Kavi Karnapura writes in Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika, that the two wives of Lord Balarama, Srimati Varuni and Srimati Revati devi , appeared in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes as Srimati Vasudha and Jahnava, the two dear wives of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. They were the daughters of the great personality named Suryadas Sarkhel , who had been Maharaja Kakudmi in his previous incarnation.
’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall try its best to narrate below the exalted pastimes of Lord Nityananda’s marriage as has been described by His dear disciple Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura, in his heart melting composition , ‘Sri Nityananda Caritamrta’. The readers are hereby requested to excuse any of our unintentional mistakes ,as we are mere fools who, not knowing our limits, are trying to delve deep into this esoteric well, to excavate the mesmerizing jewels of Doyal Nitai’s ecstatic pastimes.
Sri Nityananda Prabhu decided to marry and settle down in Bengal, after receiving Lord Caitanya’s instructions.Accompanying Sri Uddharana datta Thakura, His eternal associate, Lord Nitai set out for Ambika Kalna.Arriving at the doorsteps of Suryadasa Sarkhel, Nityananda prabhu waited outside as Sri Uddharana rushed inside to inform the residents of the Lord’s arrival.Suryadasa held a very important post in the service of the king of Gauda and was hence awarded with the title ‘Sarkhel’ (commander) .He used to earn a lot of money as his salary.Falling at Nityananda Prabhu’s lotus feet, Sri Suryadasa offered Him his humble obeisances and greeted the Lord wholeheartedly.The Lord then revealed that He had come to Kalna with a purpose and that He desired to have Suryadasa’s daughter as His wife.
Suryadasa sarkhel knew everything about the identity of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda.His brother Gaudidasa Pandita was the incarnation of the cowherd boy Subala, in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes. But by the influence of the Lord’s illusory energy, Suryadasa forgot everything at that particular moment and refused the Lord’s proposal upfront. He argued that it was not possible, as things had to be first considered based upon caste,stars and family background. He continued that he was a brahmana while Lord Nitai was an outcaste. Being refused,Lord Nityananda immediately left the place while Suryadasa went inside his house feeling disappointed.
Meanwhile, Suryadasa assembled his family members and explained to them what had just happened.He also described to them a dream that he had seen the previous night. He narrated that in his dream he had seen his two daughters ,Vasudha and Jahnava, as Varuni and Revati devi respectively. They shone like mountains of Gold and Kumkum. Adorned with fine clothes and jewellery ,his two daughters stood on either side of Lord Nitai, who revealed Himself as Lord Balarama.Hearing her father’s words from inside the house, mother Jahnava became overwhelmed with ecstasy.Tears of love glided down her beautiful face. She tried covering her face with a piece of cloth but the whole cloth became soaked with tears. Hearing Suryadasa’s description, one of the family members remarked that one might see many things in their dreams. But Lord Nityananda is the Supreme Brahmana and they are just petty householders. So how could they possibly offer their daughter unto Him ?
Srimati Jahnava falls unconscious :
As the family members were thus busy discussing, a sudden loud sound from inside the house caught everyone’s attention.Something had happened to mother Jahnava. She had fallen down unconscious and her eyes had rolled over in their sockets. Her entire body had become cold and she was perspiring profusely. A doctor was immediately called ,who diagnosed and concluded that there was no treatment for her disease. Hearing this ,her family members broke down and began to cry piteously. Gaudidasa Pandita tried to console his brother, Suryadasa, and suggested that they might have committed some offense at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu and so they must beg for His pardon.He continued that if Nityananda prabhu was somehow able to revive their girl, then they should accept and arrange for Jahnava’s marriage with Him. All members of the Sarkhel family promptly agreed.
