Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja was born in Hāpāniyā, West Bengal, India in 1895. His pastimes of youth were spent in learning and he naturally excelled in every subject that he took up. From his very childhood his tendency was towards the culture of the orthodox section, the Vedas, Upaniṣads, etc. – faith in God and all such things. He received his sacred thread in the family tradition when he was fourteen years old and his affinity for the divine world kept on increasing. In his early years he was especially attracted to Lord Rāmacandra. Later, when he came in contact with the doctrine of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he began to read Bhagavad-gītā and developed an attraction towards Lord Kṛṣṇa.
After completing his primary and secondary education Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja entered Krishnanath College at Baharampur (District Mushirabad), Bengal. In his fourth year of studies he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. For some time Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja was searching for a guru from whom he could take initiation, but he could not find anyone to his liking. Then by the grace of the Almighty he met his eternal guide and preceptor Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and in 1927 Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja became an initiated disciple.
In 1930 Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura awarded Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja sannyāsa and bestowed upon him the name Bhakti Rakṣaka meaning ‘Guardian of Devotion.’ Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura saw in Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja the ability to perfectly protect the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line from misrepresentation and misconception. After reading Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s Sanskrit compositions glorifying Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarked, “Now I am satisfied that, after I leave, there will be at least one man who can represent my conclusions (bhakti-siddhānta).”
Sometime after the passing away of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in 1936, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja established his own temple, Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha, on the banks of the sacred Ganges in Navadvīpa-dhāma, the holy land of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Having deeply assimilated the teachings of Śrī Caitanya, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja began composing original texts. His first work, Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛta, was a comprehensive scriptural study of śaraṇāgati (surrender). Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja composed numerous songs, prayers, and commentaries in Bengali and Sanskrit. Among these important works are his commentaries on Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s Śaraṇāgati, Bengali translations of Bhagavad-gītā and Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, and his own original Sanskrit poem summarizing caitanya-līlā, Prema-dhāma-deva Stotram. An outstanding contribution to the rūpānuga Gauḍīya sampradāya is Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s commentary on gāyatrī-mantra in the line of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.
At an advanced age, in his fully matured stage of realization, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja spoke extensively on the teachings of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and the great predecessor ācāryas. Those talks were recorded on audio/video and continue to be published by Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha and by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s many followers and admirers.
During the last days of his manifest pastimes, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja remained always absorbed in deep moods of devotional separation and hankering for the divine service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. Then in 1988 on amāvasyā (the dark moon night), in the month of July, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja withdrew his manifest presence from this earthly plane to enter the nitya-līlā (eternal pastimes) of the Supreme Lord.
At present the teachings of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja are being spread throughout the world via the noble efforts of his many loyal and dedicated followers.