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Title: The Holy Appearance of Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana
User: Damodara Svarupa dasa Date: 2005-03-01 20:16:01
The Holy Appearance of Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana -- By Swami Gaurangapada
Lord, Shri Krishna, appeared as Lord Gauranga to establish the true
religion for this age of quarrel. When God Himself originates a
religious tradition, who may dare question its legitimacy?"
"The Ramanandis do question it" Visvanatha replied, "and they rest their
criticism on the statement in Padma Purana that in this age there are
four sampradayas, or lines of disciplic succession. The Purana says:
shri-brahma-rudra-sanaka vaishnava-ksiti-pavanah catvaras te kalau bhavya
hy utkale purusottama
The meaning is that the four Vaishnava sampradayas--Shri, Brahma, Rudra,
and Kumara--purify the earth."
"Yes," replied Baladeva, "I know this verse. And the Ramanandis say that
the words utkale purusottama mean that these four sampradayas have their
monasteries in Orissa, in Purusottama-ksetra, the town of Jagannatha
"But the real meaning is that the Supreme Lord, Purusottama, is the
quintessence of these four sampradayas. And when He appears in
Kali-yuga, He lives in Jagannatha Puri as Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. So
the Gaudiya lineage is not a fifth sampradaya but the essence of the
Visvanatha and Baladeva spent the night discussing the Ramanandis other
points of contention about Lord Gauranga's movement. They developed the
strategy by which they would defeat the Ramanandis.
Visvanatha sent Baladeva with Krishnadeva Sarvabhauma to Amber. Baladeva's
arrival there was unheralded. He was new to the Gaudiya community,
unknown even among the Gaudiya mahantas of Amber. And he was young. No
one, even of his own tradition, suspected that a philosophical giant
lived within the unpretentious form of this Gaudiya holyman from
Vrndavana. Baladeva had difficulty gaining audience with the king. And
when he was finally able to do so, the Ramanandis in the court were
ready for him.
"Sir," Baladeva said to the king, "I have come to resolve doubts about
the Gaudiya-sampradaya and its methods of worship." "Your Highness," a
Ramanandi pandita broke in, "we request to speak to him directly!" Jai
Singh turned to Baladeva. "You may speak," the king said, confident that
if Krishna were indeed the Supreme Lord, Krishna would arrange for His own
defence. The Ramanandis opened with an offensive they felt sure would
guarantee their authority. "The problem," they told Baladeva, "is that
you do not belong to a proper sampradaya. Therefore we cannot accept the
literature written by your panditas." "I am from the Madhva-sampradaya,"
Baladeva asserted confidently. "I have been initiated in Mysore by a
Tirtha of the Madhva order. But Radha-Damodara Gosvami and Visvanatha
Cakravati of the Gaudiya-sampradaya are also my gurus. They have taught
me Bhagavata philosophy."
The Ramanandis were surprised. Baladeva's Madhva initiation meant that
they had to accept him as a qualified sannyasi and pandita of an
authorised lineage. But they hoped his youth might indicate a lack of
skill. They rallied themselves. "You may be from the Madhva-sampradaya,
but the other Gaudiyas are not!"
Baladeva retained his dignity and produced a key piece of evidence.
"That is the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, written by Kavi Karnapura more than
one hundred years ago. This manuscript details our lineage from Madhva."
Baladeva presented the manuscript for inspection.
The Ramanandis again argued, "If the Gaudiyas claim descent from Madhva,
then you must base your arguments on Madhva's Brahma-sutra commentary.
We know the Gaudiyas have no commentary of their own."
Baladeva thought. The Gaudiyas had never written a commentary on
Vedanta- sutra, because they accepted the Shrimad-Bhagavatam as the
natural commentary. Vyasa is the author of both of these works, and Lord
Chaitanya taught that when the author comments on his own work, his
opinion is the best.
Baladeva knew that the Ramanandis would reject this argument. But he
also knew that if he used Madhva's commentary he would have problems,
for Madhva's commentary would not justify the style of worship practiced
by the Gaudiyas. So Baladeva decided he would need to write a Gaudiya
commentary himself. This commentary is based on Madhva's, but could have
some allowable differences. "I will show you our commentary," Baladeva
said. "Please allow me to bring it."
"Indeed, send for it," granted the Ramanandi spokesman. "That won't be
possible," replied Baladeva. "It will require several days to write it."
The Ramanandis were stunned. Could Baladeva produce a commentary within
a few days? How audacious! But if Baladeva could indeed produce it, the
Ramanandis position might be threatened. Should they grant him the time
Before they could speak, King Jai Singh interjected. "Yes, the time is
granted. Prepare your commentary and notify us when it is ready. You
should know that unless you present a suitable commentary, we shall
accept the criticisms of the Ramanandis as valid. But I shall not act on
any of their demands until you have had an opportunity to present your
commentary and your arguments."
Govindaji Inspires Baladeva
Baladeva left the assembly, followed by Krishnadeva Sarvabhauma. Baladeva
saw himself a puppet in the hands of the Lord. He had spoken boldly in
the assembly, but would the divine puppeteer guide his pen?
Baladeva went to Govindapura. Presenting himself before Govinda, he
knelt and prayed. "O Govinda, Your devotee Visvanatha has sent me here
to defend You and Your devotees, but I cannot do it! I am just a soul
fallen in ignorance. If You wish, You may empower me to write a
Vedanta-sutra commentary that will glorify You. If You wish, I shall
write the truths I have learned from Your devotees and Your scripture.
And I have faith that by Your mercy these truths will appear most
Then Baladeva began to write. Pausing scarcely to rest, he wrote and
prayed and wrote again. Days passed and nights, but he did not stop.
Some historians say he wrote for one month. Others say it took him only
In any event, Baladeva soon returned from Govindapura. By now, keen
expectancy had been aroused in all the various parties. Jai Singh,
hoping to see the Gaudiyas vindicated, was especially eager to see the
commentary. The Ramanandis, however, awaited the commentary with some
trepidation, hoping they could defeat it readily.
Baladeva entered the court of debate convened in Galta. He stood on one
side with the Gaudiya mahantas. Facing them were the Ramanandi panditas.
King Jai Singh presided, and an audience of nobles and scholars was in
With the king's permission, Baladeva rose. "This commentary," he said,
putting forward his work, "is based on Madhva's, but there are some
important differences. If you examine it, you will find that it upholds
the Gaudiya philosophy taught by Lord Chaitanya." A Ramanandi pandita
stepped forward and received Baladeva's commentary. "Who is the author
of this work?" He asked. Baladeva replied, "The name of the commentary
is Govinda-bhasya. Govinda has inspired this work. I have given the
direct meanings of the sutras according to the wish of Shri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. And my comments are based on the teachings of my gurus." The
learned members of the Ramanandi contingent examined the first portion
of the bhasya to determine whether it was as Baladeva had claimed.