After a long search, they finally found Nityananda prabhu sitting beneath a banyan tree. Tears glided down His beautiful eyes as He incessantly chanted the holy name of Krishna. All the relatives of mother Jahnava surrendered unto His lotus feet. The Lord picked them up and asked – “My dear cowherd men, have you all forgotten Me ?” Suryadasa replied, that it was Nityananda Prabhu who had bewildered his intelligence. Though He was present in everyone’s heart, yet He had not inspired Suryadasa to give up his attachment to Varnasrama dharma. Saying thus Suryadasa seeked shelter of the Lord. Actually this is how the Lord sometimes bewilders His intimate associates, in order to manifest His sweet pastimes .Suryadasa being His dear devotee could realize this.Nityananda Prabhu then returned to Suryadasa’s residence and discovered Jahnava Mata lying at the doorsteps. Her body was covered with a cloth and the sunshine fell upon her beautiful face. Her condition was pitiable with her eyes rolled over and the tears incessantly falling from them. The symptoms of impending death manifested in her.
To the surprise of all present, as soon as Lord Nityananda approached and as soon as His divine aroma entered Srimati Jahnava’s nostrils, she immediately regained her consciousness. Getting up, she immediately covered her face with her cloth and entered the inner chambers of the house. Merciful Lord Nityananda , then blessed all present by manifesting His six armed form at the courtyard of Suryadasa Sarkhel. Lord Nitai gave all a glimpse of His divine opulence.The upper two hands held a bow and arrow, the two middle hands held a plough and a stick and the lower two carried a sannyasa danda and a water pot. His head was decorated with a crown, His ears were decorated with earrings and His effulgent body was radiant with valuable jewels.But soon thereafter, the six armed form vanished from everyone’s vision and only the two-handed form of Nityananda Prabhu remained. The fortunate brahmanas and the Vaishnavas, who were able to behold this wonderful vision, began loudly chanting glories of the merciful Lord. On being enquired, Lord Nityananda expressed His approval and thus His marriage with Srimati Jahnava devi was fixed. All became very jubilant upon hearing this great news.
Sri Nityananda weds Srimati Jahnava :
From then on there was a constant celebration at the residence of the Sarkhels’. Friends and relatives arrived every other day. Musicians were hired and brahmanas were fed sumptuously. The women distributed vermillion, paan, oil,betel nuts and sweet to all the arriving guests. On the day of the marriage, the brahmanas brought the required paraphernalia for performing the sacrifices.Chanting the appropriate mantras, the brahmanas placed a stick and a water pot upon Nityananda Prabhu’s hands.Lord Nitai adorned a saffron cadara ,carried a saffron bag upon His shoulders,wore wooden shoes and held an umbrella.The Lord then begged alms from His mother in law, who placed gold, silver and money into His bag. The ladies gazed at the enchanting form of Nityananda prabhu who reminded them of Lakshmana, the brother of lord Rama. The Lord repeatedly kept laughing aloud. Thereafter the Lord entered a secluded inner room and resided there for three continuous days. On the morning of the fourth day, the Lord took darsana of the sun and the brahmanas before coming out. The Lord then worshipped Vishnu, and was made to sit upon a wooden throne.Hundreds of beautiful ladies arrived from navadvipa, to participate in this wonderful event.Prior to the marriage, yellow threads were tied upon Lord Nitai and mother Jahnava’s hands.Joy and happiness flooded one and all. Some compared the beautiful couple with Lord Rama and Sita, while some compared them with Lakshmi and Narayana. Others compared their union like that of Kamadeva and Rati. People glorified the fortune of mother Jahnava who had received such a beautiful groom.
The auspicious time for the marriage ceremony finally arrived. Suryadasa Pandita requested the relatives to decorate both bride and the groom. Sri Gaudidasa Pandita put tilaka and sandalwood paste upon the Lord’s forehead, His beautifully raised nose, and His broad chest. The beauty of the Lord defeated that of a full moon.The sacred thread on His chest , appeared just like Ananta Sesha covering Lord Balarama.The fragrant flower garlands and the valuable ornaments that He adorned, added to His radiance.
Meanwhile the ladies decorated Srimati Jahnava with their undivided attention. Her hair was beautifully braided and a couple of colorful jute clusters hung from her head ,down to her back, which covered both her ears.Her forehead was adorned with Tilaka, and beautiful kumkuma decorated her face. Black ointment was applied to her eyes and she adorned a golden pearl on her nose.She wore a golden kanthi mala and a locket that hung upon her chest. Her beauty was matchless. Golden earrings, resembling Campaka flowers, decorated her ears, and golden bangles bedecked her hands. Beautiful ankle bells graced her reddist feet.
Thereafter Lord Nityananda was seated upon a palanquin and was toured all over the city. The procession was accompanied by melodious singers and elegant dancers who added to the wonder of this blissful ceremony. The beauty of Nityananda Prabhu eclipsed that of millions of cupids. After travelling all around, the procession finally returned to the house of Suryadasa Pandita. Nityananda prabhu was then asked to stand on a wooden platform. Jahnava devi was seated upon a beautiful throne and her relatives carried her around Nityananda Prabhu seven times. Then the couple glanced at each other as the relatives showered flowers upon them. The spontaneous loving attraction between the divine couple was awakened. Srimati Jahnava held her head down in shyness on seeing the Lord of her life. Thereafter she was taken into a separate room, while the brahmanas completed the formalities according to the scriptural injunctions.
After offering jewellery , clothes and other items to Nityananda Prabhu, Suryadasa formally accepted Him as his son-in-law. Thereafter Nityananda Prabhu and Jahnava Mata were seated on a beautiful bed decorated with flowers. Several young girls entered the room as well, and began teasing the newly wedded couple. In the morning , as per the Vedic injunctions, Lord Nityananda put vermilion (sindoor) on Srimati Jahnava’s head.Subsequently fire sacrifices were arranged. All the brahmanas were then served a grand feast. Lord Nitai happily resided at Suryadasa’s house for a few days.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ is exceedingly proud and honored to have visited and prayed at the sacred site of Sri Nitai and Srimati Jahnava’s marriage at Kalna. Lord Nityananda’s lotus footprints are preserved and worshipped here till this day.
Srimati Vasudha is offered as Dowry :
Srimati Vasudha devi, the younger daughter of Suryadasa sarkhel, also had her mind fixed upon the lotus feet of Nityananda Rai. One day, while assisting her elder sister, in serving prasad to Nityananda Prabhu, the sari covering her head slipped down. Since both her hands were engaged in serving, she manifested two more hands, from behind, with which she covered her head again.Seeing this Lord Nityananda caught hold of her hand and made her sit to His right. Thereafter He requested Suryadasa pandita to offer her second daughter unto Him as well. Lord Nityananda said that He would take her as His dowry. Suryadasa pandita and all his relatives approved of the proposal and became very happy. All present greatly glorified Suryadasa as the fortunate one ,who had purchased Lord krishna in this age of kali. Thus the residents of Ambika Kalna, floated in an ocean of bliss.
After residing for a few days, at the house of Suryadasa Pandita, Lord Nityananda arrived at Borgachi where He spent a few days ,along with His newly wedded family, at the house of Sri Krishna Das, His dear associate. Thereafter He came to Navadvipa and along with His two wives, offered His obeisances unto Mother Saci. Leaving Navadvipa, they visited the house of Advaita Acharya at Santipur. Advaita Prabhu and Sita Thakurani were very happy to receive them. (Please also read about Sri Advaita Acharya’s Sripat in the article entitled – ‘Sri Advaita Acharya’s Sripat , Santipur’).
From there the Lord, along with His wives, visited saptagram, where they spent a few blissful days at the house of Sri Uddharana Datta. We have covered our visit to Sri Uddharana Datta’s residence in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura Sripat, Adisaptagram (Near bandel)’.Leaving saptagram, Lord Nitai arrived at Khardaha where He subsequently set up His permanent residence.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered Lord Nitai’s visit to Khardaha in a different article entitled -’Kunja Vatika, Khardaha’.
The Glories of Jahnava Mata:
Jahnava Mata, also known as Isvari, within the society of devotees, was a towering personality who led the Gaudiya vaishnavas after the disappearance of the Pancha Tattva. On the request of Sri Narottama das Thakura, She presided over the grand festival at Kheturi, in which the devotees from the different parts of India had participated.
