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Title: Dvadasha Gopala
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-01-16 23:24:31
The Twelve Cowherd Boy Associates
of Lord Nityananda Balarama
Compiled by Bhushan Nityananda dasa
Inspired by Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada
01B General Glories of All Associates
01C Ramadasa Abhirama
02 Sundarananda Thakura
03 Dhananjaya Pandita
04 Gauridasa Pandita
05 Kamalakara Pippalai
06 Uddharana Datta
07 Mahesh Pandita
08 Purushottama Dasa
09 Nagara Purushottama
10 Parameshvara Dasa
11 Kala Krishna Dasa
12 Shridhara Kholavecha
01A Dvadasha Gopal Introduction
The Twelve Cowherd Boy Associates of Lord Nityananda Balarama
Introduction: "All the associates of Lord Nityananda were formerly cowherd boys in Vrajabhumi. Their symbolic representations were the horns and sticks they carried, their cowherd dress and the peacock plumes on their heads." (Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi-lila, 11.21).
General Glories of All Associates of Lord Nityananda
O brothers, please worship Lord Nityananda. By His mercy, one can achieve the lotus feet of Lord Gaurachandra. The associates of Nityananda Svarupa constantly swam in the ocean of transcendental bliss. They had no other activity except nama-sankirtana. Always absorbed in the mood of cowherd boys, they were decorated with bangles, ankle-bells, and garlands of gunja beads. They carried sticks, flutes, horns, and ropes in their hands.
Symptoms of krishna-prema such as tears, shivering and standing of the hair on ends were constantly visible on their bodies. Their beauty defeated the beauty of the Cupid. They always did nama-sankirtana. Having received their fearless Lord Nityananda, all the devotees remained happy forever. I am unable to describe the glories of the servants of Nityananda Svarupa even in a hundred years. Still I will try to mention their names. I know that remembering their names will deliver me from this material world. All the associates of Lord Nityananda with whom He enjoyed His pastimes were incarnations of gopas and gopis of Vraja. Being forbidden by Nityananda Svarupa, I am not mentioning their previous names and activities in detail.
The foremost among Lord Nityananda's associates was Ramadasa who always spoke in the mood of the Supreme Lord. Nobody could understand his words easily. Lord Nityananda always resided in his heart. Ramadasa* was fully absorbed in love of God. Lord Krishna lived in his body for three months.
Chaitanya dasa* was a famous associate of Nityananda. Murari Pandita* was an associate of Nityananda who sported with a serpent and tiger.
The most magnanimous Raghunatha Vaidya was an associate of Nityananda by whose plan one's mind becomes attached to Krishna.
Gadadhara dasa* was full of devotional mellows. His very sight destroyed all one's sins.
Shri Sundarananda* was an ocean of devotional mellows and one of the principle associates of Nityananda.
The most enthusiastic associate of Nityananda was Pandita Kamalakanta*. Nityananda gave him the village Saptagrama to rule.
Gauridasa Pandita* was the most fortunate devotee of the Lord. He assisted in the pastimes of Nityananda with his body, mind, and speech.
The pious Krishnadasa of Badagachi* was one of the associates of Nityananda who enjoyed various pastimes at his house.
Purandara Pandita* was the most peaceful, humble, and intimate associate of Nityananda Svarupa.
Another associate of Nityananda was Paramesvara dasa* whose life and soul was Nityananda. Through his body, Lord Nityananda enjoyed His pastimes.
Dhananjaya Pandita* in whose heart the Lord constantly resided, was a great devotee of Lord Nityananda .
Balarama dasa, who was intoxicated with bhakti-rasa, was a follower of Nityananda Prabhu. If the breeze that touches Balarama dasa touches one, it will eradicate all sins. Balarama dasa lived in the village Dogachiya. His contribution to Vaishnava song is unlimited.
Yadunatha Kavicandra* was full of love of God. Lord Nityananda was always merciful to him.
The most effulgent Jagadisa Pandita* was a devotee of Nityananda. Lord Nityananda was his, and his family's, very life and wealth.
Pandita Purusottama was born in Navadvipa. He was a great devotee of Nityananda Svarupa. Lord Nityananda had lived at his house previously. By his mercy, one's mind becomes fixed at the lotus feet of Nityananda. Dvija Krishnadasa who was born at Radha-desa was counted among the associates of Nityananda.
Kaliya Krishnadasa* was a famous devotee in the three worlds by whose remembrance one attains the lotus feet of Gaurachandra.
The most fortunate Sadasiva Kaviraja* was an associate of Nityananda. The name of his son was Purusottama dasa*. Due to love of God, Purusottama dasa was fully absorbed in ecstasy. Lord Nityananda constantly remains within his heart.
Uddharana Datta was a magnanimous Vaishnava. He had full authority in the service of Lord Nityananda.
Mahesa Pandita* was a great devotee of Nityananda and Paramananda Upadhyaya was an unalloyed Vaishnava.
Caturbhuja Pandita* and Nandana Gangadasa were both devotees of Lord Nityananda. The Lord had previously enjoyed His pastimes in their houses.
Acarya Vaishnavananda* was a magnanimous devotee. He was previously known as Raghunatha Puri.
Krishna dasa and Devananda were both staunch followers of Lord Nityananda. Mahanta Acarya Candra's only goal was the lotus feet of Nityananda.
The singer Madhavananda Ghosha* and Vasudeva Ghosha were full of love of God.
Jiva Pandita* was the most fortunate devotee. Lord Nityananda enjoyed various pastimes at his house. Shri Manohara, Shri Narayana, Shri Krishnadasa, and Shri Devananda were also associates of Lord Nityananda.
I am unable to disclose the names of the innumerable servants of Lord Nityananda even in one hundred years. Each of Lord Nityananda's servants had innumerable followers and, by the mercy of Lord Nityananda, they were equal to their spiritual master. All of them were fully intoxicated by the transcendental mellows of Shri Gauranga. Shri Gauranga and Nityananda were their life and only treasure. I have only described the few associates I knew. More will be disclosed later by Vedavyasa.
The last servant of Lord Nityananda was Vrindavana dasa Thakura who was the son of Narayani, the final recipient of Lord Gauranga's mercy. Even today, Narayani is accepted as the final recipient of Gauranga's mercy among the Vaishnavas. Take shelter of those devotees of the Lord, O brothers, and worship the most merciful Nityananda and Shri Gauranga.
Accepting the lotus feet of Shri Gauranga and Nityananda Prabhu as my life and soul, I, Vrindavana dasa, sing the glories of Their lotus feet.
From Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita by Shrila Krishadasa Kaviraja Goswami:
CC Adi 11.1: After offering my obeisances unto all the devotees of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, who are like bumblebees collecting honey from His lotus feet, I shall try to describe those who are the most prominent.
CC Adi 11.2: All glories to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! Anyone who has taken shelter at His lotus feet is glorious.
CC Adi 11.3: All glories to Shri Advaita Prabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu!
CC Adi 11.4: Shri Nityananda Prabhu is the topmost branch of the indestructible tree of eternal love of Godhead, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I offer my respectful obeisances to all the subbranches of that topmost branch.
CC Adi 11.5: Shri Nityananda Prabhu is an extremely heavy branch of the Shri Chaitanya tree. From that branch grow many branches and subbranches.
CC Adi 11.6: Watered by the desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, these branches and subbranches have grown unlimitedly and covered the entire world with fruits and flowers.
CC Adi 11.7: These branches and subbranches of devotees are innumerable and unlimited. Who could count them? For my personal purification I shall try to enumerate only the most prominent among them.
CC Adi 11.8: After Nityananda Prabhu, the greatest branch is Virabhadra Gosani, who also has innumerable branches and subbranches. It is not possible to describe them all.
CC Adi 11.9: Although Virabhadra Gosani was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He presented Himself as a great devotee. And although the Supreme Godhead is transcendental to all Vedic injunctions, He strictly followed the Vedic rituals.
CC Adi 11.10: He is the main pillar in the hall of devotional service erected by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He knew within Himself that He acted as the Supreme Lord Vishnu, but externally He was prideless.
CC Adi 11.11: It is by the glorious mercy of Shri Virabhadra Gosani that people all over the world now have the chance to chant the names of Chaitanya and Nityananda.
