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.”