Krsna Balaram Swamiji was unanimously appointed to the position of “Mahamandaleshwar” (which is on the level of Cardinal in Christianity) by all four Vaisnava Sampradaya, Mahamandaleshwars, Sri Mahants, and Mahants from all over India
Swamiji is the first Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya Swami wearing saffron cloth to ever be appointed to the exalted position of Mahamandaleshwar. The gathering took place during the Kumbha Mela located in Ujjain in central India, on the bank of the Ksipra River, and on April 6, 2004 Swamiji was honored as Mahamandaleshwar. There was a huge festival where thousands were fed Prasadam. Swamiji is now nationally recognized all over India to be of the top echelon of Spiritual leaders in India.
As Mahamandaleshvar, Swamiji will now have his own establishment named “Govinda Khalasa” present in each Kumbha Mela, wherever they take place. Khalasa means spiritual empire. The name of Swamiji’s Khalasa is Govinda. In each Kumbhamela Swamiji’s Govinda Khalasa will be represented in colorful tents where many saints and sages will reside and be welcomed. At each Kumbhamela all Mahamandaleshwars are given a royal bathing called Sahisnan, where Government officials and police clear the path from each Mahamandaleshwar’s Khalasa to the bathing place and individually help them bath in the holy river.
In the scriptures we find the quality of a Mahant (Mandaleshwar) as one who is incomparably learned and has the ability and capacity to convince others through his spiritual realizations and preside over all spiritual functions. These learned Mahants govern over a region’s spiritual functions and are honored by local saints, sages, and the people in their area. Whereas Mahamandaleshwars have all of the above qualities and oversee the entire nation’s spiritual functions and are honored by all saints, sages, and the people of the entire nation.
This system has been prevalent in Vedic civilization since time immemorial. There are innumerable examples found in the scriptures dating back to Satyayuga, such as when the sage Dhomya Rishi was Mandaleshwar (Mahant) and Agastya Muni was Mahamandaleshwar. Since the time of Sankaracharya Mayavadis also hold these positions. Vaisnavas have four schools of philosophy, Ramanuja, Madhva, Visnusvami, and Nimbarka Sampradayas, whereas Mayavadis only depend on the teachings and guidelines of Sripada Sankaracharya.
Vaisnavas wear three categories of cloth, some white, yellow, and saffron, whereas Mayavadis wear only saffron colored cloth. Durga worshippers wear red and blue cloth, and Kali and Bhairava worshippers wear black cloth. Vaisnava Sanyasis wear saffron cloth and carry three dandas as one, denoting their mind, body and actions are solely dedicated to the Supreme Lord. Whereas Mayavadi Sanyasis wear saffron cloth and carry one danda, indicating they are one with the Lord. Vaisnava Sanyasis function as a servant of the Lord knowing Him to be the Supreme Person, whereas Mayavadi Sanyasis think they are God functioning as a human, or that everything is God.
His Grace Nanda Kumar Das
[Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji, KBS5139]