“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
Sri Chandrasekhara Acharya, or Acharya Ratna as he was sometimes referred to ,was the great second branch of Lord Caitanya’s desire tree of devotional service.He was Lord Caitanya’s maternal uncle, the husband of Sarvajaya, Saci Mata’s sister.He, like Jagannatha Mishra was originally a resident of Sylhet. He was one of the five devotees who had accompanied the Lord to witness His sannyasa initiation at Katwa (refer – ‘Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa’). According to Gaura Ganoddesha dipika, Sri Chandrasekhara was the incarnation of the Moon God. Needless to say, he was an intimate associate of Mahaprabhu. Later Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura , the founder of the worldwide Gaudiya Mathas (temples), had established one of his main branches here, at the house of Chandrasekhara. He had named it as Vrajapattana, or the place where Vrindavana, the highest spiritual realm, became manifest.Lord Caitanya had enacted a beautiful play ,revealing the pastimes of Vrindavana, here at Chandrasekhara Bhavan, that enchanted the hearts of all the devotees.This episode of Mahaprabhu enacting this play has been described vividly by Srila Vrindavana das Thakura in Caitanya Bhagavata .‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself immensely fortunate to be able to narrate this nectarian pastime below.
The play at Masir Bari :
One day Lord Visvambhara expressed His desire to enact a drama on the pastimes of Vrindavana ,at the house of His maternal uncle , Sri Chandrasekhara. He summoned Buddhimanta Khan, His dear associate who was also quite wealthy, and revealed to him this idea. He ordered Buddhimanta, to fetch all the necessary costumes, jewellery,etc and set up a stage for the purpose. Buddhimanta Khan was the incarnation of the pious King Suvarna Sena, who in Satya Yuga used to reside at Suvarna Vihar (in Godruma Dvipa). Sri Caitanya then listed the characters of the play – Gadadhara Pandita would play the role of Rukmini Devi, Brahmananda would be Her old lady companion Suprabhata, Nityananda Prabhu would play the role of Radharani’s old grandmother (Paurnamasi) while Haridas Thakura would be the guard responsible for keeping all awake. Srivasa Pandita would play the role of Narada muni while the Lord Himself would take up the role of Lakshmi Devi.All the necessary arrangements were made.
The devotees assembled here at Chandrasekhara Bhavan ,to witness this enchanting drama.Saci Mata along with Vishnupriya Devi had also arrived to relish the same. Sri Vrindavana Das Thakura greatly glorifies Sri Chandrasekhara, whose fortune knew no bounds.It was at his home, that the Supreme Lord enacted this magnificent pastime along with all His associates.
Sri Chandrasekhara-bhagya tanra ei seema
Yara ghare prabhu prakashila e mahima
(Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)
Mukunda Datta heralded the proceedings with his melodious kirtana – ‘Rama Krishna bala Hari Gopala Govinda’. Haridas Thakura next entered and announced that the Lord of the Universe would be gracing the stage and dancing as Lakshmidevi.Haridasa Thakura identified himself as the doorkeeper of Vaikuntha, who was eternally engaged in reviving the dormant Krishna consciousness of others.He loudly advised one and all to meditate upon Krishna, serve Krishna and chant the holy name of Krishna.Saying thus, Haridasa Thakura along with Murari Gupta paraded around the stage.
Next entered Srivasa Pandita, dressed as Narada Muni, along with Srirama Pandita (his brother), who acted as his dear disciple. Everyone was amazed to see the blissful form and spontaneity of Srivasa pandita, and no one had any more doubts that he was actually the incarnation of Narada Muni.Holding Kusa grass in his fingers and with marks of Candana decorating his entire body, he played upon his bina (a musical instrument). Ramai Pandita made arrangements for him to sit.When Advaita Acharya entered the stage and asked who he was, Srivasa replied that he was Narada, the celestial sage.He further revealed that when he had visited Vaikuntha, he saw that it was completely deserted.He came to know over there ,that the Lord along with all of His associates had descended to the town of Nadiya and today He would be enacting the beautiful dance of lakshmidevi. Hence not being able to resist himself anymore, he had also come over to relish the Lord’s dance.
The audience became highly astonished hearing these nectarian words and asked Malini devi (Srivasa’s wife) whether it was really Srivasa pandita who was playing the role. Srimati Malini devi confirmed that it was indeed her pious husband.Srimati Saci devi fainted being enthralled by the ecstatic performance of Srivasa Pandita. The ladies chanted Krishna! Krishna ! in her ears to slowly bring her to senses. ‘The Gaudiya treasures of Bengal’ has covered the life and pastimes of Srivasa pandita in a separate article entitled – ‘Srivasa Angan ,Mayapur ,Navadvipa – Part 1: where Lord Gaurahari eternally performs His ecstatic pastimes’.
