Gaurhari says, “Show respect to all beings knowing the existence of Krishna within them.” Bandhu Hari contends, “Think of Nitai in every creature. Nityananda resides in all beings. Striking a creature means striking Nityananda.”
Gaursundar advices, “Love for Sri Nam, kindness to all creatures, and service to the Vaisnavas.” Bandhu Hari directs, “Heart and soul show kindness to all beings and think of their welfare.”
Assuming the bhava of Radha, Gaurhari pined for Krishna. Bandhu Hari, with the feeling of Nityananda lamented for all creatures.
Gaurhari was afflicted with the pangs of separation from Krishna. Bandhu Hari’s affliction came from the disunion with Harinam (Nam viraha). The language of his lamentation was, ” Am I no one to you? Should I be swept away? Will none of you liberate me by Harinam? If you do not stick to Harinam, I will be transformed into stone. I am yours body, mind, soul, and limb. You mix me up with yourself by means of Harinam. You will be blessed. Let Harinam win–and in that case my objectives and cosmic game are fulfilled. I belong to Harinam and to nothing else. Jagadbandhu=Harinam.”
Sri Angan – Goalchamat, Faridpur
(1898 – 1921 A.D., 1305 – 1328 in Bengali calendar)
Sri Krishna came to the earth and performed his Lila in Vrindaban – the forest area where Vrinda and other milk-men and milk-maids dwelt. While he came again united with Radha, himself within and Radha outside, he chose to reverse Ban (wood), that is, Nabadwip as his place of Lila and that was originally an island (Dwip) as secluded as a forest. Then again when he came to complete his Nabadwip Lila, he chose first Bakchar, i.e., the island called Bak for his Lila and finally Goalchamat where milkmen (goalas) dwelt and which was also full of woods, when Prabhu came to set up his Angan. Bakchar and Goalchamat are the two Angans made and used by Prabhu. Goalchamat is a suburb of the Faridpur town near Jessore Road.
Then one afternoon in Baisakh of 1305 B.E. (April 1898) Prabhu was proceeding towards the town accompanying Nabadwip Das. He stopped suddenly just behind the Darbesh Bridge. On the right side there was a jungle area within which laid an elevated land with a ‘Chalita tree’ on one side and few ‘Jhau’ (tamarisk) trees abounding. This Chalita tree was very old one and still exists. This perhaps reminded him of Vrinda forest and Sri Krishna. Prabhu writes in his ‘Trikal’ that Krishna is of shyam (bright dark) color resembling the leaf of the Chalita tree. Here Prabhu desired to set up Sri Angan, his abode.
He called Ramsundar and Ram Kumar Mudi, the owners of the land to give him the place for making his Angana. They replied that it was only a piece of good luck if they could do it “We make a gift of it to you”, they replied.
Prabhu ordered Kunja Behari to erect four rooms there. He sent him money from Calcutta. On the 23rd day of Jyastha of 1306 B.E. (May 1899) Prabhu took his seat at the Angina in the midst of grand Nama Kirtan. From here Prabhu went to Calcutta and at times to the neighboring places like Bakchar, Badarpur, or houses of some devotees in the town.
In the middle of the month of Ashar, 1309 B.E. (June/July 1902) Prabhu was in Calcutta. One day he said to his dear young devotee Nabadwip, “Don’t feel sorry. I stop speaking from today”. He went thereafter to Dhaka, where he was on the last day of the year 1308 (1901 A.D.). He left Dhaka in Jaistha 1309 (May/June 1902). Returning from Dhaka he became almost silent. He reached Goalchamat Sri Angan in Ashar, 1309 (June/July 1902) and shut himself up clay built hut for about 17 years (Ashar 1309 – Magh 1325 B.E.) ( June/July 1902 – Jan/Feb 1918 – 16 years 8 months) till Magh, 1325 (Jan/Feb 1918), observing complete silence. The cottage was a small thatched one 12 cubits long and 7cubits broad having no window in it. The cemented temple was erected in 1320 B.E. (1913 A.D.), which had a straw thatched roof then. Prabhu used to come now and then through the covered passage.