Though Isvari did not have any children of her own, she took up the responsibility of nurturing and caring for the children of Vasudha devi, her younger sister. Thus Birchandra Prabhu and Ganga muni devi were brought up . Birchandra prabhu was subsequently initiated by mother Jahnava.She had delivered countless atheists and sinners during her manifested pastimes.The details of her travel to Vrindavana is recorded vividly within Bhakti Ratnakara and Prema Vilasa. At Vrindavana, the Goswamis fell at her lotus feet, knowing her to be the energy of Lord Nityananda Himself. Visiting the different pastime places of the Lord in Vrindavana, different moods and emotions connected with those pastimes, awakened within her. Returning back to Gauda Desha, she toured extensively, preaching far and wide. At Ekachakra ,she visited all the childhood pastime places of Lord Nitai ,thereby feeling immense ecstasy.There she had stayed at the empty house which was once occupied by Nityananda Prabhu and His parents, Sri Hadai pandita and mother Padmavati. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered Lord Nitai’s birthplace and early pastimes in a separate article entitled –’Sri Ekachakra Dham – Birthplace of Lord Nityananda’. Likewise she paid her visits to Navadvipa, Katwa, Jajigram,etc.By her causeless mercy, her disciple Nityananda Das could compose ‘Prema Vilasa’, a nectarian book that reveals the ecstatic pastimes of the second generation of devotees, who had appeared after Lord Caitanya had wrapped up His earthly pastimes. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura offers the following prayer unto the lotus feet of mother Jahnava, in his composition Sri Kalyana Kalpataru –
ogo sri jahnava devi ! e dase koruna
koro aji nija-gune, ghhuchao jantrana
Oh most revered Jahnava Devi! Please shower your causeless mercy upon this servant today ,and by the virtue of your own good qualities, kindly relieve me of all afflictions
tomara carana-tari kariya ashraya
bhavarnava par ha’ba korechi nischaya
By taking shelter in the boat of Your lotus feet I shall certainly be able to cross over this vast ocean of material existence.
tumi Nityananda-shakti krishna-bhakti-guru
e dase koroho daan pada-kalpa-taru
You are the very pleasure potency of Lord Nityananda, and you are the teacher of devotion unto Lord Krishna. Kindly bestow upon this servant the wish-fulfilling desire tree of your lotus feet.
koto koto pamarere korecho uddhara
tomara carane aj e kangal char
Thus, this most wretched and shameful rogue begs at your lotus feet today, for you have similarly delivered countless other sinners.
(Translated by ‘The Gaudiya treasures of Bengal’)
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 Ambika Kalna.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 Srimati Jahnava Devi that we advance in our Krishna consciousness, develop attachment unto the lotus feet of Lord Gaura Nitai and are able to serve Sri Guru & Vaishnavas, by our honest and sincere efforts. We seek her 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 (at the house of Suryadasa Sarkhel) :
- The place where Lord Nityananda Prabhu’s marriage was held.
- Lord Nityananda’s lotus footprints
- Mesmerizing deities of Sri Gaura Nitai. Also worshipped are the deities of Suryadasa Sarkhel along with his two daughters – Jahnava and Vasudha.
How to Reach :
The town of Ambika Kalna is well connected to Kolkata via local trains.One may board a train from the howrah station and reach Kalna within 3.5 hours. Reaching Kalna, one needs to book a cab/ Auto to directly reach Sri Suryadasa Sarkhel’s residence. This place is renowned as the site where Lord Nitai got married. We, from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ ,however, had travelled to kalna, while visiting Sri Mayapur dham. 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 Kalna takes about 1.5 hours.
The town of Ambika kalna is also sometimes referred to as the temple town of Bengal as it is graced with several Terracotta temples, that exhibit a very high degree of architectural skill. The town has derived its name from Maa Ambika, a deity of goddess Kali, who is worshipped over here.The town has numerous historical monuments such as the Rajbari (the palace) and the 108 Shiva temples. Ambika Kalna is also very famous for its handwoven fabrics and is a major exporter of Tangail and gorgeous Jamdani sarees.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Kalna like Hotel Priyadarshini, etc. Or else one can also choose to stay in any of the Gaudiya Mathas in Navadvipa or at Iskcon Mayapur where one can also avail nice prasadam. Kalna is hardly an hour’s ride from Navadvipa.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Kalna
(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 life and exalted pastimes of Lord Nityananda, purchase this below book from our bookstore. Click on the Image below :