Srila Shivananda Sena’s Disappearance Day

Excerpted from Chaitanya: His Life and Associates

By Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Maharaj

Nityananda Prabhu’s Punishment of Shivananda

Shivananda Sena also received much mercy from Nityananda Prabhu. One day Nityananda kicked Shivananda who thus received the touch of his lotus feet, a rare attainment for even Brahma and the demigods. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has described this incident in the 12th chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita’s Antya-lila. After the disappearance of Hari Das Thakur, Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic transformations increased day by day. That year, the devotees gathered in Nabadwip as usual in preparation for the journey to Puri. Nityananda also joined the party, even though Mahaprabhu had expressly forbidden him to come. Shivananda was accompanied by his wife and three sons. Since he knew the roads of Orissa, he was in charge of the party and would take care of the customs agents, toll collectors, etc., along the way.

Normally, Shivananda would cross the tollgate last, after first insuring that all members of the party had gone through. On one occasion, the procedure took longer than usual and since Shivananda had not arranged for lodgings for the company in the nearby village, the devotees were obliged to stand and sit about under a tree until quite late at night. While waiting for Shivananda to come through the tollgate, Nityananda Prabhu appeared to take on the mood of a cowherd boy from Vraja overcome by hunger. He made a pretense of being angry at Shivananda, complaining, “Shiva has still not come and arranged for a place for us to stay and I am dying of hunger. I curse his three sons to die.”

On hearing Nityananda make such a curse, Shivananda’s wife started to cry. When Shivananda finally returned from paying the toll collector, he had to calm his wife. He said, “Foolish woman! Why are you needlessly crying? Let our sons die for the inconvenience we have caused Nityananda Prabhu.”

He then went to speak to Nityananda, who kicked him in the head as he paid his obeisances. Shivananda was overjoyed to receive the merciful touch of the Lord’s foot and immediately went to arrange quarters for the night in the house of a milkman. When Shivananda had brought Nityananda Prabhu to his lodgings, he glorified him and prayed to receive the touch of his feet again and again. He said, “Today you have accepted me as your servant, for you have punished me appropriately as you would your own servant. You are so compassionate that even your punishments are a sign of your causeless mercy. Who in the three worlds can understand your personality? The dust of your feet is unattainable by even Brahma, yet it has fallen on my wretched body. My life, my family and my service have all become perfected today. Today I have attained devotion to Krishna, as well as all the other goals of human life.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.12.27-30)

Nityananda was so pleased by Shivananda’s prayers that he embraced him. However, Srikanta, Shivananda’s nephew, had been upset by Nityananda’s behavior. He thought, “Shivananda is Mahaprabhu’s dear associate and respected by all the devotees, and yet Nityananda has kicked him in the head.” He left the party and went ahead to Puri on his own. Upon his arrival, he went to Mahaprabhu and paid his prostrated obeisances. Mahaprabhu first told his servant Govinda to instruct Srikanta to take off his upper garments when paying obeisances. Then, knowing his thoughts, he said to his associates, “Srikanta has come on his own because of some great mental distress. Don’t say anything to him; let him do as he wishes.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.12.38)

From these words, Srikanta could understand that Mahaprabhu is all-knowing and so said nothing about the incident to anyone. The Lord is so affectionate to his devotees that even their friends and relations are also dear to him.

aham bhaktaparadhino hy asvatantra iva dvija
sadhubhir grasta-hridayo bhaktair bhakta-janapriyah

I am under the control of my devotees, O Brahmin, as though I were completely lacking any independence. The saintly devotees have taken possession of my heart, for I am dear to them and they to me.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.63)

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Sri Swarupa Damodar Goswami Disappearance Day

Gundicha and Rathayatra Pastimes

Sri Svarupa Damodar Goswami was one of the chief participants in the cleaning of the Gundicha temple on the eve of the Rathayatra. “Other than Nityananda, Advaita, Svarupa, Brahmananda Bharati and Paramananda Puri, everyone carried buckets of water.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.12.109)

During the washing of the Gundicha temple, a simple but intelligent Brahmin who was not aware of the nature of the Vaishnavas’ devotional etiquette, took some water, suddenly poured it over the Lord’s feet and drank it. In view of Mahaprabhu’s identity as the incarnation of Krishna, it was certainly no offense to drink the water which had washed Mahaprabhu’s feet even though it was done inside the temple of the Lord, but here Mahaprabhu acted as an exemplar for the world and showed dissatisfaction at the Brahmin’s behavior in order that no other person imitate him and become an offender to the feet of the Supreme Lord. He let his anger be known to Svarupa Damodar who caught the Bengali Brahmin and pushed him out of the temple. The next instant, however, he returned to the Lord’s side and asked him to forgive the Brahmin. Though a Vaishnava may externally appear to be hard-hearted, internally he or she is always filled with compassion and thinks of the welfare of every living being.