A spokesman conceded, "The influence of Madhva is certainly demonstrable
in this commentary, but we should examine some of the differences."
Baladeva then addressed each of the Ramanandis' objections to Gaudiya
worship. "I have expounded on every aspect of Gaudiya practice in
chapter three," he said. "Since your criticisms concern our style of
worship, you should turn to chapter three to see how Vyasa, the author
of Vedanta-sutra, has provided for our worship.
"You object to our worship of Radha with Govinda on the superficial
grounds that They are not married. In verses forty through forty-two I
have presented the true position of Radha in relation to Krishna. Radha is
the eternal energy of the Krishna and is never separated from Him. Their
relationship may be parakiya or svakiya, but that does not affect the
eternality of Their union. The separation of Radha and Govinda you have
effected is artificial and therefore offensive to the Lord, who holds
deep affection for His female energy.
"You have criticised our predilection for worshiping only Krishna,
neglecting the worship of Narayana, Vishnu, which you say is mandatory
for all Vaishnavas. I have addressed that point in my comments to verse
forty-three. According to the Vedanta-sutra, Narayana may be worshiped
in any of His forms, including Krishna. No scriptural injunction prohibits
the worship of Govinda exclusive of Narayana."
Baladeva continued speaking while the Ramanandis stood defenceless. He
spoke eloquently and exhaustively. A rebuttal from the Ramanandis never
At the end of Baladeva's presentation, King Jai Singh waited, weighing
the evidence. The Ramanandis' silence confirmed his own opinion.
He delivered his decision in a brief but conclusive statement. "The
evidence supporting the Gaudiya legitimacy is unassailable. Hereafter,
the Gaudiyas shall be recognised and respected as an authorised
religious sect. I order the reunion of Radha with Govinda."
The Gaudiya mahantas in Amber, free at last from condemnation by the
Ramanandis, celebrated by building a temple of victory on the hill
overlooking the Galta Valley. The temple Deity was appropriately named
Vijaya Gopala, "Victorious Gopala."
At The Feet of Govinda
Baladeva returned to Vrndavana, where he assumed leadership of the
Gaudiya community. He continued to write. Faithful to Jiva Gosvami and
devoted to Lord Chaitanya, he produced commentaries on ten principle
Upanisads and nine works of the Vrndavana Gosvamis. He also wrote
original works on grammar, drama, prosody, and poetics. He remained the
unquestioned authority on Vaishnava theology until his death. (The date
of Baladeva's demise is unknown. His last known written work, Stavamala,
was dated 1764.)
With Baladeva's victory over the Ramanandis, Jai Singh was satisfied. He
had found the synthesis of Vaishnava religions. And Radha had been
reunited with Govinda on the altar, as She is in eternity. Jai Singh
dedicated himself to Govinda and passed a long, and productive life as a
king and scholar.
In 1714 Jai Singh moved Govinda to the Jai Nivasa Gardens and installed
Him in a garden house, where He was worshiped for twenty-one years. In
1735 the king built a temple for Govinda within the Jaipur palace
compound. Jai Singh later installed Govinda as the king of Jaipur and
accepted the position of minister for himself. From that time his royal
seal read, shri govindadeva carana savai jai singh sarana: "Lord Govinda,
at whose lotus feet Jai Singh takes refuge."
Lord Shri Nityananda states to Shrila Jiva Goswami in the
"Previously, Lord Gauranga bestowed His mercy on Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya
and explained Vedanta to him according to the Bhagavata tradition.
Sarvabhauma then taught this carefully to Madhusudana in Puri. On the
order of Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Madhusudana Vacaspati now resides in
Varanasi. Go there and meet him.
"Externally he acts like a traditional Vedantist, and many followers of
Sankaracarya study under him. Gradually, however, he gives them mercy by
teaching them the precepts of Gauranga through the Vedanta-sutras.
"At this time there is no necessity for a separate commentary on the
Vedanta-sutras, for the Bhagavatam explains all the sutras. When there
will be need of another commentary, Shri Govinda-bhasya will be revealed.
Along with Sarvabhauma, Gopinatha Acarya heard the Lord's commentary.
Later, by the wish of Shri Gauranga, Gopinatha Acarya will take birth as
Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and he will conquer Jaipur with his philosophical
commentary. In Jaipur, he will serve Gauranga by writing the
Govinda-bhasya, and thus free all living entities from material bondage.
Your two uncles, Rupa and Sanatana, will tell you all these confidential
Shrimad Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu was a pure devotee of the highest
order, who cared for nothing but the service of the Lord. He didn't have
a spot of desire for name and fame. He was the composer of many
scriptures which are as priceless as precious gems, for the ultimate
benefit of all those who have taken human birth.
The exact location of his birth, the names of his mother and father, and
their family tree is not known. The exact circumstances of his birth and
childhood are, therefore, unknown. Still, some are of the opinion that
he took birth in a place called Baleshvara, a village neighboring
Remuna, in the early part of the 18th century A.D, as the son of a
vaisya, an agriculturist.
At an early age he became learned in Sanskirt grammar, poetry, rhetoric,
and logic. After becoming expert in all these subjects, he began
wandering to different places of pilgrimage. After wandering about in
this way for some time, and after visiting many holy places, he happened
to stay at a temple of the Tattvavadi followers of Shri Madhvacharya.
There, he became fluent in his understanding of the
tattvavada-siddhanta, that is, the philosophical and theological
conclusions of the followers of Madhva. After this, he took sannyasa,
and preached the tattvavada-siddhanta very vigourously throughout the
length and breadth of India.
