vasudama sakha yash ca panditah shri-dhanaïjayah
Krishna’s friend Vasudama became Dhanaïjaya Pandit in Gaura-lila.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit was Nityananda Prabhu’s dear servant; he was very renounced and full of love for Krishna.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.31)
Opinions vary about Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s birthplace and his parentage. In the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana, it is said that he was born in the village of Jariagrama in Chittagong district on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra, 1485. His father’s name was Shripati Bandopadhyaya, his mother, Kalindi Devi. His wife was Haripriya.
In the book Gauranga Madhuri, another version is given: He was born in the village of Siyan Muluk, near Bolpur in the Birbhum district. His father’s name was Adideva Vacaspati and his mother, Dayamayi. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur subscribes to the former view in his Anubhashya.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s primary home was in the village of Shitalagrama which is served by the Kaicara post office in the precinct of Mangalakota, district of Burdwan. Shitalagrama is about one mile north of the Kaicara railway station, nine miles west of Katwa on the narrow gauge line to Burdwan city. He is also said to have had homes in the village of Sancara Pancara and Jalandi. This first of these villages lies two miles south of Satadeula Tajapura, which is four miles from the Memari train station. Jalandi is about 10 miles east of Burdwan city and is served by Lokanagara post office. The home of Saïjaya Pandit is also found in this village who is said by some to have been Dhanaïjaya’s brother and by others his disciple. Dhanaïjaya had no descendants. Those who supervise the Shitalagrama temple are descendants of his disciples.
Both the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana and Gauranga Madhuri agree that Dhanaïjaya Pandit was married and that his wife’s name was Haripriya. It is also mentioned that he would prostrate himself in obeisances before Tulasi Devi three times a day. He was married when very young, but this did not stop him from leaving on a pilgrimage shortly after his wedding. His wealthy father gave him money for traveling expenses, but Dhanaïjaya gave it all to Mahaprabhu and carried only a begging bowl. This particular action has been recalled by the author of the Vaishnava-vandana:
vilasi vairagi vandon pandita dhanaïjaya
sarvasva prabhure diya bhanda hate laya
Dhanaïjaya’s main home or shripata in Shitalagrama. The deities of Gopinath, Nitai-Gauranga and Damodar which he worshiped are still being served there. These deities are brought into a field not far from the temple where the disappearance day festival is held annually in the middle of Magh.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit participated for a few days with Mahaprabhu in his sankirtan pastimes in Nabadwip. From there he returned to Shitalagrama whence he went on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. Before travelling to Vrindavan, he stayed for a few days in Sancara Pancara, leaving a disciple who was travelling with him in charge of the deity service. At present, there is no further sign of this temple in Sancara Pancara.
Nityananda Prabhu delivered the most fallen and crushed the atheistic. These powers were manifest in his dear devotee, Dhanaïjaya. Dhanaïjaya Pandit converted many robbers and atheists in the Shitalagrama area.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit was an extraordinarily great Vaishnava. Nityananda took up permanent residence in his heart.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.5.773)
As one enters the Shitalagrama temple, a small Tulasi altar stands on the left. This is the site of Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s samadhi tomb. His disappearance day is the Shukla-ashtami of Karttik month.
—Excerpted from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.