Category Archives: KatwanSrikhanda

Sakhi Akhra and Madhai Tala ,Katwa

sakhi akhra

Sakhi Akhra:

A few minutes ride from Sri Gauranga Bari (at Katwa), brought us to the house of the great devotee, Sri Madhu Pramanick ,the barber, who,keeping a stone in his heart, had shaved Sri Mahaprabhu’s hairs during His sannyasa initiation. The place is locally known as ‘Sakhi Akhra’ and is situated at Baganpara, in Katwa. Madhu wept bitterly as did all the devotees, who couldn’t tolerate the Lord of their lives relinquishing His beautiful curly hair,decorated with malati flowers ,that had previously enchanted the three worlds. That day, instead of picking up his razor, Sri Madhu, sat hanging his head between his hands and cried profusely.Madhu could realize that Sri Nimai pandita was the Supreme Lord and he requested Him again and again to reconsider His decision of accepting the sannyasa order. But Nimai remained very determined.

Finally, at the end of the day, Mahaprabhu’s hairs were shaved, and after performing this ghastly act, the tearful Madhu immediately threw off his razors in the Ganges and vowed never to use them again. He repeatedly cursed his profession which made him commit such a heartbreaking deed. From that day onwards, Madhu Napit (barber) became Madhu Moira (sweet maker) and spent his days meditating on the blissful form of Sri Gaurasundara.

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Baradanga (near Srikhanda,Katwa) – Where Srila Locana Das Thakura composed Sri Caitanya Mangala

baradanga

Sri Locana Das, the dear disciple of Sri Narahari Sarkara Thakura, is renowned all over the three worlds as the author of the great bengali classic, Sri Caitanya Mangala, the beautiful musical composition of Lord Gaurahari’s manifested pastimes.It has been composed with such ecstasy and poetic rhythm ,that simply reading it is sufficient to evoke within one the emotions of divine love and attachment for Sri Krishna Caitanya, the Supreme personality of Godhead.Sri Locana das serves as Locana sakhi in Krishna’s vrindavana pastimes. In Vaishnava acara darpana, it is mentioned that the potency of King Vrishbhanu’s niece , ‘Tara’, has also incarnated as Sri Locana Das Thakura, in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.

Locana Das was a contemporary of Sri Vrindavana Das Thakura, the author of Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, another revered biography of Lord Caitanya’s heart melting pastimes. Sri Narahari Sarkar Thakura, who was the incarnation of the sakhi Madhumati, and who was very dear and completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of Sri Gaurasundara, once desired for a book to be composed in bengali, that shall depict the heart melting pastimes of Sri Krishna Caitanya. He desired that the biography would uphold before the world the esoteric treasures of Gaura lila and shall help the readers develop love and attachment unto the Supreme (refer –YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu). It was only to give shape to the desires of Narahari ,that Locana das had taken birth in this world.Taking shelter of his Guru, he composed the ecstatic ‘Caitanya Mangala’, thereby satisfying the yearnings of his spiritual master. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the life and pastimes of Sri Narahari Thakura in a separate article entitled  – ‘The Great Vaishnavas of Srikhanda’.

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Sri Kaliya Krishna Das’ Headquarters , Akaihata

akaihata

Sri Kaliya Krishna Das is an intimate associate of Lord Nityananda .He is the ninth of the twelve Gopalas (Dvadasha Gopalas) who have assisted Lord Nitai in manifesting His magnanimous pastimes. Within the desire tree of devotional service, Sri Kaliya Krishna is the 22nd branch to have arisen out of the trunk of Nityananda prabhu.Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika reveals the identity of Sri Kaliya Krishna Das as the cowherd boy Lavanga ,in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes. Sri Caitanya Bhagavata exclaims that one who simply remembers Kaliya Krishna das is sure to attain the lotus feet of Sri Gauranga and Nityananda.Sri Kaliya Krishna das or Kala Krishna Das , as he is often referred to, had his headquarters here at Akaihata, near Katwa. It is worthwhile mentioning, that Sri Kala Krishna das should not be herein confused with another devotee with the same name, who had accompanied Lord Caitanya in His south India tour.The other devotee, who had to be personally rescued by Caitanya Mahaprabhu from the clutches of the Bhattaharis, was a different person.

