In this issue of JVS we commemorate the life and work of Kedarnath Dutt (Datta), better known in the Gauḍīya Vaishnava community as Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838–1914), a much celebrated poet, philosopher, historian, novelist, theologian, and consummate practitioner of the Vaishnava tradition.
This year, 2014, marks the 175th anniversary of his birth and, perhaps more significantly, the 100th year of his disappearance. For these and other reasons, JVS is honored to present the following collection of essays in an attempt to illuminate various aspects of his considerable contribution. It was Bhaktivinoda who, almost single-handedly, rejuvenated the Gauḍīya Vaishnava tradition in late 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal, virtually rescuing it from dishonor and the numerous charlatans who espoused deviant and shallow forms of the religion in her name. Additionally, it was he who planted the seeds for Gauḍīya Vaishnavism’s long and glorious journey to Western shores, something his son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (1874–1937), would build upon in the 1930s.