Sri Shyamananda Prabhu was a servant of a servant of Subala in Krishna-lila. He was the disciple of Hridayananda or Hriday Chaitanya, who was a disciple of Gauri Das Pandit. Gauri Das was Subala in Krishna-lila.
yam loka bhuvi kirtayanti hridayanandasya shishyam priyam
sakhye shri-subalasya yam bhagavatah preshthanushishyam tatha
sa shriman rasikendra-mastaka-manish citte mamaharnisham
shri-radhapriya-narma-marmasu rucim sampadayan bhasatam
Sri Shyamananda was known in this world as Hridayananda’s dear disciple; he was the grand-disciple of Subala sakha, the most dear friend of the Supreme Lord; he was the crest-jewel of the enjoyers of sacred rapture. May he appear day and night in my mind, bringing an appreciation for the essence of the joys of the beloved of Sri Radha.
Shyamananda Prabhu was born on the full moon day of Chaitra in 1456 of the Shaka era (1534 AD) in the town of Dharenda Bahadurpura, which is near the Kharigapura railway station in Medinipura. His father was Sri Krishna Mandal and his mother, Durika. Krishna Mandal’s home town was Dandeshvara which lies on the banks of the Suvarnarekha River. The following statement is found in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana: “Sri Krishna Mandal used to live in a place called Ambuwa, near Dandeshvara. He formerly lived in Gauda (the part of Bengal which lies on the banks of the Bhagirathi River) and only later moved to Dandeshvara, is just across the present-day border in Orissa. Shyamananda’s disciples have established five principle seats in the towns of Dharenda, Bahadurapura, Rayani, Gopiballabhapura, and Nrisinghapura.”
Radharani’s Special Mercy on Shyamananda
Even though Shyamananda Prabhu was Hriday Chaitanya’s initiated disciple, his guru had entrusted him to the care of Jiva Goswami Prabhu. Through the association of Jiva and service to him, Shyamananda developed a taste for serving Radha and Krishna in the conjugal mood. Hriday Chaitanya Prabhu himself was a disciple of Gauri Das Pandit, who was one of the twelve Gopals, Subala sakha. He worshiped Gaura-Nitai in the mood of friendship. Those who think that Shyamananda committed an offense to his initiating spiritual master by abandoning his mood and trying to directly serve Krishna in a higher mood, are wrong. The mood of friendship is contained within the conjugal mood. If a disciple makes further progress in spiritual life it enhances the reputation of his teacher.
An extraordinary incident, which took place in Vrindavan prior to his being ordered by Jiva to return to Orissa, demonstrates how dear Shyamananda was to Radharani. One day, Shyamananda Prabhu was sweeping the Rasa-mandala in Vrindavan, absorbed in ecstatic trance. Suddenly, by Radharani’s transcendental mercy, he found her ankle bracelet lying on the ground. In his excitement, he touched the ankle bracelet to his forehead, where it left a mark which is preserved to this day as the tilaka marking of the disciple descendants of Shyamananda. It is known as nupura-tilaka.