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CANDIDASA & VIDYAPATI
Candidasa was born in the village of Nannura, which is also in the same Birbhum district of Bengal as Jayadeva Goswami's birthplace. He was born of a brahmana family, and it is said that he also took birth in the beginning of the Fourtennth Century, Sakabda Era. It has been suggested that Candidasa and Vidyapati were great friends because the writings of both express the transcendental feelings of separation profusely, Before his conversion to Vaisnavism however, Candidasa was a materialist who worshipped goddess Candi, or Durga (hence the name Candidasa), one very ferocious form of Kali. In his purport to Shrimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.22 Shrila Prabhupada comments,
"...The goddess of fortune, Laksmidevi, clearly states that she does not bestow her favor on any materialistic person. Although sometimes a materialist becomes very opulent in the eyes of another materialist, such opulence is bestowed upon him by the goddess Durgadevi, a material expansion of the goddess of fortune, not by Laksmidevi herself."
Candidasa coined a mantra which is even today used by worshippers of Durgadevi: dhanang deji roopang dehi roopa-pati-bhaajang dehi. "O worshippable Mother Durgadevi, please give me wealth, strength, fame, a good wife and so on." So Candidasa was engaged in Durga worship, and naturally when one worships Durga, so much material facility. He had a big garden, and a palace. Candidasa's brother was a Vaishnava engaged in salagram worship. Vaishnavas were generally (that is, before Prabhupada's appearance) quite poor. The Vaishnava brother had a salagram, but he had no flower to offer. So he would look in his brother's garden, and he would lust over it. "So many flowers, and my salagram gets no flower." One day while he was looking at the garden, he mentally offered a flower from that garden to his salagram. And somehow or other, Candidas picked the very same flower the next day, and he offered to Candi. Immediately she appeared. "I am pleased with you, Candidas. What benediction do you want?" Candi said, "Wait, every day I am worshipping you. Why today have you suddenly become present? Tell me that." "Because," she said, "You have offered me the flower which has been offered to Salagram, and that it is prasadam. By seeing that prasadam flower I became pleased, so I appeared before you." "But if salagram is superior to you," Candidas said, "Why did you not tell me, stupid Candidas, why are you worshipping me? You should worship Salagram." So Candi said, "Well you never asked me who was Supreme. Did you ever ask me? I would have given you reply. I know who is Supreme, Krishna is Supreme, and Salagram is the worshippable object, not me. But because you were at least worshipping me, so I thought I would train you in worship. And then you find out who is to be worshipped, then you will actually worship properly." So Candidas when he heard this, said, "I'm really sorry that I've wasted my life. Please excuse me, I'm going to worship Salagram. Is that alright?" No no, I'm happy! Go worship Salagram," Candi said. And then in lamentation, Candidas wrote many songs, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to listen to these songs and get ecstasy.
Vidyapati was a famous composer of songs about the pastimes of Radha-Krishna. He was an inhabitant of Mithila, born in a brahmana family. It is calculated that he composed his songs during the reign of King Sivasimha and Queen Lachimadevi in the beginning of the Fourteenth Century of the Saka Era, almost one hundred years before the appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The twelfth generation of Vidyapati's descendants is still living. Vidyapati's songs about the pastimes of Lord Krishna express intense feelings of separation from Krishna, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu relished all those songs in His ecstasy of separation from Krishna. Prabhupada often quoted Vidyapati's famous verse,
taatala saikate vaari-bindu sama
"The happiness obtained through the association of wife, friends or children is like a drop of water in the desert."