Defining their ideal of worship.

By Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur

Question: Who are Gaudiya devotees?

Answer: The devotees of Visnu are Vaisnavas, the devotees of Krishna are Karsnas, and the devotees of Sri Radha are Gaudiyas.

The devotees of Sri Gaura who are followers of Sri Rupa (Rupanugas) and sheltered within parakiya-madhura-rasa are Gaudiyas. The Gaudiya devotees are followers of Sri Svarup Damodar Goswami Prabhu, the avatar of Sri Lalita Devi. Because of this, the Gaudiyas are the followers of Sri Svarup Damodar and Sri Rupa Goswami, and Sriman Mahaprabhu therefore said to Sri Svarup Damodar Prabhu, “Tomara Gaudiya kare eteka vyavahara: your Gaudiya acts like this.”

The Gaudiyas serve within the manjari system. Sri Radha-Govinda, Sri Radha-Gopinath, and Sri Radha-Madan Mohan are the Deities of the Gaudiyas. The scripture says:

sri radha saha sri madana-mohana
sri radha saha sri govinda-charana
sri radha saha srila sri gopinatha
ei tina thakura haya gaudiyara natha

“Sri Radha with Sri Madan Mohan, Sri Radha with Sri Govinda and Sri Radha with Sri Gopinath—these three Deities are the Lords of the Gaudiyas.”

ei tina thakura gaudiyake kariyachena atma-sat
e tinera charana vando, tine mora natha
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 1.19)

“These three Deities have accepted the Gaudiyas as Their own. I offer my obeisance at the feet of these three Deities; They are My Lords.”

The Deities of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are indicated in the eighteen-syllable mantra: Krishna is Madan Mohan, Govinda is Govinda, and Gopi-jana-vallabha is Gopinath. Experience of Madan Mohan Krishna is sambandha, the service of Govinda is abhidheya, and being attracted by Gopijana-vallabha is prayojan.
Madan Mohan Krishna is the Deity of sambandha, Govinda is the Deity of abhidheya, and Gopinath is the Deity of prayojan.

Generally, the devotees who are sheltered at the feet of Sri Gaura are known as Gaudiyas. The devotees of the land of Gauda (Central West Bengal) are also known as Gaudiyas. Just as the devotees from the land of Utkal are known as Udiya devotees, the devotees from Bengal are also denominated as Gaudiya devotees.


Translated into English from a passage in Prabhupader Upadesamrta.

Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was the most influential proponent of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 20th century. As a vehement spiritual revolutionary, he denounced all conventional religious dogmas, broke through society’s false notions of spirituality, and compelled all to appreciate the true path of divine love. For more information on Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, please visit his biography page.
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