As he wandered from one place to the next, he gradually came to
Jagannatha Puri. There he remained and preached for a few days. At that
time, he chanced to meet one of the foremost disciples of Shri
Rasikananda Deva, Pandit Shri Radha-Damodara, with whom he discussed
devotional principles. At that time, Shrimad Radha-Damodara deva Goswami
instructed Baladeva on the subject of Shri Gourasundara's pastimes of
mercy and His teachings on Gaudiya Vaishanva siddhanta to Sarvabhauma
After hearing the divine wisdom spoken by Shri Radha-Damodara Goswami,
Baladeva's heart was deeply moved. After a few days of hearing from him,
he accepted initiation into the Radha-Krishna mantra, and began studying
the Sat-Sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami at the holy feet of his gurudeva,
After a short time, Baladeva became expert in the Gaudiya Vaishanva
siddhanta. After staying with Radha-Damodara Goswami for some time, he
was ordered to further his studies in Gaudiya Vaishnavism by going to
Vrindavan and taking shelter at the holy feet of Vishvanatha Cakravarti
After first visiting Nabadwipa, he soon arrived in Vrindavan. Shri
Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur (Shri Harivallabha dasa), was very happy to
see Baladeva's submission, modesty, learning, and renunciation. From
that day forward, for some time, he kept Baladeva by his side and taught
him the acintya-bheda-abheda philosophy of Shri Chaitanya and many other
important siddhantas related to the Gaudiya Vaishnava conception of
Krishna-bhakti. From this point on, Shri Baladeva's life and soul was
fully dedicated to the theistic conception of the Gaudiya Sampradaya.
His mind was fixed on this, and with one-pointed determination, he now
began preaching this line to the exclusion of all others.
One day, in Jaipur, in the royal court, the Ramanuja sampradaya began
arguing a case in connection with the Gaudiya sampradaya. They informed
the king that the Gaudiya sampradaya had no commentary on the most
important revealed scripture of Vedic religionShVedanta; therefore they
had no siddhanta and no real sampradaya, or school. As a consequence
they should give up their service of the deities of Govinda and
Gopinatha, and entrust with those who were bona fide members of a
At that time, the king of Jaipura was a follower of the Gaudiya
sampradaya. He immediately sent word of the controversy by messenger to
Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur in Vrindavan, wanting to know if the
Gaudiya sampradaya actually did have any commentary on theVedanta. If
there was, the king wanted that the commentary be sent immediately to
Jaipur to satisfy the scrutiny of the pandits from the Ramanuja
At this time, Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti was very old and infirm. It
was impossible for him to make the arduous journey to Jaipur. He sent
his student and disciple, Shri Baladeva, in his place. Baladeva
Vidyabhusana was an expert scholar in all the important scriptures. In
the midst of a huge assembly of pandits from the Ramanuja sampradaya,
Baladeva challenged them all to argue with him in scholarly debate. A
long, and hard-fought debate took place, with tumultuous arguing from
the Ramanuja school. Still, none of them could stand before his
conclusive statements, keen scholarship, and penetrating intellect.
Baladeva argued that the founder of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, Shri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu established the Shrimad-Bhagavatam as the topmost
commentary on Vedanta.
The Bhagavatam itself claims that it is bhashyanam brahma-sutranam, the
natural commentary on Vedanta. This is confirmed on the basis of
evidence given by Jiva Goswami in his Sat Sandarbha. Therefore, the
Gaudiya sampradaya has chosen to accept Shrimad-Bhagavatam as the
original commentary on Vedanta, and sees no need for a separate
At that point, the pandits from the Ramanuja sampradaya shouted: "He
admits that there is no commentary! They have no commentary!"
Having no other recourse, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana promised to show
them the Gaudiya commentary on Vedanta within a few days. The pandits
were astonished to think that such a thing existed. They were suspicious
that this might be some kind of trick, but were silenced for the time
Very troubled within his mind, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana went to the
temple of Shri Govinda, the deity of Rupa Goswami. After offering his
eightfold obeisances before the deity, he related everything that had
That night in a dream, Shri Govinda told him, "You must compose the
commentary. That commentary will be personally sanctioned by me. No one
will be able to find any fault in it."
Seeing this in his dream, Baladeva became very happy, and his heart was
full of strength, ready for the task at hand. After this, he meditated
on the lotus feet of Govinda and began writing his commentary. Within a
few days it was completed. This commentary became known as the Govinda
Bhashya commentary on Vedanta.
In an addendum appended to the Govinda Bhashya, after it was published,
Shri Baladeva has written, ³vidyarupam bhushanam ye pradaya, khatim nitye
teno yo mamudarah, Shri govinda-svapna-nirdishtha bhashye,
radhabandhurangah sa jiyat.² "May Shri Govinda be all glorious. By his
mercy, he revealed this commentary to me in a dream. The commentary
revealed by him is especially appreciated by the highly learned, and as
a result of this I have been given the name Vidyabhushana, but it is Shri
Govinda who deserves all credit. May that Shri Govinda who is the most
dear life and soul of Shri Radhika, be all-victorious."
With the Govinda Bhashya commentary in hand, Baladeva Vidyabhushana
arrived at the assembly hall of the king, where the pandits were waiting
for him. When he showed them his commentary, they were speechless. The
Gaudiya sampradaya was proclaimed victorious. The king and all the
Gaudiya Vaishnavas were supremely happy. At that time the pandits gave
Shri Baladeva the name ³Vidyabhushana,² or one whose ornament is
knowledge, in honor of his great scholarship. The year was 1628, Shaka
era. From the day forward, the king of Jaipur decreed, everyone would
attend the aroti of Shri Govinda, the deity beloved by the Gaudiya
Vaishnavas, who was ultimately responsible for such a wonderful
commentary on Vedanta.
The Ramanuja pandits, falling under the influence of Shri Baladeva
Vidyabhusana, accepted him as their acharya and wanted to become his
disciples. With great humility, Baladeva Vidyabhushana refused,
explaining that there are four sampradayas, among which the Shri
Sampradaya is a genuine school that preaches servitude to God as the
best religious process. By advancing the views of the Gaudiya
sampradaya, he meant no disrespect to the Shri sampradaya. To insult the
Shri sampradaya would be a great offense, he said.
Shripad Baladeva Vidyabhushana returned from Jaipur to Vrindavana
carrying the message of his victory. Upon returning, he submitted to the
lotus feet of Shri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura and told him the news.
All the visiting Vaishnavas and the residents of Vrindavan were
delighted and Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura bestowed his blessings
upon Baladeva Vidyabhusana.
After this, Baladeva Vidyabhusana began writing a commentary on the Sat
Sandarbha. Soon Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura passed away, and the
Vaishnava community felt as if a great beacon of divine light had been
extinguished. At that time, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana became regarded
among the Vaishnava community as the keeper of the flame, the leader
among those who understood the teachings of Shri Chaitanya.