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Sri Uddharana Pura ,Barddhaman (Near Katwa)

uddharana pura

Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura is an eternal associate of Lord Nityananda. He is one of the most prominent of the twelve cowherd boys (Dvadasha Gopala) who had assisted Lord Nitai manifest His magnanimous pastimes.Sri Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika reveals that Sri Uddharana Datta was the incarnation of Subahu, the intimate friend of Krishna and Balarama in vrindavana. Nityananda Prabhu, was his very life and soul and he had served his master in all possible ways.Prema Vilasa reveals that Lord Nitai used to relish the prasada cooked by Uddharana Datta. Not only He but even Sri Gaurahari enjoyed his cooking a lot. Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja reveals that Sri Uddharana datta Thakura was the foremost of the Maha Bhagavata devotees who completely engaged his mind,body and words in serving Nityananda Prabhu, his eternal Gurudeva.

Maha bhagavata sreshtha datta Uddharana
Sarba bhave seve Nityanandera carana
(caitanya caritamrta, Adi, 11.41)

Srila Prabhupada mentions in his purport, that Sri Uddharana Datta was born with the right to worship Sri Nityananda Prabhu.Sri Uddharana belonged to the caste of suvarna baniks (gold merchants) who were looked down upon in the society, in those days.Lord Nitai however stayed in Saptagram,at the house of Sri Uddharana Datta, for many months, and by His grace and association ,all the suvarna baniks (gold mercantile community) regained their stature. Sri Caitanya Bhagavata also glorifies the ecstatic pastimes that patita pavana Lord Nitai had manifested here at Saptagram in order to deliver the members these so called outcastes.

yateka banik kula Uddharana haite
pavitra haila dvidha nahika ihate
(Caitanya Bhagavata)

Surrendering his life unto the lotus feet of his spiritual master, Sri Uddharana , who had hailed from a very opulent gold mercantile family,subsequently renounced his wealth, fame ,prestige and accepted the robes of a mendicant to further the cause of Krishna consciousness.Being Nityananda Prabhu’s personal cook, Sri Uddharana received the rare fortune of accompanying the Lord wherever He travelled.

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The Great Vaishnavas of Srikhanda

srikhanda gtb

O ! The residents of Srikhanda, there is no limit to your great fortune ! Srikhanda, whose glories are sung all over the three worlds, whose dust the demigods hanker to smear over their bodies , is so easily accessible to you. You are amongst the chosen few who ,having being immensely blessed by Sri Krishna Caitanya, are able to take birth in this sacred land.

khandavasi mukunda das, sri Raghunandana
Narahari das, ciranjiva, sulocana
ei saba mahasakha — caitanya-kripadhama
Prema phala phula kare yahan tahan daana
(Sri Caitanya caritamrta, Adi,10.78-79)

Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja here reveals, the noble lineage of the residents of SriKhanda (Khandavasis). They belong to the land of the most worshipable intimate associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Narahari Sarkara Thakura (40th branch of Mahaprabhu’s desire tree of devotional service), Sri Mukunda das (the 39th branch) and his son Raghunandana (manifestation of Pradyumna), Sri Ciranjiva (41st branch) and Sulocana(42nd branch) ,all of them have mercifully appeared and manifested their exalted pastimes here at this sacred place.

‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself greatly fortunate to have been able to enter and serve this cintamani (wish fulfilling) dham.

Gaura amara, je-saba sthane,
koralo bhramana range
Se saba sthana, heribo ami,
Pranayi-bhakata-sange

May I visit and constantly contemplate upon all those places where Lord Caitanya performed His sweet pastimes along with His intimate associates.

We seek the blessings and compassion of the fortunate residents of Srikhanda, before attempting to narrate some of its heart-rending pastimes. The readers are here requested to excuse any of our unintentional mistakes ,as we are mere fools ,who, not knowing our limits, are trying to delve deep into this esoteric well, to excavate the mesmerizing jewels that adorn the devotees of Sri Gaurasundara.

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Sri Srinivasa Acharya’s Sripat, Jajigram (Near Srikhanda, Katwa)

Srinivasa acharya jajigram

Sri Srinivasa Acharya was the manifestation of the Love of God and the incarnation of Mani Manjari, who eternally assists Sri Guna Manjari (who had appeared as his spiritual master, Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami) , in serving Sri Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan. Sri Srinivasa Acharya was born around the year 1442 AD.His father was Sri Caitanya Das and his mother was Srimati Lakshmipriya devi. He was empowered and blessed by the Supreme Lord to widely distribute the love of God to one and all.

Sri Caitanya Das’ original name was Gangadhara Bhattacharya, and he was one of those who had the rare opportunity to witness Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sannyasa initiation at Gauranga bari , in Katwa. It was very heartbreaking for those present, to witness Lord Caitanya , whose beauty surpassed that of a millions of moons, shave off His beautiful hairs and accept the robes of a renunciant. At the same time, those present were immersed in a wave of ecstasy, being able to behold the Lord’s beautiful form, and His captivating intoxicated mood. We have covered Lord Caitanya’s sannyasa initiation pastimes in a separate article entitled Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa’.

