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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Navadvipa Krishna Chaitanya Holy Land > Parikrama Places > Barakona Ghat


Barakona Ghat


Barakona Ghat is 35 feet north of Jagai and Madhai Ghat. Mahaprabhu studied and discussed scriptures, and also taught His students Sanskrit grammar at this place. This ghat was extremely beautiful in the time of Mahaprabhu, and it thus created a pleasant atmosphere conducive to sadhu sanga and discussing topics concern­ing Krishna. During this time, Shri Navadwip Dham was India's eastern center of Sanskrit and Vedic studies, as well as a center for the study of the Vedas, the Upanisads, the Puranas, the six systems of Indian philosophy, nyaya, and nava nyaya.


Great personalities would come to Shri Navadwip Dham from far away to gain knowledge and to discuss scriptural conclusions. Once a great maha pandit by the name of Keshava Kashmiri came and challenged the pandits in Navadwip to debate on any branch of learning. Keshava Kashmiri was the blessed son of Saraswati devi, the goddess of knowledge. By her grace he could, upon his desire, com-pose wonderful Sanskrit verses, free from poetic flaws and full of literary embellishments, about any subject. He was expert in argu­ment and his own genius and power of speech when combined with the blessings of Saraswati devi made him practically invincible in debate. When he arrived in Shridham Navadwip, Keshava Kashmiri was filled with pride. He issued a challenge to the scholars of Nava­dwip: The town of Navadwip would have to give him an official letter of victory unless one of their pandits could defeat him in debate. Not a single scholar or pandit dared to accept the challenge, but some of them, being envious of Nimai Pandit, devised a clever plan to discredit the Lord. They told Keshava Kashmiri that one young scholar named Nimai Pandit was extremely intelligent and learned in all scriptures. "If you can defeat Him," they said, "then we will certainly accept your challenge and debate with you. You can find Him in the evening on the banks of the Ganges with His students." Keshava Kashmiri asked them how he could recognize Nimai Pandit. The envious pandits told him that Nimai Pandit's students all wore Tulasi neckbeads and Vaishnava tilak.That evening the blissfully effulglent and omniscient Nimai Pandit sat in the midst of His students as He preached the glories of Krishna's name, fame, form, qualities, and pastimes. The sun was about to set. Looking over the river, it appeared as if the sun was entering the womb of Mother Ganges. The clouds in the sky reflected various wonderful colors and formed a picturesque canopy overhead and the playful waves of Mother Ganges gently cascaded against the shore.


Keshava Kashmiri, intoxicated by pride and seeing that all the students present wore Vaishnava tilak and Tulasi neckbeads, approached and, in a melodious voice, began reciting sutras of gram­mar and logic. He sat down amongst the students in Nimai Pandit's school. Seeing the extraordinary effulgence of Lord Chaitanya, Keshava Kashmiri asked one boy for the name of that student. The boy replied, "He is our teacher, Nimai Pandit." Just by hearing Nimai Pandit's name, Keshava Kashmiri's heart became fearful. One student who sat close to the Lord whispered to Him that Keshava Kakshmiri had just sat down. Lord Chaitanya turned to Keshava Kashmiri, and with great respect, told the pandit that He and His students were extremely fortunate that such a glorious scholar had appeared in their midst. Puffed up by this homage, the fearfulness in Keshava Kashmiri's heart diminished and he requested the Lord to debate with him. Lord Chaitanya told him that He was not very good in arguing but that He had great expertise in analyzing the merits and demerits of compositions. Keshava Kashmiri asked Him to suggest a topic on which he should compose verses, and the Lord told him that He and His students wished to hear the glories of Ganga devi. Keshava Kashmiri immediately accepted the challenge, and looking out over the elegant and serene Ganges, he immediately glorified her by effortlessly composing 100 wonderful slokas.


All the students were astonished. The Lord then asked the scholar to choose a single verse from the 100 verses and explain its merits. Keshava Kakshmiri asked the Lord to select a verse, and Nimai Pandit immediately repeated verbatim one of the 100 verses.Keshava Kashmiri was amazed by the Lord's perfect memory, and his heart began again to fill with fear. Veiling his anxiety, he correctly explained five merits in the verse. Nimai Pandit then requested him to explain the defects in the verse, and Keshava Kashmiri boastfully declared that no defect could exist within a verse of his own composi­tion.The Lord, with great seriousness, then explained an additional five merits and five defects in the verse. Nimai Pandit's memory and exacting critique totally bewildered Keshava Kashmiri and smashed his pride. Without even offering a respectable rebuttal, Keshava Kashmiri left the presence of the Lord and returned back to his camp. That night, with tears in his eyes, he worshiped Saraswati devi and begged her to reveal how his defeat could have possibly occured. Saraswati devi appeared and informed him that Nimai Pandit was Lord Krishna Himself, her Supreme Lord, and that by her mercy, he had received the Lord's darshan. She further instructed her devotee to fall at the Lord's feet and beg His forgiveness.


The next morning Keshava Kashmiri humbly submitted himself at the lotus feet of Nimai Pandit. The Lord then instructed him by saying, "The objective of learning is not to acquire worldly fame. The goal of education is to render loving service to Lord Krishna. To dedicate one's body, and soul completely in the service of Krishna is the ultimate goal of real knowledge." The Lord then instructed Keshava Kashmiri to go to Shri Vraja and with a pure heart do Krishna bhajan. Keshava Kashmiri fell at the lotus feet of the Lord and left immediately for Shri Vraja. The news of the spectacular victory of Lord Chaitanya over Keshava Kashmiri spread throughout Shridham Navadwip. All the residents became overjoyed that Shri Navadwip Dham was championed by their own Nimai Pandit. This pastime proved Nimai Pandit, at the young age of 15, as the foremost scholar within India. Gaura Premanandi! Hari Hari bol!