Every year during Balaram, Jagannath and Subhadra’s ratha festival, the Lord would make four kirtan groups with his devotees. Svarupa Damodar would sing in the first of these, with Advaita participating as the principal dancer. With other kirtan groups from Shantipur, Sri Khanda and Kulina Grama, there were seven sampradayas altogether. In each group, there were two drummers, meaning that there were 14 altogether. When the kirtan started in each of the seven groups, Mahaprabhu demonstrated his divine powers by appearing simultaneously in the midst of each one of them. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes, “Just as the Lord expands into numerous forms during the rasa dance and to marry the queens in Dvaraka, Lord Chaitanya expanded in order to be present in the midst of each sampradayas’ kirtan. The members of each group were convinced that the Lord was in his group alone and in none of the others.”

When Mahaprabhu wished to dance madly, he would have the seven groups come together and would dance in their midst, appointing nine singers and making Svarupa Damodar the principal singer. As the devotees became progressively intoxicated by the kirtan, Mahaprabhu danced frenziedly for many moments. After this, Mahaprabhu’s mood changed. Svarupa Damodar was able to understand the Lord’s intention and began to sing,

sei to parananatha painu
jaha lagi madana-dahane jhuri genu

”I have finally found my life’s lord, for whom I had so long burned in the flames of desire.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes, “As the Lord’s frenzied dancing came to an end, he became absorbed in the mood of Radharani at Kurukshetra. This song about meeting the beloved after a long separation came naturally to Svarupa Damodar’s lips.” As he felt the mood of union strengthening, the Lord began to loudly recite the following verse:

yah kaumaraharah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-kshapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate

(Kavya-prakasha 1)My husband (vara) is the same who took my maidenhead
and these the moondrenched nights we knew;
the very breeze is blowing from the Vindhya hills,
heavy with the scent of newly blossomed jasmine.
I too am still the same;
and yet with all my heart I yearn for the reedbeds by the stream
which knew our happy, graceful,
unending bouts of love.

This verse was written about a mundane lover and his mistress, but Mahaprabhu recited it with great respectful feeling. No one could understand what was his hidden intention other than Svarupa Damodar.

The Lord repeated this verse again and again. No one but Svarupa Damodar could understand his intention.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.13.122)

When Rupa Goswami heard the Lord recite this verse, he himself composed a verse which revealed the deeper meaning which the Lord had envisioned. He wrote it down on a palm leaf and hid it in the roof of his cottage. The Lord somehow or other found this palm leaf and when he read it was overcome by prema.

When Mahaprabhu went to the residence of Srila Rupa Goswami, He accidentally saw the palm leaf on the roof, and thus He read the verse composed by him. After reading the verse, he went into a ecstatic mood. While he was in that state, Srila Rupa Goswami came and immediately fell down on the floor like a stick.

The Lord got up and gave him a slap. Then, he embraced him and began to speak as follows: “No one knows the purport of my verse. How could you understand my intention?” Saying this, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed various blessings upon Rupa Goswami, and taking the verse, he later showed it to Svarupa Goswami. With great wonder, the Lord asked him how Rupa Goswami could have understood the intentions of his mind. Srila Svarupa Damodar Goswami replied, “If Rupa Goswami can understand your mind, I believe it must be the result of your special benediction.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.13.66-72)

Rupa Goswami’s verse was the following:

priyah so’yam krishnah sahacari kurukshetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
tathapy antah-khelan-madhura-murali-païcama-jushe
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprihayati

(Padyavali, 383)O companion! This is my beloved Krishna
meeting me here in Kurukshetra;
and I am the same Radha,
and both of us are feeling the joy of union.
Even so, my mind wishes for the forest
by the banks of the Yamuna
where the fifth note of his flute
plays sweetly within my heart.

