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Title: Shrimati Sita Thakurani Lord Advaita Consort
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-06-09 20:32:30
Shrimati Sita Thakurani is to be worshiped as the mother of the universe, just as much as the mother of the Supreme Lord Shrimati Shachidevi. She is the eternal wife of Lord Shri Sadashiva-Mahavishnu Avatara Advaita Acharya.
She was the daughter of Shri Nrishinga Baduri. She was married to Shri Advaita Acharya in Phuliya Nagara. After their wedding, Advaita Acharya went to Nadiya, to live in Shantipura. Sita Thakurani was always absorbed in vatsalya prema for Shri Gaurasundara Prabhu, and, out of parental concern used to instruct Jagannatha Mishra on how to care for the boy.
Shri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami has described the birth celebration at the house of Jagannatha Mishra upon the advent of the Lord, giving special attention to the position of Shri Sita Thakurani. Advaita Acharya's wife, worshipable by all the three worlds was Sita Thakurani. Taking the Acharya's orders on her head, she had come to take a look at this new child, this jewel of jewels, and to offer him presents.
On the eve of his son's advent Shri Jagannatha Mishra, seeing the imminent signs of his child's arrival, sent word to Advaita Acharya in Shantipura that the long-awaited child was being born. Hearing news of the advent of this unprecedented child, Advaita Acharya floated in the waves of ecstasy. With Shri Haridasa Thakura, he went to bathe in the river, and, after much dancing and song, he sent his wife to go quickly to Mayapura in Navadwipa.
According to Gaura-Ganodesha-Dipika, Shri Sita Thakurani is Yogamaya. The
Gaura-Parshada-Charitvali says that in Krishna Lila, she was Purnamasi, the mother of Sandipani Muni, grandmother of Madhumangal and Nandimukhi and a disciple of Narada Muni. (Gaura-Ganodesha-Dipika, however, says that Paurnamasi in Krishna-lila became Shri Govinda Acharya in Chaitanya lila.)
In Dvapara-yuga, during the celebration of Krishna's birth ceremony, she was present in the house of Nanda, and at that time gave Nanda and Yashoda many instructions on how to care for the child. The Chaitanya-Caritamrita gives the following account of Sita Thakurani's visit to the house of Jagannatha Mishra after the birth of the Lord:
"One day, shortly after Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born, Advaita Acharya's wife, Sitadevi, who is worshipable by the whole world, taking permission of her husband, went to see that topmost child with all kinds of gifts and presents. She brought different kinds of golden ornaments, including bangles for the hand, armlets, neclaces, and anklets. There were also tiger nails set in gold, waist decorations of silk and lace, ornaments for the hands and legs, nicely printed silken saris and a child's garment, also made of silk.
Many other riches, including gold and silver coinds, were also presented for the child. Riding in a palanquin covered with cloth and accompanied by maidservants, Sita Thakurani came to the house of Jagannatha Mishra, bringing with her many auspicious articles such as fresh grass, paddy, gorocana, turmeric, kunkuma, and sandalwood. All these presentations filled a big basket. When Sita Thakurani came to the house of Sacidevi, bringing with her many kinds of eatables, dresses, and other gifts, she was astonished to see the newly born child, for she appreciated that except for a difference in color, the child was directly Krishna of Gokula Himself.
Seeing the transcendental bodily effulgence of the child, each of His nicely constructed limbs full of auspicious signs and resembling a form of gold, Sita Thakurani was very much pleased, and because of her maternal affection, she felt as if her heart were melting. She blessed the newly born child by placing fresh grass and paddy on His head and saying, "May You be blessed with a long duration of life." But being afraid of ghosts and witches, she gave the child the name Nimai. On the day that the mother and son took bath and left the maternity room, Sita Thakurani gave them all kinds of ornaments and garments, and then also honored Jagannatha Mishra. Then Sita Thakurani, being honored by mother Sacidevi and Jagannatha Mishra, was greatly happy within her mind, and thus she returned home."
From that day on, Sita Thakurani would often come to Mayapura from Shantipura, in order to teach Sacimata how to care for the new baby. She would give her many different instructions on how to raise children. And
after helping with the child in this way, she would return to Shantipura. When it came time for the child's birthday ceremony, Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi let the worshipable Sita Thakurani be the first to offer the child his new clothes.
Advaita Acharya Prabhu also had a house in Navadwipa. There he would live from time to time and discuss Krishna-katha with the devotees headed by Shrivasa, diving and surfacing in the waves of joy until the break of dawn. After Shri Gaurasundara's appearance, all the devotees prayed together with Shri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani that the child might live long in Mayapura and have good fortune.