CC Adi 11.12: I therefore take shelter of the lotus feet of Virabhadra Gosani, so that by His mercy my great desire to write Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita will be properly guided.
CC Adi 11.13: Two devotees of Lord Chaitanya named Shri Ramadasa and Gadadhara dasa always lived with Shri Virabhadra Gosani.
CC Adi 11.14-15: When Nityananda Prabhu was ordered to go to Bengal to preach, these two devotees were ordered to go with Him. Thus they are sometimes counted among the devotees of Lord Chaitanya and sometimes among the devotees of Lord Nityananda. Similarly, Madhava Ghosha and Vasudeva Ghosha belonged to both groups of devotees simultaneously.
CC Adi 11.16: Ramadasa, one of the chief branches, was full of fraternal love of Godhead. He made a flute from a stick with sixteen knots.
CC Adi 11.17: Shrila Gadadhara dasa was always fully absorbed in ecstasy as a gopi. In his house Lord Nityananda enacted the drama Dana-keli.
CC Adi 11.18: Shri Madhava Ghosha was a principal performer of kirtana. While he sang, Nityananda Prabhu danced.
CC Adi 11.19: When Vasudeva Ghosha described Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda while performing kirtana, even wood and stone would melt upon hearing it.
CC Adi 11.20: There were many extraordinary activities performed by Murari, a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes in his ecstasy he would slap the cheek of a tiger, and sometimes he would play with a venomous snake.
CC Adi 11.21: All the associates of Lord Nityananda were formerly cowherd boys in Vrajabhumi. Their symbolic representations were the horns and sticks they carried, their cowherd dress and the peacock plumes on their heads.
CC Adi 11.22: The physician Raghunatha, also known as Upadhyaya, was so great a devotee that simply by seeing him one would awaken his dormant love of Godhead.
CC Adi 11.23: Sundarananda, another branch of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, was Lord Nityananda's most intimate servant. Lord Nityananda Prabhu perceived the life of Vrajabhumi in his company.
CC Adi 11.24: Kamalakara Pippalai is said to have been the third gopala. His behavior and love of Godhead were uncommon, and thus he is celebrated all over the world.
CC Adi 11.25: Suryadasa Sarakhela and his younger brother Krishnadasa Sarakhela both possessed firm faith in Nityananda Prabhu. They were a reservoir of love of Godhead.
CC Adi 11.26: Gauridasa Pandita, the emblem of the most elevated devotional service in love of Godhead, had the greatest potency to receive and deliver such love.
CC Adi 11.27: Making Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda the Lords of his life, Gauridasa Pandita sacrificed everything for the service of Lord Nityananda, even the fellowship of his own family.
CC Adi 11.28: The thirteenth important devotee of Shri Nityananda Prabhu was Pandita Purandara, who moved in the ocean of love of Godhead just like the Mandara Hill.
CC Adi 11.29: Paramesvara dasa, said to be the fifth gopala of krishna-lila, completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Nityananda. Anyone who remembers his name, Paramesvara dasa, will get love of Krishna very easily.
CC Adi 11.30: Jagadisa Pandita, the fifteenth branch of Lord Nityananda's followers, was the deliverer of the entire world. Devotional love of Krishna showered from him like torrents of rain.
CC Adi 11.31: The sixteenth dear servant of Nityananda Prabhu was Dhananjaya Pandita. He was very much renounced and always merged in love of Krishna.
CC Adi 11.32: Mahesa Pandita, the seventh of the twelve gopalas, was very liberal. In great love of Krishna he danced to the beating of a kettledrum like a madman.
CC Adi 11.33: Purushottama Pandita, a resident of Navadvipa, was the eighth gopala. He would become almost mad as soon as he heard the holy name of Nityananda Prabhu.
CC Adi 11.34: Balarama dasa always fully tasted the nectar of love of Krishna. Upon hearing the name of Nityananda Prabhu, he would become greatly maddened.
CC Adi 11.35: Yadunatha Kavicandra was a great devotee. Lord Nityananda Prabhu always danced in his heart.
CC Adi 11.36: The twenty-first devotee of Shri Nityananda in Bengal was Krishnadasa Brahmana, who was a first-class servant of the Lord.
CC Adi 11.37: The twenty-second devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu was Kala Krishnadasa, who was the ninth cowherd boy. He was a first-class Vaishnava and did not know anything beyond Nityananda Prabhu.
CC Adi 11.38: The twenty-third and twenty-fourth prominent devotees of Nityananda Prabhu were Sadasiva Kaviraja and his son Purushottama dasa, who was the tenth gopala.
CC Adi 11.39: From birth, Purushottama dasa was merged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, and he always engaged in childish play with Lord Krishna.
CC Adi 11.40: Shri Kanu Thakura, a very respectable gentleman, was the son of Purushottama dasa Thakura. He was such a great devotee that Lord Krishna always lived in his body.
CC Adi 11.41: 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.
CC Adi 11.42: The twenty-seventh prominent devotee of Nityananda Prabhu was Acarya Vaishnavananda, a great personality in devotional service. He was formerly known as Raghunatha Puri.
CC Adi 11.43: Another important devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu was Vishnudasa, who had two brothers, Nandana and Gangadasa. Lord Nityananda Prabhu sometimes stayed at their house.
CC Adi 11.44: Paramananda Upadhyaya was Nityananda Prabhu's great servitor. Shri Jiva Pandita glorified the qualities of Shri Nityananda Prabhu.
CC Adi 11.45: The thirty-first devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu was Paramananda Gupta, who was greatly devoted to Lord Krishna and highly advanced in spiritual consciousness. Formerly Nityananda Prabhu also resided at his house for some time.
CC Adi 11.46: The thirty-second, thirty-third, thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth prominent devotees were Narayana, Krishnadasa, Manohara and Devananda, who always engaged in the service of Lord Nityananda.
CC Adi 11.47: The thirty-sixth devotee of Lord Nityananda was Hoda Krishnadasa, whose life and soul was Nityananda Prabhu. He was always dedicated to the lotus feet of Nityananda, and he knew no one else but Him.
CC Adi 11.48: Among Lord Nityananda's devotees, Nakadi was the thirty-seventh, Mukunda the thirty-eighth, Surya the thirty-ninth, Madhava the fortieth, Shridhara the forty-first, Ramananda the forty-second, Jagannatha the forty-third and Mahidhara the forty-fourth.
CC Adi 11.49: Shrimanta was the forty-fifth, Gokula dasa the forty-sixth, Hariharananda the forty-seventh, Sivai the forty-eighth, Nandai the forty-ninth and Paramananda the fiftieth.
CC Adi 11.50: Vasanta was the fifty-first, Navani Hoda the fifty-second, Gopala the fifty-third, Sanatana the fifty-fourth, Vishnai the fifty-fifth, Krishnananda the fifty-sixth and Sulocana the fifty-seventh.
CC Adi 11.51: The fifty-eighth great devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu was Kamsari Sena, the fifty-ninth was Ramasena, the sixtieth was Ramacandra Kaviraja, and the sixty-first, sixty-second and sixty-third were Govinda, Shriranga and Mukunda, who were all physicians.
CC Adi 11.52: Among the devotees of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, Pitambara was the sixty-fourth, Madhavacarya the sixty-fifth, Damodara dasa the sixty-sixth, Sankara the sixty-seventh, Mukunda the sixty-eighth, Jnana dasa the sixty-ninth and Manohara the seventieth.
CC Adi 11.53: The dancer Gopala was the seventy-first, Ramabhadra the seventy-second, Gauranga dasa the seventy-third, Nrisimha-chaitanya the seventy-fourth and Minaketana Ramadasa the seventy-fifth.
CC Adi 11.54: Vrindavana dasa Thakura, the son of Shrimati Narayani, composed Shri Chaitanya-mangala .
CC Adi 11.55: Shrila Vyasadeva described the pastimes of Krishna in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The Vyasa of the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was Vrindavana dasa.
CC Adi 11.56: Among all the branches of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, Virabhadra Gosani was the topmost. His subbranches were unlimited.
CC Adi 11.57: No one can count the unlimited followers of Nityananda Prabhu. I have mentioned some of them just for my self-purification.
CC Adi 11.58: All these branches, the devotees of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, being full of ripened fruits of love of Krishna, distributed these fruits to all they met, flooding them with love of Krishna.
CC Adi 11.59: All these devotees had unlimited strength to deliver unobstructed, unceasing love of Krishna. By their own strength they could offer anyone Krishna and love of Krishna.
CC Adi 11.60: I have briefly described only some of the followers and devotees of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Even the thousand-mouthed Sesha Naga cannot describe all of these unlimited devotees.
CC Adi 11.61: With an ardent desire to serve the purpose of Shri Rupa and Shri Raghunatha, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, following in their footsteps.
A song by Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura
mana nityananda bali daka
emana dayala prabhu ara na paibe kabhu
hridaya kamale kari rakha
kiba se madura lila natana kirtana kala
atiba ganbhira avatara
apanara gupudhane ani martte kari dane
trana kaila e tina samsara
parasa manira gune tuccha lage mora mane
lei parasile hema kare
nitai chaitanya gune gana kare katajane
ratana haila ghare ghare
amode baliya hari nama sankirtana kari
premabese pade lotaiya
kahe vrindavana dasa emata karila asa
banchita rahinu abhagiya
O my mind, please chant the Name of Nityananda.
You'll never get such a merciful Lord again.
Keep Him within the lotus of your heart.
His sweet pastimes of chanting and dancing are wonderful.
He's the most merciful avatara.
He distributed His hidden treasure to everyone.
He thus delivered the three worlds.
The touchstone's quality of turning iron into gold seems insignificant to me.
But many persons glorify the qualities of Nitai-Gauranga.
They made jewels in every house.
I happily do hari-nama-sankirtana
I roll on the ground in ecstatic prema.
Vrindavana dasa says I desire Their lotus feet since I'm the most unfortunate.
01C Ramadasa Abhirama
abhiramo 'dhuna mahan
dvatrimsata janair eva
vahyam kastham uvaha yah
"The cowherd boy named Shridama appeared in Lord Gauranga's pastimes as Ramadasa Abhirama dasa, who carried a flute made of a bamboo stick with sixteen knots." (Shri Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, text 126)
gayako nartakas caiva malyas candana-jivanah
"The gopa named Shridama has a fair complexion that is fair and ruddy. He is splendid like a red lotus flower, expert and singing and dancing, fond of flower garlands and sandal paste and expert at writing love letters. He displays the ecstatic symptoms of perspiring and standing erect of the bodies hairs."
(Brihad-Gautamiya-Tantra, Shri Govinda-Vrndavanam, 1.155-156)
"Out of all these confidential friends, Shridama is considered to be the chief. Shridama used to put on a yellow colored dress. He would carry a buffalo horn and his turban was of a reddish, copper color. His bodily complexion was blackish and around his neck there was a nice garland. He would always challenge Krishna in joking friendship. Let us pray to Shridama to bestow His mercy upon us! Sometimes Shridama used to address Krishna: "Oh, you are so cruel that you left us alone on the bank of Yamuna and we were all mad from not seeing You here. If You now want to pacify us, You must embrace each one of us with Your arms. But believe me, my dear friend, a moments absence from You creates great havoc, not only for us but for the cows also. Everything becomes disarranged and we become mad after You." (Nectar of Devotion, Fraternal Devotion)
Shri Abhirama Thakura was known as Abhirama Gopala and also as Rama dasa Bhirama dasa. "Who was previously known as Shridama, a gopa during Krishna-lila, is now renowned as Abhirama or Rama dasa. He was the favorite of Nityananda Prabhu.
One day, Krishna, Balarama and their cowherd friends were playing a game of hide and seek. In the middle of Their game, Krishna decided to go to Nadia to enjoy His pastimes there, and so, taking with Him Balarama and all Their friends, He advented Himself in Navadwipa. Somehow or other, He forgot Shridama, who remained in his hiding place in a cave. After a while Krishna noticed that Shridam had been left behind and sent Balarama as Nityananda, Who found Shridam and told him: "Come on! We've all gone to Nadia to play there!" Shridama asked, "Who are You?" "I'm your Lord Balarama. Can't you recognize me?"
"You can't be my Lord Balaram. You're too small."
"If you don't believe Me, then take off running. If I can't catch you within ten paces, then you'll know I'm not Balarama." "All right! Catch me if You can!"
Shridama took off running, but Nityananda Prabhu immediately caught him. But now Shridama told Him, "Now lookee here, You dudes left me behind, so I ain't goin' to yer Nuddia or whatever the joint is called."
Nityananda Prabhu kept coaxing him but Shridama was adamant. Finally he manifested an expansion of himself, Rama dasa, who agreed to go. But Shridam still wanted to remain behind as his feelings were greatly hurt.
Rama dasa was also dissatisfied and very prone to anger. When Nityananda Prabhu's first child was born, Abhirama Thakura came to offer his obeisances to the child, who died on the spot. In this way, seven of Nityananda's children had to depart from this world just after taking birth. Finally a daughter, Ganga-devi, was born to Nityananda Prabhu and Vasudha devi. When, after offering his obeisances to the child, Abhirama Thakur saw that the baby was unaffected he exclaimed, "This time we havn't been deceived!" Then he immediately composed one hundred verses in praise of Gangadevi. When Viracandra Prabhu took his birth, Abhirama again came to offer his obeisances. When he saw that Viracandra was unaffected, he composed Shri Birbhadrastakam.
If Abhirama Thakura would offer his obeisances to any stone other then a salagram-sila, that stone would crack. One time, Abhirama Thakur came to Shri Khanda, wanting to meet Raghunandana Thakura. Mukunda dasa was aware of his reputation and thus told the Thakura that Raghunandana wasn't there. Feeling disappointed, Abhirama departed. When Raghunandan heard that Abhirama Thakura had come to meet him, he ran to catch up with the Thakura. Finally he met him at Bor Danga, where they danced together in ecstasy. When Raghunandana was dancing his nupur (ankle bracelet) came off and fell down at Akaihat, where Kaliya Krishna dasa used to do his bhajan. This nupur is still being worshiped along with Kaliya Krishna Thakura's Deity at Karvi, not far from Katwa.
Gopala guru Gosvami was also similarly tested by Abhirama Thakura when he was only a small boy living with Mahaprabhu in Puri. By the mercy of Mahaprabhu, Who invested His potency in Gopala guru, the boy emerged unscathed. Abhirama Thakura's Shripat is at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. Khanakhul Krishnanagar can be reached by bus from Tarakeshwar, which is connected by train from Bandel station. It can also be reached by bus from Atapur, the Shripat of Patameshvari dasa Thakura. His wife's name was Shri Malini-devi. His worshipable Deity Shri Gopinathji Who, after first appearing to him in a dream, manifested Himself at Khanakhul Krishnanagar. The legend is that He appeared in a dream to Abhirama Thakura and said, "I am within the earth here. Please take Me out and worship Me." Abhirama dasa excavated in that place and found within the womb of the earth the all-enchanting form of Shri Gopinathji. That place where the deity was found became known as Ram Kund. "In the place where Shri Gopinathji advented Himself a lake was formed, and the water contained therein was sweet as nectar. Whoever bathed in or drank that water became beside himself with ecstasy. Thereafter, this land has become famous as Ram Kund. Having heard of these divine pastimes of Shri Gopinathji an incessant flow of people descended on that place like the waters of the Ganges River."
One day while in a state of rapture in rememberance of Shri Krishna, Abhirama Thakura, in the mood of cowherd boy, desired to play the flute. In the madness of ecstatic love he began to search in all directions for one. Then he saw before him a large trunk of a tree which not even sixteen men could lift. Out of this he fashioned a flute and began to play it. "Rama dasa, one of the chief branches, was full of fraternal love of Godhead. He made a flute from a stick with sixteen knots."
Shri Abhirama Thakura had a celebrated whip, whose name was Jaya-Mangala. Whoever was touched with that whip had the symptoms of love of Krishna awakened within their person. One day, Shrinivasa
Acarya came to meet Abhirama Thakura. After touching him three times with his whip, his wife Malini-devi exclaimed, "Thakura, don't beat him anymore! Restrain yourself! He is just a boy. He'll become overly excited by the touch of your whip." Meanwhile, Shrinivasa had become completely drowned in Krishna-prema. When Shri
Gaurasundara ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Gaudadesa (Bengal), he sent with him Shri Rama dasa, Shri Gadadhar dasa and others. The atheists trembled in fear at the sight of Abhirama Thakura. He was a learned scholar of the scriptures. According to the desire of Nityananda Prabhu he married. His disappearance is on the seventh day of the dark fortnight of the month of Caitra.
The descendents of the disciples of Abhirama Thakura are still living within the districts of Hugli and Bankura, at Krishnanagar, Amta, Vishnupur and Kotalpur.
02 Sundarananda Thakura
"Sundarananda, another branch of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, was Lord Nityananda's most intimate servant. Lord Nityananda perceived the life of Vrajabhumi in his company." More »« Less
"Shri Sundarananda was an ocean of devotional mellows and one of the principle associates of Nityananda."
In Krishna-lila he was the gopala Sudama. His Shripat was in Maheshpur, which is within the present district of Jessore, Bangladesh. Nowadays only his birthplace can be seen there. He never married but the descendents of his brother and disciples are still residing there. Sundarananda was an ocean of mellows of love of Krishna. He is one of the main associates of Lord Nityananda. His disappearance is on the Kartik purnima. His samadhi is in Vrindavana and his worshipable Deity, Shri Kalachand, are residing in the 'new' Govindaji Mandira.
03 Dhananjaya Pandita
Dhananjaya Pandita in whose heart the Lord constantly resided, was a great devotee of Lord Nityananda. Dhananjaya Pandita was very exalted. At every moment Lord Nityananda stayed in his heart. CB Antya Ch 5.733.
CC Adi 11.31: The sixteenth dear servant of Nityananda Prabhu was Dhananjaya Pandita. He was very much renounced and always merged in love of Krishna & is Vasudama in Krishna Lila.
04 Gauridasa Pandita
Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, in describing the branches of the main trunk (Nityananda) of the tree nurtured by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, praised Gauri dasa Pandita in this way: "Gauri das Pandit's loving devotion was very intense and powerful. He especially empowered himself to deliver, as well as to receive, love of Krishna. He completely surrendered himself along with his caste distinction and his religious dictates at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu were the Lords of his life."
His father's name was Shri Kamsari Misra and his mother's name Shri Kamala Devi. Together they had six son: Damodara, Jagannatha, Surya dasa, Gauri dasa, Krishna dasa and Nrsimha Chaitanya. Amongst twelve cowherd boys in Vraja, Gauri dasa was Subal Sakha.
Across the Ganges from Santipur, in a small town called Ambika Kalna, which is within the present district of Barddhama, is where Gauri dasa Pandita's temple is located. His worshipable Deities Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda are still residing in all their splendor there. There is a railway station at Ambika Kalna on the Howrah-Navadvipa line. From there one can proceed by ricksaw to Mahaprabhu Mandira. In the temple is an old copy of the Bhagavad-gita on palm leaves which is supposed to have been written by the hand of Mahaprabhu Himself. There is also an oar from a boat which has an interesting story behind it.
One day, the two Lords Chaitanya and Nityananda came to Kalna from Santipur by boat, paddling it themselves. Lord Chaitanya kept the oar in His hand, and when He entered Gauri dasa's house He gave it to him, saying, "With this you should cross over the ocean of material existence, taking all the living entities with you."
Gauri dasa Pandita's older brother, Surya dasa Sarakkali, had two daughters, Shri Vasudha and Jahnava Devi. He gave them in marriage to Nityananda Prabhu. Near the conclusion of His Navadvipa pastimes, when Mahaprabhu desired to accept sannyasa, He came to Kalna to bid farewell to Gauri dasa. At that time Gauri dasa became extremely afflicted by separation. Hereafter is a nice song which describes what occured at that time.
"In the Thakur Pandit's house, Lord Gauranga was dancing ecstatically, revolving around and around, while Lord Nityananda chanted 'Hari! Hari!' Gauri dasa, however, was crying very piteously and incessantly. He fell at the Lord's feet and begged Him, 'Please don't ever go away from here! Just honor this one request: stay here in Ambikanagar - this is my last submission at your lotus feet. If You go away, surely I'll die. Don't try to trick me like You did the gopis, giving some high philosophy about Your 'Bhava-murti' (or anything like that). I must keep You here in such a way that I can see You. You two brothers just stay here with me, thus everyone will become liberated. Again I am petitioning You, don't leave me 'Gaur Hari' (what's that mean exactly?). Then I'll know that You are the deliverers of the fallen."
"Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu replied, 'Gauri dasa! Give up this idea. You can just serve My Deity form, for I am personally present in that form also. You should know this to be a fact. Just accept what I am telling you as the truth."
"Hearing this, Gauri dasa simply let out a deep sigh and continued to cry piteously. Again the two brothers tried to console him but his heart refused to be pacified.
"Dina Krishna dasa is praying at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya, that these two brothers might remain there. Thus the two of them were bound by the love of Gauri dasa and therefore the Lord is known as bhakta-vatsala or one who is affectionate to His devotees.
"Seeing that Gauri dasa was extremely distraught, Mahaprabhu spoke to him very gently, 'All right, We'll stay with you. Know in all certainty that We two brothers will stay in your house.'
"Consoling him in this way the two Lords came before him in the company of two Deities. Seeing the four of them standing before him, Panditji was astonished, and though tears continued to flow from his eyes, now it was not out of sadness. The Lord again spoke to him, 'Whichever two you choose, you can keep in your room. Whichever two you can recognise as Us will stay with you and depend on you to feed Us. Know this to be the truth of truths within your heart.
"Having heard Mahaprabhu speak these words, Gauri dasa immediately began to cook. He fed all four of them sumptuously and then offered them nice cloths and garlanded them with garlands of lotus flowers. Then he offered pan and betal nuts for chewing and smeared sandlewood paste on Their bodies. By serving them in various ways, he gradually regained his former composure and at the same time decided which two he would keep in his house. Due to the Pandita's pure love, two Lords remained with him and asked him to feed them when they were hungry, while the other two went to Nilacala Puri. Gauri dasa Pandita served his two Lords according to Their whims and enjoyed many pastimes with Them.
"Praying at the lotus feet of such a rare devotee as Pandita Gauri das, Dina Krishna dasa concludes his song. Becoming subservient to Gauri dasa' love, Shri Shri Gaur-Nityananda accepted the arca vigraha form and remained with him to enjoy sporting pastimes."
One day the two Lords smilingly spoke to Panditji "Gauri dasa! Previously you were our friend, Subal. Don't you remember how we used to play and frolic, enjoying different pastimes on the banks of the Yamuna?" Speaking in this sweet way, suddenly they took the form of Krishna and Balarama. Dressed like cowherd boys, They held buffalo horn, cane and flute in Their hands. Their heads were decorated with peacock feathers and around their necks were garlands of forest flowers, and their lotus feet were decorated with ankle bells. Gauri dasa also assumed his previous appearance and in this way they enjoyed some fun together. After some time, Gauri dasa calmed himself, and the two Lords againsat down on the simhasana.
Every day, Gauri dasa used to cook many varieties of vegetables and offer them to Their Lordships. He was always absorbed in their service and never perceived his own bodily discomfort. As the years went by, gradually he attained a ripe old age. Nevertheless he continued to serve his Lordships as before, cooking many various preparations for Them. Seeing that he was having to exert himself so much to do so much cooking, one day Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda feigned anger and refused to eat. Panditji was in turn hurt by this and said, "If You get happiness by not eating, then why do You have me cook in the first place?" After saying this he became silent.
Lord Gauranga smiled and replied softly, "Your cooking is no small accomplishment. You prepare rice and so many varieties of vegetables. You won't listen if We request you not to make so much but We can't bear to see your hard labor. Whatever you can prepare easily that would be best."
Hearing Their statement, Gauri dasa replied, "Anyway, whatever I have prepared today, please accept that. From tomorrow I won't feed You with so many preparations. I'll just put some sak on Your plate." Having heard the reply of Gauri dasa, the two Lords laughed and began to eat.
Sometimes Gauri dasa desired to decorate Their Lordships with ornaments. Coming to know of this, Shri Gaura-Nityananda put on various ornaments and exhibited themselves in Their full opulence. When Panditji entered the temple, he smiled with wonder. "Where did so many ornaments come from?" He was simply astonished in ecstasy. In this way Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda began to manifest Their opulences through various sporting pastimes in Gauri das's house.
Gauri dasa's dearmost disciple was Shri Hrdayananda. One time, on the occasion of Lord Gaursundara's birth anniversary, Gauri dasa went to visit some of his disciples. At the time of going he left Hrdayananda in charge of worshiping the Deities, which Hrdayananda began to do in full love. Gradually the appearance day of Mahaprabhu drew very near. When there were only three days remaining, still Gauri dasa hadn't returned home yet. Hrdayananda deliberated for some time about what should be done and finally, being prompted on his own, sent out invitations to all the devotees and disciples to attend the festival.
Just after that, Gauri dasa returned. Hrdayananda informed his gurudeva that he had written out invitations and had then sent them to the devotees. Within himself, Gauri dasa was very pleased by Hrdayananda's service, but externally he feigned great anger and said, "Even in my presence you show so much independence, sending out invitations hither and thither. Anyway, whatever this upstart has done is done, but he won't be able to remain here."
Hearing this, Hrdayananda offered his obeisances and went to sit underneath a tree on the banks of the Ganga. Shortly thereafter, a rich man passing by in a boat hailed Hrdayananda, wishing to make a donation. But instead of accepting the donation himself, Hrdayananda sent him to his guru. However, Gauri dasa sent the man back to Hrdayananda and told him to accept the donation and with it to hold a festival on the banks of the Ganga.
As per the order of his guru, Hrdayananda began to make the necessary preparations. Gradually, the people that he had sent invitations to began to arrive, but upon hearing that a festival was being held on the Ganges riverbank, they proceeded there first. In the company of the many devotees, Hrdayananda chanted and dance ecstatically. The sankirtan was so blissful and attractive that Their Lordships themselves, Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda, came to take part in the dancing and singing. Hrdayananda was very fortunate to see all of this.
Meanwhile, Gauri dasa was also holding a festival in his house. When the time came for making an offering, the pujari, Boro Ganga dasa Pandita entered the Deity room only to find that there were no Deities. He immediately informed Gauri dasa. Gauri dasa could understand the matter very well and, smiling, he picked up a stick and proceeded towards the kirtana festival on the banks of the Ganges. Arriving there, he saw the two transcendental brothers engaged in ecstatic dancing. Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda also saw Gauri dasa approaching in an angry mood with a stick in his hand, and They quickly and silently entered the temple of Hrdayananda's heart. Seeing this Gauri das couldn't restrain his tears of ecstasy. He forgot his anger and ran towards Hrdayananda with his arms outstretched. Firmly embracing him he said, "You are so fortunate! From today your name is Hrdaychaitanya."
Gauri dasa began to bathe him with his tears as Hrdaychaitanya fell at his lotus feet. Then Gauri dasa took Hrdaychaitanya and all of the devotees to his courtyard where intense chanting and dancing continued. The assembled Vaishnavas filled the day with the vibrations of "Hari! Hari!" In this way the birth anniversary celebration of Gaursundara was observed. Thereafter Gauri dasa appointed Hrdaychaitanya as the sevaka of the Deities.
His disappearance is on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Sravana.
In Vrindavana, on the banks of the Yamuna, there is a place called Dhir Samir. Gauri dasa Pandita's samadhi is located here as are his worshipable Deities, Shri Shri Syama-Raya.
05 Kamalakara Pippalai
"Kamalakara Pippalai is said to have been the third Gopala, Mahabala. His behavior and love of Godhead were uncommon, and thus he is celebrated all over the world."
He is referred to as Kamalakanta Pippalai in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata. In Krishna-lila, his name is Mahabala. In the Shripat Parjatan and Vaishnava-acara-darpane it is said that he was present during the Danda Mahotsava at Panihati (Sakabda 1439), and also at the festival at Kheturi, (Sakabda 1504). He was also present at the festival honoring the disappearance of dasa Gadadhara at Katwa. "Pandit Kamalakanta was extremely intense. Nityananda gave him the village of Saptagram."
Kamalakar Pippalai married later on in life. He had one daughter by the name Vidyonmala-devi. It is mentioned in Nityananda-vamsa-vistara that this daughter was later married to Sudhamaya Cattopadhyaya of Mahesa. (They had a daughter at Puri, Narayani devi, who was later married to Virabhadra Gosai. According to Vaishnava-acara-darpana, however, the son-in-law of Kamalakar is Yadunandana. According to the descendents of Kamalakara Pippalai at Mahesa, his daughter's name was Radharani, and Kamalakar's younger brother's daughter was named Rama-devi.
According to Shri Prasada dasa Adhikari, the fourteenth descendent from Kamalakara Pippalai, who bases his information on the tradition handed down from generation to generation and records within the temple of Jagannath at Mahesa, Kamalakara Pippalai's birthplace was Khalijuli, a village near the Sundarvana jungles. He appeared in a family of Suddha-srotriya-radhi-sreni brahmana, Batsya gotra, in the year 1414 Sakabda (Bengali year 899). His father was a wealthy zamindar. His younger brother's name was Nidhi pati.
The Deity of Jagannatha was established by Dhruvananda Brahmacari and the worship was later entrusted to Kamalkara. Kamalkara was ordered in a dream to come there to worship Lord Jagannatha. After he came here his brother set out in search of Him and finally found Him at Mahesh. He tried to persuade the Lord to return with him to his home, but being unsuccessful, he instead brought all his own family members to Mahesa, including the family priest Candibara Thakura. Mahesh was then a jungle, but due to the presence of Kamalakara it became a beautiful village.
Kamalakara also had a son whose name was Caturbhuja. Radharani was married to Kamadeva Pandita of Khardaha, according to the Adhikar family. According to the Vaishnava-acara-darpana, after giving his daughter in marriage, he went to Vrndavana and left his body there.
According to the Adhikari family he passed away in 1485 (Sakabda, Bengali year 970) at the age of 71, but where and how is not known. There is no samadhi at Mahesh. The opinions of the Adhikari family do not tally with all the scrolls (Hey man, what do you mean by scrolls of papyrus, or what?) describing the period. There is no record in the family of his association with Nityananda Prabhu.
The fourth descendent in the line was Rajiva Locana. During his time, the financial condition of the temple was at a low state. Therefore the worship of the Deity was not going on very nicely. However, in the Bengali year 1060, the Nawab of Dhaka donated 1185 bighas of land. At that time the village became known as Jagannathapur. It was situated three miles south-west of Mahesh. Then the finance minister of the Nawab, Gauri Caran Raya Chaudhuri of Panihati, made some changes after there was a dispute regarding payment of taxes. He arranged that Cunakhali Pargana would pay the taxes for Jagannathapur and that property was endowed for the support of the Deity.
The present temple was constructed by Nayan Cand Mallick in 1162. That family was from Calcutta at Pathuriya Ghata. The previous temple was on the banks of the Ganga but was destroyed due to the shifting of the river.
The present rath (chariot) of Lord Jagannatha, constructed of iron, was constructed under the patronage of Krishna Candra Babu Mahesaya in the year 1292. This required an expenditure of twenty thousand coins. An earlier ratha had been reduced to ashes by a fire. The first ratha was built by Krishna Ram Basu Dewan, from Syambazaar in Calcutta. When that became old, his son, Guru Caran Basu Dewan, made a new one. In the year 1260 that one also burned. Then his son, Kalacand Basu Ray Bahadur, again built another one.
Lord Jagannatha's Gunja bati was built by Rangamayi Dasi Mallick in 1264. The present descendents of Kamalakara have the title Adhikara.
His dissappearance occured on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Caitra, in Vraja-dham.
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.
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." "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."
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 , 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.
07 Mahesh Pandita
"He who was previously a very munificent cowherd boy has now appeared as Mahesa Pandita. In ecstatic love, he dances like a madman as though intoxicated to the beat of a kettle drum."
According to Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, Mahesa Pandita was formerly Mahabahu sakha in Krishna-lila. He was a companion of Nityananda Prabhu, and was present at the Danda Mahotsava held at Paninati. In Bhakti-Ratnakara, Taranga Nine, it is stated that when Narottama dasa Thakura came to visit Khardaha, he had darsana of the lotus feet of Mahesa Pandita. Vrindavana dasa Thakura has described him as a 'param mahanta' due to the fact that he was very dear to Nityananda Prabhu.
Mahesa Pandita's original Shripat at Sukh Sagor merged into the bed of the Ganges, but his worshipable deities of Shri Shri Nitai-Gauranga as well as his samadhi were moved to Palpara. There is a railway station there, between Simrali and Cakdaha stations, on the Sealdah-Krishnanagar line.
Shri Bhaktivedanta Swami writes, "The village of Mahesa Pandita, which is known as Palapaaa, is situated in the district of Nadia within a forest about one mile south of the Cakadaha railway station. The Ganges flows nearby. It is said that formerly Mahesa Pandita lived on the eastern side of Jiraaa in the village known as Masipura or Yanipura, and when Masipura merged in the riverbed of the Ganges, the Deities there were brought fto Palapaaa, which is situated in the midst of various villages such as Beleaaaga, Berigrama, Sukhasagara, Canduae and Manasapota. (There are about fourteen villages, and the entire neghborhood is known as Paacanagara Paragaaa.) It is mentioned that Mahesa Pandita joined the festival performed by Sra Nityananda Prabhu at Panihati. Narottama dasa Thakura also joined in the festival, and Mahesa Pandita saw him on that occasion. In the temple of Mahesa Pandita there are Deities of Gaura-Nityananda, Sra Gopanatha, Sra Madana-Mohana and Radha-Govinda as well as a Salagrama-sila.? Mahesa Pandita used to dance in the ecstasy of Krishna-prema just like a madman.
08 Purushottama Dasa
From the time he was a small boy, Purusottama dasa Thakura was dedicated to constantly meditating on the lotus feet of Shri Nityananda Prabhu. The cowherd boy Stoka Krishna appeared in Gaura lila as Purushottama dasa. More »« Less
"The twenty-third and twenty-fourth prominent devotees of Nityananda Prabhu were Sadasiva Kaviraja and his son Purusottama dasa, who was the tenth gopala. Since birth, Purusottama dasa was merged in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, and he was always engaged in childish play with Lord Krishna." "Shri Sadasiva Kaviraja was extremely fortunate. His son's name was Shri Purusottama das. He was never externally consious of his material body. Nityananda Candra enacted many pastimes from within his heart."
Shri Bhaktivedanta Swami writes: ?Sadasiva Kaviraja and Nagara Puruaottama, who were father and son, are described in the Chaitanya-Bhagavata as maha-bhagyavan, greatly fortunate. They belonged to the vaidya caste of physicians. The Gaura-ganodesa -dapika, verse 156, says that Candravali, a most beloved gopa of Krishna, later took birth as Sadasiva Kaviraja were great devotees of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Puruaottama dasa Thakura sometimes lived at Sukhasagara, near the Cakadaha and Simurali railway stations. All the Deities installed by Puruaottama Thakura were formerly situated in Beleaaaga-grama, but when the temple was destroyed, the Deities were brought to Sukhasagara. When that temple merged inthe bed of the Ganges, the Deities were brought with Jahnava-mata?s Deity to Sahebaaaaga Beaigrama. Since that place also has been destroyed, all the Deities are now situated in the village named Canduaegrama, which is situated one mile up from Palapaaa, as referred to above.?
Kaviraja GoSwami remarks about the son of Puruaottama dasa Thakura, ?Shri Kanu Thakura, a very respectable gentleman, was the son of Puruaottama dasa Thakura. He was such a great devotee that Lord Krishna always liked in his body.?
Purusottama dasa Thakura?s wife?s name was Jahnava. She passed away just after bearing Puruaottama dasa Thakura?s son Kanu. Hearing this news, Nityananda Prabhu went to the house of Puruaottama dasa Thakura and took his son Kanu with him to his own village of Khaaadaha. Kanu Thakura was born on the ratha-yatra day in the year 1450 Saka era. Seeing his great devotion, Nityananda Prabhu gave him the name Siau Krishnadasa. When he was five years old, Kanu Thakura was taken to Vandavana by Jahnava Mata. Upon seeing the great devotion of the boy, Java GoSwami and the other Goswami?s called him Kanai Thakura. The people say that one day Kanai Thakura was in Vandavana, dancing in the ecstasy of kartana and while dancing, a bangle fell from his feet. At that time he said, ?At the place where this bangle has fallen I shall make my residence.? At present that bangle is kept in a temple in a village called Khana grama in the Yaaohara district of Bengal, which is where the original family home of Kanai Thakura was locatedThe book called Prema-vilasa observes that Kanai Thakura was present at the great festival of Kheturi-grama with Shri Jahnava Mata. Just as his father Puruaottama dasa Thakura had accepted many disciples from brahmana families, so also did Kanai Thakura.
Shri Purusottama Thakura had three main disciples: Shri Madhavacarya, Shri Yadavacarya and Devakinandana dasa, who were born in Kulina brahmana families. Madhavacarya married Nityananda Prabhu's daughter, Ganga-devi. Devakinandana was the author of the book Vaisnav-vandane. Purusottama Thakura's Shripat was previously at Sukhasagar. Now his Deities are at Candriya Gram.
This temple is called Vasu-Jahnava Pat. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Kanai Thakura, the son of Purusottama, was the adopted son of Shri Jahnava.
Shri Purusottama Thakura was the cowherd boy Stokakrishna in Krishna-lila.
09 Nagara Purushottama
In Gaura-Ganesha Dipika it is said: Dama-gopa, who had been Lord Krishna's cowherd friend in Vraja, appeared in Lord Chaitanya's pastimes as Nagara Purusottama. Nagara Purusottama was born in a family of phyisicians, and his father's name was Sadashiva.
10 Parameshvara Dasa
Shri Paramesvara dasa Thakura appeared in a family of physicians. His Shripat is at Atapur, which was on the Canpandanga branch of the Howrah-Amrah rail line. Rail service on this line has been discontinued. Direct bus service is available from Howrah station; it is about a 2 hour journey from there. He was Arjuna Gopa in Krishna lila.
Atapur was previously known as Visakhala. Shri Shri Radha-Govinda are still residing at his Shripat. In front of the temple are two Bakul trees and in between them is Paramesvara Thakura's Samadhi mandira. Shri Krishna das Kaviraj Gosvami has written: "Paramesvara das, said to be the fifth gopala of Krishna-lila, completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Nityananda. Anyone who remembers his name, Paramesvara dasa, will get love of Krishna very easily."
Shri Kavi Karnapura Gosvami has written: namnarjunah sakha prag yo dasah paramesvarah, "Paramesvara dasa Thakura was previously the cowherd friend of Shri Krishna named Arjuna." Shri Vrindavana dasa Thakura has written:
Nityananda jivan paramesvar das, jahar vigrahe Nityananda vilasa
Krishna das paramesvar das dvi jon, gopabhave hoi hoi kore sarvakkon
"Paramesvara is the life of Lord Nityananda and his form (body) is the place of his pastimes. Krishna dasa and Paramesvara, being in the mood of cowherd boys, are always raising a commotion."
When Jahnava Mata attended the festival at Kheturi, Paramesvara accompanied her and went to Vrindavana with her as well. He installed Shri Shri Radha Gopinatha at Atapur in accordance with the desire of Shri Jahnava-devi, who was personally present during the installation celebration.
paramesvari dasa thakura bandibo sabdhane
shrigale loyar nam sankirtan sthane
One day, near Shri Rampur, at Akna Mahesh (the Shripat of Kamalakara Pippalai), there was a festival of nama-sankirtan going on within the temple of Lord Jagannatha there. Paramesvara was present and was dancing in a completely God-intoxicated state. At that time some miscreants passed by there, and seeing a dead fox lying on the road, they picked it up and threw it into the midst of the sankirtan party.
The highly exalted Vaishnavas present didn't feel any anger towards those ignorant fools, but Paramesvara felt sad to see the unfortunate dead fox, and so by his merciful glance he brought it back to life. Then that fox trotted out of the nat-mandir (kirtan hall) to the utter bewilderment of those miscreants, who then immediately fled from the spot.
Paramesvara dasa Thakura accompanied the Deity of Radharani that Shri Jahnava-devi sent to Vrindavana for Shri Govinda. He was the very dear servant of Shri Jahnava Mata.
His disappearance is on the full moon day of the month of Vaisakha. On that day the khunti that he used in sankirtan is placed next to his samadhi mandir.
*khunti* - this is a symbol carried on a staff preceeding the kirtana party. Supposedly its history dates from the time when the Kazi gave his promise that no one would ever disturb the sankirtan parties again. This was an emblem of the Kazi, and its presence infront of the sankirtan party indicated that the party was sanctioned by the Kazi and thus no one should disturb them. Today it is decorated with eyes, tilak, flower garlands and cloths, and worshipped as a manifestation of Mahaprabhu Himself.
11 Kala Krishna Dasa
Kaviraja Goswami writes (CC Adi 11.37) that Kaliya Krishna Dasa was one of the principle devotees of Nityananda Prabhu. He knew nothing other than the lotus feet of Shri Nityananda Prabhu. According to Kavi Karnapura?s Gaura-Ganodesh Dipika, He was one of the 12 gopals in Vrindavana, and in the pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavana was known as Lavanga, one of Krishna's cowherd boy friends. More »« Less
His birthplace is in the Bardhaman (Burdwan) district of West Bengal within a short distance from the Railway station at Katwa, at the village called Akai Hatta. This village is situated on the old king?s road between Nabadwipa and Katwa. Akai Hatta is a very small village. On the twelfth day of the dark moon in the month of Caitra, Shri Kaliya Krishna dasa Thakura disappeared. This is not the same Kala Krishna dasa who accompanied Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to South India. At present, Kala Krishnadas's descendents live in different holy places in Bengal.
12 Shridhara Kholavecha
All glories to Shri Kholaveca Shridhara Thakura, who is full of compassion and tenderness. His bananas and radishes were eaten by the Lord Himself, Shri Shri Gauranga Raya. He is Kusumasva cowherd boy in Vraja. More »« Less
Kholaveca Shridhara Thakura lived just on the border of Nadia (Mayapur). He maintained himself by selling bananas, vegetables, banana leaves and cups. Whatever little income he had, fifty percent went for worship of Mother Ganges, and with the rest he somehow or other maintained himself. Towards the end of night, during the early morning hours (brahma muhurta) he would loudly chant Hari Nama. His atheistic hindu neighbours, devoid of devotion, couldn't tolerate this, and they used to berate him with abusive language: "This clumsy, boorish knave couldn't get enough rice to fill his belly, but it is we who have to suffer, as he keeps us awake by his loud moaning in hunger."
Shridhara, however, didn't bother with their ranting and raving. Rather, in great happiness, he simply carried out his own business service. In the bazaar at Bamonpukkur he had a store. He was extremely honest and asked a fair price for his banana leaves and vegetables. He didn't like to haggle over the prices, so he simply asked a fair price to begin with. Thus saving valuable time and energy, he used it to remember the Holy Names.
He didn't like to waste time speaking so much. The customers would simply hand him the correct price and take their goods in exchange. Whatever money he got from selling the various parts of the banana plant, bananas and radishes, he would use half for purchasing flowers and sweets for worship of Mother Ganges. Whatever remained he used for maintaining his household.
Sometimes, as instructed by His mother, Lord Gaurasundara would come to the bazaar to purchase bananas, radishes and spinach. He used to barter with Shridhara all the while cutting jokes. Shridhara would sell his goods at a fixed price, so Shri Gaurasundara would offer half that much. Then Shridhar would get up and try to snatch away the vegetables from Shri Gaurasundara's hands. But He wouldn't let go. Finally it would end up that the two of them would be pulling the vegetables back and forth. Then many people would crowd around to see the fun.
One day Mahaprabhu was haggling over the price of a banana flower with Shridhara. When Shridhara tried to snatch back the banana flower, Mahaprabhu chide, "Why do you behave like this, My dear brother Shridhara? Some think that you are renunciant, but I know that you have so much hidden wealth. You are trying to snatch these things out of My hand, but after so many days, you still don't know who I am? I am the father of the Ganges whom you worship. I am only telling you the truth."
"Shridhara then cried "Vishnu! Vishnu!" and put his hands over his ears. Hearing Nimai Pandita's seeming blasphemy, he thought that perhaps He had gone crazy. But Shridhara then reflected upon Shri Gaurasundara's character very carefully. "Gauranga-sundara's form is beautiful enough to bewilder cupid himself (madana-mohana-rupa-Gauranga-sundara). The beautiful tilaka on His forehead steals one's mind away. His dhoti looks very beautiful tied in three places, and His hair is very wavy.
Two things are very restless: His nature and His eyes. The white brahman thread encircling His body looks so beautiful, as though a subtle form of Ananta is residing on His body. His lips red from chewing pan, He laughs and looks at Shridhara. And again He takes some bananas, picking them up Himself."
As they conversed, Shri Gaurasundara played with the bananas, setting them back down on the ground and then, laughing, picking them up again. Shridhara then said, "Please listen to me, Thakura! I am Your dog, so kindly forgive me. You don't have to pay anything. Take it for free!"
Mahaprabhu replied, "You are very clever, Shridhara! By selling bananas you have become quite wealthy." Then Shridhara, as if to get rid of Him, asked, "My dear Thakura, are there no other stores in this bazaar?" "There are so many, but what is that to Me? You are My regular supplier! Why should I give you up?" "Yes, yes, dear Thakura, now I fall at Your feet. I am defeated by You.
From today, I will give You what You want. You can take things for free."
"But you'll just give Me old, rotten things!"
"Dear Thakura, why should I give you bad vegetables?"
"Then it's all right. Very well, that sounds good."
After disputing in this way for a while, Mahaprabhu went home. Shridhara sat transfixed, gazing after Him. "Someday this boy will be a great liberated soul. How sweetly He speaks and what wonderful expressions He makes! Though He behaves with me in such a ticklish manner, still I feel no remorse in my mind. He doesn't go to any other shop in the market but comes only to me. I am so fortunate!"
Every day Shri Gaurasundara used to eat vegetable preparations of Shridhara's banana stalks and banana flowers from his banana leaf plates and cups.
"The Lord eats what is offered by His devotees. He doesn't even look at what may be offered by nondevotees even though there may be ten million varieties of preparations." Every day, Shri Gaurasundara would go for walks and wander throughout the town with His disciples. One day He came to Shridhara's house. Shridhara knew the Lord very well, having seen Him so many times in the marketplace. Though He did not cut jokes today, Gaurasundara would not leave Shridhara's place. Shridhara offered Shri Gaursundara a seat. Sitting down, Shri Gaurahari told Shridhara, "All day you chant 'Hari, Hari'. You worship Shri Shri Laksmi-Narayana as well. But how is it you are so poor? You have so little to eat and your clothes are so meager!"
"But Thakura, though I may eat little I am not fasting, and as for my clothes, whether they are few or many, still I wear something."
"My dear Shridhara, you may indeed be wearing some cloth, but I see that it is patched in at least ten places. And though you live in a house, there is no thatching on the roof. Just see, the people of Navadwipa worship Goddess Candi and Durga. They get so much material happiness from this, isn't that so?"
"You have spoken correctly, dear Thakura. Still, everyone's days are passing the same. The king lives in a jewelled palace and eats dainty foodstuffs and wears the most excellent apparel. And the birds simply live in the treetops. But tomorrow they will become equals, because everyone has to reap the results of his own activities according to the will of the Lord."
Then Mahaprabhu began to joke again. "Shridhara! I know you have so much wealth, but you are simply hiding it! I am going to tell everyone! I see how you cheat the people!"
"Thakura! You should go home now! I don't want to quarrel with You." "Just one more thing, Shridhara. Whatever you want to give Me, please
bring it now. Unless you give me something, I cannot leave here"
"Look, Pandita! I am a poor man. By selling banana stalks and bananas, I am not even able to feed myself properly. I just don't have anything suitable to give You."
"All right, let your buried riches remain hidden. For now, just give Me some banana stalks, bananas and banana flowers."
Shridhara thought to himself, "This brahmana youngster might be somewhat touched in the head. If I answer back too much He might even beat me. And, because He is the son of a brahmana, if He beats me, I won't be able to retaliate. Then again, I can't afford to give vegetables and bananas away to Him for free everyday. Yet again, because He is a brahmana and thus an expansion of the Lord, whatever service I can render to Him is actually my great fortune."
Then he spoke. "You don't have to pay me anything today, Thakura. Here, take these bananas, banana stalks and banana flowers! But don't quarrel with me anymore."
"If you give away nice things, my dear Shridhara, who can quarrel with you? But give nice ones. Don't give a blind cow in charity to a brahmana!"
Thus having again enjoyed some joking words with Shridhara, Shri Gaurasundara, along with His disciples, got ready to set out for His house. Just as He was about to leave, he again asked Shrid?hara, "What do you think of Me? If you tell Me truthfully, then I'll go."
"You are the son of a brahmana. An expansion of Vishnu."
"Shridhara! I'm surprised you still don't know who I am! I am a cowherd boy! The glories of your Mother Ganges are also due to Me."
"You don't even respect Mother Ganges! As people get older, they become subdued and temperate, but at Your age You are getting more and more restless. Now You had better go home. Don't fight with me anymore."
Hearing Shridhara's parting words, Shri Gaurasundara laughed and went home. For as long as the Lord chooses not to reveal Himself, no one can recognize Him.
For a few more days, Shri Gaurasundara continued with His daily pastimes of learning and education. But then He went to Gayadhama where His mood radically changed. By the time He returned home He was completely intoxicated with love for Krishna. He was now intensely absorbed in the moods of transcendence; the courtyard of Shrivasa Pandita's house was the principal place where these manifestations of divine rapture blossomed forth with the outpouring of His heart. It is not possible to describe the ecstatic transformations which occured in His person. They gradually increased with the passage of day to night and night to day.
One day, Mahaprabhu decided to reveal His true self, and sitting on the throne of Lord Vishnu within Shrivasa Pandit's temple, He began to display His divine potencies. At that time He called His devotees, one after another.
"Bring Shridhara here! Let him see My divine form. He has executed so many penances and austerities and tolerated so much trouble in order to have My darsana."
Though it was the middle of the night, as the devotees approached Shridhara's house, they could hear him chanting the Holy Names. As they arrived, they called out, "Shridhara! Shridhara!" But he was so much absorbed in loudly chanting the Holy Names of Hari that at first he didn't hear them. After a little while he became conscious of their presence and coming out of his house he saw their shining faces in the moonlight. "What brings you here in the middle of the night?"
"Shridhara! Hurry up! Mahaprabhu is calling you. He sent us to bring you!" Simply hearing mention of Mahaprabhu, Shridhara fainted to the ground in a swoon of ecstatic love."
The devotees picked him up and brought him to see Mahaprabhu. Seeing His dear devotee, Mahaprabhu called out, "Shridhara! Come here, come here! In order to get a glimpse of Me, you have performed so much worship in so many births, and in this life as well you have served Me so much. With great satisfaction have I tasted your vegetables, bananas and banana flowers, eaten with rice from your banana leaves. Shridhara, have you forgotten all this?! Shridhara! Just get up and see My divine form. This form even the personified Vedas are not qualified to see."
Shridhara very slowly got up and began to gaze at the divine form of the Lord.
Tamal Shyamal dekhe sei Vishwambhar
Hate Mohan bansi dakkhine Balaram
Mahajyotirmoy sab dekhe vidyaman
Kamala tambul dei hater upare
catur mukh pancamukh age stoti kore
"He saw his Lord Visvambhara, but with a bluish bodily complexion, holding in His hand the flute and accompanied by Balarama standing on His right. Emanating from the Lord and His associates he saw an effulgence illuminating the temple. The goddess of fortune was handing Him betel and pan leaves, while Lord Brahma and Lord Siva continued to recite hymns."
Seeing his Lord Gaurasundara in His form of Syamasundara, Shridhara again fell to the ground in a swoon of love of God. By His touch, Mahaprabhu brought him back to consciousness and told him to offer hymns in praise of Himself. Shridhara replied, "Thakura! I don't know anything."
"My dear Shridhara, whatever you say will be a hymn in praise of Me and I bless you that the goddess of learning, Mother Sarasvati, be present on your tongue."
Then Shridhara proclaimed, "Jaya jaya Mahaprabhu, jaya Visvambhara, (the Maintainer of the universe). Jaya jaya Navadvipa Purandara (Who is full with all beauty). Jaya jaya ananta brahmanda kotinatha (the Lord of tens of millions of universes) Jaya jaya saci punyavati garbhajata (Who took birth from the womb of the pious and chaste Saci).
Jaya jaya Vedagopya jaya dvijaraja (Who is hidden within the Vedas and is the Lord of the brahmanas). Yuge yuge dharma pal kari nana saja (Who comes in various forms to uphold religions during the different ages).
In this way Shridhar offered prayers for almost an hour and a half. Being very pleased, Mahaprabhu told him, "Now ask any benediction from Me."
"Thakura, I don't want any benediction. But if You want to bless me someway then this is my request:
Se brahman kari nilo mor kholapat
Se brahman hauk mor janma janma nath
Se brahman mor sange karilo kondol
Mor Prabhu hauk tar caran yugal
"That brahmana who snatched away my banana leaves and cups, may He be my Lord birth after birth. That brahmana Who would wrangle with me over the price of my bananas, may His lotus feet always be my object of worship."
Having requested this blessing, Shridhara began to cry very loudly.
Seeing his tears of love, the devotees also began to cry. Mahaprabhu replied, "You, Shridhara, are My servant birth after birth. I have tested you in so many ways, but I am extremely pleased with your conduct. I have become indebted to you by your service and love for Me."
Hearing these loving words from Mahaprabhu the devotees made the sky reverberate with the sounds of "Hari! Hari!" "Neither wealth, followers or scholarship do they desire. Who can understand these servants of Shri Chaitanya? What is the effect of learning, wealth, beauty, fame and aristocratic birth, other than to simply increase one's false ego and thus bring about one's end. What Shridhar gained, simply by selling bananas and radishes, is unatainable by the richest of men in tens of millions of ages."
After performing various pastimes with His devotees in Nadianagara, the Lord then desired to perform the pastime of accepting sannyasa in order to deliver all the living entities. The day before His departure He passed in ecstatic dancing and chanting of the Holy Names, and in the evening returned to His house. The devotees accompanied Him there.
"Today how unprecedentedly beautiful Prabhu looks! Smiling so sweetly He is presenting His flower garlands to His various devotees, who are floating in oceans of bliss. Advaita Acarya is here, Shrivasa Pandit and Shri Vakresvara Pandit, and here comes Shridhara with a bottle gourd in his hand, to offer to Mahaprabhu."
Taking the gourd in His hand Mahaprabhu began to laugh. He thought to Himself, "How will I go to take sannyasa without first eating Shridhara's bottle gourd? I can't refuse the offerings of My devotees."
He called His mother - "Ai! Shridhara has taken the trouble to bring this gourd! Cook it and offer it to Krishna."
Just at that time another devotee brought some milk. So Saci Mata prepared halavah from the gourd and milk and after offering to the Deity she brought it before her son. While feeding His devotees He honoured the prasada Himself also.
"Shridhara! How can I refuse what you have brought for Me? But tell Me if you will honor My request."
"Thakura! Just say whatever it is. Why shouldn't I be able to keep Your request?" "Then please come here to My house every day so that I can see you."
After enjoying some joking words with His devotees He instructed them to always engage in Shri Krishna sankirtana. Then He prepared to take rest. In the dead of night He left to accept sannyasa. When He resided at Puri, Shridhara used to come every year with the other Bengali devotees to see Him.
Title: Re: Dvadasha Gopala
User: Igor Date: 2007-01-17 06:08:53
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna
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Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna