On a Vaisnava forum that I am a member of someone asked in a general way, who is Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu? I am reproducing my reply here.
The followers of Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu worship him as the combined form of Nitai and Gaurahari. Radha and Govinda combine as Gaurahari. Gaurahari then expands Himself as Nitaichand. Gaura and Nitai combine to form Bandhusundar Hari. His followers also consider his essence to be Hari Nam. He asks to be kept alive by constant recital of Hari Nam. Another way he is viewed is as the combination of Braja and Gaura lila.
brajalIlA gauralIlA mahAsanmilan haripuruSa jagadbandhu mahA uddhAraNa
He came to give Maha Uddharan, or universal emancipation. You can read some words about it from Mahanambrata Brahmachari:
¨To the query how can we realise that stage in the transcendental world of Love, Maha-uddharana is the reply. The word ´Maha´ means the Great, but I cannot translate the word ´Uddharana.´ You are familiar with terms like release, salvation, emancipation or ´Mukti´ as the Hindus call it, or ´Nirvana´ as the Buddhists call it. ´Uddharana´ is a term like them but it has a totally different connotation. All those terms – salvation and the like – are negative, while ´Uddharana´ is positive. ´Uddharana´ begins after salvation. We are said to have salvation when we free ourselves from bondage getting rid of limitations. ´Uddharana´ means something beyond that. ´Uddharana´ is positive realisation of ‘Hari’. This idea of positive and negative freedom can best be explained by showing the difference between work and play. Work is disciplined habit; play is free impulse. When we work in an office, which is like a big machine we do our parts mechanically. We are free of course, but negatively free. In work we are only partially personal, really impersonal. While we play and enjoy leisure in the association of friends we are fully personal.
Each member adapts himself to the thoughts and sentiments of the other. Each regards the other as a unique individual to whom he adjusts himself in a special way. The complete individuality of each is evolved. We are completely free – this is positive freedom the free play of the total personality. In an office or an impersonal group – for example, the Bell Telephone system, or a life insurance company, there is no such recognition of individuality, nor is individuality evoked. Each may respond to some act on the part of the other, just as one would respond to some physical object or mechanical signal. But in play, in the family circle or among friends, we spontaneously bring into operation the full personality of each. There exists an easy interplay of sentiments.
Salvation or Emancipation is to get a job in God’s office – to work in harmony with the world-order. But ´Uddharana´ is more than that. It is the enjoyment of God in His family Circle. Who constitute this family of God? Each unit of being – each unit of consciousness. Herein lies the significance of ´Maha.´ We need a circle, we need an association of friends. We depend upon playmates for the fullest realisation of one another’s individulity. So long as one friend is absent, the enjoyment is not complete. A single man remaining in bondage cannot be tolerated by a true lover of freedom. So long as there is one soul left outside, there will be no ´Maha-uddharana.´… Pray for all, take all home and make the family circle complete and truly enjoyable. Suns, moons and stars are workers in God’s office; we are players in God’s family.¨
If you wish to read the chapter about Jagadbandhu Sundar from The Saints of Bengal by OBL Kapoor, click here.
I am a follower of Dada Mosai (Radharaman Charan Das Dev) and we do not worship him in that way. He was the guru and dearmost associate of my param gurudeva, Sripad Ramdas Babaji in his youth. When Ramdas Babaji Maharaj left this world he called out the names of Bandhusundar and Radharaman Charan Dev. We consider Bandhusundar as our guru. Personally speaking, I do occasionally relish the bhav of worshipping him as Bandhu Hari, though as I said this is not the mood of our lineage.