Mahaprabhu’s vision was that the Jagannath temple was Kurukshetra and the Gundicha temple Vrindavan. In the mood of a gopi, he began to pull on Jagannath’s chariot, pulling him back to Vrindavan. Sri Svarupa Damodar Goswami was able to understand all of these various moods that Mahaprabhu experienced during the Rathayatra.

The Lord had relished these topics in his room with Svarupa Damodar for days and nights. When he was overcome with this mood while dancing before the Lord’s chariot, he would repeat this verse while gazing upon Jagannath’s face. No one can describe Sri Svarupa Damodar Goswami’s good fortune, for he was completely absorbed, body, mind and soul, in the Lord. His senses are the Lord’s senses, and he would sing so that the Lord could more deeply relish the sentiments of love.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.13.161-4)

Jagannath Deva lives in Dvaraka and desires to go once a year to Vrindavan. This is symbolized by the Rathayatra festival when he travels from the Jagannath temple (Dvaraka) to Gundicha (Vrind_vana). When he goes to Vrindavan, Jagannath does not take Lakshmi with him, because Lakshmi is not qualified to participate in the Vrindavan lila. Only the gopis have such qualifications, and Radha is the best of the gopis.

Shvarupa said, “Listen, my Lord, to the reason for this. Lakshmi does not have the right to participate in the games of Vrindavan. Krishna’s companions in the Vrindavan lila are the gopis, and there are none but they who can enchant his mind.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.14.122-3)

Amongst the gopis, Radha is the best. She is a treasure chest of jewels of love in the bright and spotless sentiment of conjugal love.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.14.160)

Jagannath mounted his chariot after telling Lakshmi that he would be back on the very next day. When Lakshmi saw that the Lord was late in returning, she became angry and gathering up her forces, sallied forth to attack her beloved. Her servants captured the servants of Lord Jagannath and brought them to her. Such lovers’ quarrels are not heard of anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, the mana (loving jealousy) of the gopis is superior to that of Lakshmi, and of all the gopis, that of Radha is the purest. When Mahaprabhu wished to hear about the gopis’ mana from Svarupa Damodar, Svarupa gave him great satisfaction by answering extensively. He was always able to please the Lord because he knew his wishes so intimately.

Excerpted from Chaitanya: His Life and Associates By Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Goswami

Unequalled Contribution: Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

For the disappearance day of Sat Chit Ananda Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda-murtaye |
gaura-sakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te ||

I offer my obeisances to you, O Bhaktivinoda, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the incarnation of Gaura’s potency and the best of the followers of Rupa Goswami.

The sampradaya’s debt to Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is the root of the daily activities in the Chaitanya Math, the Gaudiya Math, the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, the Gaudiya Missions, etc. The Gaudiya Math institutions cannot be separated from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. These institutions are entirely indebted to his sublime contributions. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has written, “Devotees in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami do not preach faith in their own powers, but rather direct attention to the source of their spiritual strength. We also do everything for the sake of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Sri Rupa, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and our divine spiritual master.” (From Patravali, Srila Prabhupada’s letters, vol. 3, p. 89.) Devotees of the Brahma-Madhva-Sarasvata-Gaudiya sampradaya pay their respects daily to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur as follows:

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya mulibhuta ihottamah |
sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah ||

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is a transcendental personality who is the root of the preaching movement of pure devotion. He is renowned as one who is dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Bhaktivinoda’s unequalled contribution
Vedavyasa and the scriptures he wrote are the foundation of all those who claim to follow the Sanatan Dharma. He himself practiced and preached the means by which humankind can attain the supreme peace. Vedavyasa compiled and divided the Veda, wrote the eighteen puranas and the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad-gita, but remained unsatisfied. Finally, while at Badarikasrama, Narada Muni instructed him to glorify the activities of Sri Krishna in order to attain his pleasure. After writing the twelve cantos of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedavyasa finally found the peace he had been looking for. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya preached the Bhagavat religion which is found in this text. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates, however, the path of pure devotion became covered with thorns until Bhaktivinoda Thakur appeared to write many books and to preach the pure doctrine of devotional service to Krishna. Through his tireless efforts, all the heretical doctrines were ! shown to be empty, the path of supreme auspiciousness and compasision was shown to all the world. These efforts can only be said to constitute an unequalled and certainly unsurpassed contribution. Without being empowered by Krishna himself, the message of pure devotion cannot be spread. Such a display of empowerment could not be possible were he not a direct associate of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna.

