“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
Panca tattvatmakam krsnam bhakta-rupa-svarupakam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam namami bhakta saktikam
I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Sri Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Sri Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Sri Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Sri Srivasa Pandita).
Kavi Karnapura has mentioned in his Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika, that Radharani, the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, had appeared as Sri Gadadhara Pandita in Gaura Lila. Kavi Karnapura further adds that Lalita devi, who is also known as anuradha (as she always follows Srimati Radharani) had also entered the body of Gadadhara pandita.Thus Gadadhara Pandita was the combined incarnation of both Radharani and Lalita sakhi.Gadadhara Pandita was born of Sri Madhava Mishra and Srimati Ratnavati Devi who lived very close to the house of Jagannatha Mishra in Mayapur. According to Gaura Gannodesha dipika, Maharaja Vrishabhanu incarnated as Sri Madhava Mishra in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya.Sri Gadadhara Pandita was a year younger to Lord Gaurahari and they were very intimate friends since their childhood.
From His very childhood, Srila Gadadhara Pandita manifested the qualities of patience, serenity and renunciation. He and Nimai pandita, when they were very young, used to play together here at Champahati ,where this Gaur Gadadhara Temple is situated today. Both of them studied in the same tola (school).Dvija Vaninatha, the younger brother of Gadadhara Pandita, had later established the worship of Gaura Gadadhara deities over here. These are the first Gaura Gadadhara deities to be ever worshipped and this place is atleast 500 years old. At the time when these deities were installed, Sri Gauranga and Gadadhara Pandita were still manifesting their pastimes in this world.Later Sri Paramananda Brahmacari (a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura) , in the year 1921 AD, had renovated and revived the service of the Deity and established the Gaura Gadadhara Gaudiya Math here at Champahati.
Dvija Vaninatha :
Sri Dvija Vaninatha was the eighty-first branch of Lord Caitanya’s tree of devotional service. Previously ,in satya yuga, he was a brahmana who used to live at Champahati and worship Radha and Krishna with champaka flowers. Being very pleased with him, Lord Krishna gave this brahmana His blissful darsana as Lord Gauranga. The brahmana was astonished to behold the effulgent form of the munificent Lord. Sri Gaurahari informed the old brahmana that in the coming age of Kali, He would be appearing in this land of Navadvipa, and performing His magnanimous sankirtana pastimes, whereby He would be widely bestowing Krishna naam (Name) and Krishna Prema (love of Krishna) to one and all. The Supreme Lord also added that this brahmana would also get an opportunity to take his birth during this time and witness the pastimes of the Lord. Accordingly this brahmana was born during Lord Caitanya’s pastimes as the brother of Gadadhara Pandita and came to be known as Dvija Vaninatha. It was Dvija Vaninatha who had originally installed and began the worship of these Gaura Gadadhara deities 500 years back.Sri Vaninatha serves as Kamalekha sakhi in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita – Navadvipa Pastimes
Srila Vasudeva Ghosh sings :
agam agochara gora akhil brahma par,
veda upar, najane pasandi mati bhora
Nitya Nityananda Caitanya Govinda
pandit gadadhar Radhe Caitanya yugala rupa
Lord Gaurasundara, who is beyond the purview of the scriptures, beyond the entire Brahman, and above even the Vedas, can never be known by the atheists whose intelligence is dull.
Lord Nityananda is His eternal self. Lord Caitanya is Lord Govinda Himself and Pandita Gadadhara is none other than Sri Radhika. The divine couple, who are present within Sri Caitanya, are a well of loving mellows.
Mahaprabhu, who was a renowned scholar in His student days, used to tease His friends with meaningless fallacious questions in logic. In some of these pastimes the Lord would catch hold of Gadadhara Pandita and quiz Him. And when Gadadhara would provide a reply, the Lord would find faults with His answer. In this way the Lord would very easily defeat everyone. Sri Gadadhara Pandita was not very fond of these pastimes. He sometimes even fled at the sight of Mahaprabhu to avoid being ragged. Seeing Gadadhara flee, the Lord would then shout and inform that He would get hold of the pandita the next day once more. Sometimes the Lord would loudly proclaim that very soon He would reveal Himself to be such an elevated Vaishnava that even Shiva and Brahma would come and pray at His doorsteps. No one, however, could decipher the meaning of His cryptic words back then.
After Lord Caitanya took His initiation from Sri Isvara Puri, and since He began manifesting His divine emotions, Sri Gadadhara pandita was His constant companion. Day and night Lord Visvambhara ,in the mood of Srimati Radharani, would cry in separation from His beloved Krishna. No one could pacify the Lord.So one day while Sri Gadadhara Pandita came over to meet Him, Sri Nimai pandita asked Him regarding the whereabouts of Krishna.He described Krishna as the blackish boy, who was dressed in yellow and radiant with youthful beauty. Sri Gadadhara bravely replied that Lord Krishna eternally resided within Sri Caitanya’s heart. Upon hearing this Lord Caitanya began piercing His heart with His nails in an attempt to have darsana of His beloved Syamasundara.It was then with great endeavour that Gadadhara Pandita restrained the Lord. He then asked the Lord to compose Himself as Krishna would be coming to meet Him very soon. In this way, Gadadhara Pandita tried to pacify the Lord. Srimati Saci devi was very pleased with Gadadhara and praised Him as highly intelligent.She requested Gadadhara Pandita to always stay by her son’s side so that she would not have to worry anymore. She admitted that even she felt afraid to go near Nimai at times while He exhibited such ecstatic emotions.
One day, Sri Gadadhara, having heard that Mahaprabhu would be speaking Krishna katha at Suklambara Brahmacari’s house, went there and sat down inside. Meanwhile, Mahaprabhu arrived outside on the verandah and began speaking to an audience of devotees who had assembled there. Gadadhara Prabhu listened from within the house. Soon Mahaprabhu became totally absorbed in the ecstasy of Krishna prema, which quickly spread to the assembly of devotees. In an intense mood of separation from Krishna, Lord Caitanya repeatedly cried out – ‘I had obtained the object of my life, but where has He now gone?’ Crying out in such fashion, the Lord embraced a pillar and fell down upon the ground unconscious.The audience also lost their external consciousness and fell upon the floor.For some time they continued to taste the ecstatic mellows of love of God together and then becalmed themselves.
Gadadhara Pandita however could not control Himself and continued to shed incessant tears of love.When the Lord heard the sound of pitiful sobbing coming from inside the house , He asked as to who was crying. Suklambara Brahmacari replied , ‘Your Gadadhara’. Seeing Gadadhara pandita, Mahaprabhu glorified and embraced Him dearly. Mahaprabhu exclaimed that Sri Gadadhara was so pious and virtuous that from His very childhood, He was devoted to Krishna.Sri Caitanya, in an ecstatic mood, then claimed that his own life however had been completely wasted as He was devoid of any feelings and love for the Supreme.
While wandering on the bank of the Ganges at Nadiya, the Lord at times displayed His Vrindavana mood. On one such instance,Sri Gaurasundara took Gadadhara by His side, and seated Himself onto a dais at the base of a tree, while Sri Advaita Acarya began offering them arati. Sri Mukunda datta started singing melodiously while Narahari sarkar waved his camara to fan the lord. Nityananda Prabhu seated Himself onto Prabhu’s right side and Srivasa Pandita began to decorate everyone with flower garlands.Gadadhara Pandita then collected some flowers from the forest and after stringing a garland placed it upon the Lord’s neck. This was exactly how Srimati Radhika used to previously decorate Sri Krishna in Vraja. Suklambara Brahmacari then decorated all with sandalwood paste while Sri Murari Gupta recited premadhani. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura encaptures this beautiful pastime ,that had once occurred on the bank of the Ganges (jahnavi tata vane), in his heart melting bhajana –’Kiba jaya jaya Gauracander aratika shobha’
Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi initiates Gadadhara Pandita :
Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi was a great branch of Lord Caitanya’s desire tree of devotional service.He was so dear to the Lord that the Lord would sometimes cry in his absence (…yanra nama lana prabhu kandila apani ). Pundarika hailed from a village known as Mekhala, situated in the Chattagram district of Bangladesh.Kavi Karnapura mentions in his Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika that Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi was previously Vrishabhanu Maharaj, the father of Srimati Radharani. The Lord hence sometimes would also refer to Pundarika as His father. Sri Caitanya once described how Sri Pundarika never bathed in the Ganges and strictly avoided touching her with his feet.Such was his respect towards mother Ganges, that he felt deeply pained seeing others utilizing her for washing their mouth , hair and dirty clothes.Before performing any of his religious duties, Sri Pundarika would always drink Ganges water. Glorifying him thus, Lord Caitanya became absorbed in an ecstatic trance and intensely desired to receive his association again. Listening to his devotion for mother ganges ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ cannot help but contemplate upon the beautiful pastimes of mother Ganges that once took place at Sakhai Bazar (near katwa). We have covered the pastime in detail in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Uddharana Pura ,Barddhaman (Near Katwa)’.
