Rajarshi Banamali Roy and Rajbari ~ Jagadbandhu and Radharaman Charan Dev

21 11 2009

Rajarshi Banamali Roy

The great zamindar of Tarash in the district of Pabana, Sri Banamali Roy was born in 1863. Shortly after his birth, his mother and father gave him up in adoption to Raja Banavari Lala, the zamindar of Tarash, and they went to Brindavan to do bhajan. Banavari Lala died when Banamali Roy was only 17 years of age. The heavy responsibility of being the zamindar of Tarash rested on his shoulders. He was a good and kind landlord and he started to open hospitals and schools, and dug wells and did many other things to help the people under his care.

He received the samskars of a sadhu from his parents. At first he became attracted to the Brahma Samaj and their meditation on the formless absolute, but later he became a great Vaisnava by the influence of Prabhu Jagadbandhu Sundar. One day in Pabana he was traversing the highway in a royal fashion, riding upon a decorated elephant, and surrounded by guards and other attendants when he happened upon Prabhu Jagadbandhu performing kirtan and dancing among hundreds of devotees. Banamali Roy got off of his elephant, removed his shoes and joined in the kirtan. As if under a spell he was dancing and singing with his arms raised above his head. When the kirtan was finished he came to Jagadbandhu and offered his obeisance at his feet and asked him to visit him at his residence.

After hearing the kirtan of Jagadbandhu, an extreme change came over him. He felt the bliss of bhakti overwhelming his heart and attracting his mind. Jagadbandhu came to his house and stayed for several days and instructed him in the path of raganuga-bhakti. Now Banamali Roy’s heart turned towards Vinod-Vinodini. Previously Banamali Roy had no interest in serving the deities of his father, the Raja Banavari Lala. Banavari Lala’s life and soul was Vinod-Vinodini, but after his passing they were neglected because Banamali did not believe in the worship of Sri Murti. Please read the excellent blog post on the lila of Vinod-Vinodini written by my gurusister Bisakha Dasi for the entire story.

Jagadbandhu Prabhu first came to Brindavan in 1890 at the request of Banamali Roy. He stayed there for about 6 months mostly at the mandir of Vinod-Vinodini that Banamali established. Jagadbandhu travelled throughout India and reportedly even went to Paris between the years 1890-92 and then returned to Brindavan to stay with Banamali Roy. Banamali was elated to see the unspeakably charming appearance of Prabhu Bandhusundar again. All of the mahatmas of Brindavan were attracted to Prabhu. One day while standing before a tamarind tree, Jagadbandhu told Banamali that the tree was a great soul and that he would leave the body of the tree the next day at 1 p.m. Banamali arranged for Harinam Sankirtan to be sung for 24 hours around the tree as instructed by Jagadbandhu and at the time predicted the tree fell over and died. On another occasion Jagadbandhu saw the parents of a dead boy weeping bitterly at the cremation ground. Feeling compassion for the plight of the parents, Jagadbandhu said to the dead child, “Re lala, lala, lala” (Oh dear child, Oh dear child) and revived the boy. The boy then consoled his parents by explaining the transitory nature of the world and that nobody is related to anybody. Only God is permanent so you should worship the Lord with all your heart. After saying these words the boy again returned to the state of death.

Banamali Roy was a central figure among the community of Vaisnavas living in Braja. Many, many Vaisnava mahatmas graced his home with their presence, kirtan and Hari-katha. Banamali served the Vaisnavas and Brajabasis with his wealth. He built a hospital and opened a school for teaching bhakti-sastras and arranged for free lodging and free food for the students. He started a printing press where he printed the Srimad Bhagavatam with eight commentaries and other books as well, which were given for free to the sadhus and Vaisnavas. This was an extremely amazing time in Braja. There were many siddha-mahatmas living there during this period. Banamali Roy had the great good fortune of meeting and serving them and they showered their blessings upon him. Some of the more well known personalities were Sri Radhikanath Goswami, Sri Bijoy Krishna Goswami, Sri Gaurakishor Siromani, Sri Ramahari Das Babaji, Sri Krishnasundar Roy, Sri Jagadish Das Babaji, Sri Ramakrishna Pandit Baba and of course, Sri Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu. He also attained the association of my parat-para guru, Sri Radharaman Charan Das Dev who spent a great deal of time with him and profusely showered his blessings upon him too. Rajarshi Banamali Roy established a mandir called Rajbari at Radhakund. Vinod-Vinodini used to stay there, but after some time they wanted to return to Brindavan. Two brothers came to stay at Rajbari and they each brought their own deities, Sri Sri Radha-Govindadev and Sri Sri Radha-Madana Gopal, who still reside there today. The samadhi of Sri Banamali Roy can be found behind the mandir. It is just steps away from Sri Shyam Kund. The pictures in this post were taken by me yesterday. I spoke with the pujari Sri Rasika Mohan Sharma and he told me a little of the history of Rajbari and Banamali Roy. He is also well known as an astrologer.

Entrance of Rajbari

Inside the mandir

Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and Sri Sri Radha-Madangopal

Portrait of Rajarshi Banamali Roy and Prabhu Jagadbandhu Sundar on the altar at Rajbari

The pujari Sri Rasika Mohan Sharma

The samadhi of Rajarshi Banamali Roy

Another view of the samadhi of Banamali Roy

In The Life of Love (Carit Sudha) some of the interaction of Radharaman Charan Dev with Banamali Roy is described in the following chapters:

TALKS AND REJOICINGS IN RADHAKUNDA

One day Sri Kamini Kumara Ghosh, the manager of Rajrshi Banamali Raibahadur came to Baba Mahashaya and said, “I have come to invite you on behalf of Sriyuta Banamali Babu to his house in Radhakunda on the occasion of Gopashtami , when his Thakura, Vinoda and Vinodini will go into the forest to celebrate Gopashtami. Baba Mahashaya said, “I will be too happy to go and have the darshan of Radhakunda, Shyamakunda, Vinoda-Vinodini  and Their devo­tee Rajarshi Banamali Babu.”

The next day Baba Mahashaya started for Radhakunda with his companions. When Banamali Babu was informed that Baba Mahashaya had reached Manasi Ganga, he went forward with Haricharan Das Babaji, Rasika Das Babaji, Vishnu Das Babaji, Nityananda Das Babaji and a number of other ma­hatmas to receive them in a garden, half way between Kusum­sarovara and Radhakunda. From the garden he brought them to Radhakunda and, after they had made obeisance to Radhakunda and Shyamakunda, to the Temple of Vinoda and Vinodini in his house. Baba Mahashaya kept looking at Their beautiful faces for some time and then started singing songs in Their praise. Tears flowed from his eyes and sattvika-bhavas appeared all over his body. After sometime he controlled his bhava and at the insistence of Banamali Babu sat down to take shital-bhoga with others. Baba Mahashaya first put a morsel of the shital-bhoga into the mouth of Haricharan Das Babaji. Haricharan Das Babaji put a morsel from his pattal (leaf-plate) into the mouth of Baba Mahashaya. In this way Baba Mahashaya fed a morsel to everyone and everyone fed a morsel to him. Everyone was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy mixed with love, he had never experienced before. Baba Mahashaya was by nature ever so joyful and mirthful, so loving and lovable that by his every single act, he seemed to disseminate joy and love and win the hearts of people he met.

Rajarshi Banamali Raibahadur had arranged for the stay of Baba Mahashaya and his companions in the Madanamohana Temple and for their mahaprasad at his own place. So, they went and stayed in Madanamohana Temple. The next morn­ing Baba Mahashaya asked his companions to bathe in the Radhakunda three times every day and also to circumambulate Radhakunda and Shyamakunda and prostrate before the kuti of each mahatma living on the bank of the kunda.’

At about 7:30 a.m. Rajarshi came and said, “Today is Gopashtami. Vinoda-Vinodini will go to the garden between Radhakunda and Kusum-sarovara to celebrate the occasion. I have come to request you kindly to accompany Them.”

Baba Mahashaya was happy to hear this. After sometime he reached Rajarshi’s Rajbari (palace), where Ramahari Das Babaji, Madhava Das Babaji, Haricharan Das Babaji, Rasika Das Babaji and others were waiting for him. As soon as he reached there they stood up and took him and his companions to a room adjoining the Temple of Vinodaji. Since all of them did lila-smarana, they started talking about the lila. They requested Baba Mahashaya to say something about lila. Baba Mahashaya said, “Baba, what can I say about lila? Let me see if by your blessings Yogamaya Devi inspires some lila in my heart.” As he said this he was overwhelmed with bhava and, as if possessed by Yogamaya, began to narrate an amorous lila of Radha-Krishna slowly in a manner, which showed that he actually saw the lila as he described it. Tears flowed from his eyes and sattvika-bhavas appeared all over his body. Everybody heard like one bound by a spell. Everyone lost outward consciousness and seemed to enjoy the lila as he had never enjoyed it before. As the talk was going on someone came and said, “Bhoga has been offered. Mahaprasad is ready.” Rajarshi said, “Baba, we have to go for mahaprasad.” Baba Mahashaya clapped happily and said, “I am ready, I love mahaprasad as I do not love anything else. It is on account of my love and lobha for mahaprasad that I live in Puri and call Jagannath Dev ‘Baba.’ It is the same lobha that has brought me here. Let us go. I go ahead.” Ramahari Das Babaji said, “Baba, I am your uncle. My lobha is greater. I must go ahead of you.”

RAJARSHI BANAMALI ROY’S VISIT TO PURI

One day Baba Mahashaya received a letter from Shyama Das Babaji. The purport of the letter was as follows:

“Vrindavan is at present suffering from the scourge of plague. Many Vrajavasis are running away from Vrindavan and Govardhana and coming to Kusum-sarovara, which is so far free from the epidemic. Banamali Babu has shifted to Calcutta with Vinoda-Vinodini and his family. Sripada Radhakanat Goswami, Haricharan Das Babaj i, Nityananda Das Babaji, Rasika Das Babaji etc., have all gone with him. Kindly let me know what I should do.”

Baba Mahashaya could not remain calm, when he came to know about the suffering of the Vrajavasis. He burst into tears. After some time he wrote to Shyama Das Baba as follows:

“Jai Nitai-Gaura!

Brother Shyama Das, I received your letter. The plague should be taken as Radharani’s device for testing the faith of the people in Vraja. She wants to know whether they are attached more to Vraja or to their body. Whatever happens you should not leave Vraja. You only do trisandhya-kirtan with the Vrajavasis and rest assured that plague will not touch you. If possible try to come to Puri before Ratha­Yatra.”

A few days before Ratha-Yatra Shyama Das, Pandit Haricharan Das and Nityananda Das came to Puri and stayed with Baba Mahashaya in the Math. Soon after a letter was received from Banamali Roy Bahadur saying that he would reach Puri with Vinoda-Vinodini and his family before Ratha­Yatra. This was followed by a telegram from Kamini Babu to Pandit Haricharan Das asking him to arrange for a suitable accommodation for Rajarshi at Puri. Haricharan Das started his search for a suitable accommodation, but could not find any. In utter helplessness he requested Baba Mahashaya to help. Baba Mahashaya said, “You need not worry. So many Raja-Maharajas come to Puri. They are all accommodated somehow somewhere. Jagannath does not turn anyone away. Let Rajarshi come. We shall see what can be done. It is also possible that he may stay in the Math and may not like to go anywhere else.”

Another telegram came next morning saying that Rajarshi Banamali Babu was reaching Puri next morning. Pandit Haricharan Baba went to Baba Mahashaya in a flurry and said, “Look here! Rajarshi is coming tomorrow morning and you have not done anything to accommodate him.”

Baba Mahashaya said, “Why are you so much worried? It is not so easy for big men like him to move out. It is likely that you get another telegram saying that Rajarshi has stomach­ache, which prevents him from starting today.”

Panditji: That is not possible, because they have pur­chased tickets.

Babaji: There is nothing that is not possible.

At five o’clock in the evening Panditj i received another telegram. He read it and was stunned. He remained standing still for some time. Then he rushed to Baba Mahashaya and fell at his feet. He said, “Baba! Forgive me for blaming you for your indifference with regard to Banamali Babu’s visit.”

Babaji: Why? What has happened? Whose telegram is that?

Panditji: Kamini Babu’s.

Babaji: Read.

Panditji: You know it already.

Babaji: Shyama Das, you read.

Shyama Das began to read: “All of a sudden Rajarshi has developed severe stomachache. So we are not leaving today.”

This was followed by another telegram saying, “We have started today.” They arrived next morning. As soon as they reached Jhanjapita Math and went to Baba Mahashaya’s room, Rajarshi and his wife said, after making obeisance to him, “Baba, we shall stay in this room and not go anywhere else.”

Lalita Sakhi Dasi: This room is too small and not properly ventilated. How will you live in it?

Banamali: I have not come here for Jagannath darshan or any other purpose. My purpose is to enjoy the company of Baba Mahashaya to my heart’s content.

Then no one could say anything. Baba Mahashaya asked Lalita Dasi to vacate the room for them and shift his own things elsewhere.

Banamali Babu suffered from dyspepsia. He could hardly digest even old rice bound in a piece of cloth and boiled in half litre of water. Therefore someone asked Baba Mahashaya in his presence about arrangement to be made regarding his food. Baba Mahashaya replied, “No special arrangement. Since he is now an Ashram-vasi he will eat whatever is prepared in the Ashram with the other Ashramites after all other Vaishnavas have been fed.” Then he said to Banamali Babu, “Look, as long as you live in the Ashram, you will not spend a single paisa of your own.”

Banamali Babu said, “Baba, I shall abide by your wish, for am I not your own?”

Since Ratha-Yatra was near, a large number of people had come from outside and were staying in the Math. Everyday food had to be cooked for about two hundred and fifty people. Cooking took a lot of time and by the time the Vaishnavas had eaten it used to be 3 p.m. At that time Baba Mahashaya sat down to eat with Banamali Babu and the Babaj is. It is surprising that though Banamali Babu was accustomed neither to the time of the meal nor the variety of things he had to eat, he digested everything well and his health was sound as long as he stayed in the Ashram.

Ratha-Yatra arrived and the usual ceremonies began. Baba Mahashaya’s kirtans in front of the ratha were, as usual, the greatest attraction of the occasion. This time the participation of Rajarshi Banamali Roy and his Babaji companions in the kirtans added an additional charm to it. For them, however, the company of Baba Mahashaya was more important than any­thing else. They spent all their time with him either in kirtan or in conversation, in which his repartees were not only enjoyable but enlightening and inspiring. During the conver­sation they got an opportunity to ask him questions regarding some of the most knotty problems, which defied their un­derstanding, and invariably got a satisfactory answer.

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Kirtan at Srinivas Acharya Prabhu Kunja

7 11 2009

Jai Nitai!

When the kirtaniyas and other mahatmas come to Brindaban yearly from Sri Path Bari Ashram, Barahanagar, Kolkata, to perform kirtan the first kirtan is always the one commenmorating the disappearance lila of Srinivas Acharya Prabhu. Here are a few photos I took on the occasion this year. Despite what you may see in the pictures the kirtan was very well attended and lasted at least three hours. It was a very emotional kirtan and several times Bablu Da was unable to sing momentarily due to ecstasies erupting from within his heart.





Samba Sada Shiva Kunj ~ Ashram of Sri Haidakhan Wale Baba

18 09 2009

Kanchopi Topa Baba Jai Nitai! While reading a book about Sri Haidakhan Baba last month, I learned that there was an ashram dedicated to him in Brindavan. I immediately became interested to visit the ashram so the following morning off I went to Brindavan for darshan. The ashram is in the vicinity of Lala Babu Mandir.

Haidakhan Baba, who is also known by many other names such as Kanchopi Topa Baba, is considered by many to be the same person as Mahavatar Babaji who initiated Lahiri Mahasay in 1861. This account is quite famous because it is well documented in Paramahamsa Yogananda’s  autobiography. He received the name “Haidakhan Baba” because he was often seen in the Kumaon region of the Himalayan foothills in a village known as Haidakhan. These appearances mainly occurred between 1800-1922.

In the autumn of 1922 Babaji went on Kailash Yatra and on His return stayed at Ashkot
near U.P. – Nepal border as a guest of the king, Shri Karman Singh. After a few days he
told the king that the time had come for him to leave. The king carried the palanquine in
which Babaji was sitting. After a few miles, Babaji sent the king back and continued his
journey with a few attendants of the king and other devotees. When they approached the
junction of the Kali and Gori rivers near the border, in the presence of these people,
Babaji disappeared in the river squatting in Padmasan slowly changing into light form.
Before leaving, he told all that he would reappear again for the benefit of human beings.

In the autumn of 1922 Haidakhan Baba went on Kailash Yatra and when he returned he stayed at Ashkot which is at the border of Nepal and Uttar Pradesh, as the guest of the king, Sri Karman Singh. After a few days he told that the time had come for him to leave. The king carried the palanquin in which Baba was sitting. After they had gone about 4 Km Baba asked the king to return home. Baba continued with just a few devotees. When they got to where the Kali and Gori rivers meet, Babaji entered the waters and slowly changed into a ball of light while sitting in padmasana. Before leaving he said he would reappear for the benefit of humankind.

Mahendra Maharaj

Mahendra Maharaj

After Baba’s disappearance a siddha yogi named Mahendra Baba began to preach about him. When Mahendra was 5 years old a yogi came to him and gave him a prasadi laddu. He was very attracted to that yogi and always prayed to him. When he got older he left home in search of this yogi, but his parents searched for him and dragged him back home. After he graduated he again went in search of this yogi. He underwent many hardships to find him. During his travels he received a divine message that he should go to Almora and look for him there. In 1949 in Almora he saw some photos of a Mahatma and recognized them as the same person that he had considered to be his guru all these years. He was told his name was Haidakhan Baba and he had an ashram named Siddhashram. When he went to the ashram Babaji wasn’t there so he locked himself in a room with a vow that until he meets Haidakhan Baba he would not come out of his yogic posture. Baba appeared to him and gave him guidance and blessings for his future work. Mahendra Baba then came to Brindavan and established an ashram called, “Samba Sada Shiva Kunj.” Soon many disciples gathered around him, including all the former disciples of Haidakhan Baba.  Mahendra Maharaj was known for his strict discipline with his disciples and for his yogic siddhis. He referred to himself as “Charanashrita Baba”, a servant of Haidakhan Baba. He told everyone that Haidakhan Baba will reappear. He  said that Haidakhan Baba is Sada Shiva Himself.