Externally he was a householder with family obligations, a government servant engaged in the administrative service, but despite these responsibilities he was still able to write over a hundred books in several different languages. One cannot fail to be impressed by this monumental achievement. Every word of his writing is scripture; every word awakens the spirit of devotion to him who is beyond the grasp of the material senses and mind. Mundane scholars would never be able to achieve the kind of synthesis that he did. His every thought was perfectly reasonable and never far-fetched. His writings are a permanent display of compassion to the fallen souls. His Divine Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj used to say to his disciples, “You need do nothing else other than translate Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s books into the world’s various languages and you will have done the greatest act of welfare for the people of the world.” In fact, everything that is done in the Gaudiya Maths throughout the world has come from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

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For Sri Gadadhara Pandit Goswami Dissapearance Day

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.

shri-radha-prema-rupa ya pura vrindavandeshvari
sa shri-gadadharo gaura-vallabhah panditakhyakah
nirnitah shri-Svarupair yo vraja-lakshmitaya yatha
pura vrindavane lakshmih shyamasundara-vallabha
sadya gaura-prema-lakshmih shri-gadadhara-panditah
radham anugata yat tal lalitapy anuradhika
atah pravishad esha tam gaura-candrodaye yatha

The incarnation of love who previously was the queen of Vrindavan, Radha, is now the beloved of Gaura named Srila Gadadhara Pandit. Svarupa Damodar himself indicated that he was Vraja’s goddess of fortune, the Lakshmi who was previously the beloved of Shyamasundara in Vrindavan. She today has become the goddess of fortune of love for Gaura and is known as Srila Gadadhara Pandit. Lalita, who is also known as Anuradha, is Radha’s closest friend and confidante. She has also entered into Gadadhara, as was shown in the play Chaitanya-candrodaya.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 147-150)

Gadadhara-tattva

gadadhara panditadi prabhura nija-shakti
tan sabhara carane mora sahasra pranati

Gadadhara Pandit and others are the lord’s own energies. I pay thousands of obeisances to their feet. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.1.41)

“Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appears in six features, namely as the two types of guru, the devotees of the lord, the lord himself, his incarnation, his expansion and his energy. According to the principle of simultaneous oneness and difference, they are all identified with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself.”
(Anubhashya to Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.1.37-45)

She who was Radha in Krishna’s pastimes became Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami in Gaura’s lila. When Gaura manifests his identity with Narayan, his shaktis are his wives Lakshmipriya and Vishnupriya. When identifying with Krishna, his shakti is Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami.

païcatattvatmakam krishnam
bhakta-rupa-Svarupakam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam
namami bhaktashaktikam

I offer my obeisances to Krishna who appears in five features, as a devotee, as the expansion of a devotee, as an incarnation of a devotee, as the pure devotee and as the devotional energy.

These five features all appeared with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his incarnation, and in their association, he joyfully performed the congregational chanting of the Holy Names. Though he appears in these five forms, there is in fact no difference between them. The distinctions arise due to his desire to relish different devotional flavors.

Sri Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa, etc., make up the Pancha Tattva and there is spiritually no difference between them. The supreme truth has unlimited different pastimes in order to relish the different tastes of transcendental relationship and thus he separates into these five forms as the form of devotee, the devotional manifestation, the devotional incarnation, the devotional energy and the pure devotee.

jaya jaya nityananda-gadadharera jivana
jaya jaya advaitadi bhaktera sharana

All glories, all glories, to the life of Nityananda and Gadadhara!
All glories, all glories, to the shelter of all the devotees, headed by Advaita!

