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Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja mentions in the Adi Lila of his Caitanya Caritamrta, that Sri Paramesvari das Thakura ( sometimes also referred to as Paramesvara Das) was the fifth of the twelve cowherd boys (Dvadasha Gopala) who had appeared in order to assist Sri Gaura Nitai manifest their magnanimous pastimes. He was completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. It is further revealed, that anyone who remembers his name or contemplates upon his pastimes, achieves the love of Krishna very easily. So it is for the ultimate benefit of one and all that today we are going to discuss about his wonderful pastimes and glorify this great Vaishnava saint.
paramesvara das – Nityanandaika sharana
Krishna-bhakti paya, tanre ye kare smarana
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 11.29)
From Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika, we come to know that Sri Paramesvari Das Thakura was the incarnation of the cowherd boy ‘Arjuna’ (not to be confused with Arjuna – the Pandava), an intimate friend (Priya Narma sakha) of Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana.
The temple priest informed ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ that the deity of Gopinatha, installed in this temple, has originally been the worshipable deity of Sri Nityananda prabhu.After Nityananda Prabhu had wrapped up His earthly pastimes, Srimati Jahnava devi handed over this deity unto Sri Paramesvari das and instructed him to setup his preaching center here at Antpur.The deity of Radha Gopinatha is being worshipped here at Antpur ever since. A beautiful enchanting deity of Lord Balarama, who is overwhelmed with the mood of Nityananda prabhu, has been later installed here and is also currently being worshipped in this temple. Antpur, during those days (500 years back), used to be covered with dense forests and Rattan trees.The land was renowned to be a haven for miscreants.Thus Antpur qualified as the perfect place to set up a preaching center and propagate Mahaprabhu’s movement to deliver the sinful and the fallen.
Sri Paramesvari das Thakura :
Sri Paramesvari das Thakura was an intimate associate of Lord Nityananda. Vrindavana das Thakura writes in Caitanya Bhagavata –
‘Nityananda-er jivan Paramesvara das,
jahar vigrahe Nityananda vilasa’
Sri Paramesvari das Thakura was the life and soul of Nityananda prabhu
Sri Paramesvari das belonged to the family of vaidyas (physicians). For the past four hundred years professional brahmins were hired to perform the deity worship here at Antpur. But the present temple priest, Sri Manik Thakura, who happens to be a descendant of Paramesvari Thakura’s family, has now voluntarily taken up the service.He ,along with his family, now resides and serves in this temple full time. Sri Manik informed us that being attracted to the deities he left his home and came over to Antpur when he was just 13 years of age. He has been serving over here since the last 50 years now.
When Mahaprabhu ordered Nityananda Prabhu to return to bengal in order to preach Krishna consciousness, Sri Paramesvari das accompanied Him. Paramesvari Thakura was present when Nityananda Prabhu had performed His ecstatic pastimes at Raghava Bhavan (refer – ‘Raghava Bhavan ,Panihati’). He was also present during the Dahi Chida festival of Panihati, when Raghunatha Das Goswami was mercifully punished by Lord Nityananda (refer – ‘Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami Sripat, Krishnapur Thakurbari (Near Bandel)’).
After the disappearance of Nityananda Prabhu, Paramesvari das served under the guidance of Jahnava Mata at Khardaha. He became her very dear servant. When Sri Srinivasa Acharya had arrived at Khardaha to beg permission from Jahnava devi, so that he could travel to Vrindavana, Sri Paramesvari das thakura escorted Srinivasa to her presence (‘etha Paramesvari das Srinivas-e, laiya gelen sighra prabhura abashe’ – Bhakti Ratnakara).Sri Paramesvari das, along with Uddharana Datta Thakura, accompanied Jahnava mata on her travels to Vrindavana.Later, on the orders of Jahnava devi, Sri Paramesvari Thakura took charge of transporting the deities of Radharani to Vrindavana , so that they could be installed beside Govinda dev jiu.
He was also present during the grand festival of Kheturi organised by Narottama Das Thakura.
It is stated in Bhakti Ratnakara, that Sri Paramesvari das Thakura played a very important role in Govinda Kaviraja being awarded with this title of ‘Kaviraja’ (king of poets). It was he who had originally suggested that Govinda Kaviraja’s poem be heard in the assembly of Vaishnavas.
‘Govinda kavya-mrita karite sravana, Sri Paramesvari das kaila nivedana
Shuni Govinder kavya ati manohar, haila sabara ati ullasha antara’
Subsequently, Srimati Jahnava devi ,instructed Paramesvari das thakura to settle down at Antpur (as we all know) and set up his preaching center over here. He also entrusted unto his care the worshipable Radha Gopinatha deities of Nityananda Prabhu (as discussed before).
