Lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaja, and Richika Muni’s son Mahatapa had combinedly incarnated as Haridas Thakur. Srila Haridas Thakur is the namacharya of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya and is an eternal associate of Sri Chiatanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Haridas Thakur had accompanied Lord Chaitanya 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 the chanting of Krishna’s holy name as the ultimate spiritual practice and preached how the Lord and His holy names are actually non-different from each other. Haridas Thakur teaches us that the holy names of Krishna are 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. Haridas Thakur used to chant Krishna’s holy names, 300000 times a day, a practice he continued till the very end of his life.
In the ‘Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya’, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur mentions that in Dvapara Yuga, Lord Brahma had stolen the cows, cowherd boys, and calves of Vrindavana to test whether Krishna was indeed the Supreme Lord. On realizing that Krishna was indeed his worshipable Supreme master, Brahma felt embarrassed. As atonement, he then reached Mayapur and began meditating upon the blissful form of Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya became very pleased and understanding the desires of Brahma, granted him the boon that he would become His intimate associate when the Lord would next appear in this material world. However, to ensure that Brahma didn’t become puffed up of his 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.
Chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna is glorified throughout the Vedic literatures. The Padma Purana states – 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.
Srila Haridas Thakur, 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 Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his father’s name was Khan Ullah Kazi. Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata states 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 Thakur, Advaita Gosai became overjoyed and roared in ecstasy.
Glorious Pastimes of Benapole :
Soon after leaving his home at Buron, Srila Haridas Thakur spent a few days at Benapole, which is located in the Jessore district of Bangladesh. The place in fact is very near to the international border post between India and Bangladesh. The team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers themselves exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit and pray to Srila Haridas at this exalted dham.
Haridas yabe nija griha tyaga kaila
benapolera vana-madhye kota-dina rahila
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, Antya, 3.99)
Choosing a solitary forest for his stay over here at Benapole, Haridas Thakur set up a cottage and established his bhajana kutira. He planted Tulasi, and in front of Tulasi devi, he used to chant 3,00,000 holy names of Lord Krishna daily. He chanted through day and night. To sustain his body, he begged for food from a brahmana who lived nearby. Srila Haridas Thakur’s name and fame soon began spreading far and wide. Everyone started respecting and honoring him.
However, there lived an envious landlord, by the name of ‘Ramchandra Khan’. He was a great atheist and envious of the Vaishnavas. He found it difficult to tolerate that Haridas Thakur was being awarded such respect. Thus, he began scheming ways and means to defame and dishonor Srila Haridas. Being unable to find any fault with him, he conspired with the prostitutes and asked them to entice Haridas and deviate him from his vows of austerity. Among those prostitutes, one young and very attractive girl named ‘Hira bai’ was chosen. Hira was very confident and assured Ramachandra Khan that she would be able to accomplish her job within three days. Ramchandra wanted to send a constable with Hira so that he could arrest Haridas as soon as he would try to get anywhere close to the girl. However, Hira bai wanted to get intimate with Haridas Thakur at least once, before Haridas was arrested. So she requested Ramachandra Khan to send a constable when she would unite with Haridas for the second time.
So, as planned, Hira bai approached the cottage of Haridas Thakur in the middle of the night. She dressed herself very beautifully, and stood there exposing a part of her body to his view. She flattered Haridas Thakur saying how beautiful he looked and how desperate she was to enjoy him. She explained that it would not be possible for her to continue living if she does not get to unite with Haridas Thakur.
tomara sangama lagi lubdha mora mana
toma na paile praana na yaya dharana
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, Antya, 3.113)
Haridas Thakur listened to the girl carefully and assured that He would definitely accept her. However, He requested her to wait until he had finished chanting his stipulated number of rounds.He said that he would fulfill her desires after that.So Hira sat there and waited for Haridas Thakur to finish his chanting. When the light of the morning appeared, Hira stood up and left disappointed.She went and updated Ramachandra Khan about what had happened and expressed her confidence in alluring Haridas the following night.
Hira bai approached Haridas Thakur again the following night. Haridas Thakur offered her assurances once more and made her sit and hear his chanting attentively. As the morning approached, Hira became restless. Haridas Thakur explained that he had vowed to chant ten million holy names a month. As his rounds were not yet finished, he was unable to enjoy with her. But he assured her that he would definitely complete his rounds, the next day and then they could unite as agreed. Hira left only to return the following night.
The next day, Hira arrived by evening and waited eagerly for Haridas to complete his rounds. The night gradually passed and the chanting of the holy name slowly began to have its effect on the consciousness of the prostitute. She had a change of heart and soon surrendered at the lotus feet of Haridas. She confessed her guilt and revealed how Ramachandra Khan had appointed her to defame and pollute the thakur. She begged forgiveness and expressed how, being engaged in the profession of a prostitute, she had committed countless offenses in her life. She accepted Haridas Thakur as her spiritual master and sought his guidance.
veshya hana muni paap kariyachon apara
kripa kari kara mo-adhame nistara
(Chaitanya caritamrta, Antya,3.132)
Haridas Thakur replied that he knew everything about the conspiracy of Ramachandra Khan, whom he addresses as an ignorant fool (ajna murkha).He added that he could have left Benapole, on the very day Ramachandra Khan was planning all of this. But he had only stayed back to deliver Hira bai.
Haridas Thakur then instructed Hira, to immediately return home and distribute whatever property she possessed to the brahmanas. After that she was ordered to return to that very place, and chant the holy names of Krishna, in front of Tulasi devi, for the rest of her life. Instructing thus, Haridas Thakur stood up and left.
Hira did accordingly, and she went on to become a great Vaishnavi. She shaved off her head and continued residing in that cottage wearing a single piece of cloth. She chanted three lakh holy names daily and ate whatever little food she obtained by begging. When she would obtain no alms, she would fast. Day and night she chanted and served Tulasi devi with utmost devotion. Gradually she conquered her senses and the symptoms of love of God began manifesting within her. Many stalwart Vaishnavas came to take her darsana and seek her blessings. Hira Bai came to be subsequently known as Laksha-Hira, as she chanted lakhs of holy names daily. The team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ consider themselves greatly fortunate to have been able to visit the exalted bhajana kutira of Haridas Thakur and Lakshahira devi. The sacred Madhavi tree under which Haridas Thakur stayed and chanted, survives over here till this day.
The fate of Ramachandra khan :
In course of time, Ramachandra Khan suffered the consequences of offending Vaishnavas, especially that of offending an exalted devotee like Haridas Thakur. When Lord Nityananda returned to Bengal to preach the science of devotion, he began traveling all over the country. It so happened, that He along with his followers, once visited Benapole, and rested at the Durga mandapa (where Goddess Durga is worshipped) of Ramchandra Khan. Ramchandra Khan objected to this and sent his servant to convey that the devotees should pick a different place for their stay. Lord Nityananda became very angry at hearing this and began laughing out loud. He exclaimed that Ramachandra had rightly spoken, that the place was unfit for the devotees to stay. Instead, it was only fit for cow-killing meat-eaters. Saying this Lord Nitai along with His followers abandoned the village.
satya kahe – ei ghara mora yogya naya
mleccha go vadh kare, tanra yogya haya
(Chaitanya Caritamrita, Antya, 3.155)
After Nityananda Prabhu and His followers had left, Ramachandra ordered his servants to purify and clean the Durga mandapa, with cow dung and water. The fool was under the impression that the place had become contaminated, coming in contact with Lord Nityananda and His followers, for whom he had no regard. Such is the fallen consciousness of demons. A demon might make a great show of religiosity, by organizing Durga puja festivals or events like that, yet he can be easily identified by the way he treats other devotees or by the extent of his enviousness for them. Repeatedly committing Vaishnava aparadha, Ramachandra khan, was in no position to realize that Nityananda Prabhu was none other than Lord Balarama. Worse, he ended up offending Him and His followers as well.
