Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar Pt. 5

18 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Well, here we are at the final mandir of the visit, Sri Sri Gaura Madan Gopal Mandir.  This is where the Goswami’s live with their families, and this is the birthplace of Sri Raghunandan Thakur. The sign above the entrance says that Narahari’s bhajan kutir was here, but it was not shown to us. Also the famous Gopinath is located on the altar in this mandir. Dilip Raya Goswami introduced us to his brother Banku Vilas Thakur Goswami and their wives. Dilip wanted his brother to speak Gaura Narahari katha to us, but I think he felt a bit uneasy about his English language skills and declined, asking Dilip to just continue speaking. From what I gathered his brother Banku Vilas is a very learned Vaisnava and knows all the lilas pertaining to Narahari, Raghunandan and the other Sri Khandavasis. Tea was served and Dilip Raya told us the lila about Raghunandan and Gopinath in English. He showed us a picture of their gurudeva, Sri Balaram Vilas Thakur, and pointed out a verse which was written around the picture–ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirtha gaNan | sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa || “O Brother! The most excellent of all the tirthas within the unlimited universes is the lotus-feet of Sri Guru.” He liked that verse a great deal. I posted this photo in Pt.1 of this series. After that we all climbed back into the Sumo and headed off to Ekachakra. Dilip Raya Goswami was going to show me his library and answer some questions I had, but before I knew it, the time ran out and we had to go. On the way out I did get to see the room my gurudeva would stay in when he came to Sri Khanda to perform bhajan and do kirtan. The Goswami’s were very cordial and invited me to come back and stay for a while to do bhajan. I certainly intend to take them up on their offer. Jaya Gora! Jaya Narahari!

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirth agaNan
sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa
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Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar–Baradanga Pt. 1

19 06 2009

Gora! Gora! Gora! Gora!

For a long time I had desired to go to the Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar Thakur, Sri Khanda. By the grace of my Sri Gurudeva I was finally able to go this last March. I was accompanied by my dear gurubhai, Raghunath Da, the Head Mahant of all our ashrams, and some Vaisnavas from Samaj Bari. The place we first stopped is known as Baradanga which is just outside of town.

Narahari Sarkar was a very special and intimate companion of Mahaprabhu.  He took birth in 1480 in Sri Khanda, and was well educated, and in his youth he composed lovely Sanskrit verses on the lila of Radhey Shyam. When he finally met Mahaprabhu he was instantly sold out to him completely. Narahari and Gadadhar always lived with Mahaprabhu and served him with their heart and soul. Narahari is famous for his seva of waving a camara. It is said that Narahari was the only one with the adhikara to perform Gaura-kirtana in the presense of Gaura himself. Ordinarily, if someone praised Gaura in his presence, or chanted his name, he would cover his ears and cry out “Visnu! Visnu!” Narahari, however, enjoyed the special privilege of being able to do the kirtan of Gaurahari in a very special bhava and with ultra-sweet descriptions of his charming beauty without Gaura objecting. In Braja-lila Narahari was one of Radhika’s dearest sakhis named Madhumati Sakhi. His bhava towards Mahaprabhu is nagari bhava. Narahari is considered as the originator of Gaura nagari bhava. This Gaura-nagari-vada of Narahari spread far and wide through Bengal. In more recent times Siddha Caitanya Das Babaji and Siddha Vamsi Das Babaji were some of the famous upasakas of Gaura-nagari-bhava. Narahari left this world in 1540. All the prominent Vaisnavas of the time attended the disappearance festival of Narahari, including Virabhadra Prabhu, the son of Nitaichand. Srinivas Acharya was the chief organizer of the event.