Guru-parampara: The List of 32, Part 19


Biographies of the Sampradaya Acaryas

One of ISKCON's scholars in the field of guru-parampara is Sriman Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa, a disciple of HH Jayaptaka Swami, who resides in Katikati, New Zealand. He is the author of a book entitled The Life and Legacy of Sripad Madhvacarya Bhagavatapada [1], the creator of, and the compiler of various materials on our Brahma Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, including an "Introduction to and Chronological Order of, the Brahma Madhwa & Brahma Madhwa-Gaudiya Sampradaya" and the accompanying "Detailed Table of the Disciplic Succession" [2]. He has also presented a compilation of biographical information on the members of the guru-parampara [3], excerpted in summary below.

In his compilation of biographies, Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa does not order his content in exactly the same order as Srila Prabhupada's List of 32 from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, but it is generally presented in that order. In some cases names are combined. There is relatively little information available about some of these personalities.

In his presentation of biographies, Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa does not offer citations or source material references for all of the biographical facts being presented, although many can be recognized as coming from well known Vaisnava literatures. For the most part, our comparison here is limited to the information provided in his narrative, which we assume includes the most salient facts available.


Padmanabha is 6th on the List of 32, immediately following Madhva. His pastimes are described in the biographical sketch:

"He was a renowned and distinguished scholar of the day, but his proficiency in fourteen branches of learning were silenced in fourteen seconds by Acarya Madhva in 1265 AD. Soon he became one of the most trusted disciples of Madhva. Madhva always praised him, being the senior-most disciple among those outside the Tulu area, and his learning, preaching and seniority enabled Madhva to make him the first to sit on the Pitha after Madhva's disappearance pastime."

Like Padmanabha Tirtha, Srila Prabhupada's scholarship is beyond reproach. Without a doubt, the impact of Srila Prabhupada's preaching on the world has been vastly greater than that of any other disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, qualifying him as the topmost disciple both inside and outside of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta's math. And that itself is a vast understatement. Srila Prabhupada's worldwide preaching was predicted by Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself:

"Even if the sinners reject religion or flee to foreign countries, still they will get the mercy. I will send My senapati (military field commander) bhakta to go there and deliver them." 
(Sri Caitanya Mangala, Sutra-Khanda by Locana das Thakura)

In the brief span of around 20 years, Srila Prabhupada translated more than sixty volumes of Vedic sastra into English. His Bhagavad-gita As It Is is available in more than sixty languages, and millions of editions have been distributed worldwide. Srila Prabhupada's books are considered preeminent resource books in colleges and universities around the world, including Harvard and Oxford, and they have been delivered to countless world leaders and politicians, and have undoubtedly influenced world affairs. Srila Prabhupada also delivered the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to the entire world. The maha-mantra has been included in many popular records and performances, being included in numerous songs by the world's most popular band, the Beatles. Both Srila Prabhupada's books and the maha-mantra continue to instantaneously make devotees around the globe. Many take up Krsna Consciousness immediately upon receiving Srila Prabhupada's transcendental sound vibration.

(To be continued...)


[1] The Life and Legacy of Sripad Madhvacarya Bhagavatapada by Jaya Tirtha Caran dasa

[2] "Introduction to and Chronological Order of, the Brahma Madhwa, & Brahma Madhwa-Gaudiya Sampradaya", "Detailed Table of the Disciplic Succession", and "Biographies of the Sampradaya Acaryas" by Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa

[3] "Summary Biographies of the Sampradaya Acaryas" - excerpted and paraphrased from "Biographies of the Sampradaya Acaryas" by Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa