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Title: Shrila Ishvara Puri
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-05-20 01:31:16
Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has described in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita that
the first sprout of the desire tree of devotion was manifested in the person
of Shri Madhavendra Puri, and that that sprout developed into a sapling in
the person of Shri Isvar Puri. Then, in the person of Shri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu, Who was also the gardener Himself, that sapling become the trunk
of a enormous tree, the desire tree of devotion.
Shri Isvara Puri appeared in this world on the full moon day of the month of
Jyestha. He served his guru, Shri Madhavendra Puri, very faithfully,
especially during the end of Shri Puripada's life.
Shri Isvara Puri, in his travels to various holy places, once came to
Shridhama Navadwipa, where he stayed in the house of Shri Gopinatha Acarya. At
that time Shri Nimai Pandita was absorbed in His pastimes of learning. Iswara
Puri entered Nadiya nagara in disguise and thus no one could understand who
he really was.
"That noble minded gentleman, was always absorbed in the mellows of devotion
to Shri Krishna. He was thus extremely dear to Shri Krishna and he was an ocean of
mercy. No one, however, could recognize him by his dress. By the will of
fate, he came to Shri Advaita Acarya's house."
He came to where Shri Advaita Acarya was engaged in worshipping Shri Krishna
and quietly sat down there. By his divine lustre one Vaishnava cannot remain
hidden from another. Advaita Acarya began to look in his direction again and
again. Finally he asked him: "Bap! Who are you? I have a feeling you are a
Shri Isvara Puri very humbly replied: "I am a low class shudra, come to view
your lotus feet." Mukunda Datta, who was also present could also understand
that this is a Vaishnava sannyasi and thus he contrived to expose him. In
his sweet voice, he began a kirtana describing Shri Krishna's pastimes. When
Shri Isvara Puri heard that kirtan he at once fell to the ground, and the
earth beneath him became wet with his tears. The devotees present were
dumbstruck. "We haven't seen a Vaishnava like this before."
Advaita Acarya very firmly embraced him. Now everyone could understand that
this is Madhavendra Puri's dearmost disciple, Shri Isvar Puri. Loud shouts of
"Hari! Hari!" rose up into the air.
Shri Isvara Puri remained at Navadwipa for some days. One day when Nimai
Pandita was returning home from the school, he happened by chance to meet
Shri Isvara Puri on the way. Shri Isvara Puri was as though mesmerized while
looking at the son of Saci, and thought to himself, "He has all the
indications of being a divine personage, and appears very grave indeed."
Shrila Isvara Puri inquired, "Oh Viprabori ! May I know your name? Where do
you live? What is that manuscript in Your hand?" Mahaprabhu very humbly
offered His namaskar. Some of his disciples replied, "His name is Nimai
Pandit." Exclaiming, "You are the famous Nimai Pandita!" Isvara Puri felt
very happy to meet Him. Mahaprabhu, coming forward and bowing his head,
humbly requested, "Shripada, please come with Me to My house and be My guest
Isvara Puri thought to himself, "What a pleasant demeanour He has!" As
though charmed by some mantra he quietly came along with the Pandit to His
house. Arriving there, Mahaprabhu personally washed his feet, while in the
Deity room, Saci Mata offered the various preparations that she had prepared
to the Lord. Then Mahaprabhu served that prasadam to Shri Isvara Puri and
afterwards accepted his remnants. Thereafter they sat in the temple (Vishnu
grha) and discussed Krishna-katha, by which they both became filled with
Shri Iswara Puri thus remained at Navadwipa for a few months, staying at the
house of Shri Gopinatha Acarya. Everyday Mahaprabhu would come to have
darshan of his lotus feet and occasionally He would invite him for lunch. At
that time Shrila Gadadhara Pandita was just a young boy and Isvara Puri was
very affectionate to him. He began to teach him from the book which he had
composed "Shri Krishna Lilamrta".
One evening when Mahaprabhu had come to offer His obeisances to Isvara Puri,
Shrila Puripada spoke to him, "You are a great pandita. I have composed a
manuscript about Shri Krishna's pastimes. If you would please hear it, then I
can recite it before You, and You can correct any mistakes that there might
be. I will be very pleased if You do this."
