Bhaktivinoda Thakura was born in 1838 in a village called Ulagrama in the district of Nadia, West-Bengal. As a young man he acquired English erudition and had intense discussions on literature and spiritual topics with Devendranath Tagore, the well-known leader of the Brahmo Samaj. During his schoolyards he regularly wrote articles in English for The Hindu Intelligencer and The Literary Gazette At the age of twenty he published two volumes of poetry, also in English, entitled The Poriad, one copy of which can still be seen in the British Museum. Around that time he started to teach in Orissa where he was the first to introduce education in the English Language. At the age of twenty-eight he accepted the position of Deputy Magistrate from the government and in 1871 he was appointed the supervisor of the Jagannath Temple in Puri Orissa.
Bhaktivinod Thakur thoroughly studied the works of European philosophers and the devotional teaching of Jesus Christ impressed him greatly. At first, owing to his western education he tended to doubt the significance of the ancient vaishnava literature of India. He considered it a collection of religious teaching too obsolete to be accepted in the 20th century.
Having got to know a book about the life and teachings of the great vaishnava reformer Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, his approach radically changed. Following the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he officially accepted spiritual initiation from Shree Vipin Bihari Goswami. His literary activities increased; while in Naraili, he launched the first vaishnava magazine.
One of the most important events of his life and the history of vhaisnavism was the discovery of the lost birthplace of Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In 1895, after having studied contemporary maps and the writings of Narahari Chakravarti and Paramananda dasa, hi found the remains of the house where Shree Chaitanya was born. Following his initiative, a beautiful temple was built there.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura is one of the most outstanding representatives of the school of Bengali vaishnavism. Owing to his personal influence and excessive literary activities, the tradition of gaudiya vaishnavism reawakened. His activities and the spiritual value of his works won respect to the worship of Krishna not only in India but also in the western world where, by the majority of scientists, Krishna had been considered a mere mythological figure, like the Greek deity Pan.
Bhaktivinod Thakur left this material world in 1914 in Jagannath Puri where he spent the last four years of his life in seclusion.
O Gurudeva! Because you are so merciful, you gave me a place to live in Godruma amid the woodlands of Gauda-desa, with this order to fulfill: "Dwell here in this sacred place of Vraja and sing the holy name of Hari."
But when, O, master out of your great mercy, will endure all hardships, and I will serve Lord Hari with undivided attention.
Due to attachment to worldly pleasures in childhood and youth, I have developed many bad habits. Due to the reaction of these sinful acts my body itself has become an impediment to the service of the Supreme Lord.
Now in old age, afflicted by the five-fold illnesses, how will I serve the Lord? O master, please tell me! Weeping and weeping, I have fallen at your feet, overwhelmed with anxiety.
O Gurudeva by administering a drop of your mercy make this servant of yours infinitely more humble than a blade of grass. Giving me the strength to beat all trials troubles, free me from desires for personal honor.
O lord and master! Inspire me with the power to befittingly honor all living beings. Only than will I sing the holy name of the Lord in great ecstasy, and my offensive activities will case.
When will this person be indeed blessed by receiving your mercy, O lord and master? Devoid of all strength and intelligence, I am very law and fallen. Please make me your own. When I examine myself or worthiness, I find nothing of value. Therefore Your mercy is the essence of life. If you are not merciful to me, then I will constantly weep and weep, no longer being able to maintain my life.
O Gurudeva! When will that day be mine? With a steady mind, sitting in a seclude place, I will sing the name of Shree Krishna. The tumultuous pandemonium of worldly existence will no longer echo in my ears, and the diseases of the body, will remain far away.
When I chant "Hare Krishna" tears of love will flow and flow from my eyes. Ecstatic rapture will arise within my body, causing my hair to stand on end and my entire being to become overwhelmed with divine love.
Faltering words choked with emotion will issue from my mouth. My body will tremble, constantly perspire, turn pale and discolored, and become stunned. All of this will be like a devastation of ecstatic love and cause me to fall unconscious.
When will such a genuine ecstatic condition be mine? I will constantly sing the holy name and remain absorbed in profound devotion while traveling in the material body. In this way I will receive your mercy.
The original texts in this score are transcribed in accordance with Hungarian pronunciation rules. The following present the approximate English equivalents of the Hungarian sounds.
© Bakaja, Zoltán