciation and again become more family-friendly, body-friendly and Eros-friendly like most Indians were in the older days, while keeping away from shortcomings like monopolization that have truly proven to be harmful over time. And thus the synthesis continues and is inviting all of us to contribute to it as active and creative synthesizers.

We are unique individuals, just as every spiritual tradition is unique. To flourish spiritually, we require and deserve a set of beliefs that matches our own individual nature. Many have already chosen a certain tradition to adhere to and this particular tradition has already undergone a certain path in the Hindu synthesis. It can be compared to the Ganga river that has assimilated various different waters along its paths from countless different sources. In below photograph and video we see the famous merging of the Bhagirati river (coming from Gangotri with its greenish waters) and the Alakananda river (coming from Badrinath with its brownish waters) forming the Ganga river in Devprayag:

River confluence in Devprayag. PC: Radhamadhav Das

When we think of the Ganga river we ususally think of it as containing a single type of water, but in reality it carries a variety of waters from different sources. Similarly, we usually think of our tradition as an unmixed body of knowledge, but in reality it is a mixture of knowledge and practices from countless sources. We could picture the Bhagirathi and Alakananda rivers merging into Ganga as the Brahmana and Shramana traditions synthesizing to evolve into the contemporary Indian traditions to give us some idea of Indian history of religion.

In reality, it was of course much more complex, just as you have countless more contributors to the Ganga river than just the Bhagirathi and Alakananda rivers. When we become more aware of when and from where which elements came into our tradition, we start to get to know our history better, and with it, our multi-facetted roots and identity. We can then also realize that we don’t need to automatically accept each and every element of our tradition, but just as our tradition can be compared with a river that has the freedom to constantly keep meandering or reforming and changing its flow and mixture of water, we too have the freedom to compile our own mixture of values and practices according to our individual requirements and aspirations.

People may ask, if the form of the tradition keeps changing, can the tradition really claim to be embodying the spiritual substance, which is said to be eternally unchanging? In answer to this it can be said that just as a river may meander and thus keep on adjusting its external form to the changes of the environment but still always carry the same water, similarly, a tradition may make certain external adjustments according to the changes in the environment, but still stay true to the essence of its teachings, which always remain the same. Also, to claim that one’s tradition never changed would always come down to hypocrisy as there is not a single tradition of mankind that hasn’t changed substantially over time. So it is better to embrace the natural law of continuous external change openly and learn how to flow with it in the best way possible. Perhaps the strongest argument for perpetual adjustment is the fact that, although it appears very counterintuitive and paradox, the best way of conserving the essence is to make sure that its packaging always keeps on being updated and adjusted to changes in the environment, just as the best and most natural way a river serves its essence or water is by continuous adjustment, and not by way of forceful cementation of its embankments – in fact, if any river’s embankments would be cemented, it would cease to be a river and turn into a liveless canal!

God made us uniquely unique so God can relish our uniqueness, not to punish us with frustration over not being able to fully fit in anywhere. God wants to relish our unique being, and for that we have to allow it to flourish naturally. If some people try to tell us that we don’t have this freedom, the Hindu synthesis as a historic collective and as an eternal ethos of ever-new re-orientation, recollection, reform and synthesis answers them: “Yes, we very much do have this freedom!”

By Radhamadhav Das, a researcher and author living in Vrindavan, India.

  • ŚRAMAṆA VIS-À-VIS BRĀHMAṆA IN EARLY HISTORY. S. D. Laddu. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute,
    Vol. 72/73, No. 1/4, Amrtamahotsava (1917-1992) Volume (1991-1992), pp. 719-736 (18 pages). Published By: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
  • Sramanas: Their Conflict with Brahmanical by Padmanabh S. Jaini in Joseph Elder (ed.), Chapters in Indian Civilization, 1970.
  • The special meanings of śrama and other derivations of the root śram in the Veda. H. W. Bodewitz.
  • Śramana tradition: its history and contribution to Indian culture. G. C. Pande. L. D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, 1978.



First published in the printed magazine Vrindavan Today, edition of February/March 2020.

A Siddhapīṭha is a holy place of perfection or siddhi. Usually people know Yogapīṭha – the holy place where Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa meet – such as the Yogapīṭha at the Rādhā-Govinda temple in Vṛndāvana. But despite its unique significance, most people know little about Imlitalā Siddhapīṭha. Normally, Siddhapīṭha refers to a place where sādhakas attain perfection, but in Imlitalā, it refers to a place where Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself attained a most sublime perfection!