Sita Thakurani and Sacidevi were of one mind; the baby Nimai was their life and soul. Every day Sita Thakurani would go to the house of Sacidevi and help her with the care and nurturing of the boy. In the house of Jagannatha Mishra, the divine child increased the pleasure of the eyes and minds of all the devotees, just as the waxing moon gradually grows more brilliant with each passing day.
After several years, when Jagannatha Mishra's son Vishvarupa - Nimai's older brother - had grown up, he suddenly took sannyasa. The grief and agony of Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi upon their son's leaving was great. Gaurasundara was also dismayed and unhappy at his brother's separation. At that time Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani consoled Jagannatha Mishra and Sita Thakurani, and helped take care of Nimai.
Shrivasa Pandit's wife Malini Devi also was always very affectionate towards the child, nurturing him and caring for him. She and Sacidevi were of one mind in doing this.
After exhibiting his childhood pastimes, Nimai gradually progressed into his Kishora-lila, or pastimes of youth. After some time, he went to Gaya and revealed his true form and real purpose. Having returned from Gaya he gathered all the devotees at the house of Shrivasa Angan for the purpose of beginning kirtan. At that time, Advaita Acharya brought Sita Thakurani from Shantipura to Mayapura, and, having arrived there was the first to worship the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya.
Gradually Shri Gaurasundara began, in Navadwipa, to unfold his kirtan pastimes, wishing to deliver the fallen souls. As time went by he took sannyasa and turned his face towards Vrindavana, and ran off, half mad into the jungle in search for Shri Krishna. Upon hearing this, Shri Sita Thakurani spent four days with Sacidevi, who, plunged in the darkness of separation as if the sun had left the sky forever, lay fallen on the ground like one near death.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, being bound by the ropes of love, was unable to go to Vrindavana, but was drawn to return to Shantipura. When he arrived in Shantipura, Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani felt as if their life has returned. After having fasted for four days, Shri Gaurasundara accepted prasada cooked by the hand of Sita Thakurani.
Previous to taking sannyasa also, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu along with Nityananda Prabhu would, from time to time go to the house of Advaita in Shantipura, where they would have a festival and perform Gaura Krishna Nama-lila-kirtan all day and all night. The beautiful nature of this subject has been described by Shri Parameshvari Dasa Thakura in his Shri Pada Kalpataru as follows:
One day the Lord laughed, having arrived in the temple of Shri Advaita and thus the son of Saci took his seat. Along with Nityananda, Advaita sat down, and the two of them began playfully assessing the idea of having a festival.
Hearing all this, Sita Thakurani entered smiling. At that time, in sweet words which made the minds of those who heard them blissful, the son of Saci ruled that there must be a great festival. He said, "Listen Sita Thakurani: We shall extend invitations to all the different Vaishnavas who live nearby. Let whoever hears the sound of our song, resounding through the air, come and join us. We shall invite one and all."
Saying this, Shri Gaurachandra gave orders to the devotees saying,
"You, invite the Vaishnavas."
"You, ready the mridanga and karatalas."
"You, prepare sandalwood and aguru for distribution."
"Have everything ready at the ghat."
"Carrying out these assignments expertly, and after garlanding the devotees with flower garlands, the devotees shall gather together in a circle for an uproarious kirtan."
Hearing the words of Mahaprabhu, the devotees followed his orders with great affection, collecting garlands, sandalwood, betel, ghee, honey, and milk, and everything else essential for worhsiping the Lord. The different gifts and fragrant articles for the devotees and the Lord were then distributed in the proper ways. The kirtan began at midday. At that time everyone chanted "Hari! Hari!" and the mridanga made the whole kirtan auspicious. Thus swims Parameshavara Dasa in the rasik pastimes of the Lord.
After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and went to live in Jagannatha Puri, Shri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani used to go and visit him each year, bringing their son Achyutananda with them. On one such occasion, Sita Thakurani prepared some of the Lord's favorite preparations for him and invited Him to their home to take lunch. Simply to increase their ecstasy, the Lord, who was always absorbed in Krishna Nama, honored their invitation and took lunch in the home of Advaita and Sita. Sita Thakurani, being always overwhelmed with vatsalya-prema treated him as affectionately as if he were her own son. The Lord himself also treated her with the same kind of regard and affection that he had for Sacidevi herself. Shri Sita Thakurani bore three sons, Achyutananda, Krishna Mishra and Gopala Mishra, who were followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
According to Bhakti-Ratnakara, Shri Sita Thakurani's father was Shri Nrishimha Baduri. Sita Thakurani also had a sister, Shri. According to the Gaura-Ganoddesha-Dipika, Sita Thakurani, the wife of Shri Advaita Acharya, is Yogamaya and Katyayani combined, and her sister Shri is the prakasha, or manifestation, of Yogamaya. (yogamaya bhagavati, grihini tasya sampratam, sita rupenavatirna, "Shri"
namni tat prakashatah)
We would like to conclude with a beautiful pastime from Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata Madhya Khanda 19th Chapter:
Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda proceeded happily by the side of the Ganga toward Advaita Acharya?s house. As They walked, Lord Chaitanya repeatedly shouted, ?I am Him- that person whom Nara had awakened and brought here. I think that He is holding discourses that camouflage the process of devotional service behind a fashade of flowery words, presenting the path of speculative knowledge. Today, I will punish Him for this. Let everyone see how He can defend Himself.?
