Tag Archive | Supreme Lord

For Sri Srivas Pandit Appearance Day

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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.”

[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

For Sri Varaha Avatara Appearance Day

dvitiyam tu bhavayasya
rasatala-gatam mahim
uddharisyann upadatta
yajnesah saukaram vapuh

(S.B. 1.3.7)

“For the creation and for the welfare of the earth which had gone to the nether regions of the universe, the supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices accepted His second incarnation as a boar.”

Here, Lord Varaha is described as the second incarnation:

yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat
kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah
antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam
tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara

(S.B. 2.7.1)

“The unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar for the rescue of the earth and pierced the first demon Hiranyaksa with His tusks.”

jalakridasu ruciram
varahim rupamasthitah
adhrsyam manasapyanyair
vamayam brahma-sajnitam
prthivyuddharanarthaya
pravisya ca rasatalam
damstrayabhyujjaharai na
matmadharo dharadharah

drstva damstragravinyastam
prthivim prathita paurusam
astavan jana-lokastham
siddhi brahmarsayo harim

(Matsya Purana 6.8-10)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is imperceptible to the mind, who plays beautifully in the water, and who is the knower of all knowledge, appeared as Varaha to save the life-giving earth. He entered into the depths of the ocean and rescued the earth with His tusks. Seeing the earth resting between the tusks of the Lord, the sages of Janaloka offered prayers to the most celebrated Sri Hari.”

Here, it is said that Lord Narayana, the cause of creation and destruction, appeared as Varaha:

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

(Jayadeva’s Dasavatara Stotra)

“O Kesava! O Supreme Lord who have assumed the form of a boar! O Lord! The planet earth rested on Your tusks, and it appeared like the moon engraved with spots.”

When the Lord manifested in the womb of Devaki while she was in the prison of Kamsa, Brahma offered prayers to the Lord. This is the last verse of those prayers:

matsyasva-kacchapa-nrsimha-varaha-hamsa-
rajanya-vipra-vibudhesu krtavatarah
tvam pasi nas tri-bhuvanam ca yathadhunesa
bharam bhuvo hara yaduttama vandanam te

(SB 10.2.40)

“O supreme controller, Your Lordship previously accepted incarnations as Matsya (fish), Asvagriva (horse), Kurma (tortoise), Nrsimhadeva, Varaha (boar), Hamsa (swan), Lord Ramacandra, Parasurama and, among the demigods, Vamanadeva, to protect the entire world by Your mercy. Now please protect us again by Your mercy by diminishing the disturbances in this world. O Krsna, best of the Yadus, we respectfully offer our obeisances unto You.”

Notes:
1. In the depths of the Rasatala water, the demon Hiranyaksa misunderstood Lord Varaha to be only a boar, and considering Him to possess meager strength, spoke many deriding words to Him. The Lord, however, returned his taunts with equal vigor. Lord Varaha dodged the violent mace-blows of the angry demon Hiranyaksa, and thus a violent mace-fight began between the two. Lord Brahma prayed to the Supreme Lord that in the demoniac hours, the power of the demon would increase manifold. Therefore, before that time arrived, He ought to kindly kill the demon in the loka-samhara-karini hours and auspicious period known as abhijit.

2. Hiranyaksa displayed his prowess by using the mace and trident, and finally by casting illusions and striking hard with his fists, but the Lord killed the demon with the blow of His mace. This pastime has been described in the 3rd canto, chapters 18 & 19 of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Original article can be found at the link below:

http://www.sreecgmath.org/scgmtimes/scgmarticles.php?aid=101&docid=99

For Sri Varaha Avatara Appearance Day

dvitiyam tu bhavayasya
rasatala-gatam mahim
uddharisyann upadatta
yajnesah saukaram vapuh

(S.B. 1.3.7)

“For the creation and for the welfare of the earth which had gone to the nether regions of the universe, the supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices accepted His second incarnation as a boar.”

Here, Lord Varaha is described as the second incarnation:

yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat
kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah
antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam
tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara

(S.B. 2.7.1)

“The unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar for the rescue of the earth and pierced the first demon Hiranyaksa with His tusks.”

jalakridasu ruciram
varahim rupamasthitah
adhrsyam manasapyanyair
vamayam brahma-sajnitam
prthivyuddharanarthaya
pravisya ca rasatalam
damstrayabhyujjaharai na
matmadharo dharadharah

drstva damstragravinyastam
prthivim prathita paurusam
astavan jana-lokastham
siddhi brahmarsayo harim

(Matsya Purana 6.8-10)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is imperceptible to the mind, who plays beautifully in the water, and who is the knower of all knowledge, appeared as Varaha to save the life-giving earth. He entered into the depths of the ocean and rescued the earth with His tusks. Seeing the earth resting between the tusks of the Lord, the sages of Janaloka offered prayers to the most celebrated Sri Hari.”

Here, it is said that Lord Narayana, the cause of creation and destruction, appeared as Varaha:

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

(Jayadeva’s Dasavatara Stotra)

“O Kesava! O Supreme Lord who have assumed the form of a boar! O Lord! The planet earth rested on Your tusks, and it appeared like the moon engraved with spots.”

When the Lord manifested in the womb of Devaki while she was in the prison of Kamsa, Brahma offered prayers to the Lord. This is the last verse of those prayers:

matsyasva-kacchapa-nrsimha-varaha-hamsa-
rajanya-vipra-vibudhesu krtavatarah
tvam pasi nas tri-bhuvanam ca yathadhunesa
bharam bhuvo hara yaduttama vandanam te

(SB 10.2.40)

“O supreme controller, Your Lordship previously accepted incarnations as Matsya (fish), Asvagriva (horse), Kurma (tortoise), Nrsimhadeva, Varaha (boar), Hamsa (swan), Lord Ramacandra, Parasurama and, among the demigods, Vamanadeva, to protect the entire world by Your mercy. Now please protect us again by Your mercy by diminishing the disturbances in this world. O Krsna, best of the Yadus, we respectfully offer our obeisances unto You.”

Notes:
1. In the depths of the Rasatala water, the demon Hiranyaksa misunderstood Lord Varaha to be only a boar, and considering Him to possess meager strength, spoke many deriding words to Him. The Lord, however, returned his taunts with equal vigor. Lord Varaha dodged the violent mace-blows of the angry demon Hiranyaksa, and thus a violent mace-fight began between the two. Lord Brahma prayed to the Supreme Lord that in the demoniac hours, the power of the demon would increase manifold. Therefore, before that time arrived, He ought to kindly kill the demon in the loka-samhara-karini hours and auspicious period known as abhijit.

2. Hiranyaksa displayed his prowess by using the mace and trident, and finally by casting illusions and striking hard with his fists, but the Lord killed the demon with the blow of His mace. This pastime has been described in the 3rd canto, chapters 18 & 19 of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Original article can be found at the link below:

http://www.sreecgmath.org/scgmtimes/scgmarticles.php?aid=101&docid=99

For Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana ~ Disappearance

The exact time and place of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s birth are unknown. Perhaps one day historians will be able to establish these facts beyond any doubt. From the little information that we do have about his life, we can conjecture that he was born in the 17th century of the modern era. Though we do not know the name of the exact village where he took birth, it was likely in the Balesore (Baleshvara) district of Orissa, somewhere near Remuna. From the date given in his commentary on Rupa Goswami’s Stavamala, it is clear that Baladeva was still living after the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

We know that Baladeva studied in one of the villages of the Chilka Lake area in southern Orissa. There he learned grammar, poetics and logic, achieving expertise in all these subjects. He began his studies of Vedanta there, but in order to study the commentaries in greater depth, he went to Mysore. He was there particularly impressed by the logical consistency of the Madhva shuddha-dvaita commentary on the Vedanta sutras and became a disciple of that school and began living in a Tattvavadi monastery. After taking sannyas, he moved to Purushottam Kshetra where he engaged many of the local scholars in debate, demonstrating the depth of his scholarship. His fame soon spread throughout the area.

Later, however, he met Radha Damodar Goswami, a scholar from Kanyakubja, under whose direction he studied Jiva Goswami’s Nat-sandarbha in great detail. When he was convinced of the supremacy of the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy, he took initiation from Radha Damodar Goswami. He was thus initiated in Nityananda Prabhu’s line. The following is his disciplic succession: (1) Gauri Das Pandit, (2) Hriday Chaitanya Prabhu, (3) Shyamananda Prabhu, (4) Rasikananda Deva Goswami, (5) Nayanananda Goswami, (6) Radha Damodar Goswami, (7) Baladeva Vidyabhushana.

Baladeva then continued his studies of the Gaudiya literature under Pitambara Das and later studied the Bhagavata Purana under Vishvanath Chakravarti. He also took the Vaishnava vairagi’s dress, at which time he was given the name Ekanti Govinda Das. Baladeva’s written works

He was ordered by Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur to go to Jaipur where he prayed to Rupa Goswami’s Govindaji murti for the authorization to write a commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. He then composed the Govinda-bhashya and took it to Galta where he defeated the other sampradayas in debate, preserving the reputation of the Gaudiya school. After this episode, he was given the title Vidyabhushana. This story has been told in greater detail in this volume in the chapter on Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur.

Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: HisLife & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

Available here from Mandala Publishing

For Sri Srivas Pandit Appearance Day

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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.”

[Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

Srimati Vishnupriya Devi

by Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

On the holy occasion of the appearance day of Srimati Vishnupriya Devi (3rd February 2014),

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. More information about this book.

sri-sanatana-misro’yad pura satrajito napa |
vinˆupriya jagan-mata yat-kanya bhu-svarupiˆi ||

He who was King Satrajit in Krishna lila was Sanatan Mishra in Chaitanya lila.
The mother of the universe, the incarnation of the Lord’s bhu-sakti,
is his daughter Vishnupriya. (Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika 47)

Krishna married Satyabhama, the daughter of King Satrajit and a Yadu princess. In Gaura lila, this same Satrajit became Sanatan Mishra and she became Vishnupriya Devi. All manifestations of Vishnu tattva have three energies, known as Sri, Bhu and Nila (or Lila). Lakshmipriya Devi is the sri-sakti of Mahaprabhu in his majestic Gaura-Narayan attitude; Vishnupriya is his bhu-sakti and Nabadwip Dham is his lila-sakti. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is the sakti of Gaura-Krishna, or Mahaprabhu in the mood of Krishna. Knowledge is of two kinds, apara vidya or material knowledge, and para vidya, or transcendental knowledge. Vishnupriya Devi is the personification of transcendental knowledge. Devotees worship her on her appearance day on the sukla pa cami of the month of Magh. On the same day, those materialistic persons who are seeking the perfection of knowledge of this world worship the goddess of learning, Saraswati. Vishnupriya Devi’s grandfather was Durga Das Mishra. Some people believe that Durga Das was Vishnupriya’s father. In the Prema-vilasa, the family of Durga Das Mishra’s descendants through Yadavacharya is known as Vishnupriya’s parivara.

Mahaprabhu’s marriage to Vishnupriya Devi

Vrindavan Das Thakur describes the birth of Gaura-Narayan’s sakti, Vishnupriya Devi, in his Chaitanya Bhagavat. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has also mentioned the event in his Chaitanya Charitamrita.

In the Adikhaˆa, the death of Mahaprabhu’s first wife is described, and then his second marriage to the daughter of the court pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.1.110)

Then he was married to Vishnupriya Thakurani, after which he defeated the Digvijayi Pandit. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.16.25)

For the materialistic person, the marriage of a man and woman is the source of bondage. When the Lord marries in imitation of ordinary mortals, it becomes a something quite different: it is a transcendental affair. By chanting and hearing about the union of the Supreme Lord with his divine energy, one is liberated from the material energy.

Whoever hears about the holy pastime of the Lord’s marriage will be liberated from his bondage to this world. Lakshmi sat beside the Lord and the house of Sachi was filled with light. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10.110-1)

Whoever saw the Lord’s effulgent form on that day was freed from his or her sins and went to Vaikuntha. This is why the Lord is known as the merciful lord of the fallen. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.216-7)

Mahaprabhu spent an inordinate time absorbed in teaching his students on a trip to eastern Bengal, and Lakshmipriya Devi found it impossible to support his absence. So, meditating on his lotus feet, she departed from this world. When Mahaprabhu finally arrived back in Nabadwip, he consoled his mother who was deeply affected by the loss of her daughter-in-law. Sachi Mata then started looking for another wife for her son and consulted Kashinatha Pandit for that purpose. Kashinatha was a well-known matchmaker who is described in Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika (50) as having been the Brahmin in Krishna lila named Kulaka who was sent by Satrajit to arrange the marriage between his daughter Satyabhama and Krishna. He then went to the court pandit Sanatan Mishra to arrange the marriage between Mahaprabhu and his daughter, the devotionally minded Vishnupriya. Kashinatha said the following to Sanatan Mishra:

Give your daughter to Vishvambhara Pandit; it is a perfect combination. She alone is worthy of such a divine husband, while he deserves such a pious and chaste wife. Just as Krishna and Rukmiˆi were worthy of each other, so are Vishnupriya and Nimai Pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.57-59)

From her early childhood, Vishnupriya Devi was always devoted to her parents and to Vishnu, taking her bath in the Ganges three times daily. She regularly saw mother Sachi there, paying obeisances and being blessed by her. In this way, Sachi already knew Vishnupriya’s good qualities, and so was happy to agree to accept her as a wife for her son. Buddhimanta Khan was a rich and wise friend of Nimai’s family who volunteered to bear the entire expense of his marriage. Once it had been decided that Vishnupriya and Vishvambhara would be married, an auspicious day and moment were fixed for the ceremony. With great pomp, the adhivasa rituals were carried out on the eve of the marriage. The Lord arrived at Sanatan Mishra’s house in a palanquin at dusk and Gaura and Vishnupriya’s wedding ceremony was performed according to both scriptural and popular traditions. On the following day, Vishnupriya joined her new husband on the palanquin and returned with him to his house. If one hears the eternal pastime of the wedding of Lakshmi and Narayan, then he loses his desire for the material relationship of enjoyer and enjoyed, for one comes to understand that Narayan alone is the supreme enjoyer of the entire universe. Buddhimanta Khan was fulfilled by receiving Mahaprabhu’s embrace and mercy. Vrindavan Das Thakur has further written the following about the wedding:

Some people of the pious women said, They remind me of Gauri and Shiva. Others said, It seems that they are Lakshmi and Narayan. Yet others said, No, they rather resemble Rati and Kamadeva. Some compared them to Indra and Sachi, and others to Rama and Sita. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.205-8)

Vishnupriya Devi after Nimai’s sannyas

When Mahaprabhu left home to go to Katwa and take sannyas, he was only 24 years old. Lochan Das Thakur has described Vishnupriya’s terrible feelings of separation in the days that followed his departure in the Chaitanya Ma”gala:

The earth splits from the sound of Vishnupriya’s crying: the birds and beasts, even the trees and stones shed tears when they heard it. Falling to the ground she would lament, crying out Why does my sinful life not end? In separation, her breath was like fire, drying her lips and her body trembled constantly. (Cm 2.14.15-6)

The Advaita-prakasa also describes how Vishnupriya lived her life in terrible separation from the Lord after his departure. Every morning, she would go for her bath in the Ganges with mother Sachi, after which she spent the entire day inside the house, never allowing the moon or the sun to see her form. Not even the devotees were allowed to see anything more than her feet, nor would anyone ever hear her voice. Constantly shedding tears and eating only Mother Sachi’s remnants, she became pale and thin. She took intense delight in the Holy Name, chanting all day long in solitude before a portrait of Gauranga, serving it as though he were present in it and surrendering herself to his lotus feet. In this way, she demonstrated the ideal character of a devoted wife as well as the forbearance spoken of by the Lord in his verse, taˆad api sunicena taror iva sahinˆuna, etc. Srinivas Acharya received Vishnupriya Devi’s blessing. He personally witnessed her devotion to Mahaprabhu in separation. Narahari Chakravarti has described this in his Bhakti-ratnakara:

Every day Srinivas would come to see her. He observed her daily activities, which are beyond description. She had completely renounced sleep, and if ever she closed her eyes, it would be while lying on the bare ground. Her bodily luster, which had formerly glowed more brilliantly than gold, had become dull and she was as thin as the waning moon on its fourteenth day. She set aside grains of rice to count the Holy Names she chanted, and would cook only this rice and offer it to her Lord. Of this amount, she would only eat a small portion. No one understood how she could remain alive. (BhaktiR09;ratnakara 4.47-51)

Jahnava Devi’s disciple Nityananda Das has also described the standard Vishnupriya Devi set for bhajan in his Prema-vilasa.

Listen, brothers, to the way which Isvari Vishnupriya would take the names of the Lord. By listening to this, you will get a feeling for the lila. Every day she would place two clay pots on either side of her, one filled with uncooked rice, the other empty. Each time she completed one mantra of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables, she would joyfully place a grain of rice into the empty container. She would chant in this way until three o’clock in the afternoon, and then would take whatever rice had accumulated and cook it. This is the only food that she prepared, drenching it with her tears before she offered it to the Lord. It is not possible to estimate how many names Mahaprabhu himself chanted, but he chanted all day and night. Similarly, his beloved wife Vishnupriya chanted incessantly through the day and the night. Such dedication to the Holy Name was not impossible for her, for the Lord had planted the seed of his power in her.

