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The Tota-Gopinatha Temple

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-05-05 05:30:47
Title: The Tota-Gopinatha Temple
User: Damodara Svarupa dasa    Date: 2005-04-05 06:39:35

The Tota-Gopinatha Temple -- By Swami Gaurangapada

The Tota-Gopinatha Temple is situated in a remote area on the Cataka-Parvata sand dunes near the beach, and a tall city water tower; a 15 minute walk from the Samadhi tomb of Haridas Thakur. The Gaudiya Vaishnavas accept that Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu ended His manifest transcendental pastimes in Jagannatha Puri by entering into this Deity of Tota-Gopinatha.

Lord Gauranga ordered Gadadhara Pandit to take care of the Tota-Gopinatha Deity and remain in Jagannatha Puri as a Ksetra Sannyasi. However, due to intense affection for Lord Gauranga, Gadadhara Pandit wanted to give up his life's vow to serve Shri Tota-Gopinatha. Finally, he accepted Shri Gauranga's order, and returned to his deity service in Jagannatha Puri. (M16/130-148)

Gaudiya Vaishnavas accept that Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu ended His manifested pastimes in Jagannatha Puri by entering into the foot of the Tota Gopinatha Deity.
On the far left altar is Lord Balarama and His two wives Revati and Varuni. The middle Deity is Tota Gopinatha, with black Radharani (on the left of Gopinatha) and a black Lalita (to the right of the Lord). Lord Tota Gopinatha is in a sitting position (cross-legged, padmasana). On the right altar are the Dei¬ties of Radha Madana Mohan and Gaura Gadadhara. Shrila Gadadhara Pandita who is none other than Shrimati Radhika Herself in Gauranga’s lila used to worship Lord Tota Gopinatha. He remained in Jagannatha Puri as a Ksetra Sannyasi (one who never leaves the Dham).
According to the priest, this temple is called Tota Gopinatha because Lord Gopinatha appeared within this garden, or tota. In the courtyard of the temple there is a miniature marble impression of feet. These footprints are said to be Radharani's.

On the south eastern corner of the temple of Lord Jagannathdeva near the Sanddunes is the most holy place named “Yameshwar-Tota” . In the oriyan language,Tota means Garden.

Lord Yameshwar Shiva is a form of Lord Shiva other than the five forms of Lord Shiva who are the gate keepers & watchman of Lord Jagannath.Adjoining the temple of Lord Yameshwar Shiva on the southern side there is a most beautiful garden known as Yameshwar Tota. Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu awarded this most auspicious garden as a place of residence to shri Gadadhara Pandit, who is Shrimati Radharani herself in Gauranga’s pastimes.

gadadhara pandit rahila prabhu pashe
yameshwar prabhu jare karaila avase

{Chaitanya Charitamrita ,15.183}

In order to have direct audience of Shri Gadadhar Pandit & to hear his supremely sweet expalnations of Shrimad-Bhagvatam, Lord Shri Gaurangasundar would daily come to Yameshwar Tota. On holding the exquisite beauty of The Yameshwar Tota Garden , Lord Gauranga would immediately remember the divine Grooves or Nikunjas around The Radha-kund & Shyama-kunda in Vrindavava. On the holding the nearby Chataka Parvata Sanddunes , Lord Gauranga would remember the Govardhana Hill of Vrindavan.

Seeeing the gigantic Banyan tree in Yameshwar-Tota , Lord Gauranga would remember the holy place of Vanshivata where Krishna is eternally playing his flute in Vrindavan dham. Seeing the Salt water ocean next to Yameshwar Tota, Lord Gauranga’s rememberance of the Yamuna in Vrindavana was awkened . Thus we can conclude that this Holy place of Yameshwar Tota in Jagannath-Puri dham is completely non-different from Shri Vrindavan Dham & Lord Tota-Gopinath is the self same Vamshidhari Lord Krishna as He manifests in Vrindavan. Shrimati Radharani, Lord’s Hladini Shakti personally resided & served Lord Tota Gopinath in the form of Shri Gadadhar pandit for more than 24 years. Thus there is no doubt, whatsoever that this Temple of Lord Tota Gopinath & the garden of Yameshwar Tota is the direct manifestation of Shri Vrindavan Dham, within the 80 square miles area of Shri Jagannath Puri Dham.