Tamarind tree in Imlitala. PC: Radhamadhav Das

“Imli” means “tamarind tree” and “tala” means “at the base of”. Because Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu performed many amazing līlās under this imli tree, this holy place has come to be known as “Imlitalā.” Imlitalā is counted among Vṛndāvana’s Prācīna-devālayas or most prominent ancient places of worship.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu arrived in Vṛndāvana on the day of Rāsa pūrṇimā in Kārtika 1515. He daily sat in solitude under this tamarind tree, gazing at the Yamunā and enjoying the divine beauty of Vṛndāvana. He also performed harināma and spread the message of devotion to Śrī Hari to qualified people at this holy place. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has described this pastime as follows:

prāte vṛndāvane kailā ‘cīra-ghāṭe’ snāna
teṅtulī-talāte āsi’ karilā viśrāma
kṛṣṇa-līlā-kālera sei vṛkṣa purātana
tāra tale piṅḍi-bāndhā parama-cikkaṇa
nikaṭe yamunā vahe śītala samīra
vṛndāvana-śobhā dekhe yamunāra nīra
teṅtula-tale vasi’ kare nāma-saṅkīrtana
madhyāhna kari’ āsi’ kare ‘akrūre’ bhojana
vṛndāvane āsi’ prabhu vasiyā ekānta
nāma-saṅkīrtana kare madhyāhna-paryanta

“The next morning, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu returned to Vṛndāvana and took His bath at Cīra-ghāṭa. He then went to Imlitalā (Teṅtulītalā), where He took rest. The tamarind tree was very old, having been there since the time of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Beneath the tree was a dazzling sitting platform. Since the river Yamunā flowed near Imlitalā, a very cool breeze blew there. While there, the Lord saw the sublime beauty of Vṛndāvana and the pristine water of the Yamunā. Before returning to Akrūra-tīrtha to take lunch at noon, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to sit beneath the ancient tamarind tree and engage in nāma-saṅkīrtana. Whenever Mahāprabhu would come to Vṛndāvana, He would sit here in solitude until noon.”

– Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.18.75-80.

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Dev-Gosvāmī Mahārāja composed a beautiful Sanskrit poem on Imlitalā:

prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

“When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was sitting in solitude under the imli tree and seeing the dancing waves of the Yamunā, He remembered His water-sporting pastimes with the gopīs during His previous Avatāra as Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Embracing the sweetness of Rādhikā’s love in the core of His heart, He entered into rādhikātma-bhāva or empathic union with Her. He thus fulfilled His three internal desires and His heart was completely captured by Rādhārāṇī. Imlitalā is the place of origin of gaura-tattva, for it was here where in Dvāpara-yuga, Śyāmasundara became fully absorbed in the devotional mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and became Gaurasundara. I offer my obeisance to that Lord Gaurasundara, who eternally resides in Imlitalā, and who is the abode of prema.”

– Śrī-Śrī Premadhāma-Deva-Stotram, Verse 42.

Over 5000 years ago in Dvāpara-yuga, in Imlitalā, Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī’s supreme victory was celebrated with Her coronation as Vṛndāvaneśvari, the Queen of Vṛndāvana. In Vṛndāvana, the mood of worship is very sweet, because Rādhārāṇī becomes the Supreme Goddess and Kṛṣṇa accepts a role subordinate to Her.

Once, during the performance of Rāsalīlā, Rādhārāṇī was not given Her deserved special attention by Kṛṣṇa. She thus became sulky, left the Rāsa dance and crossed the Yamunā with Her sakhis. In a secluded spot, She sat down and wept. Absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa, Her empathy with Him reached such an intensity that Her entire body turned blue like Kṛṣṇa. Thus before Kṛṣṇa entered Rādhā’s mood and turned golden, Rādhikā entered into empathy with Him and assumed His dark blue effulgence. Tears cascaded from Her eyes and soon formed a beautiful lake, wich was named Māna sarovar – the lake formed of Rādhā’s tears of māna or sulkiness.

Meanwhile, Kṛṣṇa didn’t feel the usual bliss and realized that His most beloved Rādhārāṇī is missing from the Rāsalīlā. He quickly left the Rāsa dance and began desperately looking for Her everywhere. Unable to find Her, He remembered how She was once crowned the Queen of Vṛndāvana under the tamarind tree in Imlitalā. He thus took shelter of that tree and started crying out, “Rādheee! Rādheee! Please save my life by giving me your darśana!

Rādhārāṇī’s holy name is non-different from Her mood and golden colour. Thus, while chanting Rādhā’s name, Kṛṣṇa soon became immersed into Her mood of service and also attained Her golden effulgence, assuming the golden form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! Imlitalā is the holy place where Mahāprabhu’s beautiful form manifested for the very first time. Being immersed in empathy with Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa got a taste of the glory of Her unparallelled love for Him, of His own sweetness that only She can relish fully and of Her unsurpassed ecstacy when She serves Him. He had thus gotten a taste of fulfilling His three internal desires mentioned by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.1.6.).