Such was the effect of the Lord’s sannyasa on Gangadhara ,that he began chanting Sri Caitanya’s names day and night. He constantly cried “Ha Caitanya! Ha Caitanya! Krishna Caitanya!” . Such was his intoxication in divine love for Mahaprabhu, that people nicknamed him as Caitanya Das. This is how ,being a recipient of Lord Gauranga’s mercy, Sri Gangadhara Bhattacharya came to be subsequently known as Caitanya Das.He and his wife lakshmipriya devi were blessed by Lord Caitanya, and as a result these fortunate souls could subsequently become the proud parents of Sri Srinivasa Acharya, the manifestation of Mahaprabhu’s ecstasy.

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Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa

Gauranga Bari katwa gtb

It was here at Sri Gauranga Bari, that the supreme personality of Godhead, Sri Nimai pandita, was awarded with the sannyasa order of life by the eminent sannyasi ,Sri Keshava Bharati ,about 500 years ago, and was conferred with the new name ,Sri Krishna Caitanya. This is the same place where the beautiful hairs of Sri Nimai pandita were shaved off forever, by the barber named Madhu, who wept bitterly as did all the other devotees, who couldn’t tolerate the Lord of their lives relinquishing His beautiful curly hair .That hair ,decorated with malati flowers , which previously in Dvapara, had enchanted the gopis and forced them to abandon their homes,families and everything in their possession; that same hair which Lord Brahma, Shiva and Narada used to greatly glorify ,was now abandoned. The team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself supremely fortunate to have been able to arrive and take darsana here at Sri Gauranga bari, on the auspicious occasion of Sri Gaura purnima and participate wholeheartedly in the celebrations. We have covered the appearance pastime of Sri Gaurahari in a separate article entitled –  ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’).

Lord Gaurasundara’s head shaving and sannyasa ceremony took place during the auspicious constellation of Makara Sankranti,in the month of Magh, here at Gauranga Bari,in Katwa. Instead of picking up his razor, the barber Madhu, sat hanging his head between his hands and cried profusely.Madhu could realize that Sri Nimai pandita was the Supreme Lord and he requested Him again and again to reconsider His decision of accepting the sannyasa order. We have covered in detail the pastimes of Madhu, the barber ,in a separate article entitled- ‘Sakhi Akhra and Madhai Tala ,Katwa’.

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Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha jiu ,Agradwip

agradvipa gopinatha jiu gtb

A few miles south of Katwa, on the bank of the holy Ganges, lies the beautiful town of Agradwip. The scenic beauty of this place is an absolute treat to the eyes. Our team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’, took a boat ride from the ‘Agradwip ghat’ to cross over to the other side of the river,in order to reach the temple of our beloved Radha Gopinatha jiu. The blissful breeze of the holy river, the heart-rending shelter of the captivating tall trees and the melodious tunes of the chirping birds are a perfect setting for the devotees to surrender themselves to the calls of the divine, and forever escape into the realm of transcendence.

Sri Radha Gopinatha jiu is the worshipable deity of Sri Govinda Ghosh, an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For those who don’t know, Lord Caitanya, is none other than the Supreme personality of Godhead who had descended about 500 years ago, in the city of Navadvipa, to reclaim the fallen souls and inaugurate the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord (Please refer to the article – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’).The three brothers, Sri Govinda Ghosh, Vasu Ghosh and Madhava Ghosh assisted the Lord in performing His heart melting pastimes. Lord Caitanya, or Gauranga, as He is sometimes referred to, is worshipped as ‘Maha Vadanyaya’, or the most munificent incarnation of the Supreme Lord.This is because He gives freely what no one else, or no other incarnation of the Lord has given before- the pure ecstatic love of Krishna.

namo maha-vadanyaya
krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna Caitanya
namne gaura-tvishe namah

O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.

About 20 kms west of Katwa, on the banks of the Ajay river,lies a village named ‘Kulai’.It was in this village that the three stalwart vaishnavas, Sri Govinda Ghosh,Sri Madhava Ghosh and Sri Vasu ghosh had mercifully appeared, and as a result of which this place had become sanctified and renowned all over the three worlds. These three brothers possessed a very melodious voice and their songs provided a lot of delight to Lord Gauranga and Nityananda who danced at their tunes (Govinda Madhava Vasudeva teen bhai , Ya sabara kirtane nache Caitanya Nitai ).

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