It is said that Vishnupriya Devi was the first to establish worship of a murti of Gauranga. This has been stated in Murari Gupta’s kaaaca:

prakasa-rupeˆa nija-priyaya
samipam asadya nijad hi murtim |
vidhaya tasyad sthita ena kanˆa
sa laknmi-rupa ca ninevate prabhum ||

Krishna came to his beloved wife in this expansion form to remain by her side as the Mahaprabhu deity. Thus she, the incarnation of the goddess of fortune, was able to serve him constantly.

The devotees of Mahaprabhu sometimes said that just as Ramachandra, who had taken the vow of monogamy, performed a sacrifice to a golden Sita that he had had made during his exile in the forest rather than marry a second time, so Vishnupriya repaid her debt to her Lord in the pastimes of Gaura-Narayan by having an image of Mahaprabhu created so she could perform the sacrifice of the Holy Name to him. This deity is still present and worshiped in Nabadwip.

Sri Vamsivadana Thakur and Ishan Thakur were blessed by the service of taking care of Vishnupriya Devi and Sachi Devi after Mahaprabhu took sannyas.

For more articles on a variety of devotional topics by and about Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj and other Vaishnava authors, kindly visit the GOKUL website athttp://www.gokul.org.uk or http://www.sreecgmath.org For more information, or to subscribe to our newsletter, write to bhakti@gokul.org

Speaking Harikatha

Sree Sree Guru Gaurangau Jayatah!BBTirthaM

Before I joined the institution, I had the impression that whatever I learnt in the schools and colleges should be excluded or forgotten because all these teachings were for material benefit and had no connection with spiritualism. In fact, in my life in the family, I had no aptitude to speak to many friends and to recite or speak in any meeting. I used to hear and did not speak. After joining the institution, I had great interest in hearing hari-katha from Most Revered Srila Gurudeva and Gurudeva used to take me with Him everywhere at a stretch for a year and He wanted me to write letters as per His dictation. By that I had the opportunity to know many answers of the questions of the aspirants. After one year all of a sudden, He ordered me to speak in a meeting at ‘Sri Shyamananda Gaudiya Math ‘, in Midnapore (West Bengal). I was perturbed because I had no aptitude and no capacity to speak in the meetings. I thought that delivering speech was not a qualification of worshipping Krishna. If I would have known earlier that the qualification of delivering speech is also required for Krishna-bhajan, I might not have joined the institution. I became unbalanced on hearing this direct order from Most Revered Gurudeva. Due to spiritual obligation, I had to stand in the meeting and I was incessantly praying for the grace of Nityananda Prabhu to rescue me from this peril. I could remember the first hymn written by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in `Saranagati’ and explained that for 15 minutes. I was a bit astonished how I could speak.
After that Gurumaharaj used to order me on several occasions to speak in the meetings. To remove my doubt, Gurumaharaj, said that aspirants of devotional practice should not have the aptitude to deliver speeches, but they must do hari-kirtan, meaning that they should recapitulate what they had heard from Guru and Vaishnavas. The target of speaking should be for satisfaction of Krishna and not for any other ulterior motive. Hari-kirtan is the highest devotional form in Kaliyuga, which is confirmed by Srila Jiva Goswami:

‘yadyapi anya bhaktih kalau kartavya tada, kirtanakhya-bhakti-samyogenaiva’

“Although practices of other devotional forms are proper in Kaliyuga, but it should be done with Kirtan bhakti.”

One can speak about the glories of Sri Hari after hearing from a bona fide devotee-adau Sravanam. Without hearing from a realized soul, nobody can properly perform kirtan-bhakti. In the explanation of the verse of Gita (4.34), tad viddhi pranipatena paripraSnena sevaya, upadeksyanti te jïanam jïaninas tattva-darSinah, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has interpreted Pranipat (or Saranagati) as follows: “One who hears hari katha intently from shuddha bhakta, actually has submitted to Supreme Lord Sri Hari.” Even in the highest Transcendental Realm Goloka Vrindavana, the foremost devotees (gopis) relish the Sweetness of the Name, Form, Attributes and Pastimes of Sri Krishna, always afresh. Narration and also hearing of the glories of Sri Krishna never becomes stale. That transcendental sweetness of Sri Krishna always remains afresh and new. Entrance to that
Transcendental Realm is only through hearing. Here in this world, sound is the finest element, but in Transcendental Realm sound is the first appearance of getting contact of the Transcendental Reality. That transcendental sound is designated as Sabda brahman, which is completely distinct from material sound. Sound emanating from material egos is material
sound, but sound emanating from transcendental ego is transcendental sound.

— Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj