Almost five hundred years after its composition, Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s Viveka-satakam (A Hundred Verses of Wisdom) has been published for the first time. Although an ancient manuscript of the text was listed among a private collection in 1883, its whereabouts was unknown for many decades. After locating the manuscript in the course of my research work, it was a joy to verify that it was at least four hundred years old. Upon analyzing the text, it became clear that it had many characteristics common to other works of Srila Prabodhananda. Yet there was a difficulty – it was a poor transcription into Bengali characters and a number of incorrect readings compromised the text intelligibility to some extent. I was fortunate to come across a manuscript in Devanagari that proved to be essential to determine the original readings.
In a quasi-autobiographical tone, Srila Prabodhananda tells us some of his experiences and impressions in life, his struggles in worldly affairs, his anxieties in family life and above all, his burning desire to give up everything to go to Vrindavan, which is glorified throughout the book. It is clear that at the time of composition the author was already an adherent of Lord Caitanya’s philosophy, as he expresses his desire to serve the Lord birth after birth, declares that Krsna, the Lord of Gokula, is superior even to Lord Visnu, and mentions Srimati Radharani’s name several times. He also mentions the name “Radha-ramana” a few times, which hints that this name had special significance to him.[...]