These would later be fulfilled in Purī (dvādaśa vatsara śeṣa rahilā nīlācale (…) āsvādiyā pūrṇa kaila āpana vāñchita – Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.13.39-43). But even just getting a taste of their fulfillment, Kṛṣṇa entered into a deep state of samādhi and attained a unique siddhi or perfection. This is why Imlitalā is called Siddhapīṭha – holy place of perfection. It is from this seed form of empathic samādhi that Kṛṣṇa’s gaura-līlā exploded infinitely and showered its fruits of gaura-prema on one and all.

On the other side of the Yamunā, Rādhārāṇī suddenly felt deep bliss arising in Her heart due to being immersed in empathic union with Kṛṣṇa. Realizing that He is tasting a very special kind of ecstacy, She was attracted to Imlitalā with Her sakhis and was amazed to find Kṛṣṇa embraced with Her golden effulgence and immersed into a samādhi of empathic union with Her. Usually Kṛṣṇa faints merely by hearing the tinkling sound of Her anklets. But now He was not showing the slightest reaction, altough Rādhārāṇī was standing right in front of Him – such intense was His empathic absorption! One of Her sakhis thus told Rādhārāṇī to snatch back Her mood of devotion from Kṛṣṇa. When She did just that, Gaura-Kṛṣṇa came back to external consciousness, having lost the treasure of rādhā-bhāva. The covering golden effulgence faded and gave way to His blackish colour. The two had a most blissful meeting and were expressing how They are looking forward to continue this Gaura-Kṛṣṇa pastime during Their gaura-līlā in Kali-yuga.

Then, when Kali-yuga arrived, Nityānanda Prabhu came to Imlitalā. He foresaw Mahāprabhu’s arrival and prepared His āsana here. When Mahāprabhu came to Vraja, He spent most of His time on this āsana under this imli tree, chanting Kṛṣṇa-nāma in seclusion. While chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names, due to the seeing the uddīpakas or stimulants of vraja-līlā in Vṛndāvana, for a short time He again turned blackish like Kṛṣṇa and lost the treasure of rādhā-bhāva. To make sure He won’t lose rādhā-bhāva again, He decided to return to Purī, although He had only spent a few months in Vṛndāvana. This is the confidential reason why Mahāprabhu performed His concluding pastime in Purī.

Sevakuñja is accepted as the heart of Vṛndāvana because here Kṛṣṇa attains the treasure of His heart – the service of Rādhārāṇī’s lotus feet. However, nobody can serve without the proper mood of service – especially not Kṛṣṇa, who is used to being ādi-puruṣaṁ, the supreme enjoyer. He has to first attain seva-bhāva, the mood of service. And for that He first comes to Imlitalā before He enters Sevakuñja. In the same mood, according to local tradition, pilgrims first have darśana of Imlitalā before entering Sevakuñja.

Some say that relishing the Imlitalā pastimes was the internal reason for Mahāprabhu’s coming to Vṛndāvana. Under the very same imli tree, Srila Sanātana Gosvāmī worshiped his beautiful Gaura-Nityānanda Deities, which now grace the left altar in the Imlitalā temple. In the centre of the altar there is the Mahāprabhu Deity who was personally installed by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda and lead all of his early Vraja-maṇḍala parikramās. Imlitalā was so dear to Śrīla Prabhupāda that he once said: “I am living eternally at Imlitalā!”

There is a little known book in Bengali called Imlitalā Mahātmya written by the Founder Ācārya of the Śrī Gauḍīya Saṅgha and Sevait of Imlitalā, Śrīla Bhakti Saraṅga Gosvāmī Mahārāja. We are happy to announce that it has now been translated into English and that it will soon be published. Also, a book called Yoga of Empathy by Radhamadhav Das is in the making and will dwelve deeper into the topic of empathic union. Both publications will be announced here on


  • Caitanya-caritāmṛta
  • Bhakti-ratnākara
  • Imlitalā Mahātmya by Śrīla Bhakti Saraṅga Gosvāmī Mahārāja
  • Accounts of senior Vaiṣṇavas

Related Resources

Guided Darshans of Imlitalā and Sevakunja
Gaudiya Sangha in Delhi

How to Get There

Imlitalā lies between the Madan-Mohan temple and Keshi Ghat on the banks of the Yamunā. It belongs to Sevakunja. You can walk there or take a bicycle or E-rikshaw. Cars are not recommended because they disturb the peace of the pilgrims.

Welcome to Navinkrsna Prabhu’s site on Nectar Pot. All his nectar is shared here. The permalink to share for this site is

Sri Navinkrsna Prabhu is the Godbrother of  Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj and the beloved disciple of Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, who was the disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada and the Founder-Acarya of the Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math. Navinkrsna Prabhu had the priceless association of various disciples of Srila Prabhupada and has been performing intense bhajan in Vrindavan for over 50 years. He served as the temple president in the Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math Vrindavan and in the Vinodvani Gaudiya Math and has been training many senior devotees and sannyasis from various missions who are now preaching wide and far.

Navinkrsna Prabhu is well-known for his very sweet and deeply researched and realized Hari-katha that nourishes all devotees hankering for vraja-prema in the line of Rupa and Raghunath. Overflowing with affection for all junior devotees, he has captured the heart of many who are blessed with his pure association and siksa.

Despite his advanced age of 81 years, Navinkrsna Prabhu still goes on his daily parikrama, caters to Thakurji’s garden and is cooking very delicious offerings for the Lord. In the devotional assemblies across Vrindavan he is often honored as the Sabha Pati, the head of the assembly.

Now he is showering the devotees with the mercy of special Hari-kathas on Govindalilamrita and Bhagavatam, detailing the daily asta-kaliya-lila-smaranam during Kartik with the help of the yam-kirtans composed by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura for this purpose. On the special occasions of remembrance of various Vaisnavas he is giving unique insights into the glories of pure devotees he has personally met.

Video recordings on YouTube are listed in this playlist:

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Audio recordings are being uploaded here:

Navinkrsna Prabhu is staying in Sri Vinodvani Gaudiya Math:

By Radhamadhava Das, first published on

Everyday, ISKCON devotees around the world sing the song, “Jaya Radha-Madhava” before the Srimad Bhagavatam class. It is also sung in most Gaudiya Math temples — generally during the time of the Raj-bhog-arati. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Prabhupada was especially fond of this song, which expresses the sweet mood of worship of Vrindavan. Yet how many people know about the Radha-Madhava Deities for whom Srila BhaktivinodeThakur wrote this wonderful song?

For the last 14 years Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, the original family deities of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur have been residing for the month of Kartika on the altar of Radha-Syamasundara in the Vrindavan ISKCON Krishna-Balaram temple. Present there again this year; hundreds of eager devotees are daily crowding up near the altar to offer flower-garlands and to be able to get a closer darshan of Their Lordships.

Mukunda Datta, Guru Kripa Das and wife, and Radha Madhava Das joyously carry Radha Madhava into the Krishna Balaram Mandir in VrindavanMukunda Datta, Guru Kripa Das and wife, and Radha Madhava Das joyously carry Radha Madhava into the Krishna Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan.

During the rest of the year, Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava reside near Choti, a beautiful village in rural Orissa, where They used to be served in the house of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad and their family members. Five hundred years ago, Sri Krishnananda Datta, a disciple of Lord Nityananda who chanted three lakhs of Harinam daily,was worshipping Them, and then Their seva was passed down in family tradition.In his autobiography, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur wrote, “In Choti Mangalpur we have six or seven thached houses. Thakur Radha-Madhava and Jagannatha were worshiped in one of these houses.”

Bhaktivinode Thakur’s home in Choti Orissa

As described elaborately in the Back to Godhead magazine (May/June 2001), Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava were believed lost by the locals. But after twenty years of painstaking research, They were rediscovered in 2000 by Dr. Fakir Mohan Das, a Vaishnava research scholar and retired professor of Utkal University. Their land in Choti is still registered in the name of Bimal Prasad Dutta (the legal name of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad). Unknown to many devotees, Choti is the native land of two of our great predecessor acaryas, Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada. At present, the service of Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava is maintained by a trust headed by H. H. Indradyumna Maharaj.

Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava will be giving darshan in the Krishna-Balaram temple until Rasa Purnima on the sixth of November

For more information see:

A paper presented at the International Seminar on Thakur Bhaktivinode and Post-Caitanya Vaishnavism on the occasion of his 175th Birth and 100th Disappearance Anniversary held at Gaudiya Mission, Kolkata, on 16-17th September 2013.

The Seminar was preceded by the inauguration of the Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Museum by Sri Pranabh Mukherjee, President of India.


The search for harmony has always been one of the biggest quests of humanity. Thakur Bhaktivinode is renowned for his expertise in establishing how the teachings of Lord Caitanya enable the unfolding of the highest levels of universal harmony.

In a time in which most people had forgotten the true Caitanyaite principles, he successfully reintroduced them and presented them in a modern context. This paper concentrates on his presentation of acintya-bhedabheda-darshana as the philosophical backbone of universal harmony. It also explains how sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Lord’s names, is a very efficient practice to realize universal harmony.

Click here to download the paper “Universal Harmony – Ṭhākur Bhaktivinode’s Contribution to Post-Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism”.

By Radhamadhav Das, PhD

Presented at the International Conference on Values Embedded in Indian Philosophy at Benares Hindu University on 10-12th January 2013, organized by the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Faculty of Arts, Benares Hindu University and the Council of Research in Value and Philosophy, Washington DC.

Contains elaborate diagram.

Click here to download the paper “Indian Value System According to Caitanya-Vaiṣṇavism.”

Click here to separately download the diagram.