Category Archives: North24Paraganas

Sri Sri Radha-Syamasundara temple, Khardaha

syamasundara khardaha

Sri Birchandra Prabhu, or Birbhadra Goswami , as He was later referred to, was born on the ninth day of the dark fortnight, in the holy month of kartika (october-november). Birchandra Prabhu was the son of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Vasudha devi. Srimati Jahnava mata was His initiating spiritual master. Sri Birchandra was an expansion of the Supreme Lord Himself, and appeared in this world to assist His father in furthering the mission of Lord Caitanya.Kavi karnapura reveals in his Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika that the expansion of sankarshan, who sleeps on the ocean of milk (Kshirodakashayi Vishnu) and manifests as the supersoul in our heart , had incarnated as Birchandra Prabhu in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.

The holy dham of Khardaha is located hardly at a distance of 20 kms from kolkata.The land of merciful Nityananda Prabhu is decorated all over with various wish fulfilling trees that readily bestow pure devotion upon all without any discrimination. Various demigods have been waiting and meditating for millions of years desiring to take birth in the transcendental abode of Khardaha, where they shall be able to associate with the Lord’s pure devotees and obtain the dust from their lotus feet.The land of Khardaha is a witness to Lord Nitai’s ecstatic pastimes, merely contemplating upon which ,one easily gains entry into the realm of transcendence.Srimati Jahnava Devi, Vasudha devi, Birchandra Prabhu have all manifested their sweet pastimes here and sanctified this holy tract of land. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ is exceedingly blessed to have been able to visit Khardaha and take darsana of Radha Syamasundara jiu, who continues to shower His causeless mercy upon us suffering souls. Just a stone’s throw from the Syamasundara temple is the residence of Nityananda prabhu where Birchandra had appeared in this world.This house is renowned all over the three worlds as ‘Kunja Vatika’ and we have covered our visit to this place in a separate article entitled  – ‘Kunja Vatika, Khardaha’.

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Raghava Bhavan ,Panihati

raghava bhavan

Raghava Pandita and Damayanti Devi:

Sri Kavi Karnapura notes in his Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika that: 

The vraja-gopi Dhanishta devi, who had previously fed Lord Krishna with limitless opulent foodstuffs, appeared as Sri Raghava Pandita, in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.

And the gopi named Gunamala had appeared as Raghava Pandita’s sister Srimati Damayanti devi.

Raghava Bhavan ,the residence of Sri Raghava Pandita and Damayanti, is renowned all over the three worlds as the eternal residence of Sri Gaurahari (As described below). Lord Gaura Nitai have manifested their innumerable heart rending pastimes over here at Raghava Bhavan (500 Years ago). Located on the bank of the Ganges at panihati, Raghava Bhavan is very well connected to Kolkata, via road, railways and waterways.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings in his bhoga arati:

Yashomati ajna peye dhanishta anita
Sri Krishna-prasada radha bhunje haiye prita

In Krishna’s Vrindavana Pastimes,mother Yashoda would order Dhanishta Gopi to carry Krishna’s food remnants to Srimati Radharani .Radharani would then relish the remnants (prasada) of Her beloved Lord.

Similarly, in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, Lord Caitanya who would always remain immersed in the mood of Srimati Radharani, would lovingly accept the prasadam brought to Him by Sri Raghava pandita, the incarnation of Dhanishta Gopi. In Caitanya Caritamrta, it has been revealed that Sri Raghava Pandita was an intimate associate of Lord Caitanya and is said to have been the seventh branch of Mahaprabhu’s desire tree of devotional service.

Raghavera Jhali :

After accepting His sannyasa, Lord Caitanya had moved over to reside at Jagannatha puri. Every year, during the Ratha yatra festival, almost all the devotees from Bengal ,led by Sivananda sen, would travel to Puri to reunite with Lord Gaurasundara once again.Srimati Damayanti Devi would cook innumerable items for Mahaprabhu with her love and devotion, and thereafter pack these in separate bags. Raghava Pandita, would then carry these bags to Puri during his annual visit and offer them to Lord Caitanya. These bags of delicious food items came to be subsequently known as Raghavera Jhali (the bags of Raghava Pandita) and they find a very special mention in Sri Caitanya Bhagavat and Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.

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Sri Gadadhara das Sripat , Ariadaha

Gadadhara Das ariadaha

Sri Kavi Karnapura reveals in Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika that Sri Gadadhara Das was the combined incarnation of Srimati Chandrakanti devi (an expansion of Radharani) and Purnananda Gopi, who was a dear friend of Lord Balarama.

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami identifies Sri Gadadhara das , to be the twenty-third branch of Lord Caitanya’s desire tree of  devotional service .He has also referred to him as the ‘topmost’  (sarvopari) branch for he had inspired the Kazi (Muslim Magistrate) to chant the holy names of Lord Hari.(Sri Gadadhara das shakha sarvopari, kazi ganera mukhe yenha bolaila Hari).
The Sripat of Srila Gadadhara das is situated on the outskirts of North Kolkata, at a place called Ariadaha. Located on the bank of the Ganges, this exalted site, is exceedingly beautiful and spiritually surcharged.The place came across as very quiet,serene and a perfect escape into the realm of transcendence.Sri Gadadhara Das had resided over here at Ariadaha for many years.Finally he shifted to Katwa, where he spent his last days serving the deity of ‘Bara Gauranga’ at Gauranga Bari.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the details of Gauranga Bari in a separate article entitled – ‘Sri Gauranga Bari (katwa) – Where Mahaprabhu accepted Sannyasa’.

Here at Ariadaha, Sri Gadadhara Das had manifested several of his heart melting pastimes. It was here at Ariadaha that he had established the worship of his beloved Bal-gopal deity. Lord Nityananda had also spent a few days here and had performed His ecstatic sankirtana pastimes (described later in the article).The devotees who presently serve this dham are very simple bengalis who were exceedingly happy to narrate the awe-inspiring history of this place to us. The temple has been managed by different authorities in the course of these last 500 years.Finally the temple was renovated in the year 1849 by Sri Madhusudana Mullick of Kolkata, who had also arranged for the deity worship to be carried out properly (refer – ‘The pious Mullicks of Bengal’).The team from ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit and smear our sinful bodies with the all-purifying dust of this holy place.

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Kunja Vatika, Khardaha

kunja vatika khardaha

‘Tabey Aailen Prabhu Khardaha Grame
Purandar Panditer Devalaya Sthane
Khardaha Grame aashi Nityananda Raya
Yatah Nritya Karilen-Kahane Naa Jai ‘

– Then Lord Nityananda arrived at the residence of Purandara Pandit in Khardaha village. Here at Khardaha,He had manifested so many innumerable ecstatic dancing pastimes, that it is impossible for one to recount all of them.
(Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)

The holy dham of Khardaha is located hardly at a distance of 20 kms from kolkata.The land of merciful Nityananda Prabhu is decorated all over with various wish fulfilling trees that readily bestow pure devotion upon all without any discrimination. Various demigods have been waiting and meditating for millions of years desiring to take birth in the transcendental abode of Khardaha, where they shall be able to associate with the Lord’s pure devotees and obtain the dust from their lotus feet.The land of Khardaha is a witness to Lord Nitai’s ecstatic pastimes, merely contemplating upon which ,one easily gains entry into the realm of transcendence.Srimati Jahnava Devi, Vasudha devi, Birchandra Prabhu have all manifested their sweet pastimes here and sanctified this holy tract of land. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ is exceedingly blessed to have been able to visit Khardaha and take darsana of Kunja Vatika where Nityananda prabhu manifests His eternal pastimes.

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Krishna Raya Temple and the residence of Sivananda Sen ,Kumarhatta (Halisahar)

halisahar

The Krishna Raya temple is one of the biggest in Bengal and is one of the most significant for the Gaudiya vaishnavas. It is situated in a spacious compound ,adorned with beautiful gardens ,with high boundary walls on its four sides. The temple today also houses a big kitchen along with residential quarters. Sri Nimai Mullick, the then prominent zamindar of kolkata, is said to have seen the broken down temple while he was on his way to Benares (refer – ‘The pious Mullicks of Bengal’). The pious zamindar thereafter reconstructed the temple and arranged for the proper worship of the deities in the year 1786 AD. Sri Krishna Raya are the worshipable Radha Krishna deities of Sri Srinatha Prabhu, the spiritual master of Kavi Karnapura, the third son of Sivananda Sen.Kavi Karnapura does not reveal the original identity of his spiritual master,Sri Srinatha Chakravarthy, in his book Sri Gaur Ganoddesha Dipika. The reason being that a disciple should not address his spiritual master by his name.

Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami highly glorifies Sri Srinatha Prabhu in his Caitanya Caritamrta and reveals that he was blessed by Mahaprabhu and that his love for Krishna mesmerized all the three worlds (Srinatha paṇḍita Prabhura kripara bhajana, yanra Krishna-seva dekhi vash tribhuvana).Srinatha  Chakravarthy was a disciple of Sri Advaita Acharya. 