Mahendra Maharaj, developed both Haidakhan Ashrams. He built a small temple in Kathgaria Ashram and installed Babaji’s murti. On the previous night of installation day in 1957, four days after Shiv Ratri, over a thousand devotees had gathered in the Katgharia Ashram and were doing continuous prayer throughout the night. Around midnight a divine jyoti appeared in center of the devotees and stood still a few feet above ground. From this light Babaji gave darshan in his physical form wearing a kurta and topa which had previously been his favorite form of dressing . After giving darshan for a couple of minutes this light entered into the murti which was to be installed the next day. After the installation ceremony, selected devotees who were permitted by Mahendra Maharaj to touch the murti could actually feel the heart of the murti was beating.

Presently, this murti is installed in the Brindavan ashram. Every year this installation day is celebrated in Brindavan. Mahendra Maharaj performed many miracles, which he always insisted were due to the blessings of Haidakhan Baba. Illiterate people became highly learned scholars and composers, devotees who were on their death bed were brought back to life, poor people became wealthy, and childless couples begot children.

For many years Mahendra Baba preached that Haidakhan Baba would return to transform this world. He described what he would look like and said he would appear in 1970. Mahendra Maharaj entered mahasamadhi in 1969. When his body was being carried in the procession to the cremation ground, thousands of devotees were shedding tears. At that time the hand of the body lifted itself and blessed all the devotees. This sight is even now remembered by some residents of Brindavan.

Sri Haidakhan Baba 1970-1984

Sri Haidakhan Baba 1970-1984

In 1970  Babaji appeared in a cave, that has been considered holy for thousands of years, at the foot of the Kumaon Mount Kailash, across the sacred Gautama Ganga opposite a remote village called Haidakhan. He had no known parents or family. He appeared as a youth of 18 or 20, yet he displayed great wisdom and divine powers. The Haidakhan villagers sometimes saw him as an old man with a long white beard, as a young man with a long beard, or as a beautiful young man with no beard. Two men who spoke to him at the same time described him differently. He was seen at different places at the same time. He knew the scriptures, yet there is no evidence of his having been educated. He ate almost nothing for months yet his energy was boundless. In September 1970, he climbed to the top of Mount Kailash, seated himself in siddhasana at the small temple there without leaving his seat for 45 days and nights, meditating most of the time, talking occasionally, and started teaching the message that he has brought to the world.

There is so much more to tell about all three of the Haidakhan Babas. It is all very interesting, but I am not going to attempt to present such a huge amount of information in this post. The Haidakhan Baba that appeared in 1970 left this world in 1984. For all those interested in learning more there is a lot of information available online that can easily be found and many books in print as well.

Entrance to Haidakhan Baba's Ashram

Entrance to Haidakhan Baba's Ashram

Sri Murtis of Haidakhan Baba and Mahendra Maharaj

Sri Murtis of Haidakhan Baba and Mahendra Maharaj

Close up of Sri Haidakhan Baba

Close up of Sri Haidakhan Baba

Another murti of Sri Haidakhan Baba at the ashram

Another murti of Sri Haidakhan Baba at the ashram

Haidakhan Baba's asana

Haidakhan Baba's asana





Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi Ashram in Brindavan

14 09 2009

Jai Nitai!

Anandamayi Ma1The other day I visited Brindavan and while riding in a rickshaw I noticed a sign that said Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi Ashram. I had the driver stop and made him wait  while I went inside for darshan. I didn’t really know much at all about Sri Anandamayi Ma. I know a lot more now as I spent several hours today reading about her life and teachings. For the most part, my only previous exposure to her was from reading about her in Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahamsa Yogananda. The chapter describes his first meeting with the “Joy-permeated Mother.” She made quite an impression on me then and now I wonder why I never really looked into her life and her teachings before today. That wonderful picture of her in the book where she appears to be more or less peeking out from behind Yoganandaji like a child is still vivid in my mind.Ma and Yoganandaji

I am extremely glad that I had the rickshaw driver stop. I could have very easily just passed up going into her ashram  because I was running late in hopes of catching darshan at another place. As it turned out my timing at Anandamayi Ma’s Mandir was quite good. The doors to the deity rooms were closed when I arrived because Thakurji was eating, but within five minutes the doors were opened for a quick aroti before closing again for the rest of the afternoon. I had ample time to take some photos.

The Mandir is set a good distance off the road making for a quiet setting. It is located on Mathura Road across the street from Ramakrishna Mission. The sign above the entrance to the Mandir has the Maha-mantra written on it and also Nitai-Gaura and Om Namah Sivaya.

A brief biographical sketch of Ma:

Sri Anandamayi Ma took birth in 1896 in Kheora, East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and was named Nirmala Sundari Devi, meaning “Goddess of flawless beauty.” Her father was named Bipinbihari Bhattacharya and her mother was Mokshada Sundari Devi. Her father was a Vaisnava kirtaniya and as a child Nirmala would frequently enter into ecstatic states of consciousness while hearing her father’s kirtan. In 1908  she was married to Ramani Mohan Chakrabarti at the age of thirteen. For five years after her marriage she lived in her brother-in-law’s house where she was generally found to be withdrawn into a meditative state. In 1918  she moved to a town known as Bajitpur. At this time she was found to be even more withdrawn in deeper spiritual states. From what I gather, even though she was a model child in so many ways because of her tendency to enter these trance-like states many thought she had a mental illness.

Her marriage ceremony took place when she was thirteen, but it wasn’t until she was seventeen that she went to live with her husband in Ashtagram. Their marriage was always one of celibacy. When her husband would come to her with sexual desires it is said her body would take on the qualities of death and she would become faint. Life as her husband couldn’t have been an easy task. Sometimes after returning home from work he would find her laying on the kitchen floor in an unconscious state and the food burned.

On a full moon night at midnight, she went through the actions of spiritual initiation—initiating herself.  She said, “As the guru I revealed the mantra, and as the disciple I accepted it and started to recite it.” Because of his wife’s behavior, members of her husband’s family suggested that he remarry.  He apparently had love and faith in her. He must have viewed her behavior as signs of great spirituality instead. He asked her when and from who he should take initiation. She gave him a date of five months in the future when she would initiate him. A friend asked her for proof that she was qualified to initiate her husband. She then touched her husband on the top of the head. He went into samadhi for several hours, declaring later that he experienced indescribable bliss. When she gave him diksha she changed his name to Bholanath and he later became a great saint in his own right.

For six years she led a life of intense sadhana in Ashtagram. Many view it simply as lila , believing that she had integral knowledge of reality from birth, and there was nothing for her to personally attain. For the sake of all who would later come to her for guidance, it was necessary that  all the kriyas and sadhanas of every religious tradition spontaneously be manifested in her person. Practices that take most sadhakas lifetimes to perfect played through her body in a matter of minutes. In later days, she was immediately familiar with the problems and practices of anyone who came to her for advice, regardless of what culture or religion they came from.

In 1924, Bholanath was working as the manager of a large garden estate in Dacca, and the story spread by word of mouth that there was a special Mataji living in the gardens who was absorbed in a divine state. People became attracted to her, and soon a large following had gathered around Anandamayi Ma. Many of these people remained devoted to her for the rest of their lives. The garden estate became the center of daily kirtans and festivals. She didn’t give formal speeches, but answered everyone’s questions and guided all according to their inner needs. Although she had little formal education, she spoke by the authority of her direct perception, and her spontaneous replies impressed even the scholars and pandits that heard her.

In 1932, Ma left Bengal and for the next fifty years she wandered throughout India, never staying in any place for long. She was led by the needs of the many devotees that surrounded her. She was also led by the inner call of mankind to manifest spirituality. She gave comfort and guidance to anyone that came to her. She had a divine attraction that drew people to her. People found a joy and inner awakening in her presence, and many felt that she was someone  known to them eternally. There are hundreds of stories of Ma’s guidance and blessings– many accompanied by supernatural manifestations. Many ashrams began to spring up in her name. Even some political leaders of the time came to her. She was loved and respected by Mahatma Gandhi, and Prime Ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Many famous saints realized her divinity and even openly proclaimed it.

Anandamayi Ma departed in 1982 in her ashram in Dehradun. Her body was enshrined in a  marble samadhi in Kankhal, south of the pilgrimage center of Haridwar.

Some of Sri Anandamayi Ma’s teachings in her own words:

This body tells of one sovereign remedy for all ills: God. Trust in Him, depend on Him, accept whatever happens as His dispensation, regard what you do as His service, keep satsang, think of God with every breath, and live in His Presence. Leave all your burdens in His hands and He will see to everything; there will be no more problems.

All this, which is His creation, is under His dispensation, in His Presence, and is verily He Himself. In whatever state He keeps anyone at any time, it is all for the good, for verily everything is ordained by Him, and is of Him. Relative happiness, which is happiness depending on anything, must end in grief. It is man’s duty to meditate on God Who is peace itself. Without having recourse to that which aids the remembrance of God, there can be no peace. Have you not seen what life in this world is? The One to be loved is God. In Him is everything–Him you must try to find.

To a human being the most noble, irreproachable line of conduct should alone be acceptable. It is a matter of great rejoicing if anyone strives to mould his life upon this pattern. Only actions that kindle man’s divine nature are worthy of the name of action, all the rest are non–actions–a waste of energy. Any line of behavior that fails to quicken the divine in man should be eschewed, no matter how enticing it might appear; but any that helps to awaken man’s inherent divinity must be resolutely adopted, even though it be seemingly uninviting. Man’s calling is to aspire to the realization of Truth, to tread the excellent path that leads to Immortality. What appears delightful to the senses later develops into a hotbed of poison, generating inner turmoil and disaster, for it belongs to the realm of death.

In whichever direction you may turn your gaze you will find One Eternal Indivisible Being manifested. Yet it is not at all easy to detect this Presence, because He interpenetrates everything. As a King is known by his majesty, as fire is known by its heat, so the Unmanifest reveals Himself through the world of manifestation. The analysis of the substance of all created things, if carried sufficiently far, will lead to the discovery that what remains is identical and equally present in all creatures: it is He, it is That, which is styled as Pure Consciousness.

If in the midst of the diversity of the world of appearances you make a sustained effort to do all your work as a faithful servant of the Almighty Father of the Universe, love and devotion for Him will awaken in your heart. As the confining prison walls of the ego are broken down, you will become more and more persistent and wholehearted in your pursuit of Reality. Then all the manifold pictures you perceive will merge into one single picture and all your divergent moods and sentiments will be engulfed in the one great ocean of Bliss.

The Universal Body of the Lord comprises all things–trees, flowers, leaves, hills, mountains, rivers, oceans, and so forth. A time will come, must come, when one actually perceives this all–pervading Universal Form of the One. The variety of His shapes and guises is infinite, uncountable, without end. Just as ice is nothing but water, so the Beloved is without form, without quality, and the question of manifestation does not arise. When this is realized, one has realized one’s Self. For, to find the Beloved is to find one’s Self, to discover that God is one’s very own, wholly identical with one’s self, the innermost Self, the Self of the self. First of all it is necessary to become acquainted with Him Whom you wish to invoke. Constantly think and talk of Him, look at his pictures, sing His praises or listen to sacred music, visit places of pilgrimage, seek solitude or associate with the holy and wise, so as to become familiar with Him. When this has been achieved, you may call Him “Father” or “Mother”. Some relationship of this kind has to be established with Him, because people of the world do not feel affinity unless their bond is defined in such a manner. You are accustomed to ties of kinship in worldly life; this is why you have to bind yourself by some sort of relationship in the spiritual field as well. Even though at the start you may not feel deep devotion, learn to invoke Him unceasingly and with perseverance by repeating His Name, or by any other method, until gradually He will fill your heart. However, prayer, meditation, alms offered in His Name, and so forth, are necessary even after the bond of love has been forged, so as to keep it unimpaired. In this way the awareness of Him will become your second nature and never leave you to your last breath. This is what is termed communion with God.

Listen! Do not let your time pass idly. Either keep a rosary with you and do japa; or if this does not suit you, at least go on repeating the Name of the Lord regularly and without interruption like the ticking of a clock. There are no rules or restrictions in this. Invoke Him by the Name that appeals to you most, for as much time as you can–the longer the better. Even if you get tired or lose interest, administer the Name to yourself like a medicine that has to be taken. In this way you will at some auspicious moment discover the rosary of the mind, and then you will continually hear within yourself the praises of the great Master, the Lord of Creation, like the never ceasing music of the boundless ocean; You will hear the land and the sea, the air and the heavens reverberate with the song of His glory. This is called the all–pervading Presence of His Name.

Silent japa should be engaged in at all times. One must not waste breath uselessly; whenever one has nothing special to do, one should silently practice japa in rhythm with one’s breathing. In fact, this exercise should go on continually until doing japa has become as natural as breathing.

It is of great value to read sacred texts and books of wisdom. Speak the truth. Bear in mind that God’s Name is He Himself in one form; let it be your inseparable companion. Try your utmost never to remain without Him. The more intense and continuous your efforts to dwell in His Presence, the greater will be the likelihood of your growing joyful and serene. When your mind becomes vacant, endeavor to fill it with the awareness of God and His contemplation.

The Supreme Father, Mother and Friend–verily God is all of these. Consequently, how can there be a cause or reason for His Grace? You are His, and in whatever way He may draw you to Him, it is for the sake of revealing Himself to you. The desire to find Him that awakens in man, who has instilled it into you? Who is it that makes you work for its fulfillment? Thus you should try to arrive at the understanding that everything originates from Him. Whatever power, whatever skill you possess—-why, even you yourself—-from where does everything arise? And does it not all have for purpose the finding of Him, the destroying of the veil of ignorance? Whatever exists has its origin in Him alone. So then, you must try to realize your Self. Are you master even of a single breath? To whatever small degree He makes you feel that you have freedom of action, if you understand that this freedom has to be used to aspire after the realization of Him, it will be for your good. But if you regard yourself as the doer and God as being far away, and if, owing to His apparent remoteness, you work for the gratification of your desires, it is wrong action. You should look upon all things as manifestations of Him. When you recognize the existence of God, He will reveal Himself to you as compassionate or gracious or merciful, in accordance with your attitude towards Him at the time–just as, for example, to the humble he becomes the Lord of the Humble.

Through breath energy, Consciousness pervades Matter. Everything that is alive breathes. When breath stops, you die. Physical life depends on breath. Through Prana, matter becomes alive. Desires and wandering mind make the breath impure. Therefore, I advise the practice of concentration on breathing combined with taking any one of God’s Names. If the breath and the mind become one–pointed and steady, then the mind expands to infinity, and all phenomena are included in that one all–inclusive point. If you think of God with the breath it will purify the prana, the physical sheath and the mind. If you breathe while thinking of God’s Name, you will feel the call of His grace.

The Self, or God is unknowable to the ordinary intelligence, but He is not unknown to us as the life–breath. If one uses the rhythm of one’s breathing as a support in meditation, this increases one’s power. Therefore, one should daily sit in a meditative pose in a solitary place and turn the mind inward, and repeat the mantra in rhythm with one’s breathing, without straining, in a natural way. When through prolonged practice, the Name becomes inextricably linked with the breath, and the body is quite still; one will come to realize that the individual is part of the One Great Life that pervades the Universe.

I say to you that I am a little child and you are my parents. Accept me as such and give me a place in your hearts. By saying “Mother”, you keep me at a distance. Mothers have to be revered and respected. But a little girl needs to be loved and looked after, and is dear to the heart of everyone. So this is my only request to you: to make a place for me in your hearts!

A  few of my favorite quotes from Sri Anandamayi Ma:

“Remember, one is born to experience various kinds of joys and sorrows according to one’s desire. For the time being, God comes to you in the disguise of suffering. He is purifying you in this manner. The suffering is for your own best. A mother gives a slap to her beloved child for its own good, in order to keep it on the right path. When a fond mother gives her baby a bath, the child may scream desperately, yet the mother will not let the baby go until she has thoroughly washed and scrubbed him.”

“Just as fire burns away all dross and rubbish, so the three fold suffering purges man’s heart from all impurity and results in a growing single mindedness in his search after Truth. When he becomes deeply conscious of his weakness and tormented by the thoughts of his undesirable impulses and distressing characteristics, when afflictions like poverty, bereavement or humiliation make him feel his life is futile, then and then only does he develop real faith and religious fervor, and becomes anxious to surrender himself at the feet of the Supreme Being. Suffering should therefore be welcomed. Never does the soft moonlight appear more soothing than after the scorching heat of a summer day.”

“Leave aside every other thought, Just say Hari! Hari! Have faith in Him and cross the sea of the world.”

Some may be wondering why I have given so much attention to someone who is not a Caitanya Vaisnava. Actually, she never claimed to be of any particular sect and has been seen to  engage in practices from many different paths. As I mentioned earlier in this post that I spent several hours yesterday reading about her. After all my study my heart was deeply touched by what I read.  Her words and simple loving nature made a big  impact on me. I was struck with a great urgency to dedicate myself more fully to my gurudeva and the sadhana he has given me. I felt tremendous inspiration to surrender myself to the lotus-feet of my guru and to take complete shelter of him and Nitaichand, giving up my false sense of ego and just relinquishing my entire self to them, clinging to nothing else.

She was imbued with so much love and divine shakti. She created a desire in countless numbers people to embrace spiritual life, leaving behind the pain and futility of material pursuits and attachments. I believe she was a divinely empowered person whose task was to generate an urge and interest in the general populace to pursue a life of surrender to the Supreme. Everyone is at different stages in their spiritual development. Not everyone will have the adhikar to immediately appreciate and pursue raganuga bhakti sadhana and the esoteric teachings of our acharyas. Few people have the adhikar to perform yoga sadhana, and many may find it hard to perform karma yoga and work selflessly for the benefit of others. Fortunately for all of us the chanting of the Names of Nitai Gaura and Radhey Shyam are within everyone’s ability and there are no rules even involved in the practice. Sri Nitaichand in His infinite mercy empowers various souls to come and uplift the jivas in various ways and in different capacities. In whatever condition a jiva finds himself Nitaichand is there with him reaching out His hand, offering love, beauty, and eternal ananda.

