|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > Lord Chaitanya Eternal Associates > Sri Abhiram Gopal Thakur|
Shri Abhiram Gopal Thakur
Shri Abhiram Thakur is also known as Abhiram Gopal or as Ram das Abhiram, the favourite of Nityananda. GauraGanoddesh Dipika, verse 126, states that Shri Ram Das was formerly the cowherd boy friend of Krishna and Balaram named Shridama.
One day, Krishna, Balarama and Their cowherd friends were playing a game of hide and seek in the forests of Braja. Then, in the middle of Their game Krishna decided to go to Nadia to enjoy His pastimes there. Taking with Him Balarama and all Their friends, He advented Himself in Nabadwip. Somehow or other He forgot Shridama, who remained in his hiding place in a cave.
Eventually everyone assembled in Nabadwip and so the Lord began His pastimes of sankirtan. Seeing that Shridama was absent however, He become lost in thought and sometimes cried or fainted. Regaining His consciousness He called out, "Where has Shridama gone?!"
Nityananda picked up the Lord and embraced Him. He requested, "Just tell me where Shridama is and I'll bring him."
Prabhu replied that he was in Brindaban so Nityananda immediately went there. In the vicinity of Govardhana he was calling Shridama's name very loudly. Shridama came out of his hiding place and inquired, "What is your name and why are You calling me?"
Nityananda introduced himself as Balarama, but Shridama had some doubt due to the different dress and appearance of Nityananda.
Nityananda spoke to him, "Can't you recognize Me?"
Shridama, "Everyone knows that ones two hands are equal. I'm going to clap my hands and start running. If you can catch me then maybe I'll believe that You're Balarama."
Then he tied his cloth tightly between his legs in the fashion of a wrestler and began to run around Govardhana Hill. Finally, after circumambulating Govardhana Hill four times at great speed, his dhuti became a little loose so he had to slow down to fix his cloth. When he turned around He saw Nityananda close behind.
Shridama, "I'm sorry I doubted You, but Your appearance in Kali Yuga had me confused. Anyway, why have You come looking for me?"
Nityananda, "Krishna has fallen unconscious (achaitanya) at not being able to see you!"
Shridama, "Where has Kanai gone to ?"
Nityananda, "I'm telling you. Just listen carefully. We have all gone to Nabadwip Puri. If you will now accompany Me there then our pastimes will be complete."
Shridama,, "No, I'm not going. I can understand that I'll have to sit in someone's womb for ten months. Besides that, all of you left me behind so what is the use of my coming now."
Nityananda, "Anyway let's go and discuss the matter with Krishna. For the time being you can come in this dress."
Shridama laughed, "O.K. But you have to carry me on your shoulders. After all that running my feet have become very heavy."
Nityananda, "If I say no then you'll advertise to everyone that I have become tired from running after you. You are the chief cowherd boy. Please try to consider the fact that I accept the happiness and distress which everyone else feels."
Hearing this Shridama submitted somewhat. "Well you and I are just the same. You know that when Krishna's side loses I sometimes carry you on my shoulders.
Nityananda, "Kanai is very much subjugated by your love. None of His pastimes are beyond your perception. All of the other cowherd boys always sing your praises. Come on. Now you should meet with Gauranga."
Shridama was somewhat convinced and went to dress himself accordingly by putting on all of his ornaments. Very quickly the two of them approached Nadiyanagar. When Shri Sacinandan saw that they had arrived He came to embrace Shridama.
At first Shridama was rather concerned to see everyone's different appearance; especially their shaved heads.
Mahaprabhu explained how in Kaliyuga it is by renunciation that people can cross over the ocean of material desires. Finally He explained that Gauralila and Krishnalila are one. "I have come this time as My own devotee in order to taste the happiness of devotional service". Now My name is Shri Krishna Chaitanya and from today you will be called Abhirama.
Nityananda smiled and said, "Now we will call you (brother) Abhirama. But how will we play together if you remain so tall. As we used to play under the shade of Vamsibat, we will now play here also."
Abhiram understood His hint and made himself somewhat shorter as was fitting for Kaliyuga. Now Nityananda was happy and said that they could properly carry one another on each other's shoulders. (footnote: This pastime is a local legend amongst the present day inhabitants of Khanakhul Krishnanagar, the Shripat of Abhiram Thakur. It has also been recorded in the book "Shri Abhiram lilamrta" by his disciple, Shri Tilok Ram das.)
