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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Navadvipa Krishna Chaitanya Holy Land > Bengal Holy Places > Benapola



Benapola, in the Jessore district, is the place where Shri Haridas Thakur sat and chanted 192 rounds each day on his Tulasi mala consisting of 108 beads. An envious rascal named Ramacandra Khan paid a prostitute and sent her to Shri Haridas in an attempt to dishonor him. The prostitute was beautiful and extremely expert in attracting men. For three nights she came to Haridasji and tried to break his bhajan and turn him from his devotional austerities. Every night Shri Haridas would promise that he would be attentive to her as soon as he finished his prescribed number of rounds. But by dawn he was never finished and she would be obliged to depart.Due to her hearing Haridas chant the sweet and purifying Holy Names of the Supreme Lord, the prostitute's heart became purified. She, realizing her folly, finally fell crying at his feet and begged his forgiveness. A Vaishnava is naturally merciful to all living entities, so Haridas Thakur forgave her and instructed her to donate all her wealth in charity. Thereafter, when she was a penniless mendicant, he gave her Hari Nama initiation. He had her build a small hut on the banks of the Ganges and had her perform bhajan. By the mercy of Shri Haridas she became perfect in a very short time and became famous. Many Vaishnavas and saintly people, if they were in the area, would come and have her darshan.


The meat-eating yavana Muslims wanted to crush Haridas Thakur to show the superiority of their religion. They were incensed with him because Shri Haridas, who was born in a Muslim family, rejected his Muslim heritage and embraced the Vaishnava religion.The Muslim Nawab ordered his soldiers to whip Haridas in 22 public market places and thus kill him. The soldiers caught Haridas and brutally carried out the Nawab's order. But Haridas simply chanted Hari Nama. After 22 market places, he was still chanting. The soldiers in fear, began to worry about how the Nawab would do when they returned Haridas alive. Haridas, understanding their predica­ment, spontaneously fell into a trance. His heart and pulse stopped and his breath ceased. But he internally never stopped chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.The soldiers were relieved. They showed his body to the Nawab who had it thrown into the Ganges. At that time Shri Haridas' body became as light as a feather and he floated on his back down the Ganges. By the will of the Lord, he became conscious again and swam to the banks of the river. In a loud voice he again began chanting Hari Nama.


When the Muslim Nawab saw that Haridas had apparently come back to life, he approached him meekly with folded hands. Thus this same Muslim who had desired to kill him now humbly begged his forgiveness. Haridas actually had not been offended but rather he reflected that it had been a proper punishment for having allowed his ears to hear Vaishnava blasphemy from the mouth of the Nawab. These are some of the glorious pastimes of Shri Namacarya Haridas Thakur, the incarnation of Lord Brahma. At the end of his life he resided close to Lord Chaitanya at Jagannath Puri. When Haridas left his body, Lord Chaitanya Himself carried it in His own arms and together, with all the devotees, He built his samadhi on the beach near the ocean. Hare Krishna!