HDG Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (1874–1936)
He was the spiritual master of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
He was a lifelong celibate and a influential teacher of bhakti all over India. By all historical accounts, he was extremely intelligent and excelled in math, astronomy, Sanskrit, and other languages. The University of Calcutta offered him a chair, but he declined so that he could dedicate his life to continuing the spiritual work of his father,Bhaktivinode Thakura.
Srila Prabhupada on Srila Bhaktisiddanta's disappearance:
"So spiritually, appearance and disappearance, there is no difference. Just like in material point of view, if a person takes birth... Suppose you get a son born, you become very happy. The same son, when passes away, you become very unhappy. This is material. And spiritually, there is no such difference, appearance or disappearance. So although this is the disappearance day of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, so there is nothing to be lamented. Although we feel separation, that feeling is there, but spiritually, there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. There is a song, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura's song, ye aniloprema-dhana. Do you know, any one of you? Can you sing that song anyone? Oh. Ye anilo prema-dhana, karuṇā pracura, heno prabhukothā gelo. I don't remember exactly the whole song. That is our lamentation, that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura brought this message to distribute all over...."
"So every student, any disciple, every disciple, especially those who are competent, he requested that "You take up this mission ofCaitanya Mahāprabhu and preach in the western countries. That was Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura's first attempt. Before that, even the ācāryas, Rūpānuga Gosvāmīs, they left literature, but they did not attempt to preach practically. And Bhaktisiddhānta SarasvatīṬhākura, he was very, very anxious to preach this Caitanya cult in the western countries. This is Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura's special contribution.
So when I met Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura... It is a long story, how I met him. One of my friends, he dragged me. (laughing) (laughter) I was at that time nationalist and manager in a big chemical factory. My age was about twenty-four years. So one of my friends, he asked me that "There is a nice sādhu, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. He has come in Calcutta. So let us go and see." So I was reluctant. I thought just like so, there are so many sādhus. So I was not very much... Because I had very bad experience, not very good. So I said, "Oh these kind of sādhus, there are many." You'll be glad to know that even my in young age or early age—it was Kṛṣṇa's grace—even amongst my young friends, I was considered the leader. (laughing) (laughter) In my school days, in my college days, in my private friendship, some way or other I became their leader. And one astrologer sometimes he read my hand. He said in Hindi, kukum calena(?). Kukum calena means "Your hand speaks that your order will be executed."