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06 Uddharana Datta
"Uddharana Datta Thakura, the eleventh among the twelve cowherd boys, was an exalted devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. He worshiped the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda in all respects." In Braja lila he was Subahu sakha. [CC 11.41]
After remaining at Khardaha for some days, Nityananda Prabhu and His associates came to Saptagram. Saptagram was the abode of the seven rsi's and is known in this world also as Triveni-ghata. Previously, the seven rsis did austerities at this ghata by which they obtained the lotus feet of Govinda. Three goddesses are present at this Triveni sangam, namely the Jahnavi (Ganga), Yamuna and Sarasvati. This most renowned place can destroy the sinful reactions of those who simply see it. Nityananda Prabhu along with His associates took bath in great happiness at this very place. The temple of the most fortunate Shri Uddharana was located on the banks of that very Triveni-ghata.
"With his body, mind and words, free from falsehood, he always worshiped the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. He was extremely fortunate as he received the right to serve the eternal form of Nityananda. Birth after birth, Lord Nityananda is the Supreme controller, and birth after birth, Uddharana is His servant. All of the various families of vaniks (merchants by caste) were purified by the influence of Uddharan Datta, there is no doubt about it.
Nityananda Prabhu descended in this world to deliver the vaniks. He gave them the right to perform loving devotional service. Nitai Cand personally wandered from door to door throughout Saptagram, chanting the Holy Names as His pastimes. In reciprocation, all the families worshiped His lotus feet and took shelter there. All the world becomes charmed to see their worship of Lord Krishna.
Who can estimate the glories of Lord Nityananda who delivered these vaniks, who were originally low class, mean minded and foolish. In one hundred years I cannot describe the sankirtana pastimes of Nityananda Ray which He performed with His associates in Saptagram. The bliss that was previously felt in Nadia during the Lord's pastimes of sankirtan there was again felt, in equal measure, during Prabhu Nityananda's sankirtan pastimes here." [C.B. Antya 5.443-461] "Uddharana Datta Thakura's father's name was Shrikar Datta and his mother's name, Shri Bhadravati. Shri Uddharana Datta Thakura was the finance minister of the king of Naihati village. The ruins of the king's palace can still be seen there today. The place where Uddharana Datta Thakura lived and from which he managed the business of the king is even today known as Uddharanpur." [C.C. Adi 11.81]
A six-armed Deity of Mahaprabhu (sad-bhuja murti), which was the worshipable Deity of Uddharana Datta Thakura, is still present at Saptagram. To the right of Mahaprabhu is Nityananda Prabhu and to His left Shri Gadadhara. On another simhasana is Shri Shri Radha Govinda, and below, a painting and Deity of Shri Uddharana Datta Thakura. Shri Jahnava Mata came to Uddharana Datta's house [B.R. 11.775], but he was not present on this earth then. His son's name was Shrinivasa Datta Thakura. Saptagram is the first station after Bandel on the Bandel-Bard-dhaman line. Within the ruins of the king's palace at Bonauaribat there is a grand temple where the Deities of Shri Shri Nitai-Gauranga and Lord Balarama are still being worshiped. Bonauaribad can be reached from Katwa by bus.
Shri Bhaktivedanta Swami writes: ?Uddharana Datta Thakur, previously known as Shri Uddharana Dattta, was a resident of Saptagrama, which is situated on the bank of the Saraswata River near the Triabhigha railway station in the district of Hugala. At the time of Uddharana Datta Thakur, Saptagrama was a very big town, encompasing many other placesf such as Vasudeva-pura, Banabeaiya, Krishnapura, Nityananda-pura, Sivapura, Saahanagara and Saptagrama.
?Calcutta was developed under British rule by the influential mercantile community and especially by the suvaraa-vaaik community who came from Saptagrama to establish their businesses and homes all over Calcutta. They were known as the Saptagrama mercantile community of Calcutta, and most of them belonged to the Mullik and Sil families. More than half of Calcutta belonged to this community, as did Shrila Uddharana Datta ahaura. Our paternal family also came from this district and belonged to the same community. The Mulliks of Calcutta are divided into two families, namely, the Sil family and De family whose members, intimately connected with the Mohammedan rules, received the title Mullik.
?In the Chaitanya-Bhagavata, Antya Khanda chapter six, it is said that Uddharana Datta was an extremely elevated and liberal Vaiaava. He was born with the right to worship Nityananda Prabhu. It is also stated that Nityananda Prabhu, after staying for some time in Khaaadaha, came to Saptagrama and stayed in the house of Uddharana Datta. The suvaraa-vaaik community to which Uddharana Datta belonged was actually a Vainik community. Its members were bankers and gold merchants (suvarna means ?gold? and vaaik means ?merchant?). Long ago there was a misunderstanding between Balla Sena and the suvarana-vanik community because of the great banker Gaura Sena. Balla Sena was taking loans from Gara Sena and spending money extravagantly, and therefore Gaura Sena stopped supplying money. Balla Sena took revenge by instigating a social conspiracy to make the suvaraa-vanik community was again elevated. It is said in the Chaitanya Bhagavata, yateka vanika-kula uddharaa haite pavitra ha-ila dvidha nahika ihate: there is no doubt that all the community members of the suvaraa-vanik society were again purified by Nityananda Prabhu.
