Biography of Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaja
His Birth and Early Life
His Holiness Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj took birth in a Vaishnava family on September 10, 1956, on the auspicious tithi of Lalita Saptami, the appearance day of Sri Lalita Devi. His auspicious birth occurred in Aliabad village in the Ganjam District of the state of Orissa, India. His parents gave him the name Abhimanyu. His father's name was Khali Shyama das, and his mother's name was Chandramani devi dasi. They were both Vaishnava disciples of Babaji Radhacharan das Maharaj.
Srila Bishnu Maharaj’s early studies and interests included Sanskrit for which he earned a degree. He enjoyed spiritual arts such as puja, study of the Puranas, sadhu sanga, kirtana, and devotional music. His father was a sankirtana master. During his youth, Srila Maharaj was fortunate to meet many babajis, mahantas, yogis and sadhus.
Meeting of His Gurudeva, Initiation and Studies
In 1978, Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj met his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Om Vishnupada 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad. Before this, while in Brahmapur, Orissa, he had the opportunity to associate with the devotees of his Gurudeva as well as another disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad, Nityananda brahmachari (later known as Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vijnana Nityananda Goswami Maharaj). Nityananda brahmachari also belonged to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission.
In 1979, Srila Bishnu Maharaj joined the Matha and took harinama and diksha from His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaj. His brahmachari name was Ananta Krishna das brahmachari. His scriptural studies include the Bhagavad-gita (which he has memorized in its entirety), the Srimad Bhagavatam (including the commentary by Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur), other Puranas, the Chaitanya-charitamrita, Jiva Goswami’s Sat Sandarbha, much of the other Goswami literature, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Upanishadas.
Maharaj Takes Sannyasa
In 1984, at the Puri Ashram of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission, Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj took sannyasa from His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Jivan Janardan Goswami Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad. He did so in the presence of his Gurudeva and his other Guruvargas.
Temples and Functions
Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj was one of the original leaders of the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission. The temples in Dighapahandi, Berhampur and Mayapur are still under his attentive guidance.
Additionally, Srila Bishnu Maharaj is a longstanding and active member of the World Vaishnava Association. Currently the WVA’s general secretary, since 2004 he has served multiple tenures in the organization acting both as the vice president and also as the global coordinator. Srila Maharaj is the present Acharya of the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission and the International Krishna Chaitanya Mission which, under his guidance and inspiration, are preaching and opening centers in countries all over the world.
Sadhu Sanga and Service to Vaishnavas
Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj has had the great fortune to associate with and serve many great Vaishnavas and leading Vaishnava Acharyas. He was fortunate to receive blessings from and association with His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vijnana Nityananda Goswami Maharaj (formerly Nityananda brahmachari), His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Jivan Janardan Goswami Maharaj, Nitya-lila Pravista Sripad Ananda Lilamaya das prabhu, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj, His Divine Grace Bhakti Kumuda Santa Goswami Maharaj, and many other disciples and followers of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad. Also among these were His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vedanta Bamana Goswami Maharaj, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vedanta Trivikram Goswami Maharaj, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Maharaj, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Goswami Maharaj and His Divine Grace Nitya-lila Pravista Bhakti Vedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaj.
Srila Bishnu Maharaj maintains loving Vaishnava relationships with Acharyas of all other Vaishnava institutions including the current president of the World Vaishnava Association, His Divine Grace Bhakti Gopananda Ban Goswami Maharaj. Presently, Srila Maharaj spends the majority of his time traveling and preaching. In a non-sectarian and non-political mood, he purely and respectfully offers encouragement to the devotees of all the many sangas that have been nurtured all throughout the world by the grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and our previous Gaudiya Acharyas.
Preaching and World Travel
Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj has always been an enthusiastic preacher. He considers it his life’s work to preach and carefully explain pure Krishna bhakti, devotion to Sri Guru, service to Vaishnavas, and Gaudiya siddhanta. He does so for the benefit of audiences around the world so that they may be blessed to accept the shelter of spiritual life. In order to fulfill the great missionary desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Bishnu Maharaj began his travels outside of India for the first time in 1995, when he journeyed to Thailand. Then, in 1997, he traveled with his Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaj, to Europe. Srila Maharaj has traveled to America numerous times since 2001. Presently, he travels all over Asia, the Americas, Mexico, Australia, and in Italy, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, and England.
When he is not touring internationally, Srila Maharaj travels in India overseeing temples. He is fluent in many regional Indian languages and easily communicates the message of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wherever he is speaking. After the disappearance of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaj, on his Gurudeva’s order, His Holiness Srila Bhakti Vichar Bishnu Maharaj, accepted the sacred service of Acharya and initiating guru of the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission.