The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krishna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows.The holy name of Krishna is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself. Since Krishna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krishna’s name is always liberated and spiritual.It is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical – Padma Purana
Lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaja and Richika Muni’s son Mahatapa had combinedly incarnated as Haridas Thakur. Srila Haridas Thakur is the namacharya of our sampradaya and is an eternal associate of Lord Gauranga.Srila Haridas had accompanied the Lord in most of His magnanimous pastimes. He was an empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord who had appeared just to set an example for all of us to follow. He had delivered innumerable suffering souls by bestowing upon them the nectar of the holy name. Though being born in a family of Muslims, Haridas Thakur widely propagated that the chanting of Krishna’s holy names to be the Supreme spiritual practice, and preached how the Lord and His holy names are actually non-different.Thakura Haridas teaches us, that the holy names of Krishna are actually non-sectarian and that God is one though we might call upon Him by different names. The relationship between the Lord (supersoul) and the jiva(soul) is eternal and chanting of the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’ is the most effective means to evoke and revive this eternal relationship, especially in this age of Kali.The Thakura used to chant Krishna’s holy names, 300000 times a day, a practice he continued till the very end of his manifested pastimes.
In the ‘Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya’, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions that in the age of Dvapara (the previous yuga), Lord Brahma had stolen the cows, cowherd boys and calves of Vrindavana with an intention of testing whether Krishna was the Supreme Lord.On realizing that Krishna was indeed his worshipable Supreme master, Brahma felt very ashamed. As an atonement, he arrived at present day Mayapur and began meditating upon the blissful form of Gaurahari. Lord Caitanya became very pleased and knowing the desires of Brahma, granted him the boon that he would become an intimate associate of the Lord when the Lord would next advent in this material world.However to ensure that Brahma didn’t get puffed up of his own position again, he arranged that Brahma incarnated as Haridas Thakur who was born in a family of Muslims.Being an embodiment of humility and being free from pride, Srila Haridas widely preached the glories of the holy name and brought auspiciousness to all.
Glorious pastimes of Sri Haridas Thakur at phulia:
Srila Haridas Thakura,was born in the village of Buron, presently situated within the district of Khulna, in Bangladesh.According to Advaita vilasa, Sri Haridas Thakur was about 35 years elder to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his father’s name was Khan Ullah Kazi. Sri Caitanya Bhagavata mentions the following about this great personality –
Buron Gramete avatirna Haridas
Se bhagye se saba deshe kirtana prakash
Katadina thakiya aila Gangatire
Ashiya rahila Phulia Santipur-e
Paiya tahana sanga acharya Gosai
Hunkara karena, anandera anta nai
Translation – Haridas Thakur had appeared in the village of Buron and by his mercy, the nectar of the holy name became revealed in those blessed lands. After staying many days and manifesting numerous pastimes, Srila Haridas shifted to Phulia, a place situated by the Ganges. Sri Advaita Acharya had His residence not very far from here ,at Santipur. Receiving the association of Haridas Thakura, Advaita Gosai , became overjoyed and began to roar very loudly.
(Translated by ‘The Gaudiya treasures of Bengal’)
Before coming to Phulia, Sri Haridas Thakur used to reside at a place called benapole, presently situated in the Jessore district of Bangladesh. We have narrated his amazing pastimes over there, in a separate article entitled – ‘Haridasa Thakura’s Bhajana kutira and his pastimes with Lakshahira, Benapole,Jessore, Bangladesh’.
Srila Haridas used to reside within a small grotto which served as his residence in Phulia. In this grotto there also lived a venomous snake.Being very afraid and being unable to tolerate its poisonous fumes, the other devotees couldn’t sit there with Haridas for long. So one day the local people warned Srila Haridas and made him aware of this dangerous creature living there along with him.Seeing the distress of the other devotees, Srila Haridas Thakur became greatly concerned. The Thakura then humbly requested the snake to abandon the grotto and informed that if it did not leave, then he would leave the place instead. Hearing this, the snake immediately came out of the hole and went elsewhere. Seeing this pastime, all the people present were left wonderstruck and developed profound and deep devotion for Haridas Thakur. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit and pray at Srila Haridas Thakur’s bhajana kutira in Phulia.
Sri Advaita Acharya and Haridas Thakur often met together at Phulia, and discussing the glories of the Lord ,spent their time blissfully in each other’s association.Srila Haridas often strayed alone by the bank of the Ganges, loudly chanting “Krishna ! Krishna!” and exhibiting all the ecstatic symptoms in his body. Sometimes he danced, sometimes he cried , sometimes laughed and roared loudly ,while sometimes he fainted unconscious.Even Lord Brahma and Shiva were astounded seeing Haridas’s devotional sentiments. All the brahmanas of Phulia, were very pleased to receive the darsana of Haridas Thakur and respected him very much.