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur comments on words “the life of Gadadhara” as follows: “Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is chief amongst the most intimate devotees of Sri Chaitanya. He is the fountainhead of the entire shakti-tattva and is thus present equally in Mahaprabhu’s lilas in Nabadwip and in Nilachala. His childhood home was in Nabadwip; later when he took sannyas, he went to live in Jagannath Puri, in a garden or tota by the seashore. Pure devotees who wish to enter into the madhura-rasa of worship to Radha and Govinda take shelter of Gadadhara Pandit and are known as Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s intimate devotees. Those devotees who are not so inclined take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu and engage in pure devotional service in his mood. Some of Mahaprabhu’s devotees, such as Narahari, were followers of Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami. They took refuge in him because they knew him to be his dearest associate and thus worthy of their service. Some devotees therefore call Chaitanya ‘the life of Nityananda’ while others called him ‘the life of Gadadhara.’”

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For Sri Srivas Pandit Disapearance Day

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The Pancha Tattva

“There is no difference between the energy and the energetic in regard to the Lord’s appearance as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His four associates — Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. Amongst these five diverse manifestations of the Supreme Lord (as the Lord Himself and His incarnation, expansion and energies) there is no spiritual difference. They are five in one Absolute Truth. For the sake of relishing transcendental flavors in the Absolute Truth, there are five diverse manifestations. These are called the form of a devotee, the identity of a devotee, the incarnation of a devotee, the pure devotee and devotional energy.

Out of the five diversities in the Absolute Truth, the form of Lord Caitanya is that of the original Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Lord Nityananda is the manifestation of the first expansion of the Supreme Lord. Similarly, Advaita Prabhu is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. These three–Caitanya, Nityananda and Advaita–belong to the category of Visnu-tattva, or the Supreme Absolute Truth. Srivasa represents the pure devotee, and Gadadhara represents the internal energy of the Lord for the advancement of pure devotion. Therefore Gadadhara and Srivasa, although included in Visnu-tattva, are dependent, diverse energies of the Supreme Lord. In other words, they are not different from the energetic, but they are manifest diversely for the sake of relishing transcendental relationships. The whole process of devotional service involves a transcendental reciprocation in the relationship between the worshiper and the worshiped. Without such a diverse exchange of transcendental flavors, devotional service has no meaning.” [Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 17 by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada]

Srivas Pandit’s Origins

srivasa-pandita dhiman yah pura narado munih
parvatakhyo muni-varo ya asin narada-priyah
sri-rama-panditah sriman tat-kanistha-sahodarah
namnambika vraje dhatri stanya-datri sthita pura
saiveyam Malini namni srivassa-grhini mata

Srivas is Narada, who plays such an important part in Krishna’s lila. Narada Muni’s friend Parvata Muni appeared as Srivas’ younger brother Ramai. Srivas’ wife Malini Devi was Krishna’s wet nurse in Vraja, Ambika. (Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 90)

Srivas Pandit hailed from Sylhet. He later came to live in Nabadwip where he made an immense contribution to Gauranga lila. From the Chaitanya Bhagavata and Chaitanya Charitamrita we learn that Srivas had three brothers living with him in Navadvipa: Srirama Pandit, Sripati Pandit and Srikanta or Srinidhi Pandit. All four were participants in Mahaprabhu’s lila.

Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana cites Prema-vilasa in saying that Srivas’ father was a Vedic Brahmin of the name Sri Jaladhar Pandit. Srivas Pandit was the second of five sons. The eldest son, Sri Nalina Pandit, had a daughter named Narayani, the mother of the author of the Chaitanya Bhagavata, Vrindavan Das. Narayani’s husband Vaikuntha Das Vipra died while she was pregnant with Vrindavan Das, so she left her husband’s house in Kumarahatta (Halisahar) and came to live with Srivas in Nabadwip.

Kirtan Pastimes at Srivas Angan

After a night of kirtan at Srivas’ house, when Mahaprabhu returned to external awareness, He would go with all the devotees to bathe in the Ganges. Sometimes the devotees would ceremonially bathe the Lord at Srivas Angan. One of Srivas’ servant girls named Dukhi would watch Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic dancing with tears in her eyes. She also performed the service of filling jugs of water from the Ganges for Mahaprabhu’s morning bath. One day, Mahaprabhu observed her devotion and was pleased; He changed her name from Dukhi (“unhappy”) to Sukhi (“happy”).

