About 500 years ago, the state of Bengal was ruled by Nawab Hussain Shah. Nawab Hussain Shah was the incarnation of King Jarasandha, who had conspired and fought numerous wars against Krishna in Dwapara Yuga. That same Krishna had now incarnated as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa. Chand Kazi was the magistrate unto whom the administration of Navadvipa was entrusted at that time (Kazi translates to a magistrate in English). Chand Kazi was the incarnation of King Kamsa (Krishna’s maternal uncle). The residence of Chand Kazi was situated not very far from Srivasa Angan. Chand Kazi also happened to be the spiritual counselor of Nawab Hussain Shah.
The atheistic envious Hindus, who were not entertained and allowed into Srivasa Angan to witness the ecstatic dancing pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, and who employed their whole days criticizing the Lord and His associates, now conspired and bemoaned to Chand Kazi, that Sri Chaitanya had introduced a system of sankirtana which had no reference in any Hindu scriptures. They argued that the holy name of God, the most powerful hymn, would lose its potency if everyone heard and chanted it. These ‘pasandis’ (miscreants) as Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada calls them, were so foolish that they couldn’t comprehend the holy name of the Lord is empowered with the all-powerful potency of the Supreme Lord. Just as the Supreme Lord is inexhaustible and all auspicious, similarly His inexhaustible holy name has advented to this material world to deliver one and all, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, or any such considerations. Besides the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare , Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) finds its reference in the Kali Santarana upanishad and the chanting of this holy name is concluded by Narada Muni as the only means of deliverance in this age of Kali (Brhan Naradiya purana) –
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
In this age of Kali the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.
Anyways, taking these complaints into account, and being very resentful towards the devotees of Krishna himself, Chand Kazi stormed into Srivasa Angan one day and began threatening the devotees who were then blissfully engaged in performing Harinama sankirtana. He grabbed a mridanga from one of the devotees and smashed it onto the ground. Thereafter he announced that anyone found performing sankirtana henceforth, would have their property confiscated and be forced to convert to Islam. From that day onwards, Srivasa Angan (residence of Srivasa Pandita) became renowned as Khol Bhanga Danga, or the land where mridanga (khol) of the devotees were demolished (by the Kazi).
What ensued was a truly wonderful pastime that is exceedingly difficult to be expressed in mere words. After discovering what had happened, Lord Chaitanya became enraged. The Lord announced that He would organize a massive sankirtana that evening and take it all over Navadvipa. On His orders, lakhs of people came out with their torches and assembled outside the residence of Lord Chaitanya at Yogpeeth. Everyone had prepared their own torch and barrels of oil were ready to keep them lit. After meeting all, the Lord shared the devotees into several groups. Advaita Acharya, Haridasa Thakura, Srivasa Pandita, Nityananda Prabhu, Mukunda Datta, Ramai Pandita, Vakreshwar pandita, Jagadananda Pandita, etc were all present. Then as if by the order of providence, lakhs of torches were lit up simultaneously dispelling the darkness that had engulfed the town Navadvipa. Words are not enough to describe that mystical sight. Never before had such a unique mass sankirtana taken place.
The Lord and His devotees began dancing, soaring to newer and newer heights of ecstasy. The beauty of Lord Gauranga defeated that of millions of cupids. His hairs were decorated by a string of Malati flowers and His beautiful body, adorned with the markings of Tilaka, glowed like a golden mountain. As the sankirtana gathered momentum, more and more people deserted their houses and joined in. The rhythmic dance was well complemented by the thousands of torches which also moved animatedly. The street was strewn with puffed rice, coins, etc which the captivated citizens had showered upon the moving procession.
During this marvelous pastime, the residents of Navadvipa had assumed the same features as the residents of Vaikuntha. Each one of them manifested four arms, but because they were so engrossed in their sankirtana, they didn’t observe this bodily transformation. Even the demigods, along with their associates, mingled into the procession, dressing up as humans.
The procession gradually progressed from Mahaprabhu ghat (near His house, where He used to daily bathe)-> Madhai ghat -> barakona Ghat -> Nagariya Ghat ->Simulia -> Kazi’s house. On reaching Chand Kazi’s house, Lord Chaitanya wildly sought for the Kazi and demanded that he be produced outside. Meanwhile, the spies of Kazi had already informed him of the arriving mass sankirtana party. Being very afraid the Kazi sat trembling at one corner of his house. The devotees brought the Kazi out of his home. Calming down, Lord Chaitanya began conversing with him. After a long conversation, Kazi was defeated and accepted the fallacies of his actions. One interesting thing that the Kazi revealed during their conversation was that he had dreamt of Lord Nrsimhadeva on that very night he had threatened the devotees at Srivasa Angan. Lord Nrsimhadeva had warned him not to repeat such actions or else he along with his family and all other people like him would be vanquished. The trembling Kazi even showed the marks of Lord Nrsimhadeva’s nails on his chest, to the amazement of all present. This again proves that Lord Nrsimhadeva is always ready to protect His devotees, whenever they fall into any kind of trouble. At the end of their discussion, the Kazi touched the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and humbly prayed that his mind is forever fixed upon Him. He also boldly declared that henceforward neither the Kazi nor any member of his family or any of his future descendants shall ever be an obstacle to the Lord’s sankirtana movement. In fact, if any of his descendants ever disobeyed his orders then they shall be disinherited from his family. Hearing Kazi’s beautiful words, all the devotees loudly chanted Haribol! Haribol!
Actually, Chand Kazi is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord, and he simply played his part to facilitate the Lord to reveal His sublime pastimes. If Chand Kazi hadn’t been, then we would not have had the opportunity to read and relish about such a wonderful sankirtana march that had once graced the holy land of Navadvipa. The samadhi of Chand Kazi, situated a few meters down the road from Srivasa Angan, is a sacred site of worship for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. In fact, the Champaka tree that shelters the samadhi of Chand Kazi is more than 500 years old. Though this tree is hollow from inside, yet strangely it produces and showers nice flowers, which are perhaps its offerings unto this exalted personality.