Once while at Phulia, Sri Advaita performed His pitri-sraddha ceremony (worship of his forefathers). Once the worship was finished, Advaita Acharya offered the first prasadam plate to Sri Haridas Thakur, though there were several other brahmanas present in the ceremony. Generally this prasadam is reserved only for the high class brahmanas.The Thakura’s actions greatly offended some of these smarta brahmanas who immediately left the place. This pastime goes onto show how much Sri Advaita Thakura loved and honored Srila Haridas. In fact the stature of Sri Haridas was much beyond the petty material designations of caste and religion. We have covered the Sripat of Sri Advaita Thakura in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Advaita Acharya’s Sripat ,Santipur’.
Haridas Thakur Whipped at the Twenty-two market places :
Srila Haridas Thakur inspired the hearts of one and all with his loud chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra – ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare’.Now the Kazi ( local magistrate) of Phulia got alarmed by the Thakura’s actions. He went over and complained to the Mulukpati , his superior, that Haridas, inspite of being a muslim by faith, was chanting the names of Hindu Gods and thus should be punished.He feared that soon others would follow his example and it would set a bad precedent. On being notified, the Mulukpati immediately ordered for Haridas Thakur to be brought before him. Thakura Haridas was completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, and hence he fearlessly, went about to meet the Mulukpati. Haridas was then tried and thrown into the jail for his offenses. Staying peacefully at the jail, Haridas Thakur inspired the other prisoners to take up Krishna consciousness and surrender their lives unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. As a result all the prisoners became very happy and content.
Haridas was then brought in front of the Mulukpati. Seeing his effulgence ,the Mulukpati understood that he was no ordinary personality. He showed him respect and offered him a seat.The Mulukpati then asked Haridas why he chanted the names of hindu Gods.The Mulukpati argued that Haridas was greatly fortunate to have been born a Muslim.Inspite of this, he was behaving in such a degraded manner. The Mulukpati then ordered him to abandon Harinaam and recite Kalma instead.
Haridas smiled upon hearing the arguments of Mulukpati and glorified the illusory energy of the Lord (Maya) , who was responsible for preventing the embodied beings from realizing the Supreme Truth.Haridas Thakur replied that the Supreme Lord is one, irrespective of the different names by which we call upon Him. This is confirmed in both the Puranas (the sacred vedic texts) as well as the the holy Koran. The same Supreme Lord, is eternally situated within all of our hearts. The living entity acts as the Lord inspires from within and he worships the Lord as per his inclination. Haridas argued that in the same way that certain Brahmanas, born in Hindu families, voluntarily take up Islam as their faith, in a similar manner, he was inspired to chant the holy names of Krishna instead.
The explanation of Haridas Thakur satisfied all but the kazi. The foolish kazi insisted that Haridas should not go unpunished, as his example would bring infamy upon his religion and several others might soon be following his example.The Mulukpati requested Haridas again to give up his decision or else face the consequences.The Thakura replied that he would continue to act as he was being inspired from within.Srila Haridas Thakur then made the following bold proclamation –
Khanda khanda hoi deha ,yaya yadi prana
Tabu ami badan-e na chhari harinaam
(Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)
Even if my body is cut into several pieces and i lose my life as a result,
Yet, i shall not give up the chanting of the holy names of Krishna
Hearing this, the Mulukpati turned towards the kazi and asked as to what should be done.The kazi answered that Haridas Thakur should be severely whipped at twenty two market places and thereby killed.The kazi continued that if Haridas survived even after this intense whipping, then they would all accept him as a great personality and agree to whatever he had just said. At this point we would like to clarify that a normal person would generally die upon being whipped at only two or three market places. Hence the kazi naturally thought that it was quite impossible that Haridas would survive after receiving ten times the beating.
