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Shri Shri Basudeb & Mukunda Datta Thakur Carit;
Kabi Karnapur has written in his book, GauraGanoddeshDipika,
Braje sthitau gayakau tau madhukanthamadhuvratau |
Mukunda vasudebu tau dattau gaurangagayakau ||
"The two singers, who were previously known as Madhukantha and Madhuvrata in Braja, have taken their birth in the dynasty of Datta as Mukunda and Vasudeb, the celebrated singers of Shri Gauranga."
In the kirtan of Shri Vasudeb Datta Thakur and Shri Mukunda Datta Thakur, Shri Shri Gaura Nityananda used to personally dance. Shri Mukunda and Vasudeb Datta were born at Cattagram in the village of Chanhara, Patiya Thana. Shri Vasudeb was the elder of the two brothers.
When Mahaprabhu was returning from Ramkeli, after He had attempted to go to Brindaban, He met Shribas Thakur, Shri Vasudeb Datta and Shri Sivananda Sen at Kumarhatta. Receiving the news that Mahaprabhu had come to Shribas Thakur's house, Shri Sivananda Sen and Shri Vasudeb Datta Thakur came there to meet him.
Vasudeb Datta is especially dear to the Lord and by His mercy he is acquainted with all of the truths regarding the supreme science of devotion. He is the well-wisher of the entire universe and is extremely compassionate towards all the living entities. He appreciates the good qualities and virtues of others, never seeing their faults. His dealings with the Supreme Lord and the Lord's devotees are exactly befitting his relationships with Them. He is intoxicated with the mellows of devotional service to Shri Krishna Chaitanya.
Seeing Vasudeb Datta, Shri Gaursundor embraced him and shed tears for a long time. Vasudeb Datta caught hold of the Lord's lotus feet and cried very loudly. To hear the weeping of Vasudeb Datta, no one, not even dry wood or stone, can restrain his tears. No one can be found to compare with Vasudeb Datta in the estimation of his wonderful qualities. He is so dear to the Lord that the Lord Himself stated, "I belong only to Vasudeb."
Again and again Shri Gaursundor said, "This body belongs to Vasudeb Datta. Wherever Datta likes to sell Me in that place I am sold. There is no exception to this; it is the simple truth. Whoever receives even a faint touch of his favour becomes the object of Krishna's special attention and kindness. I am simply speaking the truth. Hear Me, Oh devotees! This body belongs only to Vasudeb Datta."
Hearing of the Lord's special mercy on Vasudeb, the assembled Baisnabs began to cheer, "Hari! Hari!"
Every year the devotees from Bengal used to come and see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Puri during the time of the Rathayatra festival. One year, just after their arrival, the Lord met them and arranged for their accommodation. As soon as He saw Vasudeb Datta, the older brother of Mukunda Datta, He immediately became very happy. Placing His hand on Vasudeb's body, He began to speak, "Although Mukunda is My friend from childhood, I nonetheless take greater pleasure in seeing you than in seeing him."
Vasudeb replied, "Mukunda got Your association in the beginning. As such he has taken shelter at Your lotus feet. That is his transcendental rebirth. Although Mukunda is my junior, he first received Your favour. Consequently he has become transcendentally senior to me. Besides that, You very much favoured Mukunda. Thus he is superior in all good qualities."
The Lord said, "For your sake only, I have brought two books from South India. The books are kept with Swarup Damodar from whom you can get them copied." Vasudeb delightfully received this news.
During the period when Lord Jagannath resides at the Gundica Mandir, the Lord went there and entered into the garden. Vasudeb sang a different song under each and every tree, while Mahaprabhu danced in great ecstasy.
When the devotees were preparing to return to Bengal after having spent the four months of the rainy season with Mahaprabhu, He again began to praise His devotees as He bid them farewell. The Lord respectfully told Sivananda Sen, "Take care of Vasudeb Datta very nicely. Vasudeb Datta is very liberal. Everyday, whatever income he receives he spends. He does not keep any balance. Being a householder, he needs to save some money. Because he is not doing so, it is very difficult for him to maintain his family. Please take care of Vasudeb's family affairs. Become his manager and make the proper arrangements."
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Vasudeb Datta and began to speak of his glories as if He had a thousand mouths. When Mahaprabhu glorified him, Vasudeb immediately became embarrassed and shy. He then submitted himself, touching the Lord's lotus feet, "My dear Lord, You incarnate just to deliver all conditioned souls. I have now one petition, which I wish You would accept. My Lord, You are certainly capable of doing whatever you like, and You are indeed merciful. If You so desire You can very easily do whatever You want. My Lord, my heart breaks to see the sufferings of all conditioned souls; therefore I request You to transfer the karma of their sinful lives upon my head. Let me suffer perpetually in a hellish condition, accepting all the sinful reactions of all living beings. Please finish their diseased material life."
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard Vasudeb Datta's statement, His heart became very soft. Tears flowed from His eyes, and He began to tremble. In a faltering voice He began to speak as follows, "Such a statement is not at all astonishing because you are the incarnation of Prahlad Maharaja. It appears that Lord Krishna has bestowed complete mercy upon you. There is no doubt about it. Whatever a pure devotee wants from his Master, Lord Krishna doubtlessly grants, because He has no duty other than to fulfill the desires of His devotees. If you desire the deliverance of all living entities within the universe, then all of them can be delivered without your undergoing the tribulation of their sinful reactions. Krishna is not incapable, for He has all potencies. Why should He induce you to suffer the sinful reactions of other living entities? Whomsoever's welfare you desire immediately becomes a Baisnab, and Krishna delivers all Baisnabs from the reactions of their past sinful activities. "I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, Who burns up to their roots all fruitive activities of those who are imbued with devotion." (BrahmaSamhita)
Because of your honest desire, all living entities within the universe will be delivered, for Krishna does not have to do anything to deliver all the living entities."
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described the good qualities of His devotees one after the other. He then embraced them and bade them farewell.
Shri Mukunda Datta sakha prabhur samadhyayi |
Jahar kirttane nace chaitanyanitai ||
"Shri Mukunda Datta was the class friend of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The two Lords, Shri Shri Chaitanya Nitai used to dance while he sang in kirtan."
Mukunda, who was the same age as Mahaprabhu, was especially dear to Him.
They both studied together in the same school and as well, played together at various sports. Shri Mukunda was deeply attached to Lord Krishna from his early childhood. He didn't like to listen to any songs except those glorifying Shri Krishna. He was also averse to idling away his time in ordinary gossip.
Just to enjoy some fun with his good friend, Nimai would catch hold of Mukunda's hand whenever He would see him and say, "If you cannot give the correct answers to the questions in logic that I will pose before you, then I'll not let you go."
Mukunda was also a student of logic, but this Nimai Pandit simply liked to debate on hypothetical issues simply for the sake of argument, whereas Mukunda preferred not to waste his time in such wrangling. Mukunda also studied literature and rhetoric, so in those subjects he would pose questions and thus try to defeat Him. But he was never able to defeat Nimai Pandit. Being regularly defeated in argument, Mukunda used to avoid Nimai out of fear, taking another path whenever he saw Him approach. Nimai however, could understand the reason for this.
amar sambhase nahi krsner kathan |
ataeva ama dekhi kare palayan ||
"Because I don't talk about Krishna, Mukunda runs away whenever he sees Me. This small fry wants to avoid Me does he. Let us see for how long he can avoid Me? Now I will become such a Baisnab that everyone will come to My door."
One day Nimai, upon seeing Mukunda, caught his two hands and said, "Today I'll not let you go."
Mukunda replied, "Grammar studies are for infants. I wish to discuss rhetoric with You."
Nimai retorted, "Alright. Ask Me any questions you please."
Mukunda then began to ask Him the most difficult questions in rhetoric but the all-powerful Nimai gave the correct answer every time. After refuting one argument, He would again establish the very same point. Then Nimai told Mukunda to refute His arguments and establish his own conclusions, but Mukunda was unable to do so. Mukunda then began to think how to get free from this embarrassing situation.
He didn't have to think long however, because this Nimai Pandit, Who also resides within the hearts of all living beings, could understand his mind and told him, "All right Mukunda, you can go home for today. Tomorrow we'll again deliberate on these points."
Mukunda, who was simply glad to get his release replied, "Very well. Tomorrow we'll meet again."
Saying this he took the dust from Nimai's feet and began to reflect, "Is it possible for an ordinary human being to be so vastly accomplished in learning; even in subjects which he hasn't studied? If such a noble and wise person as this were to become a devotee of Krishna then I would not leave his company for the space of even half a moment."
Shri Adwaita Acarja, Shribas Pandit, as well as various other Baisnabs, all loved very much to hear Mukunda's kirtan. He used to go every day to the meeting of Baisnabs at Adwaita Acarja's house, to sing. The devotees used to roll on the ground in the ecstasy of love to hear his kirtan, which was overflowing with the mellows of devotion. Shri Adwaita Acarja used to embrace him and bathe him with his tears. When Shri Iswar Puri came to Nabadwip one time, he also became thoroughly overwhelmed with loving sentiments to hear Mukunda's kirtan, and thus everyone could understand that he was the disciple of Shri Madhavendra Puri.
Mahaprabhu first revealed His divine rapture at Gaya Dham. Returning to His home, He was a completely changed person, continually absorbed in ecstatic love for Krishna. Whereas previously He used to spend His time wrangling over fine points in grammar and logic, now in even the rules of grammar and verbal roots He saw only the name of Krishna.
Receiving this news the Baisnabs came to see Him. All the while crying, "Krishna! Krishna!", He wept as He hugged their necks. Everyone was stunned in amazement and simply stood speechless. But seeing the flood of tears from the Lord's eyes and hearing His plaintive crying, they also began to roll on the ground, saying, "Krishna!, Krishna!"
In the evenings, congregational chanting of the Holy name of Krishna was held at the house of Shribas Thakur and this was attended by all of the devotees. Mukunda was the first to sing, at which Shri Gaursundor fainted and fell to the ground in a swoon of love of Krishna. All of the devotees became absorbed in ecstatic love and so they spent their time, on into the night. Thereafter, the Lord caught hold of Mukunda and began to say, "Mukunda you are so fortunate. I spent so much of my time in the false pursuit of knowledge. By not achieving the grace of Krishna, my life has been wasted."
One day, in the courtyard of Shribas Thakur's house, where Shri Gaursundor held his nocturnal school of kirtan, the Lord revealed Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His devotees. For a period of twenty-one hours, He exhibited His opulences, calling all His devotees to come to Him so that He might bless them with the fulfilment of their most cherished desire. After having called almost all of His devotees, it was noticed that Mukunda was still waiting outside. At that time Shribas Thakur felt compassion for Mukunda and approached Mahaprabhu to ask Him, "You are showering Your mercy today on even the most fallen. Why haven't You called Your favourite, Mukunda? Will You not bless him as You have blessed us?"
Mahaprabhu replied, "That small fry. He doesn't like to talk to Me anyway."
Shribas, "What offence has he committed?"
Shri Gaurasundar, "Mukunda is a hypocrite. He'll never get My mercy. Sometimes he takes a straw in his teeth to show his humility and sometimes he comes with a stick to beat those who are inferior to himself."
Shribas, "I can't understand what offence has he committed?"
Shri Gaursundor, "When he meets with the impersonalists he agrees with their nonsense philosophy. Then again when he meets the devotees he makes a show of devotion, crying and rolling on the ground. Those who disrespect My form are as though beating me with sticks. Whereas those who worship My form make Me supremely happy. In any case, those who, taking a straw in their teeth, sometimes come to praise but then again sometimes also come to criticize; they will never get My mercy. I cannot tolerate duplicitous behaviour."
