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01C Ramadasa Abhirama
abhiramo 'dhuna mahan
dvatrimsata janair eva
vahyam kastham uvaha yah
"The cowherd boy named Shridama appeared in Lord Gauranga's pastimes as Ramadasa Abhirama dasa, who carried a flute made of a bamboo stick with sixteen knots." (Shri Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, text 126)
gayako nartakas caiva malyas candana-jivanah
"The gopa named Shridama has a fair complexion that is fair and ruddy. He is splendid like a red lotus flower, expert and singing and dancing, fond of flower garlands and sandal paste and expert at writing love letters. He displays the ecstatic symptoms of perspiring and standing erect of the bodies hairs."
(Brihad-Gautamiya-Tantra, Shri Govinda-Vrndavanam, 1.155-156)
"Out of all these confidential friends, Shridama is considered to be the chief. Shridama used to put on a yellow colored dress. He would carry a buffalo horn and his turban was of a reddish, copper color. His bodily complexion was blackish and around his neck there was a nice garland. He would always challenge Krishna in joking friendship. Let us pray to Shridama to bestow His mercy upon us! Sometimes Shridama used to address Krishna: "Oh, you are so cruel that you left us alone on the bank of Yamuna and we were all mad from not seeing You here. If You now want to pacify us, You must embrace each one of us with Your arms. But believe me, my dear friend, a moments absence from You creates great havoc, not only for us but for the cows also. Everything becomes disarranged and we become mad after You." (Nectar of Devotion, Fraternal Devotion)
Shri Abhirama Thakura was known as Abhirama Gopala and also as Rama dasa Bhirama dasa. "Who was previously known as Shridama, a gopa during Krishna-lila, is now renowned as Abhirama or Rama dasa. He was the favorite of Nityananda Prabhu.
One day, Krishna, Balarama and their cowherd friends were playing a game of hide and seek. In the middle of Their game, Krishna decided to go to Nadia to enjoy His pastimes there, and so, taking with Him Balarama and all Their friends, He advented Himself in Navadwipa. Somehow or other, He forgot Shridama, who remained in his hiding place in a cave. After a while Krishna noticed that Shridam had been left behind and sent Balarama as Nityananda, Who found Shridam and told him: "Come on! We've all gone to Nadia to play there!" Shridama asked, "Who are You?" "I'm your Lord Balarama. Can't you recognize me?"
"You can't be my Lord Balaram. You're too small." [In Kali yuga the measurement of the body is 3.5 hands, whereas in Dwapara-yuga it is 7 hands.]
"If you don't believe Me, then take off running. If I can't catch you within ten paces, then you'll know I'm not Balarama." "All right! Catch me if You can!"
Shridama took off running, but Nityananda Prabhu immediately caught him. But now Shridama told Him, "Now lookee here, You dudes left me behind, so I ain't goin' to yer Nuddia or whatever the joint is called."
Nityananda Prabhu kept coaxing him but Shridama was adamant. Finally he manifested an expansion of himself, Rama dasa, who agreed to go. But Shridam still wanted to remain behind as his feelings were greatly hurt.
Rama dasa was also dissatisfied and very prone to anger. When Nityananda Prabhu's first child was born, Abhirama Thakura came to offer his obeisances to the child, who died on the spot. In this way, seven of Nityananda's children had to depart from this world just after taking birth. Finally a daughter, Ganga-devi, was born to Nityananda Prabhu and Vasudha devi. When, after offering his obeisances to the child, Abhirama Thakur saw that the baby was unaffected he exclaimed, "This time we havn't been deceived!" Then he immediately composed one hundred verses in praise of Gangadevi. When Viracandra Prabhu took his birth, Abhirama again came to offer his obeisances. When he saw that Viracandra was unaffected, he composed Shri Birbhadrastakam.
If Abhirama Thakura would offer his obeisances to any stone other then a salagram-sila, that stone would crack. One time, Abhirama Thakur came to Shri Khanda, wanting to meet Raghunandana Thakura. Mukunda dasa was aware of his reputation and thus told the Thakura that Raghunandana wasn't there. Feeling disappointed, Abhirama departed. When Raghunandan heard that Abhirama Thakura had come to meet him, he ran to catch up with the Thakura. Finally he met him at Bor Danga, where they danced together in ecstasy. When Raghunandana was dancing his nupur (ankle bracelet) came off and fell down at Akaihat, where Kaliya Krishna dasa used to do his bhajan. This nupur is still being worshiped along with Kaliya Krishna Thakura's Deity at Karvi, not far from Katwa.
Gopala guru Gosvami was also similarly tested by Abhirama Thakura when he was only a small boy living with Mahaprabhu in Puri. By the mercy of Mahaprabhu, Who invested His potency in Gopala guru, the boy emerged unscathed. Abhirama Thakura's Shripat is at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. Khanakhul Krishnanagar can be reached by bus from Tarakeshwar, which is connected by train from Bandel station. It can also be reached by bus from Atapur, the Shripat of Patameshvari dasa Thakura. His wife's name was Shri Malini-devi. His worshipable Deity Shri Gopinathji Who, after first appearing to him in a dream, manifested Himself at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. The legend is that He appeared in a dream to Abhirama Thakura and said, "I am within the earth here. Please take Me out and worship Me." Abhirama dasa excavated in that place and found within the womb of the earth the all-enchanting form of Shri Gopinathji. That place where the deity was found became known as Ram Kund. "In the place where Shri Gopinathji advented Himself a lake was formed, and the water contained therein was sweet as nectar. Whoever bathed in or drank that water became beside himself with ecstasy. Thereafter, this land has become famous as Ram Kund. Having heard of these divine pastimes of Shri Gopinathji an incessant flow of people descended on that place like the waters of the Ganges River." [Bhakti-Ratnakar Taranga 4]
One day while in a state of rapture in rememberance of Shri Krishna, Abhirama Thakura, in the mood of cowherd boy, desired to play the flute. In the madness of ecstatic love he began to search in all directions for one. Then he saw before him a large trunk of a tree which not even sixteen men could lift. Out of this he fashioned a flute and began to play it. "Rama dasa, one of the chief branches, was full of fraternal love of Godhead. He made a flute from a stick with sixteen knots." [C.C. Adi Ch 11.16]
Shri Abhirama Thakura had a celebrated whip, whose name was Jaya-Mangala. Whoever was touched with that whip had the symptoms of love of Krishna awakened within their person. One day, Shrinivasa
Acarya came to meet Abhirama Thakura. After touching him three times with his whip, his wife Malini-devi exclaimed, "Thakura, don't beat him anymore! Restrain yourself! He is just a boy. He'll become overly excited by the touch of your whip." Meanwhile, Shrinivasa had become completely drowned in Krishna-prema. When Shri
Gaurasundara ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Gaudadesa (Bengal), he sent with him Shri Rama dasa, Shri Gadadhar dasa and others. The atheists trembled in fear at the sight of Abhirama Thakura. He was a learned scholar of the scriptures. According to the desire of Nityananda Prabhu he married. His disappearance is on the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month of Caitra.
The descendents of the disciples of Abhirama Thakura are still living within the districts of Hugli and Bankura, at Krishnanagar, Amta, Vishnupur and Kotalpur.