In Saptagrama there is still a temple with a six-armed Deity of Shri Chaitanya Maharabhu that was personally worshipped by Shrila Uddhara Datta Thakur. On the right side of Shri Chaitanya Maharabhu is a Deity of Shri Nityananda Prabhu and on the left side, Gadadhara Paaaita. There are also a Radha-Govinda marti and aalagrama-aila, and below the throne is a picture of Uddharana Datta Thakur. In front of the temple there is now a big hall, and in front of the hall is a Madhava-lata plant. The temple is in a very shady, cool, and nicely situated location. When we returned from America in 1967, the executive committee members of this temple invited us to visit it, and thus we had the opportunity to visit this temple with some American students. Formerly, in our childhood, we visited this temple with our parents because all the members in the suvaraa-vaaika community enthusiastically take interest in this temple of Uddharana Datta Thakur. In the Bengali year 1283 one babaja of the name Nitai dasa arranged for a donation of twelve bighas of land for this temple. The management of the temple later deteriorated, but then in 1306, thorugh the cooperation of the famous Balarama Mullik of Hugala, who was a subjudge, and many rich suvaraa-vanik community members, the management of the temple improved greatly. Not more than fifty years ago, one of the family members of Uddharaa Datta Thakur named Jagamohana Datta established a wooden Deity of Uddharaa Datta Thakur in the temple, but that deity is no longer there; at present, a picture of Uddharana Datta is worshiped. It is understood, however, that the wooden Deity of Uddharana Datta was taken away by Shri Madana-mohana Datta and is now being worshiped with a aalagrama-aila by Shrinatha Datta.
Uddharana Datta Thakur was the manager of the estate of a big Zamindar in Naihaaa, about one and a half miles north of Katwa. The relics of this royal family are still visble near the Daiahaaa station. Since Uddharana Datta ahaura was the manager of the estate, it was also known as Uddharana-pura. Uddharana Datta Thakur installed Gaura-Nitai deities that were later brought to the house of the Zamindar, which was known as Vanaoyararbaaa. Shrila Uddhaaaa Datta ahaura remained a householder throughout his life. His father?s name was Shrikara Datta, his mother?s name was Bhadravata, and his son?s name was Shrinivasa Datta.
Vandavana dasa Thakur writes as follows about Uddharana Thakur in his Chaitanya Bhagavata: ?After Nityananda Prabhu stayed for many days in Khanadaha, he went to Saptagrama.There is a famous ghaaa in Saptagrama at the confluence of the three rivers which is celebrated as being the place of the seven raas. At that ghana on the Ganges the seven anas had once performed penances in order to attain the lotus feet of Govinda. Three divine goddesses come together at that place: Yamuna, Saraswata, and Jahnava. These three goddesses of rivers join at the confluence of those three rivers. It is a most holy place within this world. One may be delivered from all his sins just by seeing that place. Nityananda Prabhu was extremely happy to see that place and bathed at that holy place with all the devotees. Uddharana Datta was staying in a temple of the Lord on the banks of that river when Nityananda Prabhu came to the traveaa. When he saw Nityananda, he offered his mind, body, and words to the holy feet of Nityananda and worshiped him without any duplicity in his heart. As a result of the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, Uddharana Datta was qualified by constitution to worship and serve Nityananda. Who can estimate his good fortune. Although he may appear to take birth within this material world, Nityananda is by nature the Supreme Controller, and he remains so every time he descends here. Nityananda is the master, and Uddharana Datta was his servant birth after birth. Uddharana Datta was from the vaaik community, and he purified the two divisions of that community by his devotion. Nityananda Prabhu delivered the vaaik community by his descent, and gave them the qualifications for prema-Bhakti. Practically everyone in Saptagrama was a vaaik. The moonlike Nitai-canda frolicked in kartana within their midst. All the vaaiks took shelter at the lotus feet of Nityananda and worshiped him with great ecstasy. Seeing all the vaaiks absorbed in Krishna-bhajana under the direction of Nityananda Prabhu the whole world was amazed. Indeed the universe itself was astonished to witness the exalted greatness of Nityananda Prabhu who delivered the lowest of men, the foolish and illiterate, and the entire vaaika community. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu performed various pastimes of saakartana in Saptagrama, delivering the inhabitants of Saptagrama as well as hundreds of their descendants within the vaaik community. In the same way that the towns and villages of Nadia were filled with happiness when Chaitanya and Nitai had performed saakartana there, Saptagrama was filled with happiness at the pastimes of Nityananda.?
After the disappearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Nityananda Prabhu?s aakti, Shri Jahnava Mata came to Saptagrama and visited the house of Uddharana Datta Thakur. At that time, Uddharana Datta Thakur had already passed away. Uddharana Datta Thakur passed away on the 13th day of the dark moon in the month of Pausa.