Another day, Srivas’ only son died while sankirtana was being performed in his house. Srivas was afraid that the sounds of mourning from the women’s quarters would disturb Mahaprabhu while He was engaged in singing the Holy Names. So he went directly into the house and tried to quiet the women by explaining spiritual truths to them. When they still didn’t stop their loud lamentations, Srivas threatened to throw himself into the river and drown if they did not stop making noise. This had the desired result.

Later on that night, however, the kirtan came to a stop and Mahaprabhu said, “Something doesn’t seem right. Has some tragedy taken place in the pandit’s house?” Srivas answered, “How can anything be wrong, when I have Your smiling face in my home?”

“However, some of the other devotees said, “Prabhu, Srivas’ only son died in the evening about an hour after sunset.”

Mahaprabhu asked, “Why did no one say anything before now?”

The devotees answered, “Lord, Srivas told us not to, because he was afraid that it would interfere with Your pleasure in kirtana.”

Mahaprabhu said, “How could I ever abandon devotees who love Me to this extent!” and started to cry. After this, He went inside and sat down beside the child’s dead body and brought him back to consciousness. He asked, “Child! Why do you want to leave the house of such a great devotee as Srivas?”

The dead child answered, “The few days that I was to spend in Srivas’ house are over, and now I am following Your wishes in going elsewhere. I am a living being without any independence; I cannot go against Your wishes. Please be merciful to me that I never forget Your lotus feet, wherever I go.”

When Srivas’ family members heard the child speak such wisdom, they immediately forgot their distress and stopped mourning. Mahaprabhu said to Srivas, “From this day on, Nityananda and I will be your sons. We will never leave you.”

[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

 

For Sri Vakresvara Pandit’s Appearance Day

vyuhas turyo’niruddho yah sa vakresvara-paditah /
kadavesaja-natyena prabhoh sukham ajijanat //
sahasra-gayakan mahyam dehi tvam karuda-maya /
iti caitanya-pade sa uvaca madhuram vacah /
sva-prakasa-vibhedena sasirekha tam avisat //

Vakresvara Pandit is the fourth member of the catur-vyuha, Aniruddha.He brought happiness to the lord by dancing in the mood of Krishna. He would sweetly say to Mahaprabhu, “O merciful lord! Give me a thousand singers so that I can dance.” Radha’s dear sakhi Sasirekha also entered into him. (Gaura-gadoddesa-dipika 71)

Sri Vakresvara Pandit revealed such great potency that he danced non-stop for three days. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami wrote the following about Vakresvara Pandit:

Vakresvara Pandit is the Lord’s dear servant, who danced without rest for seventy-two hours. Mahaprabhu himself sang as he danced when Vakresvara fell down at his feet and said, “O moon-faced lord! Give me ten thousand Gandharvas. I will be happy if I can dance while they sing. The Lord answered, “You are like a wing. If I had another like you, I would be able to fly in the sky!” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.17-20)

Vakresvara and Devananda Pandit

He was also present at the houses of Srivasa and Chandrasekhara, where he would also dance during kirtan. Vakresvara was so dear to Mahaprabhu that when Devananda Pandit was able to receive Mahaprabhu’s mercy by serving him. In this way he was able to become free of the offenses he had made to Srivasa Pandit. Mahaprabhu explained how to atone for offenses to the Vaishnavas in answer to a Brahmin’s question.

Listen, Brahmin, if someone eats poison then he must take ambrosia through the very same mouth. Then the poison will be digested and the body will become immortal by the power of the divine ambrosia. Now let me answer your question. Whatever blasphemies you have unknowingly made are exactly like poison which you have eaten. Now you must use the same mouth to constantly glorify Krishna’s name and qualities, which are like ambrosia. You have used this mouth to insult the devotees, now use it to glorify them. Glorify the devotees as the best of humanity, glorify them in songs and poetry. I will destroy all the poison of blasphemy through the ambrosia of the ecstasies of Krishna’s glories. You have all unknowingly committed offenses; this is the truth. If you should stop all kinds of offensive activity and simply engage in praising Krishna and his devotees, then you will be free from all the sins you have committed, however numerous they may be. You will not be able to achieve the same results by millions of atonements. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.449-458)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur comments: “An offensive person will only attain auspiciousness if he uses the mouth through which he made his blasphemous comments to acknowledge his offense and then to glorify Krishna and his devotees. If you take poison it will disrupt the body’s functioning, but you can remedy the situation by taking a medicine that destroys its effects. Similarly, the way to become free from the poisonous effects of Vaishnava-ninda is to first of all stop; then, rather than performing thousands of other ineffective atonement rituals, one should glorify the Vaishnava.

