“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” – Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
Srila Vamsi Das babaji, previously known as Bhairab Chandra, had appeared in the year 1859, in the village of Majeedpur.Majeedpur was formerly part of the Mymensingh district of Bangladesh. Sri Sanatana Mallabrahma and Srimati Sarvasundari devi had the great fortune of giving birth and parenting this exalted personality. He was the eldest of his seven siblings, and being the son of a poor fisherman, he had suffered a hard and an austere upbringing. From his very childhood, he was deeply attracted to Lord Gauranga and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. He would keep staring at the deities of Gaura-Nitai at a nearby temple, for hours altogether. Seeing this, his parents became very anxious, and got him married. But he eventually left his home, leaving behind his wife and little son, and became a renunciant. He soon received initiation in the line of the great vaishnava acharya, Sri Narottama Das Thakura. After staying back at Majeedpur for a few years, he left for an extensive pilgrimage all over India.Travelling all over the country, he finally settled down at Navadvipa, where he spent the most of his life.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ had the good fortune of visiting and praying at his bhajana Kutira at Navadvipa.Towards the end of his manifested pastimes, he returned to Majeedpur once more, where he left his body.
Some of the amazing pastimes of Vamsi das Babaji :
Babaji was a paramahamsa avadhuta, who would speak,dance, cry and move on the directions of the Supersoul. Being totally oblivious to his surroundings, Vamsi das babaji, would act in ways that were impossible for ordinary people to comprehend. He led an exceedingly austere life, always wearing a simple loincloth. He took little care of his health, bathing in freezing water, even while sick.He carried with him two bags, one containing his Nitai-Gaura deities and the other one carrying Sri Radha Govinda jiu. Sometimes he would take the deities out of his bags, worship them mentally with mantras, and again keep them back inside.The worship of his deities was very spontaneous and not according to strict rules and regulations.One could often see him having personal conversation with the deities in his typical Mymensingh dialect.Whenever Babaji would see a Peepal tree, he would sit under it, visualizing the tree to be Vamsi vata of Vrindavana, and would contemplate for hours or sometimes even days ,upon the sweet pastimes of Krishna playing His flute to attract the Gopis. Anyone who saw him was charmed by his devotional absorption.
He lived like a madman, and used to collect all the bad,thrown out vegetables, at the market place for serving his deities. But people recognized him as a perfected soul and voluntarily handed him over fresh vegetables, flour,sugar,ghee, etc. Babaji relished Narottama das Thakura’s songs and often murmured – Nitai-er karuna habe, braje Radha Krishna pabe. One day seeing an elephant walking down the street and seeing how the people gave donations, keeping their money on its trunk, Vamsi Das Babaji started singing – ‘Se sambandha Nahi yara, britha janma gelo ta’r, ei poshu baroi duracara’. These are the lines of one of Narottama das Thakura’s famous songs which means that one who doesn’t have a relationship with Lord Nityananda is useless, and his life is no better than that of an animal. In utter humility he had referred to himself (ei poshu) as an animal in this case. Although babaji would often speak incoherently and behave like a crazy person, yet he never ever spoke anything that was against the conclusions of Vedic scriptures. In other words whatever he spoke, were in line with the Vaishnava siddhantas and the teachings of the acharyas. This is the mark of a great personality who is always absorbed in a spontaneous loving devotional service towards lord Hari. It may be noted ,that there are many cheats around who try to impersonate avadhutas,and pretend to be advanced devotees.These cheats however do not possess a relationship with the Supreme Lord,and hence their teachings are never in line with the conclusions and injunctions of the revealed scriptures.
Babaji would never lock the doors of his temple. He had three keys to the lock and he handed them each to his deities – Gaurahari, Gadadhara and Nitai. Handing responsibility unto his dear Lords,whom he considered to be the owner of the house, he would go out without anxiety. Thus it would often happen that things from the temple got stolen or a cow would enter his bhajana kutira and ransack everything.He used to laugh and say that Lord Gauranga had a soft corner for the residents of nadiya, and so He would give away things to them.
Once a golden necklace of Lord Gaurahari got stolen, while he had gone outside to beg. On returning and finding this out, he rebuked his deities and tried to figure out, who the thief was. Towards evening he got some hint, on receiving which, he went to the house of the thief and asked for the necklace. The thief insulted him and threw him down the verandah of his house.Babaji was hurt but did not complain. However, the Lord never tolerates the sufferings of his devotees.Soon the thief and his family members passed away.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura had also received the blessings of Vamsi Das Babaji. Both these stalwarts resided at navadvipa during the same time.Seeing Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, babaji would exclaim that someone very close to his Gaura had come. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati used to arrange for regular supply of rice,grains, etc to babaji maharaja in his bhajana kutira, so that he didn’t face much trouble executing his service.
Once a lady selling fish had approached Vamsi Das babaji and showed him her various catches.Somehow babaji’s mind got attracted to the fishes. Immediately he checked himself, and on realizing what had happened, he became very angry. He shouted at the lady to get away and then started rebuking his deities. He questioned how could he get attracted to fish. He had surrendered his life in the service of the lord, and yet how could this happen to him.He stormed into his bhajana kutira and came out with his deities , tying them with ropes. Then he threw his deities into the Ganges and held the rope under his feet. When people asked as to why he was doing such a thing, Babaji threw stones at them. It is indeed very difficult to understand the mood and the personal relationship that such an exalted devotee has with the Lord. That is why it is mentioned that ‘Vaishnavera kriya mudra vijneha na bujhaya’ (even the most learned man who depends on direct perception of knowledge ,cannot understand the activities of a vaishnava). After this incident srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura forbade his disciples to associate with the babaji, as he was afraid that they would not be able to understand and appreciate his elevated mood and would unwillingly commit offenses unto his lotus feet.
Sripat of Vamsi das Babaji:
The pastimes of babaji maharaja are innumerable, and it would be impossible for ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ to describe all of them in this article.We had the good fortune of visiting his sacred bhajana kutira in Navadvipa, wherein he had spent a lot of his life, serving his deities and performing his devotion.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 transcendental abode of Koladvipa.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 Vamsi Das Babaji Maharaja 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:
Sri Vamsi Das Babaji’s bhajana kutira is located in Koladvipa (one of the nine islands constituting Navadvipa dham), an island located on the western side of the Ganges.This place is also renowned as ‘aparadha bhanjaner path’ (a place where offenses were excused) as it was here in this island that Lord Caitanya had once excused the offenses of Capala Gopala and Devananda Pandita, both of whom had offended Srivasa Thakura, His dear associate. Some of the ancient scriptures refer Koladvipa as Kuliya.
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. Arriving at the ghat, one can avail a ferry to reach Navadvipa. Reaching Navadvipa, one can book an autorickshaw to reach Sri Vamsi Das Babaji’s bhajana kutira.
Alternatively, one can board a train from the Howrah station and get down at the Navadvipa station itself. On reaching Navadvipa, one can book an autorickshaw to directly reach Sri Vamsi Das Babaji’s bhajana kutira.
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 / Krishnanagar
(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)