In his teachings, Baladeva establishes the transcendental position of
the Vedas, and then argues that they are the best evidence for knowing
the supreme truth. In his Siddhanta-darpana, Baladeva has explained the
position of transcendental sound in relationship to Krishna and his holy
name as follows:
ekameva pram tattvam vachyavachaka bhavabhak
vachyah sarveshvaro devo vachakah pranavobhavet
matsya-kurma-adibhir-rupair-yatha vachyo bahur-bhavet
adyantarahitatvena svayam nityam prakirtite
avirbhava tirobhavau syatamasya yugeyuge
"The one absolute truth has two categories: the named (Krishna) and the
name (Om). Parameshvara, Shri Krishna, the absolute person is the named;
pranava, or omkara (Om) is the name. The named, or Parameshvara Shri
Krishna, reveals himself in different forms as Matsya, Kurma, and many
other forms. In the same way the name of the Supreme Lord expands into
many different forms; such as the transcendental syllable Om, the
gayatri mantram, and the Vedas themselves. There is no limit to the
Supreme Personality of Godhead; he has no beginning and no end. As a
consequence, his glorification is also eternal. He appears within this
material world, stays for some time, and again disappears according to
his own sweet will."
Baladev explains the potency of Godhead in his Siddhanta-darpana: "The
Lord has three potenciesShthinking (jnana) feeling (kriya) and willing
(bala). Through these three potencies he causes the material creation to
come into being. The rays of consciousness emanating from himShthe jiva
soulsShare his separated parts and parcels. By his thinking, feeling, and
willing, they too come into being. The Vedas are spoken by the Lord, who
is all-perfect. The Vedas are therefore free from the four defects of
material existence: error, cheating, illusion, and imperfect perception.
And so, the Vedas are the perfect form of evidence for understanding the
Supreme Truth. The Vedas glorify Krishna as the absolute truth. The
Puranas and Itihasas are as good as the Vedas. They too glorify Krishna
as the absolute truth."
In his Vedanta-samantaka, Baladeva has expanded on this thesis of the
Vedas being the best evidence for understanding the Supreme Godhead.
There he says:
tadevam sarvatah shreishtha shabdasya sthite tattvanirnayakastu
shrotilakshana eva na tvarshalakshanopi.
"There are different ways of knowing what is truth: pratyaskha (direct
perception), anuman (inference, hypothesis, and deduction), shabda (the
words of the authorities), arthapati (interpretation), anupalabdhi
(negative inference), sambhava (the laws of probability) and aitihya
Of all these methods of arriving at truth, shabda, hearing from
authorities, is best. The best source of knowledge about the absolute is
the shruti: revealed truth received from Vedic authority. Different
scholars always entertain different opinions about reality, but the
Vedic shastras are eternal and transcendental, moreover they are free
from the four defects of material existence, having sprung directly from
the Supreme Lord Himself. Therefore they are the best evidence for
knowing the absolute truth." (Vedanta Samantaka 1/51)
What has been proved on the basis of solid evidence, pramana, is called
prameya. Baladeva has written a book called Prameya Ratnavali, in which
he states nine principles that he has established are facts, proven by
the incontrovertible evidence of the Vedas. The teachings of
Madhva-Gaudiya Vaishnavism as it has descended from Madhvacharya to Shri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have been summarised in the Prameya Ratnavali. His
nine principles are stated in the following verse (PR 8):
Shri madvhah praha vishnum paratamam akhilamnaya vedyam ca cisvam
satyam bhedam ca jivam hari carana jusas tartamyam ca tesham
moksham vishnv-anghri-labham tad-amala-bhajanam tasya hetum pramanam
pratyaksadi trayam cety upadisati hari krishna-chaitanya chandra
"Shri Madhvacaharya taught that:
1) Krishna, who is known as Hari is the Supreme Lord, the Absolute.
2) That Supreme Lord may be known through the Vedas.
3) The material world is real.
4) The jivas, or souls, are different from the Supreme Lord.
5) The jivas are by nature servants of the Supreme Lord.
6) There are two categories of jivas: liberated and illusioned.
7) Liberation means attaining the lotus feet of Krishna, that is,
entering into an eternal relationship of service to the Supreme Lord.
8) Pure devotional service is the cause of this relationship.
9) The truth may be known through direct perception, inference and Vedic
authority. These very principles were taught by Shri Chaitanya
According to Baladeva there are five categories of tattvas or truths
which constitute reality: ishvara, God; jiva, soul; prakriti, matter;
kala, time; and karma, action. Ishvara or God, is the greatest. He is
all-knowing, he is the utmost realization of transcendental bliss, and
his very nature is ecstasy. He is full in all qualities and is the
absolute person. He is the master of everything and is eternally free
from birth and death. He is the master of all the gods headed by Brahma
and Shiva. He is the supreme husband, the Lord of lords, and the Supreme
Person, the worthiest of receiving prayers. He alone remains as the
absolute truth even after this material world (which is his separated
material energy) is destroyed along with all the demigods such as
Brahma, Shiva, and Indra.
Baladeva further explains that Krishna has three energies, parashakti,
kshetrajna-shakti, and maya-shakti.
Parashakti means svarupa-shakti or the Lord's internal potency.
Kshetrajna-shakti means jiva-shakti or the living beings, and
maya-shakti means the Lord's external potency, his potency for keeping
the souls in illusion.
This explanation is on the basis of the Vishnu Purana. He goes on to
explain that there is no difference between the body and soul of God.
They are one and the same. As Krishna, the Supreme Lord has two hands,
he plays a flute, he has a transcendental form of eternity, knowledge
and bliss, and he is known by the names Govinda and Gopal.
Lakshmidevi is nondifferent from Him, in that he is the Supreme
Energetic and She is His Supreme Energy. (sei jaganmata lakshmi vishnur
This confirmed throughout the shastra. Whatever form the lord appears
in, there is a corresponding Lakshmi form who acts as his eternal
consort. When the Lord appears as a god, Lakshmi appears as a goddess.
When the Lord advents as an ordinary human being, Lakshmi also descends
upon this earth as an ordinary human being.
Baladeva Vidyabhushan says:
teshu sarveshu lakshmi-rupeshu radhayah svayam laksmitvam
mantavyam sarveshu bhagavad-rupeshu krishnasya svayam bhagavatvavat
"Of all the manifestations of Lakshmidevi, Shrimati Radharani is the
Supreme Goddess, just as amongst so many avatars of Godhead, Krishna is
the supreme Personality of Godhead."
This is confirmed in the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra,which states, "Shri
Radhika is the Supreme Goddess. Her very nature is Krishna, for her very
existence is permeated by Krishna. Therefore she is known as Krishnamayi
or one who is full of Krishna. She is known as Paradevata, for she is
the Supreme Goddess. All other goddesses are subordinate to her. She is
the Supreme Lakshmi and her transcendental effulgence surpasses all
conceptions of brilliance. She is the supreme enchantress, for she
enchants Krishna Himself, who is capable of charming millions of
Baladeva cites Shaunaka Muni who says in Shrimad-Bhagavatam that of all
the avatars, expansions of Godhead and Personalities of Godhead, Krishna
is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The worship of Krishna, must
therefore be regarded as the highest form of worship.
According to Baladeva, the jiva souls are the atomic spiritual energy of
the Lord. The souls are eternal and can never be destroyed by any means.
The soul's true eternal nature is to be filled with transcendental
sa ca jivo bhagavadaso mantavyah dasabhuto
harereva nanyasyaive kadacaneti padmat
"It is the constitutional nature of the soul to be a servant of Bhagavan
Shri Krishna. It is the version of the Padma-Purana that the soul is an
eternal servant of Hari, and has no other genuine position."
By surrender to the lotus feet of a spiritual master who is a devotee of
Krishna, one attain Krishna-bhakti by the guru's mercy. Upon attaining
Krishna-bhakti one gets Krishna Himself.
In His Vedanta-samantaka, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana offers the following
prayer to the lotus feet of his gurudeva, Shri Radha-Damodara Goswami:
radhadidamodara nama vibhrata,
viprena vedantamayah syamantaka
tasyah pramodam sa tanotu sarvada
"Having been deputed to do so by my gurudeva, the brahmana named Shri
Radha-Damodara Goswami, I have compiled this commentary on the Vedanta
known as Vedanta-syamantaka for the sake of Shrimati Radharani's
pleasure. This commentary is a summary of the important points of
Vedanta. May it be pleasing to Shri Radhika."
Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana had two superexcellent disciples who were
perfected souls. Their names were Shri Uddhava Dasa and Shri Nandana
Mishra. Among the books compiled by Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana were as
His commentary on Vedanta called the Govinda-bhashya;
the ³jewel of conclusions² or Siddhanta Ratna;
a summary of Vedanta philosophy known as Vedanta Syamantaka;
the ³jewel of factual principles² (outline the nine principles held in
common by both the Madhva and Chaitanya schools) known as Prameya
a summary of Gaudiya Vaishnava principles called the Siddhanta Darpana;
the Kavya Kaustubha (a book of selected Sanskrit verses for Vaishnavas);
the Aishvarya Kadambini;
Vyakarana Kaumudi (a book on grammar);
Padakaustubha (selected prayers);
commentaries on important Upanishads beginning with the Isha Upanishad
and including the Gopala Tapani Upanishad;
a commentary on Bhagavad-gita known as Gitabhushana Bhashya;
as well as commentaries on: Vishnu-Sahasra-nama, Shrimad-Bhagavatam
(Vaishnava-nandini-tika), Jiva Goswami's Tattva-Sandarbha, Rupa
Goswami's Stavamala, Nata-chandrika, Jayadeva Goswami's Chandraloka, his
own Sahitya Kaumudi, Laghu-bhagavatamrita, Nataka-Chandrika, and
Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana disappeared in the Christian year 1768.
He was born during the eighteenth century AD., in a village near Remuna
in the Balasore district of Orissa. He studied Vyakarana, Alamkara, and
Nyayasastra in an academic center on the bank of Lake Cilka. Afterwards
he went to Karnataka to study th
e Vedas. At that point he was initiated into the Madhva Sampradaya.
After taking sannyasa he defeated the scholars of Puri
(Purusottamaksetra) in a debate on Sastra.
Baladeva stayed at the Tattvavadi Matha, but after studying Satsandarbha
under Radhadamodara, a resident of Kanauj and a disciple of Rasikananda
Prabhu, he became attracted to the profound philosophical essence of
Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Thus he became
a disciple of his teacher, Radhadamodara. It is said that Baladeva
studied Bhaktisastra under Pitamvaradasa, and Shrimad Bhagavatam under
After adopting Virakta Vaishnava Vesa, Baladeva became known as
"Ekanti-Govindadasa". It was Baladeva who installed the deity of
Syamasundara in Vrndavana. Uddhavadasa and Nandamisra were the two
foremost disciples of Baladeva.
In Visvanatha Cakravarti's old age he received news that the Bengali
sevaits from the temple of Jaipur had been branded as a-sampradaya and
deprived of their right to offer seva. Visvanatha immediately sent
Baladeva, accompanied by Krishnadeva and Sarvabhauma, to Jaipur. There
Baladeva defeated his opponents in a debate and re-instated the Gaudiyas
in their seat at the mountainous region of Galta. He also installed the
deity of Vijaya Gopala there. (This temple and deity is still existing.)
At this same time Baladeva wrote the book Shri Govindabhasya, a glorious
contribution to the Gaudiya Vaishnava community. The following is a list
of Baladeva's other works:
(1) Tika of Satsandarbha
(2) Tika of Laghubhagavatamrta
(7) Tika of Syamanandasataka
(8) Tika of Natakacandrika (rare)
(12) Vaishnavanandini tika of Shrimad Bhagavatam
(13) Shri Gopalatapnai, and bhasya of Shrimad Bhagavadgita (14) Tika of
SHRIMATI GANGAMATA GOSVAMINI APPEARANCE DAY (10th June 2003)
SRI GANGAMATA GOSWAMINI
Shriyuta Naresh Narayana was the king of Puntiya, which was located in
the district of Rajshahi, part of the present country of Bangladesh.
His only daughter was named Saci, and she was devoted to God from her
very chidhood. In a very short time she became quite proficient in her
studies, especially in grammar and poetry. As she grew up everyone
became stunned by her blossoming youthful beauty. However, Saci was not
attracted by any earthly, good-looking, well-to-do young men. She was
only interested in Shri Madana Gopala.
The king, Naresh Narayana began to think about his daughter's marriage.
When she came to know of this she told her father that she wouldn't
marry anyone who was subject to death. The king and queen put their
hand's to their heads and sat down. Their only daughter refused to
marry! Thus they passed on from this world, having no further work to
do here. The responsibility for governing the people now fell on Saci.
For some days she attended to her duties and then, after appointing her
representatives she set out to visit the holy places of pilgrimage. But
she didn't feel satisfied within herself anywhere. Thus she began to
search out a guru. She eventually came to Jagannatha Puri, and after
having darsana of Lord Jagannatha there for a few days, she set out for
Shri Vraja Dham. It was here that the benediction moon of her good
fortune rose. Seeing the spiritual prowess and renunciation of Shri
Haridas Pandit Goswami, who was a staunch follower of Shri Shri
Nitai-Gaura, she became very happy within herself and thought, "After so
many days I have finally found shelter." After falling at his lotus
feet and offering her obeisances, with folded hands she prayed for his
"Ananta Acarya was a disciple of Gadadhara Pandit... a reservoir of all
good qualities. No-one can estimate how great he was. Pandit Haridasa
was his beloved disciple. Pandit Haridasa had great faith in Lord
Chaitanya and Nityananda.
Therefore, he took great satisfaction in knowing about their pastimes
In the disciplic succession of the Ganga-mata Matha, Ananta Acarya is
known as Vinoda-manjari. One of his disciples was Haridasa Pandit
Goswami, who is also known as Shri Raghu Gopala and as Shri Rasa-manjari.
His disciple Laksmipriya was the maternal aunt of Ganga-mata. Shri
Haridas Pandit Goswami, in order to test Saci, told her that it wouldn't
be possible for the daughter of a king to practice the renunciation
required in order to serve the Lord in Vraja. Saci, however, could
understand that this was simply a pretence. Thus she began her service
in total indifference to the material world. Gradually she completely
gave up wearing any ornaments or fine cloth. One day Shri Haridas told
her, "If you can give up shyness, fear and pride and beg from door to
door then you'll be qualified to receive my mercy."
Hearing this Saci became very happy and covering her body with one
soiled cloth she went from door to door of the residents of Vraja, to
beg something to eat. Her body became very thin and pale. But the
Vrajabasis could understand that she was not an ordinary woman because
of her bodily effulgence The Vaishnavas were astonished by her great
austerities. Though she became quite thin, she took no notice of that
and continued to regularly bathe in the Yamuna, clean the temple of the
Lord, go on parikrama, attend the arati ceremonies and hear discussions
about Krishna. Seeing her intense renunciation, Haridas became eager to
award her. He called her and told her, "Though you are the daughter of
a king, the exertion with which you have worshiped Shri Krishna and the
degree of renunciation you have shown have pleased me very much. Now be
pleased to accept the divine mantra."
Thereafter, on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of the month
of Caitra, Shri Saci was initiated in Radha-Krishna mantra by Shri Haridas
Pandit Goswami. Having received the eighteen-syllable mantra, Saci
became completely imbued with love of Krishna. Though she was very
destitute, she began to serve Sr Guru and Govinda with intense devotion.
Every day she would listen to her guru explain the sastras. Within a
short time she became quite conversant with the literatures of the
Goswamis, and this was very pleasing to everyone.
Around this time, one other female disciple of Haridas named
Laksmipriya, who had a very pleasant demeanour, came to Vrndavana.
Laksmipriya used to chant three lakhs of holy names every day. Haridas
instructed her to take Saci with her to Radha-kunda and worship the Lord
there. Thus the two of them came there and began to circumambulate
Govardhana hill every day. All at once Shri Haridas Pandit called Saci
back and instructed her to go to Puri to preach the message of Lord
Gaurasundara to the pious people there. At this time almost all of the
associates of Mahaprabhu had given up their earthly pastimes in Puri.
In accordance with the order of her guru, Saci came there and took up
residence in the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. As no one had lived
there for so many days, the place was very run down. Only the
Damodara-sila that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya used to worship was remaining
there. Saci resumed the regular worship of the Lord and recited the
Shrimad-Bhagavatam daily. Many people were very impressed to hear her
conclusive explanations of the sastras and thus they used to congregate
Saci's fame as an accomplished lecturer on the sastras began to spread
far and wide. One day the king Mukunda Deva came to hear her class. He
was very pleased to hear such authoritative conclusions coming from the
mouth of this saintly mataji, so in his mind he wished to present
something to her. That very night he had a dream in which Lord
Jagannatha told him, "You should offer the place known as Sweta-Ganga to
Saci." Early the next morning, the king came to see her, and Saci very
meekly offered him a seat and inquired as to the purpose of his visit.
The king thus related to her the order of Lord Jagannatha and requested
her to accept the piece of land adjacent to Sweta-Ganga. Saci, however,
was not interested in acquiring property, and she declined the offer.
But the king insisted she accept this royal grant of land, and finally
she agreed after considering that it was after all the order of Lord
Jagannatha. Most pleased that he could render her some service, the
king presented her with the deed to the parcel of land.
After the royal grant of land became known to the public, gossip that
Saci was previously the daughter of a king began to circulate around
Puri. Once, shortly before Mahavaruni (a day very auspicious for
bathing in the Ganga), Saci thought to herself how very much she would
like to leave Puri and make a pilgrimage to the Ganga for this occasion.
But after considering that it was her guru's order to remain in Shri
Ksetra, she decided to abandon the idea. But that night, Lord
Jagannatha spoke to her in a dream, "Saci! Don't worry. On the day of
the Mahavaruni you should bath in the Sweta-Ganga. Ganga devi herself
will personally come to join you there." Having seen this dream, Saci
was very jubilant. When the day of the Varuni bath arrived, in the
middle of the night Saci went to the Sweta-Ganga alone. As she entered
into the water, a strong current suddenly gripped her and carried her
inside the Jagannatha Mandir, which was now flooded, much to her
amazement, by the sacred waters of the Ganges. There she saw thousands
and thousands of the residents of Shri Ksetra taking their baths. A
great uproar resounded in all directions from the recitation of prayers
and hymns. In the midst of these festivities, Saci very religiously
performed the Varuni bath in the water of the Ganga.
Hearing the sound of what seemed to be a large crowd of people within
the temple, the watchmen outside hurried to the temple superintendent
who in turn informed the king. The king ordered them to enter the
temple to investigate. To the astonishment of everyone, they found Shri
Saci devi, the reciter of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, standing there alone. The
priests of the temple surmised that she must have smuggled herself into
the building in order to steal the ornaments of Lord Jagannatha. But
others present felt it was impossible for her to have done this. "There
must be some mystery behind it all," they said. So it was decided to
confine her for trial and judgement.
Sacidevi didn't mind and very blissfully continued to chant the Holy
Name. Meanwhile, the king had a dream in which Lord Jagannatha very
angrily told him, "You should immediately release Saci. I personally
caused the Ganga to flow from my own foot; it was this that brought her
into the temple so that she could take bat on this auspicious day. If
you are concerned for the welfare of your subjects and your own god
fortune, then along with the temple priests you had better go and beg
forgiveness at her feet and request to become her disciple."
After seeing this dream, the king awoke in a very worried state. He
quickly completed his morning bath and called for the temple priests.
They went to the place of Saci's confinement. The king opened the door
and fell down at her lotus feet to offer his obeisances. He very humbly
begged her forgiveness and submitted Lord Jagannatha's instruction that
he become her disciple. Seeing the wonderful behaviour of the king, she
placed her hand on his head that he might be benedicted. On the next
auspicious day she initiated the king with Radha-Krishna mantra. Many of
the priests also accepted the shelter of her lotus feet at this time.
From that day she became known as Shri Ganga Mata Goswamini.
The king wanted to donate some land to Shri Ganga Mata as guru-daksina,
but she declined, saying that she only wanted the king to attain loving
devotion to Lord Krishna's lotus feet. "I am not qualified to accept
anything more than this," she told him. But the king repeatedly
entreated to her to accept something from him as guru-daksina. Finally,
for the purpose of serving the Vaishnavas, she agreed. Thereafter, daily
two pots of Mahaprasad, one pot of vegetables, one remnant of Lord
Jagannatha's cloth and one hundred and sixty kauris (small conchshells)
were sent to the asrama every day. That service is still observed to
this day, the articles are offered first to her samadhi.
On one occasion a Pandit of the name Mahidhara Sarma came to the banks
of the Sweta-ganga to offer oblations to his forefathers. He happened
to hear of the wonderful qualities of Shri Ganga Mata and thus was
inspired to have darsana of her lotus feet. He approached her and in
turn Ganga Mata very respectfully received him, offered him seat and
inquired as to the purpose of his visit. This brahmana, although a
Pandit, was a very simple and straightforward man, so he honestly stated
that he'd come to have her darsana and to receive spiritual knowledge
from her. She was very pleased with his simplicity and mercifully began
to speak the philosophy of Shrimad-Bhagavatam to him. The pandit
listened very intently to her wonderful elucidation and thereafter
accepted shelter at her lotus feet. On an auspicious day she initiated
him with Radha-Krishna mantra.
Mahindhara Sarma's birthplace was Dhananjaypur. On the order of Shri
Ganga Mata he preached the glories of Shri Shri Nitai-Gaura at various
localities in the district of Ganjam. In the town of Jaipur within
Rajasthan lived one devoted and religious-minded brahmana named of the
name Shri Carma Sarma. In his house was a deity of Krishna called Shri
Rasika Raya. The brahmana, however, was very poor and thus could not
offer foodstuffs properly to the Deity. One night Lord's Jagannatha
appeared to the brahmana in a dream and told him, "The service of Shri
Rasika Raya who is present n your house is not being conducted properly.
You should straight away bring Him here to Shri Ksetra and deliver Him to
Shri Ganga Mata, who resides on the banks of Sweta-Ganga. Otherwise,
some misfortune will befall you."
Having received this order from Lord Jagannatha, the brahmana didn't
delay but immediately set out for Shri Ksetra. Arriving there, he
inquired as to the whereabouts of Shri Ganga Mata and thus presented
himself before her. Seeing the Deity of Shri Krishna, Ganga Mata became
very happy. But when the brahmana explained to her the reason he had
come she replied, "But I am simply a beggar. I eat by begging at a few
houses every day. How will I be able to serve this Deity? You had
better take your Deity with you. Please don't make me an offender."
The brahmana didn't know what to do. He thought deeply about it and
finally saw no other recourse than to place the Deity of Shri Rasika Raya
in the tulasi garden of Shri Ganga Mata and flee away. Shri Rasika Raya
appeared that night in a dream to Ganga Mata and informed her, "I have
come here to accept your service. That brahmana put me in your tulasi
garden and then left this place. I haven't eaten anything for a whole
day. Please feed me." Shri Ganga Mata was struck with wonder. "The
Supreme Lord Hari Himself is asking me to feed Him. Meditating on this,
she became filled with ecstatic love . The hairs on her body stood on
end. She quickly took bath and entered into the tulasi garden. There
she saw Shri Rasika Raya, shining in His own effulgence. With her eyes
full of tears, she fell down and offered her prostrated obeisances.
"Here He is," she thought joyfully, "still hungry." She picked Him up
and carried Him into her room, feeling very doubtful as to what she
should do. Finally she bathed Him and made a simple offering of
foodstuffs. Shri Rasika Raya immediately ate everything. Ganga Mata was
floating in an ocean of happiness. She spread out a new piece of cloth
and laid Him down to rest. In the morning, when the devotees came to
Ganga Mata's house, they were astonished to see Shri Rasika Raya. When
they heard the details of what had happened, they all cheered and
chanted, "Hari! Hari!"
Every day, Shri Ganga Mata would lovingly prepare many varieties of
vegetables and cakes to offer to Shri Rasika Raya. She would spend at
least twelve hours every day serving her Deity. For some days she
served Shri Rasika Raya by begging at people's houses. But as she got on
in years this became somewhat difficult for her. Noticing this, Shri
Rasika Raya by some trick or other would collect the necessary
ingredients and paraphernalia from some rich merchants. But when Ganga
Mata saw that there were many deficiencies in the worship due to her
advanced age, she went before Shri Rasika Raya to pray for His
forgiveness and to inform Him that she was unable to serve Him nicely
now. For this reason she didn't want to remain alive any longer. Shri
Rasika Raya told her in a dream, "I am very pleased with your service.
You shouldn't lament. For a few more days you should continue to serve
Me." Some days passed, but again she told Him that she didn't want to
remain any longer. Her only request was that she might leave this world
while chanting His Holy Name. Shri Rasika Raya replied, "All right,
don't worry any more. After handing over My service to one of your
qualified disciples, you should come join me in my eternal abode.
Thereafter, she entrusted the worship of Shri Rasika Raya to one very
peaceful and self-controlled disciple of hers called Vanamali dasa. At
the age of one hundred and twenty years, in the Christian year of 1721,
on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Aswin, Shri
Ganga Mata Goswamini, while seeing the graceful three-fold bending form
of Shri Rasika Raya and meditating on His lotus feet, entered into His
eternal pastimes. Her appearance was in the Christian year 1601. The
Deity of Shri Rasika Raya is still present in the house of Sarvabhauma
Bhattacarya, next to the Sweta-Ganga.
She was the only daughter of King Naresanarayana of Puntiya in the
district of Rajsahi (now in Bangladesh). During her childhood she was
called Saci. She was endowed with a religious temperament from youth
and within a short time Saci became conversant with Vyakarana, Kavya and
various scriptures. When Saci grew up, her beauty and grace charmed
everyone. However, Saci felt no attraction for any man however handsome
or wealthy he may be. Her heart belonged to her Madanagopala.
When she came to know that her parents were concerned about her
marriage, Saci very firmly told them that she would never marry a mortal
being. The king and queen were so disturbed by their daughters decision
that they both passed away, leaving Saci to shoulder the responsibility
of running the royal administration. She performed her royal duties for
some time, but after a short while she set out on a pilgrimage, leaving
the royal administration in the charge of her relatives.