Mahaprabhu replied smilingly, "Whatever a devotee speaks is dictated by Shri
Krishna Himself. If anyone sees any fault in this then he is simply a sinful
wretch. Whatever poems he composes, certainly Krishna is very pleased by that.
Krishna accepts the mood in which things are offered as the most substantial
part of the offering." To Isvara Puri these words were like drops of nectar
and he could understand that Shri Nimai Pandita was an extraordinary person.
After passing some days in Nadia, Isvara Puri continued his tour of the holy
Meanwhile Mahaprabhu was bringing His pastimes of learning to a close and
now desired to reveal His true Self and establish the religion of the age by
distributing love of Godhead through the chanting of His Holy Names. Thus He
came to Gaya, ostensibly to offer pinda for His departed father and
forefathers. Shri Isvara Puri was present at that time at Gaya. After having
offered pinda at the various holy shrines, he finally came to the place
where the lotus footprints of Shri Vishnu are. While taking darshan and
hearing of the glories of the shrine Mahaprabhu fainted and fell to the
ground. By the arrangement of Providence, Shri Isvara Puri happened to come
to that spot just then and learned from Shri Candrashekar Acarya what had
transpired. After a short time Mahaprabhu regained His consciousness, and
seeing Isvara Puri He got up to offer His obeisances. Shri Isvara Puri
embraced Him and the two of them were drenched by each others tears of love.
Mahaprabhu addressed Isvara Puri, "My journey to Gaya is successful just by
My seeing your lotus feet. If one offers Pinda at this holy place, then his
forefathers become delivered. But simply by seeing you, tens of millions of
forefathers get liberation. Therefore your presence is even more auspicious
than that of this holy tirtha. All of the holy tirthas pray for the dust of
your lotus feet. Therefore, O Puripada, I am praying at your lotus feet to
ferry me across the ocean of material existence and to cause me to drink the
nectar from Krishna's lotus feet."
Shrila Isvara Puri replied, "Please hear me Panditji, I have understood that
You are an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. This morning I saw a very
auspicious dream and now that has actually materialized. From the first day
I saw you at Navadwipa, I have always thought of You. I get such pleasure by
seeing You, as much pleasure as I get by seeing Krishna."
Hearing this, Mahaprabhu bowed his head and smilingly replied, "This is my
On another day Mahaprabhu approached Shri Isvar Puri and requested that he
initiate Him with the divine mantra. "My mind is becoming very restless in
anticipation of this initiation. "Shrila Puripada very blissfully replied,
"What to speak of mantras, I am prepared to offer You my very life." [C. B.
Thereafter Shrila Isvara Puri initiated Mahaprabhu with the divine mantra.
One morning Shrila Isvara Puri came to where Mahaprabhu was staying.
Mahaprabhu was extremely pleased to see him and after offering His
obeisances He invited him to stay for lunch. Isvara Puri replied that,
"Being able to accept foodstuffs from Your hand is a matter of great fortune
for me." Mahaprabhu Himself cooked and then very carefully served His guru
the prasadam. Afterwards he smeared sandalwood paste on his body and put a
garland of flowers around his neck. Thus the Supreme Lord Himself taught how
one should serve his guru. Without serving the great devotees, it is not
possible to receive love of Godhead. Service to the guru is the door to
On his return from Gaya, Mahaprabhu came by way of Kumarhatta, the
birthplace of His guru, and began to roll on the ground in ecstasy there, as
the ground became wet with His tears. Finally He collected some dust from
that holy place and bound it in the corner of his upper garment, saying,
"This dust is as dear to me as My life." then he set out for Navadwipa.
The birthplace of Shrila Isvara Puri is located within the present town of
Halyahor, which is near the Kanchra-para rail station, which is on the
Sealdah -Krishnanagar line. One should get down at Kanchra-para station and
then proceed by rickshaw to Chaitanya Doha. Doha means pond, which is what
was created when many followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, following in His
footsteps, came here and collected earth from the birthplace of Shrila Isvara
Thereafter Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa and by the order of His mother came
to live at Jagannath Puri. By this time Isvara Puri had already left this
world. He sent two of his disciples Shri Govinda and Kasisvara brahmacari to
serve the Lord at Nilacala.