Accordingly, Srila Haridas Thakur was dragged out onto the streets and whipped severely by the royal guards. Haridas Thakur kept incessantly chanting the names of Krishna and was hence not affected by the torture. People assembled in the streets and felt very compassionate upon seeing this intense punishment being meted out to the Thakura.Some of them cursed the King while some urged the guards to stop. Yet the guards were unmoved and as if vented out their anger more and more with every passing whip. However, none of their actions could even cause the faintest of pain within Haridas, who kept smiling amidst this demoniac torture. At the conclusion of the whipping at the twenty two market places, the guards realized that Haridas was no ordinary personality. It was not possible for an ordinary human being to survive this kind of a beating.Hence they surrendered unto Haridas Thakur and humbly informed him, that if they were somehow unsuccessful in killing him, then the Kazi would kill them instead.Feeling compassionate upon these guards, who had whipped him for so long, Haridas Thakur entered into a state of samadhi, a condition in which all the external bodily activities of a person cease to exist. Even the breathing of such a person , who is in a state of samadhi, is very difficult to examine.Considering him to be dead, the guards then carried his body to the court of the Mulukpati. The Mulukpati ordered the body to be put inside a grave. The Kazi interrupted once more and expressed that such an action would ensure that Haridas would receive a good destination in his next life. The Kazi hence objected and suggested the body to be thrown into the Ganges.Others agreed to this proposal and accordingly the body of the Thakura was disposed off in the river.
While he was thus floating upon the Ganges, Srila Haridas regained his external consciousness.Swimming across, he soon reached the bank of Phulia. The Kazi and the Mulukpati were shocked to see Haridas alive and immediately realized their mistake. They understood that he was an empowered personality and begged forgiveness at his lotus feet. With his folded hands, the Mulukpati glorified Haridas Thakur as a perfected soul and prayed for his mercy.He also proclaimed that Srila Haridas could stay anywhere in his kingdom and chant whatever names he desired.Srila Haridas forgave these people and showered his causeless mercy upon them. Thereafter loudly chanting the holy names of Krishna, he reached the assembly of the brahmanas, who were overjoyed to see him again. Out of his sheer humility, Srila Haridas concluded that he had been rightly punished on that day as he silently tolerated the blasphemy of the Supreme lord while being judged at the court. He added that the punishment could have been much more severe had the Lord not mercifully reduced the reactions of his offenses.It is indeed very difficult for ordinary people like us, to get a measure of the elevated stature of a pure devotee like Haridas Thakur.
During the Mahaprakash lila (the ecstasy of 21 hours), which took place later at srivasa Angan, Lord Caitanya had revealed that it was actually He who had invisibly embraced Haridas and tolerated the whips of the demoniac guards ,while he was being dragged and beaten at the twenty two market places.Though the Lord had desired to sever the heads of these miscreants with His sudarshana chakra, yet He was unable to do so as His dear devotee Haridas continuously prayed for them and forgave their offenses.So these guards had actually beaten the Lord instead who had protected Haridas Thakura by embracing him.During Mahaprakash Lila, the Lord even revealed His bare back which carried the marks of those whip lashes that He had accepted on behalf of the Thakura. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the pastimes of Mahaprakash Lila in a separate article entitled – ‘Srivasa Angan ,Mayapur ,Navadvipa – Part 1: where Lord Gaurahari eternally performs His ecstatic pastimes’.
Haridas Thakur initiates Maya devi (Maa Durga):
During the thakura’s stay at phulia, he was once tested by a beautiful woman. The woman was so beautiful that the beauty of her body painted her surroundings with a yellow hue (..tanra anga kantye sthana pita-varna haila..). The sweet tinkling sound of her ornaments and the scent of her body pervaded all directions.She approached Haridas Thakur and glorified him greatly. Then she expressed her earnest desire to enjoy with him.Saying this, she began manifesting various postures ,which could bewilder even the soberest of saints.Haridas Thakur however remained calm and gently informed the lady that he was initiated into a vow of chanting three lakh holy names daily. He however urged the lady to sit at the door of his cottage and listen to his chanting attentively. He provided her assurances that he would satisfy her as soon as his chanting was finished. Saying this, Thakur Haridas resumed his chanting. As soon as morning approached , the lady got up and left.This continued for three continuous nights, and each night the lady would try to allure Haridas Thakur with her feminine charms.But she was left frustrated on each occasion, as Haridas would keep chanting throughout the night.
At the end of the third night the lady understood that Haridas was merely giving her false assurances of satisfying her as his chanting never seemed to get over. She then revealed her original identity as Mahamaya devi (the external energy of the Supreme Lord – Devi Durga), who had come to test the devotion of Srila Haridas.She also added that her charm had previously bewildered even great personalities like Brahma. But she had failed in her attempt to allure Thakur Haridas.
brahmadi jiva ami sobare mohilun
ekla tomare ami mohite narilun
(Caitanya Caritamrta , antya ,3.251)
Subsequently she expressed her desire to be initiated by Srila Haridas and be immersed in the ecstasy of Krishna’s holy names. She expressed that anyone who does not take shelter of Lord Gaurahari and taste the nectar of harinaam, is the most unfortunate who cannot be delivered even in a million of kalpas (1 kalpa = cycle of four yugas). She further revealed that previously she had received the holy name of Lord Rama from Lord Shiva but coming in association of Haridas ,she had developed an intense desire to chant the names of Krishna. She continued that the holy name of Lord Rama can certainly impart liberation but the holy name of Krishna can also reward one with the ecstatic love of Godhead.