The walkway to the Ashram

The walkway to the Ashram

Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi Ashram

Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi Ashram

Sri Sri Nitai Gaura

Sri Sri Nitai Gaura

Sri Sri Radhey Shyam

Sri Sri Radhey Shyam

Sri Mahadeva

Sri Mahadeva

Sri Anandamayi Ma

Sri Anandamayi Ma

Sri Bholanath Baba ~ Sri Anandamayi Ma's husband

Sri Bholanath Baba ~ Sri Anandamayi Ma's husband

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Prabhu Sri Sri Jagadbandhu Sundar Dashashraya

5 09 2009

Jai Nitai!

Prabhu Jagadbandhu Sundar

Prabhu Jagadbandhu Sundar

Vaisnava carane dandabat! Today is the day when Sri Jagadbandhu Sundar Prabhu entered Trayodash Dasha, a state that resembles death and he has remained in this state since 1921. Bandusundar Prabhu is our gurudeva, not through the line of diksha, but he is our dear gurudeva and protector/guardian due to our connection to him through our param-gurudeva, Sripad Ramdas Babaji. They were childhood friends and Bandhusundar was his gurudeva and taught him the way of sadhan/bhajan of Braja-lila. Later on by the instruction of Prabhu Bandhusundar, Sripad Ramdas Babaji took full shelter of and received diksha from Sri Sri Radharaman Charan Das Dev and became one of his foremost disciples. Before the departure of Radharaman Charan Dev he handed his karatals to Ramdas Babaji and told him, ” My bhajan is finished for this life.” He gave him the primary responsibility of giving diksha and leading his mission. When Sripad Ramdas Babaji was preparing to depart ( a beautiful story which I will post in the future) he uttered in a deep-throated voice, ” Bandhusundar! Bandusundar! Radharaman! Radharaman!” and began chanting “(Bhaja) Nitai Gaura Radhey Shyam (Japa) Hare Krishna Hare Ram,” and with copious amounts of tears literally shooting straight from his eyes he departed right before Nitai Gaura and the assembled Vaisnavas.

 The altar at Badhusundar Kunja located in Brindavan

The altar at Bandhusundar Kunja located in Brindavan

Unfortunately, due to time constraints I am unable to make a lengthy and substantially informative post about this event today, but will include much more information of Sri Sri Bandhusundar Prabhu in the future. For now I will post a couple of brief stories to at least provide a general picture of the event.

Prabhu in Trayodash Dashasraya

Prabhu in Trayodash Dashasraya

Trayodash-Dasha
(a state of static-dynamic existence of self-enjoyment by an avatar
)

It was Aswin 1, 1328, of the Bengali year (1921 A.D.). Jagadbandhu entered into his ‘Trayodash-Dasha’. The clinical sign of life disappeared, though the holy body continued to radiate its sparkling glow. The unexpected event came as a bolt from the blue. Devotees from all parts of the country rushed to Sri Angan. Amidst utter confusion and lamentation the devotees started chanting Mahanam Kirtan. In high expectation and with continuous kirtan, the devotees waited for eleven days, but in vain. Prabhu did not wake. On the 12th day, Krishnadasji, an ardent devotee, informed others that he had received instructions (in dream) from the Lord Jagadbandhu for keeping Him under ground after proper worshipping. Tears rolled out of the eyes of thousands of devotees. They observed the heart-breaking rites performed under the guidance of Krishnadasji. The light disappeared, the Mahanam Kirtan stopped, and the devotees dispersed.

Thereafter, Sri Mahendradasji, Sri Kunjadasji, Sri Nabadwipdasji, all devotees of the highest order, met together and initiated discussions on the contents of Chandrapat -“Bandhu Nai Jay” (Bandhu does not go) – Sri Nabadwipdasji emphatically stated that the Lord had entered into His ‘Trayodash-Dasha’. The Lord himself had given such an indication much earlier. Now it was the sublime duty of the followers to go on chanting Mahanam uniterruptedly. They reached the firm conclusion that the Lord Jagadbandhu would emerge in the same body someday. This conclusion is not based on mere belief; it based on categorical assurances given by the Lord Himself.

The great devotees shook off their melancholy state of mind and resumed their assigned duties. After a gap of about three weeks, Mahendraji and Kunjadasji entered into Sri Angan Gambhira temple and started Mahanam Mahakirtan on 2nd Kartik of 1328 Begali year (1921 A.D.). This Mahakirtan  has been going on continuously and uninterruptedly since then.

In the mean time, the Divine Body of the Lord was put into a wooden casket and placed inside the Gambhira temple. During the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, the holy casket was brought to Maha-Uddharan Math at Maniktala Road in Calcutta. In 1991, the casket containing the supernatural body of Prabhu Jagadbandhu had been shifted to Mahendra Bandhu Angan, Ghurni, Krishnanagar, West Bengal. But there has not been any break in the chanting of Mahanam. It is the firm conviction of the followers of the Mahanam Sampraday that the Lord would definitely reappear amidst Mahakirtan. He would surely come out of the ambrosial state of Trayodash-Dasha and embrace and emancipate all beings.

Continuous chanting of the kirtan shall bring back Lord Jagadbandhu before the eyes of mortal beings. The entire universe would dance in harinam and all beings shall conglomerate in joy and bliss.

Again, the Chandrapat and Harikatha give some symbolic indications about His Trayodash-Dasha as well as restoration therefrom.

Birth of Mahanam Yajna or ceaseless Mahanam Kirtan
While Sripad Mahendrajee was busy with his mission work, the Lord assumed the appearance of a dead man, though inwardly full of intelligence and bliss, on 17th September 1921 AD (1328 B.S 1st Aswin). It was Sripad Mahendrajee who diagnosed the same condition of the Lord as only a unique stage in the life of the Lord; a metamorphic condition for a higher culmination of the realization of Mahabhava (a sublimated condition of Divine Love); and giving up his itinerant preaching, according to the Lord’s previous instructions, preserved the holy body in a casket of sandal wood and started his Great Sacrifice of the hallowed name of the Lord in the Sri Dham Sri Angan, Faridpur on 18th October, 1921 (2nd Kartik 1328 B.S) Sri Haripurusabda 51. This Sacrifice is known as the Mahanam Yajna, the main function of which, celebrated in this Sacrifice, is the incessant and unintermittent recital of the name of the Great Lord in accompaniment to the music of Khola and Karatala (a kind of drum and cymbal). Now this Sacrifice is inspired by vow taken by Sripad Mahendrajee that consistent with the saying of the Lord, He will have to rise up and awake through the mysterious influence of Mahanam and will complete the final synthesis of all religions and save the world from going asunder under the influence of Maha Pralaya (the Dissolution of the Universe).
First, the holy body was preserved in a casket of sandal wood. The divine immortal body of the Lord went through many stages of change and was finally preserved inside a metallic hollow replica of the Lord (more commonly known as “Samput”).
The Lord Jagatbandhu Hari in His great trance or Mahasamadhi is lying in the form of a skeleton inside the samput (earlier at Sri Angan, Faridpur, Bangladesh and now at Mahendrabandhu Angan, Ghurni, West Bengal, India) and though outwardly there is nothing to attract or impress anybody, still thousands and thousands of the Lord’s followers have been coming and worshiping the same as the Living Incarnation, and the monks of the Mahanam Sampraday under the guidelines laid by Sripad Mahendrajee have been performing daily seva or worship of the Lord in strict Hindu manners, and a continuous vibration is being produced in the atmosphere and in ethereal spiritual regions through the incessant chanting of the Lord’s name, viz:-
Hari purusha Jagadbandhu Maha – Uddharana:
Charihasta Chandraputra Hakitapatana
(Prabhu Prabhu Prabhu Hey) (Ananta – nantamaya)
–from “CHANDRAPAT”.
This ceaseless Mahanam Kirtan is still continuing for last 87 years around that Holy body. That Hari Purusha will come back is the belief of the Mahanam Sampradaya. The incessant Kirtan will not stop until the Great Awakening comes and the whole world is reborn. Thus tremendous power is being generated day and night. The Brahmacharis of Mahanam Mission are broadcasting these world – purifying vibrations through both the physical and spiritual atmosphere of the world.

Sripad Mahendraji ~ Founder Acarya of the Mahanam Samradaya

Sripad Mahendraji ~ Founder Acarya of the Mahanam Sampradaya

Birth of Mahanam Yajna or ceaseless Mahanam Kirtan

While Sripad Mahendraji was busy with his mission work, the Lord assumed the appearance of a dead man, though inwardly full of intelligence and bliss, on 17th September 1921 AD (1328 B.S 1st Aswin). It was Sripad Mahendraji who diagnosed the same condition of the Lord as only a unique stage in the life of the Lord; a metamorphic condition for a higher culmination of the realization of Mahabhava (a sublimated condition of Divine Love); and giving up his itinerant preaching, according to the Lord’s previous instructions, preserved the holy body in a casket of sandal wood and started his Great Sacrifice of the hallowed name of the Lord in the Sri Dham Sri Angan, Faridpur on 18th October, 1921 (2nd Kartik 1328 B.S) Sri Haripurusabda 51. This Sacrifice is known as the Mahanam Yajna, the main function of which, celebrated in this Sacrifice, is the incessant and unintermittent recital of the name of the Great Lord in accompaniment to the music of Khola and Karatala . Now this Sacrifice is inspired by vow taken by Sripad Mahendraji that consistent with the saying of the Lord, He will have to rise up and awake through the mysterious influence of Mahanam and will complete the final synthesis of all religions and save the world from going asunder under the influence of Maha Pralaya.