According to the desires of the Lord, Sri Pundarika soon arrived at Navadvipa. Mukunda Datta informed Gadadhara Pandita that an elevated vaishnava had arrived and the two friends then happily set out to meet and receive his association.Gadadhara Pandita offered His respectful obeisances unto Pundarika, who was then comfortably seated upon a soft mattress supporting his back with silk pillows.Above his head were three tiers of ornamented canopies and there were large mirrors on his either side into which he frequently glanced.Pundarika’s hair was well groomed and they looked shiny with perfumed oil. Behind him were two men fanning him with peacock feathers.Observing the opulence that surrounded Pundarika, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, who was very renounced from His very childhood, could not grasp his elevated stature and mistook him to be an ordinary materialist.
Mukunda could understand Gadadhara’s mind and took it upon himself to reveal the real nature of Pundarika. With his sweet voice, he began reciting a verse describing the glories of Sri Krishna. He asked as to how one can be more merciful than He ,who had granted the position of mother to the she-demon Putana, who wanted to kill Him by smearing poison on her breast. Just by offering her breast and by wanting to feed little Krishna ,even though her actual desire was to poison Him, the demon Putana had achieved liberation and the exalted status of His mother. As soon as Sri Pundarika heard this verse, he became absorbed in an intense spiritual emotion and rolled over the ground in ecstasy.He smashed all the valuable paraphernalia that surrounded him,and began tearing off his costly clothes.Incessantly shedding tears ,he cried out for the association of the Supreme Lord. The storm of ecstatic love abated when Sri Pundarika fell down unconscious remaining submerged in an ocean of bliss.
Gadadhara Pandita at once realized His mistake and became very sorry that He had offended a great devotee like Pundarika. Wanting to atone for His behaviour, Sri Gadadhara decided to take initiation from Sri Pundarika.He thought that His Guru would surely forgive Him and free Him from the burden of guilt. When He revealed His decision to Mukunda, he became very happy. Mukunda subsequently disclosed Gadadhara’s desire unto Pundarika Vidyanidhi who agreed and initiated Sri Gadadhara Pandita on an auspicious day.
This pastime provides a very important lesson for all of us.A vaishnava is not someone whom we recognize just by observing his externals.There are many pseudo devotees who adorn tulasi neck beads and tilaka, and whom we initially identify as Vaishnavas, only for their actions to prove us wrong. A vaishnava is someone who possesses an intense love for Sri Guru and Gauranga. Vaishnavism ,or love for the Supreme, is not something that is dependent on one’s dress ,background or occupation. Instead one’s desire and dedication to serve and please his bonafide spiritual master, is the only criteria by which he should be recognized.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita – Pastimes at Jagannatha Puri :
After Lord Caitanya had accepted His Sannyasa, He moved over to stay at Jagannatha Puri (refer – ‘Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa’). Sri Gadadhara accompanied the Lord to Puri as well and engaged Himself in the service of Tota Gopinatha. This enchanting deity of Tota Gopinatha was discovered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He started digging the ground one day, feeling an intense separation from the Supreme Lord.Sri Gadadhara, had dedicated Himself unto the service of this deity ever since. Sri Vrindavana das Thakura mentions in Caitanya Bhagavata, that the heart of even the most demoniac atheist would soften upon taking darsana of this mesmerizing deity of Tota Gopinatha. At the temple of Tota Gopinatha, Sri Gadadhara pandita would recite Srimad Bhagavatam everyday and Lord Caitanya , along with His associates, would often go there to relish it.
When Lord Caitanya was leaving for Vrindavana, He did not take Sri Gadadhara Pandita along, inspite of Sri Gadadhara’s repeated requests.Mahaprabhu reminded him of his vow of Ksetra-sannyasa (by which Gadadhara was to remain constantly in Sri Ksetra in the service of Sri Gopinatha) and sent him back.
On one occasion, Lord Nityananda had come to Puri to meet Mahaprabhu and the other devotees. After meeting Sri Caitanya, Nitai went over to Tota Gopinatha in order to meet Gadadhara Pandita. Sri Nityananda Prabhu had brought with Him 30 Kgs of the best quality of rice from Bengal and a fine dress for Sri Tota Gopinatha. Sri Gadadhara Pandita was amazed to observe the quality of the rice and inquired if Lord Nitai had brought it directly from Vaikuntha.Cooking the rice along with some wild spinach, soft tamarind and salty seawater, Sri Gadadhara made a very nice preparation. Suddenly, Lord Caitanya arrived over there and seeing Gadadhara He jokingly asked as to why He had not been invited. Seeing the delectable dishes, He desired to taste them immediately. The three Lords then happily enjoyed the mahaprasadam. Sri Gaurasundara highly praised the rice and sabji. He exclaimed that simply tasting that rice was sufficient to bestow Krishna Bhakti unto someone. Mahaprabhu liked the spinach and tamarind preparation very much and remarked that He had never tasted anything like that before. The Lord remarked that Sri Gadadhara must be the one who cooks in Vaikuntha.He jokingly asked as to why Gadadhara was hiding from them His divine identity. In this way the three Lords joked amongst themselves and relished each other’s association.