mukti hetuka taraka haya Rama nama
Krishna nama paraka hana kare prema daan
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya, 3.257)
Devi Mahamaya then worshipped the lotus feet of Haridas Thakur, her spiritual master, who initiated her into the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Such is the stature of our dear thakura, by whose mercy, even Goddess Durga, could relish the ecstasy of Harinaam.
Pastimes of Haridas Thakur at Jagannatha Puri:
Let us also take this opportunity to relish and contemplate upon the pastimes of this great personality at Jagannatha puri, where he had later shifted and subsequently wrapped up his earthly pastimes.After Mahaprabhu had accepted His sannyasa, and moved over to reside at Jagannatha Puri, Srila Haridas Thakur followed Him as well. Inspite of being a stalwart Vaishnava ,Srila Haridas, had always considered himself to be a low born and exceedingly abominable.Hence, out of his sheer humility, he never entered the premises of the Jagannatha Puri temple.At puri, Lord Caitanya had arranged a place for Haridas’s stay, located just behind His own residence at Gambhira. The residence of Srila Haridas is renowned today as ‘Siddha Bakula’ (siddha means perfect).The sacred place has derived its name from a bakula tree which grows over here.This fortunate tree is over 500 years old and used to provide its cooling shade under which the Thakura chanted his rounds peacefully. Lord Caitanya had personally planted a used tooth-stick of Lord Jagannatha into the ground at this place ,which immediately grew up and blossomed into this tree. Till this day, anyone visiting this place can take darsana of this sacred Bakula tree.
Srila Haridas used to chant three lakh holy names daily sitting under Siddha Bakula. He used to see the chakra at the top of the Jagannatha temple from here and offer his obeisances from a distance. Lord Caitanya used to meet Haridas everyday over here and discuss with him the deep secrets of the science of devotion. Mahaprabhu used to also arrange for Lord Jagannatha’s Mahaprasadam to be delivered to Haridas Thakur everyday.
Haridas Thakur Passes away (at Jagannatha Puri):
Srila Haridas thakur’s glorious passing away shall be ever marked with golden words in the pages of Gaudiya history. Today, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas consider the great Bay of bengal to be a sacred site of pilgrimage, as it had the good fortune of touching the transcendental body of our dear Thakura. The samadhi of Haridas Thakur rests at Jagannatha Puri and blesses all the sincere souls ,advance in their Krishna consciousness.
One day while Govinda, Mahaprabhu’s personal servant, went over to deliver the remnants of Lord Jagannatha deva to Haridas Thakur, he found him to be very sick and to be chanting his rounds very slowly. When Govinda requested the Thakura to accept the Mahaprasad, he replied that he had not yet finished his rounds and hence he should not be eating anything. But then he could not keep the Lord’s remnants waiting as well. So respectfully, he accepted a little portion of it. The next day Lord Caitanya came to meet Haridas Thakur and inquired about his health. Haridas replied that his body was alright but his mind was not. On being asked, he answered that he was finding it difficult to complete his rounds.Mahaprabhu remarked that Haridas was already a liberated soul and that he had already preached the glories of the holy name sufficiently.The Lord requested Haridas to hence reduce his rounds, as he had grown old. Haridas Thakur used to chant 300000 holy names daily.
Srila Haridas Thakur then humbly expressed his desire to leave his material body in the presence of Lord Gaurasundara. Haridas Thakur glorified Mahaprabhu as the independent Supreme personality of Godhead, who made everyone dance as per His will. The Thakura ,out of humility, continued that though he was born in a family of meat eaters, the Lord had provided him His shelter and accepted him as His own. Haridas continued that he was well aware that the Lord would soon wrap up His earthly pastimes, and he dearly wished to be not present to witness the closing chapters of the Lord’s Lila.Hence Srila Haridas requested Mahaprabhu again and again, so that he could leave his body in His presence.Mahaprabhu was very sad to hear this and exclaimed that whatever happiness He enjoyed, was only due to Srila Haridas’s association. He further added that it was not fit for Haridas to go away ,leaving the Lord behind like that. But Haridas kept insisting and expressed that he was only a tiny insignificant insect whose loss would not matter to the world.
