Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura


Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura was born in 1674 in Nadiya district of West Bengal. He had two brothers: Sri Ramabhadra Chakravarti and Sri Raghunatha Chakravarti. Vishvanatha received initiation from Sri Krishnacharana Chakravarti, in whose house he lived for a long time and wrote many books.

In Nadiya, Vishvanatha studied the scriptures and Sanskrit grammar, poetry, and rhetoric. Even as a boy in school, he was a formidable scholar who could defeat anyone in logic and debate.

Although indifferent to family life, Vishvanatha married at a young age at his father’s request. He was married for only a short time, having renounced his wife and home to live in Vrindavana. Although his family and friends often tried to bring Vishvanatha back home, he was fixed in his determination to serve Lord Krishna in the Lord’s transcendental abode.

In Vrindavana, Vishvanatha took up residence in the former cottage (bhajana-kutir) of Srila Krishnadasa Goswami, on the bank of the sacred lake known as Radha Kunda. Living there with a disciple of Krishnadasa named Mukunda Dasa; Vishvanatha carefully studied the books of Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, and other Goswamis and later wrote commentaries on many of these books.

Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti also wrote important commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita.

Srila Prabhupada, in his own purports, often quotes the commentaries of Vishvanatha. Srila Prabhupada often mentioned that he had been inspired in his own spiritual life by Vishvanatha’s commentary on Bhagavad-gita 2.41, where Vishvanatha Chakravarti writes that the disciple must accept as his life and soul the order of the spiritual master.

Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura is the author of Sri Gurvastakam, ‘Eight Prayers Glorifying the Spiritual Master’. Following the practice set by Srila Prabhupada, devotees in all ISKCON temples sing these prayers each morning during mangala-arati, the first worship ceremony of the day.

Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti’s most famous disciple was Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana. When brahmana scholars in Jaipur challenged the validity of Lord Chaitanya’s movement, Vishvanatha, the leader of Lord Chaitanya’s followers at the time, was too old to make the journey and debate the challengers, so he sent Baladeva in his place. By the dictation of Lord Krishna, Baladeva wrote the Govinda-bhashya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra and defeated the skeptics.