As the Lord talked in this manner, Nityananda remained silent, smiling within His mind. Advaita Acharya knew that the Lord would react angrily to His seemingly errant behavior. Then, when He understood that the two Lords had arrived in Shantipura, Advaita Acharya began to present the impersonalist conception of the Absolute more forcefully.
Lord Nityananda accompanied the irate Lord Chaitanya into Advaita Acharya?s house. Advaita Acharya actually felt a kind of pleasure in playing His role as an impersonalist. Haridasa Thakura offered his obeisances unto the Lord by falling flat onto the floor. Advaita?s son, Achyuta, also offered his obeisances. Advaita?s wife, Sitadevi, offered her obeisances within her mind, but she felt very upset to see the Lord?s stern countenance. Indeed, seeing the Lord?s face aroused fear within everyone?s heart.
Roaring with anger, Lord Chaitanya asked, ?Hey, Nara! Tell Me, which is superior- gyana (speculative knowledge) or bhakti (devotional service)??
Advaita replied, ?Speculative knowledge is superior. What is the use of devotional service for a person devoid of knowledge??
As soon as He heard this, the Lord became mad with rage. Forgetting His surroundings, He dragged Advaita out into the courtyard, threw Him to the ground and began beating Him, again and again. Advaita?s wife, Sitadevi, knew the confidential meaning of this pastime but still, she could not restrain herself from trying to stop the Lord. ?Stop! Stop!? she cried out. ?He is an old brahmana. What is the use of chastising Him so heavily? What if You kill Him- how will You justify Your actions??
Lord Nityananda smiled to hear this and Haridasa fearfully chanted, ?Krishna, Krishna!?
Lord Chaitanya was so angry that He did not even hear Sitadevi?s words, however. Roaring like thunder, He said, ?I was resting peacefully on the Milk Ocean and You interrupted My sleep, calling Me to attend to Your work. It was You who engineered this propagation of devotional service and so why are You now trying to obscure it with Your discussions of impersonalism? If this was Your real intention, why did You bring Me to this world? You have deceived Me in all respects!?
Finally, Lord Chaitanya stopped chastising Advaita Acharya and sat down next to the door. He then spoke loudly, revealing His true identity: ?It is I who killed Kansa and all the other demons. I lifted Govardhana Hill. I tricked Bali out of all his possessions and then benedicted him because of his mood of surrender. I vanquished the terrible demon Hiranyakashipu to favor My devotee, Prahlada.?
While listening to the Lord describe His various pastimes, Advaita Acharya became gradually merged into the ocean of ecstatic bliss. Actually, He was very happy to have received the Lord?s punishment, and while clapping His hands, He danced with joy. He said, ?My Lord, You have rightfully punished Me. Now, I feel renewed strength in My relationship with You as Your servant.?
After dancing around in ecstasy, Advaita Acharya furrowed His brow and prayed, ?My Lord, where are Your flattering words now? I am simply Your eternal and humble servant. Your punishment being over, please grant Me shelter at Your lotus feet.?
Saying this, Advaita Acharya fell to the ground and placed the Lord?s lotus feet upon His head. Hastily, and with due respect, Lord Chaitanya picked Him up as tears filled His eyes. Nityananda, Haridasa, Sitadevi, Achyutananda and even the household servants were all crying to see this poignant scene. Indeed, everyone in Advaita Acharya?s house became immersed in love of Godhead.
Lord Vishvambhara now felt ashamed at having chastised Advaita Acharya so severely and so He wanted to compensate by offering Him a benediction. He said, ?If anyone so much as takes a little shelter at Your feet, be he an insect, worm, animal or bird- and even if he commits a million offenses against Me- I will still grant him My blessings.?
Hearing this, Advaita fell at the Lord?s lotus feet, crying like a child. He said, ?My Lord, whatever You have spoken is certainly true. Now, please grant Me this favor. If anyone tries to become My devotee but does not serve Your lotus feet- let that so-called devotion to Me become the cause of his destruction.?
?I cannot accept anyone who does not serve You. Even if he is My own son or My servant, I will consider him to be a great offender and will not even look at his face. On the other hand, those who worship You automatically become dear to Me. If one neglects Your worship and tries to approach the demigods, they never reciprocate. This is not My concoction. The story of Sudakshina?s death from the Puranas is the proof.?