After manifesting His pastimes for forty-eight years, Lord Caitanya decided to wrap up His earthly Lila. He disappeared by merging Himself into the body of Sri Tota Gopinatha.There is a slight crack to be found near the right knee of Sri Tota Gopinatha till this day where Mahaprabhu had merged into the deity. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu, Sri Gadadhara Pandita suffered greatly feeling separation. His pitiable condition has been vividly revealed in ‘Prema Vilasa’. When Srinivasa Acharya approached Sri Gadadhara pandita during this time, desiring to learn Srimad Bhagavatam from Him, Sri Gadadhara’s intense feelings of separation from His beloved Mahaprabhu increased several fold.As Sri Gadadhara began narrating Srimad Bhagavatam to Srinivasa, He became overwhelmed with grief, and his body trembled, remembering how He had narrated the same ,to Lord Gauranga and Nityananda ,sitting at that very place. Streams of tears burst from His eyes and fell upon the book, and as a result of which ,the letters in the book were not clearly readable.Not seeing any other alternative, Sri Gadadhara requested Srinivasa to go back to Srikhanda,and ask Sri Narahari Sarkara Thakura to hand him a new copy of Srimad Bhagavatam,and then come back to Puri, so that He could continue with His narration. But before Srinivasa could collect the new book and reach Puri again, Sri Gadadhara Pandita manifested His disappearance pastime and entered the Nitya lila of the Lord. The details of Srinivasa Acharya’s visit to Puri and his subsequent travel to Vrindavana has been covered in the article entitled – ‘Sri Srinivasa Acharya’s Sripat, Jajigram (Near Srikhanda, Katwa)’.
We worship the lotus feet of our spiritual master ,whose causeless mercy has empowered us ineligible fools ,to gain entrance and take up service in this exalted abode of Champahati. We seek shelter of this holy land, and pray that its glories remain forever imprinted in our heart.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ offers millions of obeisances and humbly prays to Sri Gadadhara Pandita that we advance in our Krishna consciousness, develop attachment unto the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga and are able to serve Sri Guru & Vaishnavas, by our honest and sincere efforts. We seek His blessings and compassion , in successfully rendering this humble service of reciting the pastimes and revealing the pastime places of the Supreme Lord and His beloved associates.We shall consider ourselves greatly fortunate and our existence meaningful if Lord Gaurahari and our dear spiritual master are kindly pleased with our endeavours.
What to See:
- Take darsana of the mesmerizing ancient deities of Sri Gaura Gadadhara
- Take darsana and worship the holy dust of this place where Sri Gauranga and Gadadhara had exhibited numerous of their childhood pastimes
How to Reach :
One travelling from kolkata is advised to board a Krishnanagar local train from the Sealdah station. On reaching Krishnanagar, one can book a toto (auto) to take him to the Krishnanagar Ghat. From the Krishnanagar Ghat(bank) one can avail a five minutes ferry ride to reach the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. From the Mayapur Ghat, one can book a cab to reach this place.
Alternatively, this place is quite near to Purbasthali. Thus one can get down at Purbasthali station (Howrah – Navadvipa line) and then hire a cab to reach Champahati.
We, from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ ,however, had travelled to Champahati , while visiting Sridham Mayapur. We had booked a cab from the ‘Gauranga Travels’ (office within Iskcon Mayapur premises) ,which then carried us to this ancient place. The journey from Mayapur to this place takes about 1.5 hours.
Champahati is located within the precincts of the island Ritudvipa, which is one of the nine islands of Navadvipa. This island has been named thus as here all seasons (Ritu), headed by spring, are eternally engaged in worshipping Lord Gaurahari. This place is non different than that of Sri Radha Kunda in Vrindavana.
Accommodation – One can choose to avail the good facilities of Iskcon Mayapur where one can honour nice prasadam as well.Please make sure to book your rooms well in advance.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Navadvipa
(Please note that we neither necessarily recommend these hotels/accommodation centers mentioned above nor do we guarantee that they will provide the required facilities/services to the visiting pilgrims. We are not in any way related to the governance of these hotels/accommodation centers. The visiting pilgrim is advised to choose an accommodation as per his own discretion)
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