I am delighted to publicly announce the discovery of two manuscripts authored by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana: one called “Sabda-sudha”,dated 1801 Samvat (1744 A.D.), and the other called“Laghu-siddhanta-kaustubha”, undated. Until now, these treatises were unknown and there is no mention of them in any of the main Gaudiya catalogues.An important peculiarity of the Sabdha-sudha manuscript is that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana mentions the name of his father: Gangadhara Manikya. This evidence will resolve more than a hundred years of controversy regarding Vidyabhusana’s parentage. Some claim that he was born in a vaisya family; some claim he was born in a ksatriya family; and others claim he was born in a brahmana family. Only accurate historical information based on documented evidence can prevent this kind of speculation, for definitely a man cannot be born in three different families at the same time. Manikya seems to be a common ksatriya title, but only after a detailed research about the Manikyas in Orissa we will be able to come to a conclusion.
I was also fortunate enough to acquire a copy of the original manuscript of the Govinda-bhasya signed by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. Thanks to the National Mission for Manuscripts, I obtained a list of contacts holding private manuscript collections and most of the owners are cooperating in letting me copy the texts I need. I personally met the head of the Vallabha-sampradaya, who promptly agreed to share whatever manuscripts of Vidyabhusana they might have in their library, which is almost five hundred years old. I also spoke with the head of the Nimbarka-sampradaya, who promised to help us. They own several ancient manuscript libraries in several places in India. Unfortunately, the Gaudiyas are the most non cooperative people I have faced. At the Bag Bazaar Gaudiya Math in Kolkata, I was not even allowed to see the library, and at the Sri Caitanya Research Institute, also in Kolkata, they refused to let me take pictures of a couple of pages of a printed book. Curiously, sometimes devotees ask me why so many Gaudiya books are lost. I can’t give a better answer than the prevalence of this type of non cooperative attitude.
As for the government libraries, each has its own sets of rules. At the Sarasvati-bhavan in Varanasi they have 25 of Vidyabhusana’s manuscripts and with the help of a pandita we are on the way to get copies of them all. At the Sanskrit College in Kolkata they allowed me to copy their manuscripts after I passed through the bureaucratic process. At Bangiya Sahitya Parisad they have quite a few titles, but due to their exorbitant charges (50 rupees per page), I left empty handed.