Ramachandra Khan’s business was questionable and he avoided paying taxes to the government.cSoon, the muslim ministers found this out and they arrested Ramachandra Khan, along with his wife and sons. They stayed at his Durga Mandapa and after killing a cow, cooked it over there for three continuous days. They plundered the village and as a result, it remained deserted for many days. This is what happens when offenses are committed. Wherever an exalted devotee of the Lord is insulted, even if it’s a single person’s doing, the entire town or village ends up suffering the terrible reactions.
mahantera apamana ye desha graame haya
eka janara doshe saba desha ujadaya
(Chaitanya Caritamrita, Antya, 3.164)
Glorious pastimes of Sri Haridas Thakur at Phulia:
When Haridas Thakur came to the town of Phulia (Nadia, West Bengal), he used to stay inside a small grotto that served as his residence. 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 Thakur and made him aware of this dangerous creature living there along with him. Seeing the distress of the other devotees, Haridas Thakur became greatly concerned. The Thakur then humbly requested the snake to leave the grotto and declared that if it did not leave, then he would abandon the place instead. Hearing this, the snake immediately came out of the hole and moved 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 Kurita 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 exhibited all the ecstatic symptoms in his body. Sometimes he danced, sometimes he cried, sometimes laughed and roared loudly, while sometimes he even fainted. 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). After the worship, 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 Thakur’s actions greatly offended some of these smarta brahmanas who immediately left the place. This pastime goes on to show how much Sri Advaita Thakur loved and honored Srila Haridas. In fact the stature of Sri Haridas was much beyond the petty material designations of caste and religion.
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 Haridas Thakur’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 hence 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. Haridas Thakur 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 jail for his offenses. Staying peacefully at the prison, Haridas Thakur inspired the other prisoners to take up Krishna consciousness and surrender their lives unto the lotus feet of Krishna, the Supreme Lord. As a result, all the prisoners became very jubilant.
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 Harinama 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 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, 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 their religion and several others might soon be following his example. The Mulukpati requested Haridas again and again to give up his chanting or else face the consequences. Haridas Thakur 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 Chaitanya 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 says. At this point we would like to clarify that a normal person is expected to lose his life upon being whipped at only two or three marketplaces. 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 pain. People gathered in the streets and felt sympathetic upon seeing this intense punishment being meted out to the Thakur. 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. After 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 beating. Hence they surrendered unto Haridas Thakur and pleaded, 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 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 dead, the guards then carried his body to the court of 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 be thrown into the Ganges. Others agreed to this proposal and accordingly the body of Thakur was disposed of 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 of God 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 Krishna, the Supreme lord while being judged at the court. He added that the punishment could have been much more severe had Lord Krishna not mercifully lessened 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, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 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 Supreme Lord instead who had protected Haridas Thakur 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 Thakur.
Haridas Thakur initiates Maya devi (Maa Durga):
During Haridas Thakur’s stay in Bengal, he was once again 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, Haridas Thakur 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 (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
(Chaitanya 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 Gauranga (Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) and tastes the nectar of harinama, is the most unfortunate and cannot be delivered even in a million of kalpas (1 kalpa = 1000 cycles of four yugas). She further revealed that previously she had received the holy name of Lord Rama from Lord Shiva but coming in association with Haridas Thakur, she had developed an intense desire to chant the holy names of Krishna. She added 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
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, Antya, 3.257)
Devi Mahamaya then worshipped the lotus feet of Haridas Thakur, who initiated her into chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Such is the stature of our dear thakur, by whose mercy, even Goddess Durga, could relish the ecstasy of Harinama.
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 where he subsequently wrapped up his earthly pastimes. After Chaitanya 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 Chaitanya 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 Thakur chanted his rounds peacefully. Lord Chaitanya 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 Chaitanya 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 letters 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 Thakur. The samadhi of Haridas Thakur rests at Jagannatha Puri and blesses all the sincere souls to 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 Haridas Thakur 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 Chaitanya 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 Thakur ,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 earthly pastimes. 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 morning, after visiting Lord Jagannatha, Sri Chaitanya, 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 Chaitanya 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 Chaitanya 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 Chaitanya’ sabda karite uccharana
namera sahita prana kaila utkramana
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, antya, 11.56)
Lord Chaitanya 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 dealings of a devotee.
Chanting and dancing, Lord Chaitanya 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 Chaitanya 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 a 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
(Chaitanya caritamrta, Antya, 11.97)