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Advaita Acharya (1434-1539), (born Kamalakhar Bhrttacharya) was a notable disciple and companion of the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and guru of Haridasa Thakur. He was born in Bengalmarker in 1434, some fifty years before Chaitanya, and spent most of his adult life in the town of Shantipurmarker with his wife and family (Advaita Acarya had six sons, Acyutananda, Krsna Misra, Gopala dasa, Balarama, Svarupa, and Jagadisa) teaching the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana and promoting Bhakti Yoga. Many of his activities are described in the Chaitanya Charitamrta, Chaitanya Bhagavata and Advaita Prakasa.

Life Story

In his latter years Advaita Acharya became increasingly saddened by the pursuit of materialistic goals that, he believed, lead to a dysfunctional, unhappy society and concluded that the only solution was to offer prayers, begging his Supreme Lord Krishna to come as an avatar and attract people back to the joy of the spiritual life. Advaita Acharya is said to have prayed for several months, crying out and worshipping him in the form of his Shaligram Shila with sacred Tulasi leaves and Gangesmarker water. At the end of thirteen months during an eclipse of the full moon, his prayers were answered when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born.

He is known to have been a close friend of both Chaitanya and Nityananda in their mission of spreading the Hare Krishna mantra. Advaita Acharya is said to have told Chaitanya "Wherever you are is ." He is considered a combined incarnation (avatar) of both Maha Vishnu and Shiva (collectively named Harihara) within the Gaudiya tradition.On the day marking his birth members hold a celebration in his honour and read and discuss stories of his life.

See also

References and notes

  1. p. 52

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