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Attachment to the Bhagavatam
Pata Devi was eager that her Braja-bandhu would become a devotee of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and she became very happy seeing that by her influence her el¬dest son was developing such attachment. By the age of eight Braja-bandhu had read the entire Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and SriCaitanya-caritamrta, and he could also explain their meanings. At night many villagers would come to hear his recitation of the Oriya Bhagavata, Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, young Braja-bandhu was particularly attached to the Srimad-Bhagavatam. His old friend Fakir Charan Das recounts:Sriia Gurudeva once lold me that when¬ever as a young boy he would became ' naughty and not stop crying, his mother would simply put the Srimad-Bhagavatam in his hands and he would stop. He was so much inclined to read the Bhagava tarn that if he were ; reading he would forget to take his meal. The family was too poor to afford candles or a lamp for reading, so in the evening he would sit close to his mother's cooking fire and read rimad-Bhagavatam. At night he would go to sleep clutching the Bhagavatam to his chest.From 1942 to 1945 Braja-bandhu stayed in Gadeigiri with his maternal uncles Gopinath and Jagannath Giri and he attended high school in nearby Balikuda. Gopinath and Jagannath Giri were both fond of performing kirtan. They would regularly go out to chant in the neighboring area, and it was not uncommon for them to travel to distant villages for chanting. Often they would perform nonstop kirtan for one or two days at a time. They were very fond of singing traditional Orissan songs of Krishna's pastimes as well as the songs of Srila Narottama Das Thakur. Whenever possible, young Braja-bandhu would chant with them, and by their association he became deeply attached to performing kirtan.
Although Braja-bandhu would often engage in kirtan with his uncles, still he did not neglect his school studies. During the day Braja-bandhu would engage in study, in the evening he would join the kirtan, then in the early morning he would come back to Gopal's temple to render service. Young Braja-bandhu was a quiet and serious child. He did not engage in play with the other children and he showed no interest in cinema or mundane theatre. Whatever free time he had after completing his studies he would spend doing kirtan with his uncles or in rendering various services to Gopal. Braja-bandhu would clean Gopal's temple, pick flowers for His worship, make garlands, and recite verses and songs for Gopal's pleasure. He would never take any food that was not offered to Gopal. As a child he was not interested in sleep and would only rest for three or four hours a night, a habit he maintained his whole life.Ghanashyam Giri was taking care of Gopal's worship. Braja-bandhu would come and together they would perform kirtan and render service to Gopal. Damodar Giri was a good singer and was expert in kirtan. He was working in Bengal, but whenever he got the opportunity he would come to Gopal to perform ktrtan. These three, Ghanashyam Giri, Damodar Giri and Braja-bandhu often sat together and performed kirtan.