Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami is the author of the great bengali classic,Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the principal work on the life and the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme personality of Godhead.Lord Caitanya had descended about 500 years back, here at Navadvipa in Bengal,in order to propagate the congregational chanting of Krishna’s holy names (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Sri Caitanya Caritamrta helps us relish the most heart rending pastimes of Sri Krishna Caitanya, that defy the investigative and descriptive abilities of modern psychologists and phenomenologists of religious experience. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, one of the most highly revered acharyas of our Gaudiya sampradaya, had once correctly predicted that a day would arrive when the people from different parts of the world would learn Bengali, just to relish the nectar of Caitanya Caritamrta. The prediction has indeed come to pass.The world shall ever be grateful to Srila Krishnadasa for giving us a glimpse of our rich heritage ; for giving to us Sri Gaurahari, the very lord of our lives.
Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami :
Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja was born here, in the village of ‘Jhamatpura’, a place not very far from Katwa in the Barddhaman district of West Bengal. The team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ ,considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit Jhamatpura and seek blessings at his bhajana kutira. He has left us with a very limited autobiographical information, and hence the name of his parents or whether he had married or had children, is not very clear. Sri Gaura Gannodesha Dipika reveals that Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja was the incarnation of Kasturi Manjari in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes.He had a brother named Shyamdas, whose descendants still reside here in Jhamatpura. Talking to them we came to know that the present residents are the fifteenth generation to have descended from Shyamdas.Srila Krishnadas’ worshipable Madana Gopala deities, his paduka(footwear) , his handwritten manuscripts are all nicely preserved over here in his ancestral home. We consider ourselves blessed to have also prayed at his bhajana kutira and his pushpa samadhi. A very nice Goshala is also being maintained in the temple premises. We noticed that ‘HDG A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada charity trust’ has donated a handsome amount of laxmi in the year 2005 for the construction of a beautiful nat-mandira (dance hall) that adorns this ancient exalted site.
Srila Krishnadasa travels to Vrindavana:
Sri Minaketan Ramadasa is an eternal associate of Nityananda Prabhu. He used to always remain intoxicated with an intense love for the Lord, and as a result he used to laugh,cry or roll over the ground in ecstasy. He resided somewhere near the village of Jhamatpura and was respected by all as a stalwart Vaishnava. There was once a great sankirtana festival organised at the residence of Krishnadasa Kaviraja in which Sri Minaketan was also invited. Upon arriving, Sri Minaketan sat upon the courtyard, and bestowed the love of Lord upon one and all. It is mentioned that even a mere darsana of Minaketan, from whose eyes streamed a constant shower of tears, would move one to cry in love.
Ye nayane dekhite asru haye mane yanra
Sei netre avichhinna bahe asru dhara
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi,5.165)
Hearing Sri Minaketan loudly roar the name of Lord Nityananda, people were filled with wonder and delight (Nityananda bali yabe karena huunkara, taha dekhi lokera haya maha chamatkara). However the priest ,Sri Gunanarva Misra, who was in charge of serving the deity, remained unconvinced. He did not have any love or respect for Nityananda Prabhu and naturally did not possess any reverence for Sri Nitai’s associates as well. Noting how the priest had doubts regarding the position of Lord Nityananda and observing how He offended His lotus feet, Sri Minaketan became very disappointed.What made matters worse was that, Sri Krishnadasa’s brother, Shyamdas, encouraged the priest to continue with his offensive behaviour. The situation was very similar to that Romaharshana suta, who being puffed up with his false pride and prestige, did not care to pay his obeisances to Lord Balarama.At the end of the festival, Shyamdas, who respected Lord Caitanya but had no faith upon Nityananda prabhu, insulted Minaketan and had some arguments with him.
At this point Sri Krishnadasa strongly rebuked his brother for his offensive behaviour.He tried to explain that to accept Lord Gauranga and reject Nityananda was like the logic of accepting half a hen. He continued that Gaura Nitai were brothers and that instead it would be much better to be an atheist and reject both ,than be a hypocrite and believe in just one of them and slight the other. Anyways, the incident deeply pained Minaketan, who broke his flute and went away. As a result of his offense, Shyamdas, immediately fell down in his spiritual life.
