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Saradanga | Sri Navadvipa Bhava Taranga

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Text 23
Tad-uttore Saradanga sthan manohara
Raktabahu bhaye yatha sabara-prabara
Niladripatike laye rahe sangopane
Sei sthana dekhi yeno sarvada nayane
 
Translation –
Further north is the blissful place known as Saradanga, where the leader of the Sabaras, secretly stay along with Lord Jagannatha (Niladri-pati), out of fear of the demon Raktabahu. May i always behold this place before my eyes.

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Bhakti Bhavan : Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house in Kolkata

Bhakti Bhavan

Sri Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is sometimes also referred to as the seventh Goswami, is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. His contribution to the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya is invaluable.At a time when the science of pure devotional service (Bhakti) had almost become lost due to the cultural and religious chauvinism of the ruling British, and the essence of Vaishnavism largely discredited due to the perverted actions and lifestyles of a few non bonafide Vaishnava sects, Srila Bhaktivinoda was largely responsible for rescuing and unearthing the timeless teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Fact it was he who ,after conducting a painstaking research, had rediscovered the long lost birthsite of Sri Gaurasundara (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was not only a magistrate, but also a renowned and recognised scholar in his days, with vast knowledge in english,bengali,hindi,oriya and sanskrit.He was also a member of the royal asiatic society of London. Such was the degraded state of affairs during those days, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura could not find a bonafide copy of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the most important literature for understanding Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings, anywhere. It was only after several enquiries and a long wait, that he received a copy of this book. He subsequently published it along with his commentaries (Amrta-pravaha-bhasya). Likewise, he was instrumental in unearthing several ancient manuscripts like Caitanyopanishad ( portion of Atharva Veda) ,Sri Krishna Vijaya, etc. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ considers itself an insignificant servant of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose causeless mercy has enabled us fools to get a glimpse of his elevated stature and pen a few lines in his glorification.

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Birthplace of Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura, Mamgachi, Mayapur Nabadwip dham

mamgachi

“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya

Sri Kavi karnapura reveals in his Gaura ganoddesha dipika that :

Srila Vedavyasa incarnated as Vrindavan Das Thakur in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. Krishna’s friend Kusumapida also entered into him for special purposes.

Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura is the original vyasadeva of Mahaprabhu’s lila. His spiritual master was none other than Lord Nityananda, the adi Guru Himself. Being empowered by his Guru, Srila Vrindavana das, has narrated an amazing heart-rendering biographical account of Lord Caitanya’s divine mood and His exalted pastimes, in his composition Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, which is today one of the most revered  books of our Gaudiya Sampradaya.

Krishna-lila bhagavate kahe vedavyasa
Caitanya-lilara vyasa – vrindavana dasa
(Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi, 8.34)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (founder acharya of the Gaudiya Mathas) , has greatly glorified Srila Vrindavana Das in his Caitanya Bhagavata purports. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta writes that Srila Vrindavana das Thakura’s love and devotion towards his spiritual master Nityananda prabhu is simply incomparable. He mentions how Vrindavana Das was a topmost preacher of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s philosophy and how he constantly engaged himself with all his mind, body and words, in preaching the glories of the Vaishnava acharyas. A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (founder acharya of ISKCON) has also sung great glories of this towering personality. In one of the initiation lectures in boston, prabhupada mentions how Vrindavana Das Thakura is one of the great acharyas of our Gaudiya sampradaya, and how we should all pray and seek for his causeless mercy.

(‘The Gaudiya treasures of Bengal’ has covered the birth and the early pastimes of Nityananda prabhu in a separate article entitled – Sri Ekachakra Dham – Birthplace of Lord Nityananda’.This article has been based upon the writings of Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura in his book ‘Sri Nityananda Caritamrta’).

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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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Sri Srivasa Pandita’s deities ,Uddharana Gaudiya Math, Chinsurah

chinsurah

Panca tattvatmakam krsnam bhakta-rupa-svarupakam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam namami bhakta saktikam

I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Sri Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Sri Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Sri Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Sri Srivasa Pandita)

According to Sri Gaura Gannoddesha Dipika, Srivasa Pandita is none other than the incarnation of Narada Muni, who had appeared to assist his beloved Lord enact the heart melting pastimes of Navadvipa. Sri Srivasa Pandita couldn’t bear the separation from his beloved Lord Caitanya, after He had accepted the Sannyasa order of life. After sannyasa, Sri Caitanya shifted to Jagannatha Puri, leaving His hometown Navadvipa in tears.The sweet memories of Sri Caitanya performing His daily sankirtana pastimes at Srivasa Angana (house of Srivasa thakura at Mayapur) became too much for Srivasa Pandita to bear. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the amazing pastimes of Srivasa Angana in a separate article entitled – ‘Srivasa Angan ,Mayapur ,Navadvipa – Part 1: where Lord Gaurahari eternally performs His ecstatic pastimes’. The whole town of Navadvipa mourned in the absence of Gaurahari. Navadvipa had thus become unbearable for Srivasa Pandita and his family ,as they were constantly reminded of Sri Gauranga’s nectarian pastimes. They cursed themselves thinking that they must have committed some grave sin due to which they were then separated from the Lord of their lives.Unable to bear this pain any further, Srivasa Pandita along with his entire family, shifted to the town of Kumarhatta (Present day Halisahar). Here at Kumarhatta,Srivasa Prabhu began worshipping his Gaur-Nitai deities with heartfelt devotion.

