Category Archives: spiritual stories

Jagannath Puri temple history (Part 1) – King Indradyumna searches for Neela Madhava

jagannath puri temple history

#1 In Satya Yuga, there was a King named Indradyumna who ruled over a Kingdom identified as Malav. He was of exemplary character and a great devotee of Vishnu, the Supreme Lord. He belonged to the same lineage as Lord Brahma and was his twenty-fifth descendant.

#2 King Indradyumna once asked his royal priest if there was any holy place in this world where he could behold the Supreme Lord with his own eyes. 

#3 The temple priest then summoned numerous people who had undertaken extensive pilgrimages to holy places. He placed before them the same question that the king had asked him the other day. One of the pilgrims exclaimed that he indeed knew of a place where one could behold the Supreme Lord. 

#4 Alluding to the present Indian state of Orissa, the pilgrim described that towards the south of this state, on the shores of the ocean, existed Sri Purusottama kshetra (the land of Purusottama – the Supreme Lord). Within Purusottama Kshetra lies a mountain named ‘Nilgiri’ and it is encircled with dense forests on all sides. On the top of this mountain, exists a giant banyan tree that is sometimes also referred to as ‘Kalpa-vata’. To the west of this place, is a beautiful lake called ‘Rohini-Kunda’ whose blessed waters grant liberation to whoever touches it. To the east of the Nilgiri mountains, Lord Vasudeva is worshiped in His enchanting deity form (Neela Madhava) that is embellished with blue gems. The blue Deity is exceedingly effulgent and beautiful. Anyone who bathes at Rohini Kunda and then beholds this beautiful deity achieves freedom from this material world. Towards the west of this deity lies an ashram called ‘Sabara Deepak’.

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Chand Kazi chastised – Mass Harinama Sankirtana protest led by Lord Chaitanya

srivasa angan chand kazi

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.

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Lord Jagannath and demon Raktabahu

Jagannath rajapur raktabahu

Lord Jagannath at Rajapur (Nabadwip, West Bengal, India), is non-different from Lord Jagannath at Puri. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura re-establishes this fact by citing the ancient history of the Jagannath temple at Rajapur in his book ‘Sri Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya’. Long ago, during the seventh century, there happened to be a demoniac king in Orissa, named Raktabahu, who desecrated temples and terrorized the hearts of the pious. The devotees at Jagannath puri became exceedingly fearful of the king’s sinister intentions and took shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord.

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Bhaktivinoda Thakur & Chastisement of Bisak Sen

Bhaktivinoda Thakura

While in Jagannath Puri, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who was a magistrate, faced numerous challenges. There was an imposter, named Bisak Sen, belonging to the Ati-bari sect (a non bonafide religious group of pseudo devotees) who claimed himself to be an incarnation of Maha-vishnu (a manifestation of the Supreme Lord lying in the causal ocean). Bisak Sen held a few mystic powers that he had obtained by performing some austerities, and he used them to deceive the local people. He could cure some incurable diseases, could emit fire from his matted hair, read others’ minds, etc. Now the scriptures assert that there are eight yogic siddhis, which can be achieved by anyone performing suitable yogic processes. But it does not imply that one holding these siddhis becomes God. The imposter Bisak Sen had even organized Rasa Lila and sexually exploited the wives of others, while claiming himself to be God.

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Madhavendra Puri – Pastimes with Gopal and Khirachora Gopinath

Khirachora Gopinath madhavendra puri

Sri Madhavendra Puri was the spiritual master of Isvara Puri who in turn was the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Sri Madhavendra was almost always intoxicated with an intense love for the Supreme. He was mostly devoid of his external consciousness and had no awareness of where he was or what time of the day it was. Sometimes standing and sometimes falling, all the ecstatic symptoms manifested in his body simultaneously. Sri Madhavendra Puri, a devotee in the line of Madhvacharya, is designated as the first sprout (ankura) of the desire tree of devotion.

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Advaita Acharya causes the appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this world

advaita acharya chaitanya mahaprabhu panchatattva

Sri Advaita Acharya is also known as Gaura-ana Thakura, or who has caused Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, to descend in this world. Seeing the degraded consciousness of the people in general, Advaita acharya began to consider how they could be delivered from the clutches of Maya (material illusion). He finally concluded that only the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna Himself can deliver these souls from their suffering. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada mentions in his purport that just as a condemned person is delivered by the special favor of the chief executive head, similarly, the condemned people in this age of kali can only be delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead or someone who is empowered by Him. Sri Advaita Prabhu thought that His name ‘Advaita’ would befit Him, only if He could cause the Supreme Lord to descend and inaugurate the sankirtana movement. He knew very well that Lord Krishna becomes indebted to a devotee and sells Himself to one who merely offers Him a Tulasi leaf and a palmful of water. Considering this, Sri Advaita Prabhu began regularly worshipping the Supreme Lord with Tulasi leaves and Ganges water. With His loud voice, He called upon Him to descend into this material world. The place where Sri Advaita Acharya used to worship His saligrama sila with Tulasi and Ganges water, is presently known as ‘Babla’ and is located not very far from the Santipur railway station in West Bengal. Being pleased with His earnest prayers, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, descended upon this world, in the year 1486 AD on the day of Phalguni Purnima.

