Sri Ramacandra Kaviraja
api suparicitat sri-ciranjiva-senat
yah sri-ramendu-nama samajani paramah
so-yam sriman narakhye sa hi kavi-nrpatih
samyag asid abhinnah
Ramachandra, a king amongst poets, was born in the town of Sarajani on the banks of the Ganges as the son of Sunanda and Chiranjiva Sen, a well-known minister of the king of Gauda, a devotee of the Brahmins and Vishnu. Ramachandra was not in any way different from Narottam Das Thakur. (Sangita-madhava-nataka, quoted at Bhakti-ratnakara 1.270)
Chiranjiva Sen was a resident of Srikhanda, whose wife’s name was Sunanda. They had two sons, the older was Ramachandra, the younger Govinda. Ramachandra was a disciple of Srinivas Acharya who took the title Kaviraj. His siddha name was Karuna Manjari.
(Verses quoted in Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana)
After the death of his father, Ramachandra went to live in Kumar Nagar with his maternal grandfather, Damodar Kaviraj, who was a disciple of Narahari Sarkar. Later he went with his younger brother Govinda to live in the village of Telia Budhari in Murshidabad district. This place has the distinction of being his Sripat.
The Kaviraj Title
Srinivas Acharya was so overcome with affection for Ramachandra that he gave him the diksha mantra and engaged him as his personal servant. Though Bir Hambir became Srinivas Acharya’s disciple, Ramachandra acted as his siksha guru. Ramachandra also visited Vrindavan where he associated with Jiva Goswami and the other Vaishnavas, receiving their blessings. They were very pleased to hear his poetry, so much so that Jiva Goswami gave him the Kaviraj title. He thus became one of the eight Kavirajs (asta-kaviraja). He was Narottama Thakur’s favored companion for preaching activities and spiritual association.
Paramananda Bhattacharya, an ocean of love, Jiva Goswami and the other residents of Vraja, listened to Ramachandra recite his own poetic compositions and they joyfully awarded him the title of kaviraja. Ramachandra Kaviraj was full of all virtues and Narottam Das’ second self.
Kamsari Sen, Rama Sen, Ramachandra Kaviraj, and the three Kavirajs, Govinda, Sriranga and Mukunda, are Nityananda’s branches.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.51)
Ramachandra wrote several books, including Smarana-camatkara, Smarana-darpana, Siddhanta-candrika, and Srinivasa Acaryera Jivana-carita.
Ramachandra in Vrindavan
Narahari Chakravarti has written an extensive description of Ramachandra and his visit to Vrindavan in the ninth wave of Bhakti-ratnakara. All the residents of Vraja who saw him were attracted by his physical beauty. When Ramachandra visited the Radha-Damodar temple with Jiva Goswami and saw Rupa Goswami’s samadhi, he experienced ecstatic transformations that were a source of amazement to all. Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Lokanatha Goswami and Bhugarbha Goswami gave him their blessings. He went to bathe in Radha Kund and Shyama Kund and met Raghunath Das Goswami there. When he paid obeisances to Raghunath, the venerable saint affectionately embraced him.
Ramachandra’s friendship with Narottam Das Thakur has been immortalized by Narottam Das’ prayer to Srinivas Acharya for his association:
daya kara sri-acarya prabhu srinivasa ramachandra sanga mage narottama dasa“Please be merciful, Prabhu Srinivas Acharya! Narottam Das begs for Ramachandra’s association.”
samyak satvata-tantra-vada-paramau nihsesa-siddhantagau
sasvad-bhakti-rasa pradana-rasikau pusanda-hrn-mandalav
anyonya-priyatabharena yugali-bhutav imau tau numah
“I pay my obeisances to Narottam and Ramachandra, who are devoted to all those who have dedicated their lives to the Supreme Lord, who help people cross over the ocean of material life, who know all the scriptures completely and have understood all the transcendental doctrines, who most generously distributed bhakti-rasa and won the hearts of the atheists, who are deeply attached to each others’ affectionate company.”
(Sangita-madhava-nataka, quoted at Bhakti-ratnakara 1.277)
Ramachandra’s disappearance day is the Krsna triya in the month of Magh. He passed away in Vrindavan after the disappearance of Srinivas Acharya.
[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]