However, Krishnadasa’s protest and the way he confronted his brother’s indecent conduct, greatly pleased Nityananda Prabhu.Lord Nitai appeared in Krishnadasa’s dream that night and gave him the all auspicious darsana of His captivating blissful form.
Naihati nikate jhamatpura naam-e grama
Tanha swapne dekha dila Nityananda rama
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 5.181)
Lord Nitai ordered Krishnadasa to immediately start off for Vrindavana ,assuring him that all his desires shall be fulfilled over there. Sri Krishnadasa reveals in Caitanya Caritamrta, that the enchanting form of Lord Nityananda that he had witnessed that night surpassed the beauty of millions of cupids. The Lord adorned a silk cloth and a silk turban. He wore golden earrings ,golden armlets ,gold bangles and tinkling anklets.Sandalwood pulp anointed His beautiful body and His forehead was very nicely decorated with the marks of tilaka. His body moved to and fro in ecstasy as He chanted ‘Krishna! Krishna! ’ in a deep voice.He was surrounded all around with bumblebees and His movements resembled that of a maddened lion. His innumerable associates played horns, some played flutes while others served by waving Him camara and offering betel nuts. Beholding the wonderful opulent form of Nityananda, Srila Krishnadasa fell down again and again and offered Him his humble obeisances.Sri Krishnadasa accepted the instructions with all his heart and at once proceeded towards the transcendental land of Vrindavana. This entire pastime took place about five hundred years ago, here in this village of Jhamatpura.
Srila Krishnadasa mentions in Caitanya Caritamrta, that it is only due to the causeless mercy of Nityananda Prabhu that he could subsequently obtain shelter and serve in the transcendental abode of Sri Vrindavana dham.
Jaya jaya nityananda,nityananda rama
Yanhara kripate painu vrindavana dham
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 5.200)
‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the birth and pastimes of Lord Nitai in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Ekachakra Dham – Birthplace of Lord Nityananda’.
Sri Krishnadasa begins composing Sri Caitanya Caritamrta:
Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja has greatly glorified Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura’s composition, Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, the revered biography of Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, which had already been written before Krishnadasa Kaviraja began composing his work.By then ,Caitanya Bhagavata was already being widely read and relished by one and all.However,Srila Krishnadasa has revealed in Caitanya Caritamrta that Srila Vrindavana Das, has so ecstatically described the early pastimes of Lord Caitanya and the pastimes of Sri Nityananda prabhu in his book, that the later pastimes of Sri Gauranga had largely remained untold (Nityananda leela barnane haila avesha, Caitanyera sesha leela rahila avasesha..). The Gaudiya Vaishnava devotees of Vrindavana were very eager to learn these later pastimes of the Lord (..Vrindavana vasi bhaktera utkanthita mana..), and hence they requested Krishnadasa to compose Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, which shall also reveal these later pastimes in detail.
Haridasa Pandita, the dear disciple of Ananta Acharya, Govinda Gosai, the disciple of Kashishwar pandita and the then priest of Radha Govinda Dev temple in Vrindavana,Sri Yadava Gosai,Sri Mukundananda Chakravarti, Sri Caitanya das were a few of the innumerable devotees who had requested Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja to compose Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.Having being thus requested, Srila Krishnadasa proceeded to seek permission of Sri Madana Mohana jiu (in Vrindavana), in order to begin his writing.As soon as he offered his prostrated obeisances, a garland slipped down from the deities’ neck. The priest offered this garland unto Krishnadasa Kaviraja. Thus, receiving permission from the lord, and seeking the blessings of senior vaishnavas, Srila Krishnadasa began his work.
The primary source of information for Lord Caitanya’s early life (first 24 years) are the kadacas (diaries) that were written by Sri Murari Gupta and were later handed over to Sri Svarupa Damodara Goswami. Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami was entrusted unto the care of Svarupa Damodara during his stay in Jagannatha Puri. Srila Raghunatha Das hence had the very rare opportunity of learning these early pastimes of the Lord from the diaries of Murari Gupta. Raghunatha Das was also a first hand witness to the later pastimes of the Lord as he also lived in Puri along with the Lord during the latter days. Later on,while in Vrindavana, Sri Krishnadasa regularly attended Srila Raghunatha Das’ lectures ,sitting on the banks of Radha kunda, and is believed to have learnt all the details of Lord Caitanya’s life from him. Sri Krishnadasa was Raghunatha’s sincere student. Subsequently all that he had learnt was recorded by Krishnadasa in his immortal composition ,Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, had carefully avoided not to elaborate on those pastimes, that had already been narrated by Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura in Caitanya Bhagavata. This was due to the great respect he possessed for Srila Vrindavana Das, and considered that whatever Sri Vrindavana had already narrated could not be described any better. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the pastimes of Srila Vrindavana das Thakura in detail in another article entitled – ‘Denur – Where Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura composed Sri Caitanya Bhagavata’.
