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The birthplace of Sri Isvara Puri, the spiritual master of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is popularly known today as ‘Caitanya Doba’.The word doba means ‘a pool of water’. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu travelled through Halisahar(kumarhatta) on His way to Puri, He showed respect for His spiritual master by picking up some earth from the place of his birth, wrapping it in His cloth and keeping it carefully with Him. He used to eat a small portion of this dust daily.Thousands of pilgrims have since followed His example, thus forming a pit that has since filled with water (as visible in picture).Just opposite to Caitanya Doba is an ashrama (the yellow building visible in the picture), where devotees reside and serve the sacred dham.The team from ’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit and pay our obeisances unto this ancient sacred pilgrimage site. Talking to the local devotees, we came to know that a huge festival takes place here every year, during the month of October-November, to commemorate the arrival of Lord Gaurasundara at Caitanya Doba, who is believed to have arrived during this time of the year.
Sri Isvara Puri had been the most prominent disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri. He spent most of his time residing at his guru’s ashram in Gaya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Isvara Puri at the Vishnu Temple in Gaya, and accepted Vaishnava initiation from him.
In Caitanya Caritamrta, Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami likens the family of Gaudiya Vaishnavas to a giant desire tree of devotional service (bhakti-kalpataru).Sri Madhavendra Puri , a devotee in the line of Madhvacharya and the spiritual master of Isvara Puri, is designated as the first sprout (ankura) of this desire tree. Srila Krishnadas explains that this seed next fructified in the form of Sri Isvara Puri. Lord Caitanya, who had taken initiation from Isvara Puri, manifested Himself as the main trunk of this desire tree, upon whom all the other branches and further sub-branches of this tree rested.Lord Caitanya is here referred to as the ‘mali’ or the gardener, which also signifies that the Lord , in spite of being the main trunk, was also the prime cause behind watering ,nourishing and sustaining this tree of devotional service.
jaya sri madhava-puri Krishna-prema-pura
bhakti-kalpataru-ra tenho ,prathama ankura
Sri Isvara puri rupe ankura pushta haila
apane Caitanya-mali skandha upajilaa
nijachintya-shaktye mali hana skandha haya
sakala shakhara shei skandha mulasraya
(Caitanya Caritamrta , Adi, 9.10-12)
It is stated in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, that during the last days of Sri Madhavendra Puri’s life, he became completely invalid and was unable to even move on his own. Sri Isvara Puri was so completely engaged in his service that he personally cleaned the stool and urine of his spiritual master.He constantly chanted the Hare Krishna mahamantra and reminded Madhavendra puri of the eternal pastimes of Sri Krishna. Sri Isvara Puri greatly pleased his spiritual master by his humble service, and by his mercy he was later blessed to have Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the supreme Lord, as his disciple.
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 Halisahar. 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 Isvara Puri 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.
How to Reach :
Take a local train from the Sealdah Station (in kolkata) and get down at the Halisahar Station. Take an auto/rickshaw from there and ask them to drop you at Caitanya Doba. It is an approximately 1.5 hours journey from kolkata.
The modern day Halisahar is quite a beautiful town, located on the bank of the Ganges in the north 24 parganas district of Bengal. It is serene, peaceful and full of natural attractions. It was here in Halisahar, that Sri Srivasa Pandita had relocated from mayapur, after the sannyasa initiation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It was also here in Halisahar that the great Sri Sivananda Sena and his son Sri Kavi karnapur ,the author of Gaura Gannodesha Dipika, used to reside. The worshipable deities of Sri Srinatha Pandita, the spiritual master of Sri Kavi Karnapur, still accept our humble service at the Krishna Raya temple in Halisahar. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the visit to the Krishna Raya temple in a separate article entitled – ‘Krishna Raya Temple and the residence of Sivananda Sen ,Kumarhatta (Halisahar)’.We are very thankful, that by the causeless mercy of these great personalities and by the mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga, we could visit this part of Gaura Mandal, and associate with the highly elevated devotees who have dedicated their lives serving this holy dham.
Accommodation – There are a number of nearby hotels near Halisahar where one can choose to stay – like Hotel Aquatic palace (on Kalyani expressway), Geetanjali Palace, etc. Since this place is hardly an hour’s ride from kolkata, one can choose to stay in Kolkata as well and then travel to Halisahar to obtain darsana of this exalted dham.One can contact the temple authorities in Caitanya doba to arrange for his/her prasadam.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Halisahar
(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)
To Learn more about the exalted pastimes and pastime places of Kolkata , 24 paraganas, Hooghly and Birbhum ,purchase this below book from our bookstore. Click on the Image below :