Nobody can say or guess fully what was the significance of his being thus mysteriously closeted. It was best known to himself. Only God or godly persons can do a thing which might serve Several purposes. It might be to quicken life inro great spiritual or political aspiration of the day, or it might be to demonstrate how extreme stages may come in a devotee’s life. Or, it might be to enjoy for himself the sweetness of Gour Lila.
After Prabhu’s confinement in the hut, a young man named Krishnadas had performed his seva (services) for about 7 years. At the direction of Prabhu he used to sing ‘Tahal’ kirtan devoutly. While Prabhu was at Kumartooly house, one day he threw over his head a flower as a blessing. With the touch of the flower, he became possessed with the feeling of Gopi and remained so for about a month.
Krishnadasji left Sri Angan 1317 B.E. (1910 A.D.), though he used to come occasionally afterwards. After him came Kshiroda Devi, daughter of Digambari Devi who brought up Prabhu in childhood, with her husband Atul Chandra Champati and one Gouranga das. Kshiroda Devi would return to maternal uncle Tarini Chakravorty’s house nearby. Tarini Chakravorty had by this time abandoned their home-stead at Brahmankanda. She together with those two was in charge of Prabhu’s ‘Seva’ for about two and a half years.
After Atul Champati, Kshiroda Devi and Gouranga Das left charge of Prabhu’s Seva on their own accord, Badal Biswas took upon himself the charge. From 1319 B.E. (1912 A.D) to 1325 B.E. (1918 A.D.) , he assisted by others performed Seva of Prabhu with stern austerities.
On Sita Navami Tithi of Baisakh 1314 B.E. (1907 A.D.), celebration of Birth Anniversary of Prabhu was first held at Goalchamat Sri Angan. In that year, continuous Kirtan for eight ‘Prahars’, that is, for the whole day and night was held. After that, gradually this ceremony had been observed as a festival for continuoys 7 days, beginning from the ‘Sita Navami Tithi.
During Badal Biswasji’s taking charge of Prabhu’s Seva, arrangement was made so that Prabhu might not close the door of eastern side from within. It was locked from outside, so that the Bhaktas could go in at will and perform seva. The southern door was kept at Prabhu’s disposal and he could close or open it himself.
A small compartment with tin-roof and attached to the main hut was used by Prabhu as latrine which was cleansed everyday by devotees.
During his self-imposed confinement for nearly 17 years, from the first part of 1309 B.E. (1902 A.D.) to the last part of 1325 B.E. (1918 A.D.), innumerable people came to him having heard of his supernatural power and charm. It was their earnest desire to have a momentary ‘DARSHAN’ of him. Though nobody could have a full view of him during the time, it cannot be denied that some fortunate persons had momentary glimpses of him, especially after the new pucca temple was erected in 1320 B.E. (1913 A.D.). In this temple, which had straw thatched roof then, Prabhu used to come now and then through the covered passage.
A short time before Badal Biswasji took over charges of Prabhu’s Seva, a young man named Mahendra had come to Sri Angan from Vrindaban, on hearing about Prabhu from Nabadwip Dasji while the latter went there on pilgrimage He ran to Farid Sri Angan, knowing in his heart of hearts that Prabhu was no other than Sri Krishna Himself, whom he had been searching ardently at Vrindaban for the last two-three years.
He perhaps took charge of Prabhu’s Seva from Biswasji’s hand from about 1321 B.E. (1914 A.D.). Biswasji called him “Sadananda’ (somebody who is always happy).
After Mahendraji’s coming to Sri Angan he would sing ‘Aratik Kirtan’ daily in the evening and other songs, composed by Prabhu. From then on he used to help in the work of Seva by rinsing the utensils of ‘bhog’ or sweeping the Angan, etc.
