(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 30 December 2012, Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday Feast Lecture)
Govindaji was the deity that had been installed in Vrndavan by Srila Rupa Gosvami. For a period of time, the Muslim government had been very favourable and very tolerant of what they considered to be Hindu practices that were going on in Vrndavan, under the rule of Akbar.
The atmosphere was very open; Akbar was very open to the other traditions and so on. But later, the entire mood changed and at that time Vrndavan was under siege; under oppression and many deities in various temples were broken. So various deities were all sent away.
Govindaji wound up in Jaipur and stayed there. But as we know in our sampradaya, we are not just worshiping Krsna alone. We are always worshiping Krsna surrounded by loving devotees and the topmost of those loving devotees is Srimati Radharani. She is the ultimate devotee, no devotee can please Krsna as much as she can!
So in this way, the Gaudiyas are worshiping Radha and Krsna. But when the deities of Radha and Govindaji came to the palace in Jaipur then the local pundits who were Sri-vaisnavas of South India said, “Actually Radha and Krsna cannot be on the same altar because they are not married! So, they cannot be worshiped as a couple.”
They considered them to be separate and that became a major debate. At that time, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was very prominent brahmana acarya in our line. He gave us the Guruvastakam – the song that we sing at Mangala-aarti, with so many commentaries. He was the authority at the time but at an advanced stage. Jaipur is quite far from Vrndavan; 230 km and if you have no car and if you go by conventional transport then 230 km is suddenly quite far. And return, it is like 500 km – forget it, too old for that! So, he sent Baladeva Vidyabhushana.
Baladeva went there and Baladeva was ready to argue with the instructions of the pundits from the Sri sampradaya who had basically told the king, “You have to separate Radha and Krsna.” The king had sent an emergency message to Vrndavan for help and Baladeva came.
Initially the South Indian brahamas from the Sri sampradaya said that they were not willing to speak to anyone about the Gaudiya sampradaya because they don’t even have a commentary on the Vedantasutra. But Baladeva, interesting enough, he was not just from the Gaudiya sampradaya, he was also from the Madhava, since he had taken sannyasa from the Madhavas. He put down his Madhavas credentials and the debate was on. And yes, he spoke very eloquently and gave the Gaudiya conclusions and said, “But whatever you have spoken is not in line with the teachings of Madhava. Therefore we cannot accept it.”
So then Baladeva accepted the challenge to write a commentary on the Vedantasutra which he wrote it very quickly and according to him, it was dictated to him by Govindaji himself. And of course, therefore that Gaudiya commentary is known as Govinda Bhasya and in this way, by establishing that commentary, he established the authority of the Gaudiyas and therefore the authority of the worship of Radha and Krsna combined which particularly what Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was teaching, which is the original conclusion of Srimad Bhagavatam!