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Gaudiya Math History – The Journey of Gaudiya Math to International Society of Krishna Consciousness

Gaudiya Math was first established by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (1874 to 1937) to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism in 1918. The first Math (mutt or ashram) was called Uri Chaitanya Matha and was established in Mayapur, Bengal, India. With the help of his intimate disciples and sheer hard work, several other Mathas came into existence. The history of Gaudiya Math is the journey of the Math to the present International Society of Krishna Consciousness.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was the son of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the scholar and saint, who revitalized Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Bengal in the late 19th Century AD. To fulfill the desire of his father to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism to every town and village of the world, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura established the Gaudiya Math.

Through Gaudiya Math activities, Gaudiya Vaishnavism in its purest form was spread throughout undivided India.

In a span on nineteen years, 64 Gaudiya Mathas, as they came to be called, were set up all over India.
In 1922, the Gaudiya Matha began publishing a magazine called ‘The Gaudiya’. It soon became the popular spiritual magazine in Bengal.

Gaudiya Math then published entire twelve cantos of Srimad Bhagavad Purana. This voluminous work was due to the dedication of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and the work was included traditional commentaries.

In 1926, Gaudiya Math began publishing a weekly spiritual magazine titled Nadiya Prakas and this later became a daily newspaper in both English and Bengali.

In 1927, a third periodical was released by the Gaudiya Math, this was titled ‘The Harmonist’, and it was published Hindi, Sanskrit and English.

Gaudiya Math soon started translating Sanskrit classics into Bengali and English. Many temples were renovated and newly built under the expert guidance of the Math.

The Math gave special emphasis on printing of book. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura called them Brhat Mridanga – the great drum.

He used to say, “A drum played during kirtana (spiritual prayer meeting) can be heard only for a couple of blocks, a mile at the most. But the Great Drum, known as the printing press, can be heard all over the world.”

In 1933, Gaudiya Matha was established in Europe in Kensington, London. The activities of Matha soon reached Germany and France.

In January 1, 1937, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura took Samadhi and the work of the Math was taken over by Abhay Charan De, a married disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. He later adopted the monk’s life and in 1965 went to Europe to follow up the work there.

In 1966, Abhay Charan De founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness based on the teachings of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.