The next day morning, after visiting Lord Jagannatha, Sri Caitanya, accompanied by His associates, went to meet Haridas thakur. On enquiring how his health was, Srila Haridas replied that it was as per the Lord’s mercy. On hearing this, lord Caitanya immediately began a great congregational chanting and Vakresvara Pandita was its chief dancer.All the devotees joined in.The Lord then greatly glorified Haridas thakur and his qualities, which pleased all present. Thereafter Srila Haridas smeared the dust of the devotees’ feet upon his head and made the Lord sit in front of Him. Holding the lotus feet of the Lord upon his heart and drinking the nectar of the Lord’s moon like face, he kept incessantly chanting the holy name of Sri Krishna Caitanya in ecstasy. While chanting thus, he left his body and entered the eternal abode of the Lord. Seeing the wonderful passing away of Haridas Thakur, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhishma in the battlefield of Kurukshetra (who also left his body at his own will).
‘Sri krishna Caitanya’ sabda karite uccharana
namera sahita prana kaila utkramana
(Caitanya Caritamrta, antya, 11.56)
Lord Caitanya became greatly overwhelmed .Raising the body of Haridas Thakur upon His lap, He began dancing in ecstatic love.There was a tumultuous roar and all the devotees joined in the sankirtana.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ would like to clarify at this point that the Vaishnavas are never too sad when a fellow vaishnava passes away. It is due to their realization that the devotee who just passed away must have achieved the Supreme spiritual destination and reunited with the Lord of his life. Besides, it is of no use crying over a dead body when the soul has already left it. The knowledge of matter, spirit and the controller of both (Supreme lord) is the key to understanding the activities of a devotee.
Chanting and dancing ,Lord Caitanya led a procession carrying the body of Haridas to the sea. Mahaprabhu then bathed the body of Haridas Thakur in it and declared that the sea had become a great site of pilgrimage from then on as it had come in contact with the transcendental body of Haridas. All present drank its waters and touched the lotus feet of Srila Haridas Thakur. Thereafter, a hole was dug in the sand and the transcendental body of Haridas was placed into it.Amidst loud sankirtana, silken ropes, sandalwood pulp, food and cloth were placed upon the body. Lord Caitanya personally covered the body with sand. The devotees also helped the Lord and constructed a raised platform upon the site. The platform was then surrounded with fence to provide protection.
Mahaprabhu Himself spread His cloth, and begged alms from all the shopkeepers, in order to arrange a festival honoring the passing away of Haridas Thakur.Later a grand feast was held in which Lord Gaurasundara, Himself, distributed prasadam to all the devotees and made them eat till their neck. The Supreme Lord then remarked that Srila Haridas was the crest jewel adorning the crown of this world and without him the world was now bereft of its valuable Gem.
haridas achila prthibira shiromani
taha bina ratna sunya haila medini
(Caitanya caritamrta, Antya, 11.97)
What to See (Phulia):
- The bhajana kutira of Srila Haridas Thakur.
- The tree under which Srila haridas Thakur used to chant his rounds.
- Beautiful deities of Balarama, Revati devi, Sri Radha-Krishna ,Jagannatha , baladeva ,Subhadra and Panchatatva are presently worshipped here.
- The samadhi of Krittibas Ojha, the medieval Bengali poet is also placed in the same compound today.
We also noticed that a memorial of Srila Haridas thakur has been constructed at this site, by the ‘Bhaktivedanta swami Charity Trust’ in the year 1994.
‘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 transcendental abode of Phulia.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 Haridas Thakur that we advance in our Krishna consciousness ,enhance our taste in chanting the holy name, 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:
There are several direct trains connecting the town of Phulia (also spelt as Fulia) to Kolkata.The place lies within the jurisdiction of Santipur police station. Srila Haridas thakur’s bhajana Kutira is located at a place, known as ‘Krittibas’ ,situated within the town of Phulia. The place has been named after the medieval bengali poet , krittibas Ojha, who was born here. The ‘Krittibas school’ would be the nearest landmark to this bhajana kutira.
The town of Phulia is renowned for its traditional textiles and hand woven fabrics. After the partition of bengal, several talented skilled weavers of Bangladesh came and settled in this area.Today, Phulia is renowned for its Tant & Jamdani sarees.
Accommodation – One can choose to stay in any of the prominent hotels of Phulia. Or else Iskcon Habibpur which is hardly a 20 minutes ride from this place also provides nice accommodations and prasadam facilities. Please contact +91 97321 85553 / 03473-281150 to book your rooms at Iskcon Habibpur.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Phulia
(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 Nadia and Kalna , purchase this below book from our bookstore. Click on the Image below :