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Shri Ganga Das Pandit
My obeisances to Shri Gangadas Pandit, whose disciple is the husband of Sarasvati, the Master of the Vedas. [C.B.Madhya 1.283]
After the ceremony in which Shri Gaursundor was invested with the sacred thread, He took up his studies at home, under the tutelage of his father. However, when Shri Jagannath Misra saw that his son was very eager to be admitted to an academic institution, his father took him to the house of Shri Ganga das Pandit to get Him admitted into the Pandit's tol. In Krishnalila Ganga das Pandit was the teacher of Balarama and Krishna, Sandipani Muni.
When he saw that Jagannath Misra had come to his house, Ganga das got up to respectfully receive him and after embracing him, he very affectionately requested him to take his seat. Jagannath Misra addressed him, "I have brought my son to you. Please become his teacher and instruct him how to read and write."
Shri Ganga das Pandit replied, "Only unless one is greatly fortunate does he get the chance to instruct a child who is endowed with the symptoms of such a high-souled, saintly person. I will teach him to the best of my ability."
Thus Jagannath Misra presented his son Nimai into the hands of Ganga das Pandit and then returned home. While looking at his new disciple, Gangadas became immersed in great happiness and kept Nimai with him just as if he was his own son. [C.B.Adi 8.32]
Ganga das could understand by the divine appearance and nature of this boy that he was not ordinary, and so he began to carefully instruct him. The boy Nimai had such a miraculous intellect that after hearing the sutras only once, he had completely committed them to memory. Within a few days he came to occupy the seat at the head of the class.
Gradually it came to pass that sometimes Nimai would explain the sutras even better than his teacher. Not one amongst hundreds and hundreds of students in the tol could rival him. Ganga das understood very quickly that Nimai was his best student. Whatever pastimes the Lord enacts, He does so to the penultimate degree. Nimai would establish one conclusion, then defeat that by establishing another, and then establish the original conclusion again with better arguments. Seeing his genius the other students were simply struck with wonder and Ganga das Pandit was in total ecstasy.
Amongst the better students of the Pandit were Shri Kamalakanta, Murari Gupta, Shri Krishnananda and others, to whom Nimai would pose many tricky questions. Their discussions would usually end up at the bathing ghat by the Ganga with loud arguments and eventually pushing and mud slinging.
After practising logic and rhetoric for some days under the tutelage of Ganga das Pandit, Shri Nimai Pandit then opened his own grammar tol by the order of His guru. His tol was held at the house of Mukunda Sanjoy, in the pavilion where they conducted Durga Puja. Day by day his students increased and even at such a young age he attained such proficiency in scholarship that everyone, including even Ganga das Pandit, was simply amazed. While He engaged in His pastimes of learning, His mother Saci Mata was very happy.
Eventually the time came for Him to go to Gaya under the plea of offering rites for His deceased father. After being initiated by Shri Iswar Puri He returned from there a changed person. Now he explained all the sutras in relationship to Shri Krishna. But for this, he knew nothing else. Finally his students went to Ganga das Pandit to inform him of the new developments.
That afternoon when Nimai came to offer his respects to his guru, Ganga das Pandit very affectionately blessed him, saying, "Bap Biswambhar! (Bap is an affectionate term which literally means father, but which is used loosely, even by mothers to address their sons).
"Now hear my words. The scholarship of brahmanas is not a matter of small fortune. On both sides of your family; Nilambar Cakravartti, your maternal grandfather, and your father Jagannath Misra were both highly qualified. They weren't uneducated fools. You are also very qualified to explain the ins and outs of logic. If by giving up teaching one attains devotion, then why didn't your father and grandfather give it up? Were they not devotees? Considering all this, please continue your studies. By study one becomes a Baisnab brahman. If a brahman becomes a fool then how will he distinguish between good and bad? Reflecting on these matters you should pursue your studies and continue to teach your students nicely. On my honour I am stating this, that you might not explain things in a contrary fashion."
Nimai replied, "By your mercy, there is not a soul in Nabadwip who can defeat me in philosophical debate. Let me see which of these great pandits can refute the explanations of the sutras that I will now give. I am going to the tol to begin instructing these points just now."
Hearing these words of Shri Gaursundor, Ganga das was pleased. Mahaprabhu took the dust of his lotus feet and went off to the tol.
"What is left for Ganga das to accomplish; who has the Most Worshipful Person in the fourteen worlds as his disciple?" [C.B.Madhya 1]