First, the holy body was preserved in a casket of sandal wood. The divine immortal body of the Lord went through many stages of change and was finally preserved inside a metallic hollow replica of the Lord (more commonly known as “Samput”).

The Lord Jagadbandhu Hari in His great trance or Mahasamadhi is lying in the form of a skeleton inside the samput (earlier at Sri Angan, Faridapur, Bangladesh and now at Mahendrabandhu Angan, Ghurni, West Bengal, India) and though outwardly there is nothing to attract or impress anybody, still thousands and thousands of the Lord’s followers have been coming and worshiping the same as the Living Incarnation, and the monks of the Mahanam Sampraday under the guidelines laid by Sripad Mahendraji have been performing daily seva or worship of the Lord in strict way, and a continuous vibration is being produced in the atmosphere and in ethereal spiritual regions through the incessant chanting of the Lord’s name, viz:-

haripuruSa jagadbandhu mahA-uddhAraN
cArihasta candraputra hA kITa patan
(prabhu prabhu he) (anantAntamaya)

~from candrapAt

This ceaseless Mahanam Kirtan is still continuing for the last 87 years around Bandhusundar’s  Holy body. That Hari Purusha will come back is the belief of the Mahanam Sampradaya. The incessant Kirtan will not stop until the Great Awakening comes and the whole world is reborn. Thus tremendous power is being generated day and night. The Brahmacharis of Mahanam Mission are broadcasting these world-purifying vibrations through both the physical and spiritual atmosphere of the world.

Sripad Mahanambrata Brahmachari

Sripad Mahanambrata Brahmachari

Sripat Mahanambrata Brahmacari

All round development and growth under the leadership of Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachari

After Sripad Mahendraji left this mortal world, Dr. Mahanambrata Brahmachari became the Acharya of Mahanam Sampradaya and took total charge of the organisation. Activities of the Sampradaya really flourished under his leadership and overall development took place in all the sectors. Number of temples and ashramas were set up at many places in India and Bangladesh and also at religiously important places like Vrindavan, Puri, Nabadwip etc. The main message and philosophy of Lord Jagadbandhu Sundar were spread widely to various corners of the Indian subcontinent and millions of people accepted him as their spiritual preceptor or Guru. Mahanam Sevak Sangha – a subsidiary of Mahanam Sampradaya was established for the non-ashramite followers to render all services to the Sampradaya and to undertake all social and benevolent activities. The Publication Trust was set up and more than a hundred very valuable books with immense spiritual depth were written, edited and published by him.

Mahagambhira at Mahendrabandhu Angan

Mahagambhira at Mahendrabandhu Angan

Sripad Kunja Dasji

Sripad Kunja Dasji

Sripad Nabadwip Dasji

Sripad Nabadwip Dasji





Happy Radhastami 2009

27 08 2009

Jai Jai Sri Radhey! Today is an ultra-auspicious day for all Caitanya Vaisnavas. It is the day celebrated as the birthday of Brindavaneshvari Sri Radhey and also Sri Bisakha Sakhi. I wasn’t sure what I should write. This day is overwhelmingly important and nothing will seem adequate as a proper glorification of our life and soul, our Svamini, Sri Radharani. A verse from Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi by Sri Prabodhananda Saraswatipada caught my attention and I will post that along with commentary from Madhusudan Das, Prabhupad Ananda Gopal Goswami, and Sri Ananta Das Pandit the Mahant of Sri Radhakund and attempt to glorify Her is this way. Surely by the grace of guru and Nitai we will one day attain the position of Her nitya-dasi serving Her and Shyam in the kunjas of Braja.

vaidagdhya sindhur anurAga rasaika sindhur
vAtsaly sindhur ati sAndra kRpaika sindhuH |
lAvaNya sindhur amRta cchabi rUpa sindhuH
zrI rAdhikA sphuratu me hRdi keli sindhuH ||RRSN 18 ||
The ocean of clever expertise
The ocean of singleminded extraordinary love
The ocean of motherly affection
The ocean of extremely condensed deep compassion
The ocean of graceful charms
The ocean of nectarean effulgence of sheer beauty
May the ocean of the the sportive amorous lilas of Sri Radhika manifest in my heart.
Sri Radha — The Seven Cosmic Oceans Personified
(1)Sri Radha is vaidagdhya sindhuH, an ocean of cleverness. This means rasa pANDitya, She is learned in the science of rasa. She even teaches rasika zekhara, the king of reliShers, Sri Krishna expertise in erotic rasa. Sri Krishna Himself admits in Caitanya Caritamrta: rAdhikAra prema – guru; Ami – ziSya naTa; sadA AmA nAna nRtye nAcAye udbhaTa “Radhika’s love is the teacher and I am the dancing pupil. She always causes Me to dance different wonderful dances!” She is the teacher of arts.
Sri Rupa Goswamipada writes in Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakaraNa 21):
AcArya dhAtu citre pacana viracanA cAturI cAru cittA
vAg yuddhe mugdhayanti gurum api ca girAM paNDitA malya gumphe
pAThe zArI-zukAnAM paTur ajutam api dyuti keliSu jiSNur
vidyA vidyoti buddhiH sphurati rati kalAzAlini rAdhikeyam
Kundalata told Gargi: “O Devi! What more can I say about the artful expertise of Sri Radhika? She is the teacher by example of making pictures of mineral pigments (Sri Visvanath Cakravartipada writes in his Ananda candrikA commentary on this verse: AcArya na tu kadAcid api kasyacic chiSya….evaM sarvatra jJeyam. “The word acarya here means that She did not learn this science from anyone, it was spontaneously manifest to Her.”) She is expert is cooking, She can even stifle Krishna in verbal battle. She is very learned in stringing flower garlands, She is expert in teaching the Suka and Sari parrots how to recite beautiful verses. She can defeat even the unconquerable Ajita in a game of dice, and She has a keen intelligence.” Because of Her cleverness She is compared here with the ocean of Sweet Water (the seventh of the cosmic oceans).
(2)Sri Radha is the only ocean of anurAga. anurAga means mahabhAva. anurAga is ever-fresh and ever-astonishing. Srimati thinks Krishna’s sweetness is ever fresh and She always has more taste for His sweetness, so She always reliShes it. With the statement that Radharani is the only ocean of anurAga rasa is meant that when anurAga increases, it becomes mahabhAva and that when, mahabhAva increases it is called mAdana mahabhAva. Sri Radharani is the only one who has this mAdana mahabhAva and She is the fountainhead of all mahabhAva, just as the ocean is the fountainhead of all the rivers and ponds. The other gopis are Her phalanx that help Her to complete Krsna’s relishing of prema rasa. Just as milk becomes thick kSIra when it is boiled down, anuraga turns into mahabhAva when it becomes ‘thick’ (intensified). Therefore the anurAga-ocean is compared to the ocean of milk (the sixth of the cosmic oceans).
(3)Sri Radha is the ocean of vAtsalya. vAtsalya means love for the poor and the fallen. Just as Sri Radha is an inexhaustible storehouse of erotic rasa, She is also a great ocean of vAtsalya-affection. The writers of the rasa zAstra say that the vAtsalya rasa is not compatible with the madhurya rasa, but Radharani makes them compatible in some situations. For instance, She gives the greatest bliss to rasika ziromaNi Sri Krishna and Her girlfriends and maidservants when She gives this ‘motherly’ affection to Krishna while He takes His meal. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her girlfriends is also most wonderful. She is always controlled by their affection. Sri Rupa Goswamipada gives the following example in his Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakAraNa 34):
upadiza sakhi vRnde vallabendrasya sUnuM kim ayam iha sakhInAM mAm adhInAM dunoti
apasaratu sazaGkaM mandirAn mAninInAM kalayati lalitAyAH kiM na zauTIrya dhATIm
Sri Radha had a quarrel with Sri Krishna, but now She regrets it (kalahAnrarita bhAva). She is once more eager to meet Him, but in order to show that She is under the fll control of her girlfriends, She tells Vrinda: “O sakhi Vrnde! Tell this prince of Braja that I am controlled by my girlfriends! Why does He waste His words on Me? We are proud girls it is not proper for Him to stay in our abodes! Tell Him that He better fearfull flee! Doesn’t He know the prowess of my friend Lalita?” With these words sakhI vatsalA Sri Radha pleases Her girlfriends and gives a hidden instruction to Shyamasundar to come and meet Her at the same time. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her maidservants is incomparable! The maidservants are always showered by the waves from the ocean of Her motherly affection. She always keeps them by Her side, calling them, “My Rupa Manjari, My Rati Manjari, with strong feelings of mineness. Because there is a lot of the essential part of affection in the vAtsalya-ocean, just as yoghurt is the essence of milk, this ocean can be compared the ocean of yoghurt (the fifth of the cosmic oceans).
(4)Sri Radha is the ocean of deep compassion, always showering Her devotees with the nectar stream of Her mercy. Those who have been touched by the nectar of that compassion, can testify. Sri Raghunath Das Gosvami says: karuNA vidravad dehA – “Her body melts with compassion”. Normally, a person’s heart melts with compassion, but only in Radharani’s case Her whole body melts with compassion. She always bathes in streams of ambrosial compassion, and because Krishna accepted Her mood when He became Gaura Mahaprabhu, Mahaprabhu is so merciful! Mahaprabhu does not consider who is qualified or unqualified, who is from which caste or from which asrama. He gives prema without making such distinctions! That is ‘a body melting with compassion’! It is Radha’s storehouse of compassion, not Krishna’s! In Braja-lila the storehouse of Radha’s mercy remained hidden and closed, but when Mahaprabhu accepted the mood and complexion of Sri Radha, it became manifest to the world! Mahaprabhu showed the people of the world how the body can melt with compassion, because He assumed Sn Radha’s merciful mood. Because Radhika’s body melts with compassion, it can be compared to the ocean of clarified butter (the fourth of the cosmic oceans).
(5)Sri Radha is the ocean of lavaNnya. Sri Rupa Gosvami defines lAvaNya as follows in his Ujjvala Nilamani:
muktAphaleSu chAyAyAs taralatvam ivAntarA |
pratibhAti yad aGgeSu lAvaNyam tad ihocyate ||
“The luster that gushes out of each bodily limb like the luster shining out from inside pearls, is called lAvaNya.” Srimati is the ocean of lAvaNya, or elegance. The fishlike eyes of Sri Krishna, who is called lAvaNya sAra (the essence of lAvaNya, or elegance) in Srimad Bhagavat (10.44.14), never get tired of swimming in the ocean of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya. Indeed, His desire to swim in that ocean simply increases! Sripada Bilvamangala Thakura said in Krishna Karnamrtam (3): lAvAnyAmRta vIci lolita dRSaM – “Krishna’s eyes billow on the waves of nectarean lAvaNya.” Sri Krishna Das Kaviraja writes in his sAraGga RaGgadA commentary on this verse: zrI rAdhAyA evA lAvanyAmRta vIcibhir lolite satRSNIkRte dRzau yasya tam “Sri Krishna’s eyes have become very thirsty after the nectar waves of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya.” Because Krishna is intoxicated by seeing Radha’s lAvaNya and Her maidservants and girlfriends are intoxicated by seeing Krishna looking at Radhika like this. The practicing devotees should also forget everything related to this world or the next world and become intoxicated by worshiping the lotus feet of that Sri Radha! The ocean of lAvaNya is compared to the ocean of wine (the third of the cosmic oceans).
(6)Sri Radha is the ocean of amRta cchabi rUpa. She is the very form of glowing nectar and Her form is like a vast ocean. She is mahAbhAva personified and mahabhAva is compared to nectar. It is the deepest possible love for Krishna, and Radha’s form reveals this beauty and tastefulness to the utmost, therefore She is the amRtacchabi rUpa sindhu. Although Sri Krishna inundates the world with a mere drop of His beauty, even He rowns in the nectar ocean of Radha’s form! Krishna says in the Caitanya Caritamrta 1.4.242-243:
koTi kAma jini rUpa yayapi AmAra, asamordhva mAdhurya sAmya nahi yAra
more rUpe apyAyita hoy tribhuvana, rAdhAra darzane AmAra juDAya nayana
<……………………………………………………………>
eimata jagatera sukhe Ami hetu, rAdhikAra rUpa guNa AmAra jivAtu
“Although My form defeats millions of Cupids, it is unrivalled in it’s sweetness and pleases all the three worlds, My eyes are still pleased by seeing Radha…In this way I am the cause of joy to the world, but Radhika’s form and attributes are My very life! Because the ocean of Sri Radha’s form is so sweet it is compared to the ocean of sugarcane juice (the second of the cosmic oceans).
(&)Sri Radha is the ocean of playfulness, which means She frolics with Her beloved Syamasundara. She keeps Syamasundara immersed in the waves of the ocean of Her pastimes when She meets Him. When the waves of mAdana rasa swell in the ocean of Sri Radha’s pastimes even Sri Krishna, the transcendental youthful Cupid of Brindavan does not dare to place His boat-like heart on its surface, just as a boatman fearfully keeps his boat on the bank of the Ganga when her huge waves meet the ocean. The very sight of this ocean destroys all sins, but a person who drinks it’s water will die. Similarly, when one faithfully chants and hears about the pastimes of Radha and Madhava one will become free from all sins and from the heart’s disease of lust, but when one tries to imitate these pastimes one will perish. This ocean of play is compared to the ocean of salt water (the first of the cosmic oceans).

vaidagdhya sindhur anurAga rasaika sindhur
vAtsalya sindhur ati sAndra kRpaika sindhuH |
lAvaNya sindhur amRta cchabi rUpa sindhuH
zrI rAdhikA sphuratu me hRdi keli sindhuH ||RRSN 18 ||

The ocean of clever expertise
The ocean of singleminded extraordinary love
The ocean of motherly affection
The ocean of extremely condensed deep compassion
The ocean of graceful charms
The ocean of nectarean effulgence of sheer beauty
May the ocean of the the sportive amorous lilas of Sri Radhika manifest in my heart.

Sri Radha — The Seven Cosmic Oceans Personified

(1) Sri Radha is vaidagdhya sindhuH, an ocean of cleverness. This means rasa pANDitya, She is learned in the science of rasa. She even teaches rasika zekhara, the king of relishers, Sri Krishna expertise in erotic rasa. Sri Krishna Himself admits in Caitanya Caritamrta: rAdhikAra prema – guru; Ami – ziSya naTa; sadA AmA nAna nRtye nAcAye udbhaTa “Radhika’s love is the teacher and I am the dancing pupil. She always causes Me to dance different wonderful dances!” She is the teacher of arts. Sri Rupa Goswamipada writes in Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakaraNa 21):

AcArya dhAtu citre pacana viracanA cAturI cAru cittA
vAg yuddhe mugdhayanti gurum api ca girAM paNDitA malya gumphe |
pAThe zArI-zukAnAM paTur ajutam api dyuti keliSu jiSNur
vidyA vidyoti buddhiH sphurati rati kalAzAlini rAdhikeyam ||

Kundalata told Gargi: “O Devi! What more can I say about the artful expertise of Sri Radhika? She is the teacher by example of making pictures of mineral pigments (Sri Visvanath Cakravartipada writes in his Ananda candrikA commentary on this verse: AcArya na tu kadAcid api kasyacic chiSya….evaM sarvatra jJeyam. “The word acarya here means that She did not learn this science from anyone, it was spontaneously manifest to Her.”) She is expert is cooking, She can even stifle Krishna in verbal battle. She is very learned in stringing flower garlands, She is expert in teaching the Suka and Sari parrots how to recite beautiful verses. She can defeat even the unconquerable Ajita in a game of dice, and She has a keen intelligence.” Because of Her cleverness She is compared here with the ocean of Sweet Water (the seventh of the cosmic oceans).

(2) Sri Radha is the only ocean of anurAga. anurAga means mahabhAva. anurAga is ever-fresh and ever-astonishing. Srimati thinks Krishna’s sweetness is ever fresh and She always has more taste for His sweetness, so She always relishes it. With the statement that Radharani is the only ocean of anurAga rasa is meant that when anurAga increases, it becomes mahabhAva and that when, mahabhAva increases it is called mAdana mahAbhAva. Sri Radharani is the only one who has this mAdana mahAbhAva and She is the fountainhead of all mahAbhAva, just as the ocean is the fountainhead of all the rivers and ponds. The other gopis are Her phalanx that help Her to complete Krsna’s relishing of prema rasa. Just as milk becomes thick kSIra when it is boiled down, anuraga turns into mahAbhAva when it becomes ‘thick’ (intensified). Therefore the anurAga-ocean is compared to the ocean of milk (the sixth of the cosmic oceans).

(3) Sri Radha is the ocean of vAtsalya. vAtsalya means love for the poor and the fallen. Just as Sri Radha is an inexhaustible storehouse of erotic rasa, She is also a great ocean of vAtsalya-affection. The writers of the rasa zAstra say that the vAtsalya rasa is not compatible with the madhurya rasa, but Radharani makes them compatible in some situations. For instance, She gives the greatest bliss to rasika ziromaNi Sri Krishna and Her girlfriends and maidservants when She gives this ‘motherly’ affection to Krishna while He takes His meal. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her girlfriends is also most wonderful. She is always controlled by their affection. Sri Rupa Goswamipada gives the following example in his Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakAraNa 34):

upadiza sakhi vRnde vallabendrasya sUnuM kim ayam iha sakhInAM mAm adhInAM dunoti
apasaratu sazaGkaM mandirAn mAninInAM kalayati lalitAyAH kiM na zauTIrya dhATIm

Sri Radha had a quarrel with Sri Krishna, but now She regrets it (kalahAntarita bhAva). She is once more eager to meet Him, but in order to show that She is under the full control of her girlfriends, She tells Vrinda: “O sakhi Vrnde! Tell this prince of Braja that I am controlled by my girlfriends! Why does He waste His words on Me? We are proud girls it is not proper for Him to stay in our abodes! Tell Him that He better fearfully flee! Doesn’t He know the prowess of my friend Lalita?” With these words sakhI vatsalA Sri Radha pleases Her girlfriends and gives a hidden instruction to Shyamasundar to come and meet Her at the same time. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her maidservants is incomparable! The maidservants are always showered by the waves from the ocean of Her motherly affection. She always keeps them by Her side, calling them, “My Rupa Manjari, My Rati Manjari, with strong feelings of mineness. Because there is a lot of the essential part of affection in the vAtsalya-ocean, just as yoghurt is the essence of milk, this ocean can be compared the ocean of yoghurt (the fifth of the cosmic oceans).