The descriptions of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu coming to visit Lord TotaGopinath & his sweet pastimes there are mentioned in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrata, Antya Lila 4.116 :

jyeshta mase prabhu yameshwar tota aila
bhakta anurodhe taha bhiksa je karila

The pastime goes like this that Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu arrived in Yameshwar Tota one day & became overwhelmed with MahaBhava ecstasy & started calling out “ Where is my Prana-nath Lord Krishna?”

In this way , being absorbed in pure love of his own form of Lord Krishna, he started to dig the sand with his two Lotus hands, searching for Krishna. At that time Shri Gadadhar Pandit caught hold of the two lotus hands of Lord Gauranga & humbly inquired from the Lord the reason for his digging the sand. At that time , Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu asked Shri Gadadhar pandit, “ O Gadadhar ! If this holy place contains some Supreme wealth, Will you accept it? ” Shri Gadadhar Pandit replied , “ O Prabhu !I will accept as the honour the wealth which will be found & offered by you personally as my Life & Soul & as an ornament for my head”. Hearing this, Lord Gauranga replied, “Look Gadadhara, Please behold in this dust here . Don’t you see the tip of most gorgeous hair topknot of my Prana-nath Lord Gopinath here in the ground? Please come & touch it .”

And Low & Behold Shri Gadadhar could see the tip of the head of the most necterean & mellowful deity of Lord Krishna in the ground where Lord Gauranga had indicated.All the devotees became jubilant & ecstatic to see Lord Gopinath burried in the ground & immediately started excavating the deity out of the ground on the orders of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu then personally established this deity of Lord Krishna on the banks of Salt water ocean which is considered non-different from River Yamuna on the banks of Vrindavan. Since the Lord always saw the place of YameshwarTota as Shri Vanshivata , He gave the deity the name of “Gopinath” & instructed Shri GadadharPandit to render Nitya-Seva {Daily Worship & Service to Lord Gopinath}.

shriman rasa rasarambhi
vamshivata tatasthitah
karshan venur svanair gopir
gopinath shriye stunah

This is the verse to offer obeisances & glorification to Lord TotaGopinath, when one arrives at this most holy place.
Translation- “ I exclusively worship & glorify the most astonishingly opulent Lord Gopinath ,The Lord of Shri Radha & the Originator of The Supreme mellows of the Rasa-dance, Who stands in his Most Enchanting Three fold Bending form on the banks of theYamuna at Vanshivata.He plays his divine Venu{Flute} & attracts the Gopis for the Rasa-dance with the transcendental sound vibration of his flute.”

The beauty of Lord TotaGopinath is described by VyasaAvatar of Gaura-Lila, Shri VrindavanDasThakur in Shri Chaitanya-Bhagvat, Antya khanda, 1.114-116 :

gadadhar bhavane mohan gopinath
achena je hena nanda kumar sakshat.

“ In the home of Shri GadadharPandit at YameshwarTota, is the most enchanting deity of Tota Gopinath. He is directly Lord NandaKumar Krishna himself”.

apne chaitanya tane kariya chena kole
ati pashandiu vigrah dekhi bhule .

“ Lord Gauranga himself personally took Lord Tota Gopinath on his lap in great happiness. The characteristic feature of Lord Tota-Gopinath is that the hearts of even the most evil , cruel & sinful people {ati pashandiu}melts in love by seeing this deity. ”

dekhi shri muralimukha anger bhangima
nityananda ananda asrura nahi sima.

“Seeing the beauty of the flute on the lotus lips of Lord Tota-Gopinath & the charasmatic well formed bodily limbs of the Lord, there was no limit to the tears of loving bliss flowing from the lotus eyes of Lord Nityananda Prabhu”.

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