Mahendraji who styled himself Matichhanna Mahendra had taken charge of Prabhu’s Seva, and met Sri Jogendra Kaviraj of Rajbari, a great devotee of Prabhu and writer of a worthy book in Bengali named “Prem Yog”. Mahendraji spoke of his intention to preach the name and teachings of Prabhu all around. He felt inspired at the consent of Kaviraj in the matter. He also got some indication of Prabhu’s consent. He gradually formed an excelent Kirtan party. This was the basis of what later on came to be known as ‘Mahanam Sampradaya’. In fact, all the followers of Prabhu Jagadbandhu belonged to the “Mahanam Sampraday”.
End of self-confinement and the last stage:
Gradually, the end of Magh, 1325 B.E. drew near. On the 28th of this month, Prabhu showed an indication of his willingness to end his living in seclusion. He broke his silence by uttering in faltering tone the syllables “Fa-Fa-Faridpur”.
He took on his body a disease just before coming out, by which the right side of his body appeared to be paralyzed. He also made the Vishnu-signs on his body disappear. He, of course, was found to walk a few steps as if he had no disease, during this so-called diseased condition even. Even in this condition he was exceedingly attractive and beautiful, though those who saw him before were moved to tears in seeing his decay. But even then his body was felt exceedingly soft and unusually charmimg.
He walked out of the cottage by the southern door just reclining on the shoulders of a devotee on the 5th Falgoon, 1325 B.E. When asked where he would go, he gave his assent to go to the house of Kedar Kaha, which was nearby. He was carried there in an easy chair and stayed there for some time delightfully. Then he showed his willingness to the village of Tepakhola, full of his devotees. The news of Prabhu’s coming out of confinement spread in the town of Faridpur like wild fire. People began to pour in Sri Angan.
Prabhu began to go out almost every day, on some day twice or thrice, along the Jessore Road or the different streets of the town or at a great distance. He went to Bakcar Sri Angan also, at the ardent desire of the devotees of that place. He stayed there for a few days amidst Kirtan . Harinam seemed to be life-giving food for his etheric body.
Two years and eight months elapsed this way. On the 17th Bhadra, 1328 B.E. (1921 A.D.), New Moon day, Prabhu wanted to go out for a walk The rickshaw stood before the steps of the pucca temple. Prabhu tried to get up from bed. Two Sevaks, Kaloshyam and Yogneswar, were there. Prabhu was being slipped. They tried to catch hold of him. But as fate would have it, Prabhu dropped down from their hands on the floor. As a result, the right thigh-bone of Prabhu was fractured.
Doctors came from Calcutta and bandaged his wound. But the pain did not subside. A few days later, a quack came and said that he would cure Prabhu by tying the herbs, called ‘madhu’ and ‘madhuk’. The bandage was removed and the herbs were tied. The bhaktas allowed this out of their eagerness to see Prabhu cured soon. The result of tying this did actually prove disastrous.
The pain of Prabhu’s broken limb continued as before. The swelling of the limb increased. Though cheerfulness not leave his face, he told in a piteous tone “So much pain for the creatures!” At noon, a little foam came out of the mouth and he was found to have no more breath. It was the full-moon day and Prabhu, the son of the Moon was seized by Rahu, as it were.
Mahendraji who was out on preaching was informed by a telegram. He hurried to Sri Angan, but could not believe that Prabhu could wind up his Lila so soon. He began to sing Mahakirtan with all the Bhaktas together. Loud sound of Kirtan arose for 13 days in Sri Angan around Prabhu’s sacred celestial body. For the first 6 or 7 days, the body seemed to remain intact amidst the Kirtan but gradually some change was visible The body was placed within the cavity in a box of ‘Mandar’ tree. It became an abode of killing the cupid.
The kirtan which was continuously going on during these days came to a stop. Nearly a month later, the devotees came to senses about their duty which was the continuance of Harinam uninterrupted.
Matichhanna Mahendra gave the lead. Kunja Dasji was his lieutenant in this. Gopibandhu Dasji and Premdasji were the earnest cadets. The singing of Mahanam went constantly around the temple. It is still going on and would go on till Prabhu reappears in his next Lila life.
If you wish to read the life story on Jagadbandhu Sundar from The Saints of Bengal, by Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor you can download it in .pdf format.