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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Navadvipa Krishna Chaitanya Holy Land > Koladwip > Kuliya Dharmashala

Kuliya Dharmasala


This is the bhajan place of Shrila Paramahamsa Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaj. He appeared around 1820 in a family of grain merchants near the village of Tepakhola on the banks of the Padma River. He entered householder life as a young man, but upon the death of his wife, he became a renunciate. Near to the year 1863, he left for Vraja where he took initiation from Shri Bhagavad das Babaji Maharaj, a disciple of Vaishnava Sarvabhauma Jagannath das Babaji. Then for almost 30 years, he performed bhajan under the trees of Vrindavan, Govardhan, Radha Kunda, Nandagram, Surya Kunda, Varsana, and other places in the 168 mile circumference of Vraja Mandala. His mood was intense renunciation.His renunciation was so deep that when hungry he would at times take mud from the river Yamuna and eat it. He would then chant "Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!" in a loud and deep voice. Remember­ing Krishna's pastimes, tears would flow from his eyes uncontrollably in separation. Chanting the Holy Names of Krishna with deep lamen­tation, he would travel throughout the twelve forests of Vrindavan and perform bhajan.


While in Vraja, he desired not to accept any disciples. But later, upon coming to Shridham Mayapur, on the request of Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakur and by witnessing the true humility of the Thakur's son, Shri Bimalaprasad, Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji granted Vais­nava diksa to him and accepted him as his only disciple. Bimalaprasad later became famous as Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Shrila Prabhupada. Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji considered pratistha, name and fame, harmful to his bhajan and sadhana. Considering name and fame the same as stool from a pig, he always kept it far away. Many people would seek his darshan and disturb his bhajan by only asking for material things, such as wealth, children, property and even jobs. To escape mundane people, he entered, for six months, and resided in the lavatories in this Kuliya Dharmasala. When the district com­missioner and the police superintendent came to know this, they went to meet Babaji Maharaj. But he locked the doors from the inside, and he would not open the door even after many requests.These officials wished to donate some property to Babaji Maharaj and build him a bhajan kutir. But Gaura Kishora das Babaji informed them that he at present had a nice bhajan kutir and they could therefore go away. In the opinion of Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaj, the association of a mundane, materially motivated person is worse than the odor of stool in a latrine. Maintaining this level of renunciation until the end of his life, he left his body in this dharmasala on November 19,1915.Just before Gaura Kishora das Babaji passed away, our beloved spiritual master Shrila Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Goswami Maharaj, who was known at that time as Shri Vinod Bihari Brahmacari, took permission  from  his gurudeva,  Shrila  Bhaktisiddhanta  Saraswati Prabhupada, and came to this place and had darshan of Babaji Maharaj. At first, when our gurudeva requested to see him, Babaji Maharaj in a very low voice replied that he was not in the best of health and thus he would not be able to open the door. But when Vinod Bihari Brahmacari revealed that he was the servant of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji immediately opened the door and brought my gurudeva inside with him. Babaji Maharaj then closed the door and, placing his lotus hand on my gurudeva's head, he blessed him to fearlessly engage in devo­tional service. He also blessed my gurudeva saying that he himself would personally accept all my gurudeva's future miseries. "So do not worry anymore. Just perform bhajan." Whenever my gurudeva would remember this pastime, he would become ecstatic and tears would flow from his eyes.


Manindra Candra Nandi Bahadura, the ruler of Kashin Bazaar, heard of the glories of Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji. Knowing him as a true maha-bhagavata, he attempted with great zeal to bring him to his royal palace. Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji sent a message to the ruler that he would like to have his association as well, and that the ruler of Kashin Bazaar should extricate himself from his worldly, mundane life at the royal palace, and turn over all his responsibilities to his son. He should thus leave everything behind and join him, and they would together live under a different tree every day an blissfully chant Hari Nama and do Hari bhajan. The ruler of Kashin Bazaar never appeared.At another time, one of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's disciples, Shriyukta Sambhubabu, who was freshly married, came to Gaura Kishora das Babaji and asked for his blessings. He said he had accepted one maidservant for the service of Lord Krishna. Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji became very grave. He said that it is a matter of great happiness that he attached himself to a maidservant of Krishna, but he should be careful to never himself desire to enjoy this Krishna dasi, and never accept any personal service from her.


He instructed, "A Vaishnava wife is extremely rare and difficult to attain in this world. If one has the good fortune of acquiring one, he should consider this as a benediction from Lord Krishna. As the wife worships the husband as her lord and master, the husband should worship the wife because she is a servant of Krishna. The husband can in this way safeguard his devotional fervor by not considering his wife his own maidservant, but always Krishna's maidservant." One Narahari Baba came to Gaura Kishora das Babaji in a very jubilant mood. He brought what he thought was good news and told Babaji Maharaj that he had made a down payment on a wonderful piece of land in the holy dham. Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji was surprised and replied, "The holy dham is indeed wonderful. But it is a matter of great wonder that you have purchased land in the holy dham! Each grain of dust in the holy dham is totally transcendental and is cintamani. The wealth of all the material universes cannot purchase one molecule within one dust particle of the holy dham! Liberated sages and rishis, denizens of Siddhaloka, Brahmaloka and beyond, line up to become a grain of earth here in the holy dham. Yet, for your own interests, you have made your 20% down payment. Now you will have your own personal place of residence in the holy dham. I am able to understand many things, but I am not able to understand the mentality that you now are exhibiting!" Hearing these words from Babaji Maharaj, the babaji felt ashamed and fell at his feet. He began re-evaluating his understandings of renunciation.


The samadhi mandir of this great maha-bhagavata devotee was previously on the western banks of the Ganges in Kuliagram, the present day Navadwip city. But, in 1932,16 years after Gaura Kishora das Babaji attained Maha-samadhi, the Ganges rose to within a few yards of the samadhi. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur then had his disciples move the samadhi by boat to Candrasekhar Bhavan in Shri Antardwip on the banks of Radha Kunda.Although Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji was half blind and unedu­cated, the materially opulent, powerful public servants and great learned scholars approached him and asked him questions on the eternal and confidential meanings of different slokas in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He was a true Goswami and a Bhagavata Paramahamsa. Humbly following the teachings of Maharpabhu in His Siksastaka: trinad api sunicena, humbler than a blade of grass, he never used the word 'goswami' with his own name. My own guru Shrila Bhaktipraj-nana Keshava Maharaj never did this and his guru, Shrila Bhaktisid­dhanta Saraswati Thakur also never did this. Nor did Shrila Sac-cidananda Bhaktivinoda after he took Babaji initiation. But these exalted Vaishnavas were certainly goswamis in the true sense of the word, and they were respected as such while they were living. Shrila Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaj was also a goswami and a maha-bhagavata and he exemplified this fully by thought, word and actions. Hare Krishna!