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The worshipable deities of Gaudidasa Pandita, Ambika Kalna

kalna

Kavi Karnapura mentions in Sri Gaura Gannoddesha dipika, that Sri Gaudidasa Pandita was the incarnation of the cowherd boy Subala, an intimate friend of Sri Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana.

Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami greatly glorifies Sri Gaudidasa in his Caitanya Caritamrta stating that Sri Gaudidasa was an emblem of devotional service and had the potency to receive and deliver ecstatic love of God to one and all (..Krishna prema dite nite dhare maha-shakti..). It is exclaimed that Sri Gaudidasa had sacrificed everything for the service of Lord Nityananda ,even the fellowship of his own family. He was one of the primary associates to have assisted Lord Nitai manifest His magnanimous pastimes.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura gives us some details of Gaudidasa Pandita’s family in his anubhashya. It is mentioned that initially he used to reside in the village of Saligrama (a place not very far from Navadvipa) , and later he had shifted to the town of Ambika Kalna. Sri Gaudidasa was very close to and enjoyed the patronage of King Krishna das, the son of Harihoda. Sri Gaudidasa Pandita’s father was Sri Kamsari Mishra and his mother’s name was Srimati Kamala devi. He had five brothers – Damodara, Jagannatha, Suryadasa, Krishnadasa, and Nrsimha Caitanya. The elder brother of Gaudidasa pandita, Sri Suryadasa, held an important post for the king of Bengal and was hence awarded with the title ‘Sarkhel’ (commander). Later the two daughters of Suryadasa Sarkel, Srimati Vasudha and Jahnava, got married to Lord Nityananda. The ‘Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered this wonderful marriage pastime in a separate article entitled – ‘Lord Nityananda’s marriage with Srimati Jahnava and Vasudha, Ambika Kalna’

Sri Gaudidasa’s Sripat at Kalna, houses his worshipable mesmerizing Gaura-Nitai deities. At this place, is also worshipped a copy of Bhagavad Gita, that was supposedly handwritten by Lord Caitanya and later gifted to Sri Gaudidasa. One visiting the temple can also take darsana of an oar that Mahaprabhu had used to cross over the Ganges while travelling to meet Gaudidasa at Kalna.According to the hearsay, Sriman Mahaprabhu had handed it over to Gaudidasa, and asked him to similarly use it to help the fallen souls cross over the ocean of material existence.We shall try to narrate in this article a few of the innumerable pastimes that had taken place over the years at Sri Gaudidasa’s sripat. We seek the mercy of this great personality in order to pen a few lines in his glorification.

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Abhirama Gopala Thakura – Biography | Sripat Khanakul Krishnanagar

khanakul Abhirama Gopala

Sri Abhirama Gopala Thakura was the incarnation of the cowherd boy Sridama,one of the most intimate eternal associates of Sri Krishna and Balarama in Vrindavana.In this age of Kali, Lord Krishna had descended as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Balarama jiu had also accompanied His brother ,incarnating as Lord Nityananda. Both of them began freely distributing the nectar of the Lord’s holy names to one and all without any discrimination.The waves of intense love of God washed one and all and drenched them in ecstasy. The spiritual vibrations of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’) echoed across the land and the skies. But inspite of showering their causeless mercy and delivering countless souls, their Lordships dearly missed the association of their dear friend Sridama. Lord Gaurahari and merciful Nitai wished that Sridama was also present to assist and accompany them in their sankirtana pastimes.

Appearance of Sri Abhirama Gopala Thakura:

Lord Gauranga once revealed to Nityananda prabhu that in the age of Dvapara, while Krishna was playing hide and seek along with His friends, Sridama had hid Himself inside a cave to avoid being seen.In due course of time Lord Krishna had left Vrindavana for Mathura, had become the king of Yadus and ultimately wrapped up His earthly pastimes. Thousands of years had since passed,but unfortunately, Sridama, being ignorant of these developments, still lied hidden within that cave in Vrindavana, being completely immersed in that friendly hide-n-seek game with his worshipable Lord.Such is the greatness of the Lord and His innocent devotees, that they are completely oblivious of their external surroundings, to the extent of forgetting even their own existence, in order to serve their beloved Lord with all their heart. Who has the power to describe their exalted qualities? Remembering His dear friend and calling out for Sridama again and again ,Sri Caitanya fell upon the ground unconscious.

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Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami – Biography | Birthplace at Jhamatpur (Near Katwa)

jhamatapur Krishna das Kaviraj

Srila Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami is the author of the great bengali classic,Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, the principal work on the life and the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme personality of Godhead.Lord Caitanya had descended about 500 years back, here at Navadvipa in Bengal,in order to propagate the congregational chanting of Krishna’s holy names (refer – ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Sri Caitanya Caritamrta helps us relish the most heart rending pastimes of Sri Krishna Caitanya, that defy the investigative and descriptive abilities of modern psychologists and phenomenologists of religious experience. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, one of the most highly revered acharyas of our Gaudiya sampradaya, had once correctly predicted that a day would arrive when the people from different parts of the world would learn Bengali, just to relish the nectar of Caitanya Caritamrta. The prediction has indeed come to pass.The world shall ever be grateful to Srila Krishnadasa for giving us a glimpse of our rich heritage ; for giving to us Sri Gaurahari, the very lord of our lives.

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