What is meant with the title Bhaktivedanta?

Bhaktivedanta means ultimate understanding of Vedānta is bhakti, not to become impersonalist.

Lecture on SB 1.1.3 — London, August 19, 1971

Many self-created masters are giving themselves names like “Bhaktipada”, “Bhaktivedanta” or “Mahāprabhu”. Bhaktivedanta is a special name given only to the chosen, for one who is in full knowledge of the Vedānta, one who knows Krsna.

People are after so-called Vedantists, but they do not know Kṛṣṇa, so-called Vedantist. But one who is actually Vedantist, he knows Kṛṣṇa. Therefore sometimes ago some of these Vaiṣṇavas, they gave me this title, Bhaktivedanta. Bhaktivedanta means ultimate understanding of Vedānta is bhakti, not to become impersonalist.


A pure Vedāntist, or a bhakti-vedānta, instructs followers exactly according to the instructions of the Lord Himself. The Personality of Godhead, both in the Bhagavad-gītā and in all other scriptures, has definitely instructed men to follow the Lord only.

SB 1.5.30, Translation and Purport

Vedānta-vādīs, or the followers of the Vedānta, indicate the pure devotees of the Personality of Godhead. Such vedānta-vādīs, or the bhakti-vedāntas, are impartial in distributing the transcendental knowledge of devotional service.

SB 1.5.24, Translation and Purport

Srila Prabhupada was awarded the title Bhaktivedanta

“My society, Vaiṣṇava society, has particularly given me this title, Bhaktivedanta. Vedānta means bhakti. It is a challenge to the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. This particular title was given after due consideration that my humble self should be awarded this title. It is new title amongst the Vaiṣṇava society. So the Māyāvādī philosophers they are sometimes surprised that “How Swamijī is Vedanti, at the same time bhakti?” But actually they do not know Vedānta means bhakti.”

Radhastami, Srimati Radharani’s Appearance Day — Montreal, August 30, 1968

“So (reading), “Such vedānta-vādīs or the bhaktivedāntas are impartial in distributing…” This Bhaktivedanta title was given on this vedānta-vādī because in our society there was no Vedānta. So some of the Vaiṣṇavas selected me to get this title Bhaktivedanta. Vedānta means bhakti, understanding bhakti. Because vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ (BG 15.15). So who can understand Kṛṣṇa unless he has bhakti? So this is the bhaktivedānta. So (reading) “Vedānta-vādī or the bhaktivedāntas are impartial in distributing the transcendental knowledge or devotional service. To them no one is enemy or friend, no one is educated or uneducated, no one is specially favorable, and no one is unfavorable. The bhaktivedāntas see the people in general are wasting time in false sensuous things. Their business is to get the ignorant mass of people to reestablish the lost relationship with the prayojana, lost relationship with the Personality of Godhead. By such endeavor even the most forgotten soul is roused up to the sense of spiritual life, and thus being initiated by the bhaktivedāntas the people in general gradually progress on the path of transcendental realization. So the vedānta-vādīs initiated the boy even before he became self-controlled and was detached from the childish sporting, etc.


Prabhupāda: Yes, He is the… So He can speak what is Vedānta. And unless one accepts this Vedānta, he’s not a Vedāntist. Therefore some of our Vaiṣṇava friends, they have given me this title, Bhaktivedanta. In 1947, something, they, purposefully, they gave me the title that Vedānta means bhakti. “So you take this title, ‘Bhaktivedanta.’ ” And we are preaching this Vedānta, that the ultimate platform of Veda, knowledge, is to understand Kṛṣṇa. 


Bhaktivedanta title allows one to initiate people

I want that all of my spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of Bhaktivedanta, so that the family transcendental diploma will continue through the generations. Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples. Maybe by 1975, all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations. That is my program. So we should not simply publish these books for reading by outsiders, but our students must be well versed in all of our books so that we can be prepared to defeat all opposing parties in the matter of self-realization.

Based on the 1st paragraph, we believe that the original letter was incorrectly dated. Our estimate is that this is the correct date.–Bhaktivedanta Archives

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