Tulasi manjari sahita ganga-jale
Niravadhi seve Krishne maha kutuhale
Hunkara karoye Krishna-abeshera tyeje
Ye dhvani Brahmanda bhedi Vaikuntha te baje
(Chaitanya Bhagavata, Adi, 2.81-82)

He (Advaita Acharya) incessantly served Lord Krishna with the help of Tulasi Manjari and Ganges water. Being empowered by the strength of Lord Krishna, He roared loudly. The sound of His loud roars penetrated the coverings of this material universe and resounded in Vaikuntha (spiritual world).

santipur gtb

In Chaitanya Bhagavata , the Lord reveals to His associates that it was Advaita Acharya, who had called upon Him and caused Him to descend from vaikuntha (‘mohare anila nada vaikuntha thakiya…’). Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja mentions in Chaitanya Charitamrta, that the merciful Lord Chaitanya had spread the sankirtana movement through Advaita Acharya and had delivered the world through Him.

yanra dvara kaila prabhu kirtana prachara
yanra dvara kaila prabhu jagata nishtara
(Chaitanya Caritamrta, Adi – 6.35)

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Bhishma Pitamah glorifies Nabadwip | Instructs on Bhakti Yoga

bhishma pitamah pandavas

Twelve mahajanas are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam – Bali, Bhisma Pitamah, Lord Brahma, Janaka, Kapiladeva, Narada Muni, Sanat-Kumar, Shiva, Prahlada, Sukadeva Goswami, Svayambhuva Manu, Yamaraj. All of these twelve mahajanas are exalted devotees of the Supreme Lord and authorities on the science of devotion. Bhishma Pitamah, one of these twelve mahajanas, was a selfless soul who remained a lifelong celibate (brahmachari) simply to respect the wish of his father to marry Satyavati. Bhishma Pitamah yielded his claims to the royal throne. Although he was very powerful and core to the survival of the kuru dynasty, he never took any credits or honors for himself. He sided with the Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra although he understood very well that they would lose as Krishna, the Supreme Lord, had sided with the Pandavas.

In his earlier life, Bhishma, the son of Ganga, had studied in the holy land of Nabadwip (West Bengal, India) under the tutelage of Jahnu muni, his grandfather. He stayed over here for many days. It is over here that Bhishma pitamah had learned the science of devotional service, which he subsequently taught unto Yudhisthira on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

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Bhishma Pitamah glorifies Krishna on his deathbed at Kurukshetra

bhishma pitamah pandavas

Twelve mahajanas are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam – Bali, Bhisma Pitamah, Lord Brahma, Janaka, Kapiladeva, Narada Muni, Sanat-Kumar, Shiva, Prahlada, Sukadeva Goswami, Svayambhuva Manu, Yamaraj. All of these twelve mahajanas are exalted devotees of the Supreme Lord and authorities on the science of devotion. Bhishma Pitamah, one of these twelve mahajanas, was a selfless soul who remained a lifelong celibate (brahmachari) simply to respect the wish of his father to marry Satyavati. Bhishma Pitamah yielded his claims to the royal throne. Although he was very powerful and core to the survival of the kuru dynasty, he never took any credits or honors for himself. He sided with the Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra although he understood very well that they would lose as Krishna, the Supreme Lord, had sided with the Pandavas. While resting on the deathbed of arrows in Kurukshetra, Bhishma instructed Maharaj Yudhisthira on various subjects concerning dharma. Then, when it was time for Bhishma Pitamah to leave his body, he withdrew his mind from everything else and fixed his wide-open eyes upon Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who stood before him, four-handed, dressed in sparkling yellow garments. Bhishma Pitamah then glorified his eternal master and prayed as follows.

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Haridas Thakur & deliverance of a Prostitute (Lakshahira) | Sripat Benapole, Jessore, Bangladesh

haridas Thakur

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 – Padma Purana

Lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaja and Richika Muni’s son Mahatapa had combinedly incarnated as Haridas Thakur. Srila Haridas Thakur is the namacharya of our sampradaya and is an eternal associate of Lord Gauranga.Srila Haridas Thakur had accompanied the Lord 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 that the chanting of Krishna’s holy names to be the Supreme spiritual practice, and preached how the Lord and His holy names are actually non-different. Thakur Haridas teaches us, that the holy names of Krishna are actually 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.The Thakura used to chant Krishna’s holy names, 300000 times a day, a practice he continued till the very end of his manifested pastimes.

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