Lord Visvambhara, meanwhile,became immersed in the mood of Rukmini Devi. Forgetting Himself completely, He began writing a letter to Sri Krishna.The tears that rolled down from His eyes were His ink ,the earth was His writing pad and His beautiful lotus finger served as His pen.The Lord began to write the seventh verse of Rukmini Devi’s letter to Krishna as revealed in Srimad Bhagavatam.Lord Caitanya then recited Rukmini devi’s words as follows.He revealed how she had been won over by Krishna’s charming face and His valor.She requested Krishna to forgive her shamelessness for speaking too boldly, and expressed her earnest desire to serve Him as His wife eternally. She expressed how without Krishna, the treasures of erudition, aristocracy, character, wealth,beauty, etc all seemed to be very empty and futile to her.She revealed that if she had earned any pious credits by worshipping the demigods, then she would only request for the boon to obtain Krishna as her dear husband.She requested Krishna in her letter again and again,to protect her from Rukma’s treacherous plan to marry her off to Shishupal, Krishna’s sworn enemy.She also revealed how on the day before her scheduled marriage with Shishupal, she would visit a Durga devi temple outside the city, and this was the best opportune moment for Krishna to rescue her from her dire situation.If this does not happen ,however, she expressed her resolution to give up her body instead.Saying thus Lord Caitanya ordered the brahmana to quickly go and convey Rukmini’s message to Krishna.Hearing these words and relishing Gaurahari’s mood, all the Vaishnavas present began crying and rolling over in ecstasy. Loud chants of Haribol ! Haribol! reverberated within the house of Chandrasekhara.Thus concluded the first scene of the Drama.
The second scene opened with Gadadhara Pandita entering the stage accompanied by her old lady companion Suprabhata, that was being played by Brahmananda prabhu.Haridasa Thakura ,being the guard, asked them who they were , who were their husbands and where were they heading to. Brahmananda replied that they were going towards Mathura. Gangadasa Pandita then asked where would they stay ? Brahmananda then asked Whether Gangadasa would provide them a place to stay. Gangadasa replied in the negative and suggested that they move from there as quickly as possible.Advaita Acharya intervened and said that there was no need for such interrogation as others’ wives should be respected as one’s mother. Advaita Prabhu continued that His Lord was very fond of singing and dancing, and so if they danced they should receive ample rewards.Thereafter, Gadadhara Pandita began to dance ecstatically as Lakshmi devi. All the devotees complimented His dance with appropriate music.Tears rolled down from the pandita’s eyes and sanctified the earth. The audience was inundated with an intense love of Godhead.Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura at this point reminds us that Lord Caitanya had revealed on several previous occasions that Gadadhara Pandita was His wife from Vaikuntha.
Thereafter Sri Caitanya entered the stage dressed as Radharani, the original pleasure potency of the Lord.He was accompanied by Nityananda Prabhu who played the part of Paurnamasi , Radhika’s grandmother.The audience applauded them greatly. They were so nicely dressed that no one could guess their original identities. In fact Saci mata herself couldn’t recognize Visvambhara. When Lord Caitanya danced, the devotees were swept away by waves of transcendental ecstasy. But no one could guess whose role He was enacting. All the ecstatic symptoms were manifested in the body of the Lord while He thus mesmerized the audience.When Mahaprabhu inquired from the brahmana whether Krishna had arrived, all understood that He was playing the part of Rukmini devi. When the Lord shed tears of ecstasy, the devotees thought Him to be Ganga devi personified. When He laughed ferociously, all thought of Him to be Mahamaya Durga Devi (Maha Chandi).When Mahaprabhu danced swinging His body slowly from one side to the other, He seemed to be immersed in the mood of Revati devi. On another occasion, the Lord asked paurnamasi to accompany Him to Vrindavana suggesting that He was in the mood of the Vraja gopis.In this way the Lord enacted the mood of each of His energies one by one. Srila Vrindavana das here reveals that the Lord wanted to teach us that one should not disrespect the other devotees of the Lord – like the demigods and demigoddesses.Lord Krishna actually becomes very pleased when worshipped along with His energies and associates.
Being completely overwhelmed ,Lord Nityananda suddenly lost His external consciousness and fell down.The other vaishnavas started crying and rolling over the ground in ecstasy. The pastimes of Vaikuntha were being manifested at the house of Chandrasekhara.The Lord then sat down upon the throne of Vishnu and ordered everyone to offer prayers. Different people offered different prayers unto the Lord, as per their realizations.Some visualized Him as Lakshmi devi, while some saw Him as Durga. Actually the energy of the Lord is one and the same. The devotees visualize the internal energy of the Lord as Srimati Radharani or Lakshmi devi, while the materialists perceive this as His external energy and visualize her as Mahamaya Durga devi. In this way this extraordinary night slowly came to an end.When the rays of Sun entered the arena, the hearts of devotees were pierced with arrows of grief.They couldn’t bear the thought of these wonderful pastimes coming to a halt.Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura expresses that even the death of one’s millions of sons couldn’t match the grief ,aroused within the heart of the devotees,that was then caused by the arrival of the daylight.
Kotiputra-shokeo eteka dukha nahe
Ye dukha janmilo saba vaishnava hridaye
(Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)
Feeling motherly compassion for the grief stricken devotees, Lord Caitanya, then with His mystic potency ,breast feeded all the devotees one by one, just like a mother would feed her infant.The Lord hence justified His position that He was the original father,mother, the support and the grandsire of the universe.
pitaham asya jagato
maata dhata pitamaha
(Bhagavad Gita 9.17)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura establishes Sri Caitanya Math :
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti namine
krishna-sambandha-vijnana-dayine prabhave namah
sri-gaura-karuna-sakti-vigrahaya namo stu te
namas te gaura-vani-sri-murtaye dina-tarine
Sri Caitanya Math, was the first temple, that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura had established.This Math stands at the very place which once served as the residence of Sri Chandrasekhar. Caitanya Math subsequently became the headquarters of Saraswati Thakura’s glorious preaching mission. Previously it was here at the house of Chandrasekhara, that our lion acharya, had built a small hut where he used to chant 3,00,000 holy names a day. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta stayed over here for 9 years, executing his strict bhajana.He used to strictly follow his vows and observe Chaturmasya, cooking rice in ghee and used to eat it from the floor in the manner of a cow. His spiritual master Srila Gaura Kishor das Babaji Maharaja was very pleased observing his renunciation and compared it with that of Srila Rupa and Raghunatha Das Goswami.Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s father, Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, one of the great acharyas himself, had brought up his son to be a dear servant of Mahaprabhu.When the roof of his small cottage became broken, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta didn’t waste time repairing it.Instead he used an umbrella, and continued his chanting.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ can go on and on speaking glories of our dear spiritual great grandfather.But we are inhibited considering the length of this article. In the year 1918, a few years after Srila Gaura Kishor das babaji had wrapped up his earthly pastimes, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura ,at the age of 44, accepted his sannyasa initiation from a picture of Srila Gaura Kishor das babaji maharaja (his spiritual master), at this very house of Chandrasekhara. Though accepting sannyasa from spiritual master’s picture was not as per any standards, the situation in this case was unique. Neither was Saraswati Thakura’s spiritual master physically present nor did he have any other god brother. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta decided that the time for widespread preaching had arrived.We have covered his life and pastimes in more detail in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Gaudiya Math, Baghbazar, Kolkata’.
Srila Gaur Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj’s samadhi:
Sri Caitanya Math is also the sacred site where Srila Gaura kishor das babaji Maharaj rests in samadhi today. At the time, when Srila Babaji Maharaja disappeared from this world (November,1915), many different vaishnava sects came forward to claim his transcendental body. Most of their intentions were really cheap.They wanted to build a monastery housing the samadhi, so that it could be later used for raising money.These so called vaishnavas strongly objected to Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura claiming the body of Babaji Maharaja. Navadvipa’s inspector of police was also present at the site when this great commotion took place.Srila Saraswati Thakura then loudly proclaimed that he was the only initiated disciple of Babaji maharaja. Then something very interesting took place. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura challenged that if any of these so called vaishnavas had refrained from illicit sex in the last 1 year, then they could claim the body of his spiritual master. When no one turned up, Srila saraswati Thakura reduced the time frame to last six months. Still no one turned up. In this way, he finally announced that anyone present who had been pure for atleast the last 3 days, could come forward. To the amazement of all present , including the inspector, no one came forward. This pastime reflects the grossly degraded condition of the Vaishnava apa sampradayas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta then claimed the spiritual body of his master and performed all the necessary rites, placing him in samadhi.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ pays humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of Srila Gaura kishor Das Babaji and prays for his blessings and causeless mercy.
What to see:
- Darsana of beautiful deities – Sri Radha-Gandharvika-Giridhari jiu .They are the worshipable deities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.
- Samadhi of Srila Gaura Kishor das Babaji Maharaj.
- Samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
- Sri Syama kunda ,Sri Radha Kunda and Giri Govardhan- these are non different from the same in Vrindavana.
- The vigrahas of the 4 Vaishnava sampradaya acharyas – Sri Madhvacharya (Madhva sampradaya), Ramanujacharya (Sri sampradaya) ,Vishnuswami (Rudra sampradaya) and Nimbarkacharya (Kumara sampradaya)
Sri Caitanya Math is currently under the care and administration of the disciples of Srila Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja.Srila Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja was a senior disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura.
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 Mayapur. 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 Chandrasekhar Acharya, Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji, & Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati thakura 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 their 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:
Mayapur lies within Antardvipa, the sacred island at the junction of Jalangi (yamuna) and the Ganges. Mahavana, situated at the very center of Vrindavana, the highest spiritual realm, is non different to Mayapur. Navadvipa is like a beautiful lotus flower with its eight islands assuming the shape of eight petals.Antardvipa, the best of the islands, is situated as the central whorl of this lotus like transcendental abode.
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. From the Krishnanagar Ghat(bank) one can avail a five minutes ferry ride to reach the Mayapur Hulor Ghat. From the mayapur Ghat one can take a toto/auto/rickshaw to directly reach Sri Caitanya Math.
Accommodation – One can choose to avail the nice accommodation and prasadam facilities at Sri Caitanya math.
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)