Isvari-r manovritti ke bujhite pare
Sri Paramesvari das kahe dhire dhire
Tora-antpur grame shigra kari jaho
Tatha Radha-Gopinatha seva prakashaha
Who can possibly understand the mind of Isvari (Jahnava Mata)
Sri Paramesvari das exclaims slowly and softly
(Jahnava Mata instructed – ) Immediately go to Tora-Antpur village
And propagate over there the service of Radha-Gopinatha
It is mentioned elsewhere that once, Sri Paramesvari Das Thakura was engaged in an ecstatic Harinama sankirtana at Mahesh ,the Sripat of Kamalakara Pippalai (refer – ‘Sri Jagannatha Temple of Mahesh, Serampore’).Some miscreants became very envious upon seeing the joy of the devotees. Being enraged they picked up a dead jackal, which was lying on the road, and threw it in the midst of the devotees.The Vaishnavas did not take offense and continued with their transcendental activities. However Sri Paramesvari das felt compassionate upon seeing the dead jackal and by his merciful glance brought it back to life. He not only revived the jackal but also made him chant the holy names of Lord Hari.The miscreants fled upon seeing this miracle.
Here at Antpur, we stumbled upon a small extract of a poem that had been composed by Sri Paramesvari das Thakura ages ago. Though the entire poem has now been lost, yet a small portion of it has been preserved in this temple. We are presenting it below for the pleasure of the devotees –
Prana mora Gaurachandra, dhana mora Nityananda
Tonhe bina gati nahi ara
Achhinu bishaya keet , barai lagita meeth
Ghhuchaile saba ahankara
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is my very life and Lord Nityananda is all the wealth i possess
Apart from you, there is no other means of deliverance
I was like that filthy worm who obtained great pleasure in being obsessed with money
But by your causeless mercy, all my false ego and arrogance has now been completely destroyed
What to see :
- One can obtain dasana of the mesmerizing worshipable deities of Sri Paramesvari das Thakura here at Antpur. The Radha Gopinatha deities were entrusted unto him by Srimati Jahnava devi. According to popular opinion, Sri Paramesvari das Thakura had himself installed the deity of Balarama jiu (who displays the mood of Nityananda prabhu) over here as well. The other deities on the altar including the beautiful deity of Jagannatha had been installed much later after Sri Paramesvari das had wrapped up his earthly pastimes.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura however mentions in his anubhashya commentary, that perhaps the deity of Balarama jiu was installed after Sri Paramesvari das Thakura had disappeared. Presently, the deities of Radha, Krishna and Balarama are placed together in the same altar, which is not in accordance with the transcendental mellows of Vrindavana. Lord Balarama cannot be in the same throne as Radha and Krishna as this would cause Rasabhasa (overlapping of contradictory mellows).
So in all probability, the deity of Balarama jiu had arrived after Paramesvari das Thakura’s disappearance or else, this deity must have been worshipped previously in a separate altar (not the current one where Radha and Krishna are also present). A Maha-Bhagavata nitya siddha devotee like Paramesvari das thakura would never commit the mistake of keeping all three of them in the same altar.
- Just outside the temple gates, lies the sacred samadhi of Sri Paramesvari das Thakura. His samadhi lies between two sacred Bakula trees. There is also a sacred Kadamba tree over here which produces only one flower each year.This flower is used to worship the deities.
- The disappearance festival of Sri Paramesvari das Thakura which occurs in the month of Vaishaka (April-May) is observed in this temple with great pomp and show. All other Gaudiya vaishnava festivals, including Rathayatra, are also observed here with all 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 land of Antpur. 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 Paramesvari das 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 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 is advised to board the Tarakeswar local from the Howrah station. One needs to get down at the stoppage known as ‘Haripal’. Haripal is hardly an hour ride from Howrah. From Haripal one needs to catch a trekker or the bus number 10, to directly reach the Sripat of Paramesvari das Thakura at Antpur (Antpur was known as ‘Bishkhala’ in the ancient days). The concerned temple is locally renowned as ‘Shyamer path’. Please note that there is another very old Radha-Krishna temple in the vicinity that has been established by the Mitra family. Please do not confuse the Sripat of Paramesvari das Thakura (Shyamer Path) with this other temple. However if one has time, one might want to visit both of them.
Accommodation – As the place is not very far from Kolkata, it is recommended that one stay in Kolkata and then travel to take darsana of the exalted sites of Antpur.One can choose to stay at any of the hotels (there are many) in Kolkata. One is requested to contact the Antpur temple authorities to avail prasadam.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Haripal
(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)