When Nityananda Prabhu's first child was born, Abhiram Thakur came to offer his obeisances to the child, who died on the spot. In this way, six of Nityananda's sons had to depart from this world just after taking birth. Finally a daughter, Gangadebi, was born to Nityananda Prabhu and Vasudha debi. When, after offering his obeisances to the child, Abhiram Thakur saw that the baby was unaffected, he exclaimed, "This time we haven't been deceived!" He immediately composed one hundred verses in praise of Gangadebi. When Bircandra took His birth, Abhiram again came to have darshan of the newborn child. When he saw that Bircandra was unaffected, he composed Shri Birbhadrastakam. Since Gangadebi was an incarnation of Mother Ganges herself (the Lord's own sakti), and Birbhadra an incarnation of Ksirodakasayi Bisnu, they could easily bear the force of the obeisances of Abhiram Gopal.
Since he appeared directly in this world, without taking birth even as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself condescends to do, Abhiram Thakur possessed an intense spiritual strength and splendour (tej), that very few could withstand the force of. If he offered his obeisances to any stone other than a salagramsila, that stone would crack.
One time, Abhiram Thakur came to Shri Khanda, wanting to meet Raghunandana Thakur, who he had heard was a very great devotee though only still a child. Mukunda das was quite aware of his reputation and so told the Thakur that Raghunandana wasn't there. Feeling extremely disappointed, Abhiram departed.
When Raghunandana heard that Abhiram Thakur had come to meet him he ran to catch up with the Thakur. Finally he met him at Bor Danga where, after first offering obeisances they danced together in ecstasy. Raghunandan was the incarnation of Pradyumna, and so was not inconvenienced to receive the pranams of Abhiram Gopal. When Raghunandana was dancing, his nupur (ankle bracelet) came off and fell down at Akaihat, about two miles away, where Kaliya Krishna das used to do his bhajan. This nupur is still being worshipped along with Kaliya Krishna Thakura's Deity at Karui, not far from Katwa. There is a pond now at the place where the ankle bracelet fell down which is called Nupur Kund.
Gopal Guru Gosvami was also similarly tested by Abhiram Thakur when he was only a small boy living with Mahaprabhu in Puri. By the mercy of Mahaprabhu, Who invested His potency in Gopal Guru by placing His lotus footprint on the boy's forehead, the child emerged unscathed.
Abhiram Thakur's Shripat is at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. Khanakhul Krishnanagar can be reached by bus from Tarakeshwar, which is connected by train from Bandel station. It can also be reached by bus from Atapur, the Shripat of Parameshvari das Thakur.
His worshipful Deity, Shri Gopinathji, manifested Himself at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. The legend is that He appeared in a dream to Abhiram and said, "I am within the earth here. Please take Me out and worship Me." Abhiram das excavated in that place and found within the womb of the earth the all-enchanting form of Shri Gopinathji. That place were the Deity was found became known as Ram Kund.
"In the place where Shri Gopinathji advented Himself a lake was formed, and the water contained therein was sweet as nectar. Whoever bathed in or drank that water was beside himself with ecstasy. Thereafter, this land has become famous as Ram Kund. Having heard of these divine pastimes of Shri Gopinathji an incessant flow of people descended on that place like the waters of the Ganges River." [BhaktiRatnakar / Taranga 4]
One day while in a state of rapture in remembrance of Shri Krishna, Abhiram Thakur, in the mood of a cowherd boy, desired to play the flute. In the madness of ecstatic love he began to search in all directions for one. Then he saw before him a large trunk of a tree which not even sixteen men could lift. Out of this he fashioned a flute and began to play it. "Ram das, one of the chief branches, was full of fraternal love of Godhead. He made a flute from a stick with sixteen knots." [C.C.Adi 11.16]
Shri Abhiram Thakur had a celebrated whip, whose name was Joymangal. Whoever was touched with that whip had the symptoms of love of Krishna awakened within their person.
One day, Shrinivas Acarja came to meet Abhiram Thakur. After touching him three times with his whip, his wife Malini debi exclaimed, "Thakur, don't beat him any more! Restrain yourself! He is just a boy. He'll become overly excited by the touch of your whip." Meanwhile, Shrinivas had completely drowned in Krishna prem.
When Shri Gaursundor ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Gauradesh (Bengal), he sent with him Shri Ram das, Shri Gadadhar das and others. The atheists trembled in fear at the sight of Abhiram Thakur. He was a learned scholar of the scriptures. According to the desire of Nityananda Prabhu he married. His wife's name was Shri Malinidebi. His disappearance is on the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month of Caitra.
The descendants of the disciples of Abhiram Thakur are still living within the districts of Hugli and Bankura at Krishnanagar, Amta, Bisnupur and Kotalpur.