Nimbarka Acarya comes in the line of the Kumara Sampradaya and is
believed to have lived around the 11th and 12th centuries. Born in the
modern Murgarapattam in the southern Dravidian province, he was the son
of Aruni and Jayanti, a very pious brahman a couple of the Tailanga
He was a great ascetic of the Tridandi order. He wrote
many books according to the Dvaitadvaitavada and he lived most of his
devotional life at a place called Nimbagrama near Govardhana at
While at Nimbagrama, he defeated a great Jain pandit
in a discussion. The Jain had refused to dine with him saying that the
Sun had already set and so he would not take any food. At this,
Nimbarka by his own potency made the sun appear from a Nimba tree and
the astonished Jain accepted his hospitality. It is said that his name
Nimbarka or Nimbaditya has been derived from this miracle of Aditya or
Arka meaning sun from a nimba tree.
Once in a village near the
forest of Bilva Paksha, a group of brahmanas came to engage in the
worship of Lord Siva. Just as Lord Visnu is very much pleased when He
is offered the leaves of His most beloved Tulasi, so Lord Siva is
pleased by offerings of leaves from the bilva or bael tree. Thus the
brahmanas worshipped Lord Siva by offering bilva leaves, for a period
of one fortnight and satisfied Lord Siva greatly.
brahmanas was one whose name was Nimbarka. He had been particularly
attentive in his worship of Lord Siva. Being especially pleased with
Nimbarka's devotion, Lord Siva personally appeared to him.
said Lord Siva, "at the edge of this village is a sacred bael forest.
There, in that forest, the four Kumaras are absorbed in meditation. By
their mercy you will receive transcendental knowledge, for they are
your spiritual masters, and by rendering service unto them you will
receive all that is of value." After saying this Lord Siva disappeared.
immediately went to that place and with great determination he searched
for the four Kumaras in every direction, until he finally found them,
shining as brilliantly as the sun. They were seated on a very beautiful
natural platform beneath a tree and they appeared like fire blazing on
an altar. They were all very young, seeming to be no more than five
years in age, but they appeared most noble in character as they sat
there naked, rapt in meditation. Nimbarka was so excited that he cried
out, "Hare Krsna!"
This sudden sound startled the four brothers,
breaking their meditation. Opening their eyes, they saw before them the
blissful form of an ideal devotee, and with great pleasure they
embraced Nimbarka, one after another.
"Who are you," they asked, "and why have you come here? We are certainly ready to answer all your prayers."
Nimbarka fell at the feet of the four brothers like a rod, and with great humility he introduced himself.
a sweet smile on his face Sanat Kumara then said, "The all-merciful
Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing that Kali-yuga will be
extremely troublesome for the living entities, resolved to proagate
devotional service to Himself. With this goal in m ind, He has
empowered four personalities with devotion and sent them into this
world to preach. Ramanuja, Madhva, and Visnuswami are three and you are
the fourth of these great souls. Laksmi accepted Ramanuja as a
disciple, Brahma accepted Madhva, Rudra accepted Visnuswami and meeting
you today we have the good fortune of being able to instruct you. This
is our intention. Previously we were engaged in meditating on the
impersonal Brahman, but by the causeless mercy of Lord Visnu, we have
been relieved of this sinful activity. Since I have realised that it is
essential to preach pure devotional service, I have composed a literary
work entitled Sanat Kumara Samhita. After taking initiation from me,
you should follow the instructions I have set forth therein."
was greatly enlivened at the prospect of taking initiation and he
immediately ran to take bath in the Ganges. After this he quickly
returned and prostrated himself once more before the effulgent brothers.
"O deliverers of the fallen," said Nimbarka, in all humility, "please deliver this low-born rascal."
four Kumaras gave him the Radha-Krsna mantra and instructed him in the
method of worshipping Radha and Krsna with the sentiments of great love
called Bhava Marga.
In that sacred bael forest Nimbarka began to
worship Sri Sri Radha Krsna according to the Sanat Kumara Samhita and
he chanted the mantra they had given him. Very soon Radha and Krsna
revealed Themselves to Nimbarka. They stood before him, spreading an
effulgence which illuminated all directions. In sweet voices They
addressed him thus: "Nimbarka, you are very fortunate, for you have
performed Sadhana in Sri Navadwipa. We both combine, and assume one
form, as the son of Sacidevi." At that moment Radha and Krsna combined
and displayed Their form of Gauranga.
Beholding this splendid
vision, Nimbarka began to tremble. "Never," he said, "Never have I ever
seen or heard of such a form at any time."
Lord Gauranga then
said, "Keep this form, which I now show you, a secret for the time
being. Just preach about devotional service and the pastimes of Radha
and Krsna, for I gain great satisfaction from this. When I make My
appearance and perform My education pastimes, you will also appear.
Taking birth in Kashmir as a great pandit, you will tour all over India
defeating all opposition. Your reputation and learning will be
celebrated everywhere and you will be known as Kesava Kashmiri. Whilst
wandering in Sri Navadwipa you will come to Sri Mayapur. Simply by
hearing your name all the great pandits of Navadwipa will flee.
Intoxicated with scholastic pride, I will take great pleasure in
defeating you. However, by the mercy of Mother Sarasvati, the goddess o
f learning, you will realize My true identity. Giving up your false
pride, you will take shelter of Me and I will reward you with the
supreme gift of loving devotional service and will again despatch you
to preach. Thus you can satisfy Me by preaching the philosophy of
dvaita-advaita. Keep My identity a secret. In the future when I begin
My sankirtan movement, I will personally preach, taking the essence of
your philosophy and the philosophies of Madhva, Ramanuja and
After instructing Nimbarka in this way, Lord
Gauranga disappeared, and filled with intense ecstacy, Nimbarka began
to shed tears of love. After worshipping the lotus feet of his gurus
and taking their permission, he left Sri Navadwipa to begin his