Mukunda, upon hearing this, was heartbroken and said, "I'll not maintain this body any longer. What is the use of maintaining this body, which is full of offences?"
Again Shribas petitioned the Lord on behalf of Mukunda but the Lord remained adamant.
Mukunda pleaded with Shribas Thakur, "Panditji, will He never again show me His mercy?"
This time when Shribas spoke to the Lord He replied, "If he is still in a position to receive My mercy after ten million lifetimes then I will call him."
Hearing this Mukunda began to dance in ecstasy, singing, "Ten million lifetimes, only ten million lifetimes, and I'll again see the Lord of my life again." Dancing and dancing he began to roll on the ground in the courtyard.
Bhakta Vatsal, Shri Gaurahari, couldn't maintain His facade of false anger any longer and His heart began to melt, seeing the love of His devotee for Himself.
He told Shribas, "Bring Mukunda to Me quickly, his ten million lifetimes have passed. He can see Me now."
Shribas told Mukunda, "Mukunda, calm yourself, the Lord is calling you."
But Mukunda had lost himself in ecstasy and was simply saying over and over, "I will see Him again, after ten million births, I will see Him again." His chest had become soaked with the tears falling from his eyes. Shribas saw that Mukunda was not externally aware of anything, having lost himself in the happiness of his heart. This time Shribas caught hold of him and called out, "Mukunda! Mukunda! Calm down. The Lord is calling you!"
By the touch of Shribasa's hand, this time Mukunda heard him.
"Panditji, what are you saying?"
Shribas, "Prabhu is calling you."
Mukunda, "With this sinful body how can I go to see the Lord? I have ten million lifetimes of weeping to do before I can see Him again."
The Lord Who resides in everyone's heart could understand everything and so He came Himself to call Mukunda, "Mukunda! Come here. Just see My transcendental form!"
Shribas caught hold of Mukunda and forcibly brought him to the Lord's lotus feet. Mukunda, who was floating in an ocean of tears, simply said, "My Lord. I am a great sinner," and then fell unconscious at the Lord's lotus feet.
Regaining consciousness after a short while he began to roll on the ground saying, "Because my faith in devotional service is weak, I am simply fit for the rubbish pile. Without devotion what happiness can I ever hope to achieve? Duryodhana was able to see Your Universal Form, that form which is searched out through all the Vedas. Nevertheless his fate was simply to be annihilated with the rest of his family. Thus without devotion, there is no possibility of attaining real happiness."
Mukunda continued to weep loudly so Mahaprabhu lifted him up from the ground and embraced him saying, "I told you that you would only be able to see Me again after ten million lifetimes, but due to your sincere and firm faith that time has passed in the space of half a moment. You are the eternal object of My affection. There is no offence on your part. I only behaved with you like this to educate the people in general. Actually, you are fully imbued with devotion. You are My eternal servant, and I eternally dance on your tongue."
"As you are My pet favourite, may you become so to all of the great souls. Whenever and wherever I incarnate Myself, there you will be present to sing My glories." All the assembled devotees called out in ecstasy, "Hari! Hari!" to hear this loving benediction.
"Just after accepting the order of sannyasa, Mahaprabhu instructed Mukunda to sing, saying, "Chant! Chant!" as He began to dance. In all directions the devotees responded, such that the heavens resounded with the Holy Names."
During the time that the Lord lived in Jagannath Puri (Nilacal), Mukunda was also present with Him and continued to sing to Him. At the time of Rathjatra, Shri Basudeb Datta, Shri Gopinath and Shri Murari formed one kirtan group which was headed by Shri Mukunda. Along with Shri Kasisvar Pandit, Mukunda's body was very strong and so he used to help Kasiswar clear a path during Rathayatra, so that Mahaprabhu could have darshan of Lord Jagannath.
Shri Mukunda Datta Thakur's disappearance is on the full moon day of the month of Jyoistha (May-June).