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Shri Raskikananda Deb Gosvami;
In the Christian year 1590 (Sakabda 1512), on the first day of the bright fortnight in the month of Kartik, during the night of the festival, Dipmalika, when the houses are decorated with rows of lamps, Shri Rasikananda Deb made his appearance in this world.
His father was Shri Acyuta Deb, the King of Rohini. His mother's name was Bharani Debi. After passing many years without having a male issue, Shri Acyuta Deb, by the mercy of Shri Jagadish (Jagannath), was blessed with this jewel of a son.
Within the country known as Mallabhumi was situated the village of Rohini (or Royni), encompassed on one side by the Subarnarekha River (Subarna meaning golden, and rekha, a line). This Subarnarekha River cleansed the sins of all the local people.
Near Royni was another village of the name Barajita, by the side of which flowed the Dolanga River, whose banks were adorned with beautiful gardens. Raj Acyuta Deb very affectionately maintained his subjects and was famous for impeccably observing the rites attendant upon kings.
In the village of Royni the son of King Acyuta appeared as the sun appears in the eastern sky and became dearly beloved by all the people. He was known as Rasikananda and also as Murari. As he grew up, shining qualities gradually appeared in his person that caused the further exaltation of his family, just as the waxing moon gradually expands it's influence in the night sky and causes the sea to rise.
At a very young age he became quite proficient in all of the scriptures. He was very devoted to his parents, especially to his mother, Bhavani. His father married him at a very young age. Murari's wife, Syamadasi was a mine of good qualities who hailed from the village of Ghonta Sila, not far from Royni on the banks of the Subarna Rekha, where in days of old the Pandabas had lived in exile.
One day, Murari was sitting in a lonely place, wondering when and where he might become so fortunate as to get shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual preceptor. Just then it was as though a voice from the sky addressed him thusly, "Don't be in anxiety, you will become the disciple of Shri Syamananda."
Rasik Murari became very jubilant at this thought, and began to repeatedly murmur the name Syamananda, as though he was chanting japa. From moment to moment his eagerness increased without diminution, as tears flowed from his eyes by chanting the name of Syamananda. He was in such a state that he spent most of his nights sleeplessly, calling to his master Syamananda.
Finally, towards the early morning, he drifted off to the land of dreams, where he saw his spiritual master, the very figure of charm and grace. Smilingly, Syamananda informed him, "Tomorrow, when the eastern sky becomes tinged with a reddish hue, you will obtain me." Saying this, Syamananda disappeared while Rasikananda's heart began to swell in ecstatic bliss.
With the first rays of the following morning, which dispel the dense darkness of the world, the wise Murari sat silently watching the path. After some time Syamananda approached from the distance, looking as beautifully effulgent as the sun and surrounded by his disciples like Shri Kisor das and others. His smiling face was like the lotus flower that opens to greet its friend the sun, and his chest was as broad as a door. His captivating appearance was made all the more irresistible by the sweet sounds of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Nityananda, emanating from his lotus mouth. Absorbed in intense love he moved along the path like the clouds move in the sky.
When Rasik caught sight of this divine form, he fell down in front of him to touch his lotus feet. In great ecstasy Syamananda embraced him and began to bathe him with his tears of ecstatic love. Shri Rasik Murari then felt himself to be one of the most fortunate living beings within this universe.
On an auspicious day Syamananda initiated Rasik and his wife with RadhaKrishna mantra. After that, Rasikananda began to travel with his guru, during which time he became a very intimate disciple. Syamananda then bestowed upon him the service of Shri Shri RadhaGovinda Deb at Shri Gopiballabhpur. Rasikananda became so totally engaged in their Lordships' worship that the devotees were charmed to see the excellent services rendered by him. In and around Gopiballabhpur he began to seriously take up the preaching of the message of Shri GauraNityananda. By his influence many atheists and unbelievers were transformed into devotees of Shri GauraNityananda.
"By the tremendous influence of Rasikananda's preaching, many rogues, robbers and atheists were delivered from their sinful activities and received his mercy. He distributed the jewel of devotion even to the infidel Mohammedans, as he travelled from village to village in the company of his disciples. He even converted into his disciple a wild elephant which was sent for his destruction and engaged him in the service of Krishna and the Baisnabs. That wicked miscreant who sent the elephant, a Mohammedan by birth, bowed at his feet when he realized his mistake. It is not possible to count the number of living entities that were extricated from the ocean of material existence by Rasikananda Deb's association. He was always intoxicated with the chanting of the Holy Name. Who cannot but be overwhelmed by hearing about his uncommon qualities?" [Bhakti Ratna 15.86]
By Shri Rasikananda's mercy, many Mohammedans, who were actually just impious and wicked atheists, became worshippers of the Supreme Lord. Also many virtuous kings and jamidars (zamindars) such as the King of Mayurbhanj, named Baiddanath Bhanj; the King of Patashpur, known as Gajapati; and Candrabhanu, the King of Moyna; all took shelter at his lotus feet. What to speak of those pious and noble gentlemen, even the sinful jamidar Bhima, the Mohammedan Suba Ahmadbeg and the wicked atheist, Shrikar, also surrendered themselves at his lotus feet.
A vicious, wild elephant was tamed by Rasikananda's transcendental influence and henceforward was known as Gopal das. On another occasion, two jungle tigers also gave up their ferocious nature by the influence of his association. Accepting the order of his guru, Shri Syamananda, on his head, Rasikananda preached the message of Shri Gaursundor in the world for approximately forty-six years. Thereafter he entered into his eternal pastimes through the lotus feet of Shri Gopinath at Remuna.
On the first day of the bright fortnight in the month of Falguna, Sakabda 1574 (Christian year 1652), Rasikananda quietly slipped out of the village Sarta without anyone's notice and walked to Remuna. Arriving there, he discussed Krishna katha with the devotees there for a while and instructed everyone to serve Shri Krishna with devotion. Then, after requesting them to begin sankirtan, he entered the temple of Shri Gopinath. After touching Ksiracora Gopinath's lotus feet, which bestow complete fearlessness, he entered into Their ultimate shelter.
Shri Rasikananda had three sons, Shri Radhananda, Shri KrishnaGobinda (Krishna Gati) and Shri RadhaKrishna. The present sevaits of Shri Shri RadhaGobindaDeb at Gopiballabhapur are their descendants.
He composed Shri Syamanandasataka, ShrimadBhagavatastaka, as well as other hymns and songs.
His Shripat, Gopiballabhpur can be reached from Calcutta by taking a train to Kharagpur, and from there by bus to Gopiballabhpur. There is also a temple of Rasikananda at Puri, called Kunja Matha.
One year, during Lord Jagannath's Rathjatra festival, Rasikananda Deb was preaching somewhere in the country when he realized that it was time for Rathjatra. He immediately dropped everything and rushed like the wind in order to come to Nilacal in time for the festival but the festival had already begun.
Lord Jagannath, Who felt reciprocal separation from His dear devotee Rasikananda, caused the Rath (chariot) to stop. Though the king summoned his elephants to push the Rath, under no circumstances could they budge it, not even an inch. Then Lord Jagannath, seeing that the king was becoming frustrated, informed him that he was waiting for His devotee Rasik.
Finally Rasikananda Deb arrived, carrying with him many offerings of silk clothes and other presents. He fell down to offer his dandabats before Lord Jagannath at which point the king requested him to pull the rope. Again the cart began to easily move along the road, just as the clouds move in the sky.
Later the king requested Rasikananda to accept a gift of land so that he might establish a temple there. Rasikananda requested the place known as Fultota Matha, which is now known as Kunja Matha. There he installed the Deity of Shri Bat Krishna. The Deity is now known as Shri Shri RadhaRasik Ray.