In this article we intend to discuss about the life and exalted pastimes of Sri Purusottama Das Thakura. It is here at Simurali, a small town of Bengal, that the deities of Purusottama das and Jahnava mata are still being worshiped. 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’.
Visit to Chandure gram :
Boarding a Krishnanagar Local train, the team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ got down at the palpara station. The journey took us hardly one and a half hour.We realized later that our destination was much closer to the station Simurali, and it would have been better if we had got down there instead.Anyways, we booked an autorickshaw and requested the driver to search the place for us. We did not have much information on our hands except that the place was close to Palpara and that it was situated on the bank of the Ganges.Riding on bumpy roads, we finally arrived at a very remote destination. The driver informed us that Chandure gram was under the authority of the panchayats, and hence its development has been very slow.
This presented to us an opportunity to have a first hand look at an exceedingly ancient place, brimming with sacred tradition, and that has not yet been excessively polluted by the advancement of material civilization.There we met with Mr. Swapan Kumar Chatterjee, an elderly gentleman, who was born and brought up at that place. His palatial house is hardly a minute’s walk from the temple.It is the Chatterjee’s who presently take care of this temple and the daily deity worship.Mr Swapan informed us that about a hundred years ago, in the year 1932 AD, Srimati Giribala devi, his grandmother, had established this temple. Prior to that, the deities were worshipped at that very place in a makeshift tent. The Ganges used to flow by the temple in those days. However, the Ganges has long shifted its course, and currently, it flows a few miles further away. The Chatterjee’s consider themselves greatly fortunate to have the opportunity to serve these exalted deities. They believe that the Lord has been exceedingly merciful upon them and has voluntarily become their family member. It is for this reason ,that in spite of several offers till date, they have not yet agreed to hand over the temple, or its administration to anyone else. Mr Swapan apprised us that there was a person whom they referred to as ‘Akhra buro’, who had originally brought these deities from sukhsagar and began their worship at Chandure gram. His grandmother Giribala devi, subsequently constructed the temple and took over the charge of daily deity worship.
From Srila Bhaktisiddhanta saraswati Thakura’s anubhashya, we come to know, that the deities of Purusottama Das Thakura were formerly situated at Beledanga village. When this particular temple got wrecked, the deities were shifted to a place called Sukhsagar. When this place was also destroyed due to shift in the course of the Ganges, these deities ,along with Jahnava Mata’s deities, were brought to a place called Saheb Danga Bedigram.When this place was also taken by the Ganges, the deities were finally installed where they are at present ,in Chandure Gram. In all probability, this person whom the Chatterjee’s refer to as ‘Akhra buro’ had brought them to this place.
What to See :
- The temple is simple but very beautiful. It is a perfect escape for one into the realm of transcendence.
- The sacred ancient deities of Purusottama Das Thakura and Jahnava Mata are preserved over here. Deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, Gaura-Nitai, Srimati Jahnava and Vasudha, Nilamadhava, and Krishna are worshipped here with due diligence.
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 Chadure gram. 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 Purusottama Das Thakura and Jahnava Mata that we advance in our Krishna consciousness, develop attachment unto the lotus feet of Gaura-Nitai 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 :
One travelling from Kolkata can board a Krishnanagar local train from the sealdah station and get down at Simurali. On reaching Simurali, he/she can book an auto rickshaw to directly reach this ancient place in Chandure gram. The localites refer to this temple as ‘Sri Basudha Jahnava Sripat’ or ‘Sri Jagannatha deva mandira’.
Accommodation – One can opt to put up at any of the good hotels at Ranaghat. Simurali is not very far from Ranaghat city.Alternatively, one can choose to avail the guest house facilities of Iskcon Habibpur (+91 97321 85553 / 03473-281150), which is also not very far from this place.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Simurali
(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)