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Caitanya Doba ,Halisahar – The birthplace of Isvara Puri

Caitanya Doba

The birthplace of Sri Isvara Puri, the spiritual master of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is popularly known today as ‘Caitanya Doba’.The word doba means ‘a pool of water’. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu travelled through Halisahar(kumarhatta) on His way to Puri, He showed respect for His spiritual master by picking up some earth from the place of his birth, wrapping it in His cloth and keeping it carefully with Him. He used to eat a small portion of this dust daily.Thousands of pilgrims have since followed His example, thus forming a pit that has since filled with water (as visible in picture).Just opposite to Caitanya Doba is an ashrama (the yellow building visible in the picture), where devotees reside and serve the sacred dham.The team from ’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself exceedingly fortunate to have been able to visit and pay our obeisances unto this ancient sacred pilgrimage site. Talking to the local devotees, we came to know that a huge festival takes place here every year, during the month of October-November, to commemorate the arrival of Lord Gaurasundara at Caitanya Doba, who is believed to have arrived during this time of the year.

Sri Isvara Puri had been the most prominent disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri. He spent most of his time residing at his guru’s ashram in Gaya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Isvara Puri at the Vishnu Temple in Gaya, and accepted Vaishnava initiation from him.

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Sri Nandadulal jiu temple , Saibon

saibon

The stone that remained, after giving shape to Syamsundara jiu , was used to carve out two more enchanting deities – sri Nandadulal jiu  who was installed at swamibon (present saibon) and Vallavaji who was installed at Vallavapura (present serampore).
Prema Vilasa

The abovementioned verse reveals that Sri Nanda dulal jiu was fashioned from the same stone (sila) which was brought by Sri Birchandra Prabhu from the nawab’s palace in Malda. The other two enchanting deities that were carved out from the same stone being Sri Radha Syamasundara jiu, who presently resides at Khardaha and Sri RadhaVallav jiu, who is installed at Serampore (Hooghly, West bengal). According to the hearsay,the great devotee Sri Madhu Pandita, who also hailed from Saibon, used to worship our beloved Radha Nandadulal jiu ,before he shifted to Vrindavana.Sri Madhu Pandita and Paramananda Bhattacharya, were later instrumental in discovering the deity of Gopinatha jiu in Vrindavana. The deity of Gopinatha jiu which had been originally installed five thousand years ago by Lord Krishna’s great grandson Vajranabha, and which was lost in the due course of time, was rediscovered in the holy land of Vrindavana few hundred years ago by these two stalwarts. This has been confirmed in Bhakti Ratnakara as well.

As discussed in detail in the article entitled -’Sri Sri Radha-Syamasundara temple, Khardaha’, Sri Birchandra Prabhu, the son of Lord Nityananda, and the dear disciple of Jahnava Mata, persuaded the king of Bengal to part with a stone from his palace, which happened to be a very sacred Saligrama Sila, out of which these three beautiful deities were subsequently sculpted.Please refer to that article to relish the beautiful appearance pastime of these three mesmerizing deities.

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Sri Bhagavatacharya’s residence,Baranagar Path bari

baranagar pathbari

Sri Bhagavatacharya ,the 76th branch of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire tree of devotional service, met Lord Caitanya on the banks of the river Ganges at a place presently known as Baranagar (which is about 8-10 kms from kolkata).

Srila Prabhupada mentions about Sri Bhagavatacharya  in his commentary to Caitanya Caritamrta (Adi Lila, 10.113 purport).Sri Raghunatha Upadhyaya , as Bhagavatacharya was then called, used to reside at Baranagar ,on the bank of the Ganges, and daily recite Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) in his small hut. It so happened that once , while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was en route to Jagannatha Puri, and was passing by Baranagar, a very beautiful recitation and a sublime devotional explanation of Srimad Bhagavatam, entered His ears. Being curious, He immediately entered the cottage, where He found Sri Raghunatha reciting the spotless literature. Seeing Lord Caitanya ,Raghunatha fell at His feet, and hearing his recitations, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fainted in ecstasy. Lord Caitanya later remarked that He had never before heard such a beautiful explanation of Srimad Bhagavatam. He hence conferred the title ‘Bhagavatacharya’ upon Raghunatha  and ordered him that his only duty henceforward was to regularly recite Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Bhagavatacharya had later compiled his commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam in a book called ‘Krishna Prema Tarangini’.

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