One who relishes the nectar of Caitanya Caritamrta,realizes the immense mercy that Lord Gaurahari and the senior vaishnavas had showered upon srila Krishnadasa.It is their mercy that empowered him to compose this great classic.Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has revealed in Caitanya Caritamrta that he was highly invalidated with old age and his hands trembled greatly while writing. Neither did he retain good vision, nor was he able to even hear properly. He was also not able to remember anything very well. Yet the fact that he continued writing and completed the book ,is a thing of great wonder.
ami vridhha jaratura,likhite kanpaye kara,
mane kichu smarana na haya
na dekhi e nayane, na suni e sravane,
tabu likhi , e bada vismaya
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya,2.90)
We are very fortunate to have visited Sri Krishnadas’ home and to have taken darsana of his worshipable Madana Gopala deities. We have received the greatest fortune of holding his paduka(footwear) upon our heads and smearing the dust from his bhajana kutira all over our sinful bodies. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has been striving to seek shelter of such great personalities throughout its spiritual journey. It is only with this objective of receiving their mercy and sharing it with others, that we have set out from our homes, trying to reveal to the world the mood and esoteric pastimes of these great men.The life and teachings, of these stalwarts inspire us to imbibe the same values and principles in our own lives and we pray that they mercifully bless us, so that we may forever contemplate upon their blissful pastimes.
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 Jhamatpura. 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 Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami 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:
- Sri Krishnadas’ Bhajana kutira
- Sri Krishnadas’ pushpa samadhi
- Sri Krishnadas’ worshipable deities – Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja mentions in Caitanya Caritamrta that Sri Madana Mohana is his kuladevata (family deity). This also signifies that his worshipable Madana Gopala deities preserved here at Jhamatpura was received by him from his predecessors and hence these deities are exceedingly old (Kuladhidevata mor madana mohana ,Yanra sevaka raghunatha,rupa, sanatana).Sri Krishnadasa also subsequently reveals that he had narrated in Caitanya Caritamrta only what Sri Madana Mohana jiu had dictated and inspired him to write.
- Sri Krishnadas’ paduka(footwear)
- Sri Krishnadas’ handwritten manuscripts
How to Reach:
You can take a train from Howrah/sealdah station to reach the Katwa junction. The journey takes around 3.5 hours. On reaching Katwa, you can board a local train to reach the Jhamatpura Baharan station. It is hardly a 20 minutes journey from katwa. From Jhamatpura Baharan, you can book an autorickshaw to directly reach Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraj Goswami’s Sripat. It would take you around 30 minutes to reach here from the Jhamatpura Baharan station.
We, from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ ,had visited Jhamatpura during our stay at Katwa. It was here in this holy land of Katwa that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had accepted His sannyasa initiation from Keshava Bharati 500 years back, and is thus an exalted pilgrimage destination for all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.This place was initially known as ‘Kantaka Nagara’,from which the name ‘Katwa’ had later evolved. The transcendental land of Katwa is a witness to several intimate reciprocations between Sri Gaurasundara, the Supreme Lord, and His beloved associates.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay at Hotel Srabani in Katwa which is owned and governed by the local municipality. Jhamatpura and Katwa are quite near to each other. Or else, Navadvipa is hardly an hour and a half ride from Jhamatpura. So the devotees can also choose to stay at Navadvipa / Mayapur and then travel to take darsana of Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s Sripat. Krishnadasa’s sripat is a 30 minutes ride from the Jhamatpura Baharan station.If one stays in Katwa, one can avail prasadam at the ‘Gauranga Bari temple’. Else if one stays in Navadvipa, then he/she can honor prasadam at Iskcon Mayapur or any of the Gaudiya Mathas.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Jhamatpura Baharan
(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)