Disappearance Day of Sri Isvara Puri
Ishvara Puri was born in the town of Kumara Hatta on the full moon day of the month of Jyestha to a family of Brahmins hailing from Rarha. Kumara Hatta is in the 24 Paraganas district about two miles from the Halisahar train station. The town is also important for Gaudiya Vaishnavas because Srivas Pandit and his brothers moved here after Mahaprabhu took sanyassa because they were unable to tolerate all the painful reminders of Him in Nabadwip. Their home is not far from the place in the Mukhopadhyaya Para neighborhood where Ishvara Puri was born.
Ishvara Puri’s birthplace is popularly known by the name “Chaitanya Doba.” The word doba means “a pool of water”. When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed through Kuymara Hatta on His way to Puri, He showed respect for His spiritual master by picking up some earth from the place of his birth, wrapping it in his cloth and taking it with him. Thousands of pilgrims have since followed His example, thus forming a pit that has since filled with water.
The Mercy of the Spiritual Master
Ishvara Puri is a sannyas name. Though his name prior to taking sannyas is unknown, we do know that his father’s name was Shyamasundara Acharya. Ishvara Puri took initiation from Madhavendra Puri, the embodiment of nectarean devotional love. Madhavendra Puri was pleased with Ishvara Puri’s guileless, sincere and affectionate service and thus showered him with blessings, so that he too became immersed in the ocean of love for Krishna. If a disciple can satisfy his spiritual master, then he will be fortunate and attain all auspiciousness and the fulfillment of all his desires. On the other hand, if the guru is unhappy with his disciple, then he will only know inauspiciousness.
Mahaprabhu Takes Initiation From Ishwara Puri
Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and has no need of any teacher. Even so, He wishes to teach the world that it is absolutely necessary to take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master. For this reason, He played the role of a disciple by taking initiation from Ishvara Puri when He met him at Gaya. This in itself shows beyond a doubt Ishvara Puri’s greatness and importance.
Then the Lord went to Gaya where he met Ishvara Puri. After taking initiation from him, He started to display the signs of love of God, and when He returned to His homeland He began to engage in the pastimes of divine love.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.8-9)
When they met, Mahaprabhu and Ishvara Puri were overcome by the ecstasy of love and drenched each other in tears of prema that fell from their eyes. The Lord said, “my pilgrimage to Gaya is successful for today I have seen your lotus feet. When one makes the pinda (offerings to the ancestors at a holy place), then that ancestor is delivered. But simply by seeing you, ten million ancestors are delivered from all forms of bondage in a single moment. Therefore no holy place is your equal, and you are the primary source of auspiciousness for even the holy places. Please lift Me up from the ocean of material suffering: I offer this body up to your service. The only gift I ask of you is that you give Me the nectar of Krishna’s lotus feet to drink.”
(Chaitanya Bhagavata 1.17.49-55)
Mahaprabhu was acting the role of an ordinary mortal, a pilgrim who had come to Gaya to offer the sraddha oblations for His deceased father. On the day that He performed these rituals, He returned to His room and began to cook. When Ishava Puri came and placed his holy feet in Mahaprabhu’s room, Mahaprabhu personally served him the rice and vegetables that He Himself had cooked with great satisfaction. In so doing, Mahaprabhu demonstrated most perfectly how to serve the guru.
[Excerpted from Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates] By Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja