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Shrimati Jahnava Mata
Shri Surjadas Sarakhela was a resident of Shaligram. He had five brothers, Damodar, Jagannath, Gauri das, Krishna das and Nrsimha Chaitanya. His father's name was Shri Kamsari Misra and his mother's name, Shri Kamala debi. He received the title "Sarakhela" as he used to keep the accounts for the king of Gaur desh. His two daughters were named Shri Basudha and Shri Jahnava. Jahnava was the youngest.
In Gaurganoddeshdipika it is stated that these two daughters are the expansions of Baruni and Revati in Brindaban and Surjadas Sarakhela, whose body effulgence is like the sun, is an expansion of Kakudmi, the king of Raivat. The two Lords Gauranga and Nityananda were very affectionate to him.
Seeing that his two daughters had reached the full bloom of their youth, he began to contemplate their marriage. While thinking in this way, he fell asleep. In his dream he saw that in a very happy mood he was presenting his two daughters to Nityananda Prabhu. Having seen such a wonderful dream, he began to float in an ocean of bliss.
In the morning when he awoke, he told his dream to one brahmana friend of his, "I saw in my dream that Nityananda Prabhu is none other than Baladeb. His bodily effulgence was shining in all directions and his body was decorated with various shining ornaments. On either side of him my two daughters appeared as Baruni and Revati. Now if I cannot give my daughters in marriage to Nityananda Prabhu then there will be no peace for me."
Having confided in his friend in this way, he sent him to the house of Shribas Pandit in Nabadwip. That brahmana came to Nabadwip very quickly and found that Nityananda Prabhu was living at Shribas Pandit's house. The brahmana explained everything in detail to Shribas Pandit who later, at the proper time, divulged all of this news to Nityananda Prabhu. Lord Nityananda having assured the brahmana that he would fulfill the desire of Surja das, sent him back to Saligram.
Adwaita Acarja, as well as Shribas Pandit, was very happy to have heard this news and urged that the marriage take place as soon as possible. The brahmana, in the meantime having returned to Saligram, delivered this auspicious news to Surja das who was overjoyed that his dream would now come true.
In the village of Borgachi lived the son of Raja Hari Hora, Shri Krishna das, who was a very dear devotee of Nityananda Prabhu. He offered to bear all of the expenses for the wedding and to have it conducted at his house. With this in mind he requested Nityananda Prabhu to kindly come to his house, and after bringing him there he began to make the necessary arrangements for the wedding. Shribas Pandit, Shri Adwaita Acarja, Shri Candrasekhar, Shri Murari Gupta and many other devotees all arrived and began Harinam Sankirtan.
Surja das Pandit's brother, Shri Krishna das soon arrived at Borgachi to escort Nityananda Prabhu and the other devotees with Him to Saligrama. When Surjadas saw that the devotees along with Nityananda Prabhu had arrived, he came out to greet them in great happiness and then ushered them into his house where he offered his dandavats to Lord Nityananda. Surja das fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, his eyes brimming with tears of ecstatic love. He caught hold of His two lotus feet and wanted to offer some prayers but he could not express anything due to being overcome by ecstatic emotions. Lord Nityananda smiled sweetly and embraced him in great love. Surjadas was always absorbed in intense happiness. Who can understand his inner self. Seeing these loving pastimes of his brother, Gauri das lost his patience and felt great bliss within himself. Then, after worshipping the two lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, he offered his two daughters in marriage to him. Thus the marriage ceremony was very auspiciously performed and Nityananda Prabhu remained at Saligram with his two newly wedded wives for a few days.
Thereafter Nityananda Prabhu came to Shri Krishna das's house at Borgachi, where he remained for a couple of days. Next He came to Nabadwip. Along with his two wives He offered His obeisances at the feet of Saci Mata. Saci Ma was extremely pleased to see them and she showed a great deal of affection to the new brides. The other Baisnabs also began to show them great affection. Then, taking leave of Sacimata, Nityananda came to Adwaita Acarja's house in Santipur. Shri Sita Thakurani began to float in the ocean of bliss after seeing Basudha and Jahnava debi. She lovingly embraced them, showing her great affection to the new brides. After remaining there for a few days Nityananda Prabhu came to Uddharon Datta Thakur's house at Saptagram at his insistent invitation. There they all engaged in a festival of sankirtan for a few days after which Nityananda Prabhu came to Khardaha.