Saci could not find peace of mind anywhere. Finally in her search for a
sat-guru, she came to Puri. She felt inspired after spending a few days
there and then left for Vrndavana. There Saci had the good fortunate to
meet Haridasa Pandita, an ardent devotee of Gaura-Nitai and a disciple
of Ananta Acarya. Saci fell prostrate at the feet of Haridasa and with
tears in her eyes prayed for his refuge.
Haridasa tested Saci's conviction; "Since it is not possible for a
princess to practice bhajana in Vrndavana without relinquishing all
worldly possessions, it would be better for you to go back and perform
your bhajana at your own house."
Although Saci understood the significance of Haridasa's remark, she did
not pay and heed to his words and instead, continued performing her
bhajana with great renunciation. Gradually she gave up wearing costly
garments and refrained from using any ornaments. One day Haridasa said
to Saci, "If you can give up your sense of pride, dignity, and fear and
go out in Vraja with a begging bowl (madhukari), then and then only the
divine grace shall be showered upon you."
Saci was very pleased to hear Haridasa's advice and from then on went
out regularly on madhukari, covering herself with only a tattered
garment. Despite being dressed as vairagi, when she went from door to
door in Vraja, her graceful appearance led people to believe that she
was not a common woman. Saci gradually became very thin and looked
emaciated. Nevertheless, she went on with her daily routine; bathing in
the Yamuna, cleaning the temple yard, parikrama, attending arati and
Seeing Saci meticulously carrying out his instructions, Haridasa became
compassionate towards her. One day he called Saci before him and said:
"Although you are a princess, your personal sacrifice and devotion to
Krishna has pleased me greatly. You may prepare yourself to receive
mantra diksa right now." Thus Saci devi was initiated in Radha Krishna
mantra from Haridasa on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight in
the month of Chaitra, and thereafter devoted herself fully to the
service of guru and Govinda. Everyday she attended discourses on
Gosvami sastra given by Haridasa and listened with rapt attention.
Within a short period of time, to everyone's pleasure, Sacidevi became
thoroughly conversant with Gosvami-siddhanta.
Around that time Laksmipriya, an ardent devotee of Haridasa who was
known to regularly chant Harinama three lakhs daily, arrived in
Vrndavana. Under Haridasa's instructions, Laksmipriya and Sacidevi began
regularly practicing bhajana at Radhakunda.
They also performed Govardhana parikrama together daily. When Haridasa
was convinced of Saci's purity in bhajana and total devotion, he called
her one day and instructed her to move to Puridhama to perform her
bhajana there and to preach the teachings of Lord Chaitanya among the
respectable residents of Puri.
By the time she arrived at Puri the majority of Lord Chaitanya's
companions had disappeared from the world. In Puri Saci devi lived and
performed her bhajana in the dilapidated house of Sarvabhauma Pandita.
Of all the Deities worshipped during Sarvabhauma's time only the
Damodara salagrama still remained there. Everyday Sacidevi would recite
from Shrimad Bhagavatam in the presence of the respectable residents of
Puri. Very shortly she became well-known as an accomplished commentator
One day Mukunda-deva, the Maharaja of Puri, came to hear Saci devi's
recital from Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He was very impressed by her speaking
and felt inspired to offer her something as a token of his appreciation.
That very night Lord Jagannatha appeared to the Maharaja in a dream and
commanded him to award Saci devi a site close to Sveta-ganga.
Accordingly, Mukunda-deva met Saci devi the following morning, explained
his dream, and requested Saci to accept his humble offering of the land
near Sveta-ganga. At first Saci devi declined, but later, in
consideration of the command of Lord Jagannatha, and repeated requests
of the Maharaja, Saci devi accepted the offer and the land was
eventually turned over to her. Incidentally, the fact that Saci devi
was a princess by birth was generally known to the people of Puri.
Once Saci devi expressed her desire to take a bath in the Ganges on the
auspicious day of Varuni. However, she gave up the idea as it was her
guru's order that she stay at Shriksetra. That night Lord Jagannatha
appeared in her dream and said, "Saci, do not worry, on the day of
Varuni you take your bath in Sveta-Ganga, the Ganges will flow to meet
you at your bathing place."
When the auspicious day came Saci devi went out alone at midnight to
take a dip in Sveta-Ganga. As soon as she touched the water, Saci felt
herself being swept away by swelling waves, similar to that of the
Ganges. Saci devi was carried along in the
current until she finally found herself inside the private restricted
bathing place within Lord Jagannatha's temple premises. Therein Saci
devi saw herself amidst thousands of people of Puri taking bath in great
joy while the chanting of hymns filled the air.
Hearing unusual sounds emanating from within the temple, the security
staff of the temple woke up. The Maharaja was informed of the incident
and under his order the temple door was opened. To everyone's surprise
they found the well known reader of Shrimad Bhagavatam, Saci devi,
standing alone inside the temple. The sevaka pandas of the temple
suspected that she had intended to steal the ornaments of Lord
Jagannatha, although some others thought the idea of Saci devi being a
thief was incredible. Ultimately, Saci devi was taken away and locked up
in prison. Saci devi, completely oblivious to the external
circumstances, simply chanted Krishna nama happily.
Very late that night Maharaja Mukunda-deva saw Lord Jagannatha in a
dream. This time the Lord angrily commanded him: "It is I who brought
the Ganges, under My feet, in order to enable Saci to take a bath in the
Ganges as she desired. Go and release Saci immediately. Also you,
along with your priests and pandas, pray at her feet for forgiveness and
receive mantra-diksa from her."
Early the following morning Maharaja took his bath and went to Saci
devi. After releasing her from prison he fell prostrate at her feet,
begging for mercy. He explained his dream to her and sought refuge at
her feet. In compliance with the Lord's wish, on the next auspicious
day Saci devi gave Mukunda, and numerous priests, Radha Krishna mantra
diksa. From that day Saci devi came to be known as Gangamata Gosvamini.
As a token offering to his guru, Maharaja Mukundadeva expressed his
desire to donate some land to Gangamata. At first she declined to
accept any material gift, but after repeated humble requests from
Mukundadeva, Gangamata had to relent. She permitted the Maharaja to
offer certain items and nothing else; two vessels full of mahaprasada of
Lord Jagannatha for the Vaishnavas to relish, one vessel of vegetable,
one piece of cloth first offered to the Lord, and 160 paise. These
items were to be sent to the Matha of Gangamata daily after the noon
offering. This custom is still continued today.