Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Twenty-six Qualities of a Vaishnava

26qualities

Now that we understand the very basics of Bhakti yoga,from our previous article (‘The A B C D of Bhakti’), it is worthwhile for us to invest our time, and realize the magnanimity of a pure devotee of the Lord. Reading Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, we come to understand the out of the innumerable godly qualities, there are twenty-six ,which are very prominent within a Vaishnava. Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, out of his causeless mercy, has listed them down (Madhya Lila 22.78-80) for our meditation and contemplation.

sei saba guna haya vaishnava lakshana
saba kaha na yaya, kari dig darashana
(cc, Madhya, 22.77)

A pure devotee is magnanimous and an inspiration to one and all. It is only by great fortune, that one gets to associate with him. In Fact even a moment’s association with a pure devotee of the Lord is all purifying and it is only by his causeless mercy that one becomes eligible to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. In this article, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall try to relish and discuss about these glorious super excellent qualities that ornament the devotees of the Lord.

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Lord Jagannatha of Jasra (Yashora) , Chakdaha – The worshipable deity of Jagadish Pandita

chakdaha

Sri Jagadish Pandita was the fifteenth branch to have expanded out of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja has highly glorified him in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. Sri Jagadish Pandita has been described as ‘Jagat-pavana’, the deliverer of the entire world. It has been exclaimed that devotional love of Krishna showered from him like torrents of heavy rain.

jagadisa paṇḍita haya jagat-pavana
Krishna premamrita varse, yena varsa ghana
(Caitanya Caritamrta, adi, 11.30)

‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit the sripat of Sri Jagadish pandita in this holy town of Chakdaha and seek blessings from his worshipable Jagannatha and Gaura-Gopal deities. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has mentioned in his anubhashya commentary that both of Jagadish pandita’s parents were great devotees of Lord Vishnu. After they had passed away, Jagadish Pandita, shifted his residence to Mayapur to live in the company of Jagannatha Misra (Mahaprabhu’s father) and the other vaishnavas. His wife Dukhini and brother Hiranya accompanied him. Gaura Gonodesha Dipika confirms that both the brothers, Jagadish and Hiranya, were formerly the wives of the sacrificial brahmanas in Vrindavana. In the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, Jagadish pandita worshipped Mahaprabhu in the mood of parental affection.

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The worshipable deities of Mahesh Pandita, Palpara

palpara

Mahesh Pandita, is one of the twelve cowherd boys (Dvadasha gopala) of Vrindavana, who had appeared in order to assist Nityananda Prabhu manifest His magnanimous pastimes.He is counted as the seventeenth expansion to have arisen out of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.Sri Krishnadasa kaviraja has described him as a very liberal person ,who remained forever immersed in relishing the ecstatic love of God.

mahesa pandita — vrajera udaara gopala
dhakka-vadye nritya kare preme matoyala
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 11.32)

From the above verse it is also clear that Mahesh pandita enchanted the hearts of one and all with his ecstatic dance to the tune of kettledrums. He was formerly the cowherd boy Mahabahu, an intimate associate of Sri Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana.

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The worshipable deities of Jahnava Mata and Purusottama Das, Chandure gram, Simurali

chanduregram

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja describes Sri Purusottama Das Thakura as one who always engaged himself in serving the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. He worshipped Lord Krishna as his friend and always engaged in childish play with Him.

ajanma nimagna Nityanandera charane
nirantara balya-lila kare Krishna-sane
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 11.39)

Sri Purusottama or Nagara Purusottama ,as he was sometimes referred to, was the twenty-fifth expansion of Lord Nityananda’s trunk of devotional service.He was formerly the cowherd boy Dama, and had appeared in order to assist Nityananda prabhu manifest His magnanimous pastimes. His father, Sadashiva Kaviraja, was the incarnation of the Vraja gopi , Chandravali.He was a vaidya (physician) by profession.Both father and son have been referred to as greatly fortunate (Maha-Vagyavan) in the Caitanya Bhagavata.Kamsari Sen, the father of Sadashiva kaviraja, was the incarnation of the vraja gopi Ratnavali, who eternally serves the divine couple in vrindavana. All the family members were great devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.Sri Purusottama Das’ son, Sri Kanu Thakura, was also a great devotee of the Lord. Seeing Kanu Thakura’s devotional symptoms, Nityananda prabhu named him as Sishu Krishna das (sishu means ‘little boy’ in bengali). When he was just five years old, he accompanied Jahnava Mata, on her trip to Vrindavana and the Goswamis, noting his spiritual acumen, gave him the name Kanai Thakura. Sri Kanai Thakura’s worshipable Pranavallava deities are presently being worshipped at a place near Baranagar Path bari (refer – ‘Sri Bhagavatacharya’s residence,Baranagar Path bari’).
One of the family members of Sri Purusottama, named Madhvacharya, got married to Gangamuni devi, Nityananda Prabhu’s daughter. Thus the two families were very close to each other. One desiring to learn more about Jahnava Mata can refer to our article entitled – ‘Lord Nityananda’s marriage with Srimati Jahnava and Vasudha, Ambika Kalna’.

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Vyasa Puja homage unto Gurudeva (2018 – 69th Vyasa Puja)

The below is our humble offering unto our beloved Gurudeva on his 69th Vyasa Puja.

How fortunate i am to have lived this life,
and be able to try and serve,
How fortunate to have obtained your causeless mercy,
though not possessing anything to deserve

How fortunate to have relished the Lord’s pastimes,
to have tasted its ecstatic nectar,
How much sweeter , how very blissful they become,
when heard from your lips ,O Master.

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Ula Birnagar – The Birthplace of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

birnagar

Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is sometimes also referred to as the seventh Goswami, is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. His contribution to the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya is invaluable.At a time when the science of pure devotional service (Bhakti)  had almost become lost due to the cultural and religious chauvinism of the ruling British, and the essence of Vaishnavism largely discredited due to the perverted actions and lifestyles of a few non bonafide Vaishnava sects, Srila Bhaktivinoda was largely responsible for rescuing and unearthing the timeless teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Fact it was he who ,after conducting a painstaking research, had rediscovered the long lost birthsite of Sri Gaurasundara (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was not only a magistrate, but also a renowned and recognised scholar in his days, with vast knowledge in english,bengali,hindi,oriya and sanskrit.He was also a member of the royal asiatic society of London. Such was the degraded state of affairs during those days, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura could not find a bonafide copy of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the most important literature for understanding Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, anywhere. It was only after several enquiries and a long wait, that he received a copy of this book. He subsequently published it along with his commentaries (Amrta-pravaha-bhasya). Likewise, he was instrumental in unearthing several ancient manuscripts like Caitanyopanishad ( portion of Atharva Veda) ,Sri Krishna Vijaya, etc. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself an insignificant servant of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose causeless mercy has enabled us fools to get a glimpse of his elevated stature and pen a few lines in his glorification. We have dedicated a separate article covering the details of the Thakura’s later life (Remembering Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Svananda Sukhada Kunja & Surabhi Kunja, Navadvipa (Godrumadvipa)). In this article however, we shall mainly focus upon the birth and the early childhood of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

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