[Bhakti Ratnakar 12th Taranga]
After the disappearance of Shri Adwaita Acarja, Shri Nityananda Prabhu, Shribas Pandit and various other associates of Shri Gaursundar, three especially empowered manifestations of the compassion of the Lord, (Mahaprabhu), namely Shrinibas Acarja, Narottam Thakur Mahasoy and Shyamananda Prabhu continued to flood the land with Hari Nam Sankirtan. Shri Nityananda Prabhu's sakti Shri Jahnava Mata, was especially requested by these three Acarjas to be present at the celebrated festival conducted by them at Kheturigram, under the patronage of Narottam Thakur Mahasoy's cousin, Raja Santosh Datta. Present with her were Shri Krishna das Misra (her uncle), Mineketan Ramdas, Murari Chaitanya, Gyan das, Shri Paramesvari das, Balarama das, Shri Brindavan das Thakur, and other dear devotees of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. First she came to her uncle Gauri das Pandit's temple at Kalna where she was nicely received by Hrdoy Chaitanya Prabhu. Here she cooked for the two Lords, NitaiGauranga, and in the evening they had a festival of sankirtan.
When she came to Nabadvip and realized that she wouldn't be able to see Shri Saci Mata any more, she was very sad and cried. Then Shripati and Shrinidhi came and took her to their house. But again she was plunged into grief due to the pangs of separation at not being able to see Shribas Pandit and Malini debi. At Santipur Shri Acyutananda and Gopal tried to console her in the absence of Adwaita Acarja and Sita Thakurani. Then she came by way of Kantak Nagar to Teliya Bhudari gram where Shri Govinda Kabiraj received her with all respect.
The next day the party set out for Kheturi. When they reached the banks of the Padma river they found that Raja Santosh Datta had already made arrangements for crossing the river. From the opposite bank palanquins were waiting to take them to Kheturi.
After presiding over the festival of Kheturi, Ma Jahnava decided to go to Brindavan. One day when she was bathing in the Jamuna, a small black hand grabbed the end of her cloth as she was getting out of the water. When she looked, however, there was no one there. Then Gopinath spoke to her, "I want to come and stay with you. When you're taking bath in the Ganga one day I'll come and join you." After passing some days in great happiness in Shri Brindaban Dham, Shri Jahnava Mata set out on the path back to Gaur desh.
First she came to Kheturi, and then to Bhudari gram where she arranged the marriage of Bor Ganga das with Shri Hemalata, the daughter of Shri Shyamdas Cakravarti (brother of Bansi das). After the marriage, Shri Iswari (Ma Jahnava), entrusted the worship of Shyamsundorji to Borganga das. Then she came to Ekcakra, the birthplace of her worshippable Lord. From there she passed through Kantak Nagar, Jajigram, Nabadwip, Ambika Kalna and Saptagram, before finally arriving back at Khardaha.
As she was bathing in the Ganges one day, something touched her body in the water. She lifted that object out of the water and beheld the enchanting form of Shri Gopinathji, while tears of love streamed from her eyes. This Deity is at present being worshipped by the descendants of Ganga debi, the daughter of Nityananda Prabhu, at Jirat, Hugli. There is a rail station at Jirat between Bandel and Kalna station on the Howrah-Nabadwip line. From the Jirat station one should proceed by rickshaw to Gopinath Tala.
"Having fallen into the ocean of material existence I am completely distraught and filled with anxiety. Floating in this ocean, without any refuge, I am trying to find a shore; but without any success. I am losing all hope of ever finding it. What activity will bring me there; or what knowledge will bring me there? Conducting some fruitive sacrifices, engaging in some mystic yoga process or performing austerities, none of these have any power or effect. I am getting very weak and I cannot swim much longer. Now in this extremely dangerous situation, will no one come to save me? Alas! To make matters worse; having caught sight of the crocodiles of worldly affairs, I am petrified with fear and the current of lust is always churning the water. I can barely keep my head above the water, the winds carrying the results of activities performed in previous lives, is blowing and making the water so choppy. I am losing my mind and now I am simply crying frantically. I can't see anyone who can get me out of this ocean of woes. O my dear Shri Jahnava debi, please have compassion on your servant and bless me with some of your divine qualities. Please extend me the rope of your mercy and alleviate this intense pain that I am experiencing. I have taken shelter of the boat of your lotus feet and I have full faith that you can carry me across this ocean. You are the divine energy of Lord Nityananda and the bestower of Krishna bhakti. Please bless me at your feet, which can bestow all one's desires. You have already delivered so many despicable creatures, now today here is one more destitute and hateful wretch, come to your lotus feet."
[Kalyan Kalpataru / Bhaktivinode Thakur]