(4) Sri Radha is the ocean of deep compassion, always showering Her devotees with the nectar stream of Her mercy. Those who have been touched by the nectar of that compassion, can testify. Sri Raghunath Das Gosvami says: karuNA vidravad dehA – “Her body melts with compassion”. Normally, a person’s heart melts with compassion, but only in Radharani’s case Her whole body melts with compassion. She always bathes in streams of ambrosial compassion, and because Krishna accepted Her mood when He became Gaura Mahaprabhu, Mahaprabhu is so merciful! Mahaprabhu does not consider who is qualified or unqualified, who is from which caste or from which asrama. He gives prema without making such distinctions! That is ‘a body melting with compassion! It is Radha’s storehouse of compassion, not Krishna’s! In Braja-lila the storehouse of Radha’s mercy remained hidden and closed, but when Mahaprabhu accepted the mood and complexion of Sri Radha, it became manifest to the world! Mahaprabhu showed the people of the world how the body can melt with compassion, because He assumed Sn Radha’s merciful mood. Because Radhika’s body melts with compassion, it can be compared to the ocean of clarified butter (the fourth of the cosmic oceans).

(5) Sri Radha is the ocean of lAvaNya. Sri Rupa Gosvami defines lAvaNya as follows in his Ujjvala Nilamani:

muktAphaleSu chAyAyAs taralatvam ivAntarA |
pratibhAti yad aGgeSu lAvaNyam tad ihocyate ||

“The luster that gushes out of each bodily limb like the luster shining out from inside pearls, is called lAvaNya.” Srimati is the ocean of lAvaNya, or elegance. The fishlike eyes of Sri Krishna, who is called lAvaNya sAra (the essence of lAvaNya, or elegance) in Srimad Bhagavat (10.44.14), never gets tired of swimming in the ocean of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya. Indeed, His desire to swim in that ocean simply increases! Sripada Bilvamangala Thakura said in Krishna Karnamrtam (3):  lAvAnyAmRta vIci lolita dRSaM – “Krishna’s eyes billow on the waves of nectarean lAvaNya.” Sri Krishna Das Kaviraja writes in his sAraGga RaGgadA commentary on this verse: zrI rAdhAyA evA lAvanyAmRta vIcibhir lolite satRSNIkRte dRzau yasya tam “Sri Krishna’s eyes have become very thirsty after the nectar waves of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya.” Because Krishna is intoxicated by seeing Radha’s lAvaNya and Her maidservants and girlfriends are intoxicated by seeing Krishna looking at Radhika like this. The practicing devotees should also forget everything related to this world or the next world and become intoxicated by worshiping the lotus feet of that Sri Radha! The ocean of lAvaNya is compared to the ocean of wine (the third of the cosmic oceans).

(6) Sri Radha is the ocean of amRta cchabi rUpa. She is the very form of glowing nectar and Her form is like a vast ocean. She is mahAbhAva personified and mahAbhAva is compared to nectar. It is the deepest possible love for Krishna, and Radha’s form reveals this beauty and tastefulness to the utmost, therefore She is the amRtacchabi rUpa sindhu. Although Sri Krishna inundates the world with a mere drop of His beauty, even He drowns in the nectar ocean of Radha’s form! Krishna says in the Caitanya Caritamrta 1.4.242-243:

koTi kAma jini rUpa yayapi AmAra, asamordhva mAdhurya sAmya nahi yAra more rUpe apyAyita hoy tribhuvana, rAdhAra darzane AmAra juDAya nayana
<……………………………………………………………>
eimata jagatera sukhe Ami hetu, rAdhikAra rUpa guNa AmAra jivAtu

“Although My form defeats millions of Cupids, it is unrivalled in it’s sweetness and pleases all the three worlds, My eyes are still pleased by seeing Radha…In this way I am the cause of joy to the world, but Radhika’s form and attributes are My very life! Because the ocean of Sri Radha’s form is so sweet it is compared to the ocean of sugarcane juice (the second of the cosmic oceans).

(7) Sri Radha is the ocean of playfulness, which means She frolics with Her beloved Syamasundara. She keeps Syamasundara immersed in the waves of the ocean of Her pastimes when She meets Him. When the waves of mAdana rasa swell in the ocean of Sri Radha’s pastimes even Sri Krishna, the transcendental youthful Cupid of Brindavan does not dare to place His boat-like heart on its surface, just as a boatman fearfully keeps his boat on the bank of the Ganga when her huge waves meet the ocean. The very sight of this ocean destroys all sins, but a person who drinks it’s water will die. Similarly, when one faithfully chants and hears about the pastimes of Radha and Madhava one will become free from all sins and from the heart’s disease of lust, but when one tries to imitate these pastimes one will perish. This ocean of play is compared to the ocean of salt water (the first of the cosmic oceans).





Sri Sri 108 Siddha Radha Charan Das Babaji

11 08 2009
Sri Sri 108 Siddha Radha Charan Das Babaji Maharaj

Sri Sri 108 Siddha Radha Charan Das Babaji Maharaj

Amar Rajani Jyetha
Jai Nitai!
Our param-gurudev Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj had many siddha disciples and of those who did their
bhajan in Brindavan two were particularly dear to him. Siddha Gauranga Das Babaji and Siddha Radha
Charan Das Babaji, the latter was commonly known as Rajani Baba. Siddha Gauranga Das Babaji is much
more well known, mostly due to the fact that his hagiography was included in Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor’s book,
Braja ke bhakta, or the Saints of Braja. Both of the above-mentioned Babaji’s are my gurudeva’s gurubhais,
so from now on I will refer to them as “jyetha” which means uncle in Bengali. Both of them were very close
and loved each other like brothers.
Rajani Jyetha’s father was great Vaisnava and a scholar. Bijoy Krishna Goswami would come to his house to
hear his Hari-katha. In fact, Bijoy Krishna Goswami was in their house and was present for the birth of
Rajani Jyetha, and he predicted that he would become a great Vaisnava. At a very early age, Rajani Jyetha
took to the yoga-marg and quickly attained Brahma-jnana, realizing Sri Krishna in His form as the all-
pervading Brahman. During this time he was with the Indian Freedom Fighing movement and the English
police arrested him and placed him in jail. While he was in his cell he performed his yoga practice. Some of
the Government officials noticed his shakti and saintly qualities and started to cooperate with him by
providing better facility for his yoga sadhana. Shortly after his release from prison he met Sripad Ramdas
Babaji and received his blessings. He surrendered to Babaji Maharaj and began doing bhajan of Nitai Gaura
Radhey Shyam.
He made very rapid advancement in bhakti and soon became siddha. Sripad Ramdas Babaji loved him very
much and was very proud of him and enjoyed talking about his early attainments. Ramdas Babaji even
used to enjoy glorifying him in front of his elder gurubhai, Gauranga Baba.
At Govinda Kund in Brindavan Rajani Jyetha has an ashram and his samadhi is located there. At one time
he resided in Sri Path Bari Ashram. My gurudeva then lived in that room after Rajani Jyetha left there to go
to Brindavan.

Jai Nitai!

Our param-gurudev Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj had many siddha disciples and of those who did their bhajan in Brindavan two were particularly dear to him. Siddha Gauranga Das Babaji and Siddha Radha Charan Das Babaji, the latter was commonly known as Rajani Baba. Both of them were very close and loved each other just like brothers. Siddha Gauranga Das Babaji is much more well known, mostly due to the fact that his hagiography was included in Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor’s book, Braja ke bhakta, or The Saints of Braja. Both of the above-mentioned Babaji’s are my gurudeva’s gurubhais, so from now on I will simply refer to them as “jetha” which means uncle in Bengali.

Rajani Jyetha’s father was a great Vaisnava and a scholar. Bijoy Krishna Goswami would come to his house to hear his Hari-katha. In fact, Bijoy Krishna Goswami was in their home and was present for the birth of Rajani Jetha, and he predicted that he would become a great Vaisnava. At a very early age, Rajani Jetha took to the yoga-marg and quickly attained Brahma-jnana, realizing Sri Krishna in His form as the all-pervading Brahman. During this time he was with the Indian freedom fighing movement and the English police arrested him and placed him in jail. While he was in his cell he performed his yoga practice. Some of the Government officials noticed his shakti and saintly qualities and started to cooperate with him by providing better facility for his yoga sadhana. Shortly after his release from prison he met Sripad Ramdas Babaji and received his blessings. He surrendered to Babaji Maharaj and began doing bhajan of Nitai Gaura Radhey Shyam.

He made very rapid advancement in bhakti and soon became siddha. Sripad Ramdas Babaji loved him very much and was very proud of him and enjoyed talking about his early attainments. Ramdas Babaji even used to enjoy glorifying him in front of his elder gurubhai, Gauranga Baba. At Govinda Kund in Brindavan Rajani Jetha has an ashram and his samadhi is located there. At one time he resided in Sri Path Bari Ashram. My gurudeva  lived in that room after Rajani Jetha left there to go to Brindavan.  More about his life and lila to come…

The picture of Rajani Jyetha that hangs in my gurudeva's room in Path Bari

The picture of Rajani Jetha that hangs in my gurudeva's room at Path Bari Ashram