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Shri Sivananda Sen;
"I bow to Sivananda, who is full with divine love and whose wealth, caste and life are as the twin feet of Gaura."[Baisnab Bandana / Debkinandan das]
Shri Sivananda Sen was a very intimate servant of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just before the rainy season (Caturmasya) he would lead the associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from Bengal to Puri, where they would go each year, to see the Lord. All of the expenses of this journey were born by him, Sen Sivananda. [C.C.Adi 10.54]
Wealth and opulences are properly engaged in the service of Shri Hari, the guru and the Baisnabs. Sivananda Sen was the emblem of this in that he always used his property and possessions in this way, in the service of Shri Gauranga and His devotees. His entire family, sons and servants were all devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
His three sons, Shri Chaitanya Das, Shri Ram das and Shri Karnapur das, were extremely devoted to Mahaprabhu. His two nephews, Shri Ballabh Sen and Shri Kanta Sen were also great devotees.
Sen Sivananda used to reside at Kumarhatta, which is presently known as Halisahar. The location of his worshipful Deities, Shri Shri GaurGopal is unknown at present. However, it has also been conjectured that, though his ista mantra was in fact, Shri GaurGopal, he may not have actually possessed Deities in his house to this description. In Chaitanya Charitamrita, when Nrsimhananda brahmacari was making an offering of bhoga to the Deities in the home of Sivananda, Lord Jagannath was present, along with Mahaprabhu and a Deity of Nrsimhananda.
The Deities worshipped by Shrinath Pandit, the guru of Kabi Karnapur, are still residing at Kalyani. This is the temple of Kesto Ray, and is located a few miles from Chaitanya Doba.
In his Gaur ganoddesh dipika, the son of Sivananda, Shri Kabi Karnapur has written that the gopi in Brindaban by the name Bira duti, who was the messenger of Shrimati Radharani, is presently known as Shri Sivananda Sen.
The devotees would depart for Puri one month before the Rathjatra festival and travelling by foot, they would arrive one month later.
One day, the devotees departed from Kumarhatta, as it was an auspicious day to begin a journey. At first they came to Shri Adwaita Acarja's house in Santipur. After conducting a festival there for one day, Adwaita prabhu, his wife and son accompanied the party to Mayapur where they took darshan of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mother, Saci Mata. She was somehow or other passing her days in great separation from her son. The devotees all offered their obeisances to her and she in turn offered obeisances to the feet of Adwaita Acarja and his wife Sita Thakurani. Then, while remembering her son, she began to cry. Adwaita Acarja Prabhu and his wife consoled Saci Mata as best as they could, and then, along with the other devotees, they commenced their journey.
Though Lord Chaitanya had ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Bengal, he would also accompany the devotees to see Mahaprabhu. Also present were Shri Acarjaratna, Pundarik Biddanidhi, Shribas Pandit, along with his brothers and their wives, Vasudeb, Govinda and Madhab Ghosh, Murari Gupta Ojha, Shri Raghab Pandit, Shri Khandabasi Narahari, Shri Gunaraj Khan, etc.
Sen Sivananda would bring his wife and their sons and many of the other devotees as well would bring their wives. The Thakuranis (ladies) would prepare many varieties of foodstuffs, which were the favourite preparations of Mahaprabhu. Sivananda would make the arrangements for everyone's meal, as well as the paying of the tolls at the ferry gates. Wherever they would halt for the night, they held a festival of dancing and chanting of the Holy names.
Sivananda Sen knew all the paths through Orissa. One day he remained behind at the ghat to settle their account with the toll collector, while the rest of the party went ahead. After walking some distance they sat down to rest underneath a tree. Sivananda, however, was held up and not able to come right away and thus there was no arrangement for their meals.
Having walked quite some distance that day, everyone was very hungry. Nityananda began to abuse his name and was ready to curse him. "Where is that Siva? Everyone is dying of hunger but still he hasn't come. No one is arranging any prasadam. Let his son die (of hunger) as well!"
Just then Sivananda arrived. His wife went to him with tears in her eyes, "You didn't manage any prasadam and now Gosai is very angry. He has cursed your sons to die."
Sivananda replied, "Now don't you become crazy. No need to cry needlessly. Just try to get a hold of yourself."
Consoling his wife he came to where Nityananda Prabhu was and offered his dandabats. Nityananda, still in an angry mood, gave him a good kick. Sivananda felt great pleasure to get this mercy from Shripad Nityananda and immediately went to the house of one Gauriya Baisnab to arrange prasadam and a place to stay for the devotees. Then he went to bring Nityananda Prabhu there to accept prasadam with the devotees.
After they had finished their prasad, Sivananda came to offer his obeisances at Nityananda Prabhu's lotus feet. He prayed to Him, "Today in accepting me as Your servant, You punished me fittingly, according to my offence. But such is Your tenderness that under the pretence of punishment You actually awarded me such great mercy. Who within the three worlds can understand Your character? The dust of Your lotus feet is very difficult to obtain even for Lord Brahma, but even such a low, vile wretch as me received the touch of these lotus feet on his body. Today my birth and the heritage of my forefathers has become successful, and today I have received devotion to Shri Krishna, as well as the ordinary objects of attainment for human beings, religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation."
Hearing these words of Sivananda, Nityananda Prabhu became so happy that he rose up and very lovingly embraced him.
One year Sivananda came to Puri, bringing his son, Chaitanya das with him. One day Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked the child, "What is your name?"
To this the child replied, "Chaitanya Das."
Mahaprabhu asked Sivananda, "What kind of name is this?"
Sivananda, "As I received inspiration in my heart, so I have chosen this name."
On another day Sivananda suggested to his son that he invite Mahaprabhu for lunch. When Chaitanya das made this request Mahaprabhu accepted the affectionate invitation offered by the boy.
Sivananda, along with his wife, prepared many preparations of foodstuffs, feeling very happy in heart that Mahaprabhu would be taking his lunch at their house that day.
When Mahaprabhu arrived, Sivananda offered his obeisances and after washing Mahaprabhu's feet he seated Him for lunch. At this point Mahaprabhu told them that today's invitation has been extended by Chaitanya das.
Then Chaitanya das placed in front of Mahaprabhu, yogurt, limes, ginger, flower pakoras and other salty preparations, arranged very nicely. Seeing this arrangement Mahaprabhu said, "This boy understands My mind. Therefore today I am very pleased to accept his invitation."
Mahaprabhu very happily accepted this prasadam and after finishing, He called Chaitanya das and gave him His remnants [C.C.Antya 20]