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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nisikant Sanyal > Sree Krishna Chaitanya > Two Acharyas > Ramananda Raya

Shri Ramananda Ray;


Shri Ramananda Ray was born of a Karon {they are similar to kayasthas (clerks of the crown)} family, in the village of Benthpur, which is near Alalanath, just outside the present town of Mangal? Giri.

He was the viceroy of the East and West sides of the Godabari River, which made up the Southern Orissan Empire of Raj Shri Prataparudra. He successfully defended the Southern Provinces which were the weakest frontiers of the Orissan Empire, subject to frequent attacks by the powerful Kings of Vijoynagar and the Mohammedan States of the Deccan.


When Mahaprabhu was preparing to go on His tour of South India, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarja especially requested Him to meet Ray Ramananda. "I can see one person who is fit to associate with You. There is not another devotee on this earth equal to him in Krishna consciousness. Please don't neglect him thinking him to be an ordinary, materialistic thrall of the king. He is fully conversant in the sastras and in the mellows of devotion. If You speak with him You will be able to realize this."


After Ray Ramananda's meeting with Lord Chaitanya he took permission from Maharaja Prataparudra to retire from government service. Within one year from the time he vacated the post of Viceroy, the power of the Orissan Empire in the South made a rapid decline. R.D. Banerjee writes in his History of Orissa, "One may ascribe the fall of Konduvidu, Kondapally and Rajamahendry (various districts of that province), to their being left in the hands of young and inexperienced officers like the Prince Birbhadra, after the retirement of Ram Ray."

In addition to being a highly competent administrative official he was moreover a Sanskrit scholar, poet and dramatic writer. His expertise in the fields of drama and poetry has been nicely describe in Chaitanya Charitamrita.


"Ramananda Ray was the most original composer of devotional music in the sect. Rasa in devotion was the theme of his life and he was always at his best in expressing it through songs and dances. His expression was always spontaneous and beautiful. He was a magician in the expression of emotions and sentiments. The culture and art of the Gauriya sect is, however, only outwardly the creative assimilation of the mixture of the best of two cultures, one of Bengal and the other of Orissa; the former represented by Sanatan and Rupa, the two ministers of the King of Bengal, and the latter by Ram Ray, the Prime Minister of the King of Orissa. These ministers of the two provinces, who were also the best representatives of the culture of Bengal and Orissa in the field of creative art, were chosen by Shri Chaitanya to embellish the Acme of Divine Rasa. Gauriya culture is much more than the mere harmonious blending of the cultures of Bengal and Orissa, supplemented by that of Rajputan, which soon came under its fold through the missionary activities of Rupa and Sanatan. To appreciate and trace the spiritual value of the Gauriya culture is a great study on an entirely different plane. It has however, an external appearance of a very happy synthesis of different cultures in a plane of its own, which is incapable of receiving any grossness from its symbolic expression in terms of the art of this world."


Kabi Karnapur Gosvami, in his Gaur Ganoddesh Dipika, has analyzed the incarnation of Shri Ramananda Ray from various angles. He first states that one of the cowherd boys, a priya narma sakha named Arjun, has combined with the Arjun, of the five Pandavas, to appear as Ram Ray.

"The teachings which Shri Krishna gave to Arjun on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra were repeated by Ramananda Ray in front of Shri Gaursundor after he had fully realized them."                       [Chaitanya Ganoddesh / Krishna das]

Kabi Karnapur continues, "Some scholars say that Ramananda is also an incarnation of Lalita, however this is not accepted by all due to the fact that Shri Gaurcandra Himself addressed Bhavananda Ray as Maharaj Pandu. Those who have knowledge of these matters have explained that the Pandava Arjun has appeared with the gopi Arjuniya, to accept birth as Ramananda. This is in accordance with the statement in Padma Puran as to how the Pandava Arjun attained the body of a gopi, Arjuniya, by name."

[The Pandab Arjun's expertise as a ksatriya and his activities as a dance instructor during the one year that the Pandavas lived incognito in the capital of Biratnagar, can be noted in reference to the activities of Ray Ramananda. (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya lila, Chap.5)

Arjuna had received a curse from the chief courtesan of his father Lord Indra, Urvashi debi, that he should become a eunuch. This curse was later modified by stipulation that it would only be for one year. During this year Arjuna served as a dance instructor in the palace of Maharaj Birat.

The avesh, or presence of Lalita or Visakha within Ray Ramananda and Swarup Damodar, is inferred in the same way as it has been previously explained how Gadadhar is also the avesh of Lalita.]


"Hearing that Mahaprabhu had closed his earthly pastimes, Maharaj Prataparudra threw himself on the ground and lost consciousness, his head suffering heavy blows with the earth, while Ramananda Raya was only just barely able to remain alive."                                                              [B.R.3.218]


Ramananda Ray's house is still existing at Jaganath Ballabha Uddyan, on the Grand Road, Puri. There is also a small temple at his birthplace in Benthpur, near Alalanath.