“Through serving the devotee, Kuliya’s Devananda Pandit became a believer in Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. This good fortune visited him when Vakresvara came to stay in his house. Devananda was a follower of the smarta path, but was nevertheless a great scholar and very renounced. He read no scripture other than the Bhagavatam. He was devoted to the Supreme Lord and was free from the domination of his senses. Nevertheless, he was not a believer in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By Vakresvara’s mercy, this foolish misunderstanding was dispelled and he developed faith in the lord.”(Gauiya-bhaya to Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.453, 481)

Vakresvara Pandit was very dear to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Anyone who remembers him will purify the entire creation. He is the embodiment of Krishna prema and the gods and the demons would all become enchanted by his dancing. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.469-70)

Mahaprabhu himself described Vakresvara’s glories to Devananda Pandit:

The Lord said, “You have served Vakresvara, therefore I have come to know you. Vakresvara Pandit is the Lord’s complete energy and whoever pays homage to him attains Krishna. Krishna has made his home in Vakresvara’s heart. Krishna dances in order to make Vakresvara dance. If any place becomes associated with Vakresvara, it immediately becomes the equivalent of Vaikuntha and equal to all the holy places. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.493-6)

When Mahaprabhu had absolved Devananda of his offenses, then he instructed him with great affection. Those vain egoists who are proud of their scholarship cannot understand the meaning of the Bhagavatam; that is the prerogative of those who are surrendered, the saradagata. The only object of the Bhagavatam is to elucidate pure devotion; it is not different from the pure devotee. One is the book Bhagavatam, the other is the person Bhagavatam. One who speaks from the Bhagavatam with this knowledge will attain the supreme auspiciousness.

One who thinks, “I understand the Bhagavatam” does not really know the Bhagavatam’s central meaning. On the other hand, an ignorant person who takes shelter of the Bhagavatam will directly perceive its meaning. The Bhagavatam is pure love, it is the incarnation of Krishna himself. It recounts Krishna’s most intimate activities. After recounting the Vedas and the Puranas, Vedavyasa felt unsatisfied, but as soon as the Bhagavatam manifested on his tongue, his mind was immediately satisfied. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.514-8)

Gopal Guru Goswami When Vakresvara came to live at Puri, he would accompany Mahaprabhu, Advaita Acharya and other devotees to Tota Gopinath to hear Gadadhara Pandit give discourses on the Bhagavatam. One should hear the book Bhagavatam from the devotee Bhagavatam.

Gopal Guru Goswami was Vakresvara Pandit’s disciple. Gopal Guru’s previous name was Makaradhvaja Pandit; his father’s name was Murari Pandit. It is said that Gopal Guru also displayed extraordinary powers. In his childhood, Gopal Guru personally served Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Abhirama Thakur came to pay him obeisances, Mahaprabhu took him on his lap to protect him. Mahaprabhu gave Gopal the name Guru because he instructed people to chant Krishna’s names in all circumstances, whether pure or impure.

Before leaving his body, Gopal Guru turned over the service of his Krishnakanta deity to his disciple, Dhyanachandra Goswami. After his death, when Gopal Guru’s body was taken to the Svarga-dvara to be cremated, some representatives of the king came and closed the Radhakanta Math. Dhyanachandra was so distressed that he began to cry aloud. Gopal Guru arose from the funeral pyre, returned to Radhakanta’s temple and resolved the problem before going back to the crematorium. Even after that, however, Gopal Guru appeared in Vrindavan, where devotees were amazed to witness him engaged in his devotions. A murti of Gopal Guru is still worshiped at Radhakanta Math. Most of Vakresvara Pandit’s disciples’ descendants in Orissa consider themselves to be Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

During Rathayatra at Puri, Vakresvara was the chief dancer in the fourth kirtan sampradaya whose lead singer was Govinda Ghosh. He is sometimes described as a branch of Chaitanya, or as a branch of Gadadhara Pandit.

Vakresvara’s disappearance day is the sixth day of the waxing moon in the month of Asharh.

An excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj.